Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Day 228 April 15, 1940

British 146th Territorial Brigade (a reserve formation) begins arriving at Namsos, North of Trondheim, coming under the energetic command of the much-decorated one-eyed one-handed WWI veteran General Carton de Wiart VC DSO. General de Wiart is made aware of German air superiority when his Short Sunderland flying boat is attacked by a German fighter on landing (his aide is wounded and invalided home). He immediately orders 146th to advance South towards Trondheim.

Major-General Pierse Joseph Mackesy (in charge of land forces at Narvik) is not convinced to land troops directly at Narvik, despite the enthusiasm of naval commanders Vice-Admiral Whitworth and Admiral of the Fleet William Henry Dudley Boyle, Earl of Cork and Orrery. General Mackesy’s force has been cut in half, leaving only 24th Brigade which is not armed to make opposed landings and, in any case, much of its equipment has been diverted to Namsos on ships carrying 146th Brigade. Narvik is under several feet of snow, has poor facilities for an amphibious landing and is defended by an unknown number of German troops. Mackesy is unwilling to subject the Norwegian inhabitants to the naval bombardment his colleagues advocate to remove the Germans from the town. Therefore, he elects to land his troops at safer locations North of Narvik and wait for the snow to melt.

Depth charges from British destroyers HMS Fearless and Brazen sink U-49 near Narvik (1 dead, 41 taken prisoner).

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