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Norwegian Legion
Den Norske Legion, Freiwilligen-Legion Norwegen
Norske Legion1.jpg
Standard of Den Norske Legion
Active 29 June 1941 (1941-06-29) — March 1943
Disbanded March 1943
Country  Norway
Allegiance Germany Nazi-Germany
Branch Waffen-SS
Type Infantry
Size Around 1000
Engagements Siege of Leningrad
Commanders
SS-Obersturmbannführer Arthur Qvist

Members of the Norwegian Legion in Russia, summer 1942.

During World War II, the Norwegian Legion (Norwegian language: Den Norske Legion, German language: Freiwilligen-Legion Norwegen) was formed by the Waffen-SS on 29 June 1941 in German-occupied Norway. Volunteers were assured that it would be a Norwegian unit with Norwegian officers, uniforms and language and that its area of operations would be Finland. Instead, the Norwegians were deployed to Russia though, taking part in the fighting on the Leningrad front. This was done by the Germans to avoid reinforcing any Norwegian territorial claims to the Kola peninsula and the Finnish Petsamo region, which were desired by the Quisling regime.[1] Initially, Quisling hoped to deploy over 30 000 Norwegian legionaries to Finnish Lapland, but this was rejected by both the Germans and the Finns.[2]

Coming under the control of the 2 SS Infantry Brigade, the Norwegians occupied positions at Krasnoye Selo near Pushkin in February 1942. For the next two months the Legion took part in the siege warfare around Leningrad. In May 1942, the Legion was withdrawn for a rest, returning to the front line in June 1942. It again became involved in major combat in February 1943, as the Red Army mounted an offensive across Lake Ladoga. The Legion left the front in the spring of 1943, having suffered over a 180 casualties in a year. During that period it had been reinforced by the 1 SS and Police Company under the command of the head of the Norwegian Allgemeine-SS, Jonas Lie.

The Legion was disbanded in March 1943. Relations between the Norwegians and the Germans had not been good — a problem common to most of the Legions fighting on the Eastern Front. Legionnaires returned to Norway with little good to say about the Germans, which caused the SS some difficulty when it tried to recruit Norwegians later in the war. Most survivors of the Legion who wanted to continue fighting were transferred to the 23 SS-Panzergrenadier Regiment Norge, one of the regiments of the newly formed 11th SS Volunteer Panzergrenadier Division Nordland.

Commanders[]

  • Legion-Sturmbannfuhrer Finn Kjelstrup (June 1941-1 December 1941)
  • Legion-Sturmbannfuhrer Jorgen Bakke (December 1941-15 December 1941)
  • SS-Obersturmbannfuhrer Arthur Qvist[3] (December 1941-March 1943)

References[]

  1. Boog, Horst (1998). Germany and the Second World War: The attack on the Soviet Union. Oxford University Press. p. 1018. ISBN 0-19-822886-4. 
  2. Hitlerin Saksa ja sen vapaaehtoisliikkeet, p. 121, Mauno Jokipii, 2002, Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura ISBN 951-746-335-9 [1] (in Finnish)
  3. "Nordmenn i Waffen-SS 1941-1945" (in Norwegian). frontkjemper.info. http://www.frontkjemper.info/show_person.php?P_ID=116. 

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