Hitler's Preemptive War: The Battle for Norway, 1940by Henrik O. Lunde
After Hitler conquered Poland, and while still fine-tuning his plans against France, the British began to exert control of the coastline of neutral Norway, an action that threatened to cut off Germany’s iron-ore conduit to Sweden and outflank from the start its hegemony on the
A thorough examination of one of history’s revolutionary campaigns . . .
After Hitler conquered Poland, and while still fine-tuning his plans against France, the British began to exert control of the coastline of neutral Norway, an action that threatened to cut off Germany’s iron-ore conduit to Sweden and outflank from the start its hegemony on the Continent.
The Germans quickly responded with a dizzying series of assaults, using every tool of modern warfare developed in the previous generation. Airlifted infantry, mountain troops and paratroopers were dispatched to the Scandinavian nation, seizing Norwegian strong points while forestalling larger but more cumbersome Allied units.
The German navy also set sail, taking a brutal beating at the hands of Britannia, while ensuring with its sacrifice that key harbors could be held open for resupply. As dive bombers soared overhead, small but elite German units traversed forbidding terrain to ambush Allied units trying to forge inland. At Narvik, some 6,000 German troops battled 20,000 French and British, until the Allies were finally forced to withdraw by the great disaster in France, which had then get underway.
As a veritable coda to the campaign, the aircraft carrier Glorious, while trying to sail back to Britain, was hammered under the waves by the German battle cruiser Scharnhorst.
The air, airborne, sea, amphibious, infantry, armor and commando aspects of this brief but violent campaign are here covered in meticulous detail. Henrik Lunde, a native Norwegian and former U.S. Special Operations colonel, has written perhaps the most objective account to date of a campaign in which 20th century military innovation found its first fertile playing field.
“While it's almost impossible to find a new book about a hitherto unexplored WWII-related subject, it's almost as unlikely to discover a new book that turns out to be the best yet written on the topic. . . . Henrik Lunde's new Hitler's Pre-Emptive War is certainly not the first book about the 1940 invasion of Norway and the battles around Narvik, but it sure looks like the best.”
Stone & Stone Second World War Books
“Lunde has thoroughly dissected both ground and naval battles and managed to make a complex politico-military situation clear. . . . military collections will want to acquire this excellent effort . . .”
“Well written with an unbiased eye. . . . Every aspect is covered, with British, French, German and Norwegian viewpoints, decisions and actions all being taken fairly into account. . . . It’s an interesting story and one I would recommend.”
Military Modeling, 06/2009
“..a detailed, well laid out history… essential reading; a must-have in your military library and a job very well done by the author.”
Military Model Craft International, 07/2009
“This large book will fuel debate. . . . Exhaustive research and intellectual detachment enable the author to bring objectivity and a fresh interpretation to a subject that has been until now laden with national self-justification. . . . Holds the reader’s interest while progressing seamlessly from political and strategic decisions to theater operations and tactics of the various national forces engaged, including describing and analyzing combat on land, at sea, and in the air. . . . This book is a gem.”
“…an excellent job of compiling research material, which can be quite challenging due to the bias of what’s out there…tough to put down…well written and thoroughly researched.”
Internet Modeler, 08/2009
“Thoroughly researched, objective and thoughtfully written… a highly recommended addition to the historiography of World War II, and sheds new light on this misunderstood campaign.”
Carlo D’Este, World War II Magazine, 11/2009
“A very detailed look at what was the first “joint” operation of the Second World War, the highly risky and amazingly successful German invasion of Normandy in April 1940…a comprehensive account of what was one of the most complex campaigns of the war…”
The NYMAS Review, Fall-Winter 2009
“..will undoubtedly become recognized as a milestone among the books about Norway in 1940.”
MILITÄR HISTORIA 3/2009 (Norway)
“…a solid account of the campaign that is both informative and readable, with a focus on military operations that include German, British, French and Norwegian.”
War Books Review, 02/16/2011
“…a well documented, critical and hard hitting analysis of the war in Norway.”
- Casemate Publishers
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Meet the Author
Henrik Lunde, US Army (ret.) was born in Norway and came to the United States as a child following World War II. After graduating from the University of California he accepted a US Army commission, and in addition to earning a degree in international relations from the University of Syracuse, he is a graduate of the Army’s Airborne, Ranger, and Pathfinder courses as well as the Command and General Staff College and the US Army War College. Much of Colonel Lunde’s troop assignments were in airborne divisions or in Special Forces. Highly decorated on the battlefield, he served three combat tours in Vietnam, and afterward in the Plans and Policy Branch of Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe. His last Army assignment was Director of National and International Security Studies at the US Army War College. Lunde currently lives in Florida.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Fairly comprehensive study of events on the strategic, operational, and tactical level for the opening campaign in central Norway during 1940. Nicely delves into tactical level operations that most studies have to this point neglected. There are also some great personality studies. The book is concentrated on Narvik and central Norway and barely touches operations in other areas of the country. Thus, the title is somewhat misleading. It should be called "Campaign in Norway Volume 1: The opening moves," or something of that nature. I urge the author to write two more volumes. Volume 2 on the campaign in the south, i. e., Oslo, Stavanger, etc. Volume 3 on the interesting events in the extremes of northern Norway later in the war. There should also be some discussion of the heavy water operations and other resistance matters. What is evident in this book is the sacrifice put forth by the gallant Norwegian soldiers who stood fast while others faltered in the face of the vaunted wehrmacht in an extreme environment. I can recommend this book for its indepth look at the operations around Narvik. That is extremely well researched. However, shoddy editing sometimes distracts from the otherwise interesting study.