Book: Hitler's Spanish Legion- The Blue Division in Russia
Authors: Gerald R. Kleinfeld & Lewis A. Tambs
Publisher: Eastern Front/Warfield Books
(out of 5)
I had looked for this book for many years. I finally managed to purchase it off of another avid WWII reader a couple of years ago in a bulk book purchase. I was not disappointed at all.
This book starts off describing the political situation in Spain and how and why Franco decided to send troops to Germany. The beginning chapters describe who was recruited, the regions they came from and how they were formed into the division. Some of the reasons on why the recruits went...mostly to fight communism. There is only a small bit on the training and embarkation to Germany and ultimately to Russia. I did like the explanation of how the Germans looked at the Spaniards and how they were treated.
The Blue Division ultimately became the German 250th Division in their order of march. The chapters go on to show where the 250 Div was first employed and how they faired on some of their early skirmishes. Though some German commanders did not trust the fighting qualities of the Spanish soldiers some others came to rely on them heavily to hold the flanks during some attacks. The Spanish never did get to participate in any of the major assualts but made a good name for themselves on the defence.
There was a second contingent of recruits that replaced the first recruits in both officers and men and also in the Spanish commanding officer. This second draft of soldiers was harder to fill than the first due to the political situation and also because of the German fortunes that were changing all over the globe. Both drafts fought in some major conflicts and the second draft fought a heavy defensive action versus a Soviet thrust in the Krasni Bor area. This is very well described in the book and in itself makes good reading.
The book ends with Franco calling the Blue Division back to Spain and only leaving a Legion of Spaniards (approx 4500 men) serving w/the Germans. There is very little described on this legion or its actions. I found myself wanting to know more on how the Spanish situation ended. Some Spanish soldiers are known to of been in the defence of Berlin.
There are a few pictures and maps and the bibliography is extensive. All in all a very well described book on one of the foreign units fighting on the German side.
Only he is lost who gives himself up as lost.