David Knights' Weblog

September 26, 2019

So much history

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 11:54 pm
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There is so much WWII history that I have never heard of.  Here is a small example.

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July 6, 2019

Wild story

Filed under: General — dknights @ 4:46 am
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I would never have though of foxes migrating between Norway and Canada.  Amazing.

April 8, 2019

Russian GPS spoofing

Filed under: Politics,Technology — dknights @ 2:15 pm
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The Russians have been engaging in GPS signal manipulation for some time now.  The Norwegians have been complaining about it in northern Norway.  I suspect that in this case it is part of security measures, which may say a lot about how safe Putin feels.

November 8, 2018

Norway loses a ship

Filed under: Politics,Technology — dknights @ 6:00 pm
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This is bad news.   Ouch!   Hopefully it can be re-floated and repaired.

June 14, 2018

Norway

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 11:39 pm
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Nice articles on a Norwegian ace and Little Norway in Canada.

March 30, 2018

Norway 1940

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 8:14 am
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A really nice high level analysis of the British failures in the 1940 Norway campaign.  I don’t think it lays enough blame at the feet of Churchill, who deserves a huge amount of blame, but nonetheless it is a good overview.

June 7, 2017

Book review: The Doomed Expedition

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 8:05 pm
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Book review: The Doomed Expedition
Author :Jack Adams
Publisher :Leo Cooper 1989
286 pgs

This book covers the British army efforts in the ill-fated but endlessly fascinating Norwegian campaign.  The author has a special knowledge of the subject as he was a participant as a member of the Sherwood Foresters battalion and was deployed to Norway during April and May of 1940.

While the invasion of Norway is often times referred to as the first Air-Land-Sea combined arms operation in history, this book’s focus is just on the British Army efforts in Norway.  It does cover allied army efforts (French, Polish and Norwegian) insofar as they were connected to the British efforts. The book also touches on the naval and air efforts of the allies from time to time but by no means presents the complete history of those efforts.  The book also only lightly touches on the political and strategic issues which led up to Norway being involuntarily dragged into a conflict she wanted no part of and tried hard to avoid.  As much of the political story doesn’t reflect well on the leaders of the United Kingdom, it is understandable that a British author might not want to dwell upon this area.

As with all coverage of the Norwegian campaign, the author is faced with the challenge of how to tell the story of operations in three divergent and only slightly connected areas (Navrik, Bodo, and Central Norway).  Different books take different approaches to this problem.  This author has chosen to tell the story by operational area rather than strictly chronologically.  The author resolves any confusion this creates by periodically reminding the reader what was occurring in other operational areas at the time where necessary.

The details of the story of the British efforts in Norway are compelling and frustrating at the same time.  It’s the story of bravery and incompetence and reaction rather than action.  At the time of the German invasion the British were prepared to move in a number of army units to “peacefully” occupy parts of Norway.  Yet, when the Germans struck, the British dithered and their half-hearted response came more than a week after the Germans had invaded, giving the Axis forces time to gain their balance and consolidate their hold on the initial invasion areas.

The Brits committed troops piecemeal and never in a concentration sufficient to achieve their aims.  In many cases, the upper echelons of command had no clear idea of what their aims even were.  As always in war, the troops were the ones to suffer.  They arrived in theatre without supporting equipment such as tanks, radios, sufficient anti-aircraft and regular artillery.  In the face of the overwhelming air superiority of the enemy, these deficiencies doomed the British efforts to failure even before they began; Thus, the title of this book.

While not strictly a book related to modeling, the stories are sure to provide some inspiration and could well lead a modeler to build a model or two from Operation Weserübung.

May 12, 2017

Fortitude

Filed under: General — dknights @ 8:27 am
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New episodes of the TV show Fortitude are now available on Amazon.  I highly recommend the show.

 

May 5, 2017

Fokker C.VD

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 12:10 pm
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For modelers with an interest in the Norwegian campaign of WWII (such as me),  this kit will be most welcome.

December 24, 2016

Book review: Scandinavian Misadventure

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 8:40 am
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Cover

Cover

Book review: Scandinavian Misadventure
The Campaign in Norway 1940
Author: Maurice Harvey
ISBN: 0-946771-44-8
323 pgs

This book, as the title suggests, covers the campaign in Norway in April and May of 1940.  Given that the author is an RAF officer, it has a particularly British view on the events of this campaign.

The book does an adequate job describing the events of the 1940 campaign in Norway.  However, it tends to put more blame for the failures of the campaign on the Norwegians than they rightly deserve, though they certainly were woefully prepared for the German onslaught.  It also completely glosses over the fact that the Norwegians lost their country in no small part due to the fact that the British goaded the Germans into invading, even though the British realized they had no realistic hope of helping defend the bottom two-thirds of the country, where most of the population resided.

The German invasion plan was audacious, and was as successful as it was mainly due to failures by the vaunted British navy.  The subsequent British and French response was lackluster and confused, despite the fact that the Allies had been planning on inserting troops into Norway ever since the second week of September 1939.

Like most books on this campaign, this book shifts focus back and forth between the events in lower Norway and the events around the port of Narvik in the far upper reaches of the country.  The author describes the events of the campaign, but fails to truly capture the disastrous nature of the Allied efforts.  “Misadventure” hardly describes it.

The book is a good history of the campaign with detailed descriptions of some of the actions involved.  Its downfall is its failure to adequately assign responsibility for the failures, particularly those of the armed forces of the United Kingdom.

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