(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.
who also resigned, on the 15th December 1941 after only two weeks, succeeded
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.
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
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
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
Fighting in trenches can also
get quite hard, as it did in DNL´s sector – they surely had to suffer
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
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)
Finn Hannibal Kjelstrup
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.
Adjutant: Lt. Tor Marstrander
Main Staff chief: Maj. Hans
Adjutant: Lt. Trygve
I. Organisation dept.:
Capt. Per Carlson
II. Personell dept.:
III. Supplies dept.:
Capt. Arne Flekstad
IV. Informations dept:
Maj. Arne Tellefsen
V. Womans dept.:
Capt. Rolf Falk-Muus
Lt. Peder Ellingsen
Maj. Carl Oscar
I. Personel office: Maj.
Andreas V. Thue
II. Budget office: Col. Arnold
III. Naval office: Maj. Sem-Jacobsem
Jervås is one of the major contributors
to this site, and has written many articles for other ww2 sites.
volunters in the wehrmacht and Waffen-SS (Nuav)
of the Norwegian SS (Nuav)
Cross 1.class awarded to Norwegians (Nuav)
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