The War Illustrated No 37 Vol 2 May 17th 1940

r /The War Illustrated May nth, 1940 ‘We Have Done Our Best-the Odds were Too Great’ Guerilla^ warfare developed in many parts o f Norway as the result o f the tenacity displayed by the Norwegians against the Nazi invaders. The form id able shores ofT irifjo rd ,above, provide a retreat for German infantrymen who a retaking cover from Norw e g ian defenders. The steep and rocky hillside crowned with woods, typifies the rugged scenery that surrounds many o f the Norw e g ian fjords. secured a complete superiority in the air. Day after day the Air Ministry in London claimed that the German aerodromes in Norway, Stavanger in particular, had been heavily bombed, but this “strafing ”seemed to have had little deterring effect on the German Air Force, who during the eighteen hours of daylight bombed per­sistently the Allied troop concentrations, lines of communication, bases and landing- piers. The British troops landed at Namsos and Aandalsnes were lightly equipped and armed, as befitted a mere covering force, but the regulars, both British and French, who were landed in their wake were still unsupported by tanks and heavy guns, for, it was impossible to land these at the little jetties which were all that the two ports could offer. Apparently it was some days before even a handful of A.A. guns could be landed. At the same time the It.A.F. warplanes had to operate from Britain, 400 miles away across the North Sea, as it was found impossible to establish an aerodrome on Norwegian soil the attempt to use the frozen surface of a lake ended apparently in disaster, as after the evacuation the Germans claimed that they discovered at Lesjeskogan, south-east of Aandalsnes, twenty burned- out British aeroplanes. The Fleet Air Arm, it is true, did magnificent work, but its ’planes were both small and less heavily-armed than those against which they were matched. Finally, mention maybe made of the appalling state of the Norwegian roads. Never much more than tracks, these were buried several feet deep in slowly-thawing snow, and under the weight of the Allied transports their surface disintegrated into a morass. All in all, then, the Allied commanders well deserved their congratulations on the success of the evacuation. True, large quantities of military stores— motor-cars, lorries, food and drink (which proved a godsend to the starving Norwegian coun­try folk), arms and ammunition, and some anti-aircraft guns—had to be left behind, but the troops as a whole were embarked without loss. Almost the last man to leave Namsos was Major-General Carton de Wiart. Ashe was just about to step into his pinnace a little group of Namsos townsfolk, sil­houetted against the blackened ruins of their homes, called out to him to comeback again soon. “Thank you,” the General is reported to have replied“ I am sorry we could not do more, but the odds were too great. We have done our best—good luck to you.” The mountainous regions o f Southern Nor way provide innumerable “hide-outs ”for aggressor and defender alike. The Norwegians put up a stubborn resistance, fighting co u ra geo u sly to defend their country again stan utterly unscrupulous foe. Advance detachments o f Germ ans pene­ tra ted the mountain valleys, where fierce encounters took place in conditions o fan almost Arc tic severity .These German troops are seen con­ solid a ting their hard -w on positions against a m ou tan inside .Photos, Planet News
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