The coldest war : the deployment of the Luftwaffe over Norway 1940-1945.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
This thesis tells the hitherto untold story of the Luftwaffe over Norway from the German invasion of April 1940 until the war's end in 1945, The Norwegian invasion-codenamed Weserubung-i-wes an important chapter in the history of the Luftwaffe, as it was the first time in which it had operated as an independent force in a true tri-service campaign involving air, sea and land forces of nearly equal measure, In addition to this, the campaign was groundbreaking in a number of ways as it was the first time that, for example, paratroops were used in war; objectives were secured solely by air power; large quantities of men, equipment and supplies were delivered to the forefront of battle by air; and the Luftwaffe engaged in large-scale operations over the sea, Although the participation of the Luftwaffe was decisive to the success of the campaign and as a turning point in the war showed that sea power without supporting air power was extremely vulnerable to landbased aircraft, Weserubung also revealed a number of weaknesses within the German military machine and system, that would greatly hinder the successful exploitation of Norway as a base for operations against the British Isles in the Battle of Britain and the Battle of the Atlantic in the years that followed. Hence, woven through this narrative is a comprehensive analysis of why and how the Germans failed to make the best use of its Norwegian prize as originally anticipated, including, amongst others, the mismanagement of the four-engine bomber programme, the destructive influence of inter-service rivalry, and Hitler's leadership style.