The 11th SS Volunteer Panzergrenadier Division Nordland (11. SS-Freiwilligen Panzergrenadier-Division “Nordland”) was a Waffen-SS division recruited from foreign volunteers and conscripts. It saw action, as part of Army Group North, in the Independent State of Croatia and on the Eastern Front during World War II. In February 1943, Hitler ordered the creation of an SS division which would be led by foreign volunteers. In March 1943, the SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment Nordland, a Scandinavian volunteer regiment, was separated from the SS Division Wiking to be used as the nucleus for the new division. The Nordland’s two Panzergrenadier regiments were also given titles that referenced the location where the majority of the regiment’s recruits were from, SS-Panzergrenadier Regiment 23 Norge (Norway) and SS-Panzergrenadier Regiment 24 Danmark (Denmark). Both regiments had additional men made up of conscripts from Hungary. After its formation in Germany, the division was attached to the III (Germanic) SS Panzer Corps under the command of Obergruppenführer Felix Steiner and was moved to Croatia, where the SS Volunteer Legion Netherlands was attached to it. The division began combat operations against Yugoslav partisans in September 1943.
Regulations for the SS Collar Tab went through quite an evolution in just a short 16 year period. The first SS Collar Tabs were introduced in 1929 by Heinrich Himmler as part of the newly introduced SS uniform code. Initially, tabs were worn by both lower rank SS men and their senior leaders. Lower ranks would wear a rank tab as well as a numbered unit identification tab, with senior leaders wearing their rank tabs on both collars. In 1933 the well known “SS” runic tab was adopted by Hitler’s personal body guard detachment, the “Leibstandarte” or “LAH”. The LAH used this runic tab in lieu of the numerical unit identification tab to identify them as members of the elite unit protecting the “Führer”. In 1934 the runic “SS” tabs were again adopted for use by the early “SS-VT” units. This adoption eventually led to the wide spread use of SS runic tabs by German Divisions; the later non-German volunteer units would not be permitted to wear the runes, and bore their own unit designed patch instead. SS Collar tabs can be found in an extraordinary variety of numbers, designs, and piping’s depending on unit and rank, from hand-embroidered tabs worn by officers to mass produced embroidered and machine woven types that were used on combat uniforms.