PDA

View Full Version : Hitler's Foreign legion



herman2
12-31-2009, 02:30 PM
WOW, I never knew that there were SS in India!..This is incredible!!

http://militaryhistory.suite101.com/article.cfm/hitler_s_foreign_legion__waffen_ssHitler’s Foreign Legion: Waffen SS
Non German Units in the Waffen SS During World War Two
Nearly 350,000 non-German volunteers from no less than 16 occupied countries served willingly in Adolf Hitler's Waffen SS combat units from 1940-1945.
The symbols or subject of this article serve no political or ideological purpose. The author has no intention to promote any political or ideological ideas.

The Waffen-SS - which translates as "Weapon-SS" or "Armed-SS", was the military wing of the Schutzstaffel (SS) founded in 1940. The Waffen-SS was expected to be a military organization absolutely and perfectly obedient and loyal to its masters, Henrich Himmler and Adolf Hitler. During the course of WWII, the Waffen-SS grew from an elite force of 4 divisions of ethnic Germans to a multinational polyglot force of 900,000 men in 41 divisions and other units, with over half of its troop’s either foreign volunteers or conscripts. These troops were seperate from the other SS units such as the Concetration camp guards and Hitler's bodyguard units. It gained a fearsome combat reputation and committed many war crimes. Waffen-SS strength even at its peak represented only 10% of that of the regular German Army. Records are conflicting but an estimated 253,000 Waffen-SS members were killed in action, an additional 400,000 wounded and no less than 70,000 listed as missing. Many SS units were completely annihilated, along with a majority of their paperwork, making accurate historical facts sometimes very sketchy.

In July 1940, the SS began an active program to gain Western European recruits from newly conquered countries for several new Waffen-SS volunteer legions. This effort intensified after June 1941, as the SS exhorted volunteers to join the "anti-Bolshevik" campaign in the Soviet Union. Enlistment rolls show that more than 125,000 West Europeans volunteered of their own free will to join the Waffen SS. Eastern Europeans, numbering another 220,000-primarily from the Baltic States and the Ukraine also joined the Waffen SS. Despite the SS belief in the superiority of the German race, the decline in German military fortunes caused the SS to quietly shelve their racist beliefs about ‘Untermenschen’ in favor of the more practical policy of recruiting these essentially Slavic peoples to fight against the Soviets.

These units were often armed from stores of captured or substandard equipment. Their training tended to be more haphazard. Basic training lasted as short as two or three weeks. Unlike most armies no ‘parade ground training’ was conducted being replaced with aggressive live fire exercises with very real bullets. The recruits were also exposed to multiple combined arms training such as artillerymen would learn how to use radios; signals troops would learn how to fire heavy machine guns, etc.

These foreign fighters were treated differently from the German troops in the SS. They took a slightly different oath of service upon enlisting and often wore unique insignia or ethnic uniforms. Language differences were always a barrier, with most units being led by regular German SS officers who often treated their men as something like 2nd class citizens. They were exposed to less Nazi indoctrination, and the Nazi propaganda was tailored to their nationality. The were often partly motivated by their own political or nationalistic agendas such as in the Balkan areas. Himmler ordered that new Waffen-SS units formed with men of non-Germanic ethnicity were to be designated Division der SS (or Division of the SS) rather than SS Division. The wearing of the SS runes on the collar was typically not done, with several of these formations wearing a unique national insignia instead. Some units even wore nonstandard uniforms, for example the 13th SS Hanshar Division had its Bosnian moslem soldiers wear a Fez hat (see picture). Soldiers of non-German citizenship in these units had their rank prefix changed from SS to Waffen (e.g. a Serbian Hauptscharführer would be referred to as a Waffen-Hauptscharführer rather than SS-Hauptscharführer). The combat ability of the divisions der SS varied greatly. For example, the Norwegian, French and Estonian formations performed exceptionally, while the Albanian and Ukrainian units performed poorly. Some of these units were formed for propaganda purposes only, such as the British Freecorps which was raised from British prisoners of War and was generally kept from combat operations.

They were often the most disciplined and fanatic of SS troopers.. With combat reputations ranging from excellent to fair. Unit such as Nordland, Leon Degrelle's Wallonien Legion, and Langemarck contained Europeans that volunteered for service in the "anti-Bolshevik" crusade against the Soviet Union. Waffen-SS troops as a whole earned a distinguished combat reputation during WWII, renowned for both stunning offensive victories and tenacious defensive operations. Without question, many SS troops exhibited incredible feats of bravery, courage and tactical brilliance, throughout the duration of the conflict. While many infantry units fought on the front lines, more were often relegated to security duty and anti-partisan sweeps. This type of service against guerilla bands who themselves took no prisoners lead to many atrocities. The combat record of several of these units such as the 29th Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS (russische Nr. 1) on such suhnemassnahmen = "atonement operations" was often too grisly even for military journalists to cover and stains the Waffen SS to this day in a portrait of horror.

Late in the war as Germany's hope of victory waned, these volunteers fought harder and more recklessly. Considered traitors by their countrymen they had no home to return to. These men with nothing left to lose became the worst sort of man you wanted to encounter on the battlefield. Typically these units fought into extinction, refusing to surrender for fears they would be repatriated to their home countries. Thousands of Russian Cossacks serving in the SS Kosaken-Kavallerie-Korps were executed when turned over to Soviet troops as were members of the Serbian Volunteer Corps when turned over to Tito’s Partisans. More moderate countries such as Norway, Denmark and Britain jailed their wayward SS volunteers for as many as fifteen years. Between 1949 and 2007 the German government investigated 107,000 former members of the SS for Nazi war crimes leading to 6500 convictions. Investigations are still pending in several particularly in the case of an 86-year old Dane and others.

The purpose of the Waffen-SS was to impose Hitler's world view on the greater European continent and those non-German Europeans that served him often found them living out the rest of their lives in exile, their service to him voiding their pre-war life.

*The following is a break down of the Foreign Units of the Waffen-SS, by no means all inclusive.

Country/Ethnicity - Estimated # of volunteers- Name of Waffen-SS Units
Albanian 3,000 -21st SS Division

Belgian: Flemish 23,000 -5th SS Div., 27th SS Div.

Belgium: Walloon 15,000 -5th SS Div., 28th SS Div.

British Commonwealth (English) 50 -The British Freikorps

Bulgaria 1,000 in the Bulgarisches Reg.

Croatia (includes Bosnian Muslims) 30,000 7th SS Div., 13th SS Hanshar Div.23rd SS Div.

Denmark 10,000 in Freikorps Danemark, 11th SS Div.

India3,500 in the Volunteer Legion

Estonia 20,000 in the 20th SS Div.

Finland 1,000 in a Volunteer Battalion.

Hungarians 15,000 in the 25th SS Div., 26th SS Div. 33rd SS Div.

Latvia 39,000 in the 15th SS Div., 19th SS Div.

Netherlands 50,000 in the 23rd SS Div., 34th SS Div.

Norway 6,000 in the 5th SS Div., 6th SS Div.11th SS Div., .

France 8,000 33rd SS Div.

Italy 20,000

Poland/Ukraine 25,000 14th SS Div.

Russian (Belorussia) 12,000 29th SS Div., 30th SS Div.

Russian (Cossack) 40,000 XV SS Kosaken-Kavallerie-Korps

Russian (Turkic) 8,000 Ostürkische SS, Tatarishe SS

Rumania 3,000 Waffen-Grenadierregiment der SS (rumänisches 1)

Serbia 15,000 Volunteer Corps

Spain 1,000 Spanische-Freiwilligen-Kompanie der SS 101

Sweden, Switzerland & Luxemburg 3,000 5th SS Div., 11th SS Div.

”We pledge to you, Adolf Hitler, loyalty and bravery. We swear obedience to you and the Superiors appointed by you, even unto death, as God is our witness." - SS Oath

pdf27
12-31-2009, 04:21 PM
Rather more Indians fought for the Japanese. Postwar, they were given pensions by the new Indian government, as they were considered to be freedom fighters.

Panzerknacker
12-31-2009, 04:40 PM
This is an interesting topic that could be largely expanded. The "Freies Indien" soldiers were heavily photographed for the Signal magazine in 1943/44, however its contribution for the defense of the atlantic wall in june 1944 was quite meager.

http://i48.tinypic.com/j1290k.jpg

In the other hand the spaniards were probably the most combat effective considering the small size of its unit. The majority of the spaniards SS were Blau division veterans.

flamethrowerguy
01-01-2010, 01:14 AM
This is an interesting topic that could be largely expanded. The "Freies Indien" soldiers were heavily photographed for the Signal magazine in 1943/44, however its contribution for the defense of the atlantic wall in june 1944 was quite meager.

Quite so, the unit suffered not a single casualty during the Normandy battles. They had their first KIA in September 1944 caused by a French Resistance attack.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/05/Bundesarchiv_Bild_101I-263-1580-06%2C_Atlantikwall%2C_Soldat_der_Legion_%22Freies_ Indien%22.jpg
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bundesarchiv_Bild_101I-263-1580-06,_Atlantikwall,_Soldat_der_Legion_%22Freies_Indi en%22.jpg

Rising Sun*
01-01-2010, 04:52 AM
Rather more Indians fought for the Japanese. Postwar, they were given pensions by the new Indian government, as they were considered to be freedom fighters.

True, but many Indian troops captured by the Japanese refused to fight for the Japanese and remained remarkably loyal to the British Crown and to their oath of service.

Alone of all Allied POWs of the Japanese, those Indians volunteered to become POWs rather than take the easier path offered by the Japanese.

And they didn’t get pensions from the Indian government, because they remained loyal to Britain in accordance with their oath of service rather than to India like those who betrayed their oath of service and took the easy path.

Some details here: http://www.awm.gov.au/journal/j37/indians.asp

Panzerknacker
01-04-2010, 04:26 PM
More on India legion in german service ( Foreign Legions of 3rd Reich vol 4 D. Littlejhon)

http://i47.tinypic.com/14o4swg.jpg

http://i50.tinypic.com/1265r3q.jpg

http://i49.tinypic.com/2zdztie.jpg

http://i45.tinypic.com/161bxpd.jpg

Deaf Smith
01-04-2010, 05:34 PM
And it's amusing that the Germans, with their superior 'Aryan' race, were forced to use so many foreign nationals who were, to them, inferior! War is not much fun when it turns out the other side can fight a lot better than you can.

As for the Indians fighting for the Japanese, I’m surprised India didn’t punish them in any way. But then India was dragged into the fight and that may have a lot do to with it.

Deaf

Panzerknacker
01-05-2010, 05:16 PM
And it's amusing that the Germans, with their superior 'Aryan' race, were forced to use so many foreign nationals who were, to them, inferior! War is not much fun when it turns out the other side can fight a lot better than you can.

It was an embarrasing business, no doubt about it, some example: in 1942, Alfred Rosenberg ( Reich minister of race and religion) stated that all Kuban and Terek Cossack were in fact aryans, descendant from old german settlers in Russia, that fact gave some moral support to the thousand of cossack "hilfwillingers" working and fighting side by side with the germans.

Deaf Smith
01-05-2010, 09:26 PM
It was an embarrasing business, no doubt about it, some example: in 1942, Alfred Rosenberg ( Reich minister of race and religion) stated that all Kuban and Terek Cossack were in fact aryans, descendant from old german settlers in Russia, that fact gave some moral support to the thousand of cossack "hilfwillingers" working and fighting side by side with the germans.


Didn't Hitler tell everyone that, I forgot his name, Milich or something like that, when it was discovered Milich was 1/2 Jewish Hitler said he would say who is Jewish and who is not.

So really, it all boils down to what the word 'is' is (as Bill Clinton said.)

Deaf

flamethrowerguy
01-06-2010, 03:52 AM
Didn't Hitler tell everyone that, I forgot his name, Milich or something like that, when it was discovered Milich was 1/2 Jewish Hitler said he would say who is Jewish and who is not.

In this case Göring did. The question if Field Marshal Milch (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erhard_Milch) really had a Jewish father or not is still keeping the historians busy.

Rising Sun*
01-06-2010, 01:51 PM
This is an interesting topic that could be largely expanded. The "Freies Indien" soldiers were heavily photographed for the Signal magazine in 1943/44, however its contribution for the defense of the atlantic wall in june 1944 was quite meager.

There is not necessarily any inconsistency with the Nazis using Indian soldiers if one takes the view that Aryan refers to an Indo-European race, although that wasn't the way Hitler interpreted Aryan. http://www.theindiansabroad.com/2009/12/hitler-and-india-aryan-race/

Panzerknacker
01-06-2010, 04:28 PM
The inconsistencies began with this: there is no such aryan race, the nazis organizated a expedition to Tibet in 1938 to found the supposed ancestor of the germans, but the germancis race didnt come from Tibet, that was a fairy tale story made up in the twisted mind of the NSDAP anthropologist.



Didn't Hitler tell everyone that, I forgot his name, Milich or something like that, when it was discovered Milich was 1/2 Jewish Hitler said he would say who is Jewish and who is not.

So really, it all boils down to what the word 'is' is (as Bill Clinton said.)

Deaf


The quote is real, however as Flamme said it belongs to Göring wich after was the second in command and head of the german parliament ( the fat marshall was heavy involved in the redaction of 1935 and 1938 racial lwas)

Valkyrie
06-01-2010, 05:42 PM
The first non German to win the Knights Cross was a Dutch man by the name of Gerarduus Mooyman.

The Fiendish Red Baron
11-18-2010, 07:24 AM
I think every nation served in the Waffen-SS.

Certainly at least two Irish volunteers fought with them, a couple of Yanks, and according to one source, a single Aborigine.

30-odd British served, but did nothing. One or two may have got into action but its doubtful. They were just conmen and rogues.

Rising Sun*
11-18-2010, 07:47 AM
and according to one source, a single Aborigine.

I'd love to know more about that. Any more info?

The Fiendish Red Baron
11-18-2010, 08:19 AM
I think its in a Heimdal book on Foreign Volunteers. Not much more than a one line description I seem to remember. Points to service with some division and then 'guard duties'.

Will see if I can dig it out this weekend as I need to rummage in that book for something related to my other hobby of toy soldiers...