|This Division was formed in December, 1940. Initially, the Division wascalled Germania but the title of the unit was changed to Wiking in January,1941. In February, a Finnish Volunteer unit was raised and attached to theDivision (For more about this specific foreign unit, please look under thesection on German foreign units in the section on Finland). Training forthe Division took part at Truppen-Ubungsplatz Heuberg. The Divisionwas ready for action in April, 1941.|
Wiking first saw action as a part of Army Group South fighting forTarnopolin Galacia on June 29th, 1941. In August, 1941, the Division fought on theDnieper River in attempts to establish a bridgehead. Soon after, theDivision moved through Dnepropetrovsk and on to Rostov. In the Winter of1941, the Division moved back to the line of the Mius River where is spentthe Winter months.
When the Germans launched offensives in the Spring and Summer of 1942,Wikingfought into and through the Caucasus region, pushing very far South. Wikingstayed in the Caucasus region until the Spring of 1943.
In the Wiking Division, as was common with many Divisions, elements wereadded and removed many times throughout its existance. the NordlandRegiment was removed to help establish another Waffen SS Division, aswere elements of the Division that contained Scandinavian members. Also,Narwa, an Estonian unit, was transfered to the Division and then removed in1944.
In October, 1943, the Division was renamed as a full Panzer Division.In the Summer and Fall of 1943, the Division fought in defensive operationsin the Area of Kharkov and the Dnieper River. When the Soviets launchedtheir massive offensive against the German Army Group Center in June, 1944,Wiking was one of many Divisions that was trapped in numerous pockets thatwere created as the Soviets rushed Westward towards the Reich. Wiking wastrapped in the Cherkassy Pockets, and being the only Panzer unit inthat pocket, sprearheaded an attempt to break out. At the time, anindependant foreign formation, Wallonien, was a part of Wiking. Althoughthe Divisision managed to break out, it lost all it Armor and a great dealof equipment and personnel while doing so.
The remaining men and equipement that managed to survive the CherkassyPocket were formed into a Kampfgruppe that was soon transfered to Polandand amaglamatd into a reformed 5.SS-Panzer-Division “Wiking”. At the sametime that Wiking was reformed, the Soviets had pushed all the way to theVistula River and to Warsaw in Poland. Wiking took part in the desperateattempts along with the 3.ss.Panzer-Division “Totenkopf” and the Heer19.Panzer-Division to stem the Soviet advance. Wiking helped to push theSoviets out of Warsaw and back across the Vistula River where the Frontstabilized until January, 1945.
Wiking was pulled from Warsaw in December, 1944, and transfered south forthe attempted break-through to Budapest to rescuse 45,000 trapped Germanslocated in that City. Wiking pushed forward for two weeks, but could not reachthe city against massive Soviet strenght and resources. Wiking then foughtto the West of Budapest in more defensive operations, moving into the areaof Czechoslovakia, where the Division surrendered to the Soviets in May,1945.
The Wiking Division was well known not only for being a fierceand bitter fighting unit, but because a great number of its members werenot German, but were foreign volunteers from many other Western andNorthern European Countries. The following listings is a generalbreak-down of the foreigners in the ranks of Wiking.
Holland: 631 Dutchman were reported in the Westland InfantryRegiment in June, 1941.
Flanders (Flemish Speaking Belgium): Members of this area werefound mainly in the Westland Infantry Regiment.
Norway: 294 Norwegians were reported in the Division on June 22,1941, in the Nordland Infantry Regiment. According to some, another unitwas made up of Norwegian members, the SS Freiwilligen Panzer GrenadierAbteilung, but others state that it was a part of Regiment Nordland, andnot independent.
Denmark: 216 Danes were reported in the Nordland Infantry Regimentin June, 1941. Another Danish unit was reported to have been formedcalled Danmark which may have been a special unit.
Switzerland: Conflicting information gives the Swiss contributionto this Division as being either a single individual, while anotherrecords the level at 800.
Finland: 421 Finns were in the Division in 1941, and the Finish Volunteer Battalion was added in 1942.
Sweden: Varying numbers of Swedes are said to have served in theDivision.
Estonia: Estonians served in the SS Panzer Grenadier AbteilungNarwa.
Wallonia: (French speaking Belgium)- Wallonian membes served in thess Strumbrigade Wallonien.
Volksdeutsche: Some divisional replacements were drawn fromVolkdeutsche in the Balkans region, and a few other locations.
|Obergruppenführer Felix Steiner, 12.01.40 – 5.01.43|
Obergruppenführer Herbert Gille, 5.01.43 – 8.06.44
Oberführer Edmund Deisenhofer, 8.06.44 – 8.??.44
Standartenführer Rudulf Mühlenkamp, 8.??.44 – 10.09.44
Oberführer Karl Ullrich, 10.09.44 – 5.05.45