Russia Abroad | Russian National Army of Liberation | Russian Volunteers in the German Wehrmacht

Russian National Army of Liberation, Kaminski, RONA, Vlasov, Andrey Vlasov, Dabendorf, Prague, Эмиграция, Русская Прага, Русская эмиграция, Чехословакия, Mochola, Мохоля, РОА, РОД, КОНР, Власов, Власовцы




Фотоархив | Библиотека | Acta Rossica | Энциклопедия Зарубежной России | Форум 

Russian Volunteers in the German Wehrmacht in WorldWar II

by Lt. Gen. Władysław Anders and Antonio Muňoz [ed.]


One of the first Russian volunteer formations was RONA - Russian National Army of Liberation - which was organized in the winter of 1941-1942 under the command of a Soviet captain called Kaminski, who was promoted by the Germans to Major-General. His army - which in fact never exceeded the strength of a division - at first fought against Soviet partisans, and later on the front. In the summer of 1944, after considerable losses, RONA was withdrawn to East Prussia, where Himmler took it over from the Wehrmacht and reorganized it into an SS brigade. 

Kaminski's brigade earned the worst possible reputation among all who had anything to do with it, not excluding Russians from other formations. A particularly gruesome fame was gained by this brigade during the quelling of the Warsaw Rising in 1944. Only the infamous SS Dirlewanger Brigade, composed of criminal volunteers from German prisons and concentration camps, could match the deeds of Kaminski's Brigade [Panzer Leader, p.356; Ukraińcy a Likwidacja Powstania Warszawskiego, pp. 76-78; Soviet Opposition to Stalin, pp. 42-43.].

After the Warsaw Rising, Kaminski was shot by order of his protector Himmler, and the remnants of his brigade were sent to the Vlasov Army which was then being formed. 

At almost the same time as RONA there was organized in Byelorussia [White Russia] the Gil-Rodionov Druzhina, and near Smolensk, at the end of 1941, the Russian National People's Army, RNNA. The first, an SS formation, was disbanded in 1943; The second, known as the Boyarski Brigade and backed by the Wehrmacht, met with the same end in 1943. Besides these formations, a number of volunteer battalions, companies and squadrons were formed. At first they had un-official status, but later they were fully recognized. The majority of them, composed of volunteers of Russian nationality, were later incorporated into the Russian Army of Liberation- ROA- which was not an army in the organizational meaning of the word, but a name given to all Russian voluntary formations which recognized General Vlasov as their leader. 

In a better condition were the Eastern Legions, the so-called "Ostlegionen" which, according to Rosenberg's conception, contained only non-Russian volunteers. Hitler limited them to nationalities living far from the frontiers of the "Great Reich." On December 30th, 1941 a top secret memorandum ordered that the Supreme Command was to create, first the Turkestani Legion from volunteers of the following nationalities: Turkomans, Uzbeks, Kazakhs, Kirghiz, Karakalpaks, and Tadjiks. Second, the Caucasian-Mohammedan Legion, from Azerbaijanis, Daghestans, Ingushes, Lezghins, and Chechens. Third, the Georgian Legion; And fourth, the Armenian Legion [Soviet Opposition to Stalin, p. 48.]. 

In contrast to the unofficial formations, the Eastern Legions had national committees from the start. It must be explained that a "legion" was not a tactical formation, but a training center where national units, mostly battalions, were organized and trained. It seems that the largest formation was the 162nd Turkoman Infantry Division, composed of Germans, Turkomans, and Azerbaijanis, which according to its commander, was as good as a normal German Division [Ibid., pp. 48-49.]. According to the testimony of Caucasian leaders, the number of volunteers from the Caucasus who fought on the German side was 102,300 [Ibid., p. 51.]. 

German commanders had great sympathy for the Cossacks, although these did not conceal their political ambition to build their own state, Kazakia. Their bravery, their generally known hatred of the Soviets, and the services rendered from the very beginning particularly in fighting Soviet partisans, gave quick results. As early as the middle of 1942, a Cossack cavalry formation existed in Mohylev, under the command of a former Soviet major, Kononov, who had crossed over to the Germans at the first opportunity with the greater part of his regiment, and began service on the side of the Germans by guarding the line of communications against Soviet partisans [Wen Sie Verdeben Wollen, p. 80.]. 

Hilfswillige and OsttruppenCossack Corps. Vlasov.








Rambler's Top100 copyright © 2002 by mochola, last updated October, 21th Y2K+2, best with IE5.5 1024x768px, 6 sec over 56.6 bps