The Norwegian Campaign - first Allied confrontation with Nazi forces

The Norwegian Campaign was the name used by the Allies – United Kingdom and France – for their first direct land confrontation with the military forces of Nazi Germany in World War II. The conflict occurred in Norway between 9 April and 10 June 1940, making Norway the nation - aside from the Soviet Union - that withstood a German land invasion for the longest period of time. It ended with the occupation of Norway by Nazi Germany.

The primary reason for Nazi Germany seeking the occupation of Norway was Nazi Germany's dependence on Swedish iron ore shipped from the Norwegian port of Narvik. By securing access to Norwegian ports, Nazi Germany could obtain the iron ore supply it needed for war production despite the British naval blockade of Nazi Germany. Additionally, it allowed both the German and Allied forces to confront each other without the large-scale trench warfare that both sides dreaded. Of particular importance as the Battle of the Atlantic escalated, Norwegian airbases, like Sola Air Station at Stavanger, allowed German reconnaissance aircraft to operate far out over the North Atlantic and placed distance between the enemy and themselves.