On This Day – 9 April – Battles of Narvik

The Battles of Narvik were fought from 9 April to 8 June 1940 as a naval battle in the Ofotfjord and as a land battle in the mountains surrounding the north Norwegian city of Narvik as part of the Norwegian Campaign of the Second World War.

The two naval battles in the Ofotfjord on 10 April and 13 April were fought between the British Royal Navy and Nazi Germany’s Kriegsmarine, while the two-month land campaign was fought between Norwegian, French, British, and Polish troops against German mountain troops, shipwrecked Kriegsmarine sailors and German paratroopers (Fallschirmjäger) from the 7th Air Division. Although defeated at sea off Narvik, losing control of the town of Narvik and being pushed back towards the Swedish border, the Germans eventually prevailed because of the Allied evacuation from Norway in June 1940 following the Battle of France.

Narvik provided an ice-free harbour in the North Atlantic for iron ore transported by the railway from Kiruna in Sweden. Both sides in the war had an interest in securing this iron supply for themselves and denying it to the enemy, setting the stage for one of the biggest battles since the Invasion of Poland.

Prior to the German invasion, British forces had considered Narvik as a possible landing point for an expedition to help Finland in the Winter War. Such an expedition also had the potential of taking control of the Swedish mines and opening up the Baltic for the Allies. French politicians were also eager to start a second front as far away from France as possible.

 

RNA Norwich

The Norwich Branch is one of 300+ branches of the Royal Naval Association world wide. It was commissioned in 1979 and today has a membership of just over 90. It is a registered charity in its own right - the Registered Charity Number is: 1068699

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