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Frontfighters: The Norwegian Volunteer Legion of the Waffen-SS, 1941-1943
  • by Richard Landwehr
    • Merriam Press Waffen-SS Series
      • First edition 2007
      • Cover painting by Ramiro Bujeiro
      • 202 6x9-inch pages
      • 210 B&W photos
      • 11 illustrations
      • 1 map
Frontfighters is based on the book Legionsminner-Trekk Av Den Norske Legions Historie which was originally assembled by the Norwegian SS War Correspondent E. Jul Christiansen Furum in 1943. The original publisher was Viking Vorlag, Oslo, 1943. The first English language translation of this work was published by Roger Hunt in 1986.
From the original English language edition:
This volume was originally published in Oslo, Norway, in 1943 under the title Legionsminner to commemorate the two-year service of the SS Volunteer Legion “Norwegen” from 1941 to 1943. Distribution was to SS offices and branches, members of the occupation forces, the Norwegian collaboration government and interested individuals of the general public. At the conclusion of hostilities with Germany and the departure from Norway of the occupying military, materials such as this were burned or pulped for newsprint by the reconstituted Norwegian government, and consequently have, over four decades, become extremely scarce.
Much of the interest of a book of this type lies in the view it presents of a facet of the German administration in the occupied countries of Europe during World War II, namely the recruitment of local volunteers for added manpower in the vast enterprise that the campaign in Russia eventually became. This recruitment began with the civil authority (after some SS attempts to recruit directly), but as the war progressed was handled exclusively by the Waffen-SS as the number of units multiplied.
In a textbook I examined employed in the training of German Waffen-SS officer candidates, the role of this military arm of the SS is stated ideally to be "the Avant-Garde of the New Europe." The attention the Legion “Norwegen” received as portrayed in Frontfighters shows clearly that the "European" SS, that is, those SS organizations comprised of members from the occupied countries, were indeed intended to be an avant-garde for the advancement of National Socialist ideology, and more particularly to be an important force in the military confrontation with Soviet communism.
The book’s chronology follows a fairly comprehensive plan, considering the limitations of wartime censorship, and traces the unit through training, transfer to Russia, installation on the Leningrad front, re-assignment to Norway and final disbandment. There is also a veritable showcase of personalities included: Reich Commissioner Josef Terboven, SS General Rediess, Vidkun Quisling, Himmler, Jonas Lie (the Minister of Justice who joined the unit) and various ministers of the collaboration government. All of these individuals, at war’s end, either faced criminal prosecution or committed suicide.
Regarding the original publication, this has been maintained roughly the same throughout, although some of the picture captions have been changed or descriptive material added to give a clearer view of things. It should also be borne in mind that the text appearing in the middle of the book is a translation of the actual combat reports and citations relating to the unit at the time, and not postwar additions. Preceding the original work, Mr. Landwehr’s detailed introduction reveals much previously unknown about the Legion and its successor, the SS Skijäger Battalion "Norge". All the illustrations in this section unless credited otherwise are from his extensive collection of Waffen-SS photos.
Thus a product of wartime propaganda whose original purpose is nearly forgotten, becomes, some decades later, a remarkable sample of military photo journalism when allowed to stand on its own merits.
This entirely new and improved edition has been completely reformatted. The photographs have been enhanced using current computer methods and in most cases quality is better than that in the 1986 edition, and even the original wartime edition.
  • Publisher’s Note
  • Dedication
  • Original Publisher’s Preface
  • Foreword by Vidkun Quisling
  • The SS Volunteer Legion “Norwegen”, 1941-1943 by Richard Landwehr
  • The SS-Skijäger Battalion “Norge”, 1943-1945 by Richard Landwehr
  • The following material is from the original Norwegian wartime book and comprises the bulk of this new edition:
    • Combat and Ideals: A Glimpse of the Saga of the Norwegian Legion
    • Norwegian Spirit
    • Legionnaires
    • Orders
    • The Norwegian Legion in the Field, December 27, 1942: Orders of the New Year
    • Orders of the Day, 19 February 1943
    • Battle-Group Special Orders, 2 March 1943
    • Brigade Special Orders Number 4/43, 2 March 1943
    • Photographs
    • In Memoriam: The Legion’s Dead

    Product Reviews

    (2 Ratings, 2 Reviews) Average Rating:
    John Quist (Delaware, OH) 12/31/2008 2:14 PM
    I have two copies of the original papaerback edition. This new hardcover edition is a tremendous and superior edition! The photos, for the most part, are so much clearer. I am truly enthusiastic about it. (By the way, I am not related to Leg.-Stubaf. Arthur Quist.)
    An excellent title, fascinating insights....
    Scott Shuford (Monrovia, MD) 11/10/2008 7:28 PM
    A fine work on the Norwegian SS volunteer legion from 1941-1943, with fascinating insights into one of the Nordic legions of the Waffen SS. Highly recommended.