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French Waffen SS

Discussion in 'WWII General' started by Smithson, Oct 7, 2009.

  1. Hufflepuff

    Hufflepuff Semi-Frightening Mountain Goat

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    I believe the Spanish had a similar unit called the Blue Division. They fought in the Ukraine before they were disbanded late in 1942.
     
  2. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    Sajer's book is excellent when dealing about those called "the malgré nous" (the Alasacians, Mosellans and Luxemburgers enrolled by force in the Gemran army) .They fought on the Ost Front and were treated as Germans when captured by the Soviets, many died of starvation after the war. De Gaulle had the hardest them to convince Stalin to release some of them. The last "Malgré nous" returned in the 50s. These brave men would deserve a topic on their own. I feel a bit embarrassed to mention them in a Waffen SS thread as they certainly had nothing to do with those who volunteered in the SS and I have ahigh respect for what they have been through, not only becaus ethey went though hell, but when they returned they came in a region that was one of the toughest battlefields and often lost their families as a result of it, not to mention that the "French from the interior" as they call the other Frenchmen, did not always understand why they fought for Germany.
     
  3. surfersami

    surfersami Member

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    Remember that in France there were many different political groups operating in France. Before the war there were even some violent persecution between these groups, especially toward the communists. Many were socialist, so many could relate to the Nazi party as a socialist organization.
    Recruiting to fight the hated communists probably had a definate draw to many French people. Right or wrong, it was their way of fighting for their beliefes.
    Just as an aside, some of these groups were driven underground before the war, so they had an organized resistance group built in after the occupation.
     
  4. surfersami

    surfersami Member

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    If I may share an encounter I had that very much follows this thread, I think some of you may find it very interesting.
    I lived in the small mountain town of Chambery, France for 18 months learning French at a small language school there. Not having a vehicle, I like many French townfolk, walked everywhere. On one of these walks I had the honor of meeting an interesting Frenchman, here is how it all happened.
    I was walking home from classes and saw an older gentleman coming towards me. I noticed a shining lappell pin on his coat that caught my eye. I always love to study history and had just finished a book on the Resistance. His pin was the Criox de Loraine. I knew this to be the emblem of the Free French in WWII and this gentleman looked to be of this vintage.
    In my best French,:eek: I explained I was an American there to study and learn his language, and that I had saw his pin. I asked if he was in the French Army, or Resistance. Here was his reply.
    He was 16 living on the outskirts of Chambery. It was one of the towns farthest West occupied by the Germans. One day he came home from working the small farm he lived on, and his mother had a basket of food and a roll of clothing. She told him the "Vichy" Police had come to take him for conscripted work. They would be back the next day to get him. His mother told him to go up into the mountains to their cabin where theypastured their cows. He went up to this area, and ran across a group of resistance fighters who were in hiding. After hearing his story he was able to join them, and for the duration he fought the Germans from the mountains. He said it was his group who gave the Allies information about the German locations in Chambery for the planning of a bombing raid. This was carried out, wiping out several German communications buildigs as well as the train yards, which were a major hub.
    We sat on a park bench for hours, the time past like mere seconds, I was so riveted to this mans words of experience. He was a proud warrior and I thanked him for his sacrifice and committment. He seemed to walk a little taller as we went our seperate ways.
    I will never forget this gentleman, and the story he told of an invading army coming to take him away to work for their cause.
    He said some of his boyhood friends wound up in the German army some did not return.
    Vive la France
     
    lwd, Skipper and marc780 like this.
  5. marc780

    marc780 Member

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    I'm glad you are enjoying this unusual book, i have read it several times. However if i recall correctly, it was the Wehrmacht he was in from the very start of the book. Recall the parts in the beginning where he was disciplined for crossing the square with his hands in his pockets by being forced to run in circles with the pack with wire straps; where his unit was marched through the ice-cold stream, before target practice with what is obviously must have been a Kar-98 rifle, where he is taught to drive a truck and tank, and where he almost wound up becoming a rear gunner in a Stuka?

    Oddly Sajer talks very little about the weapons they used, except for his buddy "the veteran", machine gunner (August Weiner) and his MG-34 or 42, and where they parted as Weiner and his mg stayed behind, in Belgorod i think, as a rear guard("There's no room for me after the war, remember?")

    Towards the end of the book Sajer does mention, in passing, being issued what could only be the MP-44 ("we had been given the new FM (rifle), which was very much better than the old PM (probably he meant the MP-40)". What do you think of that remark he made in the book?
     
  6. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    There are some great pics of LVF soldiers at the Bundesarchiv. They have regular German weapons, Schmeisser, Mauser rifle and Mg42. I have not seen them with French equipment, nor Russian.
     
  7. Nickdfresh

    Nickdfresh Member

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    Exactly. I think we can add Danes, Swedes, Russians, and others to the mix of the last defenders. Beevor writes that not only did the foreign SS members expect an unwelcome homecoming (if they got one at all), but that they believed they were setting an "example for future generations" against Bolshevism. Ironically, this when most Germans were fed up with the War and saw continued fighting as just a fruitless wasting lives and what was left of their city and continued misery...
     
  8. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    Too bad not many of you speak French otherwse Icould suggest the following books and excellent websites with pictures of their graves etc...

    Some Charlemagne survivors were executed by Leclercs troops in May 1945 without a trial .

    Livres sur la Waffen SS français

    [​IMG]

    a link to the French Charlemagne site


    waffen ss francais
     
  9. Otto

    Otto Gearing up. Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Doing some reading about late war battles and came across this thread. One common theme is the the many "summary executions" of captured prisoners that took place after the war. Non-Germans fighting for the Reich being a primary target.

    I'll note (again) my frustration over dead links. I was hoping the Charlemagne site was available as the French source might have provided a bit different content and tone on the subject from the context of historiography.
     
  10. Takao

    Takao Ace

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  11. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    My children's music teacher was a French woman from Metz. Her grandfather was in the Waffen SS.
     
  12. Christian Ankerstjerne

    Christian Ankerstjerne Member

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    Since this thread has been necromanced, it would seem prudent for new readers to be informed that this simply isn't true. There were some former Waffen-SS soldiers in the French Foreign Legion, but the number was probably less than 100.
     

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