The British and French (oh yes, they were involved too) “planning” for Norway needs to be read to be believed. Farcical, amateurish, muddled, inadequate are probably four of the kinder words I would use*.
Was a force on its way to Norway prior to the Germans launching Weserubung? Yes. What size of force? Where was it going? What was it seeking to achieve? What, given its size, was it capable of achieving?
If Germany had done nothing concerning Norway, was not CW on the way themselves?
Size: A couple of brigades – one of which was a territorial unit. This tiny force was also deficient in supporting equipment of all sorts.
2. Where was it going and what was it seeking to achieve: This is where the story really goes downhill. The “plan” was that the RN would lay mines in Norwegian waters. As a result the Germans would “react”. What German “reaction” meant was not properly thought through or defined. This was somewhat surprising given that it was this “reaction” that would apparently see the Norwegians acquiesce in the landing of Allied troops in the country, rather than what would be a hostile landing!! Surprisingly no one seemed to notice the contradiction that it was previously agreed by the Allies that if they landed in Narvik, it would be May(!) before the Germans could react.
The terms of engagement for Allied forces were also – shall we be polite and call them - confused? Having landed the Allies were not to fire on the Norwegians (a degree of Allied casualties was to be expected) – unless of course the commanders felt their force was under threat! What constituted being simply shot at and killed and a threat to their force was, of course, not defined, let alone how Narvik was to be taken without killing Norwegians.... no muddled thinking there then eh?
I will leave the embarrassing why’s and the what for’s of what actually happened as your scenario assumes the “CW take Norway” as the Germans have not prepared Weserubung. So, in summary the Norwegians (though keen not to fight the Allies, but are even more keen to remain neutral) have told the Allies that they will not accept troops on their soil. Regardless, the RN have mined Norwegian waters and the Germans are incapable of mounting any response for a month! However, Hitler cries foul and announces that Germany will not allow this outrageous attack on a neutral country (ha ha) to go unpunished! This gives the Allies the “reaction” they were looking for and they land two brigades near Narvik (let's assume Hitler's speech was immediate so the British troops are not waiting on board ship for days!). Let’s also ignore the presence of the two Norwegian coastal defence ships for the moment as I would really rather not think about that….
I don't think it unrealistic that CW would have taken Norway
What was the Allied force capable of achieving: Well that depends on the situation that now develops. Either:
a) The Norwegians, not realising that Captain Mainwaring and Dad’s Army alone has just landed near Narvik (and assume instead that a proper, appropriate sized professional army has landed and that reinforcements are on their way) they decide to surrender the country to Allied occupation.
b) The Norwegians fight.
In the case of the former (and let’s not even muddy the waters with what Sweden would do), what exactly are the British going to offer in terms of additional troops to defend against the German response? – which no doubt would be landings in strength along Norway’s southern shore. How quickly are those brigades – devoid of proper supporting arms (anti-tank and particularly AA) going to move south to counter any threat? That assumes of course that the Allies (totally oblivious to how quickly the professional Germans can move) even bother to move south – remember, Narvik and indeed the iron ore fields of Sweden(!!!) are why they are there in the first place.
In the case of the latter, well this is where things really come apart. If the Norwegians fight they will no doubt “accept” landings of German troops in the south and then we end up with the same situation as per Weserubung (Germans in the south and Allies in and around Narvik), with the exception that Norway are hostile and Narvik has fallen earlier than real life. The Kriegsmarine is also intact at this point.
The Allies do not “control” Norway, even in the former scenario. The force there is simply a military defeat waiting to happen and the actions of the Allies would, if anything, push Sweden closer to the Axis camp. God only knows what the US think of this nonsense.
*No disrespect to those troops tasked with undertaking this – but anger and bemusement toward politicians who, having declared war, were simply playing at it in the first year of the war.
< Message edited by warspite1 -- 4/20/2015 8:26:14 AM >
England expects that every man will do his duty. Horatio Nelson October 1805