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

Instagram  | Twitter | Facebook

In Action with Destroyers 1939–1945 — The Wartime Memoirs of Commander J A J Dennis DSC RN — Review

In Action with Destroyers 1939–1945 — The Wartime Memoirs of Commander J A J Dennis DSC RN by Alec Dennis, Edited by Anthony J Cumming was published by Pen & Sword Maritime on 2 November 2017 (ISBN: 9781526718495).

This book contains the wartime memoirs of Alec Dennis, who served on four destroyers during the Second World War, two of them as the commanding officers.

The destroyers were the workhorses of most navies during the Second World War and Commander Dennis saw action in the North Atlantic, the Mediterranean and the Indian Oceans. The two vessels he commanded were HMS Valorous (the fifth HMS Valorous, ex-HMS Montrose, a V-class flotilla leader of the British Royal Navy that saw service in World War I, the Russian Civil War, and World War II) and HMS Tetcott (a Type II British Hunt-class destroyer built for the Royal Navy during World War II. She was the only Royal Navy ship to be named after the Tetcott fox hunt).

HMS Tetcott on Russian Convoy Duty

Commander Dennis was mentioned in Despatches three times (Norway, sinking the Scharnhorst and in the North Sea) and awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (Greece 1942).

The experiences of Commander Dennis provide a great read, reading like a Boy’s Own tale. The text is very easy to read and the book is difficult to put down. The editor, Anthony Cumming, has taken pains to preserve most of Dennis’s recollections although he does admit that Dennis removed some recollections that, fairly or unfairly, were not very complimentary to senior officers.

The book was unfortunately released after Dennis’s death. It is split into the following sections, following Acknowledgements, a Foreword, Maps and Editor’s Introduction:

  1. The End of Peace and the Phoney War
  2. The Finest Hour
  3. Crisis in the Mediterranean
  4. The Far East ann Back
  5. The Tide Turns
  6. The Final Victory

This is followed by the Editor’s Historical Notes, End Notes, Bibliography and an Index. There are around 20 illustrations in the centre of the book as well.

It has been a fairly stressful few weeks for me here but a few pages of this book in the evening transports me to those momentous days of the Second World War and a feeling of what life was like on the workhorses of the fleet – the destroyers. A brilliant read!

 

Images of War — Battle of Midway — America’s Decisive Strike in the Pacific in WWII – Review

Anyone with an interest in military history or history generally will know the Battle of Midway. Following Japan’s attack on the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, the US Pacific aircraft carriers were undamaged, leaving the US with three effective carriers in the Pacific.

The Battle of Coral Sea in May 1942 saw one US carrier lost so effectively only two carriers remained. The Japanese Combined Fleet commander, Yamamoto, decided then to lure the remaining carriers into a battle where they could be destroyed. This would give Japan a free hand with its expansion plans across Asia and the Pacific.

Location of Midway Atoll (image from Google Maps)

Yamamoto targeted the Hawaiian Island chain again with the target this time being the Naval Air Station on Midway Atoll. The Japanese then launched an attack on Midway on 4 June 1942. Unfortunately for the Japanese:

  1. The Americans had deciphered Japanese signals so knew exactly where the Japanese attack would fall
  2. Admiral Nimitz had three aircraft carriers in his command, not just the two that the Japanese expected
  3. The americans had more aircraft available than the Japanese, although about one third of those aircraft were land-based

The battle ran over the period 4 to 7 June 1942 and at the end the Japanese had lost all four of their aircraft carriers engaged to one US carrier lost. As a result of those losses, Japan was forced onto the back foot and never recovered its previous naval dominance through the rest of the war. The Battle of Midway is considered by most to be the turning point in the war with Japan.

There are many images and photos from the Battle of Midway, many of them on the Internet illustrating web pages or in museum collections. Frontline Books has published a book of these photographs in their Images of War series. The Battle of Midway — America’s Decisive Strike in the Pacific in WWII was written (compiled?) by John Grehan and is published as a paperback. It is 164 pages long and contains 150 illustrations and photographs. ISBN: 9781526758347 it was published on 23 September 2019.

The photographs in the book are ordered into the following chapters:

  • Map List
  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction: The Build-up to Battle
  • 3 June 1943
    1. First Contact
  • 4 June 1942
    1. Bombs Fall on Midway
    2. Attacking the Japanese Fleet
    3. The Japanese Hit Yorktown
    4. The Torpedo Bombers Strike
  • 5 June 1942
    1. Operation MI Cancelled
  • 6 June 1942
    1. Last Shots
  • 7 June 1942
    1. The End of the USS Yorktown
    2. After the Battle
  • References and Notes

I have no hesitation recommending this book to any naval or military historian, modeller or wargamer. I have spent quite a few hours looking at the photographs in this work. In addition to the photographs there is a reasonable interpretation and map how the battle played out.