Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Battles of Narvik

Germany invaded Norway in April 1940. The northern city of Narvik quickly became an important strategic target for both the Allies and the Nazi. Narvik's ice-free harbour in the North Atlantic provided perfect access by rail to the iron ore mines in Kiruna, Sweden. Both sides were keen to secure this iron supply for themselves and, by doing so, denying it to the enemy.

The Battles of Narvik is a web-documentary commemorating the 75th anniversary of the German invasion of Norway and the battle over the Norwegian town of Narvik. The documentary explores both the land and sea battles between the Nazis and the Allies in their struggle to secure Narvik.

Evidence of the sea battles can still be found deep in the Ofotfjord. On April 10th, 1940 the British Royal Navy and the Kriegsmarine both lost two destroyers each. Three days later the British managed to sink another three German destroyers. Most of these shipwrecks remain at the bottom of the Ofotfjord to this day.

Narvik is a popular destination for scuba divers as it provides a unique opportunity to explore these German and British wrecks from World War II. To help divers locate the wrecks The Battles of Narvik includes a Google Map showing the locations of both the British and German destroyers now lying at the bottom of the Ofotfjord.

You can learn more about the invasion of Norway and the Allies resistance on Invasjonen av Norge. Norway and its allies managed to continue the fight against the German invasion in April 1940 for 62 days. However Germany's invasion of France in May caused Norway's allies to withdraw and the Norwegian government was forced to seek exile in London.

Invasjonen av Norge is a really nicely designed story map recounting the Norwegian War in 1940. The history of the campaign is told in chronological order. As you scroll through the chronology in the map side-panel the map automatically updates to show the relevant location.

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