Forgotten Legions is a large coffee table size book on the history of lesser known SS combat formations. Part one with eleven chapters covers SS Fallschirmjager Battalion 500/600. Part two(4 chapters) covers SS Panzer Brigade Gross, SS Festungs Grenadier Regiment Besslien, OstTurkischen Waffen Verband Der SS and the Special forces of the Waffen SS. Part Three (7 chapters) covers the 21st, 23rd, 24th and 30th Waffen SS Divisions, The reminisces of a Danish SS Volunteer and the remnants of the Spanish Blue Division who found thier way into the SS.
Part One on the SS Paratroopers is the most detailed with many excerpts from members of the unit. Unfortunately the unit fought as a complete unit rarely, mostly as a detachment attached to other commands. This sometimes makes following the course of events difficult as people drop in and out of the narrative. No question is raised on the need for a SS Para unit as it only made one air assault (on Tito's HQ) and there after served as line infantry.
Part Two is more abridged as it covers 4 seperate units. The portion covering the SS Special Forces is a bit confusing as the units seem to be going thru a succession of names and designations. The other formations generally started out as school and replacement units that were cobbled together in the last year of the war to make 'last stands' in the face of the Russian onslaught. The chapter on the Turkoman Division really should have been in the following section.
Part Three mostly deals with the formation of anti-partisan units from Balkan and Russian volunteers. In the last year of the war many disparete battalions and regiments of locally raised personel were brought together to form brigades/divisions, or at least they tried to. The actual result was to take away units doing anti-partisan duties in the dubious effort to turn them into combat formations. I say dubious as they spent thier time forming/disbanding/reforming.
The book has many charts, sidebars and maps, although the maps are crude and at times confusing. Also the sidebars seem added as filler, Did we really need the field post numbers for formations that existed for a matter weeks or months in the main text? I suspect this book started out as a history of SS Fallschirmjager Battalion 500/600 and it was decided to expand it with the other unit histories.
If the you have a interest in SS units not usually covered, then this book may be for you, but for the general historian may be put off by the books flaws.
Edited by belasar, 15 April 2012 - 01:36 AM.