Eighty years on. 30th April 1940


German 196th Division infantry arrive at Dombås on foot because of the blown bridges, but were held by the British 15th Brigade.  At dusk, the British troops withdrew from Dombås by train, destined for Åndalsnes to be evacuated.  At Namsos 146th Brigade waited evacuation by the destroyer squadron which was en route from Scapa Flow.

HMS Glasgow evacuated King Haakon and the Norwegian government from Molde to Tromso.

The RAF bombed German airfields at Stavanger and Oslo to reduce German air attacks on the planned evacuations.  The aircraft carriers HMS Ark Royal and Glorious were driven off by Luftwaffe bombing.

The cruisers HMS Manchester and Birmingham and the destroyers HMS Inglefield, Diana and Delight, under left Scapa Flow to evacuate 15th Brigade from Åndalsnes and Molde.

The minesweeper HMS Dundoon hit a mine near Great Yarmouth and sank.

The sloop HMS Bittern, on anti-aircraft duty off Namsos, was dive bombed by Ju 87s and set on fire.

The Anti-submarine trawler HMS Warwickshire was sunk by German aircraft off Trondheim, Norway.

The French destroyer Maille Breeze sank at Greenock, Scotland when two of her own torpedoes accidentally exploded on board.

Two civilians were killed when a Heinkel bomber crashed at Clacton.

A group of residents of Pittsburgh, USA offered a one million dollar reward for the capture of Hitler alive.

Hitler ordered final preparations for the attack on Western Europe.

Game day 243. China

Chinese infantry and armour moved eastwards, including six battalions which moved into Kwangtung.

Eighty years on. 29th April 1940


Having blown bridges to slow the German advance up the Gudbrandsdal, 15th Brigade waited at Dombås while the remaining Norwegian troops withdrew through their lines.   Kampfgruppe Fischer of 196th Division linked up with troops advancing from Trondheim.

The British destroyers HMS Kelly, Maori and Imperial with the French destroyer Bison left Scapa Flow to evacuate Namsos, screened by the cruisers HMS Devonshire and York.

The British submarine HMS Unity collided in fog with the Norwegian freighter Atle Jarl in Blyth harbour and sank.

The British Commonwealth Air Training Plan began in Canada, Australia and New Zealand.  Personal note:  My father was involved in this, posted to Vancouver Island, Canada as ground crew, working with Avro Ansons and Handley-Page Hampdens. (More below)

U.S. President Roosevelt sent Benito Mussolini a telegram that said, “I earnestly hope that the powerful influence of Italy and of the United States — an influence which is very strong so long as they remain at peace — may yet be exercised, when the appropriate opportunity is presented in behalf of the negotiation of a just and stable peace which will permit of the reconstruction of a gravely stricken world.”

Helsinki forfeited the 1940 Summer Olympics.

In the new camp at Auschwitz, Commandant Rudolf Hoess posted 30 convicts from Sachsenhausen Prison as guards.

Game day 242. Japan

Infantry in Kwangtung and Manchukuo moved west towards the border with China to head of Chinese forces.

In Japan six armoured battalions loaded onto transport ships.

Family History

My father served in the RAF at Patricia Bay, Vancouver island from 1942-43.  I am lucky enough to own his service papers and his collection of station magazines (“The Patrician”) which give a marvellous insight into daily life and attitudes.  My brother has Dad’s photograph album.  I visited the area four years ago with the old photo’s and saw how much – and how little – has changed.

My dad could not understand why he, a trained boat-builder, was assigned to engines while his pal Albert, a garage mechanic, was put on airframe maintenance.  I deduced that it was because the powers that be wanted everyone to learn the RAF way of doing things, rather than coming with pre-conceived ideas that they knew the job already.  Of course, it could have been simply random.

Eighty years on. 28th April 1940


The British War Cabinet ordered the evacuation of troops around Trondheim.  15th Brigade held up the German 196th Division all day at Otta before withdrawing overnight 25 miles North to Dombås, blowing road and rail bridges to delay the German advance during the evacuation.

At Namsos 146th Brigade retreated into a defensive perimeter. They were not pursued by German ground forces, allowing Luftwaffe bombing raids to proceed.

Game day 241. Great Britain

Six infantry battalions disembarked north of Narvik and attacked the Germans who landed yesterday.  The British lost two battalions, the Germans none.

Further south, six battalions supported by four fighter squadrons flying from Scotland attacked three battalions of German infantry at Bergen.  The Germans were wiped out for the loss of one British battalion.  No aircraft were lost.

The battleship off Ireland sailed south into the Bay of Biscay.  The empty merchant convoy reached the coast of Newfoundland.  Three loaded merchant ships sailed west along the North African Coast and three troop carriers from Australia entered the Indian Ocean.

Poor service

Many months ago I ordered a game cloth from Tiny Wargames. I used their services because my previous supplier of game cloths, Deep Cut Studio was apparently unable to supply a cloth as large as I would need.

Several months later I received the cloth, without the overprinted hexagon grid that I had ordered. Somewhat surprisingly the cloth had been shipped from the same address from which I had received cloths: Deep Cut Studio.

I enquired about the lack of an overprinted grid and was asked to send the cloth back. This cost over £50, and I am still waiting for a refund of postage.

The next I heard was an e-mail: “Why did you send it to Vilnius when we are in Kent?”

I replied that sending it back to the only address I had seemed to be the reasonable option. I had no idea that Tiny Wargames were based in Kent.

Since then, I have had no communication from Tiny Wargames.

So, they now owe me about £300 for a returned gaming cloth and the return postage.


Eighty years on. 27th April 1940


Continued bombing of Åndalsnes forced the port commander Brigadier Hogg to signal London that the situation was hopeless without air cover or antiaircraft guns.  An arriving supply convoy was bombed for three hours and withdrew without landing the anti-aircraft guns it was carrying.

The Luftwaffe also bombed Namsos. The order was given to evacuate the port.

The British 15th Brigade held the German 196th Division all day at Kjorem then made an overnight withdrawal to prepared defensive positions at Otta.  But Kampfgruppe Fischer of 196th Division met little resistance in the Østerdal valley to the east and was now threatening the rear of 15th Brigade.

Germany finally declared war on Norway. Joachim von Ribbentrop took to the airwaves shortly afterward and claimed that the Germans had captured documents from the Lillehammer sector revealing a British and French plan to occupy Norway with Norwegian complicity.

 Reinhard Heydrich ordered the deportation of 2500 German Sinti (a Romany people) to the General Government area in Poland.

Heinrich Himmler ordered the creation of a new concentration camp at Oświęcim, known in German as Auschwitz.

The German submarine U-102 was commissioned.

Game day 240.  Germany

The German troopships slipped into Narvik just ahead of the British arrival.  Six battalions disembarked.  The last remaining transport slipped past the British submarines off Trondheim and made its way to occupied Denmark.

East of Trondheim five infantry battalions attacked three Norwegian battalions in a pincer movement.  Each side lost one battalion in the engagement.

In Poland and Germany troops continued to move westwards.

Eighty years on. 26th April 1940


Five RAF Gladiators at Stetnesmoen engaged the Luftwaffe, shooting down one He111 but used up all their fuel and ammunition. The last Gladiators were burned and the pilots board Royal navy ships at Åndalsnes.

Åndalsnes was bombed all day on Hitler’s personal orders, destroying all the British equipment and ammunition.

15th Brigade at Kvam held back the German 196th Division. In the evening 15th Brigade withdrew to new defensive lines at Kjorem.

The British War Cabinet, now aware of defeats at Steinkjer & Tretten Gorge, started to consider evacuating Namsos & Åndalsnes.  General de Wiart declined an offer of additional troops at Namsos since in case of evacuation, it would complicate matters.

U-13 sank the British SS Lily.  The Norwegian destroyer Garm was sunk by German bombers.

Game day 239. USA

European and other neutral nations having taken no action, the action passed to the USA, who simply moved the escorted convoy from the Carolines towards Hawaii.

Eighty years on. 25th April 1940


3000 British troops of General Paget’s 15th Brigade advanced to the village of Kvam, 55 km South of Dombås, where they engaged General Pellengahr’s 196th Division moving up the Gudbrandsdal from Lillehamer. 15th Brigade’s Hotchkiss 25mm anti-tank guns destroyed one of the three Neubaufahrzeug heavy tanks, 1 Pz II and an armoured car in an initial skirmish. For the first time, a British line held the German advance.

RAF Gloster Gladiators based on Lake Lesjaskogsvatnet were located by the Luftwaffe and bombed.  Thirteen of the eighteen Gladiators were destroyed or fell through the broken ice.  The remaining Gladiators got airborne to provide air cover for 15th Brigade. They shot down 3 Heinkel He111s and were then withdrawn to Stetnesmoen, near Åndalsnes.

U.S. President Roosevelt recognised the state of war between Germany and Norway and reaffirmed American neutrality in the conflict.  Norwegian submarines were added to the list of belligerent ships forbidden from entering American territorial waters.

The Norwegian torpedo boat Trygg was sunk by German bomber planes. The Germans later salvaged it and put it back into service as the Zick.

An IRA bomb, or land mine, exploded in Dublin Castle, either killing six people or wounding five, depending on the information source.

Women gained the right to vote in the Canadian province of Quebec, the last province to grant women’s suffrage.

Game day 238. Norway

Six battalions of infantry moved north-west towards Narvik.  North-west of Oslo six battalions attacked the three battalions of airborne troops in a pincer movement.  The Norwegians lost one battalion, the Germans none.

Eighty years on. 24th April 1940


The RAF arrived in Norway in the form of 18 Gladiator biplanes from HMS Glorious landed on Lake Lesjaskogsvatnet, midway between Åndalsnes and Dombås.

General Bernard Paget’s 15th Brigade landed at Åndalsnes, having sailed from France on April 15, and moved south towards Lillehammer to reinforce Norwegian troops holding the German advance.  They passed Morgan’s defeated 148th Brigade falling back to Åndalsnes.

In heavy Lutfwaffe attacks on Åndalsnes, the cruiser HMS Curacoa was struck by a bomb below the bridge which exploded between decks.

U-23 made two unsuccessful attacks on the British cruiser HMS York, returning to Scapa Flow from Åndalsnes.

The Norwegian 6th Brigade under General Carl Gustav Fleischer attacked the German perimeter north of Narvik.  They were held by the Germans at Lapphaug Pass but those marching over Fjordbotneidet Mountain found Gratangsbotn undefended.  Germans falling back from Lapphaug surprised the Norewgians and retook Gratangsbotn.

The battleship HMS Warspite, cruisers HMS Effingham, Enterprise, Aurora and destroyer HMS Zulu screened by British destroyers HMS Encounter, Escort, Faulknor, Foxhound, Havock, Hero and Hostile and the Polish destroyers Blyskawica and Grom) sailed into Ofotfjord and bombarded Narvik. HMS Effingham sank the captured British steamer Riverton docked in the harbour.  Naval commander Lord Cork and Orrery went ashore to assess conditions on the coastline and concluded that deep snow would make opposed landings impossible.

Hitler appointed Josef Antonius Heinrich Terboven as Reichskommissar or Gauleiter of Norway.

Paul Reynaud, Prime Minister of France, urged Mussolini not to bring Italy into the war.

Day 237.  USSR

The new garrison of six infantry battalions reached Stalingrad.  No other activity took place in the Soviet Union.

Small scale wargaming

I had hoped to spice up this post with some photo’s but unfortunately they are all stored on a different device. However…

I migrated from Airfix 20mm models to Heroics & Ros 6mm in the late 1970s when I moved into a small furnished flat with only a 4ft x 4ft dining table available.

As an English Civil War re-enactor (not the Sealed Knot) I started with the 17th century range from Heroics & Ros, which I accidentally found at “The Keep” wargame shop in Devizes.

I was roundly criticised for my “open order pikemen” when I used the provided strips without separation and re-basing – and this in the days before the internet opened one’s best efforts to global scrutiny.

Since then I have been gaming mainly in 6mm, but since retiring from work five years ago I have been drifting back to the 20mm Second World War games of my teenage years. I finally could afford and track down a whole forest of “Merit” alder trees, beyond the realms of my pocket money in earlier years. I have also bought up some of the old first generation Airfix WW2 range and some of the later Matchbox range of figures. I am continually searching for reasonably priced Airfix “soft” polythene models of the second world war.

Back to the 6mm gaming. Not for me the vast battlefields with thousands of figures. I am constrained to a 4ft x 3ft board, with occasional resource to a 6ft x 4ft extended table top.

Thus I have been playing games largely based on the “Commands & Colors” stable, with local adaptations. I use home-modified Hexxon terrain tiles, sculpting my own roads and rivers into the basic flocked tiles. I have constructed tiles for both 6mm and 3mm gaming.

For 2mm and 3mm games I also have used 6cm MDF tiles from Warbases, adorning them with forests made of roofing nails adorned with chunks of kitchen scouring cloth, towns built with Langton Miniatures “Toulon” buildings, and varios home-made items like hedges made of dyed pipe-cleaners, walls from thin MDF, etc.

I have also devised my own set of rules for 6mm hexagon-based games, covering 1700 – 1950 with period adaptations. They may not suit everyone, but they work for me. They are largely based around targeting the occupants of a hexagon rather than individual units therein. Units are more often forced to retreat or simply “freeze” instead of being destroyed, which leads to a gradual collapse of the defence and a breakthrough, which is my interpretation of how battles actually happened.

My latest adventure (partly due to the fact that I am living in “Covid-19 isolation” in a caravan in the garden) is an “Unternehmen Seeloewe” mini campaign with 3mm models on 10″ square game boards, based around the Perry Miniatures “Travel Battle” items.

More of this will appear on this site as it progresses.

Eighty years on. 23rd April 1940


General de Wiart’s 146th Brigade retreated back to Namsos.

General Morgan’s 148th Brigade was shelled by German artillery at Tretten Gorge and was then outflanked by German mountain troops.  Retreating northwards they came under air attack. Only 309 men managed to escape up the Gudbrandsdal.

The Supreme War Council meeting in Paris agreed on the importance of capturing Trondheim, unaware of the British reverses at Namsos and Tretten Gorge.  The British did not inform the French that the Trondheim landings had been cancelled.

The RAF raided German airfields around Oslo.

Game day 236.

France had committed to support the British expedition to Norway.  The only transport ships available were at Marseilles and Oran. Six battalions of infantry re-embarked at Marseilles and sailed for Norway.  The three ships at Oran, supported by three warships, sailed for Brest to collect six newly-raised battalions.