Denmark experienced relatively little disruption during the German occupation. Germany had captured Denmark to use its airfields in the invasion of Norway, and to prevent Britain seizing Denmark, rather than for any desire to integrate Denmark into Reich. Danish authorities had surrendered quickly, resulting in very little loss of life or damage. Only a single aircraft was shot down in the invasion, a Fokker C.V that was just getting airborne as German Bf 110 fighters swept over the airbase.
Once captured, Germany had had very little interest in Denmark; leaving the King and parliament in country and in control, even having the Danish military still in uniform. The most notable issue for the military was that all aircraft construction at both the naval and army works was suspended, with production lines of both Fairey P.4/34 and Fokker G.I “Wasp” halted before either had completed an aircraft.
With the departure of German forces from Denmark, Britain returned control of Iceland and the Faeroe Islands to Copenhagen. Rapidly aircraft production was recommenced; with the run of 12 Orlogsværftet LM.I aircraft, the Danish production name for the P4/34, completed by August. Likewise work was restarted on the 12 Fokkers, named the Flyverkorpsets IV R, and with their construction not having reached the advanced stage of the L.M.I’s they were only completed by December.
Looking at the results of the war for themselves and the Low Countries, the Danish government determined that neither a defensive nor offensive military served any purpose to protect a small country with large bellicose neighbours. Sovereignty could only be guaranteed by the adoption of a stance making their independence too important to be violated. As such Denmark disbanded all military combat formations, and instead focused on adopting a policy of Search, Rescue and Protection, from Greenland to the Baltic, calling the new service the Redningsvæsenet.
The L.M.I’s were problematic in the Redningsvæsenet. As a combat type, they no longer fitted within the Danish context, and as a potential export, there were no buyers after the disastrous showing of the Fairey Battles in May. They were grudgingly accepted into the Rescue Service, and with the completion of the airfield at Reykjavik, stationed in Iceland for search and policing over the North Atlantic.
The IV R was a different story, becoming a successful export for Denmark. The Fokker G.I acquitted itself well in the Battle Of The Netherlands, and after the Armistice the outstanding orders placed with the Dutch were still waiting to be filled. With Fokker now committed to redesigning the G.I for the tropical requirements of the NEI, Denmark received additional licences to continue producing the “Wasp” aircraft. Once an agreement had been made for the supply of Twin Wasp engines the production line was reopened with aircraft being sold to (in production order); Finland, Sweden and Spain.
Initially the reconstituted Danish Redningsvæsenet was equipped with German He 59D rescue aircraft. These war-surplus machines were adequate for coastal rescue work, but were inappropriate for the envisioned role of operations into the North Sea and North Atlantic. Trying to take a neutral path between the major states, Denmark approached The Netherlands to purchase Dornier Do 24 flying boats for the role. Aviolanda did not have the capacity, but Dornier’s Swiss subsidiary entered in to negotiations with American suppliers to acquire engines to recommence production.
In addition to commencing construction on the airfield at Reykjavik, the British had also started design work for an airfield on Vágar in the Faroe Islands. With assistance from Britain work on the Faroese airfield was commenced, to allow an airlink service from the Danish mainland through to Iceland.
The Focke-Wulf Condor that had been impounded in Britain in the wake of the German invasion was flown back to Denmark, and with the establishment of an air service through to Iceland an additional airliner was required. Focke-Wulf was approached for a pressurised D-series Condor. German design work on the pressurised Condor for the Dutch had been halted by war needs, and Focke-Wulf could not commit to the availability of a pressurised airliner. Keeping a strict neutrality, British manufacturers had been simultaneously approached, and Short Brothers jumped at the chance to save their S.32 airliner from scrapping. Although the S.32 had not flown, 2 prototypes had been constructed before the project had been placed on hold with the changing priorities of the British war effort. By early August the S.32 had made its first flight, and by November when civil aerodrome facilities had been constructed at Reykjavik the first weekly airliner service from Copenhagen via Scotland (as the Faroese airfield was still in construction) was started.