On this day in history – 9th April 1940 – German forces launch Operation Weserübung, the simultaneous invasions of Denmark and Norway, in order to secure access to iron ore supplies as well as the Baltic Sea and Northern Atlantic.
The above picture depicts a detachment of Danish troops operating Nimbus MC motorcycles with sidecar-mounted 8mm Madsen machine guns. The motorcyclists wear brown overalls and goggles alongside standard infantry equipment, including a slung 8mm Krag-Jørgensen M1894/10 rifle. The sidecar passengers are dressed and equipped as ordinary infantrymen, with M1910 black greatcoats over light grey uniforms, M1923 helmet, backpack, cartridge pouch, and M1938 gas mask canister. The platoon commander (right) wears the newer M1923 khaki greatcoat with brown cross-braces to support his field equipment (e.g. holster, binocular case).
Operation Weserübung had caught Denmark by complete surprise, with resistance lasting only for a few hours. The Germans now had greater access to the short sea routes to Norway and control over the waters leading to German ports in the Baltic.
By Ibrahim Zamir