Wwii Essay Research Paper At first the
Wwii Essay, Research Paper
At foremost the intelligence officers at the central office of the Gallic Foreign Legion in Sidi Bel Abb s, Algeria, were puzzled. The Legion had ever had a big complement of Germans in its ranks, but now, in malice of the Nazis & # 8217 ; widespread run to deter Germans from enlisting, even larger Numberss were pouring in.
In the late thirtiess, as more and more immature Germans were fall ining that celebrated contending force, the German imperativeness was violently assailing it, and the Nazi authorities demanded that enrolling be stopped. Books about the Legion were publically burned in Germany, and the force against Legion enrolling reached amusing highs when Propaganda Minister Josef Goebbels & # 8217 ; section claimed that guiltless immature Germans were being hypnotized into fall ining. In 1938, a professional hypnotizer named Albert Zagula was really arrested in Karlsruhe and charged with the discourtesy.
Still the Germans kept fall ining & # 8211 ; until half the genitalias and 80 per centum of the noncommissioned officers in the Legion were German. Finally, it became apparent that this inflow had been orchestrated by German intelligence, the Abwehr, to destruct the Host from within. The new German Legionnaires came near to accomplishing the Abwehr & # 8217 ; s aim.
The Gallic Foreign Legion had ever attracted the dispossessed of every land, and in the 1930s there were plentifulness of refugees throughout Europe. First there were Spaniards, the also-rans in that state & # 8217 ; s civil war ; so there were the Jews and others flying Nazi persecution ; subsequently, Czechs and Poles were added to the list as the German ground forces began its March across Europe. These recruits did non blend good with the new Germans in the Legion. The German noncommissioned officers terrorized the non-Germans under their charge. There were frequent battles and courts-martial. The officers could non swear their ain noncommissioned officers. Morale in the Legion plummeted, and there was even some talk of disbanding the full corps.
When war was declared in 1939, the state of affairs was critical. To ease the job, big Numberss of German Legionnaires were shipped away to abandon outstations, and the ranks were filled with extra non-German refugees. But the Gallic governments still thought that there were excessively many Germans in the ranks, many perchance loyal Nazis, to put on the line directing the Legion to contend in Europe. Alternatively, four more foreign regiments were raised in France and trained by veteran Legion officers from North Africa. These Legionnaires garrisoned the Maginot Line, the twine of concrete fortresses that the Gallic had built as their chief defence against Germany. There, they remained inactive during the alleged & # 8220 ; bogus war, & # 8221 ; when neither the Allies nor the Germans took any serious violative action.
In malice of the general reluctance to direct full Legion units to France, the Gallic governments decided that something had to be done with those loyal elements of the Legion that were still taging clip in North Africa and rubing for a battle. In early 1940, the old Host was given an active function. Volunteers were called for, and two battalions of 1,000 work forces each were assembled & # 8211 ; one in Fez, Morocco, and the other in Sidi Bel Abb s. Volunteers for those units were carefully screened, and the lone Germans left them were seasoned Legionnaires of undisputed trueness. Those work forces were given new non-German names and false individuality documents to protect them in instance they were captured by the Germans.
The two battalions were joined into the 13th Demi-Brigade ( 13e Demi-Brigade de la Legion Etrangere ) and put under the bid of Lt. Col. Magrin-Verneret, one of those military flakes who so frequently turned up in the Foreign Legion, a hard-boiled alumnus of St. Cyr and a veteran of World War I. As a consequence of lesions received in World War I, he had physical disablements that should long since have disqualified him from service. Severe caput lesions had been crudely operated on and left him with a awful pique, and surgery on a besotted limb had shortened one leg, doing a noticeable hitch. But he was a combatant, and that was all the Legion wanted.
When the 13th Demi-Brigade arrived in France, the always-blas Legionnaires showed no surprise when they were issued a unusual new type of unvarying & # 8211 ; and skis. Those veterans of the desert littorals were being trained to contend in Arctic snows and outfitted as mountain military personnels with heavy windbreaker, boots and snow nesss. They were bound for Finland, where the Allies were helping the Finns in their battle against the incursive Soviets, who were at that clip in conference with the Germans. But before the Legion left France, the Finns bowed to the overpowering power of the Soviets and accepted the enemy & # 8217 ; s footings. The war in Finland was over.
But there was another battle. Winston Churchill, so Britain & # 8217 ; s first Godhead of the Admiralty, had urged the excavation of the Waterss around impersonal Norway, where the German naval forces was escorting convoys of Fe ore shipped from impersonal Sweden to provide the German war machine. At the same clip, Adolf Hitler had decided that the Germans must prehend Norway, non merely to protect the ore cargos but as a naval base for surface plunderers and Submarines. Soon ferocious sea conflicts raged between the Royal Navy and the Kreigsmarine, and at sea the British had the upper manus.
Strong British land forces were besides shipped to Norway, but the Germans invaded the state. By April 1940, the Germans had occupied all of the chief Norse West seashore ports & # 8211 ; from Narvik in the North to Kristiansand in the South and around the tip of the peninsula to Oslo, the capital. British and Norse forces fought hard, but without success. The British were ordered to evacuate Norway.
The Allies had one more card to play. Although they had to abandon southern Norway, the Allies would try to wrest the northern port of Narvik from the Germans to forestall ore cargo. An amphibian assault was planned under the overall bid of British Lt. Gen. Claude Auchinleck, with the protective guns of the Royal Navy and utilizing chiefly Gallic and Polish military personnels. A cardinal portion of this force would be the 13th Demi-Brigade.
When his subsidiaries asked why the 13th Demi-Brigade was traveling to Norway, Magrin-Verneret & # 8217 ; s oft-quoted answer was typical of the Legionnaires & # 8217 ; ours-is-not-to-reason-why attitude. & # 8220 ; Why? My orders are to take Narvik. Why Narvik? For the Fe ore, for the anchovies, for the Norwegians? I haven & # 8217 ; t the faintest idea. & # 8221 ;
The 13th Demi-Brigade was portion of a undertaking force called the 1st Light Division, which was commanded by Gallic General Marie Emile B thouart. The force besides included units of the Gallic 27th Chasseurs Alpins and the Polish 1st C
arpathian Demi-Brigade, a mountain corps made up of refugees from conquered Poland. There were besides many Norse units in the country still able to contend.
The program was to sail up the series of fiords that led to the port of Narvik under the protection of the Royal Navy, which still controlled the Norse Sea. The 13th Demi-Brigade was to strike straight at Narvik, with its wings guarded by the Gallic and Polish mountain military personnels and the Norwegians.
Opposing the Legionnaires was the German fort under General Edouard Dietl, reinforced by the 137th Gebirgsjager regiment, a seasoned mountain unit hurriedly drilled as paratroopers and dropped into the snow-clad hills. These tough, well-trained mountain military personnels were as proud of their edelweiss insignia as the Legion was of its seven-flamed grenade. They would be difficult to check.
Before the 13th Demi-Brigade could assail Narvik itself, the nearby small town of Bjerkvik had to be taken, for the high land behind it dominated the strategic port. On May 13, the 13th Demi-Brigade was landed on the Bjerkvik beaches. At midnight, the large guns of the British battlewagon Resolution, the patrol cars Effingham and Vindictive and five destroyers opened up on the German guardians. Shortly thenceforth, the progress military personnels hit the beaches in foot and armored combat vehicle landing trade. It was the first clip in the war that such combined operations took topographic point in the face of enemy fire.
The German reaction was terrible. At first visible radiation, the Luftwaffe came out, bombing and strafing the ships and beaches. The Legion pushed on in the face of heavy weapon and small-arms fire. Colonel Magrin-Verneret waded ashore, promoting his Legionnaires frontward. For a piece it was touch and travel. Captain Dmitri Amilakvari, a 16-year Legion veteran who was to take a key hill, was held up by ferocious German fire. Then, shouting & # 8220 ; A moi La Legion! & # 8221 ; ( the Legion & # 8217 ; s traditional version of & # 8220 ; follow me & # 8221 ; ) to his work forces, he charged up the incline. The Germans fell back before the savageness of the onslaught, and the hill was taken. Amilakvari pushed on to Elvenes where he met up with the Chasseurs Alpins on his wing. Bjerkvik, now a smoke ruin, and the surrounding mountains fell to the Gallic.
Then the Legion turned its attending to Narvik itself. In a repetition of the Bjerkvik onslaught, the port was bombarded from the sea while Allied military personnels poured over the surrounding mountains. Once once more the Luftwaffe appeared and bombed the assailing war vessels, but Royal Air Force Hawker Hurricane combatants arrived on the scene in the dent of clip and cleared the sky of German aircraft. On May 28, the 13th Demi-Brigade marched into Narvik and found the town deserted. The Germans had fled.
For the following few yearss, the Legionnaires pursued the retreating enemy through the snow-clad mountains toward the Swedish boundary line in sub-zero temperatures. Their purpose was to capture Dietl and what was left of his military personnels or coerce them over the boundary line into Swedish internment. They were merely 10 stat mis from Sweden when they were ordered to return to France. A few hebdomads before the Germans had begun their invasion of the Low Countries, and the & # 8220 ; phony war & # 8221 ; was over. All the military personnels and equipment in Norway were needed in the defence of France. The 13th Demi-Brigade embarked for Brest happy with its triumph, the first Allied success of the war, but disgusted that it had non been permitted to complete the occupation.
Meanwhile, those hurriedly raised Foreign Legion regiments at the Maginot Line were acquiring a baptism of fire. Much has been written of the licking of the Gallic ground forces in 1940, but small is heard of the gallantry of many of its beleagured units. One of those epic units was the 11th Foreign Legion Infantry ( REI ) . The regiment was a cell of tough Legionnaires from North Africa and recent foreign voluntaries enlisted in Europe, reinforced by a battalion of unwilling Gallic conscripts. The Frenchmen disliked being thrown in with the ill-famed Foreign Legion, and the consequence was non pleasant.
In preparation during the & # 8220 ; phony war & # 8221 ; period there was much inebriation, contending and courts-martial, but when the German panzers broke through in May, the discord among the 11th REI & # 8217 ; s elements disappeared. While other Gallic regiments were caught up in the terror, turned tail and ran before the overpowering panic of the German armored combat vehicles and Junkers Ju-87 Stuka honkytonk bombers, the 11th REI stood house. During two hebdomads of difficult combat, they held off their aggressors while other Gallic units retreated around them. Finally, about wholly surrounded, they were forced to fall back. Colonel Jean-Baptiste Robert burned the regimental criterion and buried its tassel, which was later delve up and returned to the Legion. There were merely 450 work forces of the original 3,000 left to return to North Africa with the 11th REI after the cease-fire.
The 97th Foreign Legion Divisional Reconnaissance Group ( GERD 97 ) besides attained glorification during the 1940 fiasco. It was likely the lone all-veteran North African outfit of the Legion regiments in France. GERD 97 had been organized from the 1st Foreign Legion Cavalry Regiment, the Legion Equus caballus horse outfit that had been raised in Africa in the 1920s from the leftovers of White Russian General Baron Pyotr Wrangel & # 8217 ; s horse, which had been all but destroyed in the civil war against the Bolsheviks. Mechanized and outfitted with disused armoured autos, GERD 97 carried out reconnaissance missions, but its scouting yearss came to an terminal when it ran into the powerful German Mark III armored combat vehicles. In typical Legion manner, GERD 97 threw itself against those monsters without vacillation, contending rear-guard actions to cover the withdrawing Gallic. GERD 97 managed to last until June 9, when a concluding, self-destructive charge against the panzers left all the Legion vehicles firing. There were no known subsisters.
The 13th Demi-Brigade returned to France from Norway, sailing into the seaport at Brest on June 13, about at the same clip the Germans were processing into Paris. Colonel Magrin-Verneret was ordered to organize a line as portion of the proposed last-ditch & # 8220 ; Breton Redoubt, & # 8221 ; but it was no usage. The Germans had broken through.
While on a forward reconnaissance mission to find what could be done to detain the enemy, Magrin-Verneret and some of his officers became separated from the chief organic structure of the 13th Demi-Brigade, and when they returned to Brest they could non happen any hint of the unit. The reconnaissance party assumed that the chief organic structure had been over-run, and the colonel determined that he and his & # 8230 ;
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