Share this article with:
The Panzer Division "Wiking" was a Panzer division recruited from foreign volunteers in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, the Netherlands and Belgium under the command of German officers. During the course of World War II, the division served on the Eastern Front.
After the invasion of Poland in 1939, Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler sought to expand the Waffen-SS with foreign military volunteers for the crusade against Bolshevism. The enrollment began in April 1940 with the creation of two regiments: the Waffen-SS Regiment Nordland (for Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish volunteers), and the Waffen-SS Regiment Westland (for Dutch, and Flemish volunteers).
The Nordic formation, originally organised as the Nordische Division (Nr. 5), was to be made up of Nordic volunteers mixed with ethnic German Waffen-SS personnel. The SS Infantry Regiment Germania of the SS-Verfügungs-Division, which was formed mostly from ethnic Germans, was transferred to help form the nucleus of a new division in late 1940. In December 1940, the new SS motorised formation was to be designated as SS-Division Germania, but after its formative period, the name was changed, to SS-Division Wiking in January 1941. The division was formed around three motorised infantry regiments: Germania, Westland, and Nordland; with the addition of an artillery regiment. Command of the newly formed division was given to Brigadeführer Felix Steiner, the former commander of the Verfügungstruppe SS Regiment Deutschland.
After formation, the division was sent to Heuberg in Germany for training; by April 1941, it was ready for combat. The division was ordered east in mid-May, to take part with Army Group South's advance into the Ukraine during Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union.