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Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler » The Accursed 9th of April
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A day that, too, shall forever live in infamy, at least in my mind.

On this day at 4 am, 67 years ago, the German hordes, without provocation, crossed the Danish border with 40,000 men, supported by the Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine. A few hours later the feckless Danish government surrendered while troops were still fighting and delaying the German advance successfully.

In Jutland, the peninsula jutting out to the north of Germany and the only part of the country attached to the continent, soldiers of the Royal Danish Army set up roadblocks and other defensive positions against impossible odds, stopping the advance cold in some places and dying with their weapons still taking a ghastly toll from the Nazis in others. In one position, the crew of a 20mm cannon continued to fire on the Germans until a tank rolled over them, elsewhere the landscape was littered with the burning hulks of Nazi panzers and the bodies of the crews that had knocked them out.

So when the order to surrender came, there was a lot of resentment from the Danish soldiers who, although retreating before a vastly superior enemy force, had no intentions of giving up as long as they still had breath in them.

To this day, a lot of speculation about the Danish government’s actions persist, and not without reason. The imminent German assault was no secret, far from it. As a matter of fact, on the morning of April 8th, a German soldier was overheard complaining about a battery repair not being finished “because he needed it for when they crossed the border at 4 o’clock.” Yet the Danish government never gave the order to mobilize, something that would most certainly have delayed the German advance for much longer. No, victory wasn’t an option, the German Wehrmacht was far too strong a force for that, but considering that the German plans against Norway required the use of the Danish airfield at Aalborg in the north of Jutland, even a delay of a few days might have changed history as British forces were, at that very moment, steaming towards Norway to counter the German plans. Also, the coastal batteries around the capital Copenhagen, one of the most important German landing points, had their crews stripped away from them and sent on leave right before the German invasion.

Coincidence? A lot of people, myself included, doubt it very much.

But in spite of this stab in the back, Danish soldiers, lacking both in training and completely without heavy equipment, fought and died where they stood.

Five years of Nazi occupation followed that damned day, and, after the war, the resentment among the armed forces born by the spineless behavior of the Danish government gave birth to the Danish Home Guard, a standing force of tens of thousands of trained and equipped citizen soldiers, capable of mobilizing in a matter of hours due to their equipment being in their personal possession off as well as on duty, and instructed to fight no matter what, with or without orders while the regulars mobilized.

“Never again an April 9th” was and is their motto to this day.

26 Responses to “The Accursed 9th of April”
  1. Robohobo Comment by Robohobo

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    Thanks - A good post to remember that sad time. The Dutch fared as badly. I hope that we do not give in to the forces of darkness assailing us these days. But from the latest shennanigans from the Brits, it does not bode well.

  2. p51driver Comment by p51driver

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    It looks like history is repeating its self! The diffrence now is that the enemy has already infiltrated Europe.

  3. Orion Comment by Orion

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    I had no idea the US Democratic Party was in Denmark in the 40’s…

    Orion

  4. Naviguesser Comment by Naviguesser

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    At least one part of Europe hasn’t been neutered. Maybe the Danes need to go on the rampage again. A new Danelaw in the UK wouldn’t be a bad idea.

  5. Temujin Comment by Temujin

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    I did not realize this date marks an important anniversary in Danish (and Misha) history. For Canadians, it is symbolically seen as the birth of our nation.

    90 years since the Canucks took Vimy Ridge, and 67 years since Danish soldiers defined bravery for the world.

    My knowledge has been expanded, and I shall not forget.

  6. hitnrun Comment by hitnrun

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    Five years of Nazi occupation followed that damned day, and, after the war, the resentment among the armed forces born by the spineless behavior of the Danish government gave birth to the Danish Home Guard, a standing force of tens of thousands of trained and equipped citizen soldiers, capable of mobilizing in a matter of hours due to their equipment being in their personal possession off as well as on duty, and instructed to fight no matter what, with or without orders while the regulars mobilized.

    Rather the opposite approach that the rest of Europe took after the Americans instituted the Marshall Plan.

    It’s going to take a wholesale and sudden withdrawl of American troops from Europe to rouse Europeans from their welfare stupor. It will be a harsh day when Europeans wake up and realize the inverse relationships of wealth, welfare, and defense. A day that will probably come too late.

  7. Mike M Comment by Mike M

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    …retreating before a vastly superior enemy force…

    Not to be pedantic about this, but it sounds like they were superior in terms of numbers and armament only; certainly not in terms of grits, guts and glory.

  8. LC ShadowFox Comment by LC ShadowFox

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    My god….

    As a someone who considered himself a WWII buff and has spent countless hours researching the war I have a confession that’s highly embarrassing. I wasn’t aware that Denmark had resisted or that they’d even been invaded. I’d always just thought that the pre-war efforts of groups like the nazi party and brown shirts had infiltrated government and worked to stir up German nationalism in Denmark like they’d done in the Sudetenland. I’d assumed that they’d gotten the Danish government to submit without a fight…

    My apologies.

  9. LC Old Dog Comment by LC Old Dog

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    Can all you LC’s say Quisling? I knew you could!

  10. Emperor Misha I Comment by Emperor Misha I

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    I wasn’t aware that Denmark had resisted or that they’d even been invaded. I’d always just thought that the pre-war efforts of groups like the nazi party and brown shirts had infiltrated government and worked to stir up German nationalism in Denmark like they’d done in the Sudetenland. I’d assumed that they’d gotten the Danish government to submit without a fight…

    My apologies.

    Nothing to apologize for, really. Thanks to the utter lack of spine in the Danish government, the whole thing lasted for a few hours only which, compared to the utter carnage that was WWII, hardly rates as much more than a minor incident. So it doesn’t get much mention in the history books if any at all which, all things considered, is perfectly understandable.

    The fecklessness of the government was a national disgrace, but the rank and file held themselves well.

    One fight I like to use as an example was around the town of Haderslev, where 225 men, two 20mm cannons and a 37mm anti-tank gun dug in to hold back the advance of a full German division, complete with panzer support. Suicidal, yes, but they weren’t about to give in without a fight. At first, the 37mm held back the Nazis, knocking out three panzers in the process, until its crew had been killed. Then the Nazis resumed the advance, only to be stopped again by the two 20mm cannons. When the order to surrender came from Copenhagen, whoever could still stand was fighting still. Then the Germans moved on the town proper, only to discover that the garrison apparently hadn’t heard that they were supposed to give up. At least that’s what they claimed. They knocked out two more panzers and an unknown number of other Krauts until they finally ceased fire, not because they’d been beaten, but because the Germans had managed to catch the civilian population in the crossfire.

    Further west another 50 Danish soldiers, again with nothing heavier than a 20mm gun to support them, held back a full German motorized infantry regiment for about an hour and didn’t budge an inch until the Germans called in air support. Then they retreated in an orderly fashion to new positions, only to be ordered to surrender by the government.

    Again, none of these quite minor engagements mattered all that much in the grand scheme of things, they’re truly insignificant compared with what other nationalities suffered. The reason that they’re important anyway, to me at least, is that the complete and utter refusal to give up against impossible odds at least in some way redeem the utter shame of the government’s cowardice.

    Never trust politicians anywhere near something as serious as war. Leave that to the grownups.

  11. DдrтH бдкфи Comment by DдrтH бдкфи

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    For Fuck’s sake!!!

    How many more “Never Again!”s will we declare before our tolerance for intolerance is over?

  12. Unregistered Comment by Gangraad

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    It has surely been a while since my last post here, but when the 9th. of April is remembered who am I not to write a comment.

    The stories told here were what kept morale high during the occupation. Most Danes were ashamed of the surrender, the soldiers most of all.

    In memeory of that day I too would like to add a few stories if I may..

    The following story, to me, says everything about the conduct of Danish soldiers on April 9th. 1940.

    Private E. Goth attached to the 4th. battallion, 2nd. company of the Jutland Divison under the command of General Essemann, died bravely that day.

    Having fought for about an hour to halt the enemy´s advance toward Aabenraa (small town in southern Jutland) his company was forced to retreat to Hokkerup (an even smaller town) were they decided to fight and die for their country. They stood firm against a vastly superior enemy force. Private E. Goth had his light machine gun and he fired round after round at the enemy in front of him and at his flanks. In the end the Germans stormed his position from all sides, but instead of surrendering E. Goth stood to his full hight and fired his weapon in all directions. Not until his last breath did it fall silent.
    Moments later his company was ordered to surrender.

    A gunner at one of the 20mm guns that Misha mentioned is told to have never lost his calm although under fire from three panzers and a figther of the Luftwaffe.
    His squad commander decribed his calm as just another day at the shooting range. The rounds failed to penetrate the German panzers and the gunner simply turned to his commander and said: “well, I suppose it’s not mere cardboard they are made of..”
    That raised morale and his squad kept fighting for another half an hour.

    From General Essemann’s account of the 9th. of April:

    “Our weapons were manned until they were overrun. Should the gunner fall, another would take his place without hesitation. Our soldiers redeemed that morning, not only the honour of the Danish soldier, but so much more. They redeemed our Nation through their sacrifice and that to such an extend that the Nation too can regard its honour to be intact; It ought never forget though that the Danish soldier was deeply despaired when the order to surrender was given and his indignation over not being allowed to fight resultet in drastic messures”

  13. Unregistered Comment by halstein

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    Can all you LC’s say Quisling? I knew you could!

    I can, as a Norwegian. Norway was the reason for the invation of Denmark, as the Nazis wanted our coastline, with it’s fjords, for their navy.

    When the invation came, in 1940, Vidkun Quisling went to the national radio, and brodcasted that he was now the leader of the contry, and that further resistance was a criminal act. His party, Nasjonal Samling (National Unification), NS, was the Norwegian nazi-party. His coup was shortlived, because he managed to get a national unification- against him. So the Germans preferd an administrative councill in the beginning, before they reinstated Qusling Feb. 1st 1942. The Times did use the term “Quisling” as a word for traitor shortly after April 9th, and the BBC followed up.

    The figthing in Norway lasted 62 days, even if we had no ant-tank guns, and little in the way of AAA and planes. The high command turned down many volunteers in the beginning, because they did not have uniforms. And even if they had gotten plentyfull warning, they did nothing till April 9th, when they sent out mobilisation order by mail.
    Of corse some local initative happened, as at Kongsvinger, where the local garrison was led by a nazi who planned to do nothing. Here some Norwegians got parts for an old cannon, by threatening the commander with a gun.

    When the invation came, the Norwegian government was vacilating, untill the king, Haakon VII, said that he would abdicate if they surrendered as thr Germans asked.

    So every spring, when budgets are discussed, it is “9th of April never again!”, but when the actual budgets are made, this is forgotten.

    Halstein.

  14. cmblake6 Comment by cmblake6

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    By GOD, Sire, THAT one was another 12 if they went that high.

    How many more “Never Again!”s will we declare before our tolerance for intolerance is over?

    And I join in this question. When do we say “No More”?

  15. LC NCLivingBrit Comment by LC NCLivingBrit

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    Yet another example of the fecklessness of politicians and the bravery and honour of the ‘common’ man.

    Have we not considered that each and every one of this and almost every nations greatest dishonoured, tragedies and horrors is caused by someone with a political agenda? Even if they shroud it in religion, racial division or economic ‘fairness’, it’s an individual or a groups desire to bring others around to their way of thinking.

    I say we just start hanging them until we do away with the idiots.

  16. Unregistered Comment by BeerIsClear

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    Interesting how today’s Nazis work so hard to distance themselves from their historical counterparts …

  17. juandos Comment by juandos

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    Aren’t today’s Danes a bit more socialist and into multi-cultural diversity than the US?

  18. Merc Comment by Merc

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    Thanks for the history lesson Misha. I always enjoy WWII history.
    LC NCLivingBrit sez:

    Have we not considered that each and every one of this and almost every nations greatest dishonoured, tragedies and horrors is caused by someone with a political agenda?

    It is so true, livingbrit. Too true. Those G-ddamn selfish politicians.

  19. LC FIAR Comment by LC FIAR

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    Wow. Just contrast the will of the Danish soldiers against such insurmountable odds against the British seamen who surrendered without firing a shot.

    It makes me disheartened for what we do in the name of “peace” these days.

  20. BigDogg Comment by BigDogg

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    “the spineless behavior of the Danish government gave birth to the Danish Home Guard, a standing force of tens of thousands of trained and equipped citizen soldiers, capable of mobilizing in a matter of hours due to their equipment being in their personal possession off as well as on duty, and instructed to fight no matter what, with or without orders while the regulars mobilized”

    Two things spring to mind when I read this:
    1) Reminds me of our own Minutemen (Revolutionary War era, and current border monitoring); and
    2) Reminds me that we need to fully reinstate our own trained and equipped citizen soldiers, in light of the spineless behavior of our government.

  21. MCPO Airdale Comment by MCPO Airdale

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    Thanks for the history lessons. We’ll file them in the General Military Training (GMT) folder under both “Valor” and “Betrayal”.

  22. BauerPower Comment by BauerPower

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    Well, despite the army’s defeat and their government having treachery in it, the Danish people did STAND UP to the Nazis on several occassions. There were insurrections, the Danes rescued and hid downed Allied Airmen, escaped POWs, and most of their Jewish populace was evacuated before Eichmann and Himmler’s mass deportation orders. And yes, the Danes were savage when it came to offing collaborators. Danes beat, mutilated, shot, and even burned collaborators….good for them.

    I read part of the Time Life Series, call the Third Reich. One volume, Under The Conqueror’s Heal showed the collaborators and Nazi administration, but also documented the Danes, Dutch, and French Resistance. Those were people who fought tooth and nail. The French are hopeless, but thankfully the Dutch and the Danes are holding in on this fight.

    It’s a shame England is taking such a turn. Well, it’s leadership anyway, I bet most of the Brits are sick and tired of the BS. I mean, aren’t these mooselimbs a minority? When did the minority tell the other 80 or more percent what to do? We know when it started here, but when did it hit there?

  23. LC MoMinuteMan Comment by LC MoMinuteMan

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    More April 9th WWII history about battling overwhelming odds before surrender here…

    In March 1942, General MacArthur received orders to escape to Australia and take over as Supreme Allied Commander in the Pacific Theater. He reluctantly left Bataan on March 11th with the proclamation “I shall return.” General Jonathan M. Wainwright, U.S. Army, immediately assumed command of the forces on the island of Corregidor off the southern tip of the Bataan peninsula.

    Major General Edward King commanded the remaining Allied forces on Bataan. While relatively well armed, these forces were living on one quarter the prescribed combat rations and had virtually no available medical supplies. Malnutrition and disease were becoming rampant. Hunger and sickness eventually accomplished what the Allies’ Japanese enemies could not.

    The odds against the American-Filipino troops remaining on Bataan became overwhelming and on April 9, 1942, with face in palm, Maj.Gen. King surrendered all forces on the peninsula. Thousands of prisoners were taken almost immediately by the Japanese. With Allied fighters spread throughout Bataan, it would be days before the word of surrender could reach them all. Many refused to believe that the news of U.S. surrender was real, and some retreated further into the mountains and continued to fight.

  24. LC ShadowFox Comment by LC ShadowFox

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    After a bit of research I’m impressed by the account of Bennike’s and his 1st Company of the 11th Battalion. They weren’t about to take the order to surrender and left to Sweden in order to continue the fight from there.

  25. Unregistered Comment by predator

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    It doesn’t matter what language it is spoken in or what country they hail from.

    “Look what Free Men can do!”

  26. Unregistered Comment by mrbill

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    May God help the descendants of those brave Danish soldiers to resist the Mooselimb barbarian hordes and the EU socialist bastards. They’ll need the help, because apparently the descendants of the WWII-era government inherited their positions in today’s government.