Who fought who in WWII?

#1
Please bear with me as I know this sounds like a strange question, but I was having an idle ponder to myself on the subject of WWII, and I wondered exactly how many other nations each of the major participants actually fought against.

For example the league leaders Germany fought against (in rough chronological order);

Poland
Denmark
Norway
Luxembourg
Belgium
France
Britain
Yugoslavia
Greece
Russia
USA
Italy
Brazil
Finland
Rumania
Hungary
(and probably a few others I've forgotten).

The Russkies fought:

Poland
Finland
Germany
Italy
Rumania
Hungary
Japan


I was surprised by the French though as they had quite a few too:

Germany
Britain
USA
Russia
Italy
France
Japan

Either their reputation for war dodging is ill-deserved or they're just universally unpopular.


Any corrections and/or additions (and perhaps relevant links too) would be appreciated.

Who exactly did we fight?

Cheers
T_T
 
#3
Hello Tartan_Terrier,

there are quite a few countries which fought on both sides,especially if you count French,Scandinavian and other SS units.
Is that where you got the French versus Russians from?
I think you missed Czechoslovakia and Albania.

The biggest combatant which is usually forgotten is China.
There are many others such as Ethiopia (who managed to defeat the Italians in two wars!),Iraq,Nepal,Tannu Tuva (Tannu who?),the Philippines,Mexico,Mongolia,Panama,Costa Rica and so on.
Then there are British colonies,protectorates and dominions such as Malta,Australia,Canada etc.,not forgetting Newfoundland which was not part of Canada at the time.

There are also many countries which joined the winning side towards the end of the war.

Given the mixture of forces in each theatre,working out who fought whom ought to be quite a task.

Just a thought,surely native Americans would count as another nationality too?

tangosix.
 
#4
Were there any actual Czech military forces during the war?

Partisans yes, but formed military units (after 1938)?

Perhaps I should have included the Empire and Commonwealth troops as seperate nationalities, but I thought it would give the Germans too much of a lead......
 
#5
Hello Tartan_Terrier,

they had forces in exile,like the Poles and many others:

http://www.rogerdarlington.me.uk/czechsinraf.html

It is those brave Tannu Tuvans I want to find out more about.
I bet they get sick and tired of the Russians claiming to have won the war without them.

Here is a list of the Allied forces:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allies_of_World_War_II

Here is a list of Axis forces:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axis_powers

There are quite a few which would not immediately spring to mind!

tangosix.
 
#6
Tartan_Terrier said:
Were there any actual Czech military forces during the war?

Partisans yes, but formed military units (after 1938)?

Perhaps I should have included the Empire and Commonwealth troops as seperate nationalities, but I thought it would give the Germans too much of a lead......
There were several Czech squadrons in the the RAF. Some Czech troops served in the Middle East, and there was a Czech armoured brigade in North-West Europe in 1944/45. Most of these soldiers and airmen had left Czechoslovakia after 1938 and gone to France, where they joined Czech units of the French armed forces. During/after the fall of France they went to UK.

I think you have to count South Africa, Canada, Australia and New Zealand as separate from UK, because it was those countries governments which made the decision for them to go to war, not the British government.
 
#7
Tartan_Terrier said:
I was surprised by the French though as they had quite a few too:

Germany
Britain
USA
Russia
Italy
France
Japan

Either their reputation for war dodging is ill-deserved or they're just universally unpopular.
France (Vichy) also had a scuffle with the Thais over territory that was then French Indochina and is now Laos and Cambodia. wiki

Edited to add; Thailand also declared war against Britain and the USA in 1942. Previous to that, Thai forces had fought the British, Indian and Australian force sent into Thailand from Malaya to disrupt the Jap landings at Singora in 1941.
 
#8
ken_khon said:
France (Vichy) also had a scuffle with the Thais over territory that was then French Indochina and is now Laos and Cambodia. wiki

Edited to add; Thailand also declared war against Britain and the USA in 1942. Previous to that, Thai forces had fought the British, Indian and Australian force sent into Thailand from Malaya to disrupt the Jap landings at Singora in 1941.
That's certainly news to me. So the French had even more enemies than I thought, interesting stuff....
 
#9
The Russians (more properly, the Soviet Union) had to contend with an entire Ukrainian division that defected en-masse to the German invaders - who were received by civilian Ukrainians, with bouquets, cheers and Nazi salutes.

I dunno if that deserves a place on 'the list'.
 
#10
ken_khon said:
Edited to add; Thailand also declared war against Britain and the USA in 1942. Previous to that, Thai forces had fought the British, Indian and Australian force sent into Thailand from Malaya to disrupt the Jap landings at Singora in 1941.
Operation Matador? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Matador The wiki article is weak - much better coverage in Sir John Smyth's book "Percival and the Tragedy of Singapore".

Thinking back to when the lancslad family lived in Bangkok I recall being told of how Brit forces had bombed Bangkok near the end of the war. Apparently it was only the intervention of the US that prevented the UK from applying severe war reparations afterwards. Instead the compensation, for want of a better word, was secured through making the Thais charge a tax on their rice exports.

lancslad
 
#11
Stonker said:
The Russians (more properly, the Soviet Union) had to contend with an entire Ukrainian division that defected en-masse to the German invaders - who were received by civilian Ukrainians, with bouquets, cheers and Nazi salutes.

I dunno if that deserves a place on 'the list'.
Was that the Vlasov Army?
 
#12
walt_of_the_walts said:
Stonker said:
The Russians (more properly, the Soviet Union) had to contend with an entire Ukrainian division that defected en-masse to the German invaders - who were received by civilian Ukrainians, with bouquets, cheers and Nazi salutes.

I dunno if that deserves a place on 'the list'.
Was that the Vlasov Army?
Dunno - I just remember being told about it by Chris Donnelly, lecturing on the Soviet Army, at the Anti-tank division in Nethers, 20 years ago.

A quick look at Wiki:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vlasov_army

suggests not. The Ukrainian story was of a complete Division - Ukrainians being deeply resentful of Russian domination - "changing sides" en masse, at the first opportunity.

The Vlasovski thing looks like a collection of anti-Stalinists recruited by Das Heer from all over Russia and her subject territories.

Das Heer pretty did much the same thing wherever they went - as did the Waffen SS. In the Army's case, they were:
a) Abiding by Adolph's policies on Aryanising the populations they conquered,
b) Making up for the inability of the native German population to support a massive Army in a mighty multiple-front war.

In the case of the Waffen SS, as a result of the inter-service competition for manpower resources, Adolph put in place a rule that compelled them to to recruit 40% of their manpower from conquered territories outside Germany - hence the Catholic/Muslim Handschar Division, in Croatia. There were formations of Danish, French, Azeri, Armenian, Belgian, Norwegian, Arab, Swedish, Finnish and Dutch volunteers - even a tiny handful of Brits (dodgy PoWs looking for a cushy number).

They were pretty good recruiters abroad, as it happens - It is not widely known, but nevertheless a fact, that the Waffen SS recruited a higher percentage of the eligible-by-age Dutch male population as volunteers (not pressed men) than of the same demographic group in Germany: I imagine, however that the popularity of that particular career choice waned a bit after about 1941.

Edited to add: More Waffen SS info from Wikipedia
 
#14
Don't forget The Brazilians who fought against the Fascist Italians and the Wehrmacht.

Sure some Spanish fought the Russians while being attached to the Wehrmacht.

A few South American countries fought in Italy.
 
#16
No.9 said:
Are you getting mixed-up with the Galicia Division?

http://galiciadivision.org.ua/lib/heike-eng/synopsis.html

No.9
Again - not altogether certain, sinc Prof Donnelly didn't dwell on the details: he was just illustrating a point about the Sov9iet forces not being necessarily homegeneous, or loyal to their central gunmint.

But he definitely talked about an existing, combatant division defecting to the Wehrmacht from the Red Army (I'm assuming that was in '41, upon the arrival of the Hermans in the People's Paradise) - so I don't think it's the Galicia Div, which yr source shows as being formed as part of the Waffen SS in '43, on a political initiative by a collaborationist Ukrainian government.
 
#17
lancslad said:
Operation Matador? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Matador The wiki article is weak - much better coverage in Sir John Smyth's book "Percival and the Tragedy of Singapore".

Thinking back to when the lancslad family lived in Bangkok I recall being told of how Brit forces had bombed Bangkok near the end of the war. Apparently it was only the intervention of the US that prevented the UK from applying severe war reparations afterwards. Instead the compensation, for want of a better word, was secured through making the Thais charge a tax on their rice exports.

lancslad
Lancslad, I remember reading somewhere that the first B29 raid of the war was against marshaling yards in Bangkok and that it was US pressure that stopped the British charging PM Phibul as a war criminal. However, I don't think the majority of Thais were very enthusiastic members of the Greater East Asia Co prosperity Sphere and quickly became disillusioned with Jap control. I've met an old boy in the NE who proudly claims to have fought the Japs. Btw, Have you read Singapore Burning by Colin Smith and if so, any thoughts?
 
#18
Stonker - ”Again - not altogether certain, since Prof Donnelly didn't dwell on the details”

Appreciated. There may indeed have been the event suggested which, for several reasons, may have eluded ‘popular history’. Perhaps something omitted from worthwhile histories which in turn was therefore omitted by ‘popular historians’ who – as Alan Taylor observed – “repeat each other”.

For instance, unless you have really delved into the Partisans of Northern Italy, I very much doubt you will encounter the fact that a German airfield located south central of the Po River was guarded by a Czech anti-aircraft battalion. And, after clandestine negotiations the whole battalion defected to the Partisans and served with them.

Alternately, accepting your understanding of what the Prof said, the Prof may just have badly expressed or confused issues? One time as guests of an august National museum, in conversation with the curator supremo the topic drifted to the Cdos and SAS at Termoli. Mr supremo proclaimed they had a great problem with their sea landing? Did they? – no. As expressed by respective War Diaries, Operational Reports and the men who took part. However, though I suspected he was confusing Termoli with Crete, and as he had an entourage of subordinates hanging on his every work, I elected to muster a grim and change the subject.

Jelly - ”If we're going down that line, should be mentioning 10 IA Commando.”

Stretching it a bit??? The Brazilians were a National force in their own right whereas No.10 was a composite of foreign Nationals, living among the Allies, who formed no more than Troop strengths. Actual German Nationals were no more than a handful or so as the criteria for 3 Trp, aka ‘the German Troop’ was to be fluent in German. If you check origins I think you’ll find most were Austrians. Co-incidentally, and perhaps predictably, most were also Jewish which led to another of it’s nicknames, ‘the Jewish Troop’, though being Jewish was not a criteria. Anyway, they were never deployed as a Trp and assigned in small numbers to one-off raids or mostly other Cdos for their linguistics.

No.9
 
#19
Stonker said:
”Again - not altogether certain, since Prof Donnelly didn't dwell on the details”
No.9 said:
Alternately, accepting your understanding of what the Prof said, the Prof may just have badly expressed or confused issues?
No.9
Inconceivable. :D

At worst, he was condensing, for a training session.

I've met no-one, before or since, whose grasp of the subject matter was better than his.
 
#20
"I've met no-one, before or since, whose grasp of the subject matter was better than his."

Fair comment Stonk, that certainly wouldn’t be me where the Eastern Front is concerned :( . Just a bit surprised no one here has been able to furnish more as I’d imagine there are some very knowledgeable members on that theatre?

An aspect that strikes me as, at least, unusual is that this unit was of Division proportion, which I would have thought hard to miss/ignore in historic accounts? 8O

BTW, that Galicia lot seem to be involved in an bit of an ongoing panto. The docu a few years ago painted them very darkly - and many happily living in Britain after the war - , while the 'friends of' fraternity maintain they were nothing of the sort? Of course, if they built rockets or split atoms.............. :lol:

No.9
 

Latest Threads

Top