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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.
Ostuf Charlemagne
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Post by Ostuf Charlemagne » 09 Jul 2004 01:07

Hi Le Page ....so I am one of your favorite collaborators ( I love this word ,"collaboration "...) in this forum ?? Well ,generally I get more Flak by other readers then anything else .But I am armoured by now .Thanks .

Now back to the Flak btl .Charlemagne . The unit had two infantry Rgts ,the 57th and the 58th ..... An 59th was planned when the unit transformed from brigade to division but it wasn't possible because of lack of men ... But the Charlemagne had a lot of men in specialists schools ,like Gottingen , for instance , they had peoples in stages for traductors , weapons maintenance ,Feldgendarmerie ,artillery ,paramedics , drivers ,administrative clerks ,and even in SS cavalry school for the ones of the hippomobile sanitary column that was planned .And the Flak was on training in Muenchen .( SS artillery school ,I guess...)
The division was to be operationnal by June 1945 . But general Krukenberg ordered the unti to go in training to the East ,wanting to avoide the fact that Wildflecken camp was too near of Sigmaringem where the influence of french collaborationnists in exile influenced in a much negative way ,spreading political division within the volunteers .... As soon as they reached their new training place ,in Pomerania ,the russian started their offensive in this sector and the half trained division had to be enlisted in action ,with only its two infantry Rgts ..... the specialists would have no chance to join.... Had the unit be fully trained and fully equipped with its artillery ,support unit ,etc , it would have been a different story .... Now the divisionnal supply btl ,under Haupstuf Bassompierre was ready in Pomerania too ,but it fought as infantry .It was also some Flak platoon or company at a regimental level ( under Ustuf Fayard they will participate in the fierce defense of Kolberg .
But the whole Flak btl ,not up to strenght yet , was in Bavaria .It was utilized for the defense of Muenchen .Some volunteers POWs of the americans were offered to join the US army to go to fight the japaneses ...I don't know if some accepted . Some others freiwilligen were hospitalized in the West too ,like the poor 12 devils criminally shot by a column of the gaullist second armoured division by order of general Leclerc ( who hidded under this pseudo his real name of Hautecloques ...)
as most readers of this forum knows ....
About the Niebelungen div , the frenchmen who served with this unit were the ones (cadets) in stage from Bad-Toelz academy ,I don't think that the Flak french unit would be attached to the 38 SS ...
i know of a Charlemagne platoon (specialists also) who fought in the West too ....By may 9th ,the NCO in chage told them to find civilians clothes and try to escape ...one of them lived in the woods during some years ,he was later captured and sent to a french jail .He wrotes a book ,by the way ,the name is Christian Malbosse ....

About the spiegeln ,a friend of me in Paris ,a collector ,23 years ago ( shit !!!) showed me from his uniform collection (the guy had more than ten complete authentic SS uniforms ,incluiding the black uniform of an SS Totenkopf Ustuf from KL Dachau ,complete with coat ...beautiful.) a jacket of officer of the Charlemagne Flak btl ...the spiegeln was a celtic cross , shoulder clapps with waffenfarbe Hochrot , french colours badge at the up left arm ,the eagle ,and the ribbon of an EKII with a small golden Luftwaffe eagle on the ribbon , I asked the friend and he told me that the owner of the jacket ,which he knew ,had told him it was because they had shot down some allies aircrafts ...in Bavaria at the end of the war .Comebacking with the jacket ,everything was complete ....

Now I meet a Charlemagne veteran ,in 1977 , in a meeting of paratroopers vets ...the guy had fought in the Indochina war with the legion in the 50s.... He told me he had belonged to the Charlemagne and was recruited by the Legion while in a french jail.(which was the case of many of them ...) he told me he fought on WESTERN front and that his speigeln was a Celtic cross ... ( because I had a small celtic cross medal on my neck ,under my paratrooper uniform ...so he said to me ; Hey I wore that ni the Charlemagne " , "What ? Tell me more " he told me more but the guy was drunk already and that was the only interesting data I was able to get . )
Souvenirs ,souvenirs ......
Regards .

Panzermahn
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Post by Panzermahn » 11 Jul 2004 06:03

Kameraden Ostuf Charlemagne,

Thanks for your very informative post...I believe most of us here are very interested regarding your historical narration and to be honest, i'm your No 1 fan in here!!! :D :D :D

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Post by Le Page » 11 Jul 2004 06:10

Ostuf Charlemagne--are you sure about Bassompierre being with the supply bn?

Also, I have wondered why certain Frenchmen take noms de guerre. why did Leclerc change his name?

I understand you are writing a book...will you include your belief about the existence of a celtic cross spiegeln? Will you cover BILOM at all?


]

Ostuf Charlemagne
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Post by Ostuf Charlemagne » 13 Jul 2004 02:04

Kamerad Jochen : thanks ,but you are damaging my modesty . :D

Le Page : positive about Bassompierre ,he was captured in Pomerania (and shot by a gaullist firing squad in 1948 ...which is ironic since ,as a fervent catholic ,Bassompierre mistrusted the SS and would have rather stays within the WH with the LVF ....) In reality he was shot 'cause he was one of the founders of the Milice Française (and a friend of J.Darnand) who fought against gaullist and communists partisans .

My Book : it's about allies war crimes so it would be irrelevant to mentionate the spiegeln of the Charlemagne ,but I surely write about the BILOM since a man -pretty famous in France - "Father" Pierre (he is a catholic Priest ) ,always making manifestations with the left-wing about "love" , "forgivens" and human rights for the poor illegal aliens and the gays's rights ,you know .... Well ,this guy - real name : Pierre Groues - was in the 50s a congressamn of the left-wing and he proposed (and convinced the politicians ) that the french state dind't have to pay for the repatriation of the coffins of the deads of the BILOM ...unlike others frenchs soldiers ,their families were forced to pay for it .... In my book I write the full -shameful -story and I explains the BILOM ,by the way ....
About the pseudo of "Leclerc" it was because they had joined De Gaulle and were in rebellion against the french state of Vichy ,for "safety"...but it was pure bullshit since Vichy knews so much who were the officers who had joined De Gaulle that ,under order of marshall Petain ,the vichyst government kept paying the salaries of these "rebels" officers to their families ,not so clandestinely ,and up till the so-called "Liberation".

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Post by Le Page » 13 Jul 2004 03:26

[b]Ostuf!

1) do you know of any accounts of BILOM in the English language? Also, is the book ''Devils Guard" about them?

2) do you know if any former SS, LVF etc made it into the French Battalion that fought in Korea? I doubt it but I'll ask anyway...

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Ostuf Charlemagne
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Post by Ostuf Charlemagne » 14 Jul 2004 01:05

Hi ...
Yes ,it seems that 2 or 3 former SS / LVF were serving within french btl of Korea ,but this is old info and I had forgotten the names . I had a friend of mine who was a cop ,veteran of Korea ,Indochina and Algeria .He wasn't a fromer collaborator (too "young") but he belonged clandestinely to a fascist post war party ....

About the BILOM I don't know this book "devil's guard" ...or anything else in english .... In french you can find "Le bataillon des reprouves" by maj.(ret.) Raymond Muelle ..... also I know it was a sergeant-major (the name was something like Caumartin ) who died during the Algerian war ,so bravely that on his hospital dying bed ,De Gaulle personally traveled to award him the "Legion d'Honneur" -french highest award-.This man was a former NCO of the SS Jagdverband Suedwest of Skorzeny's commandos .He was also a former of the BILOM....

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David Lehmann
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Post by David Lehmann » 14 Jul 2004 02:04

To know more about this unit there is indeed the book in French language by Raymond Muelle : "Le bataillon des damnés" (Grancher) ISBN : 2-7339-0741-7.
The BILOM was formed in 1948 (very poorly equipped and armed) and engaged in Cambodia and South Annam in 1949-1950. Some of these men like Henri Barlon fought in the Sturmbrigade Frankreich, then in the BILOM in Indochina, then in Korea in the French battalion, then again in Indochina in the GM100 (Groupement Mobile 100, fighting after Dien Bien Phu until July 1954), POW in the Viet-Minh retaliation camps, then parachutist in Algeria and survived.

Concerning the devil's guard book and its myth about thousand of former German SS in the French Foreign Legion there has been a discussion on this forum :

From Bernard Fall's 'Hell in a Very Small Place : the Siege of Dien Bien Phu'
(Bernard Fall is one, if not THE leading authorities on the history of the FFL.)

from the chapter "Finale" p.439 :
...Contrary to the accepted myth that the Foreign Legion was made up largely of "former SS troopers," many of the Foreign Legionnaires came from the East European countries overrun by the Soviet armies in 1945. (since the average age of the Foreign Legionnaire was about 23 in 1954, most of them had been small boys in 1945.)

from the chapter "Epilogue" p. 451 :
...Lastly, there is the myth of Dien Bien Phu as a "German battle," in which the Germans were said to "indeed made up nearly half of the French forces."...On March 12, 1954 - the day before the battle began in earnest - there were a total of 2,969 Foreign Legionnaires in the fortress, out of a garrison of 10,814. Of the almost 4,300 parachuted reinforcements, a total of 962 belonged to the Foreign Legion. Even if one wrongly assumes (there were important Spanish and Eastern European elements among the Legionnaires at Dien Bien Phu) that 50% of the Legionnaires were German, then only 1,900 men out of more than 15,000 who participated in the battle could have been of German origin. But old myths, particularly when reinforced by prejudice, die hard.

It's likely that a handful of former Waffen-SS soldiers served in the Legion during the French-Indochina war. But despite the literary efforts of Robert Lewis Elford with his "Devils Guard" books in the 1970's and the speculation of SS veterans in the BILOM (Bataillion d'Infanterie Légère d'Outre Mer) unit (composed of former FRENCH Milice members, collaborators and several Waffen-SS from the French volunteers SS Charlemagne division), I haven't seen much evidence to indicate that there were a significant number of SS veterans fighting in Indochina, or that they played a disproportionate role in their units or had a disproportionate effect on the course of events. It's not like Jochen Peiper was chasing "Charlie" through the Plain of Jars in 1955.

Here's what historian (and author of the excellent book on the 13th SS, Himmler's Bosnian Division) had to say on the subject of SS in the FFL :
The "SS in Indochina" myth began even before the release of the novel The Devil's Guard. It originated from Soviet-bloc Communist sources and the PCF (French Communist Party) in France itself. In addition, several memoirs were published by Legion deserters in the DDR in the 1950s that further perpetuated the story. However, all of the serious historians of the Legion agree that it was false. Their analyses can be summed up as follows : The best book on the subject by far is Eckard Michels' Deutsche in der Fremdenlegion, 1871-1965: Mythen und Realitaeten. Although he was denied access to the Legion's own archive in Aubagne, Michels was able to view some great files in the SHAT at Chateau Vincennes. Michels studied the available data and concluded that a (very) small number of ex-Waffen-SS men were able to enter the Legion before 1947. This is when the French government caught wind of the story and demanded a crackdown. After that, Legion recruiters screened prospective volunteers very carefully. One French officer stated that the number of SS men accepted into the Legion shortly after the war was "not more than 60 or 70."


Regards,

David

Ostuf Charlemagne
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Post by Ostuf Charlemagne » 15 Jul 2004 04:00

Well,well,well, there is a lot to say about that ,David ...my uncle was in the Legion in Algeria ( 3 REI ) and actually his company was full of formers german SS ......

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Post by lato716 » 15 Jul 2004 08:59

@ Ostuf Charlemagne :
Will you one day write a book about the Charlemagne division ?

Ostuf Charlemagne
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Post by Ostuf Charlemagne » 17 Jul 2004 01:39

No .After the many books of so many ex-volunteers (Bayle ,Labat ,Malbosse ,etc...) and the ones of Mabire ,I would feel like a CON . :D

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Post by George Lepre » 17 Jul 2004 04:44

Salut Ostuf Charlemagne -

I'm interested in the 3e REI and have a question. You wrote that one of 3e REI's infantry companies in Algeria (I presume you are referring to the 1954-1962 war, because Algeria was also 3e REI's traditional home base) was "full of" former German SS men. Dufour wrote that the regiment suffered over 3000 dead and missing in Indochina up to 1954 (and this does not even include losses in the regiment's parachute company). 2/3 and 3/3 were wiped out at Cao Bang, reformed, and 3/3 was completely wiped out again at Dien Bien Phu (Isabelle). If the regiment was "full of" German SS men in Algeria after 1954, it would mean that the Legion newly recruited now thirty-year-old (or older) ex-German SS men. If you look at the Ministere de la Defense's Algeria KIA database, nearly all of the men with German surnames listed were born in the 1930s, and there were many Legionnaires in the 1950s who were of other nationalities. For example, in 1956-1957, over 2000 Hungarians entered the Legion.

Is "full of" perhaps too strong a term?

I am going to contact some of the Amicales and see if more can be learned.

Best regards,

George Lepre

Ostuf Charlemagne
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Post by Ostuf Charlemagne » 20 Jul 2004 21:21

Hi Monsieur Lepre .

Your datas are corrects and indeed “full” is too strong a term . Thanks to catch my glitch . So far from what my uncle told me when as was a child , I remember only two anecdotes about formers SS in the 3 REI in Algeria : They were at the algerian-tunisian border ( just before the ligne Morice ) .
Once they caught a rebell in the mountains .As you know rebells tried (from their tunisian sanctuary) to infiltrate into Algeria crossing the ligne Morice . Even if the ligne Morice was pretty well done ( electrified barbed wires , armoured patrols by the legion’s tank regiment (REC) , landmines , good radio coms ,etc ...) sometimes small groups succeeded . The man denied to talk about where had hidden his fellows terrorists and the legionnaires were becoming impatients . So one NCO called “Hans” ,who was the cook of the company and a former from the Das Reich division . With a big kitchen knife he peeled the shoulder of the rebell ,first the skin and then the flesh ,then he grabbed the bone of the shoulder and took it off ... They got the information .

The second anecdote : A platoon of legionnaires fallen in a well organised ambush .It was impossible to move without to get shot and they had suffered some losses . The platoon commander ,an infantry lieutenant called by radio the artillery of the sector , in support some clicks away . Problem was that being an infantry officer the lieutenant was unable to direct the shots and soon artillery grenades fallen in middle of the legionnaires .Pissed off , a german lance corporal took impulsively the mike form the hands of the officer and started to direct the artillery in a much perfect way . Soon the ambushers were having losses and had to run away .Back to the camp the captain of the company who was told the story called the lance corporal and asked him where he had learned to direct artillery fire .The man answered that during WW2 he was commander of an SS artillery battery on the Eastern Front ... you bet he knew how to !

I know also a lituanian guy ( maybe dead by now ...) who was an unterschafuehrer of the Wiking division and was was serving within the legion paratroopers in Indochina . He didn’t made the algerian war . And also a former Ostuf of the Hitler-Jugend Panzerdivision who did the Indochina war and also the algerian war .In Algeria he was sergeant-major of the 1 REP. Also when I entered the french army in 1977 it was still a german guy ,major Karlschmidt (the only foreigner to be a legion’s high officer at this time .) The man was a former of the Hitler Youth and had fought with the Volkssturm in 1945 .

Now about the Indochina war everybody focuses on the former SS of the Legion but a lot of them where also from the WH ,the Luftwaffe ,the Kriegsmarine ,etc ....I know of one ,in Algeria still ,who was a former NSKK . In Indochina it was a man who had been an U-boot commander .He was by now a private . Also it was a former Luftwaffe FW 190 pilot who was captured by the russians in a stockade in east-Germany ,he evaded and worried to be given back to the russians by the western allies so he enlisted the Legion .Captured by the viets he escaped again and joined the french lines , and was flewn in a C-47 over the zone to recognize where was the Viet-Minh camp ,which was easy for him since he was a former pilot . After that the french air force smashed the camp under lots of bombs . The man was promoted to staff sergeant .

In the 2 REP in 1987 it was still adjudant-major Roos (warrant officer ) a former of the Hitler-Youth ,the Indochina war and the Algerian one .

Also during the algerian war the , within the REP, was serving Marcel de Tourtchaninoff , (son of a russian emigree ,officer of the Czar who by WW2 joined the Wlassov army ) a belgian volunteer who had enlisted the SS Wallonie division in 1945 , was jailed untill 1948 in Belgium and joined the Legion just after his release . Indochina and Algeria .

Also during the Indochina war were some formers Wlassov and Osttruppen .

Comebacking with the 3 REI during the Algerian war ,it was an Afrika Korps veteran .The guy was the former “ordonnance” of Rommel ,and his make-up man (when Rommel received the PK he used to put some sand on his face .It was done by this man with a make-up brush .No kidding .)
You will find this info and a lot more within the books of Paul Bonnecarrere “ Par le sang verse” (focusing on the 2 REI during the Indochina war ) and “La guerre cruelle” (focusing on the 3.REI during the algerian war ) ,both books are done at soldier’s level by this famous war correspondant and ,for me ,are the best ones ever about the Legion ...(and God knows HOW MANY good books were writen on the Legion ,by good authors too : like Pierre Sergent or Dufour that you mentiones ...but not one is up to the ones of Bonnecarrere . Period .)


Now about the anecdote of torture (the first one ) let me “break a lance “ in advance here before some sissy-pussy start crying and bla-blating :

I personnally don’t see anything wrong with that . This is surely not military regulations textbook , neither the Geneva conventions elastical utopies depending if you are the winner or the looser . I talk from my own moral standpoint . I think torture is OK if you have to save your soldiers comrades (like in this case) , ie. to get tactical informations ,or if it is to prevent terrorism against the civilian population or your own troops . This way I don’t think anything wrong (even if it is surely ugly ) about what did the Gestapo against the resistance or what were doing the french troops later in Algeria in a much similar way .War is war . I don’t think a man should be sentenced as war criminal for that after a war and I surely would do the same if confronted to the same situation . And without remorse . Now I stand against sadistic torture –just –for –the –fun –of –it , like in the case of the soviet troops who raped and murdered so many german women in 1944/45 , or the french colonial troops of general Juin raping ,murdering (and looting) more than 25.000 (some authors put it up to 60.000) italian women in the valley of Siri in Italy . And also the sexually oriented humiliation tortures inflicted to irakis POWs by US troops as recently seen .In all of these cases it was NO military ,tactical , justification and I think the perpetrers are criminals and should be dealed with accordingly .

Now I think that tactical torture is understandable and sometimes it must to be done .The israelis think the same way (torture is not illegal in Israel and is widely used by military and law enforcement in their war against terrorism ).They have to protect their population and I understand them .

Just my 3 cents (because of the inflation ....)

Saluts .

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Dan E. Moe
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Post by Dan E. Moe » 21 Jul 2004 01:07

Are you a supporter of the Israelian foreign policy in the middle east?

Regards,
Dan

Ostuf Charlemagne
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Post by Ostuf Charlemagne » 21 Jul 2004 02:19

Hi Front Kaempfer !

No I am not . And it is the first time that somebody could think so (go to the topic "Discussing the holocaust" in war crime section and see how everybody insult me as being an "antisemit"....)

Now my point is that IF I was the israeli chief of police I will do exactly the same .
So far ,I am not :P

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Post by Edward L. Hsiao » 09 Mar 2019 23:37

Dear Ostuf Charlemagne,

I enjoyed the reading the anecdotes of German Wehrmacht veterans in the French Foreign Legion that is posted and wished there is more. I like to read individual stories of the deeds of these WWII Germans in the FFL. I can't find any websites about Germans in the FFL. Need help please!

Sincerely,

Edward L. Hsiao

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