‘In the past the German General Staff had taken no interest in the military history of wars in the north and east of Europe. Nobody had ever taken into account the possibility that some day German divisions would have to fight and to winter in northern Karelia and on the Murmansk coast.’ (Lieutenant-General Waldemar Erfurth, German Army). Despite this statement, the German Army’s first campaign in the far north was a great success: between April and June 1940 German forces totalling less than 20,000 men seized Norway, a state of three million people, for minimal losses. Hitler’s Arctic War is a study of the campaign waged by the Germans on the northern periphery of Europe between 1940 and 1945. As Hitler’s Arctic War makes clear, the emphasis was on small-unit actions, with soldiers carrying everything they needed – food, ammunition and medical supplies – on their backs. The terrain placed limitations on the use of tanks and heavy artillery, while lack of airfields restricted the employment of aircraft.Hitler’s Arctic War also includes a chapter on the campaign fought by Luftwaffe aircraft and Kriegsmarine ships and submarines against the Allied convoys supplying the Soviet Union with aid. However, Wehrmacht resources committed to Norway and Finland were ultimately an unnecessary drain on the German war effort.
HITLER’S ARCTIC WAR The German Campaigns in Norway, Finland, And The USSR 1940-1945
The Scandinavian theatre of WW2 is often overlooked as an area of limited significance, yet this book demonstrates its strategic importance and the considerable resources which both sides were obliged to commit there. Much of it concerns the remarkable efforts of the Finns, in resisting the Russian invasion of 1939, the later fighting alongside their German Allies to destabilise Stalin’s northern flank, The book also describes the invasion o f Norway in 1940, and Hitler’s obsession with this country which remained garrisoned by an extremely large force until the end of the War. A large chapter is devoted to the British Arctic Convoys, which ran a perilous gauntlet of bombers, U-boats and battleships, to bring desperately needed supplies to Russia. This oversized title is lavishly furnished with photographs, and the concise narrative provides a gripping introduction to this very different war.