Given the merciless way in which the war on the Eastern Front of World War II was conducted, it is difficult to imagine soldiers changing allegiance from one side to another. Yet after the German invasion of Russia in Operation Barbarossa, well over 400,000 former Soviet Citizens went on to fight for Nazi Germany in some capacity. These included not only the 'legions' recruited from non-Russian ethnic groups eager for freedom from Stalin's dictatorship, but also some 100,000 Russians and Cossacks. What began as small local security units of 'Ostruppen', enrolled for the ongoing campaigns against Soviet partisans, were later reorganized, given special systems of uniform and insignia, amalgamated into larger formations, and eventually committed to the front line. This book offers up an essential guide to the appearance, formation and equipment of the myriad Russian and Soviet units that fought for the Germans. It uses rare photographs and revealing color illustrations to create a peerless visual reference to the troops who switched from one ruthless superpower to another and met with a horrific fate when the fighting was over.
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Dr Nigel Thomas is an accomplished linguist and military historian, formerly a Principal Lecturer at Northumbria University, now a freelance military author, translator and military uniform consultant. His interests are 20th century military and civil uniformed organizations, with a special interest in Germany, Central and Eastern Europe. He was awarded a PhD on the Eastern enlargement of NATO. The author lives in Cleadon Village, UK.
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