"Blue Division": the Spaniards who fought against the USSR
In the Second World War, hundreds of thousands of soldiers and officers from European allied countries of Nazi Germany fought against the Soviet Union. During the time of its existence, up to 50 thousand soldiers have passed through the Spanish volunteer “Blue Division”.
Volunteers with different motivation
The 250th Volunteer Division, formed in the very first days of the attack on the USSR, consisted of four infantry regiments and one artillery regiment. Members of the Spanish phalanx wore shirts in blue, and in Spanish there is no difference between blue and blue, so the division received this name.
The division had a mixed composition: there were regular army soldiers, veterans of the Spanish Civil War, and Phalange policemen. Formally, the Francoist Spain in the Great Patriotic War observed armed neutrality and was not an ally of Nazi Germany in the war with the USSR.One of the ideological reasons for the formation of a volunteer division was the statement by Spanish Foreign Minister Sunier that the Soviet Union was once guilty of inciting the Spanish Civil War. Therefore, the Spanish volunteers did not swear allegiance to Hitler, but vowed to fight communism.
Someone from the Spaniards really wanted to avenge the Bolsheviks for the death of loved ones in the Civil War, many were seduced by a relatively high salary. There were also those who subsequently intended to go over to the side of the Red Army.
How and where did the Blue Division fight?
Spanish volunteers, in particular, took part in the blockade of Leningrad. The Soviet command treated the Blue Division’s combat readiness differently, some military leaders considered it rather weak. At the same time, the operation “Polar Star”, which was carried out to unlock the city on the Neva, showed that the 4.5 thousandth Spanish division is able to fight: having almost tenfold superiority in manpower, the Soviet troops under the Red Bor suffered significant losses, failing to break through the defense , which was kept on this 60-kilometer sector of the front by a foreign legion.
The curated Germans were dissatisfied with discipline in the “Blue Division” - often there was recklessness among the soldiers, often the officers showed arbitrariness, often for this reason there were transitions of servicemen to the enemy. The Spanish volunteers were also fed very badly.
From division to legion
In connection with the existence of the “Blue Division,” Franco experienced strong foreign policy pressure, and in October 1943 the Spanish dictator decided to withdraw this volunteer unit from the current front and disband it. Instead of a division, the “Blue Legion” was created, numbering up to 3 thousand people, part of the Spanish volunteers joined the German Foreign Legion, having now passed under the direct command of the Nazis.
Until the end of the war and the surrender of Berlin in the besieged city on the side of the fascists fought about 7 thousand Spaniards, just the same through the "Blue Division" for the Great Patriotic War passed 45.5 thousand people.
The Blue Spaniards lost nearly 5,000 soldiers killed and 8,700 wounded (the division suffered the most serious losses on the Leningrad front), most of the more than 300 prisoner volunteers subsequently returned home.
General Frost taught them
In post-war Spain, many veterans of the Blue Division became successful professional soldiers; they did not hesitate to wear the Iron Crosses alongside other orders and medals. It is said that the military doctor of the 250th Volunteer Division wrote the best work on how to effectively treat frostbite. Of similar methodological developments, this book was valued the most in the 40s and 50s.
The streets of the Blue Division and today there are in some Spanish cities.