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Walk-Through Bb Gneisenau Turret Cesar


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The fact that the USSR was gone was also a big factor in the decline of the coastal artillery, at least in Sweden.

 

 

Somehow, I doubt that the Swedish Defense Staff was especially moved by the disappearance of the USSR to think that their problems were finished.

 

Maybe not the Defense Staff. But the politicians declared that there was no military threat to Sweden within the "foreseeable future" so all planning for the defense of Sweden ceased in the 2000s and the Armed Forces focused solely on expeditionary warfare. It was only after Georgia 2008 that planning for national defense was started again.

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Scandinavian countries [and Spain, USSR] kept their coast defenses in commission into the 1990s. Only the example of the effectiveness of the PGM, from the 1990-91 Gulf Conflict, caused them to reevaluate, and most of the fixed guns are now mothballed or gone, replaced by mobile weapons. The Norwegian Army disbanded their CD branch and folded it into the field artillery in 2007, with not a little consternation among senior officers.

Finns still have some operational 130mm fixed guns. Most of the forts have been retired, though. 100mm guns (T-55 turrets) have been retired too. IIRC last guns are meant to soldier until 2020.

 

Gulf War really didn't have much impact here, these guns aren't that easy targets for conventional PGM's. It was GPS guided weapons which spelled their doom as you no longer needed to see the target and coordinates are easy to acquire in peacetime.

 

Fixed forts remain useful against Weserubung-style attacks. If they are destroyed, that acts as a warning.

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Advantage of a fort is that it's always 'on position' and has by default much higher readiness. If higher-ups screw up, mobile units might be napping in their barracks whilst enemy waltzes into capital. During German invasion of Norway, it was fixed defences which made most of the damage to initial invasion force - by contrast, mobile artillery was captured on the road as it was being deployed to combat zone way too late.

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Only Oslo was saved by CD, and then only because the officer at the lighthouse ordered the fjord nav aids turned off when they fired on the examination boat at the seaward end and the Germans were not ready to come up until daylight, trusting in the Norwegians being unready to defend. Oscarsborg's senior and very experienced commander, now forewarned, manned two of the 11-inch with cadre and volunteers and then had four hours to drill. The Infantry NCO Academy on the mainland did the same with the two small batteries nearby, and the navy officer in charge of the torpedo battery on the island came back from leave. They engaged the German flotilla without orders from higher command. The Oslo Airport fell nevertheless to air assault and the CD was overcome from the German land forces' advance out of Oslo.

 

Trondheim's extensive fortress fired only a few shots and went out of ammunition, the cd gunboats there and at Narvik were sunk outright, the assault at Kristiansand was held up only a few hours while the Stukas did some work. Only the army Hegra Fort at the upper reaches of the Trondheim Fjord otherwise performed well, resisting for weeks, once it was discovered by the Germans.

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Only Oslo was saved by CD, and then only because the officer at the lighthouse ordered the fjord nav aids turned off when they fired on the examination boat at the seaward end and the Germans were not ready to come up until daylight, trusting in the Norwegians being unready to defend. Oscarsborg's senior and very experienced commander, now forewarned, manned two of the 11-inch with cadre and volunteers and then had four hours to drill. The Infantry NCO Academy on the mainland did the same with the two small batteries nearby, and the navy officer in charge of the torpedo battery on the island came back from leave. They engaged the German flotilla without orders from higher command. The Oslo Airport fell nevertheless to air assault and the CD was overcome from the German land forces' advance out of Oslo.

 

 

He was at or somewhat above retirment age, many of his rather few men were recruits and the navy officer was a 40-something reservist.

 

It is always impressive what a little commen sense and determination can do. Sadly that was lacking elsewhere in Norway that day. See also 'The Germans Invasion of Norway' by G.H. Haarr for the details of Norway's unpreparedness that negated her otherwise sufficient srength.

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