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The Arab Legion in WWII


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#1 JCFalkenbergIII

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Posted 10 April 2008 - 01:08 AM

In 1939 a "Desert Mechanized Force" was formed and equipped with six ‘home made’ armored cars manufactured by Wagner’s, a German firm based in Jaffa, Palestine. The Arab Legion now had a combat strength of 1600 men.
In the summer of 1940, after the Battle of France, British General Wavell visited Trans-Jordan and encouraged the doubling in size of the Mechanized Force. The Force was redesigned The Mechanized Regiment of the Arab Legion (of battalion strength).
In May 1941, the Arab Legion Mechanized Regiment participated against pro-Nazi Rashid Ali who had seized power in Iraq and was attacking British forces located there.
The Regiment was equipped with 8 cwt Ford trucks called "Scout Cars", from the USA, and fitted with Lewis guns and Vickers Machine Guns. Each truck had a driver, co-driver, a Lewis gunner and his assistant, and six or more riflemen. There was no artillery or mortars but four of the original homemade armored cars were still a part of the Regiment.
On 1 July 1941, the Vichy French 2nd Light Desert Company attacked Sukhna. The French were held and finally routed by the Arab Legion. The Arab Legion captured six armored cars, four trucks, twelve machine guns, and 80 prisoners of war.
The Mechanized Regiment had it’s name changed then to the 1st Mechanized Regiment. A 2nd Regiment was raised in September 1941 and the 3rd Regiment was formed in November 1941. All three units formed a brigade. The British provided money and uniforms but vehicles still came from Ford in the USA. The Arab Legion also built 100 armored cars to its own.
Rommel’s advance into Egypt in July 1942, caused the Mechanized Brigade to be deployed to the Sinai for a short time, until the battle of El Alamein.
From January to October 1943 the 1st Mechanized Regiment later served under 30th Indian Brigade in Iraq. Plans to deploy the Mechanized Brigade in the Balkans and Italy but this never came about due to Allied success’ in both areas. The Arab Legion ended the war as a static unit protecting strategic resources and communications in the Middle East.
On May 25, 1946, Amirate became a Kingdom and The Arab Legion as they marched in the national parade. On 8 June 1946, a detachment of the Arab Legion took part in the Victory Day parade in London.
After the war, the unit's strength was reduced to roughly 6,000. The unit was equipped with South African Marmon-Herrington Mk IV armored cars, and Canadian Otter scout cars.

Posted Image

The Arab Legion obtained six armored cars manufactured by Wagner, a German firm based in Jaffa, Palestine.

Jordanian Armor


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#2 C.Evans

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Posted 10 April 2008 - 10:03 PM

Osprey books has a book about Arab Soldiers being trained by and serving with the Germans. They have a few pictures of them in training and you can tell that most or none of them, took the training seriously and that they were sloppy (and I hate using that valted word when it comes to these men in particular but) soldiers.
Lost are only those, who abandon themselves) Hans-Ulrich Rudel.
:snoopy: :ww1ace:
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#3 redcoat

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Posted 11 April 2008 - 12:45 AM

Osprey books has a book about Arab Soldiers being trained by and serving with the Germans. .

I know that the Italians used a large number of native troops in their colonial forces, but I was unaware that the German's had used any, do you have any more info ???
if in doubt....Panic!!!!

#4 JCFalkenbergIII

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Posted 11 April 2008 - 02:16 AM

I was mentioning the Arabs used by the British in WWII. But C.E. is right there were some in the WEHRMACHT too.

ARABS VOLUNTEERS OF THE WEHRMACHT: THE "KODAT



The KODAT
On January of 1943, was formed in Tunisia the denominated unit "Kommando Deutsch-Arabische Truppen or KODAT". by the middle of February of 1943 the KODAT had two battalions of Arab volunteers of Tunisia, an Algerian battalion and a Moroccan battalion that count a total of 3000 men; with German cadre. The KODAT was part of the Sonderverband 287 denominated "Deutsch-Arabische Lehr Abteilung" or also called "Deutsch-Arabische Truppen."

UNIFORM
The troop used the uniform continental French model 1935 color kaki without badges, with a white armband (in the right arm) with the inscription in black "Im Dienst der Deutschen Wehrmacht" (in service of the german armed forces), equipment of brown leather of French origin and German helmets.
The Officials and Sub Officials used the German regulation uniform with an arm badge in the right arm belonging to the " Orientkorps " (used by the Sonderverband 287 and the Sonderverband 288).
Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image
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Left: I draw of an infant of the KODAT, he shines the French uniform M1935, color kaki, belt band color kaki, cartridge holders of leather brown color and the helmet German gray color. In the right arm the white arm band is observed with the inscription "Im Dienst der Deutschen Wehrmacht."
Center: Oberfeldweber of the Sonderverband 287, on the German cadre of a battalion of the KODAT, he wears the tropical uniform M1940, helmet M1935 and in their right arm it shines the "Orientkorps" arm badge.
Right: Up: Two variants of the white arm band with the inscription Im Dienst der Deutschen Wehrmacht" (To the Service of the German Army), used by the KODAT, it was used for other auxiliary units and for personal non combatant the army.
Below: "Orientkorps " arm badge, that this made by an machine-woven of a yellow nascent sun; palms, esvastica and palm of laurels in white; on a dark green oval.

Posted ImageLeft: Photo taken in Tunisia in January of 1943, where a formation of a battalion of the KODAT is observed, which dress the French uniform M1935 with the white arm bands in its right arm and the German helmet. The German suboficial dressed the tropical uniform M1940Posted ImageIn this photo we see an Unteroffizier of the Sonderverband 287, with standard German tropical uniform, with the arm badge arm of this unit; drilling native recruits of the KODAT that use uniforms of the French Army M1935 without badges, alone the white bracelet with the inscription in black "Im Dienst der Deutschen Wehrmacht."
Uniforms
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#5 JCFalkenbergIII

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 03:10 AM

Good for a Bump :).
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#6 skywalker

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 08:47 AM

Interesting. How did the locals recieve the Germans in general ? Any recorded cases of massacres ?

#7 JCFalkenbergIII

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 08:52 AM

Interesting.Any recorded cases of massacres ?


Of who?
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#8 skywalker

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 09:14 AM

Ive never read anything about how the Germans treated the Locals, just curious if there were any massacres commited against the Arabs.

#9 JCFalkenbergIII

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 07:17 PM

Nope none that I heard of. The Germans had no need or reasons to. And obviously with 3000 voulunteers they Arabs must have thought ok of them.
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#10 JCFalkenbergIII

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Posted 26 March 2009 - 11:21 PM

As in Europe and Russia, German propoganda tried to capitalize on nationalist feelings by recruiting members of the local populace in North Africa into the German military. However, unlike in these other theatres, they were only partially successful. Two non-European Legions were formed: the Free Indian Legion and the Free Arab Legion. As well, a legion comprised of French settlers in North Africa, the Phalange Africaine, was also formed.

The Free Indian Legion was recruited from Indian troops of the British forces captured in North Africa. By the end of 1942 it numbered approx. 2000 men, and was officially formed as Indisches Inf. Regt. 950 of the German Army. It served as part of the Atlantic Wall garrison near Bordeaux, but was withdrawn to Germany after D-Day. Originally recruited as part of the Wehrmacht, it was placed under the control of the Waffen-SS as of 8 August 1944. The unit never saw combat, and was eventually disbanded.

The second was the Free Arab Legion, composed predominately of Palestinians, Iraqis and Tunisians, as well as some Moslem residents of France. The first unit raised was Sonderverband 287, which eventually grew to a strength of three battalions; one battalion later served served in Tunisia, while the other two were used in anti-partisan operations in the Caucasas and later in Yugoslavia. A second German-Arab battalion, the 845th Inf. Bn, also served in the Balkans. The largest Arab unit ot the German Army was raised in Tunisia, and was variously known as the Deutsch-Arabische Lehr Abteilung or simply Deutsch-Arabische Truppen. It comprised five battalions within the 5th Panzer Army (including elements of Sonderverband 287 and the Arab members of the Phalange Africaine), and was used in rear area security. As well, four KODAT battalions were raised, and served in the Balkans. It appears these units were used as auxiliaries. (It should be noted that the term "Free Arab Legion" was simply a generic name for those who fought under German command.)

A third Legion, the Phalange Africaine, was also formed following the Torch landings in Africa in 1942. It was a mixed French/Arab unit which served on the Tunisian front, attached ot the 754th Inf. Regt of the 334th Inf. Div. It existed for only a few months.

http://www.angelfire.com/sk3/geruniformaux/Wehr_volunteers.html

Deutsche-Arabische Lehr Abteilung was formed July 1941 in Sonium, Greece, by Sonderstab F and was made up of Arab volunteers, mainly former POWs from the British and French armies.

The unit suffered from the power struggle between Hadji Muhammed Amin Al-Hussein, the Mufti of Jerusalem, and Rashid Ai Al-Gailani, ex-Prime Minister of Iraq, that was waged over the Arabs in the unit.

It was sent to the Caucasus region Sep 1942 for the planned invasion of the Arab lands, there it saw action against the Red Army before being sent to Palermo, Italy, in Nov. It was sent to Tunisia, Jan 1943, where it was used to recruit Arabs for auxiliary units to be used either for guard duty or as construction troops. These units were equipped with Vichy French uniforms and rifles.

It was captured along with the rest of the Axis forces in Africa May 1943.

http://www.axishistory.com/index.php?id=5803
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