Invasion of Denmark and Norway

World War II: Blitzkrieg

Europe 1940.0421

Invasion of Denmark and Norway

World War II in Europe from the fall of Poland to Stalingrad (21 April 1940)

Historical Map of Europe & the Mediterranean

For over six months after the invasion of Poland, no major land fighting occurred in the West - leading to claims that this would be a 'Phoney War'. Then in April, Germany suddenly invaded Denmark and Norway. The Allies, who had been preparing to land in Norway themselves to belatedly aid the Finns against Russia, were caught by surprise. It was a feeling they were going to have to get used to.

Main Events

Moscow Peace Treaty

On 12 March 1940, the Moscow Peace treaty ended the Winter War, with Finland ceding its respective portions of the Karelian Peninsula and Lake Ladoga to the Soviet Union.

Invasion of Denmark

At 04:15 Germany forces crossed the border into Denmark, while the Kriegsmarine landed troops at Lillebælt. Five minutes later, the 2,430 ton minelayer Hansestadt Danzig entered Copenhagen harbor with a small escort, landing a battalion of German Infantry at 05:18. While other amphibious and airborne landings took place across the country, the battalion quickly captured the Danish Army HQ and royal palace, prompting the Danish government to capitulate at 06:00 in exchange for retaining political independence in domestic matters.

Norwegian Campaign

As part of Operation Weserübung - the invasion of Denmark and Norway - German forces landed along the coast of the Kingdom of Norway, capturing towns including Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim, and Narvik on the first day. The operation was complicated by the arrival of the British in the north and continued Norwegian resistance in the interior, but by 1 June the Allies agreed the situation was hopeless. The Norwegian government evacuated on 7 June, with last resistance ending on 10 June.

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