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battles and engagements of the 33rd waffen ss division charlemagne,sturmbrigade frankreich and L.V.F

Discussion in 'Eastern Europe' started by waffen alez, Sep 20, 2008.

  1. waffen alez

    waffen alez Member

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    I've read the book "The dead lions"(english translation of: les lions morts) so i know all the charlemagne's battle of berlin.
    but I want to know the previous engagements on the eastern front of the division charlemagne or also the battles and engagements of the sturmbrigade frankreich and the L.V.F. (french volunteers in german army for the eastern front)

    I wait an answer, bye!
     
  2. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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    You might want to post this in the Battle for Europe or Russia at War Forums.
     
  3. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    there are several other publications you need to investigate further, look along the lines of the 11th SS Nordland in the Ost, Charlemagne was right there as well
     
  4. waffen alez

    waffen alez Member

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    I've read the book "The dead lions"(english translation of: les lions morts) so i know all the charlemagne's battle of berlin.
    but I want to know the previous engagements on the eastern front of the division charlemagne or also the battles and engagements of the sturmbrigade frankreich and the L.V.F. (french volunteers in german army for the eastern front)

    I wait an answer, bye!
     
  5. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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    French Volunteers and Collaborationist Forces - Waffen SS-Grenadier-Sturmbrigade Brigade Frankreich
    by Daniel Laurent

    Further to an approval from Hitler in June, Pierre Laval signs on 22 July 43 a decree creating the French Waffen SS.
    Recruitment started in several places. First, the Ersatzkommando Frankreich der Waffen SS located 24 avenue du Recteur Poincaré and also 28 de la rue La Boétie in Paris. Other recruitment centers, attached to the Kommandos der Ordnungspolizei are opened in Rennes, Marseille, Limoges, Poitiers, St Quentin, Rouen and Angers (19 rue de la préfecture). The French workers in Germany as well as the POW are authorized to apply
    Before incorporating the LVF into the Waffen-SS, individual Frenchmen, many of German heritage had successfully enlisted in SS formations. From the very start of the occupation, these men served under the "Totenkopf," "Das Reich" and "Wiking" Divisions.
    University students were prominent among the volunteers in Paris but in fact workers will account for 39% of the total. In South East France, 66% of them are below 25 y.o.
    The crusade against bolchevism is the main motivation of those volunteers. Another main point: They refuse to fight on the French territory.
    With the exception of Jews and former convicts, any French can apply as long as they are fit for the military instruction - Age: 17 to 40 y.o. Minimum height: 1.62 m
    By August 1943, 800 candidates were drafted into the Waffen-SS and sent to a training camp at Sennheim (Cernay in French) in Alsace. 200 more will joint within the next month. Far from the expected Division! On Adolf Hitler order, the SS-FHA (SS Fuhrungs-Hauptamt) reduces on 16 September 1943 the unit to an SS Regiment (Franzosisches SS-Freiwilligen Grenadier Regiment).
    Within the Waffen SS, no difference is made between the volunteers. They all enjoy the advantages given to the German Waffen SS. The exact conditions, salaries, advantages and pension scheme are available, in French, at www.division-charlemagne.com as well as a copy of the funding decree. In November 1943, 20 French Officers were sent to the SS training camp at Bad Tolz and 100 NCO's to the SS school at Posen Treskau. The volunteers received German Waffen-SS uniforms.
    Training was typical SS, i.e. tough. But the best elements are immediately distinguished. The French SS were first not really welcomed by the other trainees, Germans and Scandinavians, but their physical and moral capacities quickly overcome this handicap.
    Training ends up on 20 December 1944. On 6 January 44, 900 French SS depart from a Paris railway station after their last break at home. Joseph Darnand was there to welcome them. Only 20 of them were missing…
    Those SS are to be considered as the sole “true” French Waffen SS. They will remain the sole to have received the full SS training, both from a political and military point of view. They were all volunteers. The elements of the LVF, NSKK, Milice and so on who joined later didn’t received this specific training and, for many of them, where not really enthusiastic to wear the SS runes.
    In March 1944, 1538 SS along with trained Officers and NCO's were assembled as a complete formation at the Waffen-SS training camp located at Beneschau near Prague.
    Order of battle:
    Kommandeur of the Sturmbrigade: Pierre Cance
    Headquarter officer: Obersturmfuhrer Croisile
    Ordinance officer: Untersturmfuhrer Scapula
    1st Platoon : De Tissot
    2nd Platoon: Gaultier
    3rd Platoon: Fenet
    4th Platoon Michel
    Logistic: Maudhuit
    Medical: Bonnefoy
    Armament: Brilard

    On 30 June 1944, the unit was designated as the "8. Freiwilligen Sturmbrigade Frankreich." Other sources referred to the brigade number as 7th, nevertheless the French unit was commonly referred as the "SS Sturmbrigade Frankreich."
    There, the legal record reached the HQ and a last selection is operated. For the criminals, about 20, Concentration Camps in a section reserved to the former SS. The undercover agents infiltrated by the French resistance are executed.
    In July 1944, the Sturmbrigade was ordered to form an emergency battle group. The 1st battalion under the command of SS-Haupsturmführer Pierre Cance was selected for the Eastern Front. Henri Fenet was in charged of the 1st Company.
    Traveling by train, the Sturmbrigade will ride across Slovaquia, Hungary and Poland before eventually reaching the front. On their way, they came across several other military convois, generating surprises everywhere: French Waffen SS!
    In early August the 1st battalion was sent to reinforce the battle group of the "18th SS Division Horst Wessel." This division was engaged at Mielec in the bend of the Vistula Front
    The Dundoukamy battle, 8-15 August 1944
    8 August 1944:
    In Dundoukamy forest, the 3rd company of l'Obersturmführer Fenet, equipped with Panzerfaust, reached first the front line.
    9 august 1944:
    The first loss for the French Waffen SS: The young Sturmann Delattre killed in a village where he was commanding a Kampfgruppe
    10 août 1944:
    The 1st and 2nd Companies reached the frontline
    The Untersturmführer Leon Gaultier is severely wounded while reaching his position. He will be replaced by Bartolomei, called by his men “le vieux Bartho”, the old Bartho.
    The fight is tough. 3 plattons commanders are wounded: Mulier, Pinsard-Berthaz, Hag. The Strumbrigade manage to stabilize the frontline.
    11 August 1944:
    Digging in, the Sturmbrigade consildates its positions and crush some Soviet patrols attempting to infiltrate the lines
    12 August 1944:
    The Horst Wessel, including the French Sturmbrigade, counter attack. Target: the railway line Cracovia / Sanok. The Russians retreats, the German/French assault often leading to body fights.
    13 August 1944:
    The Strumbrigade Frankreich buries its dead comrades.
    14 August 1944:
    Heavy artillery attack against the French lines. No success.
    The Standarten Oberjunker Peyron is killed by a schrapnel. The first high ranking officer to fall. He is buried in the Wollika village.
    15 August 1944:
    Eventually, the Battalion Cance retreats as instructed. Losses: 10% KIA or wounded, i.e. 120 men on 1200.
    The Viskola battle
    20 August 1944
    The SS unit reached its newly assigned sector, 100 Km Northwest of Sanok, on the Viskola River. The fights are more and more terrible. News are extremely bad. The lines left and right of the Frankreich are demolished, the French risk to be encircled.
    Some Panzers are also involved; fights are extremely hard bear the Radommysl village as well as in its cemetery. Henri Kreutzer, with his French PAK group and few Germans, i.e. 30 soldiers all in all, must hold this crucial point to salvage the French Waffen SS from a complete encirclement and destruction.
    Stukas attacks are instrumental in the position maintenance. KIA and WIA are numerous. The Russians, after realising that they were facing Waffen SS, concentrate their attacks on the demoralised Wehrmacht units. Oberjunker Kreutzer will keep his position up to the end, but will be wounded by a shrapnel and get an Iron cross. He will survive the war.
    21 August 1944
    The 3 Grenadier Platoons retreat across the forest.
    Noël de Tissot and his men lost their way and try to take refuge in a village but met Russians troops there. Violent fights at dawn, de Tissot is killed and his body will disappear. The sole Platoon to make it is the 3rd, Obersturmführer Henri Fenet, but the section Laschett, encircled, had to surrender nearby Mokré village. They will finish the war in the Russian Tambow camp. Laschett will die of starvation early 1945. On this 21 August 1944, all Platoons had 75% loss, KIA or MIA.
    22 August 1944
    Haupsturmführer Cance managed to gather isolated groups and the survivors of the 2nd Platoon, about 100 men. Their task is to keep a crossroad at Mokré for 12 hours more. Everybody must fight now. Pioneers, secretaries, drivers, and telephonists. Cance leads by example and is in the front line with a machine gun. Russians are announced at 10 Km, but at the rear of the Kampfgruppe! The Sturmbrigade is once again encircled. The village become an inferno, permanently bombed by Russian artillery. The wooden houses are burning, thick black smoke everywhere. The remnant of the Brigade start retreat at night but confusion is there and several units are completely isolated.
    23 August 1944
    Obersturmführer Fenet and his men of the 3rd platoon, isolated, are fighting with a Wehrmacht unit at Debica. Oberjunker Chapy gathers isolated elements of the 1st and 3rd Platoons, creates a Kampfgruppe and defends Dubrowka. Lambert still holds Mokré with isolated men and remnant of the 2nd Platoon. Haupsturmführer Cance, MP40 in hand, fights with his men the whole day and will be evacuated after his 3rd wound. His ordinance officer Scapula is killed as well as Le Marquer and the German liaison officer Reiche. Lambert is killed in Mokré at the end of the day; a shrapnel reached his heart.
    24 August 1944
    Survivors are gathered in the Tarnow forest. The Sturmbrigade is almost destroyed. It is left with only 10% of its men, 140 Waffen-SS still able to fight. It lost 130 KIA, 50 MIA and 660 WIA. These men fought with great courage, earning praise from the commander of the 18th SS Division, SS-Oberführer Trabandt. The first Battalion is « cité à l'ordre de la » division SS Horst Wessel.
    The French Waffen SS leave Galicia for Schwarnegast, near from Dantzig. The 2nd Battalion will soon joins them from Neweklau.
    SS-Haupsturmführer Pierre Cance (1907-1988) is promoted SS-Sturmbannführer but will be removed from the Combat units by the future commander of the Division "Charlemagne", SS-Brigadeführer Krukenberg (1888- 1980). Cance will be serving at the Neweklau SS-Junkerschule and keep contact with Joseph Darnand who is his former commander at the French Milice.
    It is said that Cance will get from Darnand the mission to help former French miliciens to desert the Waffen SS. He tried to « purchase » men for millions of marks to Krukenberg! Cance was planning to purchase a boat to escape with his miliciens in Sweden. Krukenberg refused sharply and instructed Cance to report to the SS Hauptamt in Berlin. That story by several sources but not really confirmed.
    Cance managed to escape from Berlin before the Red Army encircled it. He will be captured by the British in Northern Germany in May 45 and transferred to France. Condemned to death by a French tribunal, he will eventually be freed on October 17, 1950, i.e. after only 5 years.
    [​IMG]

    Axis History Factbook: Waffen SS-Grenadier-Sturmbrigade Brigade Frankreich - French Volunteers and Collaborationist Forces
     
  6. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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    Légion des Volontaires Français (LVF), or Infanterie Regiment 638, as it was know to the Germans, was formed July 1941. It was sent to Debica, Poland, for training and it remained there until Oct when it was sent to the Eastern Front attached to 7. Infanterie-Division. It suffered heavy losses during the Soviet winter offensive and the 2. Battalion was almost destroyed but a 3. Battalion was formed from new volunteers (including some 200 colored, mainly Arabs from Algeria).
    After these losses it operated as individual battalions rather than as a single unit fighting the partisans. It continued fighting the partisans during 1943 but was once again used as a single unit when all the battalions were attached to 286. Sicherungs-Division.
    It merged with Französische SS-Freiwilligen-Sturmbrigade Sep 1944 to form the Waffen-Grenadier Brigade der SS Charlemange.
    In 1942 an attempt was made to make this unit an official French unit, the Légion Tricolore, but this was not allowed by the Germans who wanted to keep the unit under their control.
    [​IMG]
    Commanders Roger Labonne (? Aug 1941 - ? Mar 1942) Edgar Puaud (? June 1943 - 1 Sep 1944) [​IMG]

    Order of battle
    1. Bataillon
    2. Bataillon
    3. Bataillon

    Axis History Factbook: Légion des Volontaires Français (LVF)
     
  7. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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    French Volunteers and Collaborationist Forces - Französischer Infantry-Regiment 638 LVF
    by Daniel Laurent

    Légion des volontaires francais contre le bolchévisme (Legion of the French Volunteers against Bolshevism)

    On June, 22 1941, the very same day the attack of Germany against the USSR was announced, Jacques Doriot (1898-1945, Iron cross 1943), leader of the PPF, Parti Populaire Francais (French Popular Party, the most active of all the French fascists organizations) launch the idea of a Legion of French volunteers to help fighting the Red Army.
    On June 23, one of his political competitors, Marcel Deat, met Otto Abetz, the Ambassador of the 3rd Reich in France, to discuss the topic. Abetz reports to Berlin and receives on July 5 the telegram No. 3555 from the Counselor Ritter, confirming the approval of Von Ribbentrop.
    This initiative coincides with the policy of the Reich who wishes to create volunteers units in several European countries. So, Berlin accepts to “engage French citizens in the battle against the Soviet Union”. But there are numerous limitations to this approval: Recruitment limited to the occupied zone, number of recruits limited to 15,000 (Figure never achieved). Hitler doesn’t want to find himself owing something to the French.
    On July 6, a meeting takes place at the German Embassy in Paris. On July 7, a second meeting is help at the Majestic Hotel, HQ of the Whermacht in France. All the leaders of the French fascist and collaborationist groups are there: Doriot, Deat, Bucard, Costantini, Deloncle, Boissel, Clementi. That day, a Central Committee of the LVF is created with all the attendants being members. A recruitment center is set and Abetz offers for such the former offices of the… Intourist, the Soviet tourism agency, 12, rue Auber in Paris!
    Immediately, the LVF is embarked in the Franco-French political competition, each collaborationist organization trying to lead the show, hoping to increase its own influence. The most successful are the MSR (Deat) and the PPF (Doriot), using extensively the “Anti-Bolshevik crusade” propaganda to which part of the French opinion is receptive.
    On August 5, the LVF is officially created as a private association. Fernand de Brinon, delegate of the Vichy government, accepts to be President of the support committee to which several influential people will adhere, such as Mgr. Baudrillart, catholic cardinal.
    From July 1941 to June 1944, 13,000 volunteers applied, but only about half of them will be accepted by the tough selection team composed of German military doctors.
    The first unit reached Deba, LVF rear base in Poland, in September 1941. With those 2,500 volunteers, 2 battalions and regimental units are created. The first LVF commander is the Colonel Roger Labonne (1881-1966), former commander of a French colonial army unit, the RICM. The LVF is registered by the Whermacht as the Franzosischer Infantry-Regiment 638.
    The volunteers have to wear a German uniform with a blue-white-red French shield on the right arm. The regimental flag is also blue-white-red and the orders are given in French. But all the volunteers must take an oath of allegiance to Adolf Hitler and that creates several problems.
    They will be pacified by Mgr. Mayol de Lupe (1873-1975, Iron cross 1942), general chaplain of the LVF, who celebrates a mass in the morning of the October 5, day of the oath. On November 5th, the Marechal Petain sends them a message: “Before your battle, I am happy to know that you don’t forget that you are holders of a part of hour military honor”.
    The 2 battalions leave Deba on 28 and 30 October 41, the first battalion under command of Captain Leclercq, then of Commandant de Planard, the second one with Commandant Girardeau. They reach Smolensk from where they take the road to Moscow on November 6, walking in the freezing Russian winter. The heavy equipment is transported with great difficulties in horse-driven carriages. This trip is a tragedy: The uniforms and individual equipment are not fitted for winter temperatures, blizzard and icy rains are blowing, one third of the men are affected by dysentery. Before reaching the front line, the LVF lost 400 men, sick or getting lost.
    They eventually reached the extreme end of the German front, at 63 Km from Moscow. The 639 Infantry Regiment is there joined to the Infantry Division 7 of General Von Gablenz.
    On November 24, 1941, the 4 platoons of the 1st battalion are heading to the front line near the village of Djukovo. The regimental HQ reaches Golowkowo. The ground is frozen. After several days waiting in horrible conditions, attack order is given on December 1st in a horrible snowstorm, with temperatures that dropped 20 Celsius overnight, without winter equipment, with no Panzer support.
    On the opposite side, the 32nd Siberian Division, well equipped, well trained, supported by heavy artillery.
    Dead and wounded French are spilling the ground; automatic weapons are blocked by the frost. At the medical post, Doctor Captain Fleury struggles to treat all the wounded, the sick and the men with frozen members. After a week, the 1st battalion is almost dislocated and must be replaced. Lieutenants Dupont and Tenaille, the best platoons commanders have been killed by the same artillery shell, Captain Lacroix is severely wounded.
    More to the north, the second battalion is less afflicted by the battle, but as much by the climatic conditions. While the 7th infantry division remains on the front line, the whole 638 regiment is pulled out between the 6 and 9 of December.
    It lost 65 dead, 120 wounded, more than 300 sick or with frozen members.
    The reports issued by the German military inspectors are not sweet: “The men generally show good will but are lacking of military training. NCO are generally good but cannot really be active, as their superiors are inefficient. The Officers are incapable and recruited only as per political criteria” (Oberstleutnant Reichet, commander of the 7th Division operational office).
    Then came the conclusion:
    “The Legion cannot be engaged in combat. Improvement can only be obtained by the renewal of the officer Corp and a strong military training.”

    The retreat was done in really horrible conditions, the men having lost any confidence in their officers. The LVF is removed from the front line and regrouped in Poland to be severely re-organized and trained, 1,500 recruits being removed and sent back to France, including most of the officers.
    Built with the arrival of new volunteers, the 1942 LVF will be tougher, more qualified and more homogeneous. Its military efficiency will be based on an excellent NCO group.
    Now organized in 3 battalions of about 900 men each, the LVF will be engaged rear of the front, fighting against Soviet Partisans. There, the LVF will apply with some success methods issued from the French colonial army.
    A new commander is appointed in June 1943: Colonel Edgard Puaud (1889-1945, first and second class Iron Cross, 44-45), former Foreign Legion officer, who is appointed as Brigade General. We will find him, again, at the head of the French Waffen SS Brigade and, later Waffen SS Division.
    From July 42 till December 43, the 1st battalion (Commandant Lacroix, Captain Poisson, Commandant Simoni) is engaged at Borissov, Smolensk, Sirsch, Kotovo where 150 Legionnaires resist to 1,000 Soviet partisans on May 22, 43, and Murovo.
    The 2nd battalion (Commandant Tramu) will be constituted only in November 1943. Its companies are operating around Michaelkovo.
    The 3rd battalion (Captain Demessine, Commandant Pane) participates in June 1943 to the Kolmi operation. After tough fights against the Soviet partisans in the Briansk forest, the battalion is sent in the Mohilev area to fight the guerilla till February 1944. This is when Commandant Pane, generally considered as the best LVF officer, is killed.
    Those who came back alive from the Eastern Front will all praise the German soldier attitude. Let’s hear from them:
    “A German soldier weight 5 or 6 Russians. The Soviet can win only when they have a huge numerous superiority” Francois Gaucher, 30 March 1944.
    “We were all comrades. Those who were there were living and acting only in function of the life and the action of their unit. A Wehrmacht General could eat next to a Corporal the same ration he just got from the same Schwester with the same smile and the same “have a nice meal”.” Eric Labat in “Les places étaient chéres”, Paris, 1969.
    During spring 1944, the rupture of the central eastern front will provide the LVF with an opportunity to redeem the failures of the 1941 winter. One June 22, 1944, the German front is horribly weakened by the assault of 196 Soviet divisions. While the Wehrmacht retreat everywhere, a LVF battalion, formed in a Kampfgruppe, is asked to cut the Moscow-Minsk road in front of Borrisov, near from the Beresina river.
    Leaded by Commandant Bridoux, son of the Vichy war Minister, the Kampfgruppe is composed of 400 men, all veterans. Mgr Mayol de Luppe, 71 years old, is with them!
    Their positions is equipped with MG42 machine guns, anti-tanks 37 guns and some Tiger Panzers.
    At dawn on this June 22nd, the Red Army launches a heavy infantry offensive, seconded by tanks. Thje battle will last till the 23rd at night. The Soviet didn’t passed. The LVF retreated, as no more ammunition was available. 41 dead, 24 wounded but, in that opposite side, several hundred of dead and about 40 destroyed tanks.

    2 weeks later, exhausted and starving, the survivors are gathered at Greifenberg camp, in Pomerania. The Legionnaires discover there their French comrades volunteers in the Waffen SS. Here is the end of the LVF history, all the Legionnaires being incorporated in the French Waffen SS Brigade.
    [​IMG]

    Axis History Factbook: Französischer Infantry-Regiment 638 LVF - French Volunteers and Collaborationist Forces
     
  8. waffen alez

    waffen alez Member

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    thanks falkenberg!
     
  9. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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