Danish Brigade in Sweden

The Danish Brigade arrives in Helsingør, 5 May 1945
By Unknown author – http://alternate-timelines.proboards.com/thread/762/operation-danmark-save-denmark-1945, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=53949936

I was cruising around the Internet the other day, using Mr Google* extensively, looking for something or other and in the usual way of things, I stumbled across something I was not looking for. This time it was the Danish Brigade. It started with me stumbling across the Danish Brigade in Sweden on Wikipedia, which discussed the formation of the Danish Brigade.

The Swedish Government (in either 1943 or 1944, I have not been able to find clear information on that, in English, Swedish or Danish) granted permission to form a Danish Corps in Sweden for action in Denmark, to relieve the country from German occupation. In the spring of 1945, Germany was reeling with the Soviets and allies pressing from the east and with the Allies pushing from the west. With that pressure, the Germans were redeploying divisions to both shore up the eastern and western fronts. It was felt the time was good for the Danish Corp to move firstly on Copenhagen and then eventually to liberate Denmark entirely.

When the Germans had overrun Denmark, many of the smaller naval vessels had escaped scuttling by making the run to neutral Sweden. They formed the basis of the Danish Flotilla.

Flotilla Leader, HDMS Havkatten in Copenhagen
By Unknown author – http://samlinger.natmus.dk/FHM/22287, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=53949423

The Danish Flotilla was a collection of 13 of those smaller naval vessels.

Kommandørkaptajn F. H. Kjølsen had served as the naval attaché in Berlin previously and he later acted as the head of the Maritime Department to ensure that the flotilla would play a role in the return to Denmark of the Danish Corps.

Crews were retrained as the first priority for the Danish Flotilla, and a camp, Sofielund, was set up in Småland. It started operations in early February 1944. Three further camps were set up at Sätrabrunn and Hätunaholm near Stockholm, and Ronneby in Blekinge.

The naval crews received their final training at Sätrabrunn camp in the Spring of 1944.

In the meantime the land forces and volunteers were also being trained and armed in Sweden, presumably by a mix of Danish and Swedish officers and NCOs. Equipment was certainly provided by the Swedes.

Possible World War 2 variation. Never made it into combat but were ready for the liberation of Denmark so a good what-if scenario can come from here. A variation for D-Day 🙂

References:

Danish Brigade in Sweden – Wikipedia
Google Search for HDMS Havkatten
Naval Encyclopedia – details of Danish Fleet
Danish Corps Establishment in Sweden – Google Search
The prelude to April 9th by Commander Captain F.H. Kjølse in the Danish Archive (arkivdk – skrevet på dansk) – written in Danish
Advarslerne – in Danish but covering the period and preceding years

Note that the works in Danish is passed through Google Translate render reasonably well in English after translation.


* or Ms Google … he/she is one or the other

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YouTube – In the Mail 01

I sent a small order off to Heroics and Ros just after Christmas for more artillerymen and some more armour for the Poles (and therefore also for the Danes). T-72s and Leopards arrived in the mail recently – this is what was in the packet and will be used for Cold War Commander.

Video is here:

I also ordered and received some Ancient Britons. These will form part of a new project that is setting up in my brain currently – but more on that later.

Comments are welcome and have a safe Easter!

The Naval War in the Baltic – 1939-1945 – Review

I read Freeing the Baltic 1918-1920 about six months ago and as a result I was looking forward to The Naval War in the Baltic 1939-1945. Wow! I wasn’t disappointed.  This book arrived a couple of months ago and I finally had a week where I read rather than painted figures or headed to the pub and this was on the top of the reading pile.

The Naval War in the Baltic 1939-1945 was originally published on 17 May 2017 however it appears to have been sold out and is now due to re-release on 28 February 2018. The author is Poul Grooss. The book is 400 pages long with ISBN 9781526700001.

Poul Grooss is a retired Danish Naval Captain whose career was 40 years long. He served as an intelligence officer and Soviet analyst. He also speaks Russian. He currently is a teacher at the Royal Danish Naval Academy.

I reckoned I knew a bit about World War II and I also knew there was a lot I didn’t know. Reading Grooss’s book has reminded me of how little I do actually know. Grooss starts setting the scene in the book by describing the geography and the history of the Baltic region, then goes on to discuss the political manoeuvring and naval developments between the wars. His coverage of the 1939 to 1945 period starts with the attack on Poland then looks at the Baltic region through to 1941. Later chapters cover the attack on the Soviet Union to Spring 1942; the war between Spring 1942 and 1944; Spring 1944 to New Year 1944/1945; then from that New Year, month by month to the end of the war. He then looks at the aftermath of the war and a retrospective.

The book is easy to read and Grooss has taken advantage of his Russian language skills to collect data from sources not usually referred to western histories. Grooss was writing for the general reader but has managed to write a book that will appeal to both general readers and the more professional historian.

He covers and uncovers the degree of Swedish cooperation with the Germans. He covers the interactions between the Soviets and the Swedes and while this is a naval history of the Baltic, the land battles are included for context, especially Kronstadt and Leningrad. Hitler’s desire to hang on to Narva is also covered.

The Baltic was a training ground for German U-boat crews but what really amazed me was the quantity of mines that were laid there and the amount of shipping that suffered. I should also mention that the Swedes were not as pro-German as we perhaps think, permitting the British to build a listening station on Swedish soil, for example. Both the Germans and the British seemed to have a laissez faire attitude to Swedish neutrality.

This book is not all about Sweden though. Grooss also covers the minor states (Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia) as well as Denmark, Norway, Finland, Poland and of course the main protagonists. The book is supported by many fine photographs, most of which have not been seen in print before as well as well drawn maps. There are a number of appendices and indexes with an index of people and another of ships. There is an appendix containing a chronology of the conflict, a glossary of abbreviations, ranks, terminology and explanations. Another appendix is a cross-reference of place names in various languages as well as an extensive list of sources and bibliography. This book is one I will return to many times in the future I think. For the naval historian, the wargamer and the general reader, it is well worth waiting for this re-release and grabbing a copy.

January 2018 Summary – Work in Progress

The soon to be Polish Army circa 1975

It has been a mixed month. A longer than planned enforced stay in Australia waiting for the alignment of the juggernauts that are the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Australia Post, to return a new passport to me has meant that I have only spent a few days working on my hobbies. So, what have I achieved this month so far?

Last year I had ordered some Poles to provide an opponent for my Cold War Commander Danes, so started work on those in January, getting them ready for some paint (that is the army off to the right there).

Of course, feeling bored, I was glancing through an Heroics and Ros catalogue and decided that I should upgrade the armour in both armies so an order went off to Heroics and Ros for 12 Leopard 1 tanks for the Danes and 12 T-72M tanks for the Poles. I’m a wargamer, I plead guilty to being addicted to buying more figures. I expect the reinforcements to arrive any week now.

The Type 74

I also ordered some more ships early in January while sitting in Oz at mum’s waiting for the passport to arrive. In the fleet order are some World War 1 Russian vessels, a Soviet modern fleet and XXXXXX <– OK,  so I can’t remember the third fleet.

I also have the JGSDF type 74 tank (1/72 scale model) sitting on my work bench. I have started to work on that as well.

Lastly, in January, I managed to finish reading a few books and had them up for review here. So, not a bad effort overall. February target is less beer, lose weight, more hobby!

Wargamer’s Dilemma

The Son to be Polish Army circa 1975

I had purchased some figures from Ros and Heroics to make up a Polish Army circa 1975 to use with the Cold War Commander wargame rules.

Can you spot the error?

I ordered artillery but neglected to order artillery crews.

While I was not planning on buying figures this year except, for the few ships I bought for my Christmas present, I had to purchase artillery crew.

Well it would be rude to just order artillery crew so I decided to do what any self-respecting western government do, and that is to upgrade my armed forces.

I ordered my artillery crew and then ordered some T-72M to upgrade the Poles from 1970 to 1990 standards.

The Danes circa 1975 – with the odd bit of painting to still to do

Of course this would mean that the Danes (pictured on the left) needed to have some additional firepower as well to have a chance against the Poles. I therefore ordered 12 Leopard 1s to even things up again.

I can now bring both armies up to 1990 standards from about circa 1970.

The T-54s line up against a single Centurion

This is now the first painting project for 2018 – to finished both armies.

I am looking forward to this painting, but the first steps for the Poles will be to get them on bases, then add some sand to the bases. undercoat, probably in dark brown, then crack on with the painting.

Of course, a wargamer does not need an excuse to purchase more figures, I mentioned I have an order for some ships on the way to Manila from Navwar. It occurs to me as well that the ZSU-57-2 was replaced in Polish service with the ZSU-23-4 “Shilka” in this period so there will need to be an additional order soon.

The Wargamer’s Dilemma – buying more lead means painting more lead and researching more troop types which leads to buying more lead!