DEVIL's GUARD (SS troops fighting in Vietnam)

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Wolfensteiner
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DEVIL's GUARD (SS troops fighting in Vietnam)

Post by Wolfensteiner » 22 Oct 2011 12:56

I recently read Devil's Guard after hearing about it for years. I had honestly been trying to get it for about 6 years and finally got one when thousands were reprinted recently and sold quite cheaply. I had read a lot of negative reports claiming it to be completely false but had also read claims that it was true. The book is about a group of ex SS men that join the French Foreign Legion shortly after the end of WW2 and end up fighting for France in Indochina. After their initial success against the communist fighters they claim to have established a German only unit which apparently numbered in the thousands and made up of the forces from the former Third Reich. The book is not written by the actual soldier this book is based around, but by a man who apparently met him in a bar and recorded his stories and compiled them into this novel.

Although it is an interesting story, as an infantry soldier I found quite a lot of it hard to believe. Not only the points that have been mentioned on various sites by critics but the fact that there is so much dialogue & conversation back and fourth between various people, especially since the book is supposed to have been written from hearing stories from the original soldier.

Wondering what other soldiers or history lovers have thought of this novel? I have only read the first one and am not in a hurry to read the next 2.

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Re: DEVIL's GUARD (SS troops fighting in Vietnam)

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 24 Oct 2011 04:10

I thought it a PoS thirty five years ago & did not finish reading it. Revisited it in the early 1990s and found it usefull to quit sooner. The original author may or may not have been a former SS member & later a Legionare, but the text is a poorly written product, probablly from a hack ghost writer. The text looks little to me like the language of other German expatriates who became proficient in English. The descriptions of the combat operations look as if they were filtered through someone who knew something about it, but not enough to convey a accurate description. There is a strong possibility this is a cynical product of a Yank journalist who collected war stories in bars from Europe through Asia & Viet Nam. Even Guy Sajer's account looks good compared to this Devil's turkey . I'd recommend taking a look at the published accounts by Siegfried Knappe, Werner Adamcyzk, or William Lubbeck to get a sense of what a credible war memiore of a German soldier might look like.

mikel
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Re: DEVIL's GUARD (SS troops fighting in Vietnam)

Post by mikel » 09 Jan 2012 21:33

The book is pretty much considered bullscheiss.
Not even a very good read to anyone familiar with actual military life.

mars
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Re: DEVIL's GUARD (SS troops fighting in Vietnam)

Post by mars » 14 Jan 2012 22:10

About French forces in Vietnam, you should read book written by Bernard Fall, and there were no any large number of former Waffen SS troops served in the French Foreign Legion.

Tamari
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Re: DEVIL's GUARD (SS troops fighting in Vietnam)

Post by Tamari » 10 Aug 2020 13:17

Hello,

although this book is obviously quite obscure, it had had an really negative impact on actual counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency missions.
While I read on another topic (viewtopic.php?f=58&t=11099&start=90) about former Waffen-SS soldiers and their service with the French Foreign Legion in Vietnam and the book “Devil’s Guard” I remembered an article about the atrocities/ crimes of members of US Navy Seal Team Six /DevGru in Iraq and Afghanistan which I read some years ago.

According to this very interesting article some Seals - which had saddened by the loss of comrades - became more and more cruel in their behavior and had also begun to praise the book “Devil’s Guard” as their “bible” and to copy the atrocities mentioned in it.

Quote begin
The two leading officers at the command, Moore and Szymanski, were informed that small groups in each of the three squadrons were mutilating and desecrating combatants in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Slabinkski and others in the squadron had fallen under the influence of an obscure war novel, “Devil’s Guard,” published in 1971 by George Robert Elford. The book purported to be a true account of an S.S. officer who with dozens of other soldiers escaped Germany after World War II, joined the French Foreign Legion, and spent years in Vietnam brutalizing the insurgency. The novel, which glorifies Nazi military practices, describes counterinsurgency tactics such as mass slaughter and desecration and other forms of wanton violence as a means of waging psychological warfare against the “savage” Vietnamese.

“These fucking morons read the book ‘The Devil’s Guard’ and believed it,” said one of the former SEAL Team 6 leaders who investigated Slabinski and Blue Squadron. “It’s a work of fiction billed as the Bible, as the truth. In reality, it’s bullshit. But we all see what we want to see.” Slabinski and the Blue Squadron SEALs deployed to Afghanistan were “frustrated, and that book gave them the answers they wanted to see: Terrorize the Taliban and they’d surrender. The truth is that such stuff only galvanizes the enemy.”


Quote end

Source: https://theintercept.com/2017/01/10/the ... al-team-6/

I found this really interesting.

Best regards

Robert

Sid Guttridge
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Re: DEVIL's GUARD (SS troops fighting in Vietnam)

Post by Sid Guttridge » 11 Aug 2020 07:04

Hi Tamari,

Very interesting.

Here on AHF and at least one other site, I have encountered the proposition that US formations such as the US Marines were modern America's equivalent to the Waffen-SS.

They ignore the fact that the W-SS was a politically inspired organisation with no military specializations not already possessed by the German Army.

The US Marines, by contrast, are not a political militia beholden to just one party and, most importantly, in seaborne warfare, possess a military specialization not held by the US Army.

There seems to be, or at least have been, a subculture in the US ground forces that does/did look to the W-SS as some sort of role model, without having any real understanding of what the W-SS actually was, or really did. Your Devil' s Guard reference seems to confirm with this.

Cheers,

Sid.

Tamari
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Re: DEVIL's GUARD (SS troops fighting in Vietnam)

Post by Tamari » 11 Aug 2020 12:21

Hi Sid,

thank you for your reply.

I've never served with US troops but regarding what I've learned through reading a lot of books and articles about the transformation of the modern US armed forces during the ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq I would not totally disagree with your comment.

Maybe you had also this picture in your mind!?

https://www.deseret.com/2012/2/9/202507 ... fghanistan

I often compare such a behaviour - which has something in common with the actual incidents around the German Kommando Spezialkräfte (KSK) - with the search of professional and amateur sportsmen for idols which they could copy. Everybody wants to compare himself with the badest bad-ass sportsmen or team and not with the team which has won the faiplay-trophy. In Germany the Bundeswehr has no such tradition of a fighting force but the Wehrmacht has to some extent. So some within the KSK might think that the famous Brandenburgers can be an example/ role model for the KSK. But especially the US marines of the Second World War had given a lot of proud examples so to idolize the Waffen-SS must have do to with a lack of political education before joining the armed forces or a lack of education within the Marines.

But what makes me happy in regard to this case of Seal Team Six was the harsh reaction/ opinion of men/ officers in other Seal Teams or Squadrons of Seal Team Six.

Best regards

Robert

Carl Schwamberger
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Re: DEVIL's GUARD (SS troops fighting in Vietnam)

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 16 Aug 2020 13:10

Sid Guttridge wrote:
11 Aug 2020 07:04
...
There seems to be, or at least have been, a subculture in the US ground forces that does/did look to the W-SS as some sort of role model, without having any real understanding of what the W-SS actually was, or really did. Your Devil' s Guard reference seems to confirm with this. ...
Through my career from 1974-1997 I ran across individuals who matched this description. How many depends on where you drawn the line along the political spectrum. Tho the number was not large in proportion to total numbers I was in contact with the trouble started with NCOs or the occasional officer who had these views influence his judgment & decisions.

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Re: DEVIL's GUARD (SS troops fighting in Vietnam)

Post by Ken S. » 20 Oct 2020 02:29

A spurious claim made by a journalist with an obvious ideological bias and agenda. I highly doubt that it's true.
Tamari wrote:
10 Aug 2020 13:17
According to this very interesting article some Seals - which had saddened by the loss of comrades - became more and more cruel in their behavior and had also begun to praise the book “Devil’s Guard” as their “bible” and to copy the atrocities mentioned in it.

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Re: DEVIL's GUARD (SS troops fighting in Vietnam)

Post by Sid Guttridge » 20 Oct 2020 11:38

Hi Ken S.

That may or may not be true about the writer's biases, but he presents an awful lot of hard facts, none of which you address, let alone contradict.

Some troops in all armies will tend to drift this way as they get brutalized by war. In Rhodesia we were instructed to cut off fingers of dead Terrs so that their prints could be used for identification. The police Mushroom Club in Melsetter had a pickled Terr's ear behind the bar. And these were official orders and premises. War brutalizes and few are entirely immune to it.

The stories in the article are plausible, even without reference to "Devil's Guard".

Cheers,

Sid.

Ken S.
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Re: DEVIL's GUARD (SS troops fighting in Vietnam)

Post by Ken S. » 20 Oct 2020 17:49

I'm not going to get embroiled in discussion about an article written by a far-left hack "journalist". My comment was specifically about the book.

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Re: DEVIL's GUARD (SS troops fighting in Vietnam)

Post by Sid Guttridge » 20 Oct 2020 22:49

Hi Ken S.,

You brought the writer's politics up, nobody else. You say he is far left. What evidence do you have of this?

And no, the article itself is not evidence of this, unless you believe that all criticism of Western militaries is, by definition, far left and that they should be beyond reproach under any and all circumstances?

There are reasons why these things seem to happen in special forces units. The Canadian and Belgian Paras has similar problems a decade or two back, as reportedly did some Australian SF in Afghanistan, and so-called "Bloody Sunday" was not the British Paras' finest hour, either.

Such units are taught hyper aggression because their style of operations necessarily leave them limited defensive options. This can, and sometimes does, go beyond acceptable norms. It is understandable how this can happen, but pretending it doesn't serves nobody's interests. You can't rectify a problem if you pretend it doesn't exist.

Our wider societies must share responsibility. We are sending these guys out to take high risks on our behalf in what is, for the rest of us, essentially peacetime. To hold them to our domestic peacetime standards is unrealistic, but I'd doesn't mean we must allow them to run amok, either. Sometimes it has to be called out.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: DEVIL's GUARD (SS troops fighting in Vietnam)

Post by Ken S. » 21 Oct 2020 09:59

Your post is completely off-topic.

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Hans1906
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Re: DEVIL's GUARD (SS troops fighting in Vietnam)

Post by Hans1906 » 21 Oct 2020 11:14

Good morning,

one book about germans fighting with the french foreign legion in Indochina/Afrika is:

Hans E. Bauer
"Verkaufte Jahre - Ein deutscher Fremdenlegionär berichtet seine Erlebnisse in Indochina und Nordafrika"
Bertelsmann Verlag, 1957, 292 pages, 32 photos
(Found my copy on a german flea market long ago for very small money)

Interesting to read, but probably the authors name Hans E. Bauer was a pseudonym, no idea, sorry..?

Link: https://www.zvab.com/buch-suchen/titel/ ... auer-hans/


Hans1906
Es ist im Leben wichtig, viel zu wissen.
Manchmal ist es noch wichtiger, zu wissen, daß man nichts weiß.

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