Who fought who in WWII?

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Tartan_Terrier, Apr 29, 2008.

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  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);

    (and probably a few others I've forgotten).

    The Russkies fought:


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


    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?

  2. I think more appropriatley the question should be who didn't we fight
  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?

  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:


    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:


    Here is a list of Axis forces:


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

  6. 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. 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. 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. 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.

  11. Was that the Vlasov Army?
  12. 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:

    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
  13. 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.