April 1940

Apr

20

1940

Germans destroy Namsos

British troops in Namsos after the destruction of 20th April 1940

We now zigzagged out the fiord at full speed. Above us firstly three planes appeared, then six and then nine – at last there were fourteen German bombers diving towards us, dropping their bombs and firing their machine guns. The bombs exploded nearer and nearer the ship. At last we received a hit in the waterline on our starboard side. The water poured into the engine room and the main steam pipe was broken.

Apr

19

1940

Donitz greets the crew of U-37

19th April 1940: Donitz greets the crew of U-37

The First Officer Nicolai Clausen was awarded the U-Boat War Badge, usually granted after two war patrols, on 18th April 1940. He would later return to become the commander of U-37 in 1941. He died in 1942 as commander of U-182, sunk by depth charges while returning from a long patrol to the Indian Ocean.

Apr

18

1940

German forces ambushed by Norwegians near Bagn

The German forces come under attack

A series of images that illustrate just one action when German forces were attacked by the Norwegians on 18th April 1940.

Apr

17

1940

RAF bomb Stavanger airfield, Norway

Aerial view of Stavanger aerodrome as bombs explode

German aircraft at Stavanger Aerodrome: attacked by No.2 Bomber Group on 17th April 1940 – note exploding bomb in centre of image.

Apr

16

1940

British land troops at Namsos

Major-General Sir Adrian de Wiat

The legendary Carton de Wiat was chosen to lead the Anglo-French land forces. Carton de Wiat had lost an eye and a hand in separate incidents during World War I before winning the Victoria Cross. He was seriously wounded on at least eight different occasions during that war.

Apr

15

1940

U-49 sunk off Norway

HMS Bulldog, the same class of destroyer as HMS Brazen

The first members of the crew to appear on deck made for the gun, but were speedily discouraged by a few rounds of 4.7 in. from Brazen and Fearless, one shot passing through the conning tower. The Germans then took to the water with the exception of the Captain and one Petty Officer who were seen on the bridge putting papers and confidential books into a bag. Fearless opened fire and they also took to the water.

Apr

14

1940

German troops consolidate in Norway

German troops in snow during invasion of Norway

The Germans moved swiftly to consolidate their hold over Norway. They were much better equipped than their Norwegian opponents. The bulk of the Norwegian army was comprised of reservists with limited training. Norway had not fought a war for 125 years and most its weapons were obsolete.

Apr

13

1940

The Second Battle of Narvik

HMS Warspite on 13th April 1940 as seen by her Swordfish bomber

Petty Officer Rice observed a submarine at anchor 50 yards from the jetty at Bjerkvik. The Swordfish dived to 300 feet to release its bombs The first hit the bows of the submarine. Owing to the explosion the second bomb’s exact point of impact was difficult to observe, but it was either a hit or a near miss. The air-gunner raked the conning tower with a burst from the rear gun.

Apr

12

1940

No. 50 Squadron at RAF Waddington

The crew of a Hampden Bomber at RAF Waddington

No 50 squadron were equipped with Hampden aircraft, they had seen action in the first raid of the war against Kiel and in the [permalink id=1234 text='first bombing raid raid on Germany.'] During the summer of 1940 one of their main objectives were to be the barges being gathered in the Channel ports for the intended invasion of Britain.

Apr

11

1940

Lutzow torpedoed by HMS Spearfish

The damaged Lutzow

“Lieut. Pirie remarked ‘I think this is a German battleship’, but our captain at first thought it was only a destroyer. Suddenly he said to Lieut. Pirie ‘You’re right. It’s a pocket battleship.’ “We were ready for anything. As the ‘Admiral Scheer’ came nearer the captain realized what a great opportunity was being presented. Lieut.-Commander Forbes had time to manoeuvre his ship to bring the ‘Admiral Scheer’ to a favourable position.”