162nd Turkoman Division

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162nd Turkoman Division
Turkoman Division
162nd (Turkistan) Infanterie Division Logo.svg
Active May 1943 - May 1945
Country  Soviet Union
Allegiance  Nazi Germany
Branch Wehrmacht
Engagements World War II

The 162nd Turkoman Division was a military division that was formed by the German Army during the Second World War. It drew its men from prisoners of war or refugees who came from the Caucasus and from Turkic lands further east. The soldiers were trained at Neuhammer. After some initial setbacks, the division proved to be quite effective.[1]

Formation[edit]

The 162nd Turkoman Division was formed in May 1943 and comprised 5 Azeri and 6 Turkestani artillery and infantry units.[2][3] It was sent, in October 1943, to northern Italy.[4] Of all the independent divisions, the 162nd became the largest division of all legions.[5]

Infantry battalion No. 450 was also drawn from ethnic Turks and Azeris.[6]

In early 1944 the division was assigned with guarding the Ligurian coast. In June 1944 the division was assigned to combat in Italy but was withdraw due to poor performance. For the remainder of the war, the division fought partisans near Spezia and the Tavo valley in Italy.[7]

Fate[edit]

Those of the division who were caught by the Allied forces were repatriated to the Soviet Union. In 1944 they were sent back via the Suez Canal to Iran, and from there to Russia. Later POWs were kept at Taranto and from there shipped to Odessa via the Dardanelles.[1] The main body of the division surrendered near Padua in May 1945 and was dispatched to Taranto. In accordance with the agreements signed by the British and Americans at the Yalta Conference, the soldiers were repatriated. According to a later witness, they received a twenty-year sentence of slave labor.[1]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Nikolai Tolstoy. The Secret Betrayal. Charles Scribner’s Sons (1977), ISBN 0-684-15635-0, page 304ff. 
  2. ^ Thomas, Nigel and Stephen Andrew, The German Army 1939-45 (5): Western Front 1943-45, (Osprey Publishing, 2000), 12.
  3. ^ Altstadt, Audrey L., The Azerbaijani Turks: power and identity under Russian rule, (Hoover Press, 1992), 157.
  4. ^ Thomas, 12.
  5. ^ Alstadt, 157.
  6. ^ Beckett, Ian Frederick William, Modern insurgencies and counter-insurgencies, (Routledge, 2001), 62.
  7. ^ Mitcham, Samuel W., German order of battle: Panzer, Panzer Grenadier, and Waffen SS, Vol.3, (Stackpole Books, 1997), 215.