11th SS "Nordland" Division

A World War II Living History Organization depicting the Norwegian volunteers that fought on the Eastern Front

Nordland: A Brief History

The SS-Standarte Nordland was established within a week of the occupation of Norway and Denmark, so young men from these two counties could train for police duties in their respective Homelands.  The Norwegians received training in Austria.  In January 1941, recruitment intensified for the Nordland Regiment.  These volunteers were mainly devout Anti-Communist who saw the Red Menace as a reality.  An ominous threat to their Homeland and way of life.  Stalin's unprovoked attack on Finland had angered the Norwegians, thus they joined the 'Crusade Against Bolshevism'.  In February 1941 Germania, Nordland, Westland Regiments were incorporated to form the 5th SS 'Wiking'.  Nordland as part of Wiking took part in the start of 'Operation Barbrossa' the invasion of Russia.  In June of 1941 Nordland took part in the fighting in the Uman pocket.  July 8,1941 Wiking's HQ at Toratsch was overrun, Nordland and Germania were engaged in bitter fighting.

On September 6-7, Nordland along with Westland and Germania captured the heights at Kamenka, seizing over 5,000 Soviet prisoners. Then, in February-March of 1943, Nordland was withdrawn from Wiking to form the 11th. SS Freiwilligen Panzergrenadier Division Nordland. Nordland carried the widest range of nationalities to be found in any single Waffen-SS division. After training in Croatia in January of 1944, it was attached to Army Group North on the eastern front in an attempt to prevent the Soviet breakout of the siege of Leningrad. It was then used as a rear guard in the grueling two week retreat of the III Panzer Corps, to the city of Narva, in Estonia. Nordland then took a very active part in the famous "Battle of the European SS" in and around Narva. During this fighting, Nordland suffered heavy casualties from taking part in several hand-to-hand actions. Nordland lost all of their tanks and armored fighting vehicles and had to fight on as infantry. In September of 1944, after a four day force march, the division arrived from Narva to Riga where its arrival stopped the encirclement of the German 13th. Army. Nordland then withdrew into the Courland Pocket, and from there, it was evacuated to Germany. Nordland saw heavy fighting around Danzig, Settin, and Stargard. Finally, the division was ordered to the defense of Berlin on April 14, 1945. There, the division fought its last battle, from which few survived.

The 11th. SS Nordland was a full strength, well equipped unit which included the 11th. Panzer Abteilung "Hermann von Salza". It acquired a total of thirty Knights Crosses, awarded to its members.