Operation WESERÜBUNG 1: Denmark

Updated: May 1, 2021

History as Game by the ETO Development Team

This the first part of an extended example of play demonstrating the German invasions of Denmark and Norway in 1940 using Frank Chadwick's ETO's stand-alone Volume IV (Northern Fire) rules. Don't be surprised to find rules reference numbers, as this article is crafted from the rules book itself, and the illustrations are of our current playtest graphics, not the final ones for the series!

The second installment shows the initial German invasion turn of Norway, and the final installment covers the Allies' response, the operation's second turn, and an epilogue to summarize the historical events that closed this campaign.

Operation Weserübung (“Weser-Exercise,” named after Germany’s Weser River) was the German invasion of Denmark and Norway in April 1940. To the Germans, Weserübung was a preventative invasion as the Allies had planned and openly discussed occupying Norway.

The German plan required surprise to reduce the Norwegian reaction and Allied intervention. For this, the Germans would send small, non-threatening groups of fast warships as troop transports and merchant ships, allowing them to simultaneously seize the campaign’s targets. These targets included the Norwegian capital (Oslo) and its remaining population centers (Bergen, Narvik, Tromsø, Trondheim, Kristiansand, and Stavanger). Another objective was to quickly capture the kings of Denmark and Norway to hasten those nations’ surrender.

Designer’s Note: MS units (Escorted Merchant Shipping) are “escorted” by Destroyers. When you see MS units landing troops in the Norwegian Sea, in our game storyboard, this represents their escorting Destroyers as well as their Freighters. The Destroyers carried the troops, with their heavy weapons, vehicles, and supplies following in the merchant ships.

The new weather forecast for the April II, ‘40 turn is Storms at Sea in both West Europe and the Arctic. Since the Germans have several Anchorage Landings planned (and no Coastal or “Beach” Landings), the Storms at Sea weather suffices to launch this campaign.

Denmark: the Southern Invasion

Axis Player Turn, April II ‘40:

On 9 April 1940, Germany declared war on Denmark, a stepping stone to reach the critical target of Norway. Both countries became Full Active Allied nations. We present Denmark’s invasion here in isolation of Norway (which follows in the second installment of this series).

Axis Politics Phase, Declare War Step: Denmark fails to Mobilize, rolling a 2 (-3 for Denmark). The path is clear for the invading Germans!

Apply New Weather Step: The new weather is Storms at Sea in West Europe and the Arctic.