The Spanish “Blue Division”

Though sympathetic to the Axis cause, Franco resisted Hitler’s advances to bring Spain formally into the war even at the height of the Third Reich conquests.  Spain had just suffered through a lengthy civil war which had drained its resources, and was therefore in no position to assist in any significant matter.  Franco did allow, however, volunteers to serve under German arms on the Eastern front; by doing this he maintained Spain’s neutrality while both repaying the help Germany provided during the Spanish Civil War and continuing his fight against Bolshevism.  Within minutes of Germanys invasion of the Soviet Union, Von Ribbentrop received a formal offer of aid and on June 24 1941, Hitler approved the use of Spanish volunteers.

In Spain, there was no shortage of volunteers and though only 4,000 men were initially required, the overwhelming response prompted the authorities to set the goal of a full division, which in the Spanish Army equaled 19,000 men.  Volunteer regiments were raised in Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, Valencia and all other metropolitan areas.  On July 2nd, 1941 the recruiting stations were officially closed, with the number of even a full division having been surpassed.  The men who lined up at the party offices and Army barracks were not raw recruits, most were Civil War veteran thoroughly familiar with the rigors of military life.

With the Legion now forming, the commander of the Spanish was announced; it would be General Augustin Muñoz Grandes. The issue of uniforms was complicated because Spanish was not technically at war so Spanish Army uniforms were out of the question. A new symbolic uniform was created which consisted of the red beret of the Carlist movement, the blue shirt of the Falangist movement (from which the division received its name) and the khaki trousers of the Spanish Foreign Legion, while Officers wore khaki shirts with blue cuffs and collar. This uniform was worn on leave in Spain, but before going to the front the Legionnaires would change into regular field gray Heer uniform with a shield on the upper right sleeve which bore the Spanish National colors with the word “España”.

On July 13th the first train with volunteers left Madrid bound for Grafenwohr, Bavaria, where they became the Wehrmacht 250th Infantry Division with a strength of 17,924 Officers and men in four infantry regiments.  As German divisions had three regiments, one of them was soon dispersed among the others leaving the 262nd (mainly Barcelona recruits), 263rd (Valencia) and 269th (Seville) regiments. Each regiment had three battalions of four companies. An artillery regiment (the 250th) consisting of three batteries of 150mm guns and one of 150mm guns was added to the division.  Also, because among the volunteers there were enough pilots, a squadron was formed entirely of Spanish airmen and equipped with Me 109s and later FW 190s.  The “Blue Squadron” received credit for 156 Soviet aircraft.

After undergoing a five-week training period in Grafenwohr, the division took an oath in front of Hitler and left for the front on August 20, 1941. After embarking on long marches (totaling 1,000km) to reach the front at Smolensk where they were supposed to join army group center on the attack on Moscow, they were rerouted north to Leningrad where they formed part of the German 16th army.  On October 10, 1941, the Spanish Legion saw its first action in the sector between Ilmen and the west bank of the Volkhov river and participated in a major offensive against Leningrad which took place four days later.  They were to remain on the siege of Leningrad for the remainder of the division’s life, where they fought with distinction

The ruthless winters and savage fighting inflicted heavy casualties among the Legion, so much so that there were rumors that the entire division was going to collapse.  Reinforcements were quickly organized in Madrid and sent to the front, as it was not the fate of a single division but the honor and reputation of Spain that was at stake. In order to keep up the numbers, conscripts were sent in along with volunteers.  Because of casualties, and a system of rotation, as many as 45,000 Spaniards fought on the Eastern front. Of these, 4,500 were killed in action and a 16,000 further were taken prisoner or wounded in action.
Published in: on July 3, 2016 at 5:52 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. Read my article of “Hispanic European Pride” April 2016 blog with a PDF file link on my site. This article reveals the true Aryan Hispanics of Spain doing battle against Zionist Portugal for over a thousand years. My site is:

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