Norwegian SS troops fight off Russian assault

Fight against the common enemy with the Norsk Legion of the Waffen SS - Against Bolshevism.

Bjørn Østring was manning a German defensive position at Urizk on the perimeter of the Leningrad blockade. He was an officer in the Norsk Legion of the Waffen SS, Norwegian volunteers who fought with the Germans. They endured appalling living conditions in the floods of the spring thaw, wading through icy water in their trenches.

As conditions improved their position came under a mass infantry attack, as the Red Army sought to break out. However they had a very well prepared defensive position with well sited machine guns which enabled them to fight off a much larger force:

The other side of the barbed wire, as well as the open area between me and “Rote Ruine” seemed like some sort of “moving carpet” consisting of wounded and killed Russian soldiers. The air was filled with screams, and it was impossible to distinguish any particular orders or commands given by anyone. Throughout this, our closest MG was continuously giving out accurate spurts of fire aimed at the advancing enemy.

This MG was the most important of our defense system. But then I suddenly noticed a changed in its rate of fire. It was clearly experiencing a jam! The closest soldier was sent after Saxlund’s MG, while I ran into the jammed MG’s position.

Here, the shooter already had taken the gun apart and was cleaning it out just as if it was a relaxing practice shooting at the range! I now blessed the hard SS training we had received, which caused us to act somewhat automatic in pressing situations such as this.

Jacob Kynningsrud from Østfold had now crawled up on the bunker roof where was handed hand-grenades from Stener Ulven of Valdres. He removed the pins from the grenades as they were given to Jacob, who in turn would coolly throw them directly at the enemy where he deemed the danger of enemy penetration was highest. The third MG’er of the team was using his K98 rifle and firing without stop. But very soon thereafter the MG was again operational. We had to order Kynningsrud back down to man it as he felt he was doing more damage to the enemy by throwing hand-grenades at them and that Ulven could replace him in case he was hit.

And what had happened? We had been may be 50 men altogether from Per’s and my troop plus some Panzergrenadiers, defending the area that received the main attack, which was around “Rote Ruine.” But we only had 3 dead.

From the Russian side they must have used over 1000 soldiers to storm us in the attack. Since the attacking forces were not the regular forces we had been looking at over the frontline for some time now, they were unable to break through our lines as they seemed completely unaware of our positions and any weaknesses our lines may have had.

To push your own soldiers across the frontlines in this fashion and style that the Russians did should be considered a criminal act against their own troops. The fact that we had stockpiled ammo, and especially hand-grenades and mortar rounds, during the week before the attack, helped us tremendously.

The Russian troops that retreated were met with the machine guns of the Soviet Army’s Security troops. It is unlikely there were any survivors from the attack.

Bjørn Østring full account of The Battle of Urizk 21-22 April 1942 can be found at frontkjemper.com. After the war he was convicted as a traitor and he served time in a Norwegian jail.

Some in the Norsk Legion had volunteered because they wanted to fight the Soviet Army in the defence of Finland but found themselves fighting in the general German campaign in Russia.

Leave a Comment

Earlier in the war:

Later in the war: