The SS Division “Nord” was a German army unit of the Waffen-SS. It was formed as SS-Kampfgruppe “Nord” in February 1941 in Norway but it was turned into a division in September 1941.
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 “Nord”.
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 Bavaria. All images come from the excellent forum www.warrelics.eu make sure you check them out!
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.