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British troops face Germans at Lillehammer

German troops in a fierce struggle against Norwegian troops in a village, 40 km west of Lillehammer.
The original caption: German troops in a fierce struggle against Norwegian troops in a village, 40 km west of Lillehammer.

2nd Lt. J.P.Guy of 1/5 Leicestershire Regt. had landed at Andalsnes on the 18th April. He was part of a British force intended to move north to relieve Trondheim in conjunction with the [permalink id=5043 text=’Anglo-French force moving south from Namsos’]. They too faced difficulties through a lack of transport, anti-aircraft guns and artillery. Instead of moving on Trondheim they were forced to go to the assistance of the Norwegians at Lillehammer.

Sunday. 21st April. 1940. Battle at Lillehamar.

At 9.0 am. Sunday morning a Norwegian Staff Officer told us to get ready as we were going down to the line. We dressed quickly snatched some biscuits, and at about 11 o’clock onto trucks taking us South.

White planes with black crosses in the air the whole time. At the line we were going to hold my platoon was allotted a wood on the left of the road going south, while ‘A’ company went on ahead. Half right, in the pine woods, saw farm house In Boche hands going up in smoke. Occasional shells were hurled into our wood, but little else happened till tea-time. Just when reserve ammunition had come up, making extra weight to carry, were told to withdraw up the road (the snow was waist-deep in the fields). As I went up road a few shells fell on both sides, smutching the white snow for 200 yds. around where they fell and brought the telephone wires down round our ears. 400 yds up the road was a pine-tree road block. D Coy was to defend this area; 17 Platoon to cover the block.

That night was cold; covered our legs with hay for warmth. Thought we saw ski patrols or heard engines several times during night. Let through 100 Norwegians under White Flag- thought they might be Germans to turn on us from behind.

At one o’clock told to withdraw 15 miles, half walking, half riding on truck We started by walking through the dark pine woods. Saw red glow of burning farm houses on our left. Then our turn to ride came, and dawn, Monday, saw us entering Lillehamar after a most tiring march through sludge & snow & the perpetual expectation of having Germans jumping on us from the woods flanking the road.

See the full account at the Norway Diary of Lt. J.P. Guy, which provides a rare first hand account of this part of the Norway campaign.