Norwegian Panzers


Norwegian Panzers
by Thorleif Olsson

Norwegian PzKpfw IIIs
Norwegian PzKpfw IIIs

Norwegian PzKpfw III tanks at Trandum, 1949.
In 1948, Norwegians planned to form special military units – Flypasstropp – to protect airfields. The Cold War had begun and Soviet military coup in Norway was expected. Airfields, which were regarded as most vital were to be defended:

  • Gardermoen, Main airfield for the military, near the capitol,
  • Sola, Natural if help are to be received from the west,
  • Værnes, Transit from North to South (Norway).

    It was decided that at least one tank squadron with following infantry was needed. By the time for the creation of these units there were only 17 light M24 Chaffee tanks available in the Norwegian cavalry, provided by the Americans in 1945. In addition, at least 8 tanks were needed for training at the Armored Troops School at Trandum. With the remaining 9 only three troops could be formed. Plans were made on doing this and placing two troops at Gardermoen and one troop at Sola. However, the HQ had Værnes and Bardufoss also in their minds and discussions followed. As it was planned to form tank squadrons within the army, the M24s were kept for these purpose. As a result, men and equipment were not available in sufficient numbers and some 32 ex-German PzKpfw IIIs and StuG IIIs – in Norway referred to as Stridsvogn/Stormkanon KW-III – were collected and repaired at Trandum. Most vehicles had previously belonged to the 15th Panzer Division and many still wore their desert camoflauge. These "interim solution" vehicles had been sabotaged by the British in 1945, as their gun barrels were more or less put out of action. The Stridsvogn KW-IIIs were equipped with 5cm (L/42 and L/60) and 7.5cm (L/24) guns. The StuG IIIs were probably all armed with 7.5cm L/48 guns. Norwegians considered that the 50cm gun didn’t meet the demands and it was decided that a 7.5cm AT gun was to be issued to each unit. The troops were organized in November/December of 1948 and from October 1st of 1949 onwards the Dragoon Regiments in Norway were responsible for these troops, DR1 Tank troop at Sola, Fornebu, DR2 Tank troop at Eggemoen, DR3 Tank troop at Værnes, Bardufoss. The unit at Sola was the first unit to receive a tank troop, a troop which consisted of 3 PzKpfw IIIs, 1 StuG III and another StuG III in reserve.With the American aid, the old KW-IIIs were replaced in 1951, but were still in use simultaineously with the new equipment.

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    Click to see larger image
    Click to see larger image
    Click to see larger image
    Click to see larger image

    "Tobruk Panzerstellung" at Lista in Norway. It is situated right next to ListaLighthouse, at Lista, Vest-Agder, the southernmost part of Norway.
    Photos and info provided by Snorre W Steen.

    For example in 1958, one or more PzKpfw III tanks were used up in firing trials with SS-11 rockets.Another example is one or more PzKpfw IIIs used as targets for engineer exercises at Eggemoen around 1960.

    Single PzKpfw I Ausf A is preserved at the Defence Museum at Åkershus outside Oslo.Also several turrets from PzKpfw 38(t)s and Flammpanzer II Flamingo are preserved as bunkers and pillboxes at Lista.


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