Category: soldier

Soldier consoling his weeping wife as he says goodbye at…

Soldier consoling his weeping wife as he says goodbye at Pennsylvania Station before returning to duty after brief furlough during WWII, 1944. Photographed by Alfred Eisenstaedt-LIFE.

30 hilarious vintage photos of WWI soldiers posing with fake…

30 hilarious vintage photos of WWI soldiers posing with fake military props.

Wartime marriage: Lovely photos of WWII soldiers with their…

Wartime marriage: Lovely photos of WWII soldiers with their brides.

Soldier’s farewell, Penn Station, New York City, 1944….

Soldier’s farewell, Penn Station, New York City, 1944. Photographed by Alfred Eisenstaedt.

On western front of Korean War, corporal who is out of…

On western front of Korean War, corporal who is out of ammunition and has lost all but two of his squad, cries in anger and frustration, 1950. Photographed by David Douglas Duncan.

A French Soldier from the Waffen-SS “Cha…

A French Soldier from the Waffen-SS “Charlemagne” division during the Battle of Berlin, – April 23rd, 1945.

via reddit

*EDIT: I have come to believe that this is actually a reenactor, not a historical photo. If I can confirm it is a reenactor, I am going to delete it.*

The SS Charlemagne Division was formed in 1944 from a collection of troops serving in other French Units of the German Armed Forces as well as from paramilitary groups such as the “Franc-Garde” of the Milice or French Police Units serving with the German Forces overseeing the occupation of France

The original French Unit serving with the German Wehrmacht was the LVF which was the Legion of French Volunteers against Bolshevism, its official title was the 638th Infantry Regiment and consisted mainly of anit-communist Frenchmen or French POW’s who preferred fighting rather than forced labor in Germany. These POW’s were the remainder of the French Armed forces who were ordered to surrender in 1940 after the occupation of France by the German Armed forces. Other French troops were also recruited some as elements from the Vichy Phalanx and members from the French Foreign Legion who some cases still had allegiance to Vichy France.

The Charlemagne Division was sent to fight the Red Army in Poland, but on 25 February 1945, it was attacked at Hammerstein (present-day Czarne) in Pomerania, by troops of the Soviet 1st Belorussian Front. The Soviet forces split the French force into three pockets. One group commanded by Krukenberg survived. It was evacuated from the coast by the German Navy to Denmark and later sent to Neustrelitz for refitting; the second group with Oberführer Puaud was destroyed by Soviet artillery and the third group tried fighting its way back westward, but by 17 March 1945 all had been captured or killed in action.

In early April 1945, SS-Brigadefuhrer Krukenberg now commanded the remains of the SS Charlemagne Division now down to 700 men and organized into a single Infantry Regiment, officially designated Battalion 57 and 58 and were ordered to Berlin to conduct a delaying action against the approaching Red Army. Eventually, Berlin fell, the SS Charlemagne were the last defenders of Hitler’s bunker holding out until May 2nd, 1945 to prevent the Soviets capturing it on Mayday. Reduced to approximately thirty able men, most members surrendered near the Potsdamer rail station to Red Army soldiers.

Most Charlemagne survivors were shot on sight, the ones that did escape Berlin (approx 30 men) and made it back to France were imprisoned by the Allies. General Leclerc when presented with 12 SS Charlemagne survivors ordered them to be executed imeadiately without any form of trial. When confronted with the 12 captured Charlemagne prisoners Gen Leclerc was reputed to say “Why do you wear German Uniform?” one grizzled French SS veteran replied “Why do you wear an American one?”

CdV of a Knights Templar, 1865.

CdV of a Knights Templar, 1865.

What to do, what to do? 1940s.

What to do, what to do? 1940s.

19th century star doppelgängers: Unbelievable photos of…

19th century star doppelgängers: Unbelievable photos of celebrities’ Civil War look-alikes.

Soldiers and sailor in Zillah, Washington, 1944.

Soldiers and sailor in Zillah, Washington, 1944.