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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.

  • The Storms at Sea weather removes the Axis Sea Zone Interdicted marker in The Skagerrak.

Axis Special Movement Step: As shown in the illustration by the red and green triangles:

  • The German 1-2-[6] Motorized Division [11/Oslo] raced to grab Aalborg (the critical airbase jumping-off point for German Air and Paratroop units to reach southern Norway).

  • The German 1-2-3 2nd Line Infantry Division [170] advanced two hexes on its way to the Minor Port of Arhus.

  • Group 6 (Korsør): The [Patrol TF] German Monitor Schlesien and [ UPL [1] transport formed an Inshore Squadron to land the German 1-2-3 2nd Line Infantry Division [198] at Korsør.

The entire invasion of Denmark in a single picture. This is the prelude invasion to Norway.

Axis Naval Resolution Step: We cover the UK Submarine in the Skagerrak Sea Zone in an upcoming installment. It was too busy dealing with the Southern Norway landings to interfere with the Denmark operation.

[Patrol TF] M (Monitor) Schlesien and [Convoy TF] UPL (Unescorted Passenger Liner) [1] with 1-2-3 2nd Line Inf. Division [198] vs. Coastal Defense fire.

Danish Coastal Defense NAV (Naval Attack Value)= 1, -1 (Post-mobilization Shock), +1 (Minor Port). Final NAV = 1. The Allies roll 3 + one CS die's Air symbol (contributed from Schlesien’s white Bolt). This roll results in a Miss from the Coastal Defense Fire and, as they have no Air units assisting, the CS die’s Air unit Hit also has no effect.

Axis Ground Resolution Step:

Group 6: 1-2-3 2nd Line Inf. Division [198] Advances After Combat into Korsør with UPL [1] Making Harbor there – it is important to note that [Convoy TF] UPL [1] is Ready as it arrived without a Supply marker. Thus, it can transport 1 RP from West Europe (Denmark’s location) north to the Arctic Theater (i.e., Norway) next turn!

They are joined in the Korsør Minor Port by [Patrol TF] Monitor Schlesien (which does not have to Make Harbor but opts to do so; it is also Ready as it arrived without a Supply marker).

A Battle is declared and occurs in that hex with the 198th Division automatically winning (landing unopposed), and it, therefore, “Advances After Combat” into its hex.

Axis Regular Movement Step: As shown by the pink triangles in the illustration: The 170th Infantry Division proceeds to Arhus. The 198th 2nd Line Infantry Division marches into Copenhagen, capturing its Major Port and placing a -4 Countdown marker there for its repair.

Allied Player Turn, April II ‘40:

Allied Politics Phase: At the beginning of the Allied turn, Denmark suffers a Morale Collapse after losing 10 (of its starting 5) Morale Points when its capital (Copenhagen) was captured. Historically, this was a six-hour war.

The Allies roll a 5 to determine the nature of its collapse, and that result causes Denmark’s Surrender. Thus, it will not form a Government in Exile. The Danish Government surrendered after receiving terms from the Germans for political independence in domestic matters and remained an Axis Occupied nation for the duration.

  • The Axis gain 1 Fuel Point (FP).

  • The Germans gain 0 Morale Points as there are no Major Axis Ground units in Denmark at this time (it was taken by Minor, i.e., Division, units)

  • The Germans gain 0 Diplomatic Moves (DMs) as Denmark is not an Intransigent nation.

  • Each Allied nation loses 2 MPs because their collapsed ally (Denmark) was a Small nation.

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@Alan thanks. So if the Danes had done some damage then CS might help!

Alan Emrich
Alan Emrich
Apr 28, 2021
Replying to

That is correct. IF they had Hit, successful CS would reduce the effect.


Alan Emrich
Alan Emrich
Apr 28, 2021

Well, your support Bolts have can perform two functions in assaulting a coastal hex: 1) suppress its effects against your landing, and 2) improve your combat odds in a Battle. For suppressing a landing, it works this way:

[237.3] Coastal Defense Close Support: This works similarly to 273.2 (above). CS dice Successes alter the number of Hits applied from the Coastal Defense Fire result (451.1.2).

Their specific result outcomes are as follows:

  • Blank and Lone Partial Effect Results: These contribute nothing.

  • Full Effect & Pairs of Partial Effects: Each of these awards the Advantaged player one fewer (if the Invader is Advantaged) or one more (if the Defender is Advantaged) Hit to assign to the invading Inshore Squadron (421.6).

  • Conditional…


Could you explain the white bolt giving a combat support dice? Is this for the ship to attack the Danish naval guns??

Gerald Johnson
Gerald Johnson
Apr 28, 2021
Replying to

The Danish coastal gun get their Defensive Fire for possible hits on the naval units. If the Naval forces and possible air support include bolts, CAS dice will be also be rolled. Usually, the phasing player will have the net advantage with the CAS dice.

[237.3] COASTAL DEFENSE CLOSE SUPPORT: This works similarly to land combat. CS dice Successes alter the number of Hits applied from the Coastal Defense Fire result (451.1.2).

Their specific result outcomes are as follows:


FULL EFFECT & PAIRS OF PARTIAL EFFECTS: Each of these awards the Advantaged player one fewer (if the Invader is Advantaged) or one more (if the Defender is Advantaged) Hit to assig…


Alan Emrich
Alan Emrich
Apr 19, 2021

Right, Jay.

As we develop ETO, there are some "tentpole" events where the game has to make a fair representation of history. Supplementing those are several tent stake events. :D

The tentpole events are Barbarossa (that entire summer) and the Norway Campaign (that critical handful of turns). Between them, the extremes of the game engine all get to run, and if either one falls flat then the game is a wasted trip. We're making sure those tentpoles are firmly planted!

Tent stake events are other "History as Game" focus points for us. These probably everything you expect:

  • France '40

  • Sealion/D-Day (trans channel invasions)

  • Everything about Malta (Air, Sea, Airborne landing, etc.)

  • Crete/Market-Garden (making sure the Airborne "story" is correctly told)


Gerald Johnson
Gerald Johnson
Apr 19, 2021

Like Sink the Bismark, these are very special turns. Most turns have little action but I guess that is historical. The game within the game is to have enough ships ready to sail when they are needed. FPs are very much part of the planning. You must save for that important turn.

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