Charlemagne Division uniforms, weapons, insignia, etc.

Foreign volunteers, collaboration and Axis Allies 1939-1945.

Moderator: George Lepre

Laurent Daniel
Enthusiast
Posts: 546
Joined: Sun Apr 03, 2005 7:29 am
Location: Bangkok, Thailand

Post by Laurent Daniel » Mon May 01, 2006 11:26 pm

Hi everybody,
The text that follows is the english version of a conference on the insignias topic delivered by the speaker of the "Cercle", the French association of the families of the eastern front veterans. Please pardon me is there are some "Franglish" expressions here and there, thanks.
"Are there precisions on the origin of the badge of division Charlemagne, the band of arm, the badges of collar?
These questions still feed and will feed hours of discussions. What we know for sure is that the men of Charlemagne division never were informed of the shape of its Division blazon (That’s why the plates or the tablecloths appearing “by miracle” with the badge of Division are forgeries.) For two reasons, the first is that division was of recent formation and that many projects still remained at the state of design or prototype. The Division blazon appeared in public at the end of the Fifties, little after the files seized in February 45 by the US army in Germany were partly opened to the public. Thus one learned of the project from the collar tag, a sword with laurel leaves, which was to replace the SS runes. It should be noted that the majority of the European units of Waffen-SS would have to carry a distinctive badge indeed. Some have affirmed that they wanted to give the name of Jeanne d'Arc (Joanne of Arch) to the Division. The sword would have been perhaps an allusion to her, but it is not the monopoly of this heroin. It is a legend that allowed some anticlerical to justify their conviction. They make amalgam with the brigade Jeanne d'Arc that existed indeed, but gathered the French volunteers within the Nationalist army during the Spanish civil war. The exacerbated Paganism of the Sturmbrigade is a myth, generated by few veterans who made too much noise. We know definitely more Catholics trationnalists from the Sturmbrigade, than paganism militant. It is those few who were first met by Jean Mabire in his first researches. The author always told us that if his works were to be written today, they would be different on that point.
The cuff title never existed, in any case officially. No stock ever has been found. What is true is that men of the Division, in training at Beneschau, close to Prague, a very small group, had ordered an artisan cuff title in the name of Charlemagne. It should be known that the town of Prague was to some extent the capital of Waffen-SS. Many designs, studies were made there. The central bank of the Waffen-SS was there. The projects and the implementation of insignias were parts of them. But the “innovators” were given order and could never carry a long time the artisan embroidery. It was out of question in an organized army that a small group of soldiers can take the initiative on such an insignia that had its protocol besides, since the cuff title was to be given according to certain rules of seniority, of creation of the unit and of operational time.
To return to the runes, some zealous are affirming that only those of the Sturmbrigade wore them. That is wrong. Indeed, simple common sense or simply military experience shows that in phase of reconstitution, equipment and provisioning the processes are immutable. Those which are already equipped like the Strumbrigade do not cause a large concern, if it is not that many arrived at Wildflecken, equipped with what they could manage, because the logistic after a retreat is not an easy thing. As for the LVF, then the Militia, the distribution of the uniforms is made as in all the armies: by order of the organigram (OoB) or an organic way. My father who belonged to the 1st section of the 1st company of Ist battalion has received complete equipment, "It was to who would put them the first" he wrote in his memories. The last companies of each battalion have been perhaps less provided. And then as there was this project of collar tag to replace the runes, it was certainly a second reason of the brake of the supplying. This being said, it is sure that there was not everything for everyone whatever is the origin. And one should not forget than this was realized by an agonizing army and regime. As for the photography of end of war, it is necessary to be a simply realist, because men who are in full retreat changes ten times of uniform, for multiple reasons, of wear, loss, unit change, etc. For example, Zimmermann who was in charge of the Division training, does not wear on his uniform the tricolour badge of the Waffen-SS, but the one of the LVF. Not by political conviction, but by lack of availability at the moment, whereas at Christmas 44 (date of the photograph) the equipment should have being available. Moreover, before to be made prisoners, much men belonging to special units or elites units took the precaution of removing their distinctive insignia and sometimes ranks. In Berlin, in the hospitals and medical posts, the nurses received the instruction to remove the SS runes systematically from the collars of the wounded.
It is the same for the tattooing of the blood group. Thousands of men do not pass in same time at the infirmary. There are always those who miss, in training courses, etc. And in spite of some recalls a certain number could not be marked, the movement to the frontline having been ordered early and in emergency."
Regards
Daniel Laurent

Helmut Von Moltke

Post by Helmut Von Moltke » Tue May 02, 2006 12:59 am

excellent article Daniel, how did you find that? Does this asscoiation have a site, etc?

Laurent Daniel
Enthusiast
Posts: 546
Joined: Sun Apr 03, 2005 7:29 am
Location: Bangkok, Thailand

Post by Laurent Daniel » Tue May 02, 2006 2:08 am

Hi Helmut,
I asked them to have a look at that thread, as few guys there can read English. Then I received from them the French version of this text and translated it for Feldgrau.
This text is an extract of one of their conference, reply to one question re. insignias. I will try to get the full text and use it as needed here.
They don't have a website, the French authorities would not allow it as it would be considered as propaganda for illegal associations (LVF and W-SS). Remember, it isthe association of the families, NOT of the vets.
One of their speaker is participating to the forum (In French) of http://www.lesvolontaires.net where I am moderator. This is how I get in touch with them.
I am collaborating with them for my pages on the French Volunteers and Collaborationist forces that are put online in a French website. They provide me with a touch of "reality", giving life to an otherwise very academic report.
Regards
Daniel Laurent

Le Page
Member
Posts: 44
Joined: Fri May 20, 2005 3:05 am

Post by Le Page » Tue May 02, 2006 3:45 pm

"The cuff title never existed, in any case officially. No stock ever has been found. What is true is that men of the Division, in training at Beneschau, close to Prague, a very small group, had ordered an artisan cuff title in the name of Charlemagne."

This makes perfect sense, as there were only a few which got into a few guys' hands.

The Artillery officers were trained at Beneschau...

As to Maziere's account...I wonder about him.

Laurent Daniel
Enthusiast
Posts: 546
Joined: Sun Apr 03, 2005 7:29 am
Location: Bangkok, Thailand

Post by Laurent Daniel » Wed May 03, 2006 1:55 am

Bonjour Monsieur Le Page,
:D
Concerning de la Maziere, his accounts are generally considered as accurate BUT his book, written by the politically engaged journalist he was before September 44, goes far beyond accounts of the Charlemagne battles.
A large part of the book is describing his time in jail in Polish, Russian and eventually French jails and also providing us with his personnal views on the reasons that pushed him to be a Volunteer and other personnal opinions that, while being interesting, do not represent the opinion of the majority of the French Volunteers.
So, it is more a personnal political testimony than an historical book.
His public life after being released from jail is also full of funny things. He had, for exemple, several well-known showbusiness women as mistress.

In conclusion, yes, Christian de la Maziere was "One of them" but a very atypic one.

Should you need more details, you know now where to ask
:wink:
Regards
Daniel Laurent

Le Page
Member
Posts: 44
Joined: Fri May 20, 2005 3:05 am

Post by Le Page » Wed May 03, 2006 1:33 pm

Laurent Daniel wrote:Bonjour Monsieur Le Page,
:D
Concerning de la Maziere, his accounts are generally considered as accurate BUT his book, written by the politically engaged journalist he was before September 44, goes far beyond accounts of the Charlemagne battles.
A large part of the book is describing his time in jail in Polish, Russian and eventually French jails and also providing us with his personnal views on the reasons that pushed him to be a Volunteer and other personnal opinions that, while being interesting, do not represent the opinion of the majority of the French Volunteers.
So, it is more a personnal political testimony than an historical book.
His public life after being released from jail is also full of funny things. He had, for exemple, several well-known showbusiness women as mistress.

In conclusion, yes, Christian de la Maziere was "One of them" but a very atypic one.

Should you need more details, you know now where to ask
:wink:
Yes, thank you :up: now the shoe is on the other foot.

Have you ever heard that de la Maziere may not have been an officer, as he claimed...?

Laurent Daniel
Enthusiast
Posts: 546
Joined: Sun Apr 03, 2005 7:29 am
Location: Bangkok, Thailand

Post by Laurent Daniel » Wed May 03, 2006 9:44 pm

Le Page wrote:Have you ever heard that de la Maziere may not have been an officer, as he claimed...?
He was an officer ! Followed the training and graduated.
I am posting from a place where I don't have my sources, back to you later with more details if I can find.
Regards
Daniel Laurent

User avatar
Sepp Dietrich 555
Member
Posts: 21
Joined: Tue Apr 25, 2006 8:13 am

Websute down?

Post by Sepp Dietrich 555 » Thu May 04, 2006 5:35 am

One of their speaker is participating to the forum (In French) of http://www.lesvolontaires.net where I am moderator. This is how I get in touch with them.
That website is down... :(

Laurent Daniel
Enthusiast
Posts: 546
Joined: Sun Apr 03, 2005 7:29 am
Location: Bangkok, Thailand

Re: Websute down?

Post by Laurent Daniel » Thu May 04, 2006 6:05 am

Sepp Dietrich 555 wrote: That website is down... :(
Yes, since this morning.
The Webmaster gave up, probably under pressure of the politically corrects. I don't have yet details and I am afraid that, when I will have them, I will not be able to publish them there.
With some members, including the rep. of the Cercle, we are working on an alternative and I will keep you posted.
Sorry for the inconvenience.
Regards
Daniel Laurent

Le Page
Member
Posts: 44
Joined: Fri May 20, 2005 3:05 am

Post by Le Page » Thu May 04, 2006 3:49 pm

Laurent Daniel wrote:
Le Page wrote:Have you ever heard that de la Maziere may not have been an officer, as he claimed...?
He was an officer ! Followed the training and graduated.
I am posting from a place where I don't have my sources, back to you later with more details if I can find.
Bonjour Daniel--

I do not mean to disparage de la Maziere in any way, I am asking because in Pour l'Europe he is referred to at one point as Unterscharfuhrer. The footnote then states "contrary to what is written in 'Ashes of Honour' page 95 and in the article 'le Reveur Casque', de la Maziere was not an officer with the rank of Untersturmfuhrer. For whatever reason, he chose to rewrite his rank." Forbes does not say where he learned this...

Do you know off-hand what unit Maziere commanded? I don't know if he specifies in his book.

Laurent Daniel
Enthusiast
Posts: 546
Joined: Sun Apr 03, 2005 7:29 am
Location: Bangkok, Thailand

Post by Laurent Daniel » Thu May 04, 2006 8:56 pm

Hi Le Page,
Le Page wrote:For whatever reason, he chose to rewrite his rank." Forbes does not say where he learned this...
Forbes is generally considered as serious, so he must have some sources. Maybe it's some veterans who prefers not to be named?
Do you know off-hand what unit Maziere commanded? I don't know if he specifies in his book.
No, but now that you excited my curiosity, I will try to check and be back here.
However, the mention of his rank as Untersturmfuhrer is found in many forums, websites, books (Sorry, all in French) including in some editorials who talk about him as a "brutal racist nazi traitor etc", I guess if those "opponents" would had a chance to unveil a fake rank, they would have been very pleased to do such.
Let's see what I will be able to find!
Regards
Daniel Laurent

panzermahn
Associate
Posts: 918
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2004 3:09 am
Location: Malaysia

Post by panzermahn » Sat May 06, 2006 4:28 am

Laurent Daniel wrote:Hi Le Page,
Le Page wrote:For whatever reason, he chose to rewrite his rank." Forbes does not say where he learned this...
Forbes is generally considered as serious, so he must have some sources. Maybe it's some veterans who prefers not to be named?
Do you know off-hand what unit Maziere commanded? I don't know if he specifies in his book.
No, but now that you excited my curiosity, I will try to check and be back here.
However, the mention of his rank as Untersturmfuhrer is found in many forums, websites, books (Sorry, all in French) including in some editorials who talk about him as a "brutal racist nazi traitor etc", I guess if those "opponents" would had a chance to unveil a fake rank, they would have been very pleased to do such.
Let's see what I will be able to find!
There are even some allegations that de la Maziere was only in the French NSKK, not the Waffen SS.

You can ask forum member lebel. He personally met with de la Maziere in the 70s.

Panzermahn

Le Page
Member
Posts: 44
Joined: Fri May 20, 2005 3:05 am

Post by Le Page » Sat May 06, 2006 2:28 pm

panzermahn wrote:
Laurent Daniel wrote:Hi Le Page,
Le Page wrote:For whatever reason, he chose to rewrite his rank." Forbes does not say where he learned this...
Forbes is generally considered as serious, so he must have some sources. Maybe it's some veterans who prefers not to be named?
Do you know off-hand what unit Maziere commanded? I don't know if he specifies in his book.
No, but now that you excited my curiosity, I will try to check and be back here.
However, the mention of his rank as Untersturmfuhrer is found in many forums, websites, books (Sorry, all in French) including in some editorials who talk about him as a "brutal racist nazi traitor etc", I guess if those "opponents" would had a chance to unveil a fake rank, they would have been very pleased to do such.
Let's see what I will be able to find!
There are even some allegations that de la Maziere was only in the French NSKK, not the Waffen SS.

You can ask forum member lebel. He personally met with de la Maziere in the 70s.

Panzermahn
There are a number of inaccuracies in his book although on the whole it seems he was there (SS). If he were simply lifting things from Mabire, Soulat etc it would probably mirror what those author said.

Daniel--is Maziere the one closest to the camera in that photo which was taken at Wildfleken, where they're standing shoulder-arms?

Helmut Von Moltke

Post by Helmut Von Moltke » Sat May 06, 2006 6:33 pm

what photo, could one of you send it to me? thanks

panzermahn
Associate
Posts: 918
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2004 3:09 am
Location: Malaysia

Post by panzermahn » Sat May 06, 2006 8:07 pm

Le Page wrote:
panzermahn wrote:
Laurent Daniel wrote:Hi Le Page,
Le Page wrote:For whatever reason, he chose to rewrite his rank." Forbes does not say where he learned this...
Forbes is generally considered as serious, so he must have some sources. Maybe it's some veterans who prefers not to be named?
Do you know off-hand what unit Maziere commanded? I don't know if he specifies in his book.
No, but now that you excited my curiosity, I will try to check and be back here.
However, the mention of his rank as Untersturmfuhrer is found in many forums, websites, books (Sorry, all in French) including in some editorials who talk about him as a "brutal racist nazi traitor etc", I guess if those "opponents" would had a chance to unveil a fake rank, they would have been very pleased to do such.
Let's see what I will be able to find!
There are even some allegations that de la Maziere was only in the French NSKK, not the Waffen SS.

You can ask forum member lebel. He personally met with de la Maziere in the 70s.

Panzermahn
There are a number of inaccuracies in his book although on the whole it seems he was there (SS). If he were simply lifting things from Mabire, Soulat etc it would probably mirror what those author said.

Daniel--is Maziere the one closest to the camera in that photo which was taken at Wildfleken, where they're standing shoulder-arms?
Last year, via a French comrade of mine, de la Maziere stated that he knew no picture of him taken in Waffen SS uniform, at least in Untersturmfuehrer's uniform if the rank he mentioned in Ashes of Honour or The Captive Dreamer truly belongs to him


Regards
Panzermahn

Post Reply