Norway's participation in the war with the USSR. The myth of "joint" struggle
Nov 29, 2020

Norway's participation in the war with the USSR. The myth of "joint" struggle

One of the little – known pages of the great Patriotic war in modern Russia is the participation of Norwegian volunteers in the war with the Soviet Union. Since the invasion on 9 April 1940, Norwegian territory has been under military occupation by the third Reich and the German civil administration in cooperation with the Pro-German government.

After occupying Norway (Danish-Norwegian operation or operation Weserubung - April 9 – June 8, 1940), Berlin solved a number of strategically important tasks for itself. First, it gained a strategically important foothold in Northern Europe, and improved the basing capabilities of the German submarine and surface fleets and air forces. Ice-free Northern ports improved opportunities for operations in the North Atlantic and Arctic ocean. Second, access to Swedish iron ore, which was exported through the Norwegian port of Narvik, was preserved. Third, the Germans pre-empted the Anglo-French invasion and occupation of Norway by enemy troops, which would have worsened the military-strategic and economic situation of the Reich. Fourth, the territory that was subject to Germanization was occupied. Some Norwegians supported this process, joined the collaborationist administration, police formations, people volunteered for the SS, Navy, and German air force.

Norwegians on the side of the Third Reich

It should be noted that the Norwegians were considered by the German military and political leadership as a "Nordic Aryan people", as natural allies in building a "new order" in Europe. In the autumn of 1940, representatives of the Norwegian Nazi movement took the initiative to form Norwegian units in the Armed forces of the Third Reich. This idea was supported by the Norwegian Pro-German government. Vidkun Quisling was the acting Prime Minister of the Norwegian Pro-German government. He stated the following: "Germany didn't ask us, but we feel obligated." According to Quisling and his associates, the participation of Norwegians in the fighting on the side of the Third Reich should have provided them with a privileged position in the "new post-war Europe".

Already on December 5, 1940, the head of the Pro-German government, Quisling, in the capital of the Reich, agreed with the chief of the Reich Chancellery, Reich Minister Hans Heinrich Lammers, and the chief of the General administrative office, Gottlieb Berger, to start forming a Norwegian volunteer unit in the SS. On January 12, 1941, the Norwegian Pro-German government of Norway sent a formal request to Germany to allow Norwegians to serve in SS units. Berlin gave a positive response. On January 13, Quisling radioed the population to enlist as volunteers in the SS Nordland regiment in order to "take part in the war for peace and independence against the world despotism of England." This regiment became part of the 5th SS motorized division "Viking" (later became a Panzer division), and from 1943 became the basis of the 11th SS volunteer Panzer-Grenadier division "Nordland".

On January 28, 1941, two hundred Norwegian volunteers, mostly members of the paramilitary Nazi organization "Druzhina" ("Hird"), in the presence of SS leader Heinrich Himmler, Reichskommissar of Norway Joseph Terboven and Vidkun Quisling, took the oath of allegiance to the "leader of the Germans" Adolf Hitler. When the war with the USSR began, Norwegian volunteers in the Viking division operated in the southern direction-Ukraine, the don, and the North Caucasus. During the retreat-in Poland, Hungary, Austria. Soldiers and officers of the division were participants in war crimes-mass shootings of the Jewish population, for example, in Berdichev, 850 people were captured and killed in just two days, and in Ternopil, 15 thousand (the entire Jewish population). In addition, they shot Soviet prisoners of war and participated in punitive operations against partisans. Norwegian volunteers also fought in the 6th SS mountain division "Nord", which was formed in 1942 (originally as the SS task force" Nord", with a strength of up to a brigade). This division participated in the battles with Soviet troops in the Murmansk direction. Since June 22, 1941, a broad propaganda campaign has been launched in Norway to attract volunteers to the armed forces of the Reich. Recruitment centers were opened in Norwegian cities, where more than 2 thousand people came. By the end of July, the first three hundred volunteers were sent to Kiel, where there were training camps. On August 1, the creation of the "Norway" Legion was officially announced, and two weeks later it included 700 Norwegian volunteers and several dozen Norwegian students who studied in Germany. By October 20, the volunteer Legion had more than 2 thousand people. The first commander of the Norwegian Legion was former Colonel of the Norwegian army, SS sturmbannfuhrer Jorgen Bakke, then he was replaced by former Colonel of the Norwegian army, traveler, SS sturmbannfuhrer Finn Kjelstrup. At the end of 1941, SS sturmbannfuhrer Arthur Quist became the Legion's commander. In February 1942, the Legion was transferred to the Leningrad region. After heavy fighting, the severely thinned Legion was sent to rest in may 1942. In June, the "Norway" Legion was again transferred to the front, and up to 400 people were killed in a month.

Over the following months, the Legion "Norway" was constantly replenished, its number was tried to bring to the regular-in 1,1-1,2 thousand people, but the unit suffered heavy losses, so its number was usually 600-700 Legionnaires. In September 1942, the 1st SS police company was transferred to the Leningrad region, which was formed from Norwegian police officers under the command of SS sturmbannfuhrer Jonas Lee. She took part in the battle of Krasniy Bor (Leningrad region).

In November 1942, Norwegian Legionnaires suffered heavy losses in the battle of Krasnoe Selo (Leningrad region). From the end of February 1943, the 6th SS mountain division "Nord" included the Norwegian police ski company (120 men), its commander was Guste Jenassen. The ski company participated in combat operations in the Murmansk region. In February 1943, the remaining Legionnaires (about 800 men) were combined with the police and reserve companies, and in the spring the Legion was withdrawn from the front and sent to Norway. On April 6, 1943, a parade of the volunteer Legion "Norway"was held in the Norwegian capital. The Legion was then returned to Germany and disbanded in may.

In the early summer of 1943, the ski company was withdrawn from the front to Finland, where it was deployed in a battalion that was named the 6th SS ski (Jaeger) battalion "Norway"with 700 soldiers.

From July 1943, most of the Norwegian volunteers from the disbanded Legion "Norway" continued their service in the Waffen-SS. They joined the SS Grenadier regiment "Norway "as part of the 11th SS motorized division"Nordland". At the end of the summer, this division arrived in Croatia, where it took part in battles with Yugoslav partisans and punitive measures against the civilian population. In November 1943, the 23rd SS regiment "Norway" as part of the 11th SS motorized division was transferred from Yugoslavia to the Eastern front and fought near Leningrad, then in the Baltic States. During the final lifting of the siege of Leningrad, the regiment suffered heavy losses, so the 1st battalion was completely destroyed. In the summer of 1944, the regiment fought fierce defensive battles in the Narva direction. Then it became part of the Kurland group, and in January 1945, the 11th SS division was evacuated from Kurland, it fought in Pomerania, defended Berlin, where it was completely defeated.

In October 1943, the Germans formed the 2nd SS police company (160 strong), led by major Egil Hoel, SS sturmbannfuhrer of the Norwegian police. At the end of 1943, the 2nd SS police company was transferred to Murmansk and included in the 6th SS mountain division "Nord".

In December 1943, the 6th SS guard battalion "Norway" was formed in Oslo to perform guard duty at government facilities and participate in ceremonial events. In January 1944, the 700-strong SS Norway ski (Jaeger) battalion, which was formed in Finland, under the command of SS haupsturmfuhrer Frode Halle, was transferred to the front in the Murmansk region. On July 25-26, 1944, in a battle with the 731st rifle regiment of the red Army near the village of Louhi (Karelia), a detachment consisting of 300 soldiers of the SS ski (Jaeger) battalion "Norway" lost 190 people killed and captured.

In August 1944, the 3rd SS police company was formed with 150 volunteers. The Norwegian SS company arrived on the Eastern front near Murmansk, but the defeat and withdrawal of Finland from the war, which led to the retreat of German troops from its territory, led to the fact that the 3rd police company did not have time to take part in the battles. It was sent back to Norway, and the company was disbanded at the end of the year. At this time, the SS Norway ski (Jaeger) battalion fought Finnish troops at Kuusamo, Rovaniemi and Muonio, covering the withdrawal of German troops from Finland to Norway. In November, the SS ski battalion was transformed into the 506th SS police battalion, and it took part in the fight against Norwegian resistance units. It should be noted that the "Norwegian Resistance" was not marked by anything special, except for several diversions.

In 1941 – 1945, about 6 thousand Norwegian volunteers served in the SS. In total, up to 15 thousand Norwegians fought on the side of the Germans with weapons in their hands, and up to 30 thousand more served in auxiliary organizations and various services. During the battles with the red Army on the Eastern front, more than 1 thousand Norwegian volunteers were killed, and 212 people were captured by the Soviets.

Norwegians in the German Navy, air force, and auxiliary services of the Reich Armed forces

During world war II, approximately 500 Norwegian volunteers served in the German Kriegsmarine. For example, Norwegians, including officers, served in the crews of the battleship Schlesien and the heavy cruiser Lutzow (Deutschland).

At the end of 1941, the Pro-German government of Norway established a Volunteer air corps under the command of the famous Explorer of the North and South poles, pilot Trygve Gran. In the Volunteer corps, young Norwegian Nazis from the "Druzhina" ("Hird") movement learned to fly gliders and jump with a parachute. Then some of them (about 100 people) joined the ground services of the German air force. Only two Norwegians managed to become military pilots, they took part in air battles on the Eastern front. After the German defeat, the corps was disbanded, its members were detained for several months, and Trygve Gran was jailed for a year and a half.

In addition, Norwegians also served in paramilitary construction organizations of the Armed forces of the Third Reich, for example, in the Imperial labor service. The labor service was engaged in the construction of various strategically important objects in the German Empire-roads, fortifications, airfields, port facilities, etc. Norwegians served in the Department of the Imperial labor service-the labor service of Norway, working for one year on the construction of various objects, including military significance, in Germany, France, Italy, and Finland. So, in 1941 – 1942, only in Northern Finland, up to 12 thousand Norwegians took part in the construction of highways in the frontline zone.

Also, at various times, from 20 thousand to 30 thousand Norwegian citizens served in the organization todta (military construction organization), in its division - Task force "Viking". The Viking group was engaged in the construction of military installations in Finland and Norway. The organization was engaged not only in construction work, but also solved military tasks. So, in November 1944, during the retreat of German troops from Finland, sapper units from the" Viking " blew up bridges and tunnels, thus delaying the advancing troops of the Soviet Union and Finnish units now allied to Moscow.

In addition, Norwegian volunteers served in security and transport paramilitary units of the Wehrmacht. The Norwegians were among the external guards of the Schutthof and Mauthausen concentration camps.

During world war II, about 1,000 Norwegian women served in military hospitals of the German Armed forces. At the front, 500 Norwegian women served in field hospitals. One of them is nurse Anna Moxnes, who served in the field hospitals of the 5th SS Panzer division "Viking "and the 11th SS motorized division" Nordland " and became the only foreign woman to be awarded the German Iron Cross II class.

After the end of world war II, Norwegian volunteers were prosecuted. They usually received up to 3.5 years in prison, and were restricted in their civil rights after their release. Those who committed war crimes were executed – 30 Norwegians were sentenced to death.

The creation of the myth of the "joint" fight

After the Second world war, the myth of friendship between the two countries (Russia and Norway) was created and cultivated to this day, which was cemented by the struggle against a common enemy - Hitler's Germany. Every year, on October 22, in celebration of the anniversary of the liberation of the Arctic (during the Petsamo-Kirkenes operation), Norwegian delegations arrive there with prepared materials about the common struggle against Hitler's Nazism.

In reality, the Norwegians "resisted" the Wehrmacht for just over 3 weeks (from April 9 to may 2, 1940). The level of "resistance" of the Norwegian armed forces is clearly indicated by their losses: 1,335 people killed and missing, up to 60 thousand prisoners, i.e. the vast majority preferred to lay down their weapons. After that, the country lived a generally peaceful life, until the end of 1944, when hostilities engulfed the Northern part of Norway. At this time, part of the population actively supported Germany and the Pro-German government. Norwegian volunteers fought against the Soviet Union and helped strengthen the power of the German Empire. An operation was carried out in the country to arrest and deport the Jewish population, and half of these people were killed. There were 114 Newspapers published in the country that participated in the information war against the anti-Hitler coalition and until the first days of may 1945 glorified the great Fuhrer Adolf Hitler and reported on the "atrocities" of the Anglo-Bolshevik coalition.

De facto, the Norwegians took almost no part in the liberation of their homeland. Although some wrote on the walls with phrases like: "Norway for the Norwegians. And let Quisling go to hell." However, we can note the "war" of the Norwegians against their fellow citizens. After the German surrender, 14,000 women who gave birth to German soldiers were arrested, and 5,000 were placed in camps without a court order. All this was accompanied by beatings, rapes, and forced shaving of heads. Up to 8 thousand women were expelled from the country altogether. Children who were born to Germans became "lepers"for many decades. They were deprived of their mothers, harassed in every possible way, tortured, and put in psychiatric clinics. Interestingly, if before the war there was a widespread idea that Norwegians, like Germans, are part of the" Nordic race", then after the defeat of the Third Reich, a medical Commission in 1945 concluded that children from descendants of the German occupiers contain defective genes and pose a danger to Norwegian society.

Already in 1949, Norway, which had just been secretly at war with the Soviet Union, joined another anti - Soviet bloc-the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Even modern Norway has maintained a negative attitude towards Russia – the media are involved in an information war against the Russian state and the Russian people. For Norwegians, Russia is a criminal, racist, aggressive, and extremely undemocratic state. A new wave of dirt hit Russia after the December 2011 elections, and the Norwegian press was simply overflowing with criticism of Russia and offensive cartoons. Prior to this, similar large-scale information campaigns were conducted during the August 2008 war and the Chechen campaigns. I must say that Chechen "refugees", in order to get the desired status of a political refugee, in every possible way poured mud on Russia and its army, inventing the most incredible stories about the war in Chechnya, about "Russian atrocities", "persecution", etc.

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