162nd Turkoman Division

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162nd Turkistan Division
Turkistan Division
162nd (Turkistan) Infanterie Division Logo.svg
ActiveMay 1943 - May 1945
Country Soviet Union
Allegiance Nazi Germany
EngagementsWorld War II

The 162nd Turkistan 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 162nd Turkistan Division was formed in May 1943 and comprised five Azeri and six Turkistani artillery and infantry units.[1][2] The soldiers were trained at Neuhammer.

The division was sent, in October 1943, to northern Italy.[3] Of all the independent divisions, the 162nd became the largest division of all legions.[4] Infantry battalion No. 450 was also drawn from ethnic Turks and Azeris.[5]

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 the Italian resistance movement near Spezia and the Val di Taro in Italy.[6] After initial setbacks, the division proved to be quite effective.[7]

The main body of the division surrendered near Padua in May 1945 to the Western Allies and was dispatched to Taranto. In accordance with the agreements signed by the British and Americans at the Yalta Conference, the soldiers were repatriated to the Soviet Union. According to Nikolai Tolstoy, they received a twenty-year sentence of slave labor.[7]

War crimes[edit]

The division has been implicated in a number of war crimes in Italy between December 1943 and May 1945, two of those, in January 1945 in the Emilia-Romagna resulted in the execution of at least 20 civilians each.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Thomas, Nigel and Stephen Andrew, The German Army 1939-45 (5): Western Front 1943-45, (Osprey Publishing, 2000), 12.
  2. ^ Altstadt, Audrey L., The Azerbaijani Turks: power and identity under Russian rule, (Hoover Press, 1992), 157.
  3. ^ Thomas, 12.
  4. ^ Alstadt, 157.
  5. ^ Beckett, Ian Frederick William, Modern insurgencies and counter-insurgencies, (Routledge, 2001), 62.
  6. ^ Mitcham, Samuel W., German order of battle: Panzer, Panzer Grenadier, and Waffen SS, Vol.3, (Stackpole Books, 1997), 215.
  7. ^ a b Tolstoy, Nikolai (1977). The Secret Betrayal. Charles Scribner’s Sons. p. 304ff. ISBN 0-684-15635-0.
  8. ^ "162. Turkistan-Infanterie-Division" (in Italian). Atlas of Nazi and Fascist Massacres in Italy. Retrieved 20 September 2018.