Attempting to prevent Germany obtaining vital World-War Two supplies of iron ore through Narvik, British naval forces mined Norwegian territorial waters at several points.
Attempting to prevent Germany obtaining vital World-War Two supplies of iron ore through Narvik, British naval forces mined Norwegian territorial waters at several points. Neutral Norway immediately issued a heated protest, threatening Britain with war. The ink was hardly dry on the protest when German troops invaded Norway at several places on April 9, 1940.
April 10, British naval ships steamed into Narvik Bay and sank many ore carrying merchant ships anchored there. Three days later a British destroyer squadron, led by the battleship 'Warspite', engaged German naval unites base at Narvik and sank seven enemy destroyers in the ensuing battle.
A British expeditionary force was despatched to Norway's aid. Unfortunately every Norwegian air base was by then in German hands. The Luftwaffe was thus able to prevent the British forces form landing heavy artillery or mechanized equipment.
Fighting their way across the country in an attempt to link-up with the gallant but outnumbered Norwegian forces. British and French troops were hampered by the marvellous efficiency of Germany's longtime installed 'fifth column' of spies and traitors. Norwegian forces crumbled before the invaders overwhelming might, and Allied troops were forced to evacuate Southern and Central Norway May 5.
British forces continued operations against Narvik for more than a month. Success came to them May 28 when German occupying forces gave way before an Allied landing force. Narvik was captured.
Unfortunately things were not going so well in other theatres of operations. Early that same day - May 28 - King Leopold announced Belgium's surrender. The British Expeditionary Force in Flanders we were thus caught between two fires. It was decided to evacuate them from Dunkirk.
On June 4, orders came to abandon Narvik. Although still under continuous aerial bombardment, the evacuation - ending June 8 - was carried out in an orderly manner. The Norwegian campaign came to and end June 10, 1940.