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(Freiwilligen Legion Norwegen)

“Den Norske Legion”, hereinafter abbreviated “DNL”, was formed on the 29th June 1941 by order of Joseph Terboven, and their first recruiting rally was held in Oslo on the 4th July 1941. 

Originally, this unit was promised to be a fully Norwegian one, with Norwegian uniforms, weapons, language and officers. Of course, this illusion never came true.
The main purpose of this formation was to join the Finnish forces in their fight against the Russians, and many saw this to be the start of a new National Norwegian army. Finland has always had a special position in the Norwegian hearts, so at least 2000 volunteered, many of these were ex-Norwegian officers, NCO´s and soldiers. Actually, 500 out of a total of 1500 pre-war Norwegian officers volunteered to DNL.

The first commander, Finn Hannibal Kjelstrup, left DNL on the 1st December 1941, as he adamantly refused the Legion to be a part of the German OOB.
Jørgen Bakke, who also resigned, on the 15th December 1941 after only two weeks, succeeded him.

Finally, Major Arthur Quist, became the commander of “Den Norske Legion”.

The uniforms used were standard SS, but most men used the Norwegian Lion instead of the SS runes. Members of NS wore the Raven and St.Olav Cross on the sleeve, and all men also wore a Norwegian flag on the upper arm. The German decals on the helmets were usually removed.

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The main purpose of DNL was to fight in Finland, but this never happened. In December 41, 1900 men had volunteered; however of the 900-1000 accepted, about 20 were more than 50 years of age! 

DNL was organized as a reinforced battalion, and according to the ex-SS Sturmbannführer Frode Halle, the total strength after basic training was about 700 men. Most officers were Norwegians, and many saw this unit as the real beginning of a New Norwegian national army.
DNL consisted of three infantry companies, a heavy weapons company, an anti-tank company and a war reporters company. A replacement battalion, formed in Norway by the German officer Heinrich Petersen, never reached DNL.

The first battalion was called “Viken”, and the other planned battalions were named “Gula” and “Frosta”. As it turned out, they were never formed.
Many of the volunteers did not accept the strong German influence, and left DNL – especially after it turned out that they were to participate in the siege of Leningrad instead of going to Finland. DNL was never; as seen by the Germans, a first class combat battalion, but it was suited to the static warfare in the trenches by Leningrad.
Fighting in trenches can also get quite hard, as it did in DNL´s sector – they surely had to suffer their losses…

DNL arrived in the Leningrad sector in late February 1942, and took up positions south of the city, at Puskin. A few days later DNL dug in at Krassnoe Selo, about 13 km westwards. DNL came under the administration of the 2. SS-Infanterie-Brigade. (Latvian volunteers)

In May 1942 The 14th (PAK) company of DNL was moved to Konstantinovka (now named Golorowo), about 3 km north of Krassnoe Selo, and the other companies to Urizk for rest, since they had seen hard combat, and needed replacements. DNL returned to the front lines in June 1942.

In February 1943 DNL found itself engaged in more heavy fighting, as the second Battle of Lake Lagoda took place. The 14 Panzerjaeger kompanie, which was detached to the Spanish 250 Infanterie Division, was engaged in fighting the Russian offensive at Mga, close to Krasny Bor. The commander of 2.SS-Infanterie-Brigade, SS Ogruf. Friedrich Jeckeln, praised the Norwegian anti-tank gunners, now equipped with 7,5cm PAK38 anti-tank guns instead of the 3.7cm PAK35/36.

DNL remained in Leningrad until spring 43, and had at least 180 casualties. 
Back in Norway, both the N.S party and “Germanske SS Norge” (GSSN) had severe problems in maintaining their organizations, since so many prominent members served at the front. 

“1.SS und Polizeikompanie” was soon attached to DNL.
This company was lead by GSSN chief, and Police minister Jonas Lie. It served with DNL in 1942-43. Its strength was about 160 men. It was withdrawn in March 1943.

In late March 1943, DNL was disbanded, but the bad experiences in the co-operation with the Germans, caused severe problems with the recruiting of Norwegian volunteers later, in fact for the rest of the war. Most survivors, who wanted to continue fighting, joined “23. SS-PzGren-Rgt “Norge” (Norw.Frwg.1)

Strength

August 1941 700 men
December 1941 1.218 men
March 1942 1.150 men
May 1942 600 men
December 1942 1.000 men
January 1943 678 men
May 1943 600 men

Commanders

Finn Hannibal Kjelstrup 
Jørgen Bakke 
Arthur Quist
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Arthur Quist
Company Commanders

1st Company: Olaf Lindvig, later the German officers Radbruch and Ziegler

2nd Company: Karsten Sveen

3rd Company: Jørgen Braseth, later P.T. Sandborg

4th Heavy Company: Ragnar Berg (KIA), later Njaal Reppen

14th PAK-Company: Finn Finson

A fifth company was planned, and this was to be led by Ustuf. Rolf Wirum, who formerly was platoon commander of 4th platoon / 4th company. This was however never to get properly formed, and the men were scattered among the other companies.

The general staff of “Den norske Legion”, July 1941, in Oslo (administrative):

Leader:  Col. Finn H. Kjelstrup
Adjutant:  Lt. Tor Marstrander

Main Staff chief: Maj. Hans Petter L`Orange 
Adjutant:  Lt. Trygve John Johansen 

I. Organisation dept.:
   Capt. Erling Søvik
   Capt. Brun
   Dagfinn Carlsen
   Capt. Per Carlson
   Maj. Arthur Qvist
   1.Lt. Bernt Anker

II. Personell dept.: 
   Capt. Kaare Vagn Knudsen
   Capt. Brynjulf Gottenborg
   Secretary Bjørnstad
   Lt.Col. Gabriel
   Faye Holmboe
   Lt. Svendsen
   1.Lt. Sverre Kjelstrup

III. Supplies dept.: 
   Capt. Eilif Guldberg
   Capt. Arne Flekstad
   Secretary Bang
   Secretary Jensen
   1.Lt. Sjuls

IV. Informations dept:
   Maj. Arne Tellefsen
   1.Lt. Waaler
   1.Lt. Gudem Larsen

V. Womans dept.:
   Capt. Rolf Falk-Muus
   Mrs. Martin
   Mrs. Seliger
   (Aud Fritzner joined later)

Archives: 
   Lt. Peder Ellingsen Bae
   Ass. Welzien
Propaganda leader.: 
   Walter Fürst
Medical leader.: 
   Capt. Reidar Folkmann Schaaning
Clothing dept: 
   Maj. Carl Oscar Carlson
   Adjoint Lt. Quamme
Cashier: 
   Lt. Stabæk
Revision: 
   Lt.Col. Brynjulf Wesenberg
Leader Østlandet: 
   Col. Sundlo
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I. Personel office: Maj. Andreas V. Thue
II. Budget office: Col. Arnold Løchen
III. Naval office: Maj. Sem-Jacobsem

Bjørn Jervås is one of the major contributors to this site, and has written many articles for other ww2 sites.


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Norwegian volunters in the wehrmacht and Waffen-SS (Nuav)
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6. SS-Gebirgsdivision "Nord"(Nuav)
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Nasjonal Samling (Nuav)
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History of the Norwegian SS (Nuav)
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Iron Cross 1.class awarded to Norwegians (Nuav)


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