April 1940

Apr

10

1940

First major ship sunk by dive-bombers

The Konigsberg under attack

The ship was very clear and plain in my sights and the only opposition was one AA gun on the fo’c’s’le manned by a very brave crew that continued firing throughout the whole attack. Down now to 4000 feet and still in that beautifully controlled dive that the Skua with its huge flaps could give. AA gun still firing and the tracer bullets were drifting up towards us like lazy golden raindrops going the wrong way.

Apr

10

1940

Warburton-Lee wins VC at first battle of Narvik

HMS_Hardy_1936

Warburton-Lee’s force made a surprise dawn attack on German destroyers and merchant ships in Narvik harbour during a blinding snowstorm at 4am the next day. A torpedo from Hardy blew off the stern of the German flagship Wilhelm Heidkamp and killed the German flotilla commander, Commodore Friedrich Bonte. A second destroyer was sunk by two torpedoes and three others were damaged by gunfire. Six of the eight German merchant ships present were sunk.

Apr

9

1940

German view of the Invasion of Norway

A comprehensive German propaganda documentary on the invasion of Denmark and Norway. In German with English subtitles. Obviously very slanted towards the Nazi perspective but nevertheless providing a very good overview of the different stages in the campaign. The use of some remarkable pre computer graphics contributes to the very clear exposition of events.

Apr

9

1940

Germany invades Denmark

A Danish machine gun team

We saw loads and loads of planes, bombing planes coming one after–I mean hundreds and hundreds of planes coming in, and Germans on motorcycles, horses dragging cannons and the big tanks all over the place. It didn’t take more than a couple of hours ’til they took over the country.

Apr

9

1940

Norwegian shore batteries sink the Blucher

The German cruiser Blucher sinking after being hit by Norwegian shore batteries

From a range of approximately 1800 metres the two 11inch (28cm) shells from the Krupps guns that were capable of firing caused massive damage to the Blucher. The first round entered a magazine causing explosions and setting the Blucher on fire, the second shell disabled the electrical supply used by the guns. The fortress was largely manned by reservists and recruits who had been called up within the last week, and they were not yet trained up to reload during the time it took for the Blucher to pass them.

Apr

8

1940

Captain of HMS Glowworm wins first VC of the War

HMS Glowworm, making smoke, as seen from Admiral Hipper, 8th April 1940.

The Commanding Officer, whilst correctly appreciating the intentions of the enemy, at once gave chase. The German heavy cruiser, Admiral Hipper, was sighted closing the Glowworm at high speed and an enemy report was sent which was received by H.M.S. Renown. Because of the heavy sea, the Glowworm could not shadow the enemy and the Commanding Officer therefore decided to attack with torpedoes and then to close in order to inflict as much damage as possible.

Apr

6

1940

German troops embark for the Norwegian invasion

Troops wait to board German ship admiral Hipper

The German plan for the invasion of Norway, Operation Weserübung, called for five different task groups to land simultaneously at different ports along the coast on the morning of the 9th April. The Admiral Hipper was part of Group 2 destined for Trondheim, she would be in action with the Royal Navy before she got there.

Apr

5

1940

Deportations of Jews begin In Czechoslovakia

Suddenly, at 4am, there was a great commotion. The doors crashed open and Hungarian soldiers with an officer of the German SS in charge, came rushing into the synagogue with dogs and carrying batons and guns. All hell let loose. There was shouting and screaming as everyone was ordered out.

Raus! Raus!” (Out! Out!) Schnell! Schnell!” (Quick! Quick!)

Apr

4

1940

Chamberlain claims Hitler has 'missed the bus'

Neville-Chamberlain

In a speech to the Conservative Party at Central Hall, Westminster the Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, states that he is confident of victory and claims that the Government has now made good its initial weaknesses and unpreparedness compared with the German aggressor:

Apr

4

1940

The lull before the Storm

An effective reconnaissance was made in cloudy weather on the 28th March when photographs were taken, of the River Elbe and the naval base at Cuxhaven. A cruiser of the “Hipper class,” two destroyers, twenty four minesweepers and patrol vessels of various types, and various merchant vessels and small naval units have been identified from the photographs. Three enemy fighters were seen and evaded.