At the start of the German occupation of Belgium in May 1940, Flemish recruits from northern Belgium – considered by the Nazis to be 'Germanic' – were accepted individually into Waffen-SS units. After Hitler's invasion of the USSR in June 1941, additional recruits from the French-speaking south (Wallonia) were also drafted in. Both communities formed volunteer 'Legions' to fight (according to Goebbels' propaganda machine) 'for European civilization against the Bolshevik threat'. The Flemish Legion was incorporated into the Waffen-SS and the Walloon Legion into the German Army. Both served on the Russian Front in 1942-43. The Walloon Legion was then transferred into the Waffen-SS (the decorated Walloon officer, Leon Degrelle, became a publicized 'poster boy' for foreign SS volunteers). Both Legions were then redesignated as SS Assault Brigades and, from then onwards, saw extremely heavy fighting in the Ukraine and on the Baltic front. In autumn 1944, their survivors were withdrawn from the front and incorporated into two new SS Divisions: 27. 'Langemarck' and 28. 'Wallonien'.
This new account, featuring detailed color plates of uniform and insignia, recounts the battle history of the French and Flemish-speaking Belgian SS, up to their final transformation into full divisions in the winter of 1944/45.
Read an extract of Belgian Waffen-SS Legions & Brigades, 1941–1944
Table of Contents
INTRODUCTION Belgian fascist movements After German occupation LÉGION WALLONIE Formation and training Eastern Front, 1941–42 SS-STURMBRIGADE 'WALLONIEN', 1943–44 The Dnieper front, winter 1943/44 SS-FREIWILLIGEN LEGION FLANDERN Formation and training Order of battle, October 1941 Eastern Front, 1941–43 SS-FREIWILLIGEN STURMBRIGADE 'LANGEMARCK' Training and organization Order of battle, July 1943 The Ukrainian front The Estonian front Aftermath SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY PLATE COMMENTARIES INDEX