Danish version:


 You are here: 4Campaigns & Battles4Index4The 2nd World War


 Campaigns & Battles


 Navy News

 Photo Albums

 Historical Time Lines

 The Flag

 The Ships

 Naval Aviation

 Weapons & Systems


 Naval Memorials

 Navy Life & Humour

 Who does What?

Edited and
Designed by:

Johnny E. Balsved


The 2nd World War 1939-1945:

Danish Navy left
without any
military options

The Royal Danish Navy had been decimated up to the outbreak of the second world war and had no chances to protect Danish neutrality.

When the German troops invaded Denmark on April 9, 1940, the navy was ordered not to intervene.

August 29, 1943 became the turning point, where the navy refused to cooperate and scuttled the ships.

The Coast Defense Ship PEDER SKRAM at the Naval Dock Yard August 29, 1943

The Coast Defense Ship PEDER SKRAM at the Naval Dock Yard August 29, 1943.
(Photo from the archives of the Royal Danish Naval Museum)

By Søren Nørby, arts student

In the summer of 1939 the Danish government, in view of the growing tensions in Europe, decided to create a "naval protection force", which was ordered to safeguard Danish waters and the country's neutrality.

For an overview of the protection force, click here.

The navy laid mines in the Belts and the Sound between Denmark and Sweden.

At the end of 1939 mine fields were established in Danish waters,
the picture showing the minelayer LINDORMEN laying mines.
(Photo from the archives of the Royal Danish Naval Museum)

Ships dispersed around Denmark

When the Germans invaded Denmark on April 9, 1940, the government decided not to fight, and the navy was ordered to surrender. Click here for at list of the location of the Danish naval forces on April 9, 1940.

Both the army and the navy were allowed to continue operating despite the German occupation.

One of the tasks the navy was given, was minesweeping in the east-western sea lanes in the Danish waters. The Germans had to sweep the north-south sea lanes.

This division enabled the Danes to maintain, that they were not assisting the German war against Great Britain.

Orlogskutteren K1

The cutter K1, which sank after hitting a mine on the 19th of September 1942.
The only minesweeper lost by the Danish Navy 1940-43.
(Photo from the archives of the Royal Danish Naval Museum)

Handover of 6 torpedo boats

In February, 1941, the Germans requested that the Danish government surrender twelve Danish torpedo boats to the German Navy.

The Danish government gave in to these demands, but in the end the Germans took only the six fairly new torpedo boats "DRAGEN, HVALEN, LAXEN, GLENTEN, HØGEN and ØRNEN", which were handed over - unarmed - to the Germans in February, 1941.

As payment for these boats, the Germans agreed to supply the Naval Dockyard in Copenhagen with materials for the construction of six new torpedo boats.

Some of the promised materials arrived, but since the Danish Navy suspected that the Germans would confiscate the new boats when they were completed, the construction progressed very slowly, and was halted after August 29, 1943.

The turning point - August 29, 1943

The officers in the Royal Danish Navy knew that there was a risk that the Germans would try to seize the navy, and had decided that if this happened the Danish vessels should try to break through to neutral Sweden.

If this proved impossible the order was to scuttle the ships.

Due to increasing tension between the Danish government and public and the German occupation forces, and German fears of the Danish armed forces assisting an allied invasion of Jutland, the German forces decided to take control of the Danish army and navy on August 29th 1943.

The Danish Flotilla

The Danish vessels, which reached Sweden, were in the fall of 1944 incorporated into the newly formed Danish Flotilla.

The flotilla returned to Denmark on May 5th, 1945. The ships brought the Danish Brigade home from Sweden.

A few days later, the Danish Flotilla arrived Copenhagen with the command ship, the patrol boat HAVØRNEN in front, and in this way marked the end of the navy's participation in the 2nd World War.

Den danske Flotille ankommer til København med bevogtningsfartøjet Havkatten i spidsen

The Danish Flotilla with the patrol boat HAVKATTEN in front
arrives Copenhagen in May, 1945.
(Photo from the archives of the Royal Danish Naval Museum)

|To the Top



Da Danmarks Flaade blev sænket, by F. H. Kjølsen, Commander s.g., H. Hagerups Forlag, Copenhagen, 1945


Flådens Oprør, by Per Wessel Tolvig (editor), Marinehistoriske Skrifter, Copenhagen, 1953


Flådens skibe 1950, af R. Steen Steensen, Det Schønbergske Forlag, København, 1950


Flaadens skibe den 29. august 1943, og deres senere skæbne, by R. Steen Steensen, article in "Tidsskrift for Søvæsenet", 1953


Flådens skibe og fartøjer 1945-1995, by Gunnar Olsen and Svenn Storgaard, Marinehistoriske skrifter,  Copenhagen, 1998 (ISBN 87-87720-13-2)


Operation K N U, Den danske flåde 29. august 1943, by Hans Chr. Bjerg, article in "Tidsskrift for Søvæsenet", nr. 1, 1983


Orlogsværftets Særberetning vedrørende Tiden fra 29. august 1943 til 31. marts 1944.


Søværnet og dets personel 1940-45, by Hans Chr. Bjerg, article in "Tidsskrift for Søvæsenet" nr. 1, 1998


Søværnets vilkår og virke under den tyske besættelse april 1940 til august 1943, by S. S. v. F. Kieler, article in "Tidsskrift for Søvæsenet" nr. 1 og 2, 1993


Vore undervandsbåde gennem 50 år (1909-1959), by R. Steen Steensen, Munksgaards forlag, Copenhagen, 1960

44You are also referred to the Naval Bibliography

- Do you miss a major event on this Site,
or do you hold a great story?

Are you able to contribute to the unfolding of the Danish Naval History,
please e-mail me, enclosures are welcome.
Please remember to list your sources.

You can also use the Naval Web Forum on this web-site.

|To the Top



Scuttling the Navy
- August 29, 1943


The attack on the


After August 29, 1943


Attack on


The Navy before 1801


Wars against England (1801-1814)


Reconstructing the Navy (1814-1848)


The 1st Schleswig War (1848-50)


The interim War Years (1850-64)


The 2nd Schleswig War (1864)


The long Period of Peace (1864-1914)


The Navy during the 1st World War (1914-1918)


The Interim Years (1919-1939)


The Navy during the 2nd World War (1939-1945)


The Cold War Period (1945-1989)


The Navy after 1989














MS 8








Flying Corps



This page was last updated: -

This page was first published: October 20, 2002

Copyright © 2013-2016 Johnny E. Balsved - All rights reserved - Privacy Policy