Is the movie Narvik a true story?

By Romey Norton
Published: January 25, 2023

Is the movie Narvik a True Story? We discuss the popular Netflix war film and whether it is based on real events.

ilmmakers have told many stories about World War II, each as traumatic and violent as the last. We’re used to films being set in Britain, Germany, France, but as this film is set in Norway, everyone’s asking, is this based on a true story? 

Narvik is the 2022 war film directed by Erik Skjoldbjaerg, about Norway’s involvement in World War II. The story centers around a couple separated by a battle that ends in Adolf Hitler’s first defeat. A Norwegian soldier (Carl Martin Eggesbo) leaves his family to fight the German army while his wife (Kristine Hartgen) is translating for German Nazi soldiers because she speaks German, Norwegian, and English. A fierce film with action from beginning to end, this is a must-watch for any war film fan.

Is the movie Narvik a true story?

While the romance in the film is fictionalized, Narvik is based on a true story and events. The history behind the true story is fascinating. Specifically around how the Norwegian army, with the help of Great Britain and France, defeated Germany to reoccupy Narvik, albeit for a brief period, as this was the first defeat for Hitler. 

In 1939, Great Britain and France were already sending aid to Finland, aiming to affect the iron ore provisioning to Germany. Winston Churchill had a specific plan (Operation Wilfred) to mine Norwegian waters to control ore transports and damage Germany’s iron acquisition.

Due to its strategic location, Norway caught the eye of both Great Britain and Germany. Narvik was a port town and the primary outlet for Swedish ore, so controlling it became critical. Germany wanted to occupy Sweden and the quickest way to do that was through Norway. It didn’t matter that Norway was strictly neutral, both Germany and Great Britain aimed to invade and occupy the land. Great Britain needed to do this to make an impact on Germany’s war efforts. Unfortunately, Germany got there first, and this is where the battle strikes. One of the major downfalls for both countries was their expectation that the locals were not going to fight, but they in fact did. 

Ultimately, there were three battles fought in Narvik involving Norway, Germany, Britain, Poland, and France over the course of two months, both on land and at sea. Due to the weather conditions, Germany was not equipped for this and retreated.

As threats grew all the other countries retreated, the English and the French withdrew from Narvik without consulting the Norwegian government, and on June 8th, 1940, Germany retook Narvik, and the Norwegian army was forced to lay down their weapons. 

The film displays the telling of this story well, with the added tragedy of the husband and wife giving an element that most people can relate to. 

How many German ships were sunk at Narvik?

While the Germans were victorious on land, the British Naval Force took command at sea. The Norwegian troops further posed a danger to the Germans as they destroyed the Nordal bridge. Even after all the setbacks, the Germans held on. 

The battles were at sea and it resulted in ten German destroyers (50 percent of their entire destroyer force), six merchant ships, one submarine, and several support ships being sunk. In exchange, they sank one aircraft carrier, and four Allied destroyers and damaged several others.

Did the British win at Narvik?

The recapture of Narvik on 28 May 1940 was the first major defeat of the war for Nazi Germany, and this battle was the first time that British, French, Polish, and Norwegian forces fought together, and were successful. It’s fair to say that Britain did help massively in recapturing Narvik, and did win the battle of Narvik. 

Who won the battle of Narvik?

Even though it was for a brief period of time, the war of Narvik is considered Hitler’s first defeat. This was a major dent in his plans and will have shaken him and his tactics. Although it was a smaller battle than most, it certainly will have had a huge impact. It’s unfair to say that only one country won this battle, as I think everyone involved played a part in making sure that Germany did not keep Narvik and progress in their war plans. 

However, this was a small victory, as the allies left Norway and headed for the Battle of France, and Germany was able to come back and be victorious in the evacuation of the Norwegian government and royal family Establishment of the Norwegian armed forces in exile.

This is a true symbolic story of how complex World War II was and how countries were finding the best solutions for their own interest. It’s a complex and interesting part of history and the film Narvik is certainly worth the watch to gain an idea of what it could have been like at war during that time. Remember, the film is based on this event and isn’t factual. 

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