German Legionaires

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CAS
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German Legionaires

Post by CAS » 07 Oct 2005 18:30

Did any Germans fight in the French Foreign Legion during the war?

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Andreas
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Post by Andreas » 07 Oct 2005 20:42

Based on the article 'Mythen und Realitaeten: Deutsche in der Fremdenlegion 1943-55' (MGM 55 Heft 2), the answer is 'No'. There was a recruitment effort aimed at Austrian POWs in north-african camps from 30. August 44, but none of those recruited (there may have been Germans amongst them) was sent to fight in Europe.

All the best

Andreas

Edit to clarify - the post above (like the article) is only relevant for the period 1943 onwards. There may have been legionaires who signed up before the war and stuck with the legion.

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Loïc
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Re: German Legionnaires

Post by Loïc » 03 Sep 2019 22:42

Concerning an other thread in Soviet Union section
viewtopic.php?f=79&t=243710
Ghjuvan wrote:
01 Sep 2019 09:46
Some German refugees did fight along French Resistants, as Gehrardt Leo, who became later DDR Ambassador in France. There are somme French books on this period. French Foreign Legion recrited a lot of Spaniards, italians, Germans end sent them to Africa or Indochina.
Mannet wrote:
03 Sep 2019 05:33
oo.. have You any informations about Germans in Foreign Legion during wwII ? was that big group?
8000 of the 21 000 Legionaries in North Africa c.1940 before the Armistice

of the 8465 news volunteers in the Foreign Legion throughout 1939 : 1171 Germans and 381 Austrians

the newly-raised 12e REI serving in France with the 8e DI in may-june 1940 is given as having ~30% Germans and Austrians jews

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Loïc

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Re:

Post by LineDoggie » 04 Sep 2019 16:45

Andreas wrote:
07 Oct 2005 20:42
Based on the article 'Mythen und Realitaeten: Deutsche in der Fremdenlegion 1943-55' (MGM 55 Heft 2), the answer is 'No'. There was a recruitment effort aimed at Austrian POWs in north-african camps from 30. August 44, but none of those recruited (there may have been Germans amongst them) was sent to fight in Europe.

All the best

Andreas

Edit to clarify - the post above (like the article) is only relevant for the period 1943 onwards. There may have been legionnaire who signed up before the war and stuck with the legion.
I was under the impression that German born legionnaires were hidden in African, Indochinese, and Syrian Garrisons well away from Wehrmacht observation commissions with Vichy. IIRC though at least 1 unit of Panzer Armee afrika was made up of former legionnaires found out
"There are two kinds of people who are staying on this beach: those who are dead and those who are going to die. Now let’s get the hell out of here".
Col. George Taylor, 16th Infantry Regiment, Omaha Beach

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Loïc
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Re: German Legionaires

Post by Loïc » 04 Sep 2019 20:51

Once France has been beaten by Germany in june 1940 not all the germans wished to remain hidden in the Foreign Legion serving France,
in august 1940 in the camp of Koléa, Algeria, 320 of them did a kind of antifrench mutiny, and the following october around 1000 wanted to be repatriated
then under increasing German pressures, and with the Italo-German Armistice Commissions in North Africa, a true "antifrench propaganda battalion" as said Weygand, in march 1942 the French authorities accepted that the germans legionnaries could met a german delegate, that is why mostly germans joined the Leichtes Infanterie-Regiment 361.
However they were still Germans adopting French names or sent to units in Sahara or in the 5e REI in Indochina

in 1942 there were 2000 Germans of the 14 000 Legionnaries in Africa and 1000 more forming the half of the 5e REI in Indochina

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Loïc

Ghjuvan
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Re: German Legionaires

Post by Ghjuvan » 05 Sep 2019 15:13

German Légionnaires did enlist for many reasons, as other légionnaires. Those enlisted for antinazis reasons preferred to stay with their regiments.

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Loïc
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Re: German Legionnaries

Post by Loïc » 06 Sep 2019 21:21

The recruitment of German Legionnaries 1919-1939
https://www.cairn.info/revue-guerres-mo ... age-39.htm
in the beginning of the twentieth century, the French Foreign Legion was a subject of controversy between France and Germany. Towards the end of 1918, the Foreign Legion witnessed a great number of Germans enlisting, which at the time contributed to reviving and reconstituting its army. The Republic of Weimar was unable to contain the situation. The new era of Nazi parties, by then growing strong and "reconstructing the nation," diminished these ideas. German enrollment declined considerably from 1934 and headed towards a standstill by 1938. The Foreign Legion had to reorganize itself at all levels for this new generation especially acknowledging a new status for the Legionnaire. These new concepts, as well as the solidarity, have made the strength of the Legion sustaining it throughout the twentieth century.
allemands.PNG
and for 1939 1171 of the news volunteers 13,8% (or with more 381 Austrians : 18,3%)

Alexis Neviaski is the author of Képi blanc, casque d'acier et croix gammée: Subversion au coeur de la Légion étrangère
I don't have this one but seems very interesting quite far from usual heavily romanticized hollywoodian white képi mythology when Germany tried to infiltrate communists and nazis agents within the Légion agaisnt France
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