The division was the only Waffen-SS unit to fight in the Arctic Circle when it was stationed in Finland and northern Russia between June and November 1941.
It fought in Karelia until the Moscow Armistice in September 1944, at which point it left Finland. It fought in the Operation Nordwind in January 1945, where it suffered heavy losses. In early April 1945, the division was destroyed by the U.S. forces near Budingen, Germany.
The division was formed from the units of the SS-Totenkopfverbände (concentration camp guards) to guard the border with the Soviet Union following the 1940 German occupation of Norway. In the spring of 1941, the newly formed division was moved into positions at Salla in northern Finland with General Nikolaus von Falkenhorst in command.
|6th SS Mountain Division Nord|
Divisional insignia (Hagall rune)
|Active||September 1941 – May 1945|
Throughout the rest of 1942 and through 1943 it remained on the Kestenga front, which was quiet compared to other areas of the Eastern Front. In September 1942, the unit was renamed as the SS Mountain Division Nord. In September 1944 it was ordered to withdraw from Finland, upon the conclusion of a separate armistice between Finland and the Soviet Union.
The division then formed the rear guard for the three German corps withdrawing from Finland in Operation 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. The Norwegian Ski-Battalion unit was then left behind, in accordance with their contracts. They were merged into "SS-und-Schi-Jäger-Polizei-Battalion 506 (mot.) with app. 50% men from different German Police units in South Norway.
The rest of the division was transferred to Germany.
The division briefly refitted in Denmark where its losses were replaced by young Volksdeutsche (ethnic Germans) who had been conscripted into the Waffen-SS and received only a brief training. The division took part in Operation Nordwind in the Low Vosges mountains of southeastern France. By 2 January, part of the division (SS Gebirgs Regiment 12 and 506th Battalion) went into action against the U.S. 45th Infantry Division, attached to 361st Volksgrenadier Division.
For six days the SS men fought in and around the town of Wingen, finally being pushed back by the U.S. forces with most of the battle group killed or captured. On 16 January, the SS Regiment 11 surrounded six companies of the American 157th Infantry Regiment. The American troops were forced to surrender three days later, losing 482 men. Nord advanced for four more days before being stopped by American counterattacks.
ZB vz 53 was a Czechoslovak mg. - Wehrmacht MG-37
The division remained on the western front after the Nordwind offensive, fighting American forces around Trier and Koblenz on the Moselle River in March. By Easter 1945 it numbered about 2,000 soldiers, including stragglers from other units. It still had six howitzers and an assault gun. The division refused to give up, and moved east to re-establish contact with other German units.
However, as it moved, it drew the attention of the US Army by cutting American lines of communication. In early April 1945 over the course of several days the U.S. 71st Division fought a series of meeting engagements with the 6th SS Division Nord. As a result, the division was destroyed; its personnel scattered or captured.
Area of operations
Finland & northern Russia (June 1941 – November 1944)
Norway & Denmark (November 1944 – January 1945)
Western Germany (January 1945 – April 1945)
Austria (April 1945 – May 1945)
June 1941: 10.373
1942 December: 21.247
1943 December: 20.129
1944 June: 19.355
1944 December: 15.000