Operation Karlshafen

(German town)

'Karkshafen' was the German descent on Kristiansand in southern Norway by the ships of Kapitän Friedrich Rieve’s Gruppe IV within 'Weserübung' (9 April 1940).

The light cruiser Karlsruhe, the torpedo boats Greif, Luchs and Seeadler, seven S-boote and their tender Tsingtau transported 1,100 men of the headquarters, 1/310th Regiment and 9th Kompanie of the 310th Regiment of Generalmajor Erwin Engelbrecht’s 163rd Division as well as other units (234th Fahrradkompanie, a naval signals platoon, and the crews of two coastal artillery batteries), to Kristiansand.

This was one of the two population centres, of which the other was Stavanger, in the area garrisoned by the 7th and 8th Regiments of Generalmajor Einar Liljedahl’s Norwegian 3rd Division. In the course of a two-hour engagement, the guns of the Odderøya fortress at Kristiansand offered a stiff resistance to the German invasion, the defenders twice repulsing the landing and also damaging Karlsruhe and nearly causing the cruiser to run aground.

A state of major Norwegian confusion then followed after the Norwegians had received the order not to fire on British and French ships approaching the city, and the Germans began to exploit their seizure of the Norwegian codes. The Germans used the opportunity thus offered to enter the harbour and unload their troops, who had captured the town by 11.00.

During her return to Germany during the evening of the same day with three of the torpedo boats, Karlsruhe was attacked by the British submarine Truant off Kristiansand, taking two torpedoes, one of which disabled both engines. The cruiser’s crew was picked up by the torpedo boat Greif, which then sent the crippled cruiser to the bottom with two torpedoes at 22.50.