Thursday, June 6, 2019

Osttruppen @ Normandy

Oliver Bullough, the British author of "Moneyland"  (a good read) and several books on modern Russia, tweets the story of his uncle on D-Day landing on a beach defended by Ukrainians.  Who all immediately surrendered.

There were many others like them at beaches and ports in northern & southern France, and the Netherlands & Belgium.  Some were rear area security, some anti-partisan, some supervised forced-labor, some were in engineer units, some others were in Luftwaffe AAA units, and some were even incorporated into Heer infantry units.  They consisted of Armenians, Azerbaijanis, Cossacks, Turkestanis, Tartars, Turkmen, Uzbeks, Kazakhs, Daghestanis, Chechens, ethnic Russians of Vlasov's Corps, and a few Japanese & Koreans.  And that doesn't count the many Europeans in SS units.

 Some capitulated forthwith like Bullough's Ukrainians.  Some others were hardcore and fought bitterly as they feared a death sentence if returned to Stalin.

Steemit blogger 'Alber159357'  put up a good post two years ago about Koreans at Normandy.   They had fought for the Kwantung Army at Khalkin Gol, then they had fought for the Red Army at Stalingrad &/or Kursk, and finally for the Wehrmacht at Normandy.


  1. The forced "repatriation" of the Ostruppen is little remembered now but IMO was one of the worst acts of the immediate postwar SHAFE directives. Yes, they were "henchmen of the evil empire". No, we GIs with our delicious K-rations and V-mail had NO idea why these people had volunteered to escape the death sentences of the Nazi Soviet-POW camps to wear the German uniforms.

    I always catch a huge ration of shit for this, but I can't help reminding Americans that while the GIs fought a tough little war in France and Germany, the people who actually beat the damn Nazis were the Soviets who died in their hundreds of thousands - as regular grunts, as partisans, as civilians who were butchered by the Nazis - and gutted the Nazi war machine. I should really write a "decisive battles" post for Operation Bagration this year, because that - not D-Day - was really the End for the Thousand Year Reich.

    Army Group B in northern France had two armies (7th, 15th) with about 38 divisions. That said, these included a bunch of these Ostruppen outfits and three of the relatively worthless Luftwaffe felddivisionen.

    Armeegruppe Mitte LOST more than 30 divisions to the Soviets between 23 JUN and 19 AUG. A total of 31 division or corps commanders were KIA or POWs. The destruction of Army Group Center really WAS the end for the Heer.

    Credit to the GIs and tommies and Canadians and all...but the Western Front was a sideshow compared to the appalling carnage of the Eastern Front in 1944...

  2. And that's an amazing story about the Korean guys' journey. I gotta see that movie; that's got to be an incredible story...

  3. I did not know about any of this!

  4. Cole's site has a good discussion of the journey of the Allied soldiers from places like Senegal and what it today Pakistan to the fight in France. Those guys, too, came a hell of a long way to fight against European fascism. It would be nice if certain latter-day fascists remembered that rather than indulging in their usual slagging-off on the dusky furriners that they detest because, like the original Nazis, they're just basically racist bastards.

  5. Cole mentions the Noor Inayat Khan PBS documentary: "Enemy of the Reich". That is one flic I've gotta see. Luckily it is in my library system. Daughter of a Muslim pacifist Sufi from India and an American mother, British SOE wireless operator for 'La Résistance', Sorbonne student, poet, author of children's books, sitar player, great-great-great granddaughter of Tipu Sultan, she was executed at Dachau.

    There is a short five minute video of her on YouTube produced by the Noor Memorial Trust:

    The Korean flic unfortunately is not available thru my library. I may have to bite the bullet and sign up for netflix or googleplay.