Page 1 of 1

WSS in FFL service: Lt. Fred Metzger

Posted: Tue Nov 12, 2002 7:53 pm
by xavier
going back to the thread on the old forum, I found him mentioned in an interview of Karl hansen on MH april 1997,

Karl Hansen joined the FFL after the war at age 19 in 1953, and he mentions:

"the foreign legion is a unique force of infantry with a distingished record. The officers are french, but all other ranks are foreigners-anyone except the french. in my time most were German, many of them world war II veterans, but there were also spaniards, italians, belgians, you name it. " end quote

he fought in indochina, where he was captured after parachuting in DBP and was prisioner-exchanged with the VC, he then fought in Algiers, where he says:

" friend Wim Dejong got a bullet in his spine that night and was paralyzed, but he did live. And our officer, Liutenant Fred Metzger, was killed when he stepped on a mine . Metzger had been an officer in the Waffen SS during World War II and the French apreciated his talents.....
end quote (note Metzger was killed sometime between 1956/57)

any comments?

Lt Metzger

Posted: Thu Nov 14, 2002 4:28 pm
by joscha
The FFL, at least during the Indochina/Algiers war (or series of wars) promoted some exceptionally good soldiers from enlisted ranks to officer status, that is up to and including captains.

To this day, it is possible to become a captain in the FFL without being French citizen; that means going a long way up the ranks and meeting very exacting standards, both intellectual and in the various fields of soldiering.

My suggestion: for better and more detailed info, contact the French Military Attache in Mexico City. If he feels like it, he might get interested enough to give you some decent answers. As you can see, I have some poor experiences about the French military attaches.

My very best to you, Xavier. Joscha

PS: Any info on Maria Dolores de la Olabarrieta?

not yet..

Posted: Thu Nov 14, 2002 7:24 pm
by xavier
Hello Joscha!

what a pleasure seeing you again!!

not a word on her, and I have tried both versions:
"olabarrieta" and "olavarrieta",
still some e-mails have not been answered yet, and snail-mail is slower than a snail here!!

best regards


Posted: Wed Dec 31, 2003 12:28 pm
by George Lepre
Hi Guys -

I just had a look at the French Defense Ministry's KIA list for Algeria. Listed is Frederic Ernest METZGER, born 1925, killed 17 October 1956 in Algeria. It could be that his real prenom is Friedrich Ernst, but I'd have to check to see if there is a BDC file for him.

Hope this helps! Best wishes for 2004!

George Lepre

Posted: Thu Jan 01, 2004 5:03 am
by Dackelstaffel

It's usual for the french authorities to "frenchized" the name. So it's nearly sure that Friedrich Metzger and Frédéric Metzger was the same person. In the Legion third quarter of men were german in Indochina but after five years in the Legion they could become french citizens. In the german POW camps in France, it was told to the german soldiers, especially Waffen SS and Fallshirmjager, that their freedom passed by the french army in Indochina.
Anyway Friedrich is german and Frédéric is french but it's the same name in two languages like Wilhem anf Guillaume, Hans and Jean, etc...
Just one more thing, don't use FFL for the French Foreign Legion besause for a french FFL means Forces Françaises Libres or Free French Forces.

Posted: Fri Jan 02, 2004 7:09 am
by Tom Houlihan
Dackelstaffel wrote:Just one more thing, don't use FFL for the French Foreign Legion besause for a french FFL means Forces Françaises Libres or Free French Forces.
It should be LE, for Legion Etrangere, non?

BTW, if you're ever in Marseilles, try to visit the Legion Museum there. I had the opportunity, and it was tres magnifique!!

Posted: Fri Jan 02, 2004 8:22 am
by Rob - WSSOB
So it's nearly sure that Friedrich Metzger and Frédéric Metzger was the same person.
Not so fast. I would say one would need a few more correspondences in order to make a match. And that it's extremely common to have duplicate names when working with a large pool of individuals. There were probably a division's worth of "John Smith's" in the whatever-million plus WWII US Army.

BTW I wanted to quote some passages from Bernard Fall's Hell in a Very Small Place: the Siege of Dien Bien Phu (Vintage Books - 1966)

from the chapter "Finale" p.439:
...Contrary to the accepted myth that the Foreign Legion was made up largely of "former SS troopers," many of the Foreign Legionnaires came from the East European countries overrun by the Soviet armies in 1945. (since the average age of the Foreign Legionnaire was about 23 in 1954, most of them had been small boys in 1945.)
from the chapter "Epilogue" p. 451:
...Lastly, there is the myth of Dien Bien Phu as a "German battle," in which the Germans were said to "indeed made up nearly half of the French forces."...On March 12, 1954 - the day before the battle begain in earnest - there were a total of 2,969 Foreign Legionnaires in the fortress, out of a garrison of 10,814. Of the almost 4,300 parachuted reinforcements, a total of 962 belonged to the Foreign Legion. Even if one wrongly assumes (there were important Spanish and Eastern European elements among the Legionnaires at Dien Bien Phu) that 50% of the Legionnaires were German, then only 1,900 men out of more thatn 15,000 who participated in the battle could have been of German origin. But old myths, particularly when reinforced by prejudice, die hard.
It's likely that a handful of former W-SS soldiers served in the Legion during the French-Indochina war. But despite the literary efforts of Robert Lewis Elford with his "Devils Guard" books in the 1970's and the speculation of SS veterans in the BILOM units, I haven't seen much concrete evidence to indicate that there were a significant number of SS veterans fighting in Vietnam, or that they played a disproportionate role in their units or had a disproportionate effect on the course of events. It's not like Jochen Peiper was chasing "Charlie" through the Plain of Jars in 1955.

Since so much has been made of this supposedly W-SS~Foreign Legion connection, couldn't one make the same connection with any number of military forces: "Those [US Rangers/British Commandos/Estonian Army/UPA - insert your unit favorite unit here] lived for the thrill of battle, many of them joined the Foreign Legion and fought in Indochina in the 1950's..."

So my questions to the thread posters is: what does it matter if a dozen SS veterans served in Indochina?


Posted: Fri Jan 02, 2004 10:03 am
by Dackelstaffel

That crazy machine seems to have a life of its own.

Re: To Tom

Posted: Fri Jan 02, 2004 10:10 am
by Dackelstaffel
It should be LE, for Legion Etrangere, non?
In french we just call it "la Légion" but we can use LE for the 13 DBLE (Bir Hakeim) which means "13eme Demi-Brigade de la Légion Etrangère" or 13th Half Brigade of the Foreign Legion. Anyway for the another units we call them :
R.E.P for "Régiment Etranger Parachutiste" or in english "Parachute Foreign Regiment". in Indochina that was only battalion so it was called B.E.P
R.E.C for "Régiment Etranger de Cavalerie" or "Cavalry Foreign Regiment"
R.E.I for "Régiment Etranger d'Infanterie" or "Infantry Foreign Regiment"

To Rob

Posted: Fri Jan 02, 2004 10:20 am
by Dackelstaffel

1) I was saying they were german not only Waffen SS
2) The Indochina war didn't start with Dien Bien Phu in 1954 but with the japanese "coup" of the 9th march 1945 and the real big clash with the Viet minh has occured the 19th December 1946

Posted: Fri Jan 02, 2004 7:54 pm
by George Lepre
Hi Rob -

Thanks for your post. I have heard the "SS in Indochina" myth for many years and even posted a lengthy message on this topic on the old Feldgrau board. Here's (basically) what I wrote:

The "SS in Indochina" myth began even before the release of the novel The Devil's Guard. It originated from Soviet-bloc Communist sources and the PCF in France itself. In addition, several memoirs were published by Legion deserters in the DDR in the 1950s that further perpetuated the story. However, all of the serious historians of the Legion agree that it was false. Their analyses can be summed up as follows:

The best book on the subject by far is Eckard Michels' Deutsche in der Fremdenlegion, 1871-1965: Mythen und Realitaeten. Although he was denied access to the Legion's own archive in Aubagne, Michels was able to view some great files in the SHAT at Chateau Vincennes. Michels studied the available data and concluded that a (very) small number of ex-Waffen-SS men were able to enter the Legion before 1947. This is when the French government caught wind of the story and demanded a crackdown. After that, Legion recruiters screened prospective volunteers very carefully. One French officer stated that the number of SS men accepted into the Legion shortly after the war was "not more than sixty or seventy."

The American historian Douglas Porch was permitted access to the Aubagne archive. (VERY few historians have ever been allowed in there.) He was allowed to see everything except the Justice Militaire files. He too concluded that there were very few SS in the Legion after the war. He says that of the few SS who were admitted, most were non-Germans, i.e. Flemish, Hungarians, etc.

Bernard Fall is unique among historians writing about the Legion because he actually witnessed the war in Indochina and interviewed Legionnaires. The idea of SS men serving in the Legion was something he took an interest in, as he fought against them in World War II (in the Polish and French armies) and because he was Jewish. He too found the story to be a myth. Most of the German Legionnaires he met were too young to have fought in World War II.

I guess the best way to answer this question is to say that there were some (but not many) former SS men in the Legion after World War II.

Best regards,

George Lepre

Posted: Fri Mar 17, 2006 3:45 pm
by xavier
someone please translate:
Elite Nachlass & Fremdenlegion Indochina
Sie bieten auf ca 50 Fotos aus dem Nachlass eines XX Soldaten welcher nach dem Krieg zur Französichen Fremdenlegion ging. Leider sind nur 4 Bilder aus seiner Zeit bei der XX erhalten diese sind aber dafür sehr schön. Einige Bilder sind hinten beschriftet mit" Indochiona 25.II 1955 Sued-Amann (Indochina) oder L´afrique du Noerd pre de Neorama le 14.Mai 1956 oder Indochina 1954 usw. Man sieht schöne Aufnahmen mit Hubschraubern im Feld wohl bei Gefechten, mit Kettenfahrzeugen, Schützenpanzerwagen, Ausrüstung bei Ordenverleihungen irgendwo in der Wüste usw.Siehe Bilder. Der Junge Soldat soll nach dem Ende Krieges und der Gefangenschaft um 1947 zur Legion gewechselt haben und die schweren Kämpfe in Indochina zw 1947-1954 mitgemacht haben. Denke anhand der Bilder , Armabzeichen usw kann man eventuell mehr über den Mann erfahren.Leider weiß ich nicht die Einheit aber ich werde nochmals nachfragen und versuchen noch mehr heraus zu bekommen
from: ... RK:MEWA:IT
best regards

Posted: Sat Apr 22, 2006 12:22 am
by Helmut Von Moltke
it IS true that all this Waffen SS - Foreign legion stuff is mostly myth, there were as I read, about 80 men who were former Wehrmacht and Waffen SS, among thousands, which makes it insignificant, just like for example the British Freikorps. But still, intresting interview.

Re: WSS in FFL service: Lt. Fred Metzger

Posted: Thu Feb 28, 2019 2:42 pm
by xavier
new info, a short movie and bio coming, now confirmed in interviews, several thousands germans served on both sides, just the captured ones (captured by the vitcong) and repatriated via the soviet union filled 4 trains.