World War Two Daily: May 2, 1940: British Depart Namsos

Monday, May 30, 2016

May 2, 1940: British Depart Namsos

Thursday 2 May 1940

2 May 1940 German mountain troops
German mountain troops landing at Trondheim Airport, Værnes, 2 May 1940.
Norway: The British and French are evacuating their tenuous positions near Trondheim on 2 May 1940, but that does not mean that they are abandoning Norway altogether. In fact, the emphasis is just shifting further north, to the key to the entire invasion in the first place: Narvik. This new operation will be called "Scissors Force." It is to be led by General Colin Gubbins.

General Gubbins has been raising "Independent Companies." These are embryonic Commandos (aka Special Forces). The plan is for him to use four or five of these Independent Companies to take and hold Narvik while also taking and holding Bodø, Mo i Rana and Mosjøen.

Prime Minister Chamberlain tells the House that Norway is not a "sideshow" nor a "Quixotic adventure."

Norway Army Operations: The evacuation of General de Wiart's Maurice Force troops (British 146th Infantry Brigade, French 5th Demi-Brigade de Chasseurs) at Namsos is completed. Lord Mountbatten leads in four destroyers and is joined by Vice Admiral John Cunningham with 3 cruisers, 5 destroyers, and 3 troop transport ships.

The German 196th Infantry Division takes Åndalsnes around 16:00, which had been evacuated by the British Sickle Force troops on 1 May. The British take off 4,400 men but leave behind much equipment in the devastated town. With this force gone, the Allied presence in Norway now has been halved.

The Germans seize control of the Dovrebanen railway line from Dombås to Støren.

The German 69th Infantry Division meets the German 163rd Infantry Division midway between Oslo and Bergen.

The Norwegians at Hegra Fortress hear radio reports of surrenders and evacuations elsewhere and consider their alternatives. Bread has now run out, and no resupply is forthcoming.

There is fighting in the Narvik area.

Norway Naval Operations:  Junkers Ju 87 Stukas attack the destroyer convoy which is arriving to take off the British 146th Brigade and associated French troops from Namsos. They sink  French destroyers Afridi and Bison and damage via near-miss HMS Maori (5 men perish and 18 are wounded). The flotilla stays offshore and finally comes in when heavy evening fog arrives to hide it from the Luftwaffe. The destroyers ferry about 5,350 men to the cruisers and transports after dark.

Norway Air Operations: RAF Bomber Command attacks Stavanger Airfield both during the day and at night. It also attacks Oslo airfield after dark.

European Air Operations: RAF Bomber Command attacks Rye Airfield in Denmark both during the day and at night.

The RAF sends 26 bombers to lay mines during the night in the North Sea.

Battle of the Atlantic: Convoy OA 140G departs from Southend, and Convoy OB 140 departs from Liverpool.

Western Front: Having masterfully led the Allies to focus on Norway, Hitler and the Wehrmacht High Command start assembling troops for Fall Gelb, the invasion of France and the Low Countries. The attack will be led by 93 front-line divisions, 10 of them armored and 6 motorized. The main thrust will be through the Ardennes forest, with a subsidiary decoy thrust to the north through Holland.

German/Swedish Relations: The Swedes had sent their crown jewels to Norway for safekeeping during the Winter War. Now, they open secret talks with the Germans to get them back.

US Navy: Lieutenant Commander Edward Henry “Butch” O’Hare finishes his flight training at NAS Pensacola, Florida and is assigned to USS Saratoga (CV-3) Fighter Squadron Three (VF-3).

New Zealand: A New Zealand troop convoy departs from Wellington to Australia.

Egypt: Prime Minister Chamberlain announces that a British/French combined fleet is in the Mediterranean and en route to Alexandria.

Holocaust: SS-Hauptsturmführer (captain) Rudolf Höss arrives at Auschwitz prison camp near the town of Oświęcim in western Poland. He will be its first commandant. His orders are "to create a transition camp for ten thousand prisoners from the existing complex of well-preserved buildings." Höss has had experience at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp and is determined to make this new camp run with extreme efficiency.

2 May 1940 German rail transport
German troops arriving by rail in northern Norway as the British depart, 2 May 1940.

May 1940

May 1, 1940: British Leave Åndalsnes
May 2, 1940: British Depart Namsos
May 3, 1940: Many Norwegians Surrendering
May 4, 1940: Bader Returns
May 5, 1940: HMS Seal Survives
May 6, 1940: Allies Focus on Narvik
May 7, 1940: In The Name of God, Go!
May 8, 1940: Exit Chamberlain
May 9, 1940: Enter Churchill
May 10, 1940: Fall Gelb
May 11, 1940: Eben Emael Surrenders
May 12, 1940: Germans at Sedan
May 13, 1940: Rommel at Work
May 14, 1940: German Breakout in France
May 15, 1940: Holland Surrenders
May 16, 1940: Dash to the Channel
May 17, 1940: Germans Take Brussels
May 18, 1940: Germans Take Antwerp
May 19, 1940: Failed French Counterattack
May 20, 1940: Panzers on the Coast
May 21, 1940: Battle of Arras
May 22, 1940: Attacking Channel Ports
May 23, 1940: British Evacuate Boulogne
May 24, 1940: Hitler's Stop Order
May 25, 1940: Belgian Defenses Creaking
May 26, 1940: Operation Dynamo
May 27, 1940: King Leopold Surrenders 
May 28, 1940: The Allies Take Narvik
May 29, 1940: Lille Falls
May 30, 1940: Operation Fish
May 31, 1940: Peak Day for Dynamo


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