Norway was captured by Germany during WWII, and been liberated from Germany after Karl Dönitz signed the surrender treaty with the Allies. But there were some chances for Allies to create an assistant for Soviet on the eastern front by attack Norway.

Norway was a very strategic location for the Third Reich, a place provided submarine bases nearby the supply chain from Britain to Murmansk. And protect Sweden from the invasion of allies.

So the Allies had a lot of chances to take Norway back while the German army was focus on the Russians. And this might lead to a new front line for Germany in the North. And this front line will be hard for Germany to supply because of the advantage of the Allies’ surface navy power. And this is an invasion that Britain can do it on its own.

So why didn't Allies use an amphibious invasion to control such a strategic place.

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    Only a tiny fraction of the world's coastlines are candidates for amphibious landing; I can't remember the actual percentage, but I believe it is less than 15%. I'm willing to wager that Norway is not a good candidate.
    – MCW
    Aug 18 at 11:36
  • 3
    @MCW And in the case of Norway, the chances are high that their coastline is one of the worst in the world for an amphibious landing. Aug 19 at 6:25
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    and even if the coastline had been suitable, the allies lacked the resources to mount such an operation. Landing craft were in short supply, and the transports and escort ships needed were as well. Air operations would have to be entirely from carriers and all of those were needed in the Pacific or to cover convoys.
    – jwenting
    Aug 19 at 7:28
  • Worth bearing in mind Operation Fortitude North. My guess is that it may have started as one of Churchill's combined operations cunning plans and when rejected as unlikely to succeed was turned into a deception operation.
    – Henry
    Aug 20 at 15:05
  • 2
    All this brilliant analysis of coastal unsuitability somewhat ignores how the Germans got into Norway in the first place ;-) Aug 21 at 3:27

Because the costs outweighed the benefits. They could fairly easily block submarines entering the Atlantic by then. It served very nicely as a [by the Allies] attackable port where the German Kriegsmarine had parked their ships. Kept them far away from doing any harm elsewhere.

Yes, the Germans could ship iron ore via Norway, but only during the winter. In summer, they could use the Baltic Sea route. That route was the more important one and could not be closed by the Allies.

Of course, the Allies could invade Norway. But at great costs. The possible invasion beaches would be:

  • A thousand miles further away than Normandy
  • In near Arctic conditions
  • Against a well entrenched and fortified enemy (400.000 troops in the area)
  • With combat experience (many of them)

Not a place you'd want to invade, unless absolutely necessary.

The Allies had a pretty bad experience, early in the war, invading Norway. After that, they learned at Dieppe that a maritime invasion against a well-prepared enemy was near suicidal.

As it was, the Allies were very happy Hitler believed they would invade Norway. Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake. (N. Bonaparte)

  • 1
    Fixed what looked a pretty obvious logic error. Of course feel free to revert if you actually meant it the other way.
    – T.E.D.
    Aug 18 at 13:02
  • "Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake. (N. Bonaparte)" - I assume he formulated that maxim after getting his hat handed to him in Russia.
    – JRE
    Aug 18 at 13:05
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    Also: the Allies sent troops when the Germans invaded Norway, it was a bad experience, including weather and mountains unfavorable to airpower and logistics, the main allied advantages. And, the USA wanted to end the war quickly by invading core German lands ASAP. Alternative plans such as Africa->Italy->Balkans / Austria -> Germany could result on political advantages after the war vs the soviets, Churchill flirted with those plans, but the USA would not go along.
    – Luiz
    Aug 18 at 16:11
  • What would be the benefit of invading Norway? To further engage the Germans, you'd then have do either do another amphibious assault via Denmark or neighboring regions, or go via Finland to join up with the Soviets. Whereas if you invade Italy, you take out a German ally and have a land route that can interdict the Balkans and perhaps be used to invade Germany.
    – jamesqf
    Aug 19 at 16:57
  • Well, obviously they did not, so one might presume they did not think it worth the trouble.
    – R Leonard
    Aug 20 at 0:14

Because it was Plan "B" (or even "C"). In 1942, Winston Churchill was "undecided" between invading Norway or North Africa, but the Americans tipped the balance in favor of the latter campaign.

Let's look at the results of the plan that was actually followed, the invasion of Italy:

  1. Italy, with its 40 million people was induced to "switch sides." This is about half the number of (ethnic) Germans in greater Germany (about 80 million). The psychological effect of "turning" a German ally (as opposed to an occupied territory) was enormous.
  2. The 4 million man Italian army was neutralized. A fraction of it joined Mussolini's new "republic," but an equal number fought on the Allied side.
  3. The occupation of southern Italy (including Sicily) gave the Allies almost complete control of the Mediterranean, including the use of the Suez canal.

Let's compare that as to what was to be gained by a Norwegian invasion:

  1. We would have liberated a country with 4 million people (not 40 million). These four million people were "garrisoned" by 400,000 German troops, a wasteful ratio of one soldier to ten civilians.
  2. We might have interfered with shipments of Swedish iron ore. This is an unquantifiable "X" factor that might have made the Norwegian campaign worthwhile.
  3. We might have forced Finland, with its 4 million people and 400,000 men army out of the war. Again, this would be one-tenth of Italy's numbers.
  4. Such a plan might have served to rescue Russia (via Norway, Finland, Archangelsk, Leningrad), if Russia need rescuing. But by mid-summer 1943, they had won the Battle of Stalingrad and would soon win the battle of Kursk. If anything, it was more important to "race" Russia for Continental Europe, rather than "Scandinavia."
  • Good answer. But note that there was a third option: Invade France. The US pushed for it from the beginning seeing it as the correct strategic move if your goal was to defeat Germany. The British opposed it as long as they could because sending armies across the Channel had not worked well for them -- WW I, the BEF and Dieppe. Italy was also a side-show, though as the terrain made it too easy to defend. (The US wanted to invade France too early, though, so British opposition was, for a time very fortuitous.)
    – Mark Olson
    Sep 8 at 0:52
  • Also, note that the geography of Norway made it more like a Pacific island-hopping campaign. With no easy way to move armies by land, each occupied fjord probably would need its own invasion. (This would not be entirely a bad thing, as the German defenders couldn't easily concentrate, either.) But it would have been a long slog for a non-strategic target.
    – Mark Olson
    Sep 8 at 0:54

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