6th Division (Norway)

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6th Division
Active 1940 – 1 August 2009
Country  Norway
Branch Norwegian Army
Garrison/HQ Heggelia, Norway
Battle honours

World War II

Disbanded 1 August 2009
Commanders
Last Commander Major general Kjell Grandhagen
Notable
commanders
General Carl Gustav Fleischer

The 6th Division is a former military unit of Norway.

History[edit]

The pinnacle of this division's service was during World War II, during the German invasion of Norway. It was commanded by General Carl Gustav Fleischer,[1] who was one of the King of Norway's favourite military officers. His division was one of the few Norwegian military commands that was battle ready on 9 April 1940 when the Germans invaded. With help from British, French, and Polish forces, 6th Division were able to recapture the city of Narvik, during what became known as the Battle of Narvik.[2]

The Germans took the city at the beginning of the battle, but it was retaken 28 May, in what became known as the first major victory for the Allies in World War II. However, the successful German attack on France forced the Allied task force to evacuate, which they did in June. As a result of the withdrawal of allied air and naval support the Norwegians were forced to lay down their arms and demobilize.

In one of the most controversial episodes in history of Norway's role in World War II General Fleischer ended his life in 1942, after being sent to Canada as the Norwegian military attaché, a role that was basically a demotion.

After the demobilisation, 6th Division was disbanded. However, when Norway was liberated in 1945, the division was immediately re-established. One long-term consequence of the action at Narvik was the close cooperation between the British military and Norwegian Army, along with close cooperation with France's alpine forces. During the Cold War the division fought in no conflicts. After the end of the Cold War the 6th was re-organized in 2002, as part of an overall reform of the Norwegian military.

Final organisation[edit]

In its peace-time organisation, 6th Division consisted of approximately 1,200 commissioned and non-commissioned officers (COs and NCOs), with approximately 3,000 enlisted soldiers and 200 civilian support staff. In wartime, its numbers could exceed 12,000 in total.

Being the only division in the Norwegian Army, the 6th utilised a wide range of modern combat equipment. Its heaviest weapons included Leopard 2A4NO MBTs, CV9030 IFVs and modernized M109A3GN howitzers. The infantry use Bv206 tracked all-terrain vehicles, snowmobiles and light off-road vehicles. Their airlifting capabilities were provided by the Tactical Helicopter Group of the Royal Norwegian Air Force, which is stationed at Bardufoss. The division's motto is "Styrke for fred, evne til strid", or "Strength for peace, capability for war".

Subsidiary units[edit]

  • Brigade Nord - Mechanised infantry brigade including armoured and artillery battalions.
  • 6th Brigade - Light infantry reserve brigade.
  • Army Ranger Command.
  • Border Guard Battalion.
  • Intelligence & EW Battalion.
  • Home Guard - Although technically a separate branch from the Army, all Home Guard districts are under the 6th Division mobile Command.

The 6th division also included a number of support functions such as engineering and NBC units. The 6th Division was disbanded on 1 August 2009.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lunde, (2010), p. 132.
  2. ^ Mann & Jörgensen, 2003, p. 59.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Henrik O. Lunde (2010). Hitler's Pre-Emptive War: The Battle for Norway, 1940. Casemate Publishers. ISBN 1-935149-33-4. 
  • Chris Mann; Christer Jörgensen (2003). Hitler's Arctic War: the German campaigns in Norway, Finland, and the USSR, 1940-1945. MacMillan. ISBN 0-312-31100-1.