Blue Division Soldier 1941-45: Spanish Volunteer on the Eastern Front
Osprey's survey of the Blue Division soldiers of World War II (1939-1945). The all-volunteer 'Blue Division' was a formation that allowed Franco's technically neutral Spain to support Nazi Germany's invasion of Russia. Following initial training in Germany, the Blue Division's units were sent to the Eastern Front in August 1941, where, after a 40-day march to the front, the Division fought in several major battles including Leningrad. In 1943, with the tide turning against the Axis forces in Russia, the Division was ordered to be withdrawn, yet many men chose to stay on and serve with the Volunteer Legion. Even after the collapse in the East, some volunteered to serve with Waffen-SS units through to the fall of Berlin in 1945. This book narrates the experiences of the common soldier, exploring his motivation for serving the Wehrmacht, and detailing his dramatic experiences in a brutal and hostile theater of World War II.
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anti-communist Army Group North arrived artillery awarded back in Spain badge Baltic battle became Berlin Blue Division soldiers Blue Division’s Blue Legion blue shirt campaign in Russia casualties Civil Colonel command continued corps crusade deployed Eastern Front enemy enlisted Esteban-Infantes Falange Falange’s Falangists forces fought Franco’s regime frontline German officers German units Grafenwöhr Heer Hitler’s infantry insignia Iron Cross Königsberg Krasny Bor large number Leningrad lieutenants majority march battalions Military Medal Muñoz Grandes never October operations organisation political Popular Front Porkhov prisoners propaganda ranks rear area received recruitment Red Army Regiment relieve repatriation returned to Spain Russian campaign San Fernando Cross sector served Soviet Union Spain Spaniards Spanish and German Spanish Army Spanish decorations Spanish Foreign Legion Spanish hospitals Spanish Legion Spanish military Spanish soldiers Spanish troops Spanish volunteers tactical Third Reich thousands trenches veterans Volkhov Volkhov Pocket wearing Wehrmacht worn wounded yoke and arrows