The division was composed of SS men
used for garrison duties in Norway. It was transferred
to Finnish Lapland prior to Operation
Barbarossa as part of the German XXXVI Corps under
AOK Norwegen. In July 1941 the division took part in
Operation Silberfuchs with the German 169th Division
and the Finnish 6th Division. Due to lack of training
the soldiers were routed in the first attack against
the Soviet forces at Salla.
The division was later attached to
the Finnish III Corps operating in the Kiestinki area.
In September 1942 the division was
renamed as the SS Gebirgs Division "Nord"
(SS Mountain Division "the North") and in
October 1943 finally as the 6th SS Gebirgs Division
In 1944 the division took part in the
Lapland War against Finland.
After pulling out of Finland the division was transferred
to Denmark and later to Germany.
The division surrendered in May 1945 to US forces in
In the early spring of 1941 several
Totenkopfstandarten, comprised of military age members
of the Allgemeine-SS were transferred to Norway for
garrison duty. SS-Kampfgruppe Nord (mot.) was formed
from Totenkopfstandarten 6 and 7 (and, temporairily
Totenkopfstandarten 9 in the late summer of 1941) as
well as other units. The kampfgruppe participated in
Operation "Silberfuchs" (Silver Fox), the
liberation of part of Soviet-occupied Finland and the
invasion of the Soviet Karelia. Inadequately trained,
the unit suffered an inauspicious beginning with its
defeat and rout at Salla in summer 1941. However, after
being retrained under the tutelage of Finnish infantry,
and repopulated with younger, more fit soldiers in the
Waffen-SS replacement system, the unit performed well
from 1942 on, often working in close conjunction with
the Germany Army's 7th Mountain Division.
Later upgraded to a mountain division,
Nord fought 1,214 consecutive days in the sub-artic
taiga against the Soviets from July 1 1941 - 1944. One
of the division elite components was the SS-Freiwilligen-Schikompanie
Norwegen - a volunteer unit of Norwegians, Swedes and
Danish expert skiers under Gust Jonassen used for ambushes
and patrols. The division only departed when the German
20th Mountain Army was forced to withdraw from Karelia
upon the conclusion of a separate armistice between
the Finns and the Soviets in September 1944. The 6th
SS Gebirgs Division then formed the rear guard for the
three German corps withdrawing from Finland in "Operation
Birke" (Birch) and from September to November 1944,
marched 1,600 kilometers to Mo-I-Rana, Norway, where
it entrained for the southern end of the country.
After crossing the Skaggerak in a
naval convoy, the division briefly refitted in Denmark
before entraining again for commitment on its next mission
in Operation Nordwind in the Low Vosges mountains of
It then fought primarily in the Vosges and in the Saar-Moselle
triangle during the remaining months of the war.
Chronological history of SS Division
· February 1941: Feb 24 (28?):
SS-Kampfgruppe Nord formed in Norway from German Totenkopfstandarten
6 & 7. Some recruits possibly from Konzentrationslager
guards as well.
· April - May 1941: Kampfgruppe
guards Norwegian coastline at Kirkenes & Vardö
· June 1941: Kampfgruppe assigned
to Army Group North; unit strength: 8,048? - 10,573?.
Brigadeführer Demenhuber replaces Brigadeführer
Herrmann in command of SS-Nord. 6 days later, Herrmann
announces to headquarters that Nord is unfit for combat
due to lack of training and requests 2-3 additional
months for training before committing to combat. General
der Kavallerie Hans Feige, CO of XXXVI Corps, denies
request and assures Herrmann that his men's high morale
and firm determination will overcome their military
· June 10: Units begin to arrive
· June 17: Unit upgraded to
a motorized division; begin advancing towards Soviet
· June 22: Operation Barbarossa
- Germany invades the Soviet
· July 1941: July 1: Operation
"Silver Fox" - German & Finnish units
liberate Soviet-occupied Finland and invade Soviet Karelia.
SS-Nord assigned to German "Norway Army" with
unit strength: 9,505. Assault on Soviet positions at
Salla, after 2 attacks in which 5 SS battalions are
skewered, the Soviets counterattack. Soldiers of the
SS-Nord panic, abandon their weapons and run from the
battlefield, suffering 86 killed, 232 wounded and 147
missing. The "Rout at Salla" becomes evidence
for Heer officers that racial and ideological paragons
do not automatically make good soldiers - only adequate
training and preparation does. SS-Nord eventually rallies
and participates in the failed drive to interdict the
Murmansk railway at Louhi.
· July-Sept. 1941: Division
assumes positions on the Kiestinki-Louhi road; small
units broken up for retraining under the operational
command of Finnish General Siilasvuo, the only instance
of a Waffen-SS division with German troops under the
tactical command of a German ally (although the Finns
probably would have called themselves "co-belligerents!")
· August 1941: Nord suffers
from heavy casualties due to combat and dysentery. Division
receives 700 replacements; fortunately for Nord they
are well-trained Waffen-SS troops.
· September 1941: Unit name
changed to SS-Division Nord; upgraded to division all
units returned to divisional command.
· November 1941: Division participates
in last major drive to interdict Murmansk railway by
· Dec 1941 -Sept 44: Participates
in static combat along the Kiestinki-Louhi road, conducting
long range patrols, raids and defense against multiple
· January 1942: Jan. 15: reconstituted
unit as SS-Gebirgs-Division* new elements of unit to
form in Germany.
· June 1942: June 17: upgraded
to Gebirgs division.*
- The decision to turn Nord into a
mountain division may have been made in January but
executed in June.
· August 1942: returns to Finland
· September 1942: Division redesignated
SS-Gebirgs-Division Nord Waffen-SS Norwegian freiwilligen.
Gust Jonassen begins to form elite ski unit.
· Feb 1943: SS-Freiwilligen-Schikompanie
Norge (Waffen-SS SS-Schijäger unit) attached to
· July 1943: Waffen-SS SS-Schijäger
CO Jonassen KIA
· October 1943: Some divisional
officers transferred to 13th Waffen-Gebirgs Division
der SS (kroatische Nr 1) Handschar
· Oct 22: Redesignated 6th SS-Gebirgs-Division
Nord. Collaborationist force Norwegian Police Company
#2 assigned to Skijäger unit
· January 1944: Waffen-SS SS-Schijägers
expanded to battalion strength
· February 1944: Assault Gun
Battalion transferred to 18th SS Freiwilligen-Panzergrenadier
Division Horst Wessel
· March-April 1944: Collaborationist
force Norwegian Police Company #2 withdrawn, replaced
by 150-man #3 unit, which also operates under the Skijägers
· June 1944: June 25: Soviet
attack; Norwegian ski volunteers suffers heavy losses
(135 out of 300), Kaprolat; survivors are posted to
SS-Polizei-Grenadier-Batallion (mot) 506.
· Sept - November 1944: Finland
concludes separate armistice with the USSR. Division
conducts rearguard action for withdrawing 20th Mountain
Army. Skirmishes with some Finnish units during its
1,600 km road march to Norway.
· December 1944: In transit,
Norway - Denmark - Germany.
· January 1945: Combat Operation
"Nordwind" - the last German offensive of
the west. SS-Kampfgruppe Schreiber (elements of SS-Gebirgsjäger-Regiment
12) attached to 361st Volksgrenadier Division, infiltrates
through US VI Corps lines and seizes Wingen-sur-Mer
in anticipation of armored reinforcement from Army Group
G. Due to the failure of XIII SS-Armeekorps to break
through US XV Corps units, Army Group G diverts panzers
elsewhere. Unit troops at Wingen-sur-Mer must fight
their way out of encirclement. Kampfgruppe "Wingen"
loses over 500 men out of 725, but fights its way back
to German lines. Remainder of division arrives too late
to affect outcome of Nordwind, but SS-Gebirgsjäger-Regiment
11 cuts off & destroys six companies of the US 157th
Infantry Regiment north of Reipertswiller in late January.
· Feb 1945: Division engaged
in patrolling and defensive operations in the Low Vosges
· March 1945: Division transferred
to Saar-Moselle triangle. Defensive combat against elements
of US Third Army.
· March 16: Combat Pfaffenheck
and Buchholz against a company from the US 90th Division
and a platoon from the US 712th Tank Battalion
· April 1945: Retreats past
Worms, Boppard, across the Rhine and deep into Germany...
· May 1945: SS Division Nord surrenders to US
troops in Bavaria
· Brigadeführer Karl Herrmann
02/1941 - 05/1941
· Obergruppenführer Karl-Maria
Demelhuber 05/1941 - 04/1942
· Obergruppenführer Matthias
Kleinheisterkamp 04/1942; 06/1942 - 10/1943
· Oberführer Hans Scheider
04/1942 - 06/1942
· Gruppenführer Lothar
· Obergruppenführer Friedrich-Wilhelm
Krüger 10/1943 - 08/1944
· Brigadeführer Gustav
· Gruppenführer Karl Brenner
09/1944 - 04/1945
· Standartenführer Franz
Schreiber 04/1945 - 05/1945