A Front in Norway?

Courtesy Reuters

WHETHER or not the United Nations plan to strike this year at Hitler-occupied Europe -- and, if so, when and where -- is of course a closely guarded military secret. But there have been indications that possibly they plan to attack in the far north with a view to joining forces with Russia's Arctic defenders and so set the stage for a later thrust at what seems Germany's most vulnerable flank. Some have viewed the landing of American troops in Northern Ireland as one hint of such a move. Another hint, from the other side, might be the sudden appointment by the Nazis of Vidkun Quisling to the puppet-premiership of Norway. Again, the audacious dash of the German battleships from Brest to the North Sea suggests that Hitler required them for duty in Norwegian waters. Finally, the German press and radio, as spring approached, were giving wide publicity to alleged Allied plans to invade northern Norway. In any event, it is interesting to examine from the outside the problems which the United Nations would face in any such undertaking.

Norway is a weak spot in the iron ring which Hitler has forged around Europe. One need not be a military expert to understand how indefensible Norway is against sea-borne invasion. It is a country of less than three million souls. Yet if we count the shores of its innumerable fjords and islands we find that it has a coastline of some 12,000 miles -- almost as long as that of the continental United States. The recent raids of British and Free Norwegian commandos showed clearly that many spots can be found on this long stretch of coast where invaders can land.

In surveying the chances of a successful invasion of Norway, we have to distinguish between the trunk of the country and its "tail." The trunk, i.e., the southern and central regions up to the city of Trondheim, cannot easily be wrested from the Germans, who are entrenched in all the

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