TIL the German Invasion of Norway in 1940 saw a huge loss in the German navy. This led to the German’s delaying their plans on invading Britain, eventually abandoning them in favour of Operation Barbarossa

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  1. Norway’s defence against the Germans was no less than legendary.

    Norway attempted to remain neutral in the Second World War, but Germany had other ideas. Norway’s neutrality had been violated several times by both Axis and Allied forces when a convoy of unidentified ships moved up Oslofjord and into range of Oscarsborg Fortress, a somewhat obsolete position relegated to use as a training area. The ships ignored it. Should they continue, they would reach the capital, Oslo.

    Eriksen, fortress commander, is said to have remarked “I will either be decorated or court martialled. Open fire!”

    The nearby officer, hearing him, remarked “Are we to use live ammunition?”

    Now history normally records him responding with the very American “Damn straight we are”.

    Expletives normally don’t translate well, what Eriksen had said best translates to “Yes we fucking are” or “Fuck yes we are”.

    The ships were German and carrying an invasion force, the flagship had Gestapo forces aboard intending to seize control of the Norwegian government and the royal family of King Haakon VII. It was two heavy cruisers, one light cruiser, one torpedo boat and two minesweepers. They were not expecting resistance.

    Oscarsborg Fortress had inexperienced gunners and light calibre coastal defence guns (the largest being three 28 cm guns), but a large torpedo battery, which it used to devastating effect. The Germans lost one of their heavy cruisers (the 16,000 ton Blücher), and the other was severely damaged. 650-800 Germans were dead.

    Knowing the Germans were attacking, King Haakon VII was able to flee in time, with him all of the invasion’s targets: The Storting (Parliament), Cabinet, and the national gold reserve.

    Norway then fought a hell of a war, but was ultimately simply lacking both man and materiel to withstand Germany.

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