Best fighting allies

Discussions on all aspects of the smaller Axis nations in Europe and Asia. Hosted by G. Trifkovic.
User avatar
AirborneAllTheWay
Member
Posts: 89
Joined: 18 Jul 2002 12:25
Location: An underground bunker...

Post by AirborneAllTheWay » 17 Aug 2002 14:20

Dont forget the Spanish 'Blue Division' sent to fight on the Eastern Front. Spanish volunteers fought throughout the war on the side of Germany.

JLEES
Member
Posts: 1992
Joined: 26 Apr 2002 04:01
Location: Michigan, USA

Japanese Army/Navy

Post by JLEES » 17 Aug 2002 16:04

"Which axis allied army generally fought best on the German side (Finnish, Hungarian, Rumanian, Bulgarian, Italian, Slovak?)" The question never stated the Axis Allied Army had to be European. So you guys are overlooking the best answer: The Japanese!!!
Although the Finns and Romanians were good, they did not contribute to the Axis war effort like the Japanese did.
James

User avatar
christianT
Member
Posts: 30
Joined: 07 Aug 2002 08:15
Location: In a motel room...with your wife

Post by christianT » 18 Aug 2002 04:00

I think you have to look at the motivation behind. The romanians were not motivated beyond the Dniestr, so therefore their poor performance at Stalingrad, for example. Same with hungarians, slovaks, etc. Poorer equipment was also a factor. Of course, there were individuals and smaller units here and there that fought exemplary, but it does not show the general trend.

The finns, however, were fighting for their land against Soviet aggression and expansionism. They scored some spectacular victories against an overwhelmingly superior (in numbers) russian army. Their equipment was not spectacular, but they were effective on skis and in small group actions.

-christianT

User avatar
RCR_Raider
Member
Posts: 63
Joined: 02 Aug 2002 17:13
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Post by RCR_Raider » 18 Aug 2002 07:11

The Vichy French?!? :lol: they surrendered to the Americans when they first landed on Africa. Those French traitors were the ultimate cowards. Instead of resisting like a real Frenchman, they cow down to the Germans and joined their war machine. Is "Vichy" French for cowardly traitor?

The Italians are often greatly overlooked. The Folgore Division in North Africa were reputed to be very tough fighters, and were a thorn in the side of the British advance at El Alamein. My hats off to the Italians.

They decimated Montgomery's Armoured divisions as well. Pity.

User avatar
RCR_Raider
Member
Posts: 63
Joined: 02 Aug 2002 17:13
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Post by RCR_Raider » 18 Aug 2002 07:12

The Vichy French?!? :lol: they surrendered to the Americans when they first landed on Africa. Those French traitors were the ultimate cowards. Instead of resisting like a real Frenchman, they cow down to the Germans and joined their war machine. Is "Vichy" French for cowardly traitor?

The Italians are often greatly overlooked. The Folgore Division in North Africa were reputed to be very tough fighters, and were a thorn in the side of the British advance at El Alamein. My hats off to the Italians.

They decimated Montgomery's Armoured divisions as well. Pity.

Ovidius
Member
Posts: 1414
Joined: 11 Mar 2002 19:04
Location: Romania

Post by Ovidius » 18 Aug 2002 11:44

RCR_Raider wrote:The Vichy French?!? :lol: they surrendered to the Americans when they first landed on Africa. Those French traitors were the ultimate cowards. Instead of resisting like a real Frenchman, they cow down to the Germans and joined their war machine. Is "Vichy" French for cowardly traitor?
"Joined" the damn' hell. They were all the time a lead ball tied to Germany's ankle. They kept busy precious German troops for occupation duties, refused to fight alongside Germany, refused to help the Germans with the only asset they desperately needed from France - the battle fleet, which could have given a chance in the Atlantic and instead it rusted on the bottom of the harbours.

~Ovidius

User avatar
Hanski
Member
Posts: 1887
Joined: 24 Aug 2002 19:18
Location: Helsinki

Finns were co-belligerents with their own goals

Post by Hanski » 24 Aug 2002 22:21

Those who say Finns fought their own war are absolutely right.

Finland had no choice but to fight or surrender, when the USSR started the Winter War on 30th November 1939. The Finnish Army was materially very unprepared for war then, and no significant foreign help was available - mainly the Swedish volunteers in Northern Finland, but otherwise the nation of less than 5 million people had to fight the mighty USSR alone, until after 105 days the Moscow Peace could be made on heavy terms on 13th March 1940, with loss of territory (including the prominent city of Viipuri in Karelia) but still maintaining Finland's sovereignty and independence.

Thereafter followed what is commonly called in Finland the Interim Peace. It was quite clear for the Finns that Stalin had not given up his plans of occupying Finland, so every effort was made to secure the country against the next match. Sweden or other Nordic countries were not available as allies, but soon it became obvious that Germany had changed her attitude.

During the Winter War, Germany had refrained from criticizing the Soviet aggression against Finland, because the secret pact between Molotov and Ribbentrop agreed Finland belonging to the Soviet sphere of influence.

In the spring of 1940 Germany occupied Denmark and Norway, and thereafter she needed rights of transit for the logistic support of her troops in northern Norway. The rights of transit were granted by Sweden and Finland, and the Finns saw Germany as a counter-force against the continuous threat from the East. Germany also agreed to sell weapons, which were badly needed.

Besides the transit traffic, a considerable number of German troops were deployed in Lapland (Northern Finland), and they headed for the Russian border. When Germany attacked the Soviet Union in Operation Barbarossa, Finland allowed German troops to use Finnish territory.

Finland did not declare war on Soviet Union and did not start hostilities until Soviet Union started bombing Finnish cities in the morning of 25 June 1941. As a result, Finnish Prime Minister noted in a speech at Parliament that Finland is now at war with the Soviet Union – in Finland, this is generally called the Continuation War.

Finland then joined the attack on June 30, to take back the territory lost to the USSR in the Winter War and to eliminate the bases for offensives against Finland. The Finnish troops proceeded beyond the old border in Eastern Karelia in order to gain favourable defensive positions for stationary warfare.

See for example:

http://militaryhistory.about.com/gi/dyn ... mmary.html

There was no formal alliance between Germany and Finland, but they were co-belligerents, fighting the same enemy with co-operated effort.

Finland clearly held her own policy, allowing the Germans to use Finnish territory and infrastructure for the German offensive, but refusing to join the German attack on the city of Leningrad or to permanently cut off the Murmansk railway line, as Hitler would have wished. Finland also refused to allow any of its Jewish population to be transferred to Germany, but Jewish Finns fought in the ranks of the Finnish Army instead.

After the defeat of the Third Reich in the Eastern front, Finland sought its own way of getting out of the war. She had to fight the greatest military battle in the history of Northern Europe to check the massive Soviet offensive, which was launched in the Karelian Isthmus on June 9th 1944. After a defensive victory, Finland finally agreed on armistice with the Soviet troops.

According to the armistice terms, the German troops in Northern Finland were to be interned. What followed was the Lapland War against German troops from 27 September1944 to 27 April 1945.

Besides Britain, Finland was the only European participant of WWII, whose capital city was never occupied by foreign troops.

The Finnish Army remains the only one in the world history to have successfully defended against a full-scale strategic offensive of Stalin’s Red Army, and the Finnish Army did it twice, in 1939-40 and in 1944. The most important aim of war, maintaining Finland’s independence, was achieved with great sacrifices.

The Finns did fight hard, but they fought their own war indeed.

User avatar
Benoit Douville
Member
Posts: 3184
Joined: 11 Mar 2002 01:13
Location: Montréal

Post by Benoit Douville » 24 Aug 2002 23:56

RCR_Raider is right on. The French were the ultimate cowards and very poor soldiers.

For the best Axis soldiers, i say the one from Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia who join the Waffen SS. They were a sight to see especially at the battle of the Courland pocket.

User avatar
Victor
Member
Posts: 3904
Joined: 10 Mar 2002 14:25
Location: Bucharest, Romania

Post by Victor » 25 Aug 2002 11:22

Benoit Douville wrote: RCR_Raider is right on. The French were the ultimate cowards and very poor soldiers.
Aren't you a little too harsh here? What about the 1st Light Division's stand at Bir-Hakeim? It is not appropiate to judge so many people you did not know. Generalizing is bad.
Benoit Douville wrote: For the best Axis soldiers, i say the one from Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia who join the Waffen SS.
Since when are the Waffen SS the allies of Germany?

User avatar
Hanski
Member
Posts: 1887
Joined: 24 Aug 2002 19:18
Location: Helsinki

Finnish volunteers in Waffen-SS

Post by Hanski » 25 Aug 2002 12:02

To read about Finns who fought in the ranks of the Waffen-SS, see

http://www.geocities.com/Pentagon/Quart ... /index.htm

User avatar
Andy H
Forum Staff
Posts: 15326
Joined: 12 Mar 2002 20:51
Location: UK and USA

Post by Andy H » 25 Aug 2002 12:42

RCR-Raider

Though this thread about a general perception, you made the specific point about the Italians decimating Montgomery's Armoured Divisions-could you expand on this a point further.

:D Andy from the Shire

User avatar
Rob S.
Member
Posts: 338
Joined: 18 Mar 2002 02:02
Location: USA

Post by Rob S. » 25 Aug 2002 12:54

The Finns by themselves were great soldiers. Their only downfall was their lack of modern equiptment throughout the entire Eastern Campaign.

Somebody bother mentioning the Japanese? The only one of Germeny's allies that didn't turn their back and fight against them.

User avatar
Hanski
Member
Posts: 1887
Joined: 24 Aug 2002 19:18
Location: Helsinki

Three Capital Cities Were Never Occupied by Enemy in WWII

Post by Hanski » 25 Aug 2002 15:32

Excuse me for the omission in my previous message: of course, there was a third capital city of a participant of WWII that was never occupied by foreign troops, besides London and Helsinki - it was Moscow.

For anyone interested in reading further about Finland's involvement in WWII, may I recommend also

http://ky.hkkk.fi/~k21206/finhist.html#war

User avatar
Graf von Dracula
Member
Posts: 52
Joined: 27 Jul 2002 17:14
Location: Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

Post by Graf von Dracula » 26 Aug 2002 17:46

IMHO, and after reading Osprey's MAA 131: Germany's Eastern Front Allies 1941-45 my vote goes for the Rumanians.

Finns fought very independently, feeling it was more a "Continuation War" to recover the territories lost in 1939 than a struggle against the Communism. The Bulgarians did well, but seems like they were more concerned in securing the benefits of their alliance with Germany than in helping the Reich to get more. Until April 1944 the Hungarian Army wasn't mobilized to a full strenght. Maybe too late.

Romanians fought well, and sent many troops to the front. Looks like they fought quite well, although their defection to the Russian side in 1944 was quite tough.

Anyway, one shall blame both Hungarians and Romanians to show more zeal fighting against each other instead of acting together when needed.

ABOUT BIR-HAKEIM:

I shall point that many of those who resisted there belonged to the French Foreign Legion, and in the graves of the cemetary there are many spanish surnames like "Garcia" or "Rodriguez". a French major quoted the battle as the "Spanish Concert" (El recital español). It's known that some Spanish soldiers (former Republicans) were decorated in that battle.

It's known that an Spanish gunner was able to pin a column of Italian tanks by shooting the first and the last of the group with an AT gun at pint blank. Then, his comrades attacked the rest of the column with molotov cocktails screaming "Como en Madrid" ("Like we did in Madrid").

It is to show that the page of the "Division Azul" is the most known of Spaniards in WWII, but not the only one.

Best regards!

User avatar
Graf von Dracula
Member
Posts: 52
Joined: 27 Jul 2002 17:14
Location: Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

Post by Graf von Dracula » 27 Aug 2002 23:15

Cheshire Yeomanry wrote:RCR-Raider

Though this thread about a general perception, you made the specific point about the Italians decimating Montgomery's Armoured Divisions-could you expand on this a point further.

:D Andy from the Shire
Well...surely it meant the exploits of the Italian "folgore" parachute division in North Africa.

Here is some info I got from the Missions I played in Steel Panther World at War.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND:

The mother of all North African battles has just begun.

An artillery barrage and bombers strafing to an extent that rarely will be seen again during the rest of the war has shocked the whole Axis front and now Commonwealth land troops are on the move!

The attack on the southernmost sector of Axis defensive line, 10 mile long, is relying on the XIII° Corps composed by 7th armored division, the famous "desert rats", 2 infantry divisions (44th and 50th) and the Free French Brigade.

In front of them is only 1 (reinforced) Italian infantry division.

The objective is clear: exploit the advantage of superior numbers in the sector and create a breakthrough in the south flank, this way menacing of encirclement the rest of the front.

But pre-battle plans are going to be ruined: the Allies will find themselves facing not the average Italian troops, but an elite unit: the "Folgore" parachute division, and Italians are not ready to leave ground so easily this time!

This unit alone, with the support of nearly no armor, will stand the assault of big quotas of the XIII° corps for the whole duration of the battle, making this way impossible the planned flanking maneuver.

Rommel's general withdrawal order on November 3rd will find Folgore battalions almost on their pre-battle positions.

As a side note, General Montgomery will write, after the outcome of the attack in the south was definitively clear, this was intended as a pure diversionary maneuver...

FOLGORE HOLDS NAGB RALA (October 24, 1942)

As part of the breakthrough attempt in the south, during the night of 24th quotas of French Brigade attacked the extreme south of the front, just near Qattara depression; the objective was the Nagb Rala plateau.

Italian paratroopers, facing south instead of east, were holding good defensive terrain with the further advantage of having to protect only one possible way of access to the plateau, but were very heavily outnumbered by the enemy.

Despite the difference in numbers, once again the adoption of the risky but effective tactic of the "preventive counterattack" coupled with the way French attacked, in relatively small consecutive waves instead of massing and taking advantage of the numbers, gave excellent results.

French legionnaires, surprised by the enemy attacking them from all directions in small groups of men as soon as they reached the plateau, and having no support from armor, which were still trying to open their way through the minefields, stopped first then turned back and retreat down the plateau.

The French brigade suffered heavy losses including Lt Colonel Amilakvari,its legendary commander, but out of the 100 Italian paratroopers which lead the main defense/counterattack on the plateau, only 30 survived.

DEIR EL MUNASSIB (October 25, 1942)

Deir El Munassib was probably the easternmost point of the axis front.

Its heigh grounds were dangerously extending towards the Allies lines and it was the area where the two lines were nearest.

The English had already tried to conquest it in September and they will try again tonight...

The Munassib salient was held by the IV° Battaglion, 187° Regiment made by 3 infantry Companies with 47 AT guns and 81mm mortars.

The 10th and 12th companies were holding the left and right flank of the area,while the 11th was the advanced and central pivot of the defensive device;it is this company that the main allied thrust moved against.

After an intense artillery barrage, elements of 69° Brigade,50° infantry division and quotas of 4th Armored Brigade,launched the attack.

The entrenchments of the 11th were immediately surrounded by infantry and overun by tanks,but they built up a very stiff resistance delaying much more than foreseen the enemy advance.

After hours of bloody fight the 11th had been almost totally annihilated (it is estimated that less than 10 men out of the whole comapny survived the ordeal),and the eastern portion of the salient was now in enemy's hands,but its sacrifice bought very precious time.

The Italian regimental headquarter had the time this way to move from the rear fresh troops which linked to the 10th and 12th companies,only marginally touched by the clash,and built a new defensive line few hundreds meters behind the original one.

English troops,instead, were now weakened by the brutal fight,facing a new and intact defensive line and finally also pounded by Italian artillery which thanks to the delay action of 11th company had the time to target with accuracy the whole area.

All these elements convinced the allied commander to not insist in the push, and the just conquered positions were consolidated instead.

During the following couple of days some minor breakthrough attempts were Conducted,but with scarce success and the front in the area remained static up to the end of the battle.

HEIGHT 105

The first battle of height 105 had seen the annihilation of Folgore 6th and 19th company and the consequent allied push trough the security line (the first defensive line) of Italian defensive system in the area.

Italian command had planned a counterattack with infantry supported by german armor (which never arrived at the meeting point,by the way), to establish again a security line where the 2 companies had been evaporated,but they had not the time to put it in practice.

The night between 24th and 25th infact,elements of 131th Brigade,44th Infantry Division supported by armor from 4th and 22th Brigade launched a second push in the area,this time the objective being the resistance line (main defensive line) of Axis forces.

Behind this line no reserves where available for Italians,only open desert and the possibility for the fully mechanized english troops to quickly exploit the gap and create,moving on their left and right, a double,deadly encirclement of the whole Folgore division.

Defending this portion of the front there was 20th and part of 21th Folgore companies and since few hours,by direct order of Italian X Army Corps command, a couple of infantry companies detached from Pavia Division.

Among that some 47mm AT guns and a couple of 81mm mortars were available,too.

Same as it had been before in this occasion,too, the resistance of Folgore was very stiff and above any expectation.

The first,strong,enemy hit resulted in the almost total destruction of Folgore companies,but their resistance had been able to reduce consistently
the enemy infantry impetus.

Once arrived in contact with the last Italian strongpoints,made by the newly arrived Pavia companies, they had not the necessary strenght to overcome them,too,but stopped in front of them,sometimes in the middle of them,starting a series of small static fights.

As for the armor quota, it became point blank target for Italian AT guns,while moving through the narrow gaps opened in the minefields and, as the leading tanks were immobilized the following ones, forced to reduce their speed, became even easier targets.After heavy losses had been sustained the remaining tanks were withdrawn without having been of any help for the infantry they were supposed to support.

Once Italians realized the enemy infantry was left alone,gathering their last forces counterattacked and were able to form again a continuos,altough very thin,defensive line.

Altough a real breaktrough was not obtained, the area of "height 105" was the portion of Folgore defensive front where the allies achieved the best results, in terms of terrain gain as well as weakening of enemy defensive device.

It is reasonble to suppose that a new firm offensive effort by the allies in this part of the front would have achieved a resolutive breaktrough;it still remains unclear why this attempt had not been conducted.

Sources*

Takfir,P.Caccia Dominioni*
Alamein,P.Caccia Dominioni*
La Folgore ad El Alamein,R.Migliavacca*
L'Epopee de la 13e DBLE,French Army Archive

Return to “Minor Axis Nations”