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"Spanish Troops in WWII" Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP12 Sep 2019 3:52 p.m. PST

"Inspired by one of Bob Cordery's recent posts in Wargaming Miscellany about a trip he made to the Museum of Toy Soliders* in Valencia, I did a quick internet search on Spanish troops fighting in the Free French Forces during WWII. In his blog, Bob displays some photos from the museum of SCW figures and some pictures depicting a Spanish company of the French 2nd Armoured Division in 1944. I'd heard of the Division Azul (Spanish Fascist volunteers) fighting on the Eastern Front with the Nazis, but I had never heard much, about Spanish fighting against the Axis in WWII. One notable exception is an episode of Dad's Army where the Walmington-on-Sea Home Guard were instructed in guerrilla warfare techniques by a Spanish anti-Fascist**. I'm a little ashamed of this as the Spanish Civil War was one of the topics I found the most interesting back in my days as a history undergrad. I didn't spend much time wondering what happened to all those POUMistas, Catalan and Basque separatists, CNT-FAI militias, Communists and old school liberals who made it out of Spain after Franco's victory***.

During and after the Spanish Civil War, the majority of Republican fighters and their families who fled the country, made the relatively short (but perilous) trip across the Pyrenees into France. Initially given the cold shoulder by the French government (fear of 'Red' infiltration), the Spanish were welcomed as fellow fighters of Fascism when war was declared on Germany. After the debacle in 1940 about 2000 made it to Britain via Dunkirk but more ended up in units under the control of Vichy France, either in France itself or in the empire in North Africa and the Levant. Some made it via the Foreign Legion in Syria into the British army and even into the SAS and fought in the Italian campaigns. Sadly 10,500 Spanish people in occupied France were transported to concentration camps where 80% of them died…"
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Makhno191813 Sep 2019 5:02 a.m. PST

Thanks for sharing this. Its really tragic, these people fight for a free new world, flee Franco's victorious forces only to end up in French concentration camps, and many of them transfered directly to German concentration camps. Ive read Durruti column members fought with the French resistance, but hadn't heard about any assistance to the British forces. Some of the antifascists continued their war with Franco until the end, my personal favorite being the Sabate brothers: link

Richard Baber13 Sep 2019 6:13 a.m. PST

I wrote a short article on La Nueve (the 9th) for Miniature Wargames magazine back in the day – 9th company of the Regiment d`marche du Chad of Le Clerc`s 2Dble was made up of mostly ex-Republican Spanish.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP13 Sep 2019 12:32 p.m. PST

Glad you like it my friend!. (smile)


Legion 414 Sep 2019 10:01 a.m. PST

And yes Franco sent the Spanish Blue Div to fight along side the Germans on the Eastern Front. Many/most of them never made it back to the West until about '59 when released by the USSR.

Barin126 Sep 2019 3:47 a.m. PST

Legion, unlike many Italians, captured in Stalingrad, Blue Division was actually withdrawn from Russia before Leningrad blockade breakthrough. Out of ca.50000 that went throught Russian trenches only 500 stayed with Hitler till the end and perished or were captured during the battle of Berlin together with French, Norse, and other SS volunteers.

Some of republicans, evacuated to Russia after Civil War were fighting for their new Motherland. Several thousands of them joined Red Army. Some of them made quite a career, like Enrique Lister, general of Republican Army, General-major of Soviet Army and later general of Jugoslavian People's army.

TamsinP27 Sep 2019 12:24 p.m. PST

Another Spanish volunteer on the Allied side was Trooper Joe Irala in D Troop of Freddie Gough's 1st Airborne Reconnaissance Squadron. He was KIA on Wednesday 20th in Oosterbeek.

Emilio27 Sep 2019 3:10 p.m. PST

Manuel Otero died in Omaha, only spanish in Normandy. He was born half an hour travel from where I live.



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