April 9th, 1940 (TUESDAY)NORWEGIAN CAMPAIGN.
The German Norwegian Invasion begins. Landings at Oslo, Bergen, Kristiansand, Trondheim and Narvik. Parachute troops are used at Oslo.
Norwegian forces resist strongly.
At Narvik, the 40 year old ironclads "Eidsvold" and "Norge" are ordered to resist any attack by force, but both are sunk by torpedoes from destroyer "Wilhelm Heidekamp". (Alex Gordon)
The German Cruiser Königsberg is damaged near Bergen by coastal batteries.
Cruisers "Königsberg" and "Köln" are leading the Group 3 invasion forces to Bergen. The German Navy were regarding this part of the operation as particularly dangerous since Bergen was only 8 or 9 hours sailing time from Britain and they expected that major units of the British Fleet would be waiting for them. In fact the British had no elements stationed off Bergen and the German ships were able to make their approach without any opposition. However, Norwegian Defence forces under Admiral Tank-Nielsen were alert and prepared for action, as the Admiral had reckoned on the German likely reaction to the laying of mines off Narvik by the British Navy the previous day.
He sent two minelayers to lay mines blocking the approaches to the town from both north and south, and stationed some torpedo boats and patrol craft in the same approaches. He alerted coastal forts, extinguished coastal lighting and requested the local army commander to supply infantry for the town's defence, and the air force to make reconnaissance patrols at first light, and Bergen was blacked out.
A coastal lookout reported the German invasion fleet heading towards Bergen from the south just after 0100, but when one of the torpedo boats found itself in a suitable position from which to launch an attack, it held back when its commander saw the overwhelming firepower of the oncoming German ships. As the ships came within range of the main fortress, the commandant ordered the searchlights to be turned on, but they were unable to do so, because their electrical power came from the town supply which had been turned off when the blackout was ordered. The fortress gunners were able to identify silhouettes of the German warships, but held fire as two cargo ships sailed through the firing zone, and "Köln" sailed past the fort and made port in Bergen. The fortress gunners then opened fire on the German ships bringing up the rear of the invasion force and hit the supply ship "Bremse" and seriously damaged "Königsberg", but as the Norwegian infantry failed to arrive, the city fell to the Germans with little resistance. (Alex Gordon)
Germans capture the airfield at Stavanger and put their aircraft to good use.
German Navy forces include a pocket battleship, six cruisers and 14 destroyers for the landings at the five Norwegian ports, with battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau (under the command of Vice-Admiral Günther Lütjens) covering the two most northerly ones. Thirty U-boats patrol off Norway and British bases, but throughout the campaign they suffer from major torpedo defects.
Around 0400 HMS Renown is in action with the two battlecruisers to the west of Vestfjord (some 50 miles off Narvik). In a brief exchange of fire the Gneisenau receives three 38cm hits and is damaged and HMS Renown is slightly damaged by two 28cm hits. The Germans withdraw. (Navy News)
Around the same time the occupation forces heading for Oslo come under heavy fire from Norwegian coastal defences. Heavy cruiser Blucher and the torpedo boat Albatross are sunk by guns and torpedoes in the Oslofjord.
Entering the Oslofjord at midnight, the German squadron led by Blücher and Lützow is spotted and challenged by the Norwegian armed whaler POL III which is sunk by gunfire from a German torpedo boat. Shortly after, the German squadron passed two small forts which attempted to engage the Germans but were hindered by heavy fog. Both POL III and the forts advise Oslo sea defence district that they are under attack.
At approx 0400 the new German heavy cruiser "Blücher" carrying Rear-Admiral Kummetz, General Erwin Engelbrecht and 1000 troops of the 163rd. Infantry Division followed by Panzerschiffe Lützow approaches the Drøbak Narrows in the Oslo Fjord. The Oscarsborg fortress (which was regarded as the strongest fortress in Europe when it was built at the time of the Crimean War) was in darkness, and Admiral Kummetz assumed that there would be no resistance. A searchlight on the opposite shore to the fortress illuminated the German warship and the fortress immediately opened fire with its 1905 Krupp 28 cm. guns to good effect. Blücher was set on fire but continued forward, until almost immediately it came within range of the Austrian-built torpedo battery and was hit by two of the torpedoes. This set her fate, and about two hours later Blücher rolled over and sank. Admiral Kummetz and General Engelbrecht were able to swim ashore and made prisoners by the Norwegians. The command of the invasion fleet then passed to the commander of Lützow who ordered the fleet to turn back, and landed the troops further back down the fjord about 50 miles from Oslo.
The torpedo boat "Albatros" is also sunk in the Oslo Fjord. (Alex Gordon)
Norwegian coastal defence ships Eidsvold and Norge are sunk at Narvik. The Norwegian Ægir is sunk at Stavanger and Tor is sunk at Frederikstad.
When the German invasion of Norway began, the Royal Navy was quick to respond, sending the Home Fleet to sea to support its other elements at sea and to, hopefully, crush the Kriegsmarine forces involved. One of the ships dispatched to join the gathering forces was the sole Royal Navy carrier in home waters, HMS Furious, escorted by the destroyers, HMS Maori, HMS Ashanti, and HMS Fortune. Unfortunately for future operations, Furious, which had been in the Clyde after completing a refit, had only been able to land-on her two Swordfish TSR Squadrons, 816 and 818. Her presence with the fleet being considered a necessity, the Admiralty refused permission for the ship to close the Orkneys to embark her Skua equipped fighter-dive bomber Squadron, 801, then at Evanton in Scotland. Thus, when she joined the fleet off Trondheim on 10 April, she embarked but 18 Swordfish and no fighters. (Mark Horan)
A Home Fleet cruiser force is detached to attack the German warships in Bergen, but is soon ordered to withdraw. As they do they come under sustained air attack and Tribal Class destroyer HMS Gurkha, which is screening other units of the Home Fleet is bombed and sunk south-west of Bergen at 59 13N, 04 00E when she is attacked by a mixed force of Ju.87 and He.111 dive bombers. There are 190 survivors. This is the first loss of a Tribal class destroyer and the first loss of a British destroyer to air attack. (Alex Gordon)(108) HMS Rodney is damaged by German air attack.
In the evening German cruiser Karlsrühe leaves Kristiansund and is torpedoed by submarine HMS Truant. She has to be scuttled the next day.
Three Heinkel 111 units of KGs 4, 26 and 100 performed 'demonstration flights' and leaflet raids with some bombing of Oslo-Kjeller airfield and flak positions. All three Gruppen of KG30(Ju88) take part.
Luftwaffe: 41 bombers of KG 26 in company with Ju88s of KG30 attack Royal Naval units, damaging cruisers HMS Devonshire, Glasgow and Southampton and sinking the destroyer HMS Gurkha.
Three fighter Gruppen of ZG1 and ZG76 (Bf110C) take part as the fighter cover.
German troops under General Nikolaus von Falkenhorst have been landed in every Norwegian port as far north as Narvik.
(Mark Horan and Alex Gordon)
Major-General Eduard Dietl's Mountain Division and the Luftwaffe's First Parachute Regiment go in as the spearhead of this invasion. The main German army is under General Kaupitsch. Hardly a shot has been fired.
The invasion began as 5am when three troopships sailed into Copenhagen harbour. A lone policeman who resisted the invaders with a pistol fell, and the city is taken without further fighting. Trawlers escorted by E-boats then brought troops into all Denmark's ports and major islands, giving them control of the vital sea passages, the Skagerrak and the Kattegat, between Denmark and Norway. Airborne troops land at Aalborg airfield and motorised troops cross Denmark's land frontier at Flensburg and Tondern. At Gjedser a ferry came in ferrying troops and an armoured train.
After 16 Danish deaths King Christian X ordered a cease-fire at about 6am. The Danish C-in-C General Pryor ignored the order, then at 6.45am, the King sent his personal adjutant to ensure that it was obeyed.
The occupation puts Germany in an unprecedented legal position. Since Denmark did not resist, Denmark is not at war with Germany. It is still neutral. The Germans are faced with a coalition government embracing most Danish democratic parties which they cannot depose without undermining their claims, however tenuous, of not threatening other neutral nations.
The Danish Air Force flew one mission today when a Fokker CV from 2. Squadron performed a reconnaissance along the Danish-German border. The onboard radio wasn't working. The other CV which saw action was shot down right after take-off by a BF 110 Both airmen (Godfredsen and Brodersen) was killed. (Per Biensø)
Detailed description of today's events in Denmark.
The Wehrmacht High Command announced:-
Operations for the occupation of Denmark and the Norwegian coast, went according to plan on April 9. No incidents occurred anywhere during the landings and entry into Denmark. On the coast of Norway, notable resistance was offered only in Oslo; this was broken in the afternoon hours. Oslo itself has been occupied.
BELGIUM: The British and French governments ask for permission for their troops to enter the country; the government refuses.
U.S.A.: The Joint Planning Committee of the Joint Board submits a new general estimate of the world situation in relation to American defence and preparations for war. This is part of the revision of existing plans, and for developing or completing new plans for the rainbow series. Formulators of the rainbow plans envision multiple, simultaneous enemies, instead of individual enemies each designated by a single colour, e.g., ORANGE stands for Japan.
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