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  • The alternative Norway invasion that Churchill wanted...

    At some point when the allies were planning their future invasions, Winston Churchill was a proponent of the Norwegian invasion plan...

    I do not know how far this plan went, but all I can say is that it offers some great speculation possiblities...

    I mean, the landings having succeeded if done with the care of Normandy 6.6.44. Then, the effects of getting Norway would have been these... The Anglo-American forces would have met the Russians arround Petsamo (west of Murmanks, where a contingent of allied forces would have landed without a doubt, if only for air forces to operate from)...

    Then, the Finns, in a somewhat similar peace deal as they did with the Red army in 44, would have agreed to fight against the Germans remaining on Finnish soil, I belive that with the Western allies so close, the Finnish goverment (who's then President Ryti was an anglophile, and only went toward Germany for help in his attempt at recovering the areas lost in the winter war, but would have preferred alliance with Britain. As almost happened in the last days of the winter war). It's possible that Finland, and then maybe even Sweden would have joined the allies in 'phase two' of this invasion.

    Phase two, would have been the landings onto Denmark, and Somewhere between the Dutch coast and the nearest beaches to Königsberg... The area of Denmark would have acted as the cotentin peninsula, with Arhus, or Copenhagen acting as the first good sea port, like Cherbourg did... Then probably Hamburg would have been a bone of contention similar to Caen, but also Lubeck would have been a must, after this, the Germans would have been most exposed, and totally checkmated...

    So you see, that if the same care and preps would have gone into the plan as did into OVERLORD, it would have made a very viable option, perhaps if the Cicily, or later Italian landings, would have been cancelled (the Anzio-Cassino bone of content for shure, thus freeing US and commonwealth troops, I can just see the 36th texans and the Indian, south african and Kiwi divisions, advancing south to take Hannover...

    With lots of B-24s flying from the Skone airfield 'park' as it would have become instead of Aviano air base... (Skone is the area of southernmost Sweden, it's rather flat, and ideal country to build many airstrips into, it also has good railway links to the rest of Sweden and Oslo, and a fast sea connection to Copenhagen)...

    The germans ofcourse would have been under a horrible cituation of having to take huge ammounts of troops away from France to guard the coast of German and Danish soil... This when a dummy army of allied subtrefuge would have seemed poised ready to invade the pas de calais, or wherever the deseption would have been made... And I'm shure that the Gummipuppet's that were dropped into More Northern parts of the French coast During Overlord, to make confusion, could have been used still on the french coast with a fiew strong commando raids, this would have been ofcourse precursed with brave men from the Anglo-American forces getting deliberately gaught probing the beaches of the French Atlantic sea shore...

    Hitler being Hitler, couldnt have consentrated his tanks to the German coast all of them, or would he????

    As you can see, the real problem in this scenario is the ground of Norway itself, and wether the Finns and/or Swedes would have allowed the allies to pass through, or even join in...

    I belive the Finns would have went for a peace deal if offered one, like after the summer 44 battles... And possibly they would have constituted a Corps or two of troops for the usage of the allies... They would certainly have been useful for winter and forrest fighting...

    The Swedes, would have had many raw materials right there, as did the Finns, so that the Allies could have made a factory for at least munitions planted here... In addition to the ones that existed already. This would have made the supply of the anglo-americans somewhat easier...

    And if the attack would have been made in 43, then there would have been much scope for the allies getting Fighters into Norway, where the distance to Berlin would have allowed at least the P-38s to act as 'there and back', covering fighters for the growing b-17 & b-24 fleets... Also, the bombloads of both USAAF and Bomber Command bombers would have grown... And if the Finn-Swede, plan would have carried fruit, then Spitfires would have been strafing the roads to Dusseldorf!!! (Well, something like that anyway)...

    Please do add your ideas, opposing theories, and anything to elaborate on this great 'what if', that was in the mind of Winston Churchill...

    Mr Poundr.

    P.S. If done in 43, the picture of post ww2 Europe would have become different for shure... The anglo-americans didnt know it then (although good old Winston did have his doubts), that Stalin would renege on his promise for free elections in Eastern Europe, and thus the Norway option would have saved at least some of the East Europe countries from Stalins new empire... I can see Poland as the Great aim of the Brits, in the consideration of action toward the East of Germany...
    21
    YES! A great idea, now with hindsight, it can be seen that it would have shortened the war, and given at least Poland and East Germany a place in NATO, perhaps much more...
    9.52%
    2
    Well, yess, but It wouldnt have been a walk in the park... I can see it giving results more like the Ovelord op did, as the fighting in Norway would have been initially so slow, that the breaktrhough would have come in 44 anyway...
    4.76%
    1
    I cannot see it as becoming a great winning blow. But perhaps as a grinding operation tying down axis forces somewhat like Italy was...
    76.19%
    16
    No. I cannot see this succeeding. The allies would have retreated, or become bogged down into a fruitless impasse...
    9.52%
    2

    The poll is expired.

    "SI VIS PACEM, PARA BELLUM" - " If you want peace, prepare for war".

    If acted upon in time, ww2 could have been stopped without a single bullet being fired. - Sir Winston Churchill

  • #2
    Churchill being Churchill came up with a great many such plans during the war, many of them unworkable, such as invasion of Norway which was beyond the range of taticial air support. Few senior miltary commanders give serious consideration to the plan, but British intelligent did set up decoy army units in Scotland, to give the Germens the impression we might attack. However the threat of an attack on Norway stayed in Hitler's mind and resulted in a sizeable number of German Divisions being kept in Norway right up until the end of the war, when they could have been of more use elsewhere.
    War is less costly than servitude

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    • #3
      it's not a bad plan. only that Norway has worse terrain and worse climate than Italy - and with no benift of knocking Italy out of the wae.

      also, indeed, the tactical air support would be difficult to do and not to mention logistics with sea lanes open to U-boote (and the smaller ones as well) hunting - lots of men and materiel lost in the North sea with that...

      as for Denmark, did the allies even bomb Denmark during the war. the country was officially not occupied by Germany, but under a special clause of rule. all institutions and royalty remained, etc. but under German tutelage. would the alied have had to declare war on Denmark?
      "Freedom cannot exist without discipline, self-discipline, and rights cannot exist without duties. Those who do not observe their duties do not deserve their rights."--Oriana Fallaci

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      • #4
        IIRC, the US/Canadian First Special Service Force was made for the purpose of landing in Norway and tying down as many German troops as possible while conducting continious movement. They were given ski training, mountian training and the 'weasal' tracked vehicle was apparently designed with this operation in mind.I'm not sure how many German Divisions were in Norway, but seeing the battle history of the FSSF, I think thay could have given the Germans a good run for thier money before either being cornered or evacuated.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by kendrick View Post
          Churchill being Churchill came up with a great many such plans during the war, many of them unworkable, such as invasion of Norway which was beyond the range of taticial air support. Few senior miltary commanders give serious consideration to the plan, but British intelligent did set up decoy army units in Scotland, to give the Germens the impression we might attack. However the threat of an attack on Norway stayed in Hitler's mind and resulted in a sizeable number of German Divisions being kept in Norway right up until the end of the war, when they could have been of more use elsewhere.
          It also resulted in many of the German heavy naval units being transferred there, combined with their purpose of disturbing the Allied Murmansk convoys. As it was this just made these easier targets for the Allied bomber and submarine forces.

          What little importance the Allied Leadership put into this area is shown by the fact that they wouldn't even supply transport capacity for the Norwegian Army Brigade in Scotland for their transfer to Murmansk (Fall '44) for a subsequent Westward pursuit of the Germans through Finnmark. The Germans started retreating when the Finns switched side. As a result only one company of this Brigade was available for the release of the Russian troops which had freed Kirkenes in Eastern Finnmark (the Northern-most county of Norway). This company was later reinforced by Norwegian "police" units assembled and trained in Sweden since the invasion of Norway and by new local units consisting of regular conscripts. The commander of these units was colonel A. D. Dahl who attained much respect as the commander of the Norwegian "Alta" batallion in 1940. He was particularly suited for the role he was given in '44 as he also was in command of "West-Finnmark Defence Area" from the mid-thirties to the outbreak of the war. I have in my posession the Krupp shotgun he acquired before he went North.

          The same colonel Dahl, after his escape from Norway in a fishing vessel (he actually paid a local fisherman with his own funds to transport him to England. The Norwegian government had rejected his proposal to take along his batallion) from '42 worked in the U.S. with SIS's plans for the occupied territories of Europe.

          I believe Churchills's most intense "Norwegian" period was Fall '42. This seems to have been detected by the Germans. At the same time Churchill also was promoting landings on the Western tip of Sumatra. Both plans were considered by Alanbrooke as a pain-in-the-a** (literally).
          Saving MacArthur - a book series - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...ies_rw_dp_labf
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          • #6
            it shoudl be noted that it is Churchill who came up with brillant plans like the Gallipoli landings.

            the guy was an excellent orator and very peculiar personality, but NOT a military genius. it was the wrong man at the right time in the right plance in 1940.
            "Freedom cannot exist without discipline, self-discipline, and rights cannot exist without duties. Those who do not observe their duties do not deserve their rights."--Oriana Fallaci

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            • #7
              Originally posted by piero1971 View Post
              it shoudl be noted that it is Churchill who came up with brillant plans like the Gallipoli landings.

              the guy was an excellent orator and very peculiar personality, but NOT a military genius. it was the wrong man at the right time in the right plance in 1940.
              I read somewhere (don't remember where) that Churchill's influence on the Gallipoli operation is somewhat over-rated. That said, I am not sure if it was such a bad idea. That it became a failure is another matter. "Market Garden" was a good idea even if it failed in part. Overlord was a good idea, too. But could have failed. Just my opinion.

              An Allied invasion of Norway in Fall '43 (after Tunis had been secured) might have succeeded if the Allied forces had been concentrated on a couple of points. Sola airport/stavanger should have been an obvious choice. It's close to the sea and there are several beaches in the area. The airport itself is close enough to the sea to be vulnerable to naval bombardment. On the Eastern and Southern side there are airborne-friendly areas. It's closest to the UK. The Stavanger area is quite easy to bottle off from the landside for a defender with resources. Also the nearest German airfield was Kjevik/Kristiansand.

              Kjevik/Kristiansand airport is another point with less favourable approaches and nearer to German bases in Denmark and Germany.

              The Bergen and Trondheim areas had very restricted approaches. Particularly for naval units. If the British had gone through with their planned landings in Trondheim in 1940 they might have well succeeded. One day later the Germans had been able to put into service the coastal fortresses in the fjord approaches. Any landings North of Trondheim would have been a gamble. Much because the Allied transports would have to pass a whole range of German air bases on the way but also the vulnerability from a redirected KM submarine force.

              An attack on Sola airport with initial carrier support well offshore could quickly have resulted in an effective Allied fighter airfield. In the initial stages all available Allied bomber and fighter bomber forces would have to be used to subdue LW bases in Southern Norway, Denmark and Western Germany so that the base could be established. Fall '43 the Norwegian Resistance could also have been used with good results to obstruct the arrival of German land reinforcements.

              Taking Sola/stavanger would have cut off the German winter coastal transport routes to their forces in Northern Norway and Petsamo areas. Then remained the rail lines through Eastern Norway. These could easily have been constantly cut by the Norwegian Resistance. Even if it probably would have resulted in severe punishment on the civilian community by the Germans.

              Had it been worth it...? Would this have relieved the Russian front more than the invasion of Italy...? Certainly less forces would be needed for such an operation than the Sicily/Italy operation. I wouldn't bet on the Swedes allowing the Allies to fly from the Skåne area.
              Last edited by leandros; 03 Aug 07, 11:32.
              Saving MacArthur - a book series - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...ies_rw_dp_labf
              River Wide, Ocean Deep - Operation Sealion - https://www.amazon.com/product-revie...owViewpoints=1

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              • #8
                Originally posted by 17poundr View Post
                Phase two, would have been the landings onto Denmark, and Somewhere between the Dutch coast and the nearest beaches to Königsberg... The area of Denmark would have acted as the cotentin peninsula, with Arhus, or Copenhagen acting as the first good sea port, like Cherbourg did... Then probably Hamburg would have been a bone of contention similar to Caen, but also Lubeck would have been a must, after this, the Germans would have been most exposed, and totally checkmated...
                Apart from the already mentioned squandered tactical air superiority, it is with the trapped landings that I have most problems. Even if the Allies had managed to drive the Germans out of Norway after the first invasion, then what? To plan and launch a new highly risky invasion to get onto the European mainland and go through all the agony of 'Overlord' again. The nice thing of landing in Normandy was that one enormous invasion effort was enough to continue the advance overland all the way into Germany. Unlike the 'Norway variant' no new landings were needed.

                BTW, a second invasion anywhere between the Dutch north coast and Danish west coast has to go through the Wadden Sea which because of its nature with sand banks, gullies, huge parts falling dry during ebb and flooding again at high tide would be a very ill advised. Take a good atlas to study this interesting area.

                PS: Erskine Childers' novel 'Riddle of the Sands' about an invasion in the other direction was set here.
                BoRG

                You may not be interested in War, but War is interested in You - Leon Trotski, June 1919.

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                • #9
                  The biggest trouble with hitting Norway is the sideshow aspect, landing there in 1943 or 1944 does nothing to really shortened the wear for the allies.
                  Either they do Norway and Italy, or just Norway, and either way the bulk of the western forces are in a sideshow.

                  Obviously, the western allies would not leave the Med half-finished after Tunisia, so they'd have troops on both he northern and southern fringes and not enough left to hit the center.

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                  • #10
                    if only for air forces to operate from)...

                    The British did use Russian bases up high to attack Tirpitz.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by piero1971 View Post
                      it shoudl be noted that it is Churchill who came up with brillant plans like the Gallipoli landings.

                      the guy was an excellent orator and very peculiar personality, but NOT a military genius. it was the wrong man at the right time in the right plance in 1940.
                      Whoa!!! Obviously you havent been studying Churchill very much.... He had many good insights, and certainly was the RIGHT MAN, IN THE RIGHT PLACE AT THE RIGHT TIME in 40-44...

                      Among his foresights that were correct, but sometimes ignored, were. The tank in 1915, the danger of Hitler from the early thirties, all the way to the beginning of ww2... The danger of the growing german military, The danger of stalin trying to exploit the winning of germany in ww2, and grabbing east europe into a new russian empire, this was emphasized by Churchill from 43 onward...
                      His seeing the german V-weapons as somethign much more than just attacks onto the London population, but something much more for the future...

                      His seeing the power of the US becoming the overbearing voice in the post ww2 non communist wold...

                      His seeing the U-boats as the most dangerous weapon the Germans weilded agaisnt the UK...

                      And appart from that he was in a fiew wars as a young officer, and he witnessed one of the first victories of the machinegun, in the Sudan in the late 1800 century...

                      And his full agnoligement of the gallipolli disaster, which was a distaster more because of the equipment not being technically ready for a large scale beach invasion, and a great tactical feat by a junior officer of the Turkish army by the name of Ataturk, who probably saved the Turkish army from a much more difficult cituation, by showing his own initiative, and halting the allies just before they broke through to the more even country behind the coastal mountains and hills... Churchill went to command a Battalion on the Western front as an act of penance (the life expectancy of such officers, wasnt that hot btw)... He was called back into goverment duties, partly because the Irish cituation... And partly because of older tory party politicians who didnt want to see the still young churchill being killed on the western front, as he could be so useful to the party...

                      Shure, Churchill had some outlandish plans, but unlicke the dictators, always let alanBrooke have the last say in military matters..

                      As far as the allies not having any air support for norway, I dont undestand, the P-38 and P-51 could make it there, and the RAF and Coastal Command raids onto the norwegian coastlines commercial german shipping with bomb-rocket loaded Beaufighters and Mosquito's, let alone RN naval gunfire support (remember, norway is a long but thin country, a bit like a mini Chile, so most combat would have been in range of even the Cruiser and battleships ranges...)... Also, the US 9th bomber force would have made shure that tactical air support from B-20s, B-26s, and the Mustangs, and P-38s would have been there, also the Seafire, would have been ready at some point along with the British sea carriers, if we suppose that priority would have been placed on them and they would have been ready faster than they were... Not to mention the British heavy bombers effectively cutting off the large number of Germans in Northern Norway, it was easy, as If the Finns would have played ball, as I belive they would with Churchill as a guaranteer (he was a friend of marshall Mannerheim after all), the Finnish dimention would have placed even Spitifires and Typhoons, into the fray...

                      You have to think out of the box, think of the resources of Italy and even more Normandy, and think of them being put agaisnt Norway, along with the diplomatic pressure onto the Scandinavian countries, who didnt fear the anglo-americans, they feared the Russians...

                      And once punctured to the Swedish border, the Swedes would have probably given at least the right to pass through to the anglo-americans, as they feared most the Russians and what better guaranteers, than their allies, who were dependable democratic capitalist countries like Sweden was???

                      All I know of Denmark is that the Danish underground took to arms at the last days/weeks of the German occupation, even secretly building armoured cars in workshops!!!

                      And when the British paratroops were sent to Denmark, during the very last days of the war in ETO, the Brits were cheered by the Danish... I see absolutely no problems with the Danish having been liberated by the Anglo-Americans...

                      After all, they were under a de facto German occupation...
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                      "SI VIS PACEM, PARA BELLUM" - " If you want peace, prepare for war".

                      If acted upon in time, ww2 could have been stopped without a single bullet being fired. - Sir Winston Churchill

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by grognard View Post
                        The biggest trouble with hitting Norway is the sideshow aspect, landing there in 1943 or 1944 does nothing to really shortened the wear for the allies.
                        Either they do Norway and Italy, or just Norway, and either way the bulk of the western forces are in a sideshow.

                        Obviously, the western allies would not leave the Med half-finished after Tunisia, so they'd have troops on both he northern and southern fringes and not enough left to hit the center.
                        I am also inclined to ask what the result/purpose of an Allied landing in Norway in '43 would be. Since this "what-if" asks how it could/should be done its' really not of interest to discuss why it shouldn't be done......

                        I agree with 17poundr that, given the resources, air superiority could be achieved in South-Western Norway. Primarily the Stavanger area since this is closest to the UK. Fall '43 a lot of equipment was ready to ensure this. The P-47, P-51 and P-38. The Mosquito and Beaufighter. The first established Allied air base in Norway (Sola) would enhance the situation considerably. I am sure the "Norwegian" Spitfire-equipped fighter wing would have loved to go there to defend one of their "own" airfields. To be kept open a solid AA defense and radar system would have to be established. UK-based bomber units would have to plaster the closest German air bases continously. Winter '45 such an operation was executed by Allied carrier forces against LW bases on the North-Western coast with good results.

                        The German land forces in Southern Norway weren't really that strong considering the large areas they had to cover. Most units were in Northern Norway, supporting the front against the Russians. I'd say two Allied divisions including, or in addition, the Norwegian army mountain brigade based in Scotland, the Norwegian special forces company and the Norwegian-manned company of the RM commandos, could have secured the Stavanger (Jæren) area. This whole area would also be within range of Allied naval support. As mentioned before, in such a case the Norwegian resistance undoubtedly would have been asked to participate in destroying German communications. That is what they trained for.

                        So, how would this influence on the whole strategic situation Fall '43...?

                        Apart from the purely practical implications it should be noted that Hitler was particularly sensitive about the Norwegian territory. Allied control of the North Sea (which a scenario as outlined above would make a fact) would seal off his German-based U-boote and surface vessels from the open seas. His heavy KM units already placed in Northern and Central Norway would be trapped there. Seaborne supplies to his Northern-based units would be sealed off. As such resources for interferring with the Allied Murmansk convoys would diminish. His Northern air and naval units already suffered from lack of fuel. The pressure on the Russian front in the North would recede, allowing the Russians to transfer forces Southwards. If Norway was to be held the Germans would have to transfer more forces there. An Allied presence in the Stavanger area would increase the threat towards Danish territory. A strong continued presence of Allied forces in Sicily would keep up the threat against Italy and Southern France. And tie up German forces there.

                        The important point would be for the Allies to utilize what they had most of (compared with the Germans) in Fall '43 - air and naval forces. Just the presence of a bridgehead in South-Western Norway, not wasting army forces for serious advances inland, would most probably have made Hitler go nuts and throw him into all kinds of irrational decisions.....

                        Just my opinion.
                        Last edited by leandros; 05 Aug 07, 04:17.
                        Saving MacArthur - a book series - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...ies_rw_dp_labf
                        River Wide, Ocean Deep - Operation Sealion - https://www.amazon.com/product-revie...owViewpoints=1

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by 17poundr View Post
                          And when the British paratroops were sent to Denmark, during the very last days of the war in ETO, the Brits were cheered by the Danish... I see absolutely no problems with the Danish having been liberated by the Anglo-Americans...

                          After all, they were under a de facto German occupation...
                          Going into Denmark would, in my opinion, be a completely different piece-of-cake. Simply because of its nearness to Germany with its air bases and the short distance for the Germans to bring up Army reinforcements from its central areas. In 1945, yes. In 1943, or even 1944, it would have been a gamble.
                          Saving MacArthur - a book series - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...ies_rw_dp_labf
                          River Wide, Ocean Deep - Operation Sealion - https://www.amazon.com/product-revie...owViewpoints=1

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by leandros View Post
                            I am also inclined to ask what the result/purpose of an Allied landing in Norway in '43 would be. Since this "what-if" asks how it could/should be done its' really not of interest to discuss why it shouldn't be done......
                            .

                            What ifs try to look at the implications, if the implications indicate a what-if isn't worth it, then it should not be done.
                            For instance:
                            We could what-if Germany attacking Turkey in 1940 so Hitler would have a chance to hit Russia from 2 direcdtions at once, but that doesn't make that what-if defensible as an intelligent option. I don't see Norway as an intelligent option either.

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                            • #15
                              Were the roads in Norway dirt roads?
                              Did it rain a lot?

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