The allied landing in Normandy: why they met there with Caucasians

History 15/01/20 allied Landing in Normandy: why they met there with Caucasians

When, in 1944, began the Anglo-American troops in Normandy, then in the coming weeks among the captured prisoners, the allies were surprised to find many representatives of the different peoples.

the Atlantic wall of Hitler defended the soldiers of different nationalities. In addition to the Germans there were representatives of all the Third Reich occupied countries. Moreover, poles in the Wehrmacht was almost more than in the ranks of the allies. To the surprise of many was the Russian. With the caveat that for Europeans and Americans Russian were all Soviet citizens of any nationality. Besides Russians, Ukrainians and Belarusians in parts of the Wehrmacht in France was a lot of Georgians, Armenians, and other representatives of the peoples of the Caucasus and Central Asia.

Where did the non-Russian “Russian” in France?

Initially, when planning the war against the Soviet Union, the Third Reich was not going to use representatives of the local population in the German armed forces. The German command hoped to cope with the Soviet Union quickly, and thought that the available power is enough.

When it became clear that “Blitzkrieg” has failed completely, it has changed many views on the conduct of the war. In particular, it was decided to use Soviet citizens in the war against the Soviet Union. Began active recruitment of volunteers in the camps for prisoners of war. The German command immediately began to divide all potential volunteers by nationality, focusing in their propaganda and the struggle for independence.

In April 1942, Hitler issued a decree about the use of peoples of the Caucasus and Central Asia in the struggle against the guerrillas and at the front, as full allies. Was to form the “Eastern legions”: Turkestani, Azerbaijani, Georgian, Armenian, Volga-Tatar. The total number of Turkic and Caucasian ongenera that have passed through these legions is estimated at 210 thousand people.

By the end of 1942 was formed the first Eastern battalions, which were used at the front and against the guerrillas. However, while some parts proved to be good, the overall experience of their use was estimated by the command of the Wehrmacht as negative. Primarily due to the fact that the whole group, and sometimes units moved to the partisans. Which is especially intensified in connection with the change of the situation on the front and the successes of the red army.

it Turned out that the use of the Eastern battalions on the Eastern front became impossible. The only solution was to redeploy them to other theatres of war: in the Balkans or in France.

According to the order of the General staff of the Wehrmacht No. 10570/43 from the 2nd of October 1943, all Eastern legions, except for Azerbaijan, were sent to France.

Eastern battalions in defense of the Atlantic wall

Translated in France Eastern battalions were used in different ways. Some were sent to southern France, where they were formed by Volunteer personnel Eastern division (Freiwilligen-Stamm-Division). It had five regiments, of which the 1st was Georgian, Turkestan and the representatives of the peoples of the North Caucasus, 2nd — Armenians, Azerbaijanis and Volga Tartars, the other three were equipped with Russian and Ukrainian. However, the division almost immediately disbanded, in battle she did not participate.

Information about the exact number of Eastern battalions were in France, and especially their use in different sources sometimes are contradictory.

In his book “Eastern legions and Cossack units in the Wehrmacht” Sergey Drobyazko and Andriy Karashchuk write that at the beginning of the allied landing in Normandy in France, Belgium and Holland were more than thirty of the East and Cossack battalions. Of which in the defense of the Northern coast, that is directly on the Atlantic shaft sixteen were involved. The authors do not give data in parts, UKpectopany Russian, Ukrainians and Belarusians. In the German documents do not share them and to determine the nationality of a battalion is possible only by numbers.

Almost all of the Eastern battalions were included in the regiments of the different divisions, so many documents they have designated otherwise.

for Example, 797 second Georgian battalion in April 1944 it became the 1st battalion, 739 th 709 fortress Grenadier regiment-th infantry division. And before the landing of the allies, he was transferred to the 922-th neighboring regiment 243rd infantry division.

German troops in the West during that period can be compared to a patchwork quilt, when the connection was going from different parts, was completed from different sources, and were armed with anything. It is clear that in such a situation it is difficult to track the fate of many of the units.

But we can definitely say that all along the Atlantic coast from Brest to Holland was stationed 4 Georgian, 4 Armenian, 2 North-Caucasian, 2 Volga-Tatar, 2 Turkestan and 1 Cossack battalion.

the fate of the Eastern battalions

the fate of the Eastern battalions, especially those that were in the immediate area of the landing of the Anglo-American forces, are not always clear. Thus, according to data cited in his book “Damned soldiers. The traitors on the side of the III Reich” Sergey Chuev, the aforementioned 797-second Georgian battalion moved into different divisions and changed the name, was in 1943 the Germans disarmed as unreliable. But according to German documents he fought and died among the first, being directly in the landing zone. Along with 797-m fought and 795 second Georgian battalion, which was part 709-th division. Since both divisions were defeated, and the fate of the former battalions of them clear. And here’s another Georgian battalion, 823 th,, was the channel Islands (part of the 319-th division), and surrendered only on may 9 1945.

Two Armenian battalions (808 and 813 minutes) died in Normandy, they were part of the 15th army.

800th North Caucasian was in Brest, far from the landing zone, but was also completely destroyed. The same fate befell 798 second Georgian battalion, located in the Bay of Biscay. He was surrounded in the city of Saint-Nazaire and surrendered to the allies.

the Only one who hasn’t finished his history in Normandy, was 835 minutes North Caucasus and 781-th Turkestan battalions. 835 minutes was part of the 34th regiment of the 17th division Aviapolis. After her defeat, the survivors the battalion was reorganized in the building and relocated to the Netherlands.

781 battalion in the fighting did not participate and were withdrawn from France, then simply dissolved.

as for the units located in Belgium and the Netherlands, they do not fall under the first blow of the allies. Their fate was different.

According to Sergei Chuyev 822 second Georgian battalion was located in the Netherlands on the island Texel. In April 1945, he rebelled and was destroyed by the Germans.

812-th Armenian battalion was destroyed in the fighting in the district of Utrecht, when the allies invaded Holland.

Both Volga Tatar battalion (826 and 827 minutes) was disarmed because he refused to go into battle.

the Rest of the parts in the fighting did not participate and was disbanded.

Cyril Shishkin

© Russian Seven

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