French Nazi summarily shot by other Frogs..Whats your view?

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by londonirish, Jul 14, 2007.

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  1. I have spent an enjoyable couple of hours dancing around the net, including Wiki, and came accross the following link.....

    Web Page Name

    It is about Frog nazis etc...I realise that the subject has almost certainly been covered before in arrse. I want to approach it from another angle...

    I just finished listening to the final radio version of Gunter Grass's autobiography. So I thought I would see what I could find out about him.

    Indulge me.....

    Turns out he seems to be a reasonable thinker, who, in 89, said that Hun re-unification was a bad idea, and advocated two States in a post-Soviet era.

    Given the fact that he has now "admitted" to being a (terrified) tank gunner in the Waffen SS, lots of people are now questioning his credentials as a post-War free thinker.

    For those of you who dont know him, he is a Hun (only kidding ...but he is German), left wing type guy, a very erudite (in some circles=good) writer.

    Anyway, in my usual quest for knowledge, happily tempered by an undistinguished ( on purpose,.{I was a bit busy chasing Mammon} but ) part-time military "career", I just did the usual clickety-click.

    I started out by clicking on this guy's regiment, which took its name from some geezer from ages ago, some "prinz" guy, Fundsberg or Frindsberg, cant remember, and can't be bovvered to look back.

    Anyway, learned that his "regiment" took its ancestry from a deluded idea, some of which involved the Huns, and went on from there.

    From there, I did the usual thing, clickety-click, and found that a good-sounding (frog) officer in the (Frog) SS had been shot, without trial, by another Frog.

    This guy was very anti bolshevick, and, with a pan-european world-view, acted accordingy.

    I thought that the man's anwers were very very plucky. I intrinsically don't agree with his ( I assume ) beliefs, but nevertheless, given the political thought processes of the time, and given my own views on summary executions, I wish a British unit/Officer had been around to tell these ,<parvenue> Frogs what was what.

    In any event, it seems to me, both as a simple stab, and a multifarious businessman, that one set of c8unts shot a different set of c4unts.

    I would hate to have been a British officer/nco next to the Free French.

    I know who I would rather have a drink with.

    EEven so, I am glad he and his kind lost.


    By the way, the Londoni Irish of the time would have glady enjoyed killing anybody in the way, which they did very efficiently, despite having been away for so long. They went away in 39, and many of them were not de-mobbed 'till 48.

    They are original d day dodgers, who went on, amongst other regiments, to conquer southern europe.....

    Anyway, what say you about the plucky French chap?
  2. Interesting link, I was most intruiged to see that the division attracted 3000 recruits in France in July - August 1944. One wonders what was their motivation for joining what must have been, at that stage, obviously a lost cause.
  3. I suspect that they weren't necessarily volunteers. For example, they may have been collaborators threatened with being unmasked in the community with the attendant threat of violence from the Resistance. They may have believed that they'd be safer in a formed unit rather than take their chances.
  4. I've met a few of the LVF and Charlemagne veterans and most of them joined up not to fight for Nazism but againstBolchevism. As a matter of fact, although the French are very touchy about this, the French units in the Wehrmacht and the Waffen-SS were legally formed because Marshall Pétain's Vichy government was the legitimate government in France from June 1940 to August 1944, when Free French forces of the 2nd Armoured Division arrived in Paris.

    I suppose some of those who joined late in 1944 did so to escape the consequences of collaborating with the Germans but most joined because they believed that the real threat to Europe came not from the western Allies but from the Reds and they believed that it was vital to obstruct the westward march of the Red Army as much as possible.


    As for General Leclerc's summary execution of twelve Frenchmen captured in German uniform, the Wikipedia page is more or less accurate. Leclerc, who was a total prick of the first order like most of the French officer class, went up to these men and harangued them. He asked their officer, a young lieutenant, by the name of Briffaut, why Frenchmen were wearing German uniforms. Briffaut asked Leclerc why he was wearing an American uniform and Leclerc responded by, effectively, murdering them.


    It was a war crime, whichever way one views it. Furthermore, Leclerc had them shot in the back. Some of them died shouting "Vive la France!". Some of Leclerc's men were horrified. Moreover, the Frenchmen in question were not all Waffen-SS volunteers, as the photos show. They had been in hospital near Bad Reichenhall recovering from wounds received on the Eastern Front - Germany's European volunteers were posted exclusively to the Eastern Front, bar a few who served with the SS-Jagdverbände and SS-Fallschirmjäger-Btl 600 in the Ardennes - and were, understandably, retreating east when they were overtaken by Leclerc's forces.

    Quite a few British officers and NCOs served with Free French forces and have only good things to say about them. They acquitted themselves very well in battle. I know more than a few FFL veterans, being a member of the Association de la France Libre. There were some pretty hard guys in the FFL, serving in the French SAS, Commandos and Airborne. Mind you, the regular French Army did very well in 1940, in spite of their officers, and accounted for an estimated 130,000 Germans in May and June. The popular image of the French Army rolling over for the Germans is a bit of a myth. They put up a Hell of a fight. However, they were completely let down by their politicians - sound familiar? - and their generals.

    Prosper Keating
    ex-10 PARA
  5. Londonirish, if you're interested in this sort of thing, look up the Waffen-SS Division (the 14th, I think) formed at Odessa in '43-'44. An all-volunteer unit, they were established for 20,000 men, had 50,000 volunteers above the required standard, and ended up turning over 20,000 of them away. Many of whom presumably ended up on the other side later on.

    Practically all of them were wiped out at Brody-Tarnow within a month of deployment in Summer '44, but elements were still surrendering to the US sector as late as early 1948.
  6. Thanks for the post, PaddyK. What's the view in France now about those who served in the german forces and collaberated, or is it not mentioned? I'm just curious, no axe to grind.
  7. It's a very touchy subject indeed, Dennis. After the war, France created the Résistance Myth, a delusional collective memory of the 1940-1944 period in which almost everyone fought in the Resistance. Anything that risks pricking that bubble is stamped on. In fact, there are even de facto laws in place making it illegal to question the validity of certain "resistance heroes". The fact is that the French civil population and administration did pretty much what any population would do and knuckled down under German authority. As one Auschwitz survivor who takes coffee in the café across the road from my place here in Paris told me: "I hardly saw a German uniform during the war! I was turned in by French neighbours, arrested by French policemen, imprisoned in a French concentration camp at Drancy staffed by French policemen and put in the cattle wagon taking us east by French policemen. At Auschwitz, I was guarded by Ukrainian auxiliary policemen and persecuted by trusties."

    Back in the 1980s, when the Mitterand regime staged the show trial of the former Gestapo chief in Lyons, Klaus Barbie, one of the chief accusations against Barbie was his arrest and deportation of Jewish children hidden in an orphanage at Izieu. Yet Barbie was strictly in charge of anti-terrorist operations. He had been in charge of rounding up Jews in Holland but in France, that was not his job. The Children of Izieu, as they are called, were rounded up and thrown on the train by French gendarmes. France's great socialist President, François Mitterand, was one of 137 recipients of the highest Vichy award for civil merit, the Francisque. He managed to convince the French nation that he had only been a very minor civil servant before joining the Resistance. It was easy to convince a nation that has always been in denial about how French people behaved during the Occupation. Mitterand was rather more than a minor civil servant. France allowed a number of very bad boys indeed to reinvent themselves after the war, Maurice Papon being a case in point.

    It's easy for us to cast stones but we should remember what happened in the Channel Islands! And not all French people were supine. There were many brave Frenchmen and women who fought for their country's freedom. But the French Establishment remains in denial and any discussion of this period that veers off the accepted "party line" is likely to provoke great wrath and even legal action for "insulting the nation".

  8. It is believed that hundreds of veterans from the Galician division were permitted to settle in the UK and the Commonwealth after the war. To be honest, I don't think the SS-Personal-Hauptamt would have tolerated the rejection of 20,000 volunteers. The Waffen-SS was desperate for manpower by late 1943.

    Every so often, Fleet Street has gotten hold of this story to generate shock-horror headlines and features. However, a judicial enquiry in 1986 produced a report stating that:

    The report also stated:

  9. Franco also sent a force to the Eastern front to fight for Hitler. La division azul (the blue division) are commemorated all over Spain with street names being named after the unit.

    France has an odd grasp of "La resistance" as has been noted above. Anyone ever heard of the Rue Bobby Sands?
  10. Were'nt the French left and right wing at each other's throats politically for years/decades after the war, sometimes leading to large scale rioting/violence? The French were politically volatile.

    PaddyK - the French were'nt the only European nation to re-invent themselves post war. Many 'de-Nazified' Germans regained positions of importance throughout Germany post-war. I would think that this would be the case with many central/western European countries that fell to Nazi occupation.
  11. "Franco also sent a force to the Eastern front to fight for Hitler."

    Not 'wrong', but not a point already stated. For some, possibly the majority, it was not a case of fighting for Hilter, by fighting against Communism.

    Very good opinions PaddyK. The popular image of the French Resistance, and several other National movements, is a distorted one, but not for the same reason in each case.

  12. The issue of the French Army and resistance during the War is very complicated involving as it does the Gaulllist Free French, The Army of Africa (after Torch) and the forces formed during the liberation. The restitance is even worse - the Communist Resistance supporting the Germans until Barbarossa.
    The issue of collabaration - If you recieved a legal order to surrender would you obey or would you follow a single general to carry on the struggle? As civillian official is your resposibilty to offer reistance or to try todo the best for your people? Compare Yugoslavia and France and see if general popular resistance was really such a good idea.
  13. There were even some British that fought for Germany, and what do you think would have happened them if caught?
  14. ”Compare Yugoslavia and France and see if general popular resistance was really such a good idea.”

    Don’t really follow? Actually, IMHO, most comparisons serve to show how different the circumstances were in most countries and therefore stereotyping well avoided in place of individual factors. Yugoslavia was pro Axis at the beginning of the war till an internal coup steered matters pro Allies. Federal opposition in Yugoslavia fell quickly with its monarchy evacuating. Britain desired an eventual restoration of the monarchy which would mean an establishment they much preferred to deal with rather than a Communist alternative.

    Retrospectively things may have been better, for Britain and the West, if Draga Mihailovic had prevailed, but, as we know it was Josip Broz ‘Tito’. Regime manipulation aside, the Allies had the priority of defeating nazi Germany, and while support of Mihailovic leant heavily towards the preferred regime, the matter of ‘killing Germans’ was accepted as a better prospect with Broz, a Communist.

    In time of war a lot to be seen and said for; ”the enemy of my enemy is my friend”.

    France, without any monarchy and much more wealthy and powerful, I do not see polarised so dramatically, not with such a political extreme. I don’t say France did/does not have extreme right and left elements, but once the people had liberty and choice restored, the lip service paid by many evaporated as did many political aspirant ‘chickens’, still to hatch. Had De Gaulle been an ardent Communist, the whole issue could have been very bizarre?

    The term ‘Resistance’ is a pretty big umbrella, but often not seen a the ‘vegetable’ in the context of vegetables and cabbages when talking of Partisans. viz, ‘all cabbages are vegetables but not all vegetables are cabbages’. So, ‘all Partisans are part of the Resistance, but not all members of the Resistance are Partisans’. The Partisan of WWII was an out and out combatant in the field, operating from a base (of necessity often transient) and existing on what they were given, could steal, win or otherwise acquire. Their fight with the enemy was face to face. In many countries Resistance comprised the gathering and passing on of information, and impediment of the enemy by means other than open violence. For example, if you were a Clerk in a Town Hall governed by the Germans, and you deliberately misfile a document, you contributed to the Resistance.

    Many of the French I believe were involved in this way, rather than actual full time Partisans. The largest Partisan body I have ever found were located in the mountains on the border of south west France, and while effective and valiant in what they did, were not a particularly large body nor a major military threat to the Germans. I say not major only in comparison to the measures taken by the Germans to counter them. For example, the seldom referred to Italian Partisans in German occupied north Italy were a huge problem. In one of Kesselring’s reports he advised that at any one time at least 6 German Divisions were engaged with the Partisans, and this in addition to Wolfe’s SS, the fascist RSI military, and paramilitary and secret police. Heavy police elements were needed as there were extensive Resistance organisations in all major towns and, to varying degrees, the smaller ones.

    In the case of Yugoslavia, essentially the Germans did not have a formal front opposing an Allied force, (though there is a case for the Adriatic itself), but everything that could be done to tie-up German resources within Yugoslavia was a great contribution to the overall war effort. Bosip’s Partisans, with Allied support (e.g. 2 Cdo Bde), were effective in this. But, on the one hand they sought to push the Germans out, and on the other eliminate Mihailovic’s Chetniks, the only serious domestic opposition to him.

    On ‘collaboration’, perhaps on the one hand they are examples of say Quisling in Norway, but passing down the chain a lot of elements of revenge on people not particularly liked for personal reasons by people in a position to so act? A dictionary definition; ”to work with an enemy who has taken control of your own country”. So, back in the Town Hall example where you are a Clerk, Germans take over the administration and you are to follow their orders. You refuse and they say they will shoot you. You accept that, but then they say they will also shoot your wife, children and your parents. You change your mind and thereafter try to slow and bugger things up when able. After the liberation, an influential family who never liked you because you chased them for their local land charges decry you as a collaborator saying your signature is on several German documents, and want you shot?