Beset by human error and deserted by luck, the Allies could have been forgiven for thinking their failures in Norway almost farcical had they not had such a deadly consequence in lives and territory lost. But in the north there was a glimmer of hope: Narvik. By mid-May 1940 the possibility of an Allied victory in this imposing region was tantalisingly close. And for one sizable contingent, the Polish Independent Highland Brigade – Samodzielna Brygada Strzelców Podhalańskich – the opportunity to fight for freedom was at hand.
The race begins
Prior to the development of Narvik’s port at the turn of the 20th century, the shipping of Swedish iron ore in winter was hampered by the Gulf of Bothnia freezing up. Building a rail line from the main ore fields to Narvik allowed for all-year shipping.
In 1938, it was estimated the Third Reich imported 22 million tons of iron ore, with 2-3 million tons shipped via Narvik during the winter. The British and French took careful note. In the autumn of 1939, the British Ministry of Economic Warfare computed that Germany needed an average of 750,000 tons of iron ore per month in the first year of the war or risk ‘major industrial breakdown’. By interrupting the flow of ore via Narvik, a major blow to Germany’s industrial base could be dealt.
Of course there was another, less-publicised reason for intervening in Norway: many considered it an excellent location for a second front. Fighting the Germans in the north would distract them from the west, giving the Allies precious time to continue arming and building up reserves – which was precisely why Hitler was initially keen to maintain Norwegian neutrality. But the Fuhrer’s attitude soon changed when war between Finland and the USSR broke out on 30 November 1939. There was now increased concern that the Allies would use the conflict as a pretext to intervene in Scandinavia and, in turn, strangle the vital flow of iron ore to Germany. The hunch proved correct, with the French notably bullish in calling for an expeditionary force ‘to occupy Narvik and the Swedish iron ore fields as part of the process of assisting Finland’.
A further spur to planning stemmed from the dramatic interception in February 1940 of Altmark, a transport ship that had linked up with the Graf Spee and taken aboard around 300 POWs captured by the pocket battleship during its ill-fated rampage. Altmark had managed to reach Norwegian waters when she was chased up a fjord and boarded by the Royal Navy destroyer Cossack.Germany viewed Norway’s passive response to Cossack’s actions as indicative of its tacit support for Britain. Believing the Allies would intervene in Norway sooner or later, the Germans finalised their blueprint for a pre-emptive strike: several flotillas would capture Oslo and other key ports in an audacious surprise attack. On 2 April, Operation Weserübung was given clearance, with German task forces leaving at staggered intervals to ensure all units arrived at their targets on 8/9 April.
For the Allies, final preparations for a Scandinavian expeditionary force were scuppered after Finland agreed to Russian terms on 12 March. However, staging an action in Norway remained a priority and a Royal Navy plan to lay mines in Norwegian waters was given clearance at a Supreme War Council on 28 March. Any aggressive countermove by Germany would be met with a rush of Allied troops to Norway. The operation was scheduled for 5 April but then postponed until 8 April, creating a great deal of confusion. It also meant the enemy was now several vital steps ahead.
Fortune favours the bold
Norway’s politicians reacted to events on 8/9 April with disbelief and vacillation, despite receiving intelligence that a German invasion was afoot –including the testimony of around 100 bedraggled German soldiers rescued by Norwegian ships after their transport ship, Rio de Janeiro, was sunk off the southern coast on 8 April. The survivors declared they had been heading to Bergen as part of a German operation to ‘protect’ Norway from the Allies.
Rio de Janeiro was sunk by the Polish submarine Orzeł under the command of Captain Grudzinski. In the previous year, as the Blitzkrieg swallowed up Poland, Orzeł headed to the safety of Tallinn, Estonia. But unwilling to remain impounded under the rules of neutrality, the submariners kidnapped their Estonian guards and escaped with their vessel. Without charts or compass they reached the Swedish coast where they landed their captives and handed them whisky, cash and cigarettes by way of compensation.
A modern submarine, Orzeł was an extremely welcome asset for the Royal Navy and she was involved in several other engagements in Norwegian waters after sinking Rio de Janeiro until, in early June, radio contact was lost. The vessel had vanished. Numerous theories about this disaster have been mooted, although the most likely cause was striking a sea mine. In summer 2008, a Polish expedition searched the area where Orzeł was presumed lost. Although several wrecks were discovered, shewas not among them and the fate of the submarine and her 63-man crew remains a mystery.
Back on land, German units consistently outfoxed and outmanoeuvred the bewildered Norwegians. At Narvik, the taskforce arrived after destroying two superannuated dreadnoughts that had bravely but forlornly tried to halt the invaders. Led by General Dietl, 1,200 men – experienced Gebirgsjäger (mountain troops) of the German 3rd Mountain Division – quickly secured the port, whose defenders either slipped away or surrendered.
The Allies were now on the back foot and would remain so until the end of the campaign. However, they scored some early naval successes at Narvik: on 10 April and 13 April, the Royal Navy contained and then decimated the German flotilla in the harbour and neighbouring fjords. But the Kriegsmarine’s misfortune proved advantageous for Dietl: the surviving naval personnel were placed under his command, almost doubling the available manpower. And while their quality as soldiers was poor, they allowed the German general to plug important gaps in his defence lines.
Later on, with the German perimeter shrinking and the casualties mounting, Dietl was reinforced with the arrival of transport aircraft and seaplanes ferrying in men and equipment; the drop of parachute units; and more controversially, the crossing of neutral Sweden’s border by German ‘specialists’. However, the numbers involved were not large. From 14-22 May, for example, only 300 men and two anti-tank guns arrived within the perimeter.
The British response had been to rush the 24 Guards Brigade to the Narvik theatre, while raw territorial troops – far too few in number and weakly armed – were thrown into central Norway to face the German juggernaut that was now relentlessly pushing north out of Oslo.
Setting up an operational base at the small port of Harstad, 55km northwest of Narvik, British planning was hesitant. The commander of Allied land forces, Maj Gen Mackesy, favoured a step-by-step approach along both sides of Ofotfjord, the fjord leading to Narvik. Mackesy argued that the grim weather and the lack of necessary equipment, including skis, precluded any other form of advance. The navy – led by Lord Cork, who was soon appointed the theatre’s overall commander – believed a swift opposed landing offered the best possible solution. Mackesy considered Cork’s plans too dangerous and refused to countenance them. This back-and-forth argument between the two men manifested itself in the ineffective bombardment of Narvik’s hinterland by the British battleship Warspite and several destroyers on 24 April.
In the meantime, north of Narvik, Norway’s 6th Division – responsible for defending the region – had been rallied by the tough but irascible Maj Gen Fleischer and was now engaging the enemy. And while the Norwegians suffered from inexperience and struggled against the dismal conditions, their efforts were at least grinding the enemy down.
A world away
Far from the icy and forbidding fjords of Narvik, thousands of Polish troops were busy training in the countryside of Coëtquidan, Brittany. Among these men were the soldiers of the newly-formed Polish Highland Brigade, which came into official existence on 29 February, 1940.
Manpower for the Free Polish Army primarily came from two sources: from the thousands of troops and civilians that escaped Poland via its southern borders, or from the large Polish immigrant communities within France. Often labelled Carpathian Chasseurs, few of the unit’s members came from the mountains of southern Poland. But interestingly, the brigade contained a smattering of troops that had seen action and gained valuable experience fighting for the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War.
The aim was to quickly create an elite formation and the training was, by necessity, fast paced. The unit was composed of two half brigades, each comprising two battalions. In overall command was Zygmunt Bohusz-Szyszko – promoted to Maj Gen on 9 April, 1940 – who had served in the Tsarist army during the First World War and had led the Polish 16th Division in 1939. Polish High Command placed the brigade on alert as soon as the German invasion of Norway started. On 10 April, a full parade took place, with General Sikorski, head of the Free Polish armed forces, attending. ‘It will be your honour to lead the way,’ he said, before presenting the brigade with its new colours, a gift from the army’s field bishop, Józef Gawlina.
On the night of the 23/24 April, the 4,778-strong brigade boarded three liners bound for Norway. Following a dull voyage that was punctuated with the excitement and fear of a submarine contact, the Poles arrived off Tromso on 5 May. The dramatic Norwegian coast filled them with awe and trepidation. ‘The hearts of the Polish soldiers sank at the sight of the huge, tooth-like mountains,’ wrote Karol Zbyszewski and Józef Natanson later in 1940.Few Poles had ever seen a landscape like it.
Misguidedly, the Allies intended to move the brigade into East Finnmark province, which bordered Russia. The aim was to free up Norwegian troops stationed there to then fight in the Narvik theatre. The Norwegians vigorously opposed this: stationing Poles near Russians would have been more than impolitic given the USSR’s annexation of eastern Poland under the Molotov/Ribbentrop pact in 1939. Quickly seeing sense, the Allies ordered the Poles to land at Harstad, which they did on 7/8 May.
The Polish 1st Half Brigade camped outside the small port along with headquarters staff and support troops. Meanwhile, 2nd Half Brigade’s 3rd Battalion was transferred to Ballangen for use as a security force, while its 4th Battalion was sent to Salangen. Many of the men now heard about the destruction of the Polish destroyer Grom, sunk on 5 May in Ofotfjord by an enemy air strike for the loss of 59 men. Grom was one of three destroyers that had raced to the UK from Poland at the start of the war. The 2,144-tonne vessel was hit by a bomb on the torpedo tubes, detonating the warheads and blowing the ship apart. Its destruction was clear evidence of the German’s growing aerial might as airfields in central Norway were brought into use by the Luftwaffe.
The Poles landed shortly after several French units, including the 27th Half-Brigade of Chasseurs Alpins that arrived on 28 April and the 13th Half Brigade, comprising two Foreign Legion battalions and several support elements, which arrived on 6 May. French and Polish forces were under the overall command of Bdr Gen Marie Emilie Béthouart, who had already been involved in operations at Namsos, central Norway, until ordered by French High Command to take control of units in the Narvik theatre.
Success and failure
Although total Allied numbers in the theatre now stood at around 25,000, Mackesy’s strategy still dominated. On the northern side of Ofotfjord, a methodical advance to Bjerkvik was proposed. On the southern side, the South Wales Borderers and a French ski platoon landed unopposed at Skjomnes west of the Ankenes peninsula. Their goal was the village of Ankenes that overlooks Beisfjord, with Narvik immediately beyond. Although there were only weak German outposts in this area, the enemy was able to call in machine gun (MG) and artillery fire on the only road west of the village, which stopped the Borderers from reaching their objective. Now alert to the threat, the Germans rushed Gebirgsjäger and naval personnel to the peninsula and counter attacked. British and French reinforcements were pushed back until the enemy came under naval fire and was also forced to withdraw.
The most notable Allied success in the days that followed was the capture of Bjerkvik. At Béthouart’s insistence, the two battalions of the French Foreign Legion took this strategic village and its environs at the head of Herjansfjord on 12/13 May using early versions of landing craft. Simultaneously, the Norwegians and Chasseurs Alpins were continuing to fight and gain ground in the north. The Poles played a small but notable part in this action. The 2nd Battalion landed at Lenvik and, supported by Norwegian ski detachments and British ships, was able to clear the northwest side of Herjangsfjord on 13 May and then link up with the French on 14 May. The enemy’s security force fell back but soon discovered its line of retreat cut off. Heading into the mountains, this platoon-sized unit became lost until it stumbled into Gratangsbotn on 16 May, where it was swiftly captured by the French.
Success at Bjerkvik gave Allied forces a shot in the arm, as did the arrival of Maj Gen Auchinleck, who took over from the disappointing Mackesy. However, news from north-central Norway was becoming increasingly grim; British efforts to stem an advance by the German 2nd Mountain Division to reach and relieve Dietl were failing.
For the Poles, a second naval disaster occurred when the converted liner Chroby, carrying the Irish Guards in Vestfjord to the south, was hit by an enemy airstrike. Fortunately, the soldiers and sailors onboard were transferred ships that raced alongside and around 700 men were saved, although ten Poles and three British crewmen were killed, as were several Irish Guards officers. Days later, the slowly-sinking Chobry was sent to the bottom by aircraft flying from Ark Royal.
The aerial threat led Cork and Auchinleck to prioritise the preparation of airfields for RAF fighters. Efforts were centred on Bardufoss airfield, northeast of Narvik, which became operational in late May. Several Gladiator biplanes from No.263 Sqn arrived on 25 May, joined the following day by Hurricanes from No.46 Sqn. But with good news came bad: on 24/25 May, Allied command in Narvik was informed that operations in Norway were being brought to a close. With German armies punching through the Western Front, there were far greater concerns to worry about. However, it was stressed that the capture of Narvik and the destruction of its iron ore installations remained a priority before evacuation occurred.
The Ankenes peninsula became an exclusively Polish concern by 19 May. The transfer of control started on 14 May with the arrival of two Polish battalions ferried in small boats from Bjerkvik to replace the South Wales Borderers, who were then shipped south to try and help tackle the advance of the German 2nd Mountain Division. Soon afterwards, another battalion arrived and replaced the French 12th Battalion Chasseurs Alpins. They were followed by the final Polish battalion and headquarters staff, arriving on 19 May. The Poles were supported by British artillery units and a small number of AA guns.
Opposing them were two companies of Gebirgsjäger: 6 Company 139th Reg was defending positions in and around Ankenes village, while 7 Company 139th Reg held several hills to the south. On 17/18 May, under the dim glow of a midnight sun, the Polish Highland Brigade 2nd Battalion attempted to forward its lines but met fierce resistance. Nine Poles were killed and 15 wounded. It was a grim lesson in the dangers and difficulties of mountain warfare.
German command was well aware that the defenders of Ankenes were in need of more assistance; 6 Company was relieved by 8 Company 139th Reg on 18/19 May, while naval personnel, engineers and reconnaissance platoons were also sent over. A major boost for the defenders was the arrival of 118 men from 2 Company 137th Reg that had parachuted into the Narvik theatre on 25 May and been moved to the peninsula on 27 May. However, the Highland Brigade was quick to build up and maintain pressure, and while the enemy was able to call in air strikes, the Poles would often continue operations once the aircraft disappeared. Momentum was on their side and victory in their sights.
In the meantime, with the clock ticking down to evacuation and air cover now in place, the Allies were finally ready to tackle Narvik. At 27/28 May, French and Norwegian troops landed 1.5km east of the port. Around 290 Legionaries arrived first, racing up the slopes of the beach towards their first objectives. Two H-39 light tanks that were meant to follow and offer support became bogged down. Nonetheless, the French held their ground and, despite delays in bringing up reinforcements, secured control of the beachhead by . On their right – fighting to take the high ground on the eastern approach to Narvik – was the Norwegian 2nd Battalion 15th Reg.
Although the Germans started to counter attack, their efforts were constrained by incoming naval fire. The tide was almost turned when RAF fighter cover was forced to head back to base after fog was reported approaching Bardufoss. The Luftwaffe was now free to bomb British ships, which were forced to take evasive action as a result. On the ground, the Germans launched another stinging counter attack. As the danger mounted, Lt Commander Balfour – who had lost his signals lamps in the German push – rushed down to the shore, boarded a landing craft and ordered it to head back out into the fjord. He eventually reached Coventry, which signalled Beagle to head back and give support. Her 4.7 inch guns had the desired effect and forced the Germans to retire.
Shortly after this, the fog at Bardufoss cleared and three Hurricanes were immediately scrambled. Their presence was enough to scatter the German aircraft and allowed all British ships to resume their supporting role. By , a second battalion of French troops had landed, adding extra impetus to the drive forward. The Germans were now steadily retreating towards defensive positions nearer to the Swedish border. Victorious, Béthouart was more than happy to grant the Norwegian battalion the honour of entering Narvik first. French and Norwegians casualties stood at 150, with the former suffering 34 dead and 50 wounded.
Just as the French and Norwegians started their operation to take Narvik, so too did the Polish effort to take control of the Ankenes peninsula. The 1st Battalion was to tackle Hills 670 and 773 to the south, while the 2nd Battalion was to eliminate German positions close to Ankenes village. Sections from the 4th Battalion maintained positions on Hills 677 and 734, acting as close support. The rest of the 4th Battalion and the 3rd Battalion were placed in reserve.
The attack started at , with 3 Company 2nd Battalion heading up the road to Ankenes. The weight of navy and artillery fire impressed those about to go into action. ‘The whole mountain became one continuous explosion,” wrote Zbyszewski and Natanson. The Poles managed to reach the outskirts of Ankenes village by but then fell into a lethal cross fire, forcing them to retreat towards Emmenes.
At , 1 Company 2nd Battalion also engaged the enemy, but at close quarters. “Crawling from stone to stone, Germans and Poles were firing at each other at point blank range,” Zbyszewski and Natanson wrote. During the melee, the Poles allowed a dangerous gap to open up with 3 Company, which the enemy was quick to exploit. A group of 15 Germans rushed towards Hill 295 – exactly where 1st Battalion commander Lt Col Dec was located. Although their numbers were small – and it was not long before the attackers were whittled down to eight – they were able to inflict heavy casualties on Dec’s orderlies and staff, who were not equipped for a vicious fire fight. “The officers had to hold them at bay with their revolvers,” according to Zbyszewski and Natanson.
The eight Germans managed to hold Hill 295 until after using up all ammunition and throwing back three Polish counter attacks. They then withdrew to Beisfjord, found a boat and attempted to escape. However, they were spotted and incoming fire sank the boat, killing the bulk of its occupants.
At , 2 Company 2nd Battalion started its attack and came under vicious MG fire to the north of Hill 405. Fortunately, two platoons from 2 Company 4th Battalion tackled this position, allowing their comrades to continue on towards Nyborg, which they took by . Here the Poles also caught German units attempting to evacuate from Ankenes across Beisfjord. Again the enemy’s boats were riddled with Polish fire – two were overturned in the fusillade and several German troops drowned.
As 2nd Battalion’s companies battled to make headway, those from 1st Battalion were also struggling against the limpet-like defence. Attacking Hills 650 and 773, the Poles were initially thrown back until 4 Company 4th Battalion sprang into action and managed to force the bulk of the enemy to withdraw. However, a four-man MG team remained on the top of Hill 650, battling fiercely to hold off the Polish advance. The position was held until finally stormed by 1 Company 1st Battalion at .
Hours later, tired and exhausted, the Poles were in command of the Ankenes peninsula with advanced elements in control of Beisfjord village at the head of the fjord. In the final days of May, Béthouart used French and Polish units to advance on Sildvik. The Poles often found themselves struggling to make assaults in weather that remained resolutely dismal. And while the enemy was on its last legs – the Germans were short of supplies and tired from constant fighting – their morale was unshaken.
Out of time
For the people of Narvik, the campaign came to a terrible culmination on 30 May when Luftwaffe bombers struck. “The Allies had taken all possible trouble to spare the city. But soon after its capture by them, the Nazis, for no strategic reason, wantonly, out of sheer spite, at one stroke reduced it to ashes,” Zbyszewski and Natanson wrote.
Starting on June 4, the evacuation was a success, surprising not only the Germans but also the Norwegians, who had no inkling of the Allied decision. Leaving on June 6 and June 7, most Polish troops thought they were being redeployed to the south to help contain the advancing German 2nd Mountain Division as their French and Norwegian comrades delivered the coup de grace to Dietl’s forces. The discovery that this was not be and that the campaign was over left many stunned. As the ships left Narvik, ‘they stood staring, staring at that country, so foreign and yet so much their own, won only yesterday with their toil and blood’, Zbyszewski and Natanson wrote. Polish losses stood at 97 dead, 189 wounded, 21 missing and seven taken prisoner.
Thousands of Allied troops were evacuated without incident and with them was Håkon, the King of Norway, and General Fleischer. Others were less lucky. Hitler had given Grand Admiral Raeder permission to use the heavy cruisers Gneisenau, Scharnhorst and Admiral Hipper in a strike on Allied shipping into Harstad. Instead, they stumbled upon several retreating Allied ships, some of which fell victim to the German guns. The greatest loss was the aircraft carrier Glorious. Of 1,559 listed on board, only 40 survived.
At on 8 June, Norway’s supreme commander Maj Gen Ruge notified the enemy he was willing to enter ceasefire negotiations. On the same day, German troops re-entered Narvik. The calamitous Norwegian campaign was officially over and the country’s bitter years of occupation had begun.
For the Poles, the return journey to France was uneventful but depressing; defeat had been snatched from the jaws of victory, while the scant news they had of events on the Western Front was deeply unsettling. Landing at Brest on 14/15 June the Poles and were rushed to positions south of St Malo. They were unsupported and without artillery or communications. On the following day, the brigade was ordered east to St Malo and Dol. Again, no support was available. Around a battalion of men and women managed to board French ships evacuating for Britain, while the rest of the brigade surrendered to the enemy on 18 June at . Many became prisoners of war, while others returned to their families in France. Those who reached Britain, including Bohusz-Szyszko, were posted to Scotland to help defend the western coast. They became the Podhalańska Battalion, the 6th Battalion of the 2nd Rifle Brigade.
In the Norwegian campaign – on land and at sea – the Poles had fought hard and won several notable victories, which was to prove vital in sustaining morale as a new Polish army under British auspices was born. ‘The Pole who left Norway took away with him the sight of the German soldiers abandoning their arms and rifles, of the German soldiers with their hands in surrender above their heads looking terrified,’ the Polish Ministry of Information wrote.
Four years later, back in France and pushing on towards the Low Countries, many of the Poles who fought at Narvik would see similar sights, but this time as part of the Allied army of liberation. And while the Free Polish dream was not immediately realised – the country was to suffer the pain of having one despotic regime replaced by another – many Poles today view the Narvik campaign as the first step on the long, hard road to freedom. The Highland Brigade had done as Sikorski requested: they led the way and did so with honour.
Ash, Bernard, Norway 1940, Cassell & Co, 1964
Dildy, Douglas C, Denmark and Norway: Hitler’s boldest operation, Osprey, 2009
Filipow, Krzysztof & Wawer, Zbigniew Passerby, Tell Poland, Arkady, 1991
Hempel, Andrew, Poland in World War II, Hippocrene Books, 2000
Kersaudy, Francois, Norway 1940, William Collins Sons and Co, 1990
Lunde, Henrik, Hitler’s pre-emptive war: the Battle for Norway 1940, Casemate, 2009
Macintyre, Donald, Narvik, Pan Giant, 1962
McAuley, Eric, correspondence with the author
Moulton, J L, The Norwegian Campaign of 1940, Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1966
Petrow, Richard, The Bitter Years, Book Club Edition, 1974
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Germany needed high-quality Swedish iron ore to keep its steel mills – one of which is shown here – working at full capacity. Stop shipments from Narvik to Germany, so the theory went, and irreparable damage could be caused to the Third Reich’s armaments and munitions industry.
A German map of the time showing the Norwegian landing sites for Operation Weserübung. Norway’s politicians were caught completely off guard despite receiving intelligence that an invasion was being prepared. Even the sinking of Rio de Janeiro and the testimony of surviving German soldiers failed to spark an urgent call to arms.
German troops trudging through winter conditions. Highly motivated, well-trained and relatively well-equipped, even Dietl’s Gebirgsjäger found the conditions at Narvik extreme.
Released on 8 May 1940, this photo shows German infantry ‘taking cover’ in a ditch in southern Norway, according to the censor. But delays of this sort were few and far between. German superiority in equipment, aircraft and tanks proved too much for the Allies to contain. Only in Narvik was the situation reversed.
The great escape
The Polish submarine Orzeł; its escape through the Baltic and on to Britain without charts or compass is now the stuff of legend. After sinking Rio de Janeiro, the submarine continued to operate in Norwegian waters until contact was suddenly and inexplicably lost.
Equipped with skies and ready for the artic conditions, this British propaganda image was far removed from the grim reality faced by soldiers sent to Norway.
For most British soldiers the reality of fighting in Norway was confused, without the support or training for the task in hand. Many lost their lives, while others – as shown here – were captured.
Zygmunt Bohusz-Szyszko (1893-1981) commanded the Polish Highliand Brigade at Narvik. In 1941, he was appointed head of the Polish military mission in Moscow until 1943, when he joined and served with Anders' command in the Polish II Corps.
Sikorski presents Bohusz-Szyszko with the unit's new flag on April 10. ‘It will be your honour to lead the way,’ he told the assembled troops.
Click on map to enlarge
Norwegian soldiers taking a break. These men fought in terrible conditions to the north of Narvik, slogging through harsh mountain terrain and battling a tenacious enemy.
Targets burn in the village of Bjerkvik, site of the first opposed landings by the Allies in World War Two. The success of the French soldiers here was a major fillip in the Narvik campaign and in sharp contrast to the methodical but sluggish tactics espoused by Maj Gen Mackesy.
Although a fanciful picture of German stukas dive-bombing Allied ships, the aerial dominance and danger of the Luftwaffe at Narvik was all too real. Poland lost the destroyer Grom and the converted liner Chobry to enemy airstrikes.
Eyes on the prize
Poles with a light machine gun pose for a photo on a rocky outcrop in the Narvik theatre. Note the French Adrian helmets.