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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Indian Volunteers in the German Wehrmacht (The Indian Legion)

Lot have been said about the brave Indian man fighting in two great wars for the allies.From South east asia to North Africa and Europa. various Indian and british webpages are filled with accounts of these brave warriors who fought and lost their lives not for mother India but for British crown and the oppresive western world. The great british crown which had subjected the great civilization and build the foundations of its economy on sweat and blood of Indians. But all that is a diffrent story alltogether.

I want to tell you the story of The Indische Legion (The Indian Legion),A SS unit of German Army during WW2 . Freemen who decided to take up arms and fight for Indian freedom. Men who along with Germans fought in the last few battles against the invading allied armies in Germany. They fought hard against US , British and French Armies. You can just imagine Indian men in German uniform holding up a American convoy with MG 42, or a Panzarsherk team takin out a british tank.

Most facts were hidden by the allies after the war. Few german officers who commanded the Indische Legion units are still around , And it is only they who have come foward with the information that is avilable to us.

From what ive read out of 6000 or more indian men in German and Italian POW camps 300 where transfered to Künigsbrück near Dresden in Saxony where they were issued German uniforms and trained by the German Army.

The Indian legion Order of Battle :-

I.R. 950 (ind) / Freies Indien Legion 1943-44[22]

Legionskommandeur: Oberstleutnant Kurt Krappe (until 25/6/43) - Legion Commander

Ausbildungs und Betreutungsstab (Training & Maintenance Staff) formed 27/4/43 then renamed on 7/7/43 as: Regiments-Stab (ind.) Infanterie Regiment 950

I. Bataillon: w/ 4x Infanterie Kompanien (Nr. 1 - 4) - 1st Battlion (4 nos companies. 1-4)

II. Bataillon: w/ 4x Infanterie Kompanien (Nr. 5 - 8)- 2nd Battlion (4 Nos companies. 5-8)

III. Bataillon: w/ 4x Infanterie Kompanien (Nr. 9 - 12)-3rd Batt. (4 Nos Companies. 9-12)

13th Infanteriegeschtz Kompanie (Infantry-Gun Company w/ 6x 7.5cm leichtes Infanteriegeschtz 18) - 13th Inf Gun Company with 6 nos 7.5cm Light Inf Guns.)

14th Panzerjäger Kompanie (Anti-tank Company w/ 6x Panzerabwehrkanone)- 14th PanzerJager
Company (Anti tank rockets)

15th Pionier Kompanie (Engineer Company)

Ehrenwachkompanie (Honour Guard Company)

Hospital / Convalescent Home

The Units were partially motrised as it had 81 moter vechs and 700 horses and was later referred to as Panzergrenadier Regiment 950 (indische) presumably to reflect its semi-Motorised status.

It is also intresting to note that unlike British Indian Army the Indian Legion was not devided based on Religion of cast . Muslims ,Hindus ,Sikhs all served, fought and died side by side.

never the less the Legion was first transfered to Netherlands ,from there to south of France, where they fought the French and US army , finally realiseing the danger of being cut off by the allies the legion withdrew to Germany where it fought against US Army including US Army tank unit in Nuits St. Georges . the Indian legion is said to have taken out 2 American Tanks and withdrew further.

After several days halt for rest the Indians continued on to Remisemont, then, marching via Colmar in Alsace, they arrived at Oberhofen near the garrison town of Hagenau in Germany. During Christmas 1944 the Legion was billeted in the private houses of German civilians then moved in bitterly cold weather to the vacant Truppenbungsplatz at Heuberg. One company is said to have been transferred to Italy, if this is so, its fate is unknown.

Finally when the end of war was imminint the German officers decided to help the Indian Legion enter the netural Switzerland and undertook a desperate march along the shores of the Bodensee (Lake Constance) in an attempt to enter Switzerland via one of the alpine passes. However, this was unsuccessful and eventually the Legion was captured by United States and French forces. Before their delivery into the custody of British and Indian forces it is alleged that a number of Indian soldiers were shot by French troops.

All of these men where transported by ships to India where they were tried by the British for treason. most of these men were sentenced to death by firing squads . however before the sentenced was carried out India became a "Free" country and all men where released .

Jai Hind

Ref -
Nice vid -