Legion Freies Indien

Discussions on the foreigners (volunteers as well as conscripts) fighting in the German Wehrmacht, those collaborating with the Axis and other period Far Right organizations. Hosted by George Lepre.
Panzermahn
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Post by Panzermahn » 18 May 2004 12:07

Necros,

regarding your question
It's hard to find any picture as there, as I understand it, was only one meeting between Bose and Hitler. But I'll keep on looking
Today i went to a bookshop and i saw a book entitled Japanese Army Handbook 1939-1945..The author is George Forty and on page 20, there is a picture with caption of Bose shaking hands with Hitler..The source of the picture according to the caption is Imperial War Musuem..

Hope this helps

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August
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Post by August » 22 May 2004 07:52

the record of that interesting meeting and the picture are very much there. the pic appears in many books. the original I believe is in the US. it shows smiling Hiler and Bose with is back to the camera. he is identfiable nevertheless. Hitlet must have been standing on something. He looks as tall as Bose though he wasnt.

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Necros
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Post by Necros » 22 May 2004 20:58

panzermahn wrote:Necros,

regarding your question
It's hard to find any picture as there, as I understand it, was only one meeting between Bose and Hitler. But I'll keep on looking
Today i went to a bookshop and i saw a book entitled Japanese Army Handbook 1939-1945..The author is George Forty and on page 20, there is a picture with caption of Bose shaking hands with Hitler..The source of the picture according to the caption is Imperial War Musuem..

Hope this helps
Thanks for the info panzermahn. I'll look in to it.

/Mikael Sundholm

Sverri
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Freies Indien

Post by Sverri » 20 Sep 2004 05:16

I just got this photo
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

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Rand
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Post by Rand » 20 Sep 2004 05:36

Has anyone have any info or a picture of Frank Chetwynd Becker? He was a British man who acted as an interperter for the Free India Legion. I am looking into getting his British Government file, but hoped someone could add more info.

R.

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thomasjfletcher
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Post by thomasjfletcher » 24 Sep 2004 22:57

here's an interesting page from the BBC-

Hitler's secret Indian army
By Mike Thomson
BBC News

Image

In the closing stages of World War II, as Allied and French resistance forces were driving Hitler's now demoralised forces from France, three senior German officers defected.

Legionnaires were recruited from German POW camps
The information they gave British intelligence was considered so sensitive that in 1945 it was locked away, not due to be released until the year 2021.

Now, 17 years early, the BBC's Document programme has been given special access to this secret file.

It reveals how thousands of Indian soldiers who had joined Britain in the fight against fascism swapped their oaths to the British king for others to Adolf Hitler - an astonishing tale of loyalty, despair and betrayal that threatened to rock British rule in India, known as the Raj.

The story the German officers told their interrogators began in Berlin on 3 April 1941. This was the date that the left-wing Indian revolutionary leader, Subhas Chandra Bose, arrived in the German capital.

Bose, who had been arrested 11 times by the British in India, had fled the Raj with one mission in mind. That was to seek Hitler's help in pushing the British out of India.

He wanted 500 volunteers who would be trained in Germany and then parachuted into India. Everyone raised their hands. Thousands of us volunteered

Lieutenant Barwant Singh


Six months later, with the help of the German foreign ministry, he had set up what he called "The Free India Centre", from where he published leaflets, wrote speeches and organised broadcasts in support of his cause.

By the end of 1941, Hitler's regime officially recognised his provisional "Free India Government" in exile, and even agreed to help Chandra Bose raise an army to fight for his cause. It was to be called "The Free India Legion".

Bose hoped to raise a force of about 100,000 men which, when armed and kitted out by the Germans, could be used to invade British India.

He decided to raise them by going on recruiting visits to Prisoner-of-War camps in Germany which, at that time, were home to tens of thousands of Indian soldiers captured by Rommel in North Africa.

Volunteers

Finally, by August 1942, Bose's recruitment drive got fully into swing. Mass ceremonies were held in which dozens of Indian POWs joined in mass oaths of allegiance to Adolf Hitler.


Chandra Bose did not live to see Indian independence
These are the words that were used by men that had formally sworn an oath to the British king: "I swear by God this holy oath that I will obey the leader of the German race and state, Adolf Hitler, as the commander of the German armed forces in the fight for India, whose leader is Subhas Chandra Bose."

I managed to track down one of Bose's former recruits, Lieutenant Barwant Singh, who can still remember the Indian revolutionary arriving at his prisoner of war camp.

"He was introduced to us as a leader from our country who wanted to talk to us," he said.

"He wanted 500 volunteers who would be trained in Germany and then parachuted into India. Everyone raised their hands. Thousands of us volunteered."

Demoralised

In all 3,000 Indian prisoners of war signed up for the Free India Legion.

But instead of being delighted, Bose was worried. A left-wing admirer of Russia, he was devastated when Hitler's tanks rolled across the Soviet border.

Matters were made even worse by the fact that after Stalingrad it became clear that the now-retreating German army would be in no position to offer Bose help in driving the British from faraway India.

When the Indian revolutionary met Hitler in May 1942 his suspicions were confirmed, and he came to believe that the Nazi leader was more interested in using his men to win propaganda victories than military ones.

So, in February 1943, Bose turned his back on his legionnaires and slipped secretly away aboard a submarine bound for Japan.


Rudolf Hartog remembers parting with his Indian friends
There, with Japanese help, he was to raise a force of 60,000 men to march on India.

Back in Germany the men he had recruited were left leaderless and demoralised. After mush dissent and even a mutiny, the German High Command despatched them first to Holland and then south-west France, where they were told to help fortify the coast for an expected allied landing.

After D-Day, the Free India Legion, which had now been drafted into Himmler's Waffen SS, were in headlong retreat through France, along with regular German units.

It was during this time that they gained a wild and loathsome reputation amongst the civilian population.

The former French Resistance fighter, Henri Gendreaux, remembers the Legion passing through his home town of Ruffec: "I do remember several cases of rape. A lady and her two daughters were raped and in another case they even shot dead a little two-year-old girl."

Finally, instead of driving the British from India, the Free India Legion were themselves driven from France and then Germany.

Their German military translator at the time was Private Rudolf Hartog, who is now 80.

"The last day we were together an armoured tank appeared. I thought, my goodness, what can I do? I'm finished," he said.

"But he only wanted to collect the Indians. We embraced each other and cried. You see that was the end."

Mutinies

A year later the Indian legionnaires were sent back to India, where all were released after short jail sentences.

But when the British put three of their senior officers on trial near Delhi there were mutinies in the army and protests on the streets.

With the British now aware that the Indian army could no longer be relied upon by the Raj to do its bidding, independence followed soon after.

Not that Subhas Chandra Bose was to see the day he had fought so hard for. He died in 1945.

Since then little has been heard of Lieutenant Barwant Singh and his fellow legionnaires.

At the end of the war the BBC was forbidden from broadcasting their story and this remarkable saga was locked away in the archives, until now. Not that Lieutenant Singh has ever forgotten those dramatic days.

"In front of my eyes I can see how we all looked, how we would all sing and how we all talked about what eventually would happen to us all," he said.

original link-

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3684288.stm

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Marcus
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Post by Marcus » 24 Sep 2004 22:59

thomasjfletcher,

Please use the quote feature when quoting, thanks.

/Marcus

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August
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Post by August » 25 Sep 2004 04:35

thomasjfletcher, many thanks for the BBC link. I have yet to read this. Bose's plan was to launch a guerrilla warfare from the region where Al-Qaida is holed up now. I mean, Pakistan-Afganistan border.

Before he disappeared or died, Bose reached out to Ho Chi Minh and all I can tell you that Vienamese had good opinion of him. Guerrilla warfare is what Bose always wanted. he knew that he stood no chance in direct confontation.
The information they gave British intelligence was considered so sensitive that in 1945 it was locked away, not due to be released until the year 2021.
This reminds me that recently when the Indian judge probing Bose's alleged death went to UK, he was told by the Govt there they would not declassify some files on him until 2021. The judge, aided by a former British MP, pressed the Indian Govt to take the matter up with the British Govt. Some lowly officer wrote to UK Govt and he was told by his British counterpart that he was helpless. Ideally, some big shot from India should have taken this matter up but they wouldnt. The Indian Govt itself is not willing to declassify several files on Bose. Many are or 70s and 90s vintage. they say declassifaction will cause unest in India and will affect India's relations with some friendly foreign countries.

I have written it earlier, Subhas Bose issue is not a matter of past unlike most issued discussed in this forum. Latest is that the Indian judge is getting ready to visit some foreign countries, including Russia. There are Russians, specially those of KGB background, who say that Bose was alive in a gulag after his so called death. There is a myth that Indians were foolish enough to disbelieve in Bose's death in a freak air crash. It were the Americans and British who first cast the doubt. Most Indians till date have no understanding of this engrossing matter and this explains why this issue has lingered on.

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FRANCY RITTER
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Post by FRANCY RITTER » 08 Jan 2008 14:22

Hello to all !! :)
Two new pics (for me) on this very interesting unit .

A Freies Indien officer .

Image


A couple of F.I soldiers reads a book , note the arm patch with tiger .

Image

Image

Sikh Troop
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Post by Sikh Troop » 15 Jan 2008 23:02

August wrote:yeah! :o
Buddy, Sikhs were never Hindus. They might have been born from Hindu mothers or fathers, but Sikhs believe that when some one is born they are born a Human being, and "Sikh" in Punjabi means learn, and one has to learn in order to find out what they can believe in. No one is born into a religion, Hindus and Muslims that converted to Sikhism found the answers and thats why they did it. Our 10 Gurus were made to guide people who were confused and lost in a time of Mughal rule. Thats why we're Sikh, and thats why there are 25 million in the world now. Also just to add, Sikhs compromised large amounts of the INA and the British Indian army. Also before Bose, there were alot of Sikhs fighting for independence, to name a few Bhagat Singh, Udham singh, etc.

Sikh Troop
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Post by Sikh Troop » 15 Jan 2008 23:03

O by the way, great pictures guys!

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Forst
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Re: Legion Freies Indien

Post by Forst » 29 Nov 2010 16:08

Who owns the copyright to the images above. I am interested in purchasing the rights to a few images for an academic publication. The matter is most urgent. Photographs of Bose would be most welcome.

zaptiè
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Re: Legion Freies Indien

Post by zaptiè » 02 Dec 2010 11:05

Some months ago the Italian Army Historic Service ( Ufficio Storico) pubblicate a book on Indians in Italian Army . they formed the Btg " Hazad Hindustan " . they came mostly from pow .

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Forst
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Re: Legion Freies Indien

Post by Forst » 02 Dec 2010 15:28

Thanks for the information. I am aware of an Italian publication on the subject but this also sounds promising. That Battalion must be one of the least known Axis units. I have seen no more than two or three photographs of it and this is perhaps a reflection of its sorry history.

zaptiè
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Re: Legion Freies Indien

Post by zaptiè » 05 Dec 2010 00:07

the title is "I reparti arabi ed indiani dell'esercito italiano nella seconda guerra mondiale " of Romain Rainero.
Yes not a brillant history , but not so different from that of german indian legion .
Is interesting to remember that the escape of Bose from India was made with the help of the Italian embassy in Kabul . With italian documents with false identity of Orlando Mazzotta , and on a car of italian ebassy , he cross the russian border and with this car arrived in Moscow.

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