Tuesday, 1 September 2020

The Danish Armed Forces of 1940



General Pryor commanded the Danish forces in 1940.


Although Denmark was at peace in 1940, the outbreak of war in Europe did have some effect on the military state of the nation. The professional army of some 7,000 men was supplemented by another 7,000 conscripts, and they were now put through rather more in the way of military training than was normal. The units were also dispersed to locations where they might be of use should an invasion take place.

The army was organised into two divisions. The First or Zealand Division was located on the island of Zealand, mostly in or around Copenhagen. It consisted of the Royal Life Guard Infantry Regiment, the Guards Hussar Cavalry Regiment, the 1st, 4th and 5th Infantry Regiments and the 1st and 2nd Field Artillery Regiments. The 2nd or Jutland Division was based on Jutland and comprised the Jutland Dragoon Cavalry Regiment, the 2nd, 3rd, 6th and 7th Infantry Regiments and the 3rd Artillery Regiment. The Danes had no tanks and no heavy artillery.


The Danish air force consisted mostly of patrol and reconnaissance aircraft, but there were also 8 bombers, 2 torpedo bombers and 15 fighters. The entire air force was based at Vaerolose near Copenhagen. Pryor had given orders that the air force was to disperse so that the aircraft were scattered between four different airfields. Ironically the date on which the move was scheduled to take place was 9 April.

The Danish navy was under the command of Admiral Aage Vedel, born in 1894, and had nearly a hundred vessels. Most of these were small boats tasked with patrolling fishing grounds, but there were a few larger vessels such as minesweepers and torpedo boats. A handful of destroyers and cruisers of antique vintage also existed, but they were hopelessly obsolete.





A Gloster Gauntlet fighter. Most of the fighters in the Danish Air Force were Gauntlets. With a top speed of 230mph and an armament of two 0.303 machine guns these aircraft were hopelessly outclassed by those of the Luftwaffe.

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