Den Norske Legion (as it was known in Norwegian) was formed 29 June 1941 and it was promised that it would be a Norwegian unit with Norwegian officers, uniforms and language, but these promises was soon broken.
The Norwegians volunteered to fight in Finland but were instead sent to the front near Leningrad where they arrived in February 1942. The legion remained near Leningrad until it was disbanded March 1943.
The Legion suffered more than 160 killed, and many were injured. The Russians captured a few, and a handful are known to have deserted. More than 400 volunteered for the new "23. Panser-Grenader-Regiment Norge" (23. Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment Norge) of the Nordland division.

Commanders

Finn Hanibal Kjelstrup (29 June 1941 - 1 Dec 1941)
Jorgen Bakke (1 Dec 1941 - 15 Dec 1941)
Arthur Quist (15 Dec 1941 - ? Mar 1943)

For shorter periods, these were stand-ins: Kapt. Henrik Brun, Leg. Hstuf Ragnar Berg, Leg. Hstuf Klingenberg, Leg. Hstuf Gottenborg, Leg. Hstuf Helmut Rahn, Leg. Hstuf Jonas Lie, Leg. Hstuf Finn Finson and Leg. Ostuf Frode Halle.

Officers

Medical staff
- Ostuf August Ingier, Ostuf Omdahl and dentist John Asphaug
PK-unit
- Leader: Uscha Breien
- Kriegsberichter: Rttf Bjarne Sem, Uscha Karl Holter, Strm Holmung (driver), ?Cranner, Rttf. Ulf Tur (photographer) , Oscha Finn Holst Eines, ? Christiansen, Strm Finn Wigforss (combat artist), ? Pinne, ? Furum, Oscha Oscar Bang, Oscha Ulf Breien, Oscha Hermann Brodtkorb, Oscha Mandrup Rokne, Oscha Olav Østerås
1 Kp
- Ustuf Olaf Tryggve Lindvig, Ostuf Dieter Radbruch (German), Hstuf Friedrich Ziegler (German), Ustuf Sophus Kahrs, Ostuf Hans Georg Holter, Hstuf Henrik Natvig Bruun (left the legion in Fallingbostel Sept. 1941), Hstuf Frode Halle (from summer 1942)
2 Kp
- Ustuf Karsten Sveen, Hstuf Frithjof Sverre Wraal (left the legion in Fallingbostel Sept. 1941)
3 Kp
- Ustuf John Braset, Ostuf Peter Thomas Sandborg, Ustuf Rolf Ravn Virum, Hstuf Aslak Rønning Nesheim (deserted to Swden in 1942), Ustuf Einar Høve (KIA 14/2-43)
4 Schw.Kp
- Hstuf Ragnar Berg (until 16/4-42), Ustuf Njaal Reppen
(The planned 5 Kp)
- Ustuf Rolf Ravn Virum (according to one source, Tor Marstrander according to other)
14 Kp (PaK)
- Hstuf Finn Finson, Ustuf Kaare Opsahl
Police Company (Den norske legions politikompani or Politikompaniet in Norwegian)
- Hstuf Jonas Lie, Hstuf Jørgenvåg
Platoon Commanders
- Ustuf Bjørn Østring, Ustuf Charles Westberg, Arnfinn Vik, Oscha Odd Meidell Ljungberg, Ustuf Jørgen Høve, Ustuf Harald Hervik, Uscha Haug, Uscha Per Meidell, Hscha Lundemo (far from complete)

Manpower strength

Manpower strength (officers/NCOs/privates) (25 Aug 1941)
Germans 11/15/25
Norwegians 20/50/681
1. Kompani 1/4/184
2. Kompani 3/20/167
3. Kompani 1/12/60
4. Kompani 5/2/190
Btl. Stab 8/10/58
Rgt.Stab 2/2/22

Manpower strength (officers/NCOs/privates) (1 Dec 1941)
1. Kompanie 1/38/141
2. Kompanie 4/23/165
3. Kompanie 0/0/0
4. Kompanie 5/31/124
14. Kompanie 2/28/117
Btl. Stab 4/13/63
Ers.Kp 11/12/117
P.K. 0/2/18

Manpower strength (officers/NCOs/privates) (3 Feb 1942)
German Stab 10/35/31 (71 Germans, 1 Volksdeutsche, 3 Danes, 1 Norwegian)
Stab 14/23/145 (all Norwegians)
1. Kompanie 1/30/125 (all Norwegians)
2. Kompanie 3/33/134 (all Norwegians)
14. Kompanie 2/29/104 (134 Norwegians, 1 other nationality)
4. Kompanie 5/33/123 (all Norwegians)

Order of battle (1 Jan 1942)

Btl. Stab:
- Kommandeur: Leg. Stubaf. Quist
- Adjutant: Leg. Ustuf Braseth
- Ordonnanzoffz.: Leg. Ustuf. Waldemarsen
1. Infanterie Kompanie
- Kp. Chef: Leg. Ustuf Lindvig
2. Infanterie Kompanie
- Kp. Chef: Leg. Ostuf Sveen
3. Infanterie Kompanie
- Kp. Chef: Leg. Hstuf Aslak Rønning Nesheim
4. Infanterie Kompanie
- Leg. Hstuf Berg
14. Panzerjäger Kompanie
- Kp. Chef: Leg. Hstuf. Finnson
(the OOB changed rapidly, and all companies and platoons had many different commanders)

Feldpost numbers

FPN 45084 - German staff
FPN 45086 - Stab I and 1-4. Kp (30 July 1941 - 28 Feb 1942)
FPN 45086 - Stab had "A" from 1.3.42, 1 kp: "B", 2 kp: "C", 3 kp: "F", 4 kp: "E", 14 Kp: "D" (1 Mar 1942 - 7 Sep 1942)

Insignia

There were two versions of the cufftitles worn: one early with white lettering "Den norske Legion" on black backing, the most known is the German issued "Frw. Leg. Norwegen", that some wore at the front.

German SS runes were worn on the collar patches, but there were two kinds of embroidered Lions for NCOs and privates, as well as embroidered and metal lions for officers. The Legion staff wore two Legion Lions on their collars, and the Police company wore 2 Police Lions, or in many cases just black collars.

Members of Nasjonal Samling (the Norwegian Nazi party) wore the hird insignia in silver on black patch worn on the underarm.

During recruit training, a Norwegian rectangular flag was worn.

Arthur Qust wearing special lion collar tabs and the Nasjonal Samling badge
quist-arthur
(Courtesy of Gary)

Norwegian volunteer, note the Nasjonal Samling badge and Frontkjempermerket (Norwegian Frontfighter Medal) on the breast pocket
wss-legion-norwegen-badges
(Courtesy of Peder)

Kriegsberichter Finn Wigforss
wigforss-finn
(Courtesy of Bjørn Jervås)

Soldiers of Freiwilligen Legion Norwegen taking the oath
legion-norwegen-oath
(Courtesy of Gary)

Norwegian volunteers being sworn in with the banner of the "Viken Bataljon"
wss-legion-norwegen-viken
(Courtesy of Narodowe Archiwum Cyfrowe)

Soldiers of Freiwilligen Legion Norwegen in 1941
legion-norwegen-1941
(Courtesy of Bundesarchiv/Wikimedia, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 Germany)

Soldiers of the Legion interrogating Soviet prisoners
legion-norwegen-prisoners

(Courtesy of Bundesarchiv/Wikimedia, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3 0 Germany)


flag-de-no-legion flag-de-no-legion-politi
(Courtesy of Wikimedia)

Propaganda & Culture

Lyrics to the song Budstikka gikk.

Budstikka gikk fra mann til mann.
Kjemp for ditt kjære fedreland.
Stans ikke før du bolsjevismen har slått.
Kampens banner er rødt, hvitt og blått.

Her kommer gutta i Den norske Legion,
fremad på marsj mot målet.
Marsjen går lett, for det er Viken bataljon.
Vi har viljer så harde som stålet.

Til kamp mot den fare som truer fra øst,
mot den pest som vil herje vårt land,
går vi syngende fram og gir hjemmene trøst.
Vi har korstogets glød alle mann.

Her kommer gutta i den Norske Legion.
Beredt til å verne vårt fedreland.


Lyrics to the song Kamerat, vi marsjerer, it was sung to the melody of Kamerad, wir marschieren im Westen.

Kamerat vi marsjerer mot målet,
vi til kamp for vår sak står parat.
Våre viljer er harde som stålet.
Giv akt, unge hirdkamerat.

Fremad gå på, gå på!

Aldri tilbake, fremad vi må,
marsjerer vi syngende mann etter mann,
marsjerer vi, marsjerer vi, for folk og fedreland.

Aldri glemmer vi hva de gjorde,
de som førte vårt folk mot dets død.
Kun med Quisling, vår Fører ved roret,
kan vi redde vårt folk fra dets nød.

Fremad gå på, gå på!

Aldri tilbake, fremad vi må,
marsjerer vi syngende mann etter mann,
marsjerer vi, marsjerer vi, for folk og fedreland.

Og når stormklokken atter oss maner,
fram til kamp, Vidkun Quislings soldat!
Løft så høyt våre rødgule faner.
Heil og sæl unge Hirdkamerat!

Fremad gå på, gå på!

Aldri tilbake, fremad vi må,
marsjerer vi syngende mann etter mann,
marsjerer vi, marsjerer vi, for folk og fedreland.


Recruitment posters

("With the Waffen-SS and the Norwegian Legion against the common enemy, Against Bolshevism!" / "Northenerns, Fight for Norway, sign up at ...")
propaganda-legion-no-1 propaganda-legion-no-2
(Courtesy of Ola)

In fiction

The 2000 crime novel "The Redbreast" (original title Norwegian title "Redstrupe") by Jo Nesbø includes a backstory dealing with Norwegian volunteers on the Eastern Front.

In the 2002 comic "Hellboy: Conqueror Worm" written and drawn by Mike Mignola a recruitment poster aimed at Norwegian volunteers is seen.

Sources used

Research by Bjørn Jervås
Christopher Ailsby - Hitler's Renegades: Foreign nationals in the service of the Third Reich
John R. Angolia - Cloth insignia of the SS
Dr. K-G Klietmann - Die Waffen-SS: eine Dokumentation
George H. Stein - The Waffen-SS: Hitler's Elite Guard at War 1939-1945
Frank Thayer - The Norwegian SS volunteers (in The Military Advisor, Vol 11 No 1)
Frank Thayer - SS Foreign volunteer collar insignia and their reporductions (in The Military Advisor, Vol 4 No 2)
Gordon Williamson & Thomas McGuirl - German military cuffbands 1784-present

Reference material on this unit

Sven T. Arneberg - Legionærene: Nordmenn i skyttergravskrig ved Leningrad 1942-43 (Thorsrud Lokalhistorisk Forlag, Lillehammer 2004)
Richard Landwehr - Frontfighters: the Norwegian Volunteer Legion of the Waffen-SS, 1941-1943
Bjørn Lindstad - Den frivillige: en norsk frontkjemper forteller sin historie
Erik Norling - De Los Fiordos A Las Estepas: La Legion SS Noruega En El Frente Del Este 1941-1943
Vegard Sæther - "En av oss" Norske frontkjempere i krig og fred
Derek M. Schei & Geir Brenden - Norske krigsfrivillige på tysk side (2 vol)
Egil Ulateig & Geir Brenden - Nordmennene på Østfronten
Egil Ulateig - Veien Mot Undergangen: Historien Om De Norske Frontkjemperne
Eirik Veum & Geir Brenden - De som falt: Nordmenn drept i tysk krigstjeneste
? - Legionsminner (published in 1943)

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