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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I would like some clarity on this subject. I have read and heard of account of former SS and German soldiers fighting in the French Foreign Legion in Indo-China. Some accounts I have read is that there were probably only 60 or 70 former SS troops in Vietnam and that some 37000 troops comprised of German Regulars were fighting in Vietnam with the legion. Has anybody else have any hard evidence or may have heard of this?
 

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It's been well documented. The legion recruited extensively from ex-Wehrmacht and SS after the war. Both from pow camps and guys on the run. Most of them were sent to Indochina.

Brgds, A
 

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Forgot to mention; french troops in Indochina (in the period right after WWII) were largely outfitted with captured (or surrendered more likely) German weapons. Like Lugers, P38, Mausers, MG's, etc ...

Brgds, A
 

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They found a similar SOF mentality "we dont ask to much, you dont ask to much". Free of moral and unnecessary use of brain.
Wolf
 

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Recruitment of German nationals for La Legion Etrangere, usually with prior military experience in Wehrmacht (usually Heer), Waffen-SS or SS, is well-documented. What proportion were Waffen-SS or SS instead of Wehrmacht is much less well-documented. And I don't think anybody really knows. Or, truth to tell, knew then. The original "Don't ask, don't tell policy", eh?
 

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Any books that deal specifically with that?
Poot
 

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ANDREY
Don't know where you heard that, but I've never seen it in writing anywhere. Everything I've read & photos from the period - 1945/49, says Totaly equiped with US weapons, uniforms, vehicles & aircraft.
The Legion on the other hand was equiped with some WW 2 German weapons.
Sarge
 

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Hi there,

I've read a lot of books and articles about The Legion, Indochina/Vietnam, etc.. Sorry i can't quote any particular titles right now where the use of ex-german armament is mentioned. US special forces personnel over there often obtained ex-german-ex-french firearms like Lugers, P38, MP38. The"Ballad of the green beret" guy (i'm ashamed but i can't rmember his name right now) reffered to the situation in an article in "Soldier of fortune" some years back. They received a couple cratefulls of german weapons, he claimed the P38 was the best natural pointer for him. In addition, it is an historical fact that french soldiers (including Legion) were outfitted with P38's manufactured by the french after they took over the Walther plant. These are marked with a star stamp.

Best Regards,
A
 

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Barry Sadler is the Author/Performer of the BALLAD OF THE GREEN BERETS. Robin Moore wrote the novel TEH GREEN BERETS and has been credited as a co-author of the song. Sadler was a Special Forces-qualified troop and served as such in RVN.

When I was in country (1968-69), we occasionally recovered WWII-era weapons, from all major combatants, but including fair numbers of German SMGs (such as MP-40). The French unquestionably used substantial numbers of ex-German arms following the Liberation, in addition to US-furnished arms, I cannot recall any Lugers or P38s being reported as received, but that is the sort of thing that might disappear into somebody's pocket. Most non-Communist Bloc arms recovered were either French or American, with some Japanese. And, by my time in country, most of the non-standard stuff had been worn out, discarded in favor of standard arms easier to get ammo for, or captured and taken out of circulation. Meaning that the majority of recovered arms were SKS, AK-47, various Russian design MGs and LMGs, TT-33s, US M1 Carbines, US M1 Garands (not common), US M14s (also not common) and US M-16s (fairly common) and 45 autos and 38 revolvers. Still occasional Arisakas, French bolt guns and SMGs, but not a lot.
 

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Barry Sadler is the Author/Performer of the BALLAD OF THE GREEN BERETS. Robin Moore wrote the novel TEH GREEN BERETS and has been credited as a co-author of the song. Sadler was a Special Forces-qualified troop and served as such in RVN.

When I was in country (1968-69), we occasionally recovered WWII-era weapons, from all major combatants, but including fair numbers of German SMGs (such as MP-40). The French unquestionably used substantial numbers of ex-German arms following the Liberation, in addition to US-furnished arms, I cannot recall any Lugers or P38s being reported as received, but that is the sort of thing that might disappear into somebody's pocket. Most non-Communist Bloc arms recovered were either French or American, with some Japanese. And, by my time in country, most of the non-standard stuff had been worn out, discarded in favor of standard arms easier to get ammo for, or captured and taken out of circulation. Meaning that the majority of recovered arms were SKS, AK-47, various Russian design MGs and LMGs, TT-33s, US M1 Carbines, US M1 Garands (not common), US M14s (also not common) and US M-16s (fairly common) and 45 autos and 38 revolvers. Still occasional Arisakas, French bolt guns and SMGs, but not a lot.

Jamie Salazar who wrote "Legion of the Lost" an American Purdue Alum who served inthe Legion in 1999, 2000 said that the legion today still retains many Nazi era traditions, and advancement for non whites is near impossible.

British Legionnaire Simon Murray had both a corporal and Sgt Chef that were veterans of the Waffen SS and this was into the 1960's!

Clyde, I can only speculate...but where were they getting the M-14's and M-16's? Marvin the Arvin selling or giving them to the VC? Or were they captured from us or the ARVN?
 

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Thx for the feedback Clyde! Yes, Barry Sadler was the name i was looking for. Shame on me for not remembering. Must be getting old i guess.
Other than army, also the french gendarmerie and police were equiped with the P38 and Lugers, both models made or assembled under french supervision, and surrendered pistols of the same typr thrown in for good measure.
If there are any french board members here, i'm sure they can shed more accurate light on this matter.
(BTW, i travelled around in Texas a couple years back. Loved it! )

Best Regards,
A
 

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Andrey, I doubt that many Lugers were assembled post-war. Just not that many parts in store, and production had terminated 1942. Surrendered, though, yeah. A lot of them. P38s and PP and PPK - all three were assembled and then built (Manhurin, with war booty machinery and tooling) under French control. And used.

Can't speak to how many went to French Indo-China/Cochin China (Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia) - can only speak to what i observed some years after the pull-out and what I've seen in the way of literature over the years.

Francis - MOST American weapons in VC (PAVN mostly used SovBloc arms, seldom US/RVN captures) hands were PRABABLY captured or discarded items, but a substantial amount were sold/given by disloyal or just corrupt folks in ARVN uniform or government functionaries with access. At least that was my view (and the view of people tasked with making that sort of determination) at the time. Particularly in my first six months in country I was privy to a lot of stuff of that nature because of duty assignment.
 

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When I was in Beirut in the eighties, I befriended a couple Legion NCOs who invited us to dinner at their camp. After a great meal and a "few" drinks we were entertained to the marching songs they knew. Some were explained to be now "outlawed" offically. They were old SS marching songs.

S/F
Finger
 

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Probably, mostly, just old German Soldier Songs, rather than SS specific.
 

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THE DEVILS BRIGADE is a book that deals with that very subject.

Not though it took him to Vietnam, but Guy Sajer, who wrote FORGOTTEN SOLDIER, about his time in the SS Panzer Grenadier GrossDeutchsland stated that at the end of the wae he was formally inducted into the French Foreign Legion, and told at that time that was how he was to refer to his war service.
 

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Seems like I saw something fairly recently giving Sajer's true name and information on his actual service which wasn't, exactly, as set out in THE FORGOTTEN SOLDIER.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks for all the information you guys have. I also heard the Legion loved the Germans during Indo-China conflict because they were familiar with Communist tactics. You can probable make a comparison between Stalingrad and Dien Bien Phu. Maybe the Germans should have told them that Air bought supplies would not work.

Granted the US did at Khe Sanh only because of total Air Superiority.
 
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