During the time period from July 1941 through June 1944 for membership in the Legion of French Volunteers turned 13 thousand people, but it was accepted in the Legion is not more than half of the volunteers: weed out the rest of German doctors. The composition of LVF included not only volunteers, but also those former French prisoners of war who chose war on the Eastern Front camps and forced labor. The first batch of the French arrived in Poland in September 1941 — from 2.5 thousand people formed a dvuhbatalonny 638 French Infantry Regiment under the command of Colonel Roger Labon. The French took the form of the Wehrmacht with a blue-white-red stripe on the right sleeve. Flag of the regiment was also tri-color, orders were given in French. November 5, 1941, Marshal Petain sent a message to the French volunteers, "Before you go into battle, it makes me happy to know that you do not forget — you own a piece of our military honor." The battalions left Debu 28 and 30 October 1941, the first battalion commanded by Captain Leclerc, then Commandant de Planar, the second battalion — Commandant Girardeau. The battalions arrived in Smolensk, where they November 6 went on foot to the capital of the USSR.
French suffered the first loss before fights — their uniforms did not match the weather conditions, resulting in the front line are sick and missing was 400. Another interesting fact: the French entered the fray on the memorial to their ancestors Borodino — they were ordered to attack the 32th Infantry Division of the Red Army. After a week of fighting the 1st Battalion suffered heavy casualties in the battle, the 2nd suffered heavy losses from frostbite. December 6-9, French 638 th Regiment was fully retracted. The regiment lost 65 men killed, 120 — and wounded more than 300 people sick and frostbitten. The Germans made a disappointing conclusion to the Legion: "People have shown, in general, good morale, but their level of combat training is low. Sergeant, in general, not bad, but shows no activity, as senior staff does not show efficacy. Officers few that are capable of and obviously were recruited on a purely political basis. " And summed up the disappointing outcome, "Legion neboesposoben. Improvement can only be achieved by updating the officers and forced learning. "
Legion withdrew from the Eastern Front, most of it, including officers, was sent to France. By 1942 it was possible to create a more coherent and efficient division, it was already three battalions to 900 people. The Legion was used in the fight against the guerrillas in the Ukraine and Belarus. In 1943, it was headed by Colonel Edgar EPM, a former officer of the Foreign Legion, received the rank of brigadier general, for success in the counterinsurgency fight, he was awarded two Iron Crosses.
The French took place in other units of the Armed Forces of Germany, making a contribution to the "common cause". For example, in the French Brittany was created so-called. Group Perrault, it scored 80 people in March 1944, she participated in the struggle against French partisans. After the liberation of France, part of the Germans went to Germany. In the 21 th Armored Division of the Wehrmacht, where were the French trucks and armored vehicles, in the 2nd company of maintenance, supply was 230 French volunteers. In Division "Brandenburg" in 1943 from the French formed the 8th company of the 3rd Regiment, it was located at the foot of the Pyrenees in south-west France. She participated in the anti-guerrilla struggle. Operating in the South of France, the 8th Company imitated the French Resistance troops, captured using for this radio station, and was able to catch a lot of the transport of weapons and other war materials. With its help, were able to identify and arrest members of the underground lot. Roth also participated in the battles against the forces of the Resistance, in the so-called. Battle of Vercors. In this battle, in June-July 1944, a considerable force of Germans and French collaborators (more than 10 thousand people) were able to put down on an isolated plateau Vercors major speech the French Resistance, which began after de Gaulle's call to support the Allied landing in Normandy. Several hundred guerrillas were killed.
In the Reich Navy (Kriegsmarine) also served as a significant number of French people — and recruitment centers have been opened only in 1943, when there was talk of a quick victory over the Soviet Union. Enlisted in the French and German troops wore German uniforms without any additional patches. As of February 1944, in the French ports of Brest, Cherbourg, Lorient, Toulon at German service was, about a hundred officers and three thousand non-commissioned officers, 160 engineers, 700 technicians and almost 25 thousand civilians. Approximately one and a half thousand of them in 1944, joined the Division "Charlemagne". In the Todt Organization, which in France was building and strengthening the base for the submarine fleet consisted of 52 thousand and 170 thousand French North Africans. Of these, 2.5 million served in the armed protection of the objects that has cost the organization. Part transferred to the construction of facilities in Norway, a few hundred then joined the Division "Charlemagne". Up to 500 served in the French Legion of Speer, who served as civil engineering functions in France, then engaged in supplying the Air Force as part of the Reich NSKK (Nationalsocialistische Kraftfahrkorps) Motorgruppe Luftwaffe (German Luftwaffe unit is occupied by material support). In addition to the NSKK served another 2,500 French.
Exact figures about how many Frenchmen fought against the Soviet Union on the Eastern Front, there is only data on the French prisoners — in Soviet captivity were 23,136 people of French citizens. To sum up, we can say that France has actively participated in the war against the Soviet Union, French citizens knowingly aided Hitler to build his "new world order". And even after the war, the surviving French volunteers did not show regret this, believing that they had participated in the "crusade" against Bolshevism.
Therefore, mindful of de Gaulle and the French pilots of the regiment "Normandie-Niemen", we need to know about the French and the Wehrmacht, the French Legion, repeating the fate of the "Grand Army of the" Napoleon of thousands of Frenchmen who fought in the various units of the armed forces of the Reich against the anti-Hitler Coalition.
Yuri Mukhin crusade to the East. Moscow, 2006.
Russia and the USSR in the wars of the XX century. Ed. G. Krivosheeva. Moscow, 2001.
See takzheEvropeyskoe resistance movement: Myths and Realities