Norwegian uniforms & equipment 1940
by Bjorn Jervaas.

The Norwegian army and navy was certainly not prepared for war. The 125 former years of peace, had brought the country to a trance like state when dealing with military matters.
Most soldiers had a 84 days long basic training, but some even less. There was no real NCO corps, since NCO´s as a profession had been abolished in the early ´30s. After attending a NCO school, lasting from 1 – 4 years, the men served as Sergeants for one year only. Most were then transferred to the reserve as ”Fenrik” (1. Lt)

Both army and navy were mostly equipped with obsolete weapons and equipment. The uniforms, however, were of good quality, and suited the Norwegian terrain and climate very well.
Brown leather belts with straps and ammo pouches were used, together with a gas mask in cloth bag. A big green rucksack was also common.

The uniform was grey-green (almost bluish), and there were 3 basic kinds of tunic:

Service tunic

Single breasted w/ stand & fly collar piped in red, fly front, breast & side pockets with rounded flaps, round cuffs piped in red, and no shoulder straps.

Winter tunic

Looser fitting, patch pockets sewn on outside.

Summer tunic

Lightweight cotton duck anorak.

Thick woolen socks and good quality ankle boots were used.

Service head dress was a stiff kepi, with black leather peak & chin strap, and lace of braid according to rank. A cocarde of the National colors, red, white and blue, was in front.
The most common head-dress during the invasion, was the ”Finnmarkslue”, a soft field cap with matching peak and ear flaps piped in red, which fastened at the side of the cap with a button and cloth cocarde.
However, during the first days of the invasion, many had only a few uniform items, quite vigilante like.
Steel helmets were rarely worn, the army had the Swedish M1921 helmet, adopted as M/1931. It had an oval stamped badge bearing he Norwegian Lion stamped to the front. Some branches, like artillery and cavalry used the British ”Tommy” helmet, also with badge.

Official photo of Norwegian soldiers in Gudbrandsdal. 
Most of them is equipped with the Krag Jorgensen rifle.

Norway had no anti-tank weapons, sub-machine guns, nor hand grenades or land mines.
The Anti-aircraft artillery was scarce and obsolete. The few field guns were mostly 7,5 cm howitzers or 6,5 cm mountain cannons..

Norwegians have a long time tradition for being hunters or performing shooting as a sport, so most were quite familiar with the Krag-Jorgensen rifle, 6,5 m.m. A good weapon, but had it's weaknesses too. Introduced in 1894. Good precision weapon, but needed to be properly used and maintained. Bayonets were used whenever available, and scopes were not unusual.

Automatic weapons
Only a few men were educated on these, so in many cases the officers had to function as MG-men.

Official photo of Norwegians manning a water cooled machine gun

Light Machine Gun

The Danish Madsen M/22 6,5 m.m. was the standard machine gun. Slightly modified in the early 1930´s. Low rate of fire, but quite effective. Magazine fed. Many were used by the Germans after the Norwegian surrender.

Heavy Machine Gun

Colt M/29, 7,92 m.m. Good weapon, but water cooled, and this caused problems during the winter and cold weather.
Belt fed, used on a tripod, and also on an AA mount, but as it turned out, it was not effective against flying targets. A few Hotchkisses were also used.


A few 60 m.m. and some 81 m.m M/34 (M/37) were used.
Norwegian Ranks 1940:
Menig* Utskrevet menig
Korporal  Utskrevet kvartermester
Sersjant Kvartermester
Fenrik Utskrevet fenrik
Loeytnant Loeytnant
Kaptein* Kapteinloeytnant
Major Orlogskaptein
Oberstloeytnant Kommandoerkaptein
Oberst Kommandoer
Generalmajor Kontreadmiral
Generallöytnant Viseadmiral
General Admiral

In Norway, the NCO cops was abolished in the 30’s. A sergeant had one year at a Sergeant school, and served as sergeant for one year only after that.

Menig: Flying units called it ”Flysoldat”, the Cavalry called it ”Dragon”

Kaptein: The cavalry used ”Rittmester”

NCO’s:  One vertical or two horizontal red lace stripes on the cuffs, and one or two vertical lace stripes on the kepi. (one – korporal, two – sersjant)

Coy officers: One to three five pointed silver stars on the tunic collar and greatcoat shoulder straps, and one wide lace, and from one to three narrow braid, stripes on the kepi.

Field officers: One to three five pointed silver stars and a row of lace on the tunic collar and greatcoat shoulder straps, and one wide lace, and from one to three narrow braid, stripes on the kepi

Generals: One to three five pointed silver stars and wide gold lace on the tunic collar, and one narrow and from one to three gold lace stripes on the kepi.

Arms-of-service was identified by the color and design of the buttons as follows:

Generals Gold Crossed batons
General staff Gold Crossed batons
Infantry Silver Norwegian Lion
Cavalry Silver Horn
Artillery Gold Rosette
Engineers Silver Helmet and breast plate
Train Gold Wagon wheel
Tropp (Platoon)
2 officers / sergeants w/ 36 men, 4 LMG`s
Kompani (Company)
9 officers / sergeants w/ 108 men, 12 LMG`s
Bataljon (Batallion)
50-60 officers / sergeants w/ 800 men
(3 rifle companies, coy 1,2, and 3, 1 HMG company, coy 4)
Brigade (Brigade) (about 6000 men)
Brigade staff
Infantry batallions (4)
Artillery Batallion
Engineers Batallion
Bicycle Batallion

Car Company
Amunition Company
Horse Company
Medics Company
Veterinary Company
Field Hospital

Bjorn Jervaas is one of the major contributors to this site,
and have written many articles for other ww2 sites.

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