Monday, 18 October 2010

Were the German-Russians in Hauger, 1944 really Turkistanis?

A Turkestan volunteer in German Army uniform
On trying to find out more about the German/Russian troops facing the 9th Paras at Hauger on the 7th of June 1944 I have looked up the basics on Wikipedia.

It seems that at the Eastern end of the invasion zone, the 716th Infantry Division of the German Army was stationed, and this did include battalions of "Osttruppen ("Eastern Troops")" which would be known as Russians to the allied soldiers, but could be from any of the Soviet Republics (Tartars, Ukrainians, Turkmens etc.)

Interestingly the 709th Division which defended the Cherbourg peninsula also contained 'Ostruppen.'

Some of these Eastern Troops were conscripts and some were volunteers, and included Orthodox (Russia, Georgia), Catholic (Ukraine, Lithuania) and even Muslims (Chechens, Uzbeks).

According to Wikipedia's pages, Georgians and Armenians served in the Netherlands. The most likely candidates for being in the 716th Division from this first look are the Turkestan forces (Turkomans, Uzbeks, Kazakhs etc.) although Volga-Tatar volunteers' info is sketchy.

I hope to read more on this so I can try and work out who exactly the "Russian" forces of the German 716th Infantry Divison were in Hauger on the 7th of June 1944, who probably killed Private Daniel Roderick Hurley.

Wikipedia can give a good and easily sourced introduction to such things, but it's 'facts' can be a little unstable and so need verification.

Wikipedia Info:

716th Infantry Division (Static) defended the Eastern end of the landing zones, including most of the British and Canadian beaches. This division, as well as the 709th, included Germans who were not considered fit for active duty on the Eastern Front, usually for medical reasons, and soldiers of various other nationalities (from conquered countries, often drafted by force) and former Soviet prisoners-of-war who had agreed to fight for the Germans rather than endure the harsh conditions of German POW camps (among them so called hiwis). These "volunteers" were concentrated in "Ost-Bataillone" (East Battalions) that were of dubious loyalty.

The 716th Static Infantry Division (German: 716. Infanterie-Division) was a World War II, German Army Division. It was raised on May 2, 1941 and sent to German-occupied France in June of 1941. Many of the Divisions troops were elderly Germans and conscripts from other German occupied countries, especially Russians. As such it was not equipped with standard configuration of vehicles and heavy weapons. Much of the Division’s artillery and anti-tank weapons were captured weapons.

Normandy Landings
716th Division
Turkestan Legion

1 comment:

  1. The 439 Ost Battalion of the 716 Infantery Division / 726 infantery Regiment where Ukraines.

    Ost Battalions where known of the very good fighting spirit by the commanding units but the politics (Hitler and Friends, SS) did not trust these units. So the dubious loyalty label is more a 'political' fear.


No foul language please