Hitler's Eastern Legions 1942–45

Hitler's Eastern Legions 1942–45 cover


This illustrated study details the organization, battle orders, combat history, uniforms, and insignia of the World War II units recruited by Nazi Germany from ethnic minorities in the USSR.

Between 1941–45, the Germans recruited around 175,000 men from a number of minorities in the USSR, distinguishing between "Turkomans" (predominantly Muslims) and "Caucasians" (predominantly Orthodox Christians). Of these, many formed rear-area auxiliary units, but at least 55,000 were combat troops. The first recruits formed two battalions in the 444th Security Division raised as early as November 1941; during 1942–­43 seven legions were formed, each of several battalions, eventually totaling some 53 battalions (equivalent to about 6 full divisions). However, with one exception (162nd Turkoman Division), they were not deployed as whole formations; after training in Poland, individual battalions were posted to fill out German regiments in the front lines, at first in Army Group South but later in all three Army Groups fighting on the Eastern Front. Units were also sent to Yugoslavia, Italy, and the Western Front.

This fully illustrated history of the Eastern legions details the organization, battle orders, combat history, uniforms, and insignia of these unique units, combining contemporary photographs and full-color illustrations with expert research from military historian Dr Nigel Thomas.

Table of Contents

German Intelligence in the Caucasus
The Eastern Legions: Overview
Uniforms & Insignia: Overview
The Eastern Legions: Profiles
Campaign Deployments
Crimean Tatar Forces
Kalmyk Forces
Select Bibliography

Product details

Published Aug 18 2020
Format Paperback
Edition 1st
Extent 64
ISBN 9781472839541
Imprint Osprey Publishing
Illustrations Black & white and colour photos.
Dimensions 10 x 7 inches
Series Elite
Short code ELI 233
Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing

About the contributors


Nigel Thomas

DR NIGEL THOMAS PhD is an accomplished linguist an…


Johnny Shumate

Johnny Shumate works as a freelance illustrator li…


Discover More

Visit our exclusive member's website to see artwork, maps, and more from this book.


Book Vote

Tell us what titles you would like to see published by Osprey, then vote for your favourites in our monthly book vote!

Related Titles

Sign up for Osprey membership for access to thousands of plane profiles, maps, battle scenes and more. Plus up to 30% off website purchases

Free US delivery on orders $35 or over