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Author, film researcher and member of the Swedish Military History Commission.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

The Battle for Norway 1940-1942


If you are researching or wargaming Norway 1940 and/or Operation Claymore 1941, this book will be of great interest to you. Because in The Battle for Norway 1940-1942 you will find the original words of the commanding British officers. Written not with hindsight, but as they saw things at the time.

This 174 page book is mainly a collection of wartime despatches and is very ably introduced by the men who have compiled them, John Grehan and Martin Mace. They correctly point out the crucial factor for the Norwegian campaign of 1940, air superiority. As the Allies never achieved air superiority over Norway their attempts at contesting the German invasion forces were doomed. 

From a Swedish perspective it is of special interest to see how clearly the value of the Swedish port of Luleå is stated. "To interfere with ore supplies to Germany from Luleå" is the second priority of the British forces. After that came preserving "a part of Norway as a seat of Government for the Norwegian King and Government". I incorrectly supposed that Luleå came after that.  

On the other hand, the despatches and reports from Operation Claymore, the March 1941 raid on the Norwegian Lofoten Islands, are full of successful action. It was time for Hitler to taste some of his own medicine - the element of surprise. To attain this the Royal Navy first had to reach an exactness of timing, and so it did. The list of shipping and factories (fish oil plants) destroyed is impressive.

From a Norwegian perspective it is pleasant to read how highly the Norwegian detachment commanded by Captain Martin Linge was praised. In the relevant passage it becomes clear why Martin Linge became the founder of the most celebrated Norwegian WWII unit, the Linge Company of the Special Operations Executive.   

For researchers the index of persons is great. There are not that many illustrations (16) but the book still gets a high score as it constitutes a source of great historical value.

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