Axis use of foreign irregulars?

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.
Sawpatin
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Axis use of foreign irregulars?

Post by Sawpatin » 27 Oct 2019 14:17

During the early stages of the Sino-Japanese conflict, Japan used irregular auxiliary forces in several of their campaigns, such as Demchugdongrub's personal army during the Suiyuan Campaign (the survivors would later be reformed into the more formal Inner Mongolian Army).

Can anyone share other examples of Axis nations using foreigners as irregulars, either in frontline or supporting roles? I am aware of the Germans using foreign troops in units like the Turkestan Legion, but these were trained into regular army forces, so not what I'm asking about. I am interested in forces that did not operate under the normal structures/discipline of the professional Axis militaries.

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Carnaro
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Re: Axis use of foreign irregulars?

Post by Carnaro » 28 Oct 2019 15:13

Sawpatin wrote:
27 Oct 2019 14:17
During the early stages of the Sino-Japanese conflict, Japan used irregular auxiliary forces in several of their campaigns, such as Demchugdongrub's personal army during the Suiyuan Campaign (the survivors would later be reformed into the more formal Inner Mongolian Army).

Can anyone share other examples of Axis nations using foreigners as irregulars, either in frontline or supporting roles? I am aware of the Germans using foreign troops in units like the Turkestan Legion, but these were trained into regular army forces, so not what I'm asking about. I am interested in forces that did not operate under the normal structures/discipline of the professional Axis militaries.


Irregular militias were formed under the aegis of german, italian and croatian commands, in muslim and albanian areas of Kosovo and Sandjak.

In particular, germans used self-defence muslim militia in Novi Pazar (bands of Aćif Hadžiahmetović - Bljuta and Bilal «Biko» Dresević).
In Kosovo region Shalë të Bajgorës a militia was formed under Albanian Shala bajraktar (tribal leader) Bislim Bajgora, while in Kosovska Mitrovica local volunteers were put under the command of Bajazit Boletini, that soon was turned into a kind of regular gendarmerie. And so on.

During their short stay in Sanjak (april/august 1941) Croatians formed several militias by enrolling local bosnjaks: that is for example, the bands of Hasan Zvizdić in Sjenica, Suljman Pačariz in Prijepolje and Ćamil Hasanagić in Priboj and others.

Italians formed several militias both in Kosovo and in Sanjak. Moreover local groups were formed also in Dibrano, that is in western Macedonia annexed to Albania.
In Albania proper a lot of militias were formed on local tribe bases around november 1940 and were generally called Bande irregolari di Bottai. Later those bands formed the bases of a semi-regular auxiliary gendarmerie
In Kosovo local militias were known as Vulnetari and were lead by local bajraktari: Ali Bajraktari in Plava, Zhukë Haxhisë in Rugova region, Sali Beba around Priština, Avdyl Dura in Kačanik, Xhevad Begolli a Peć, Shaban Polluzha in Drenica, Osman Hrastoder in Berane and son on.
In Dibrano Vulnetari were recruited in Dibra (groups of Selim Kaloshi and Halil Alija).
In Sanjak many groups were formed in 1941 and 1942: Džemail Koničanin in Tutin, Ibro Saračević in Sjenica, Suljman Pačariz in Prijepolje (after croatian retreat from Sanjak he was legalized by italian command), Ćazim Sijarić in Bihor and many others.

Sawpatin
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Re: Axis use of foreign irregulars?

Post by Sawpatin » 28 Oct 2019 19:05

Carnaro wrote:
28 Oct 2019 15:13
-snip-
Thanks for that answer, I know almost nothing about the Balkans during WW2 so that was interesting to learn about.

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Re: Axis use of foreign irregulars?

Post by LColombo » 29 Oct 2019 14:45

In addition to those mentioned by Carnaro, as far as I know Italy also used irregular Cossack units on the Eastern Front (Gruppo squadroni cosacchi "Campello") and irregular African bands in East Africa (irregular company-sized "bands" of Somalis and Eritreans, infantry or cavalry, commanded by Italian officers and NCOs and distinct from regular colonial troops).

Sawpatin
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Re: Axis use of foreign irregulars?

Post by Sawpatin » 29 Oct 2019 15:51

LColombo wrote:
29 Oct 2019 14:45
In addition to those mentioned by Carnaro, as far as I know Italy also used irregular Cossack units on the Eastern Front (Gruppo squadroni cosacchi "Campello")
Do you have any details on those guys? I would be interested to know what uses they were put to, and how reliable they were for the Italians. I'd also be interested in learning how irregular they were in terms of uniform/equipment (i.e. did they outfit themselves, or were they issued with gear by the Italians)? Also, how much operational autonomy did they have outside the regular armed forces?

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Re: Axis use of foreign irregulars?

Post by LColombo » 29 Oct 2019 16:55

It seems that the uniforms were rather composite, partly provided by the Italian Army, partly captured Soviet clothing, and partly traditional Cossack uniforms. Most of the weaponry were captured Soviet weapons. They were used as light cavalry, first in reconnaissance tasks and later for offensive raids. It seems that they remained loyal till the Armistice of Cassibile (those who survived Operation Little Saturn followed the remnants of the Italian 8th Army when they were repatriated to Italy), when part of them dispersed and part joined the Germans.

I don't know many details on the matter, however they are mentioned in this old discussion: viewtopic.php?t=35065

Whereas below are some links (in Italian), the reliability of which I honestly do not know:

https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gruppo_sq ... ampello%22
https://tuttoggi.info/ranieri-di-campel ... mpo/27872/
http://www.storicissimo.com/2018/09/la- ... te-iv.html

Sawpatin
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Re: Axis use of foreign irregulars?

Post by Sawpatin » 29 Oct 2019 18:02

LColombo wrote:
29 Oct 2019 16:55
-snip-
Thanks for the lead in, it gives me something to go on for further research.

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