The War Illustrated No 37 Vol 2 May 17th 1940

May llth, 1940 The War Illustrated 511 Nazi Air Power Made Evacuation Inevitable These transport wagons carrying stores to the British troop sin the tenS k je r sector north of Trondheim a rep lou g hing through deep snowdrifts which impeded all movements o f troops. The lorry in the fore­ground ,draped with a huge red cross, is heavily laden with medical supplies. declared that the report that a British force in Norway had been cut to pieces and forced to withdraw in disorder was a distortion of the facts. “The facts are that an advanced, detachment of a larger force pushed forward towards Trond­heim from the direction of Namsos. The Germans, moving reinforcements by water inside the Trondheim Fjord, threatened to cutoff the advanced troops from their main body. They therefore withdrew, but were not followed up by the enemy, who are now reported to be digging themselves in at the head of the fjord. Our troops suffered some loss.” Meanwhile, Brigadier H. de R. Morgan, who was in command of the small covering force which had been landed at Aandalsnes on April 18-19, pushed two lightly-armed Territorial battalions down the Gudbrand valley in response to an appeal for help from the Norwegians who were hard pressed at Lillehammer. They joined up with the Norwegians as planned, and withdrew with them up the valley in the face of ever-increasing German pressure. At Dombaas, a vital railway junction, they fought with what was described by the War Office as “indomit­able courage.” On May 1 it was announced that after stubborn resistance in the face of strong enemy attacks they had withdrawn to pre­pared positions, but the German wireless had already claimed that the Allies were preparing to evacuate the Dombaas area, and it was on the afternoon of May 2 that the Prime Minister announced in the House of Commons that the evacua­tion of troops from Aandalsnes, under the direction of Major-General B. C.T. Paget, had taken place “under the very noses of the German aeroplanes without, as far as I am aware, losing a single man.” On the next day a similar announcement was made concerning the troops at Namsos. The troops were embarked on British warships, and some were landed later at other points on the Norwegian coast. With them went the Commander-in-Chief of the Norwegian Army and his staff, and King Haakon and members of his Government. News of the evacuation came as a blow to the British people— and also, it would seem, to the Norwegians. Thus Colonel Getz, Norwegian divisional commander at Stenkjer, waS reported—by the Ger­man Official News Agency in Stockholm —to have issued an Order of the Day in which he complained bitterly that “as .England and France have for unknown reasons given up the attempt to support us in our fight and withdrew their troops from Namsos on Friday night, we are here alone today,” and negotiations for an armistice had therefore been seton foot. The withdrawal, however, could not have been much longer delayed, for the Germans, it was only too clear, had When the civilian population realized that the Allied troops would be forced to abandon their positions they left their home sand made for the mountain s.C e n tre ,women are waiting for cars to help the mon their way. The roads over which they fled were littered ,as will be seen from the lower photo graph ,with the h ou seh old goods that their owners had had to abandon during their flight. Photos, Associated Press
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