The German forces

Tysk_105_kanon_m.jpg (40635 bytes)
German gun in position in Gudbrandsdal

Army - Heer

At the time of operation Weserübung the German army had just made a tremendous expansion from seven to 103 infantry divisions. Six infantry divisions and miscellaneous other units participated in the Norwegian part of operation Weserübung. Most of them were not yet the experienced war machines that were such difficult nuts to crack for the allied forces later. Few of the units had previous war experience, and most personnel had a very limited basic training (2-3 months - comparable with the short Norwegian training [1]). Neither was the equipment up to date and in accordance with organization, and there was a shortage of officers. However, after the units had been assigned to the operation they got a period of intensive training, partly making up for earlier deficiencies and, perhaps most important, made them mentally prepared for what to come. 

Navy - Kriegsmarine

The Navy had an extremely important role in the opening stage of the operation. Their mission was to take the bulk of the initial invasion force through the British blockade and past the Norwegian coastal fortresses, to occupy the most important ports along a 2000 km long coastline. And this for a navy that had been virtually non existing a few years before. 

In fact the the Kriegsmarine was the leading proponent of the invasion. They saw Norway as a good basing area for operations against the British supply lines over the Atlantic. The occupation of Norway was a way out of the trap that the navy had been caught in all through the previous world war.

While small, the navy had modern ships and well trained crews. Some of the larger ships had persistent engine troubles though. Something that had some implications on the invasion.

Air force - Luftwaffe

Along with the navy, the air force had a key role in the operation. The most important was initial assaults on key airfields in Denmark and Norway and the air lift of personnel to Norway. The air lift operation surpassed anything the world had seen so far, and the air assault was the first ever.

Apart from that, the main contribution of Luftwaffe was to keep the British navy at arms length, and, after the Allied intervention, to bomb their ports. Thereby denying the allied troops supply and reinforcements.



1: Mueller-Hillebrand, bind I; through "Urladdning" by Hugemark, Bo

Visitors on this page since 2000-01-24:

FastCounter by bcentral