As the Spanish

History 04/02/20 As the Spanish “blue division” fought near Leningrad

the Spanish “blue division” — one of the most famous dissidents of the compounds of the Wehrmacht. Remember about it when it comes about that Hitler fought the whole of Europe.

Opinions about her actions on the Eastern front extremely controversial. Some authors tell about her bravery and perseverance, especially during the operation to break the Blockade of Leningrad, while others write that the Germans to the Spaniards treated contemptuously, deeming them unable to fight successfully. Someone mentions about the atrocities of the Spaniards against the prisoners, and someone says that they saved the cross of the Novgorod Cathedral of St. Sophia. It is clear that in each case, the facts are selected depending on the political views of the author.

the Crusade against communism

the Formation of a volunteer division to be sent to the Eastern front was General Franco a kind of compromise between the desire to participate in the war, but to preserve neutrality.

In this connection, and was formed volunteer division, named “blue” (Azul Divisi). The Germans initially called it a Union of Spanish volunteers (Einheit spanischer Freiwilliger), and later it was renamed as the 250 infantry division. Sometimes the “blue division” somehow relates to the compounds of the SS, but this is completely wrong. After the division was officially withdrawn from the Eastern front, the part of the Spaniards (at least 2,000 people) expressed a desire to continue fighting as volunteers. From them was formed the “Spanish volunteer Legion” or “Blue Legion” who fought for the 121st infantry division. When he disbanded the Legion, the Spaniards began to fight in different parts of the Wehrmacht. 140 people were in the 28th SS division “Wallonia” and later they were in the 11th SS division “Norland”. Many Spaniards were in the 33rd SS division “CharlesAnh”, which, though considered French, but the French in it were very few.

Interestingly, the messengers, and Franco took the oath, not of allegiance to the Fuhrer as the others who served in the Wehrmacht, and swore to fight against communism.

those Wishing to serve in the division was much more than was required, and the reasons there were many. First, after the civil war, many left with a hatred of Communists in General and Russian in particular. Secondly, for the service and paid the Spanish government and the German high command, and paid a lot. In a country with mass unemployment it was a significant factor. There was another interesting category of volunteers: former Republicans, who had planned to desert and go to the side of the Soviet Union, which they did.

“adventures” the Spaniards in Russia

To the front “Blue division” was in October 1941 and operated in the region of Novgorod. The plot is the Spaniards got not the key threat, because the command of the Wehrmacht was not highly evaluated by their combat capability. Furthermore, they are not without the bases was considered politically unreliable: immediately upon arrival at the front of almost a hundred Spaniards have defected to the red Army.

In “Diary notes.” commander of army group “North”, Wilhelm Leeb, for 1941, there are several references about the Spanish: “the Spanish 250th division holds its positions until subjected to violent attacks. But if that happens, the question will be open.”

“the Commander of the 38th corps considers immediate withdrawal of the 250th Spanish division, is not ready to fight in the Russian winter. The commander of this division does not vouch for its fighting capacity”.

“the 250th (Spanish) division is unable to hold such a wide area of defense, even given the fact that each soldier stands out for its bravery. The soldiers suffer from cold.”

“the 250th (Spanish) infantry division repulsed a powerful attack two regiments of the enemy, trying to overcome the Volkhov. Other smaller attacks were talso successfully repulsed.”

those records show how varied the attitude of the German command to the Spaniards.

in the Summer of 1942 250, the division was transferred under the Leningrad district of Kolpino. Active steps on her property was not conducted, although clashes were constant, as the Soviet command came from the fact that it is impossible to give the enemy an opportunity to rest.

“Blue division” had to participate in only one major operation: it was defended by Krasny Bor during the attack on the Soviet troops in February 1943. For the red Army this attack ended unsuccessfully: only in February, was lost 26 353 people. The loss of the 50-th army corps of the Wehrmacht amounted to about 6 thousand persons, from them 2 952 man lost 250 division.

different historians have different versions of how he successfully fought the Spaniards in the red forest.

the Spaniards heroically resisted Soviet offensive

One of the most common versions of the battle of red Bor is voiced by Spanish historian Carlos Jurado. According to him, about 5 900 Spaniards fought against 44 thousand soldiers, lost 3 200 people, but not only held off the attack of the Soviet troops, but they successfully counterattacked. As a result of their actions killed over 10 thousand Soviet soldiers.

According to the more accurate version, of the Spaniards were about four and a half thousand, they attacked on a front of 6 km four Soviet divisions supported by two tank regiments, but the defense to break through failed.

the Number of divisions to 4, 5 thousand people should not be surprising, the other divisions of the Wehrmacht were the same size, but the rest of the data require clarification.

How the Spaniards defended Krasnyy Bor

this operation is Detailed in the work of Vyacheslav Mosunova, which is called “Krasnoborskaya operation. February 1943”.

250th division had the status of “moderately ready to attack” that much: in the whole group of armies “North” only 6 of the 23 divisions had such a high status. Land defense ispanzEV was reinforced regiment 215th infantry division and anti-tank weapons, including self-propelled guns and Tiger tanks

the attack on the Spaniards attacked the 63rd guards rifle division, reinforced by eight artillery and two tank (32 KV and 9 T-37) shelves. By 1200, the guards stormed to the forefront of the enemy, and at 17.00, defeating the main forces of the Spaniards, came to the village of Krasny Bor. According to the war diary of the 50th army corps of Spanish soldiers fled after an hour after the start of the Soviet offensive. The Germans had to hastily pull up all possible reserves. In the future, the Wehrmacht managed to stop the Soviet offensive, but the 250th division in this already did not participate.

the Rest of his time on the Eastern front “blue division” was one of the most quiet sectors of the front in the area of Slutsk.

it is Worth noting that from the total loss division 23 820 people, almost a third (9 400 fighters) dropped out due to illness and frostbite.

Cyril Shishkin

© Russian Seven

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