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French Legion volunteers in Russia.


The Legion of French Volunteers Against Bolshevism ( , or simply Légion des Volontaires Français, LVF) was a Collaborationist French militia founded on July 8, 1941. It gathered various Collaborationist parties, including Marcel Bucard's Mouvement Franciste, Marcel Déat's National Popular Rally, Jacques Doriot's French Popular Party, Eugène Deloncle's Social Revolutionary Movement, Pierre Clémenti National Collectivist French Party and Pierre Costantini's French League.

It volunteered to fight against the USSRmarker on the Eastern Front. The Legion of French Volunteers (LVF) was officially known to the Germans as Infantry Regiment (Infanterieregiment) 638.

Composition

French soldiers in Russia, November 1941.
The Legion of French Volunteers was mainly made up of right-wing Frenchmen and French prisoners of war who preferred fighting to forced labor in Germany. Another unit formed in France, the Tricolor Regiment (La Légion Tricolore) was absorbed into the LVF six months later.

Action

In October 1941, a French infantry regiment, 2,452 men strong, crossed the frontier of the Soviet Unionmarker as part of the foreign contingent of the German invasion force.

During the spring of 1942, the Legion of French Volunteers was reorganized with only the 1st and 3rd battalions and spent the rest of its tour of duty on the Eastern Front fighting partisans in the rear areas.

In June 1943, the two independent battalions were again united in a single regiment and continued fighting partisans in Ukrainemarker.

On 1 September 1944, the Legion of French Volunteers was officially disbanded. It merged with the Milice to create the SS Charlemagne Division.

Though the French civil authority handed out many death sentences and prison terms to collaborators after the war, some Frenchmen who'd fought for the Germans were given the option to redeem themselves by serving in the Foreign Legion in French Indo-China. Some of the higher ranking officers, however, were still executed, while rank-and-file members were given prison terms.

Uniform

French volunteers wore German uniforms. But, like other foreign volunteers, the French were allowed to wear their national colors on the right sleeve of their German uniform and on the Stahlhelm. Both German and French decorations were worn.

See also




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