Scandinavian armies at the time of Weserübung - a comparison

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Scandinavian armies at the time of Weserübung - a comparison

Post  swedishsteel on Mon 14 Feb 2011 - 0:09

Hej norska vänner, söta bror calling!



I have recently become involved in a rather heated discussion with a danish acquaintance of mine. We share an interest in military matters, thus we often find ourselves engaged in conversation about such issues. For whatever reason we last time around got onto the rather controversial topic of the danish armed forces' performance during the german invasion of 1940. I'm sure I came off a bit arrogant, which really wasn't my intention, but I just can not sit and pretend that I think Denmark, as a nation, acquitted itself particularly well during those fatal hours. I fully well understand the severe predicament that they were in and how the Jutland penninsula in reality was totally impossible to defend, but I still feel they could have shown a lot more defiance and willingness to hold their ground.

My danish friend did not react all that well to this, he's proud and became rather argumentative and agitated. He made the claim that Sweden would've been unable to put up any more resistance than did Denmark. I simply do not agree with this, not for any stupid nationalistic reasons, but rather because I feel we were in a much better position than Denmark to conduct our war as best suits us. Now, this has led on to a much wider discussion about JUST how well Sweden really would have been able to defend itself in comparison with it's neighbours Denmark, Norway, and thrown in for good measure, Finland. It's more of an academic excersise than anything else. I've started a similar thread on a swedish forum and I can simply say that opinions vary, and a great deal at that.

I've already heard the danish take on this, and I pretty much know what finns will say so I thought I'd ask what you Norwegians have to say. How do you feel Sweden would've compared to Norway, Denmark and Finland in ability to defend itself? The premise for this question is a hypothetical, SIMULTANEOUS, invasion of Sweden, along with that of Norway and Denmark. A much later invasion of Sweden would have given us time to exercise, prepare and fortify our borders which would have given us a great advantage.

What I would very much like from you is a summary of what the Norwegian armed forces at the time of the invasion actually consisted of. I have been trying to get a hold of that information but was unable to. A mere two army divisions, 2'nd and 6'th, is that correct? What did the navy and airforce look like?

Broderliga hälsningar från Sverige!

// swedishsteel

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Scandinavian armies at the time of Weserübung - a comparison

Post  Bob Pearson on Mon 14 Feb 2011 - 21:04

Hello there,

There are numerous good books out there, but I wouldlike to refer you to two books recently released - written by Norwegian Geirr Haarr and available in English. Please see link:

http://www.seaforthpublishing.com/?search=Geirr+Haarr&searchfor=author&submit.x=22&submit.y=4

Hope it helps a little.

Kind regards

Bob

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Re: Scandinavian armies at the time of Weserübung - a comparison

Post  swedishsteel on Mon 14 Feb 2011 - 22:27

Bob Pearson wrote:Hello there,

There are numerous good books out there, but I wouldlike to refer you to two books recently released - written by Norwegian Geirr Haarr and available in English. Please see link:

http://www.seaforthpublishing.com/?search=Geirr+Haarr&searchfor=author&submit.x=22&submit.y=4

Hope it helps a little.

Kind regards

Bob

Hello there Bob, and thank you for your reply!

I realize now it was rather stupid and inconsiderate of me to only phrase my greetings in swedish in the above post. Let me immediately rectify that by extending my well-wishes to also those of you unfortunate enough not to speak Scandi. Very Happy The books look very interesting indeed and I definitely will try and get a hold of a copy of each. I suppose ordering them (and reading them) will take quite some time however and I would still very much appreciate if someone on the forum would be kind enough to provide me with the information sought sooner than that, that is, the norwegian pre-invasion Order of Battle.

I would truly be most grateful and indebted if some kind soul found the time to help me with this.


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Re: Scandinavian armies at the time of Weserübung - a comparison

Post  AltforNorge on Mon 14 Feb 2011 - 23:04

Contrafactual discussions may be amusing.

First of all. Where did Sweden have its depots?

Norway had its main depots in the major cities, occupied 9th April. No use mobilisating the army without equipment. An attack you mention, must be the same as in Norway. Rather small German forces occupiing central cities on the Swedish eastern cost. If the depots were in the same cities, Sweden would not benefit from its large conscript army.

Was the costal fortresses fully manned, also with infantry protection against attacks from the landside?

Would your "Swedish" king want to put up a fight?


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Sverige WWII

Post  Magnum on Tue 15 Feb 2011 - 0:06

Hej!
Du hittar många bra böcker om Norden under WWII på: http://www.smb.nu/
som förhoppningsvis ger dig svar på några av dina frågor ...
Rent spontant så tror jag att om Sverige blivit angripet på det sätt som Danmark och Norge tyvärr blev drabbade av så hade vårt försvar inte kunnat göra mycket för att försvara oss ...
Vi ska "skatta oss lyckliga" att krigslyckan vände, och det med hjälp av både danskar och norrmän, annars hade det nog varit bara en tidsfråga innan Sverige också blivit ockuperat.
/Magnum
PS. Sen kan man tycka att Sverige var väldigt undfallande och "fegt" i sin politik, och det finns många tillfällen som "vi" får skämmas för, men i stort försökte de regerande att göra vad de kunde för att hålla oss utanför kriget ... och de lyckades, men inte pga. av vårt försvar Evil or Very Mad

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Re: Scandinavian armies at the time of Weserübung - a comparison

Post  Black Hornet on Tue 15 Feb 2011 - 3:58

Norway was the toughest. They were 1st & 3rd in RAF for best score for the war. Swedes did make a cool SAAB fighter, the J-21. Danes make good deserts.


412 mph, tricycle landing gear & DB 605 B motor.

http://www.canit.se/~griffon/aviation/img/li_saab97/a21_15-ra.jpg

There would be one 20 mm cannon and two 13.2 mm guns in the nose and one 13.2 mm gun in each boom.


The wing profile for J 21 which was significantly faster than previous Swedish aircraft was similar to the one on Hawker Tempest, in order to get laminar flow as far as possible.






The Flygvapnet had obtained a number of North American P-51D Mustangs, giving them the designation of "J 25", and J 21 pilots felt they were more than a match for the Mustang

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Re: Scandinavian armies at the time of Weserübung - a comparison

Post  swedishsteel on Tue 15 Feb 2011 - 21:02

AltforNorge wrote:Contrafactual discussions may be amusing.

First of all. Where did Sweden have its depots?

Norway had its main depots in the major cities, occupied 9th April. No use mobilisating the army without equipment. An attack you mention, must be the same as in Norway. Rather small German forces occupiing central cities on the Swedish eastern cost. If the depots were in the same cities, Sweden would not benefit from its large conscript army.

Was the costal fortresses fully manned, also with infantry protection against attacks from the landside?

Would your "Swedish" king want to put up a fight?


I agree. Retrospective analysis of possible alternative scenarios and the posing of "what if-questions" are truly fascinating when applied to key events in history that have shaped the lives of entire generations.

Let me answer your specific questions first before I get in to detail with regards to the swedish readiness and an attempt at a comparison with Norways situation. I certainly don't think you must assume that the attack on Sweden must be "the same" as that on Norway. The operations would have been fundamentally different in most ways. What I do think must be a prerequisite is the postulate that the invasion happened at the same time as that on Norway, as the key to success really was the element of surprise and the poor readiness levels of the Scandinavian nations at that date.

Swedish military depots were purposely built small, but in great numbers and spread out all over the countryside. The reason obvious, to avoid what happened to Norway where large centralised depots were overtaken by the enemy even before mobilization was in full effect. It would have taken a ridiculous number of german agents to destroy these.

I don't think there's a general answer I can give you to the question of the coastal fortresses. I'd say it varied from place to place. In the larger cities they were manned, or could be in very short time, but Sweden has a very long coastline and in particular southernmost Sweden, Skåne, where the fortifications needed to be manned the most was very poorly defended indeed. The guns there were supposed to be manned by regular army troops but they weren't even mobilized at the time. Instead, the "Landstorm", the equivalent of your hjemmevern, were to secure, defend and possibly also man them if need be until regular troops had arrived. It should be stated however that we had a fairly impressive number of guns in Skåne, but what use are they if not even manned?




On the 9'th of April, 1940, Sweden had 100.000-140.000 men mobilized, figures vary. They were however in the north of the country, guarding the border with Finland. Had full mobilization happened we could muster roughly 400.000. We had two fields in which we were very strong at the time, our antiaircraft-capabilities were very potent, even by international standards. Our coastal fleet of small, fast vessels, purposebuilt to work in our archipelago and well armed with torpedoes and mines was also a huge threat to the Kriegsmarine had they dared venture east into the Baltic and engage us there. While our artillery was fairly old we also had powerful and of course much more mobile 120mm mortars available at regimental level. I have seen a figure suggest that at the time Swedens monthly production of ammunition for the artillery was equal to the TOTAL amount in Norwegian inventory. In the 37mm Bofors gun Sweden had a very good anti-tank weapon, in the hands of Finnish and Polish troops it had proven it could knock out contemporary tanks. The problem was of course, that we had sent almost a third of our entire military inventory in aid to Finland and we had only 200 available at the time.


Have to run, big hockey game coming up! cheers I'll try and provide some more insight into the swedish conditions later. Bye for now.



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Re: Scandinavian armies at the time of Weserübung - a comparison

Post  AltforNorge on Wed 16 Feb 2011 - 22:02

Beeing an Artilleryman myself, I can not see how the Landstorm could have effectively manned the guns.

About ther areas where costal artillery were scarse. The reason to take a shore is the net of roads behind the shore. If Germany should be able to rely on their heavy weapons, they had to seize roads to carry the guns forward.

I know very well of the Bofors guns, both 37 mm and 40 mm.

The problem is of course that it is not far from Poland or Preussia to Sweden. After occupying Denmark, Germany could use airports there too. Sweden would have to put up with the full might of Luftwaffe. Especially during the first days, when Sweden was mobilicating Germany very rapidly would have full air supremacy and could harass the mobilication through strafing the roads, putting the trains out of action, bombing bridges etc.

I guess Sweden as all other countries in Europe, except Germany had planned for the previous war.

All in all, Norway was lucky, most of the fighting happened in areas with very little mass of population. A war between Sweden and Germany woult cost the civilians in Sweden very much.

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Re: Scandinavian armies at the time of Weserübung - a comparison

Post  Admin on Thu 17 Feb 2011 - 0:55

Also, one have to take in consideration if the germans would invade south Norway first and then eat its way into Sweden or just start with south sweden and then Norway.
Due to the allied forces, especially the british ones that threatened to invade Norway first, I believe that the Germans would go for a quick victory in south Norway and then attack Sweden from Germany, Denmark and Norway at the same time.

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Re: Scandinavian armies at the time of Weserübung - a comparison

Post  AltforNorge on Thu 17 Feb 2011 - 20:09

The reason for France accepting the plan to take Narvik, advancing through Sweden and to Finland was to provoke Germany to invade Sweden. France hoped that WWI would be fought in Southern Sweden, not in France, just rebuilt after WWI.

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Re: Scandinavian armies at the time of Weserübung - a comparison

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