Marc Rikmenspoel wrote:I know that there are conflucting claims about the Charlemagne Brigade/Division. De la Maziere supposedly (I haven't ever read his books) claims that Frenchmen assigned to specialist schools were given the Charlemagne cufftitle to identify them, but I have also read that no wartime issue Charlemagne cufftitle has ever been identified. I'm at my weakest in telling wartime items from post-war fakes, I know it can be done in various ways, but I don't keep up on them. In a similar situation, it is claimed that the Flak Batterie of Charlemagne was issued the Jean D'Arc collar patch, but again, I don't know if this was true. Certainly, the mass of the Brigade/Division never received it, and used SS runes.
I am not sure about the Charlemagne cuff title but I am 100% sure that there are some men, if not the whole of the Flak battalion of the Charlemagne Division were issued not with
the Jean D'Arc collar patch (sword and leaf laurels) but with the Celtic cross collar patch. I could connect you to a friend of mine who personally the saw a real sample of the Celtic Cross collar patch and received the testimonies of the Charlemagne veterans he met back in the 80s that attests to the fact that the Celtic cross spiegeln was issued.
The Jean D'arc collar patch was actually just a project and never left the drawing table (as Robert Forbes noted in his excellent Pour L'Europe: French Volunteers of the Waffen SS)..The Jean D'arc collar patch was actually designed for the more religious-catholic or more "nationalistic" French volunteers (mostly from the Joseph Darnand's Vichy militia and the former LVF veterans of the 57th Regiment) in the Charlemagne Division while the true SS-ers (mainly from the 58th Regiment; former veterans of the French SS Sturmbrigade) get to wear the pagan Siegrunen.
I had 2 photos from the private collection of a Polish friend showing a group of captured Charlemagne troopers in the Eastern front early in 1945. It was a relative of this Polish friend who was in the Polish army who captured the Charlemagne troopers and took the photos. In the 2nd photo, there are two Charlemagne troopers, one with a siegrunen collar patch and the other one with a black collar patch. The one with the blank collar patch were most certainly from the 57th Regiment or from Joseph darnand's vichy militia.
The Jean D'Arc was a French symbol while the Siegrunen are considered pagan which signifies the early political divide between the men of the Charlemagne division. In the end, it was not manufactured as the Charlemagne Division was sent to Poomerania in early 1945 and those men are more concerned with the impending Soviet assault rather than any fuss on kragenspiegeln.
However, the flak battalion of the Charlemagne division, that were based in Munich received the Celtic cross speigeln. In fact one must remember that the for the "religious" ones in the Charlemagne division, the Celtic Cross was a symbol of Catholicism (especially for the Celts, if I am not mistaken) and for the "true SS-ers" ones in the division, the Celtic Cross was another version of the closed sonnenrad symbol. Therefore it was acceptable to the two main "factions" of the Charlemagne division but only the flak battalion received it.
Also, if you could contact Charlemagne veterans in France today, most of them would testified that the Celtic cross kragenspiegeln was indeed issued no doubt..
For the composition of the use of types of kragenspiegeln by the members of the Charlemagne Division, my own estimation would be;
a) Siegrunen collar patch 80%-90%
b) Plain black collar patch 5-10%
c) Celtic Cross collar patch 5-10%
d) Jean D'Arc collar patch 0% (only a project)
e) No collar patch at all (might be possible as many SS soldiers ripped off their kragenspiegeln to avoid summary execution upon captured)
I believed most of the contemporary works on the French in the Wehrmacht and Waffen SS were based on the account of Charlemagne veterans and authors like Richard Landwehr, Jean Mabire, Robert Forbes.. Here is a link to one of the most comprehensive list of sources (mostly in French) for French volunteers in the Wehrmacht and Waffen SS
http://www.helion.co.uk/product.php?xPr ... ec=1601114