By Bjørn Jervås
During the war, there was formed a rather special and unique unit, which served with the US Army. This unit, named ”99th Battalion (separate) was to participate in an upcoming Norwegian campaign.
This is their story….

On the 9th May, 1942, the american War Department issued an order to the Commanding General, Ground Forces, starting with:

”1. It is desired that you take the necessary steps to organize at the earliest practicable date a battalion of Norwegian nationals to serve as part of the US Army.

2. This unit will be organized as an Infantry Battalion. (..)”

All men who were transferred, or volunteered, to the 99th battalion, had to know how to speak norwegian, and many originated from the ”norwegian” areas in Minnesota. Only a very few had actually ever been to Norway, but as many as 950 men of Norwegian heritage started their basic education at Camp Ripley, Minnesota.

(The original purpose of 99th, was to participate in ”Operation Plough” – the concept of advanced sabotage actions in Norway, and men from this unit were the only americans ever to operate on Norwegian soil during WW 2. That particular operation was ”Operation Rype” in the Tröndelag area. The "Rype" group consisted of 15 men, and they were transported in two groups. The first group, however, jumped out over Swedish territory, and got interned for a period.
This operation, main target: the railway, took place during the autumn of 1944, and consisted of a group of saboteurs led by Major William Colby. They stayed in the border areas between Norway and Sweden until the liberation of Norway.
The ”Rype” group is also known for an incident which took place on the 2nd May, 1945, when they caught a German patrol consisting of 1 Leutnant with 4 men. The Germans were executed a few hours later, after having been forced to dig their own graves.) 

The 99th Battalion was to consist of a mixture of infantry,- parachute,- and mountaineer specialists, and their insignia was a shield with a Viking ship, in the Norwegian national colors red, white and blue.

After basic training, the battalion got mountain specialist training at Camp Hale in Colorado, partially by Norwegian instructors. It is believed from American sources, that this unit got the best winter warfare education ever given in the US Army.

In 1944, 99th was sent to the UK, and were to participate in the invasion of France. Shortly, these are the Battles that they were engaged in: The Normandy Campaign, The North France Campaign, the Battles at Würzeln / Aachen, and the Battle of the Bulge. About 300 men were killed or heavily injured, and these were replaced by new ”norwegians”.

In may 1945, the 99th finally arrived in Norway, and needless to say, this must have been a very special moment for the 2nd and 3rd generation Norwegians. They stayed in the Oslo – Drammen area, and their task was guard duties during the repatriation of the 375 000 Germans.
In October, they were sent to the US, and arrived in Boston late that month. However, more than 50 men came home with a new Norwegian wife. The Battalion was disbanded shortly after.

In Norway: soldiers of the 99th sending liberated 
russian POWs back to soviet

The 99th Battalion (separate) teoretically belonged to the 474th Infantry Regiment, first being sub coordinated to 2nd Armored Division, later 30th Infantry Division, XIX corps. (XVIII Airborne corps from January 1945) 

Facts of 99th Battalion (Separate) – US Army


April Orders given to create the unit ”Formation of a Norwegian unit” by Lt.Col. Goodfellow
10th. July 99th get basic training at ”Camp Ripley”, Minnesota
September Unit deployed to ”Fort Snelling”, Minnesota, for a short period.
17th December 99th get specialised mountain training at ”Camp Hale”, Colorado. Many of the instructors are officers from the Royal Norwegian Army.


24th August 99th get orders to move to New York by train.
27th August Unit deployed to ”Camp Shanks”, New York. Waiting to get shipped to Europe.
5th September Unit embarks the steamer ”S/S Mexico”; the ship leaves from Hoboken, N.Y.
16th September 99th Battalion arrives in Scotland, UK.
17th September 99th stay at Perham Downs Camp, located between Salisbury and Andover.
 The time is used for hard exercises.


January 99th move to Wales, Glenusk Park Camp. This is close to the small towns of Crickhowell and Abergavenny.
April Group to guard 1. Army HQ, Bristol.
1st May Ludly, Hereford
10th June Uffculme, Plymouth
17th June 99th leave by ship, heading for France.
21st June 99th disembark at Omaha Beach.
22nd June Unit is in ”Transit area 3”, Colombieres, France.
29th June St. Joseph by Cherbourg
8th July Hau de Haut
25th July Exercises in the ”H d H” – area
11th August Buais
14th August Attached to 2. Army Division
20th August Toreuvre
22nd August Beit
23rd August Cesseville
25th August 99th are now south of Elbeuf engaged in heavy combat.
26th August St. Croix de Martin
30th August Villers
31st August Dreucourt
6th September Mons (Belgium)
8th September Valenciennes
14th September Mechelen (without the A, B and D companies; these crossed the Willens vaart channel.)
28th September Eupen
30th September Montzen
12th October Marienberg
16th October Wurzeln; Germany. 99th engaged in heavy fighting
24th October 99th get relieved by 116th and 117th I.R, 30th Division. Losses so far: 28 KIA, 25 WIA and 4 LIA.
1st November Henri Chapelle
25th November Tillf
17th December Malmédy. 99th get involved in the German offensive, the Battle of the Bulge.
Actually, since many of the men spoke bad english, they were arrested by the Americans who thought they were Germans.
19th December Northwest of Malmédy, the B Company is in the town itself. 99th are ”captured” in Malmédy for 32 days, surrounded by SS forces.


18th January Tilff
2nd January Unit leaves Tilff
25th January Arrive at Berneville
2nd April Unit arrives at Aachen
11th April Herzfeld
21st April Heroldsbach
13th May 99th return to France
14th May Aschaffenberg
15th May Verdun
16th May Duclair (by Rouen)
29th May Le Havre
30th May 99th leave for Norway
4th June Drammen, Norway
5th June Oslo
15th October 99th leave for USA.
1st November 99th arrive in Boston


The Normandy Campaign 22.06.44 – 24.07.44
The North France Campaign 25.07.44 – 14.09.44
The Rhine Campaign 15.09.44 – 16.12.44
The Ardenne-Alsace Campaign 17.12.44 – 18.01.45

Listen to veteran Thor Krog telling about the 99th in a radio programme broadcasted in the US, june 1943!
Real media, From the series "Spirit of the Vikings"

Individual decorations and medals
Silver Stars: 15
Bronze Stars: 20
Purple Heart: 305
Good Conduct: 763
Combat Infantry Badge: 814

Total time in combat:  101 days
Killed in action: 52
Wounded in action: 207
Lost in action: 6 
Article by Bjørn Jervås

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