Operation WESERÜBUNG 2: Norway Landing

Updated: May 1

History as Game by the ETO Development Team

This is the second 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 previous installment shows the initial German invasion turn of Denmark. The next installment shows the Norwegian reaction and Allied response to this invasion.


Norway: the Northern Invasion


Axis Player Turn, April II ‘40:


On 9 April 1940, Germany declared war on Norway, becoming a Fully Active Allied nation.

With the capture of Alborg in Denmark during the Axis Special Movement Phase, things open up for the Germans. This Danish airbase allows German Medium-Range aircraft to fly over Norway and assist in supporting troop landings. From Alborg, they can operate against Norway’s main population and economic centers in its southern region (located in the Scandinavia Wilderness Region). See the dotted line in this illustration for the extent of Medium-Range from Alborg over southern Norway.


Axis Politics Phase, Declare War Step: Norway sets up its initial forces and then Mobilizes, rolling a 3 (-4).

Stavanger is captured without a shot.
  • This non-mobilization roll is a jackpot result for the Axis as there will be no Norwegian Ground units opposing their planned landings. Were that not the case, their invasion plan would need some quick rethinking to overwhelm enemy troops stationed at their ports!

  • According to their plan, the Axis use their Brandenburgers card to seize the Minor Port at Stavanger.

Although this provides an immediately usable Arctic Air Base, there are no Axis Air units based in the Arctic Theater. It also provides an immediately usable Minor Port, but no German forces are planning to land there. To the Axis player, it is enough that the Allied player cannot use Stavanger as an Anchorage or raise Norwegian troops.

  • Fortunately for the Allies, Norway starts with 1 PP (Personnel Point) if they get a chance to spend it (during the Allied Player turn’s Buy Stuff Segment)!


Axis Supply Step: The Axis player assigns Out of Supply markers to the:

  • [Submarine TF] UK SS Flotilla [1] in the Skagerrak Sea Zone.

  • [Patrol TF] UK BC Renown in the Norwegian Sea Zone.

  • [Patrol TF] UK CL Sqdn [18] in the Iceland Passage Sea Zone.


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

  • Storms at Sea weather removes the Allied Sea Zone Interdicted markers in the North Sea, Norwegian Sea, and Iceland Passage.

  • Storms at Sea weather removes the Axis Sea Zone Interdicted markers in the Heligoland Bight and the Skagerrak.


Axis HQ Mode Step: The German Strategic HQ [B/South] marker in Hamburg enters Attack Mode for 1 OP. Not to launch an offensive around Hamburg, but to make a Paradrop from the West Europe Theater into Norway this turn.


Axis Special Movement Step: As shown in the series of illustrations below:


Not Moving:

  • Baltic Sea: [Convoy TF] MS [4] Pipeline maintenance.

  • Rostock: 1-2-4 Inf. Division [214]; it plans to join the fray when a means of transport becomes available.

  • Kiel: German Operational (Wilderness) HQ marker [20] Balanced Mode + an Invasion Preparation marker. This Wilderness HQ marker is set to relocate to Oslo as part of the Second Wave.

  • Heligoland Bight: Axis Mine marker.

  • The Skagerrak: Axis Mine marker.

  • Norwegian Sea (Joining Group 1A): [Submarine TF] SC UFlotte [1] Out of Supply.


Moving:

  • Axis Kiel Naval Base Reaction marker: placed in the Skagerrak Sea Zone.

  • Group 1A (Norwegian Sea): [Patrol TF] BB Gneisenau, BB Scharnhorst. Moving two BBs costs the Axis ½ FP each to sail from the port, but the first one sailing each Player Turn is free.

  • Group 1B (Narvik Inshore Squadron): [Convoy TF] MS [1] transporting 2-4 Mtn. Inf. Division [3].

  • Group 2 (Trondheim Inshore Squadron): [Patrol TF] CR Hipper transporting 1-2-4 Inf. Division [181].

  • Group 3A (North Sea): [Submarine TF] SS UFlotte [2].

  • Group 3B (Bergen Inshore Squadron): He-111 Bomber, [Patrol TF] CL Sqdn [1] transporting 1-2-4 Inf. Division [69].

  • Group 4 (Kristiansand Inshore Squadron): [Convoy TF] MS [2], 2-4 Inf. Division [196].

  • Group 5 (Oslo Inshore Squadron): Ju-88 Bomber, Bf-110C Fighter-Bomber, [Convoy TF] BP Lützow and CR Blücher,plus [Convoy TF] MS [3] transporting 2-4 Inf. Division [163].

  • Airdrop Group (Oslo): Ju-52 Transport, >1< Paradrop marker [Sturm].

All Air units were tracing their Range from Alborg (Denmark).


Opponent’s Reaction Step:

Since Norway is in Post-mobilization Shock, there is nothing they can do without their own Norwegian Air Force or Warships.


The UK dispatches Intercept units, however:

  • From Scapa Flow, with their Home Fleet [Naval HQ marker functioning in Shipyard Mode] in support, the British send their Home Fleet HQ NBR marker, the [Intercept TF] BB Nelson and BB Valiant into the North Sea Zone. Moving two BBs costs the Allies ½ FP each to sail from the port, but the first one sailing each Player Turn is free.

  • This group is reinforced by [Intercept TF] UK CA Sqdn [1] and UK CL Sqdn [3]* sailing from the Edinburgh/Rosyth Naval Base.

*One UK 1-3 Inf. Division [61/Maurice] was ready to load on UK CA Sqdn [1], but the Admiralty had them quickly disembark and sent the Cruisers to sea on an Intercept Mission. Warships with cargo cannot Intercept (421.5).

  • They are joined by [Intercept TF] UK CL Sqdn [18] (Out of Supply), moving in from the Iceland Passage Sea Zone.

If the British can find the Germans en route to Bergen, they should completely overpower them.

Meanwhile, back at Scapa Flow, the BC Repulse remains, Depleted, but will soon Refit.


Phasing Intercept Step:

German Do-24 Naval Air unit: placed from the West Europe Available box into the North Sea Zone.


Axis Naval Resolution Step:

Group 1A (Norwegian Sea): [Patrol TF] German BB Gneisenau, BB Scharnhorst and Warship Transport CR Hipper carrying 1-2-4 Inf. Division [181], with [Submarine TF] SC UFlotte [1], plus [Convoy TF] MS [1] transporting 2-4 Mtn. Inf. Division [3]. vs. [Patrol TF] UK BC Renown.

Search Value = 2, -1 (Storms at Sea), +1 (German Patrol TF), +1 (UK Patrol TF), +1 (GermanConvoy TF within the Coastal Mission at Narvik), +1 (German Submarine TF’s choice). Final Search Value = 5. The Allies roll 2 for a Full Naval Engagement.

  • No Air Segment.

  • No ASW Segment.

  • SC UFlotte [1]: NAV = 2, -1 (Allied U-boat Attack tech advantage); Final NAV = 1. Germans roll a 5 and miss. It receives a Must Retire marker as a reminder that it has “Fired it Shot.”

  • With no Naval Air Support (NAS) present, the Axis is the Advantaged side: 5 Propellers (which excludes the Hipper’s propeller as it is currently a Warship Transport; 110.0) from BB Gneisenau + BB Scharnhorst + SC UFlotte [1], versus 2 from Renown.

  • UK BC Renown attempts to Disengage; its DEV = 3, +1 (Storms at Sea). Final DEV = 4, the Allies roll 6 and fail to Disengage (“Drat!”). The Germans decline to attempt Disengagement. They smell victory.

  • The UK BC Renown joins its Battle Line. The German BB Gneisenau + BB Scharnhorst join their Battle Line. Their SC UFlotte [1] (having already “Fired its Shot”) and Inshore Squadron units join the Reserve: Transport MS [1] with 2-4 Mtn. Inf. Division [3] and Warship Transport CR Hipper with 1-2-4 Inf. Division [181].

  • Surface Combat ensues:

> The UK had one roll vs. Renown’s strength of 3. The Allies roll 3 and inflict 3 Hits, halved (#) for Storms at Sea = 2 Hits. The Axis (Advantaged) assigns both of them to Gneisenau, having a Damage Control Value of 3, -1(Storms at Sea). Final DCV = 2, and the Germans roll 1 negating 1 Hit on the Gneisenau. The other 1 Hit is Confirmed, and the Gneisenau remains At Sea, Depleted.


> The two German BBs each have strengths of 3. (Naval combat is “simultaneous,” so the Gneisenau still fires at full value during this Segment.) The Germans roll 1 and 5, inflicting 1 Hit on the Renown, having a Damage Control Value of 3, -1 (Vulnerable), -1 (Storms at Sea). Final DCV = 1. The Allies roll 1 and negate the 1 Hit on the Renown (“Well done, lads!”).


> The Aftermath is an Axis victory (4 Propellers to 2). As all the Battle Line Naval units have “Fired their Shot," they must all Retire. Due to the Storms at Sea in an Open Sea Zone, their Retirement is Menaced, which makes them all Depleted before Making Harbor, and so they must be Repaired (and not merely Refit).


> The Axis units reform their Inshore Squadrons and return to their respective Mission hexes.


> The UK BC Renown retires to Scapa Flow, Depleted (due to Menace from the Storms at Sea), so it must be Repaired.


> The two German BBs and the one SC unit retire to Wilhelmshaven, Depleted (the Gneisenau from its Confirmed Hit, and the others Menaced by the Storms at Sea), and each must be Repaired.


Group 1B (Narvik Inshore Squadron): [Convoy TF] Transport MS [1] with 2-4 Mtn. Inf. Division [3] vs.Coastal Defense.


Norwegian Coastal Defense (451.0) NAV = 1, -1 (Post-mobilization Shock), +1 (Minor Port). Final NAV = 1, the Allies roll 4 and Miss.


Group 2 (Trondheim Inshore Squadron): [Patrol TF] Warship Transport CR Hipper with 1-2-4 Inf. Division [181] vs.Coastal Defense.


Norwegian Coastal Defense (451.0) NAV = 1, -1 (Post-mobilization Shock), +1 (Minor Port). Final NAV = 1, the Allies roll 3 and Miss.


Had the landings been Hit at Narvik or Trondheim, the Storms at Sea weather effects would apply to their number of Hits generated and Damage Control Values.

Group 3B (Bergen Inshore Squadron) Part 1: Do-24 Naval Air, [Patrol TF] German Warship Transport (110.0) CL Sqdn [1] carrying the 1-2-4 Infantry Division [69], and [Submarine TF] SS UFlotte [2] (the He-111 Bomber is not on an Anti-Shipping Strike Mission and therefore does not participate in the North Sea’s Naval Engagement; it is providing Coastal Defense Close Support) vs. UK Home Fleet HQ NBR marker and [Intercept TF] BBs Nelson and Valiant, UK CLs [3, 18], and UK CA [1].


Search Value = 2, -1 (Storms at Sea weather), +1 (UK NBR marker), +1 (German Patrol TF), +1 (UK Intercept TF), -1 (German Air Support’s choice), -1 (German Submarine TF’s choice; they are hoping to avoid a Naval Engagement). Final Search Value = 2 (431.2.3). The Allies roll 4 for no Engagement.


The German Do-24 Air unit, having done its part to obscure the German landings at Bergen, returns to Stavanger and, therefore, the Arctic Flown box, Ready.


Group 3B (Bergen Inshore Squadron) Part 2: He-111 Bomber, [Patrol TF] Warship Transport (110.0) CL Sqdn [1] carrying the 2-4 Inf. Division [69] vs. Coastal Defense.

Norwegian Coastal Defense (451.0) NAV = 1, -1 (Post-mobilization Shock), +3 (Major Port). Final NAV = 3. The Allies roll 2 + CS (2 Hits, -1 negated by the successful Close Support). The targeted Axis player assigns that 1 Hit to the German Warship Transport CL Sqdn 1. It has a Damage Control Value of 1. Final DCV = 1, Germans roll 5 and Deplete CL Sqdn, but the landing presses on.


The German He-111 Air unit lands at Stavanger and so proceeds to the Arctic Flown box, Ready.


Groups 4 & 5 (The Skagerrak): Axis Kiel Naval Base Reaction (NBR) marker and Inshore Squadrons from Groups 4 and 5 (Group 6 is also included, but we have already covered Denmark separately) vs. UK [Submarine TF] SC Flotilla [2].


Search Value = 2, -1 (Storms at Sea weather), +1 (German Patrol TF; Oslo), +1 (German Convoy TFs; Kristiansand, Oslo, and Korsør), +1 (UK Submarine TF’s choice for hunting). Final Search Value = 4. The Allies roll 4 for an Air Engagement, but as neither side has any Air available in this Sea Zone, nothing happens.


The UK Submarine unit has not “Fired its Shot” and so remains in The Skagerrak.


Group 4 (Kristiansand Inshore Squadron): [Convoy TF] Transport MS [2] carrying 2-4 Inf. Division [196] vs. Coastal Defense.


Norwegian Coastal Defense NAV = 1, -1 (Post-mobilization Shock), +1 (Minor Port). Final NAV = 1. The Allies roll 6 and Miss.


Group 5 (Oslo Inshore Squadron): Ju-88 Bomber, Bf-110C Fighter-Bomber, [Patrol TF] BP Lützow and CR Blücher, with [Convoy TF] MS [3] carrying 2-4 Inf. Division [163] vs. Coastal Defense.


Norwegian Coastal Defense (451.0) NAV = 1, -1 (Post-mobilization Shock), +3 (Major Port). Final NAV = 3. The Allies roll 3 + N/E + N/E + red Bolt (the Axis’ Close Support provides no help; the Allied player has rolled perfectly!) for 3 Hits. The Axis assign 2 Hits to Blucher and 1 Hit to MS [3]. All of their respective Damage Control rolls fail!

  • The CR Blucher rolls two dice for its Serious Damage delay, but the result is 3 + 3, doubles, so the unfortunate CR Blucher is sunk.

  • The BP Lützow, having “fired its shot” and lived, must Retire and Make Harbor. It is allowed to Retire to the just-captured Anchorage at Oslo and does, Depleted, and awaiting a Refit. It does not need Repair because Storms at Sea weather do not affect a Narrow Sea Zone.

  • The Air units land in Stavanger and proceeds to the Arctic Flown box, Ready, except the Ju-52 unit, which flies back to Alborg and proceeds to the West Europe Flown box, Ready.

  • MS [3] is Depleted, but its troop landing proceeds.

The Axis use every available troop-carrying naval bottom to make this lift and every Naval Support Bolt they can spare to help them ashore. While not exact, it comes very close given ETO’s unit scale.

Axis Ground Resolution Step:

ETO map of Norway and Sweden.

Group 1B: 2-4 Mtn. Inf. Division [3] Advances After Combat into Narvik with MS [1] Making Harbor (where it arrives Ready).


Group 2: 1-2-4 Inf. Division [181] Advances After Combat into Trondheim with CR Hipper Making Harbor (where they arrive Ready).


Group 3B: 1-2-4 Inf. Division [69] Advances After Combat into Bergen with CL Sqdn [1] Making Harbor (where it arrived Depleted from Coastal Fire and must Repair).

  • Capturing the Major Port, a -4 Countdown marker denotes this facility is Disrupted and under repair.

  • The Norwegian MS unit at Bergen must Shove Off. It Retires to the UK at Edinburgh/Rosyth, Depleted (from fleeing), and therefore must Repair.


Group 4: 2-4 Inf. Division [196] Advances After Combat into Kristiansand with MS [2] Making Harbor (where it arrives Ready).


Group 5: 2-4 Inf. Division [163] Advances After Combat into Oslo with MS [3] (where it arrived Depleted from Coastal Fire so it must Repair).

  • Capturing the Major Port, a -4 Countdown marker denotes this facility is Disrupted and under repair.

  • The Invasion Prepared German 20th Operational (Wilderness) HQ marker lands in the Second Wave requiring no Countdown marker.

Airdrop Group: >1< Paradrop marker [Sturm] lands at Oslo. It rolls for Surprise.


Although there are no enemy units in Oslo to garner a combat shift against, there is still the possibility of a Breakthrough Advance for the Infantry Division amphibiously assaulting it. It is the reason for this Airdrop: because with a Breakthrough Advance, the Germans could devastate Norway’s ability to mobilize north of Oslo and leave the Airborne unit behind to hold Oslo if Norway does not surrender during the Allied Politics Phase.


The Airborne unit’s SV=2 (1+1) but the die roll of 4 yields no Breakthrough Advance.


The Germans adopt a more-circumspect (but still daring) plan to advance up the central valleys.


Axis Return Step: The German player returned their Air units Mission-by-Mission upon completion, so there is nothing left to tidy up. Most found Air Bases for landing in the Arctic Theater’s Flown box, Ready, except the Ju-52 unit, which flies back to Alborg and proceeds to the West Europe Flown box, Ready.


Axis Regular Movement Step:

Group 1B: 2-4 Mtn. Inf. Division [3] remains in Narvik.


Group 2: 1-2-4 Inf. Division [181] moves out to Storen (placing an Axis Control marker) and then back to Trondheim.


Group 3B: 2-4 Inf. Division [69] moves out to Voss (placing an Axis Control marker) and then back to Bergen. The German CL Sqdn [1], being a Major Naval unit, could protect Bergen from Invasions if Bergen were a functioning Major Port, but it isn’t.


Group 4: 2-4 Inf. Division [196] moves out to Evjemoen (placing an Axis Control marker) and then back to Kristiansand.

Why did these German units run back to their landing ports? For two reasons: 1) the Axis player wanted them protected – there is no sense in leaving a newly-captured port for the Allies to recapture on their turn; and 2) Supply. That is, regardless of the status of the German HQ marker next turn, those units in port will all be in supply.


Group 5: 2-4 Inf. Division [163] moves out from Oslo (placing an Axis Control marker) south to Frederiksted (placing an Axis Control marker), then northeast to Kongsvinger (placing an Axis Control marker), and then end its move in Honefoss.


Axis Here & There Step: Checking Sea Zone Interdiction:

All Sea Zones in this example remain free of Interdicted markers because

  1. all Sea Zones in play are currently affected by Storms at Sea weather which prevents Interdiction, and

  2. even if that were not the case, there are no Axis Patrol TFs out at sea to claim Interdiction.

Axis Notes: A 1-2-4 Inf. Division [214] awaits in Rostock, Germany, for transportation to Norway.


And there you see the inner tickings of an invasion built like a Swiss watch. Notice how the German's triphibious assault on Norway (despite some setbacks at sea) managed to secure their objectives with thunderclap surprise. This operation is still deeply studied in many nations' militaries.

The next installment shows the Norwegian response and Allied reaction to this invasion.

  1. Operation WESERÜBUNG 1: Denmark

  2. Operation WESERÜBUNG 2: Norway Landing

  3. Operation WESERÜBUNG 3: Allies enter Norway

  4. Operation WESERÜBUNG 4: Germany Moves North

  5. Operation WESERÜBUNG 5: Allied Riposte & Epilogue

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