Posted By Russ on September 26, 2011 at 8:05 am
I thought I was pretty well informed on most aspects of World War 2 history. No, I am well informed on WW2. So it’s rare that I run across something in my reading that I’d never seen or heard about before.
It’s fairly well known that in the countries it had conquered, Germany recruited soldiers for the “great struggle” against communism as embodied by the USSR. The Waffen SS had units composed of Danes, Belgians, Cossaks, Ukranians, Latvians, et cetera, and so on.
These units — some countries supplied enough men to form a couple of divisions, but most were never hugely numerous — often served under German officers, and wore German uniforms with nationally distinctive badges and accoutrements.
What I didn’t know — what I never even suspected or heard a word about — was that there was a “British Free Corps” in German service.
Recruited from POW camps, and never above platoon strength, the Britisches Freikorps had no effect on the war whatsoever. Courts martial followed war’s end; the chief recruiter (a British turncoat) was convicted of treason and hanged.
While there are many cases known of immigrants returning from America to Germany to fight for their homeland, I have not been able to find anything that indicates any American troops were ever
recruited suckered from POW camps into German service against the Soviets.
It does make me wonder, though, what other items of historical interest I might have missed in my years of reading.