Spanish Volunteers on the Eastern Front
Written by C. Caballero Jurado
Illustrated by Ramiro Bujeiro
Osprey Publishing 2009, 64 pages
I find the Osprey Warrior series one of the most enjoyable. They are packed full of detail on the soldiers themselves, rather than the more usual details of an army or unit. The Blue Division Soldier 1941-45 is no different. This great little book covers the Spanish volunteers of the Blue Division (so named because of the blue shirts of the Falangist Party Militia worn by many of its men). This division was formed from volunteers in Spain before being sent to Germany for accelerated training and then on to German Army Group North on the Eastern Front.
The book is split in to a number of sections. It starts with an introduction and Chronology covering the background behind the raising of the division and its actions on the Eastern Front. The Chronology is a good starting point to learn the basics of the division’s role in Army Group North, with where and when they fought.
Next it moves on to explain the recruitment and organisation of the original volunteers in Spain before covering their training in Germany. The Spanish were very keen to get into combat as soon as possible; as they were concerned the Germans would defeat the Soviet Union before the division saw any combat. Because of this haste they only received a month of training before being sent to the front.
It then goes in to some detail on the composition of the men, their generals and officers, NCOs and the backgrounds and motivations of the men for joining. It looks at the number Spanish Civil War veterans from the Falangist (fascist) militia and Spanish Foreign Legion who joined the division and their importance in the unit’s performance and how anti-communist feeling influenced many of the recruits.
It then looks at the life and combat conditions the soldiers serving on the Eastern Front faced, their motivation and morale. It looks at the Spanish soldiers relations with the Germans, the Russian peasants, prisoners and deserters. Finally it looks at the aftermath of the division’s service, its veterans, writings and historical legacy.
Download the book in PDF format HERE