Monday, 24 August 2009
Denmark and Norway 1940 - Hitler's Boldest Operation
Another Osprey book, in the campaign series, and it was fascinating. The operation describes is a little known 'incident' shortly before the evacuation at Dunkirk, and it seems to have been rather overshadowed by its successor. I've seen it described as the 'practice' for Operation Dynamo (the evacuation of Dunkirk). Hitler, encouraged by one of his generals, started to feel a bit nervous about Norway. If the Allies took it over, they could effectively trap him in, and, though not a primary concern at the moment because the USSR was still part of the non-aggression pact, it would open a trade route through to Russia. So he decided upon a pre-emptive invasion, and set things in motion for the capture of these two neutral states (he took over Denmark in order to link in to Norway). He set up a puppet government in Norway under a guy called Quisling, which is where we get the word quisling from, meaning a traitorous git, basically. He used elite mountain troops, and though Britain tried to stop him, the counter operation was something of a fiasco. Well written, if somewhat dry, it serves as a good introduction to the campaign, and left me with something of an interest in finding out more. The explanations of what happened etc were very well done, and I must admit I think I prefer the Campaign series to the Essential History ones (both published by Osprey, and available in e-book format, although I read them normally).