On April 7 and 8 the order that Hitler had signed on April 1 and masterminded by Grand Admiral Raeder, unfolded as most of the German surface fleet sailed from North German ports. Departure times were staggered to enable the ships to arrive at their allotted ports simultaneously. Already anchored up in Stavanger, Narvik and Trondheim were German freighters with troops and equipment concealed in their holds. The invasion force was organised into six groups;
Narvik: Ten destroyers, the battle-cruisers ‘Scharnhorst’ and ‘Gneisenau’, and 2,000 troops.
Trondheim: Heavy cruiser ‘Hipper’, 4 destroyers and 1,700 troops.
Bergen: 2 light cruisers ‘Köln’ and ‘Königsberg’, the training cruiser ‘Bremse’, several small craft, and 1,900 troops.
Arendal A light cruiser, three torpedo boats a flotilla of MTB’s and parent ship ‘Tsingtau.’
Oslo: ‘Blucher’, ‘Lützow’, the light cruiser ‘Emden’ and 2,000 troops.
Egersund: Four minesweepers with 150 men.
In addition, a support group comprising 15 merchantmen and three oil tankers carried extra troops, supplies, vehicles and fuel. Only one of the oil tankers got through and many of the support craft were sunk or delayed.