The battle of Narvik – Facts wall

Narvik War Museum presents the exhibition ‘The battle of Narvik – Facts vs Fiction’

The movie ‘The battle of Narvik’ is inspired by real events – the German attack on Norway in 1940 and the war that followed.
Some of the events of ‘The battle of Narvik’ never actually took place, and not all of the characters of the movie are real. Several historical events and persons are joined together to create a kind of order of a chaotic time. Nevertheless, the movie reflects events and happenings as experienced both by local population and soldiers in 1940.

The Narvik War and Peace Centre works with documentation, research, and education about the North Norwegian WW2 history. We have contributed with advice and input during the movie production. This exhibition contains our views on some of the choices made by the moviemakers. You will encounter a traffic light model:

These are facts

This is fiction

This is somewhere in between

Welcome to the “The Battle of Narvik – Facts vs. Fiction” exhibition!

Historical photo: Narvik War Museum/ Imperial War Museum
Photos from the movie: Nordisk Film
Stills: Eirik Linder Aspeland/ Nordisk Film


1940 The Preamble

1940 The Preamble
During the winter 1940, tensions grew between the warring parties over control of the Norwegian coast. Narvik was an important port of the desirable Swedish iron ore.

Norwegian troops were mobilised as neutrality guards in winter 1940, but no one was prepared for an invasion. The British mined the shipping lanes of the Ofot fjord on April 8th. By then, German war ships were already underway to Norway.

Fiction: Escalation
Gunnar Tofte arrives in his hometown Narvik as a neutrality guard. At the hotel the German and the British consuls listen to the mayor’s speech about the iron ore shipping.

April 9th

German Invasion

April 9th German invasion
German destroyers avoided the mined lanes, and sunk the two Norwegian battle ships, Eidsvold and Norge, which were on neutrality guard by Narvik. 282 men perished. The local chief, colonel Konrad Sundlo, surrendered Narvik to the Germans without fight. The Germans then landed in Bjerkvik and seized the Norwegian military depot. This gave them access to arms and uniforms.

Fiction: The Germans arrive
German troops land in Narvik. Gunnar’s unit manages to get out of town. Ingrid and little Ole try to get away too but run into problems.

April 10th - 13th

Naval battles

April 10th – April 13th Naval battles
The British navy attacked the German war ships anchored up by Narvik. Three days later, the British sunk the rest of the German flotilla in the Ofot fjord. The Allied control of the seas isolated the Germans from the rest of the invasion force in Trøndelag and southern Norway. Norwegian troops halted the German attempt at advancing farther north from Narvik.

Fiction: Lives at risk
The Norwegian soldiers are about to blow up the Norddal bridge but are engaged by the enemy. Ingrid and Ole find themselves in a dangerous situation.

April 14th - 24th

Additional preparations

April 14th – April 24th Additional Preparations
Norwegian troops attempted to blow up the Norddal bridge along the Ofoten line. The Allies established their headquarters in Harstad. The first British troops were neither trained nor equipped for mountain warfare. On April 16th, the Germans took control of the railway between Narvik and the Swedish border. They established a defensive line in the mountains to the north, and along the southern bord of the city. Meanwhile, North Norwegian troops mobilised for a counterattack.

Fiction: Under pressure
While Gunnar’s fate is uncertain, Ingrid continues working at the hotel. She is under increasing pressure both from friends and enemies.

April - May


April – May Warfare
The North Norwegian troops staged a counteroffensive to push the Germans back. French and Polish troops arrived on the Narvik front to take part in the battle. The German attack on France from May 10th, onwards, turned into a complete crisis for the Allies. They started assessing the value of Narvik, quickly concluding that it had lesser value.

Fiction: Mountain battle
French and Norwegian forces fight against German positions in the mountains. In Narvik, British shells have dramatic consequences for the Tofte family.

May 28th


May 28th Reconquest
On May 24th, the Allies decided to withdraw all their troops from Norway. To cover their retreat, they were to complete the reconquest of Narvik first. Early on May 28th, French and Norwegian soldiers landed at Orneset north-east of Narvik after a hasty crossing from the Øyjord peninsula. Polish soldiers attacked from the southern front. Norwegian troops entered the city in the afternoon.

Fiction: To Narvik
Gunnar is given a key role in the reconquest of Narvik. When Ingrid and Gunnar meet again, many rumours are circulating about what has happened.

May 29th - June 10th

The decision

May 29th – June 10th The Decision
German bombers laid Narvik in ruins in the days after the reconquest. Norwegian authorities were not informed about the Allied withdrawal until June 1st. By then, significant German forces were on their way to Narvik from the south. The Norwegian soldiers, who had continued chasing the Germans in the mountains, were told to lay down their arms on June 8th.  A capitulation treaty was signed two days later.

Fiction: Now what?
The enemy is still in the mountains as German planes begin bombing Narvik. Ingrid and Ole must get out of town. But what about Gunnar?