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Subject: THE DEVIL'S GUARD: Fact or fiction?
Godofgamblers    4/27/2006 10:05:26 PM
South, cruel south, Dreary nights and days, Green, rolling green, Where Death rides on the trails. You're weary? Carry on! Until the bitter end, You are Devil's Guard, The Battalion of the Damned. A LEGION MARCHING SONG The release of the book THE DEVIL'S GUARD caused a major scandal when it was first released in 1971 and tells the story of SS soldier Hans Josef Wagemueller who spent decades in continual combat, in 'unconditional warfare' as he called it. After escaping from allied forces in WWII, he fled abroad where he joined the French Foreign Legion. There he claimed huge numbers of ex-Nazis had been recruited to fight the Vietnamese. The German FFL soldiers formed their own units and had German commanders assigned to them. He related that they found their SS tactics perfectly suited to the jungle war against the communist 'sub-humans'. After the war, he retired to an asian country where he related his memoirs to a writer. Western authorities called the book 'communist propaganda' and the French denied that SS or Gestapo members were used in Indochina. However... reading the book ( it seems very convincing. Debate still rages on its authenticity. It seems very real to me. What are your opinions? Fact or fiction? (Warning: if you choose to read the text, be warned that it is rather shocking material, and the characters defend and propagate a pro Nazi ideology. Some may find it quite offensive.)
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Carl S    RE:THE DEVIL'S GUARD: Fact or fiction?   4/28/2006 7:17:47 AM
I did not consider it particularly shocking. First read it back around 1973. In the late 1970s I ran across it again and tried to match the annecdoates to the historical record of the Indochina war. No luck there, but the actions descibed arent the sort that appear in the common literature. So that proves little. Later after I'd gotten a number of years of serious military training behind me I realized the battles decribed in the book were extremly distorted. The journalist who wrote the thing had a superficial knowledge of the military, and he did not try to interprete the narrators account anyway. So, even if these were actual incidents, and there was a sincere attempt to describe them, it still is not a usefull source. The various passages dont add up. Much of the narrators account remeinds me of other post 1945 writing by SS & nazi appologists who try very hard to describe the Waffen SS members as 'not such bad guys', and invariably rant on about how horrible the communists were.
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Godofgamblers    seems legit   4/28/2006 7:32:42 AM
i think it was frenchstrategist who told me that some FFL marching songs are in German and they are from this period. although the french strongly denied that there were SS among their ranks at the time, it now seems clear that they were. you're right, the pro SS point of view is quite irritating and impossible to swallow (especially the point when they take americans hostage in czechoslovakia and 'educate' them on the folly of using SS as 'scapegoats'), but the description of german tactics and of the indochina conflict i found very convincing and very difficult to fake. i think this book is the real thing. the author said at the outset that the names of places and soldiers' names had been changed to protect those who were still alive and who could be identified. the book is sold out every time it's printed. it's strange though that there could be 'sequels' to it though... that is quite unusual...
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gf0012-aust    Fact or fiction? - Carl S   4/28/2006 8:14:59 AM
"Much of the narrators account remeinds me of other post 1945 writing by SS & nazi appologists who try very hard to describe the Waffen SS members as 'not such bad guys', and invariably rant on about how horrible the communists were. " another example of this is "I Flew for the Fuhrer" by Heinz Knoke. When I first read it (as a 14 yo) I thought it was a ripping good yarn - when I re-read it about 10 years later - and again 30 years later I readily came to the conclusion that he was an apologist - and in the local vernacular, a "wanker". there were so many cavalier statements and untruths that it was almost unreadable for me. he definitely hated the russians - and the feeling you were left with was that the russians were the untermensch and that they were really the wests saviours but unappreciated.
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Thomas3    RE:Fact or fiction? - Carl S   4/28/2006 9:38:17 AM
About 20 years ago I met a frenchman on a train in Germany. He spoke excellent German, which is VERY rare in a frenchman. He had been an NCO in the foreign legion that trained Germans for indochina "mincemeat" as he called it. The French penal system has always been weird.
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S-2    RE:Fact or fiction? - Germans in Indochina   4/28/2006 10:58:06 AM
I'd swear that Fall's account "Hell In A Very Small Place" had a photo of a Legionaire LURP team near Laos that was nearly all German. Could be wrong, and can't recall that S.S. was mentioned. Hell, maybe it was "Street Without Joy", for all I can remember-1972. It was a very good year.
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AdvanceAustralia    RE:THE DEVIL'S GUARD: Fact or fiction?   4/28/2006 10:08:42 PM
GOG, a few of my mates and I read this book several years ago and enjoyed it very much for the story it is. Unfortunately, someone lost it and we have been looking for it ever since. Debate about fact or fiction aside, thank you very much indeed for pointing us in the right direction that we might read it again. Cheers from AdvanceAustralia and his grateful friends!
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Godofgamblers    RE:THE DEVIL'S GUARD: AA   4/30/2006 5:19:43 AM
my pleasure, mate! i printed it out in 20 pg sections and read it at work. a good read, all in all, even if you don't agree with the ideology of the narrator.
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olive greens    50 Minute Documentary on the Legion   5/1/2006 8:10:35 AM =========================== Use it as a kinda refresher. Some factual mistakes, and even as they try to make it a bit sensational they forget the most interesting factoids about the Legion... most combat jumps in history, Cinco de Mayo etc.
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Tiber1    RE:50 Minute Documentary on the Legion   5/5/2006 6:00:23 PM
Well, there were thousands of former SS and other german soldiers now unemployed after the war. The cold war and the other fun little conflicts of the post-ww2 world did require a lot of bodies. I can easily see the basic concept being true. A lot of organizations didn't ask very many questions about your past if you were willing to kill/spy on communists in the late 40's and 50's. How many options did these ex-soldiers really have? Most were not rich/powerful enough to be able to make it to South America and many have been afraid to show their faces in West Germany. Even if they were not afraid, what options did they have? The country was literally in ruins. I'm sure the pay from the FFL and other organizations looked a lot better then digging out rubble at home for many of them.
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hermies       11/19/2006 4:41:44 PM
I spent a little time with the Legion in active service ---- and there`s more.
The above is correct - but now there old but still give advice and their tactics are still discussed today  but under a different name -------- it does work but you must be totally dedicated
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