By Christopher Miskimon
With Norway occupied by the Third Reich, thousands of Norwegians abroad were without a home and many more who had immigrated to the United States wanted to see their homeland liberated. After initial hesitation the US Army began to form separate infantry battalions for possible service in occupied nations. The 99th Separate Infantry Battalion was activated at Camp Ripley, Minnesota, in July 1942. It also trained at Camp Hale, Colorado, alongside the 10th Mountain Division before shipping to England in September 1943. The battalion entered combat on June 22, 1944, landing at Omaha Beach. It fought through France, the Ardennes, and Germany before the war ended, never getting the chance to fight in Norway but serving bravely against its occupiers elsewhere.
This book provides a thorough history of the 99th through the words of its veterans. Some of its members served in the 1st Special Service Force and the OSS. It is a relatively unknown unit, formed in the same spirit as the Japanese American 100th Infantry Battalion. This book brings the unit well-deserved recognition. It is liberally illustrated with images donated by members of the unit.
The Viking Battalion: Norwegian American Ski Troopers in World War II (Olaf Minge, Kyle Ward and Erik Brun, Casemate Books, Havertown, PA, 2023, 378 pp., maps, photographs, appendices, bibliography, index, $39.95, hardcover)