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German Navy Blooded

German Navy Blooded

The German heavy cruiser Blücher was sunk in the course of the conquest of Norway in 1940.

By Bob Cashner 

Norway had been capable of keep away from the huge bloodletting of World Conflict I totally and fervently hoped to avoid World Conflict II as properly by way of a coverage of strict neutrality. Having seen the destiny of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, by 1940 lots of Europe’s smaller and historically impartial nations have been struggling to strengthen and modernize their army defenses. Norway had waited till virtually the final minute earlier than starting a rearmament program and was sick ready militarily to even implement its personal neutrality in Norwegian waters.

Tonnage sensible, in 1940 the Royal Norwegian Navy was roughly just one quarter of the dimensions it had been in 1914. It had solely two capital ships, the armored coastal protection ships Norge and Eidsvold,whose keels had been laid earlier than the flip of the century. The handful of latest vessels obtainable have been principally small patrol boats higher suited to fisheries safety and enforcement than naval warfare, and there had been no cash within the protection price range for the fleet to truly put to sea and conduct maneuvers since 1918.

In concept, with a full-scale mobilization and name up of the reserves, Norway might area a military of six divisions, however in peacetime every division had solely a single active-duty battalion. The nation did have an extended custom of common conscription; younger males coming of age needed to serve a stint within the army. The essential coaching interval, nevertheless, was the shortest of any nation in Europe, solely 72 days. Some older reservists who had met their army obligation through the 1920s had acquired solely 48 days of coaching. Even when there have been time out there to mobilize all of the reserves, weapons and gear have been typically each previous and briefly provide. The Royal Norwegian Military of 1940 didn’t have a single tank, antitank gun, and even hand grenades; there weren’t even sufficient metal helmets or rifle bayonets to go round within the case of full mobilization. 

The Military Air Corps had a grand complete of 62 plane, of which fewer than 20 might charitably be thought-about trendy; the spine of its fighter power consisted of a dozen British-made Gloster Gladiator biplanes stationed close to Oslo, and probably the most quite a few assault aircraft was the 1924-vintage Fokker C.V.E., a wood-framed, fabric-covered biplane proper out of World Conflict I. The Royal Norwegian Navy had a further 40 or so plane, however they have been all of makes, fashions, and vintages that made the Military Air Corps appear state-of-the-art. Norway had just lately bought some model new L/60 40mm Bofors weapons from neighboring Sweden, a grand complete of eight of them. The overwhelming majority of the nation’s fairly restricted antiaircraft defenses consisted of getting older World Struggle I-vintage 75mm weapons in fastened positions and of doubtful worth towards trendy, high-speed plane. The dozen 75mm luftvernkanon m/16 weapons nonetheless in use in 1940, for example, have been a 1916 design initially designated as “antiballoon weapons.” 

So, when Allied and Axis nations alike checked out Norway’s 1,000-plus miles of strategic shoreline and her very important rail hyperlink to the Swedish iron ore mines on the port of Narvik, neither have been too involved concerning the army repercussions of violating the nation’s neutrality. The proposed joint British and French expeditionary pressure supposedly meant to go to assistance from Finland in the course of the 1939-1940 Winter Warfare was little greater than a thinly veiled scheme to occupy Narvik and the Swedish iron mines. The Germans had torpedoed ships in Norwegian territorial waters. The British responded by chasing down and boarding the German merchantman Altmarkright in entrance of a Norwegian patrol boat. 

The Nazi German invasion of Norway was in reality hastened alongside by German Chancellor Adolf Hitler’s fears that the British have been going to land troops there. German preparations for the invasion and occupation of Denmark and Norway have been already being developed beneath the codename of Operation Weserübung.

Regardless that the Norwegian army was not properly ready, the Germans knew they needed to strike exhausting and quick to realize an early knockout blow. Hitler was already planning to invade France and the Low Nations, so the Germans couldn’t afford to have males and materials tied up in a prolonged marketing campaign in Norway. If Norway decided to struggle and was capable of absolutely mobilize, the nation’s tough, mountainous terrain provided an excellent many pure defensive positions, and given time the Norwegian army can be joined by British and French reinforcements. Thus, a serious a part of Operation Weserübung referred to as for particular detachments of troops to seize the Norwegian king, the prime minister and his cupboard, and main members of the Storting (Parliament) inside the first few hours of the invasion. It was hoped that the captured leaders, stunned and disheartened, would shortly capitulate and the Nazi conquest of Norway would grow to be a fait accompli earlier than the British and French might even reply.

Operation Weserübung, because it pertained to Norway, was a very audacious and far-reaching plan, virtually to the purpose of recklessness; Adolf Hitler chortled that it was the “sauciest” army operation in historical past. It required a really tight timetable and shut coordination between all three branches of the German army, the Heer (Military), Kriegsmarine (Navy), and Luftwaffe (Air Pressure). To realize full shock, all of the German landings must happen concurrently over almost 1,000 miles of shoreline. Seaborne landings have been slated for the Norwegian capital of Oslo and the necessary coastal cities of Bergen, Egersund, Kristiansand, Trondheim, and Narvik, whereas two airborne assaults would seize very important airfields at Stavanger and Fornebu. Wesertag (Weser Day) was lastly set for April 9, 1940, and H-hour was 0500.

German troopers storm ashore in Norway throughout a mixed operations invasion of the Scandinavian nation. The heavy cruiser Blücher was sunk by Norwegian shore batteries through the assault.

Sure for the Norwegian capital of Oslo was Warship Group 5, composed of German Navy vessels underneath general command of Rear Admiral Oskar Kummetz, whose flagship was the model new heavy cruiser Blücher. This group additionally included the Deutschland-class heavy cruiser Lützow, a 14,000-ton vessel typically termed a “pocket battleship,” sporting a foremost armament of six 11-inch (280mm) weapons in two triple turrets, and the older 1920s-vintage mild cruiser Emden, armed with eight 6-inch (150mm) weapons. The rest of Group 5 consisted of three torpedo boats, eight minesweepers, and two whalers. These ships carried a touchdown pressure of simply over 2,000 troops from the 163rd Infantry and third Mountain Divisions. A further 23 service provider ships have been standing by in German ports or at sea awaiting the phrase to usher in 14,000 extra troops and their automobiles and heavy weapons as soon as the Norwegian defensive installations alongside the Oslofjord have been cleared.

The heavy cruiser Blücher was the satisfaction of Nazi Germany’s new Kriegsmarine, one in every of its best and latest ships, inbuilt repudiation of the Treaty of Versailles and at a price of almost 86 million Reichsmarks. The second of 5 Admiral Hipper-class heavy cruisers, Blücher was commissioned into the fleet in September 1939, even because the panzers have been rolling into Poland, and she or he had not completed her sea trials till April 5, 1940. Grossing 18,000 tons absolutely loaded, she was greater than 675 ft lengthy and had a beam of 72 ft. Her three Blohm & Voss 132,000 shaft horsepower steam generators might drive her at a prime velocity of 32 knots, and she or he was crewed by 1,382 officers and males. Her fundamental armament consisted of eight Eight-inch (203mm) SK C/34 rifled weapons mounted in twin turrets fore and aft. Secondary armament included a dozen four.1-inch (105mm) weapons, a dozen 37mm, eight 20mm mild antiaircraft weapons, and 6 21-inch torpedo tubes port and starboard. For cover she carried three inches of belt armor, as much as two inches of deck armor, and greater than 4 inches of turret armor. Blücher usually carried three Arado Ar-196 float planes for reconnaissance and gunnery recognizing, however on April 9 solely two of the plane have been aboard, one on the launching catapult and one within the hangar instantly aft of the funnel.

En path to its destiny in the course of the invasion of Norway, the Kriegsmarine heavy cruiser Blücher sails in firm with different German warships. This photograph was taken from the deck of the sunshine cruiser Emden.

Along with being Admiral Oskar Kummetz’ flagship, Blücher additionally carried Maj. Gen. Erwin Engelbrecht, commanding officer of the 163rd Infantry Division, and Maj. Gen. Wilhelm Sussmann, commander of the Luftwaffe’s floor group for Norway. The 528 troops aboard included the particular detachments designated to seize the Norwegian king and key authorities leaders, in addition to the nation’s gold reserves. Saved topside above the primary armored deck have been mild area weapons and a few 31 tons of munitions belonging to those floor troops.

The ocean strategy to Oslo is by way of the 100-kilometer-long Oslofjord, a restricted, winding, and sometimes slender waterway that affords ships little room to maneuver. Norwegian coastal fortifications dotted the shores and islands of Oslofjord for its complete size; collectively, these defenses have been often known as Oslofjord festning, or Oslofjord Fortress. A pure defensive bottleneck types within the fjord at Drøbak Sound, the place the channel briefly narrows right down to somewhat over 1 / 4 of a mile broad, and the Drøbak narrows are the dividing line between what is called Inside and Outer Oslofjord. Two small islands on the narrows have been house to Oscarsborg Fortress, which might play a big position within the occasions of April 9, 1940.

Luck initially appeared to be with the vessels of Warship Group 5 as they penetrated the outer mouth of Oslofjord late on the night time of April Eight, 1940; a thick fog hung over the water, concealing the German ships. Rear Admiral Kummentz had issued orders for his ships to carry their hearth until in any other case ordered by the flagship and to disregard any warning photographs from the Norwegian defenders.

At round 2300 hours, the Royal Norwegian Navy patrol boat Pol III, a small former whaler with a crew of 15 and armed solely with a single 76mm gun, got here throughout the wakes of Warship Group 5 and commenced to comply with them. She was found by the German torpedo boat Albatross, which closed on the Pol III and ordered the crew at gunpoint to not use their radio transmitter. Captain Leif Welding-Olsen refused and have become the primary Norwegian army casualty of World Warfare II. Within the tense state of affairs within the fog, the 2 ships collided, the smaller Pol III taking the lion’s share of injury as she fired a single warning shot after which launched one white and two pink flares, the warning sign for enemy ships in Oslofjord. 

Albatrossbacked off and took her underneath hearth, instantly knocking out her sole gun. The crew deserted ship. Captain Welding-Olsen had misplaced each his legs, and, seeing the lifeboat was already overloaded, bade his males farewell and rolled himself overboard. Coastwatchers and one other small Norwegian patrol boat radioed warnings to Oslo. 

Alerted by Pol III’s flares, the Norwegian battery on Rauoy Island noticed Warship Group 5 and fired a clean warning spherical after which 5 reside rounds from its 150mm weapons. The latter photographs have been fired in anger, however within the fog and darkness Rauoy’s outdated hearth management and sighting techniques didn’t show as much as the duty.  The shells fell to date astern of the Kriegsmarine warships that the Germans truly assumed all six photographs had been blanks. Fort Bolaerne additionally fired a warning shot that went unheeded. 

After this temporary flurry of fireside, Warship Group 5 disappeared into the mist. The Germans have been nonetheless on schedule and had suffered no injury. At 2345, the flotilla halted briefly as touchdown events have been put aboard six of the minesweepers to seize Forts Rauoy and Bolaerne and the small Norwegian naval publish at Horten, from the rear. The majority of the warships then proceeded farther up the fjord.

By 0415 hours on the morning of April 9, Warship Group 5 was approaching the Drøbak narrows and Oscarsborg Fortress. By a minimum of one account, German charts listed the previous fort as a museum fairly than an lively coastal protection website. Initially accomplished in 1855 on South Kaholmen Island, the brick and mortar construction was named after the visiting Swedish-Norwegian King Oscar I. It had been modernized towards the top of the 19th century. In 1879, an underwater barrier was accomplished that restricted the passage of huge, deep-draft ships to the japanese channel of the fjord. In 1893, the brand new Essential Battery armament, three Krupp Mannequin 1891 11-inch (280mm) L/11.2 coastal weapons, was bought from Germany and put in. Whereas cranes have been initially unloading the Krupp weapons from their ship for set up within the fortress, one of many large 28-ton cannons had by chance been dropped into the fjord. After being fished out of the water, the gun had been christened “Moses” and the opposite two weapons within the battery have been then named “Aaron” and “Joshua.”

Because the battery was constructed previous to the age of air energy, the Krupp weapons have been mounted in open-topped barbettes; their concrete and earthen embankments might solely shield the weapons from the flat-trajectory direct hearth of enemy ships.  

The Blücher is illuminated by Norwegian searchlights as coastal batteries put together to unleash devastating hearth on the enemy warship on April 9, 1940.

Along with being Admiral Oskar Kummetz’ flagship, Blücher additionally carried Maj. Gen. Erwin Engelbrecht, commanding officer of the 163rd Infantry Division, and Maj. Gen. Wilhelm Sussmann, commander of the Luftwaffe’s floor group for Norway. The 528 troops aboard included the particular detachments designated to seize the Norwegian king and key authorities leaders, in addition to the nation’s gold reserves. Saved topside above the primary armored deck have been mild area weapons and a few 31 tons of munitions belonging to those floor troops.

The ocean strategy to Oslo is by way of the 100-kilometer-long Oslofjord, a restricted, winding, and sometimes slender waterway that affords ships little room to maneuver. Norwegian coastal fortifications dotted the shores and islands of Oslofjord for its whole size; collectively, these defenses have been generally known as Oslofjord festning, or Oslofjord Fortress. A pure defensive bottleneck varieties within the fjord at Drøbak Sound, the place the channel briefly narrows right down to a bit of over 1 / 4 of a mile large, and the Drøbak narrows are the dividing line between what is called Internal and Outer Oslofjord. Two small islands on the narrows have been residence to Oscarsborg Fortress, which might play a big position within the occasions of April 9, 1940.

Luck initially appeared to be with the vessels of Warship Group 5 as they penetrated the outer mouth of Oslofjord late on the night time of April Eight, 1940; a thick fog hung over the water, concealing the German ships. Rear Admiral Kummentz had issued orders for his ships to carry their hearth until in any other case ordered by the flagship and to disregard any warning photographs from the Norwegian defenders.

At round 2300 hours, the Royal Norwegian Navy patrol boat Pol III, a small former whaler with a crew of 15 and armed solely with a single 76mm gun, got here throughout the wakes of Warship Group 5 and commenced to comply with them. She was found by the German torpedo boat Albatross, which closed on the Pol III and ordered the crew at gunpoint to not use their radio transmitter. Captain Leif Welding-Olsen refused and have become the primary Norwegian army casualty of World Warfare II. Within the tense state of affairs within the fog, the 2 ships collided, the smaller Pol III taking the lion’s share of injury as she fired a single warning shot after which launched one white and two purple flares, the warning sign for enemy ships in Oslofjord. 

Albatross backed off and took her underneath hearth, instantly knocking out her sole gun. The crew deserted ship. Captain Welding-Olsen had misplaced each his legs, and, seeing the lifeboat was already overloaded, bade his males farewell and rolled himself overboard. Coastwatchers and one other small Norwegian patrol boat radioed warnings to Oslo. 

Alerted by Pol III’s flares, the Norwegian battery on Rauoy Island noticed Warship Group 5 and fired a clean warning spherical after which 5 stay rounds from its 150mm weapons. The latter photographs have been fired in anger, however within the fog and darkness Rauoy’s outdated hearth management and sighting techniques didn’t show as much as the duty.  The shells fell to date astern of the Kriegsmarine warships that the Germans truly assumed all six photographs had been blanks. Fort Bolaerne additionally fired a warning shot that went unheeded. 

After this temporary flurry of fireside, Warship Group 5 disappeared into the mist. The Germans have been nonetheless on schedule and had suffered no injury. At 2345, the flotilla halted briefly as touchdown events have been put aboard six of the minesweepers to seize Forts Rauoy and Bolaerne and the small Norwegian naval submit at Horten, from the rear. The majority of the warships then proceeded farther up the fjord.

By 0415 hours on the morning of April 9, Warship Group 5 was approaching the Drøbak narrows and Oscarsborg Fortress. By at the very least one account, German charts listed the previous fort as a museum quite than an lively coastal protection website. Initially accomplished in 1855 on South Kaholmen Island, the brick and mortar construction was named after the visiting Swedish-Norwegian King Oscar I. It had been modernized towards the top of the 19th century. In 1879, an underwater barrier was accomplished that restricted the passage of huge, deep-draft ships to the japanese channel of the fjord. In 1893, the brand new Primary Battery armament, three Krupp Mannequin 1891 11-inch (280mm) L/11.2 coastal weapons, was bought from Germany and put in. Whereas cranes have been initially unloading the Krupp weapons from their ship for set up within the fortress, one of many large 28-ton cannons had by accident been dropped into the fjord. After being fished out of the water, the gun had been christened “Moses” and the opposite two weapons within the battery have been then named “Aaron” and “Joshua.”

Because the battery was constructed previous to the age of air energy, the Krupp weapons have been mounted in open-topped barbettes; their concrete and earthen embankments might solely shield the weapons from the flat-trajectory direct hearth of enemy ships.  

One of many gigantic 280mm weapons utilized by the Norwegians to devastate the Blücher is proven in place on the Oscarborg Fortress. The crew was required to service the gun in the course of the operating battle with out the good thing about protecting cowl.

Simply as necessary because the Fundamental Battery to the occasions of that fateful morning was the Torpedo Battery on tiny North Kaholmen Island, which had been accomplished in 1901. Located completely underground, the inside of the battery had been carved out of the island’s granite bedrock and featured three inside elevators that launched torpedoes underwater by way of concrete tunnels. The above-ground concrete slits that allowed aiming of the hearth management mechanisms have been properly camouflaged by hedges, and this battery was one of many few Norwegian installations that was utterly unknown to German intelligence. The battery’s 9 17.7-inch (450mm) diameter Whitehead torpedoes had been manufactured in Fiume within the former Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1900. They have been cold-running torpedoes that used a Three-cylinder reciprocating engine that ran off compressed air with a velocity of 27 knots and a contact-fused 220-pound explosive warhead. Though the weapons have been examined at intervals through the years, nobody was completely positive how properly or even when they might nonetheless work if fired in anger.

Lastly, two fortifications on the east shore of the fjord reverse Oscarsborg have been underneath the command of Captain Vagn Enger. Located atop a hill overlooking the fjord, Kopås Battery had three British-made Mannequin 1899 Armstrong 6-inch (150mm) weapons and two searchlights. A lot decrease and near the shoreline was Husvik Battery, which had solely two previous 19th century Cockerill-Nordenfelt Fast-Firing 6-pounder (57mm) mine barrier safety weapons meant to be used towards small craft trying to comb the minefield.

When absolutely manned, the mixed defensive fortifications all through Oslofjord Fortress ought to have had a complete garrison of 1,433 enlisted males and 210 officers. On April 9, solely 613 males and 83 officers have been current. Of the 613 enlisted males, 450 have been recent recruits who have been simply starting to bear their coaching. The naval minefields had not been deployed as a result of planting the mines was to have been a part of the recruits’ coaching within the close to future.

Answerable for Oscarsborg Fortress was 64-year-old Coastal Artillery Oberst (Colonel) Birger Kristian Eriksen, solely six months from retirement. Current for obligation underneath his direct command on the Important Battery have been 28 officers and males, however solely sufficient educated artillerymen to man one of many huge Krupp weapons, which required a crew of 11. Eriksen divided his single gun crew in two then leavened every half with the garrison’s cooks, clerks, and drivers, who had been woke up from their barracks, and a handful of reservists who had proven up on their very own initiative. By doing so he was capable of absolutely man two of the primary weapons, Moses and Aaron, though all three have been loaded underneath his direct supervision.

Colonel Eriksen might not but have recognized for sure the nationality of the approaching ships, however he knew they have been hostile and that quite a few warning photographs had already been fired in Outer Oslofjord. If he fired a warning shot of his personal, it was uncertain the scratch gun crews might reload the ponderous historic weapons in time to fireside one other. He let the approaching ships come to inside point-blank vary, roughly 1,300 meters, in order that there was little probability of lacking. The thought that by firing his weapons he may properly be beginning a conflict should have weighed closely on his thoughts. When a junior officer questioned him about his order to begin firing, his well-known reply was, “Both I might be adorned or I will probably be courtroom martialed…. Hearth!”

Moses and Aaron spoke, their large muzzle blasts briefly lighting up the gloom and their heavy booms echoing throughout the fjord. Aboard Blücher, Captain Kurt Zoepffel recalled, “All of the sudden, an ear-splitting roar of thunder rends the air. The glare of the weapons pierces the darkness. I can see three flashes concurrently. We’re underneath hearth from two sides; the weapons appear solely 500 yards away. Quickly vibrant flames are leaping from the ship.”

Each photographs have been hits. The primary 562-pound high-explosive shell crashed into Blücher’s ahead superstructure above the bridge, killing and wounding a number of males. Moments later, the second 280mm spherical struck Blücher’s seaplane hanger amidships. The Arado seaplane within the hangar and the plane on the catapult have been absolutely fueled, and each have been virtually instantly engulfed in roaring flames because the risky aviation gasoline ignited. This in flip started to blow up the military munitions saved on deck, disabling one in every of Blücher’s portside four.1-inch weapons.

Blücherimmediately returned hearth together with her secondary armament of four.1-inch weapons and lightweight 37mm and 20mm flak batteries. Not believing his improvised gun crews might handle to reload Moses and Aaron beneath hearth, Colonel Eriksen ordered his males to easily take cowl. There was no reprieve for Blücher,nevertheless. In response to the Foremost Battery firing, the Kopas and Husvik Batteries on the east shore of the fjord opened hearth as properly. Located on the excessive floor, Kopas’ three 6-inch Armstrong weapons delivered plunging hearth onto Blucher’s decks. A lot of the shells did not penetrate Blücher’s deck armor, however the repeated strikes created chaos. The munitions saved on deck started to blow up, igniting extra fires; a starboard four.1-inch gun was knocked out, large energy failures flickered by means of the ship, and rudder management from the helm was broken. Blücher took a complete of 13 hits from the 150mm weapons and 30 from the rapid-fire 6-pounders. The 57mm weapons of Husvik Battery needed to be deserted by the Norwegian gun crews as Blücher handed, her flak weapons firing instantly into the shoreside weapons pits.

Following Blücher 600 yards astern, Lützow instantly opened hearth towards the Norwegian shore batteries together with her 5.9-inch secondary batteries and commenced to swing her ahead 11-inch turret onto the goal. As she did so, three 150mm shells from Kopas Battery struck her in speedy succession. One scored a direct hit on “A” turret, wounding a number of sailors and placing the turret out of motion. One other impacted the ship’s sickbay, killing two males and wounding many others and beginning a fireplace. Lützow additionally took a number of hits from the rapid-fire 57mm weapons of Husvik Battery and was being raked by machine-gun hearth from shore whilst her captain and crew noticed the huge explosions and sheets of flame erupting from Blücher forward. 

Captain August Thiele ordered the pocket battleship to withdraw, forcing Emden to keep away from a collision. Though Lützow’s crew shortly extinguished her fires and shortly had two out of the three 11-inch weapons in “A” turret working once more, the fog didn’t permit them to impression the destiny of Blücher.

When the Norwegian weapons had initially opened hearth, Captain Zoepffel aboard Blücher had rung up full velocity and steered for the center of the channel. This quickly took the cruiser out of the road of fireside from the shore batteries however unknowingly put it sq. within the sights of the hid Torpedo Battery. Because the commanding officer of the torpedo battery was on sick depart, a retired senior commander who lived in close by Drøbak had been given momentary command in March 1940. Sixty-one-year-old Kommandørkaptein (Commander Senior Grade) Andreas Anderssen was the right selection; he had first served as a younger officer on the Torpedo Battery in 1909 and later retired as its commander in 1927, so he knew the weapons and gear in and out. The 2 officers and 9 seamen beneath his command have been all longtime reservists who have been additionally educated and nicely educated when it got here to working the battery. 

The strict of the Blücher stays above the water’s floor momentarily because the ship begins its remaining plunge. The sinking of Blücher was a humiliation for the Kriegsmarine.

Anderssen gave the command to fireside two torpedoes, and each of the aged fish ran straight and true. One hit Blücherforward of amidships and the opposite towards the strict, rocking the cruiser with two extra large explosions on the port aspect. 

Though she had taken on a 10-degree record and misplaced steering as her engine rooms started to flood, Blücherwas not but mortally wounded. Not taking any Norwegian hearth, she dropped anchor to maintain from drifting into the shoreline because the crew fought to extinguish her fires. The hearth within the floatplane hangar, nevertheless, had grown to an inferno and unfold to a number of decks under. On deck, the military’s small arms ammunition and grenades have been constantly cooking off, scattering the firefighting crews and shredding the hearth hoses with shrapnel. The fires exploded 4 100-pound bombs within the floatplane hangar, and nice clouds of black smoke and hissing steam have been gushing from the ship’s funnel and the gaping gap amidships.

At 0530, the fires reached Blücher’s amidships ammunition journal for four.1-inch ammunition. The ensuing explosion ripped a terrific gap in her aspect, ruptured the bulkheads between boiler rooms, and blew open her gasoline bunkers, exposing the gasoline oil to the raging flames. This injury sounded the proud new cruiser’s dying knell. At zero600 the order to desert ship was given. The Blücherslowly rolled over and sank 22 minutes later. At the very least 125 of her crew have been misplaced together with 200 of the 528 troopers within the touchdown events.

Nonetheless unaware of the hidden underground Torpedo Battery, Captain Thiele of the Lützow believed that the Drøbak Narrows have been closely mined and it was these weapons that had sunk Blücher.He ordered Warship Group 5 again down the fjord, out of vary of Oscarsborg’s historic weapons, though Lützow was capable of proceed firing on the forts together with her trendy long-range 11-inchers. As an alternative of being landed immediately into Oslo’s harbor as deliberate, the remaining troops aboard the vessels of Warship Group 5 now needed to be landed within the small city of Son, some 25 miles away.

With daylight got here the Luftwaffe. Wave after wave of Heinkel He-111 twin-engine bombers swooped over the islands, dropping 440-pound bombs on the fortifications. Two of Norway’s eight new 40mm Bofors weapons replied together with a handful of Colt M/29 7.92mm machine weapons, however the restricted antiaircraft defenses did not down any German bombers. The skies cleared from midday till 1330 whereas Lützow returned to bombard the fortress together with her 11-inch weapons. Afterward, extra German planes, together with Junkers Ju-87 Stuka dive bombers, returned to blast the fort. Oscarsborg Fortress was subjected to aerial bombardment for nearly 9 hours and was hit with roughly 500 bombs.

Regardless of the profitable resistance of Colonel Eriksen and his males, Oslo was captured earlier than the top of the day on April 9 by German infantry airlifted into Fornebu Airport, which had been captured earlier by paratroopers. After the aerial bombardment and with German troops ashore on each side of the fjord, Colonel Eriksen determined to not topic his handful of ill-prepared troops to an infantry assault and surrendered Oscarsborg on the morning of April 10.

By sinking Blücher and forcing the rest of the German activity drive to land its troops miles from the capital, the Oscarsborg garrison had purchased time for the king, prime minister, cupboard, and parliament to be evacuated on a particular practice from Oslo to Elverum, the place the Storting reconvened and vowed to battle. The nation’s gold reserves have been smuggled out of the capital to the city of Lillehammer. 

As an alternative of handing the Norwegian authorities a fait accompli, the Germans wound up having to dedicate additional males and assets to a prolonged marketing campaign. With a lot of the main Norwegian cities in German arms, the Norwegian Military reservists have been by no means capable of absolutely mobilize, however these models that did fought on and have been joined by British, French, and Free Polish troops.

Within the remaining reckoning, nevertheless, British management of the ocean was trumped by German management of the air. The Allies later evacuated their expeditionary forces from Norway, and the final Norwegian Military models laid down their arms on June 9, 1940. The battle for Norway had lasted for 2 months, longer than the Germans had anticipated, and the lack of the brand new Blücher was a extreme blow to German status.

Writer Bob Cashner resides in Philipsburg, Montana. He has beforehand written for WWII Historical past on the Boys Anti-Tank Rifle, Conflict Canine, and the Japanese knee mortar.