The attack on Moscow resumes

Members of the 'French Legion' are reviewed by Field Marshal von Kluge after their arrival on the Eastern front.

Many units in Army Group Centre found that the weather changed sufficiently for them to get going again on the 15th. Despite mounting concerns about their lack of preparedness for the cold winter conditions the ground was hard enough for a return to mobile warfare.

It was around this time that the French Legion arrived on the Eastern Front, the opportunity for a series of propaganda images of this volunteer unit, purporting to show the international nature of the Nazi ‘crusade against bolshevism’.

The weather was getting colder just as these French volunteers arrived.

The youngest member of the Legion was noted as being 15 years old.

General Bluementritt had faint praise for them when writing after the war:

Four battalions of French volunteers assigned to Fourth Army proved less hardy. Field-Marshal von Kluge addressed them on the field of Borodino and spoke of how, in Napoleon’s Grand Army, Frenchmen and Germans had once before fought shoulder to shoulder against the common enemy.

Unfortunately, though they fought bravely when sent into action on the following day, the Frenchmen could not stand up to the fierceness of the enemy’s attack, nor to the cold and blizzards so unlike anything they had ever known at home.

The French Legion was overrun and suffered heavily both from the enemy and from the cold. Within a few days it had to be withdrawn from the front and sent back to the west.

General Blumentritt’s post war account of the Barbarossa campaign appeared in The Fatal Decisions.

The Germans were to make much of the various different nationalities fighting in volunteer formations for them, in most cases their most important value was for propaganda purposes.

The French Legion marches off to battle, it was a particularly bad time for them to join the campaign,

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