Eugène Vaulot

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Eugène Vaulot
EugeneVaulot.jpg
Born 1 June 1923
Paris, France
Died 2 May 1945 (1945-05-03) (aged 21)
Berlin, Germany
Allegiance  Nazi Germany
Service/branch Waffen-SS
Years of service 1941–45
Rank Unterscharführer
Unit 33rd Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS Charlemagne (1st French)
Battles/wars World War II
Awards

Eugène Vaulot (1 June 1923 – 2 May 1945) was a Frenchman with the rank of Unterscharführer in the Waffen-SS during World War II, who was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross.

Life[edit]

Eugene Vaulot was born in Paris in 1923. He trained to be a "plumber-heating" technician, then volunteered to join the Legion of French Volunteers Against Bolshevism (LVF) in 1941 and fought on the Eastern Front.[1] In 1942-43, he served with the 1st company. He was awarded the Iron Class 2nd class before being partially disabled from wounds which forced him to leave the L.V.F. in 1943 with the rank of Obergefreiter.[1]

In 1944 he volunteered for service with the German Navy (Kriegsmarine) and served with the 6th Company, 28th Schiffstammabteilung.[1] In September 1944, a new unit, the Waffen-Grenadier-Brigade der SS "Charlemagne", was formed out of the remnants of the LVF and the French Sturmbrigade. Vaulot transferred to this new formation with the rank of Waffen-Unterscharführer.[1] Joining him were French collaborators fleeing the Allied advance in the west, as well as Frenchmen from the German Navy, the National Socialist Motor Corps (NSKK), the Organisation Todt and the detested Milice security police.[2]

In February 1945, the unit was officially upgraded to a division and renamed 33rd Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS Charlemagne (1st French) (französische Nr.1). At this time it had a strength of 7,340 men.[3] The Charlemagne Division was sent to fight the Red Army in Poland, but on 25 February it was attacked at Hammerstein (present day Czarne) in Pomerania, by troops of the Soviet 1st Belorussian Front. The Soviet forces split the French force into three pockets. One group commanded by SS-Brigadeführer Gustav Krukenberg survived. It was evacuated from the coast by the German Navy to Denmark and later sent to Neustrelitz for refitting; Vaulot was part of this third group.[1][4] He was awarded the Iron Cross 1st class for "distinguishing himself" in combat.[1]

Berlin, 1945[edit]

In April 1945, about 350 men volunteered to go to fight in the Battle of Berlin in a unit which became known as Sturmbataillon Charlemagne.[5][6] Vaulot went with the group to Berlin. During the fighting, Vaulot destroyed two tanks in the Neukoelln sector. Then on 28 April, the Red Army started a full-scale offensive into the central sector. Fighting was intense, the Sturmbataillon Charlemagne was in the center of the battle zone around the Reich Chancellery. Vaulot used Panzerfäuste to destroy six more tanks near the Führerbunker. He was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross by SS-Brigadeführer Krukenberg on 29 April.[1][Note 1]

Vaulot did not survive the battle being killed three days later.[6] In the early hours of 2 May, Vaulot was part of a group trying to break-out of the Soviet ring around Berlin. After crossing the Tiergarten, the group met strong Soviet resistance along the avenue to Charlottenburg. Here, according to the testimony of Krukenberg, Vaulot was killed in action by a Red Army sniper a few hours before Berlin's official surrender.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 29 April 1945 as Waffen-Unterscharführer and as group leader in the 33. SS-Freiwilligen-Division "Charlemagne" (franz. Nr. 1) in the combat area Groß Berlin (greater Berlin). Fellgiebel (2000) p. 429. Scherzer (2007) p. 756.

References[edit]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Forbes 2010, p. 439.
  2. ^ Littlejohn 1987, p. 169.
  3. ^ Littlejohn 1987, pp. 170, 172.
  4. ^ Littlejohn 1987, p. 172.
  5. ^ Forbes 2010, p. 394.
  6. ^ a b Littlejohn 1987, p. 173.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000) [1986]. Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 — Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtteile [The Bearers of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939–1945 — The Owners of the Highest Award of the Second World War of all Wehrmacht Branches] (in German). Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6. 
  • Forbes, Robert (2010) [2006]. For Europe: The French Volunteers of the Waffen-SS. Stackpole Books. ISBN 978-0-8117-3581-0. 
  • Littlejohn, David (1987). Foreign Legions of the Third Reich Vol. 1 Norway, Denmark, France. Bender Publishing. ISBN 978-0912138176. 
  • Scherzer, Veit (2007). Die Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 Die Inhaber des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939 von Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm sowie mit Deutschland verbündeter Streitkräfte nach den Unterlagen des Bundesarchives [The Knight's Cross Bearers 1939–1945 The Holders of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939 by Army, Air Force, Navy, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm and Allied Forces with Germany According to the Documents of the Federal Archives] (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Le Tissier, Tony (2010). SS Charlemagne: The 33rd Waffen-SS Grenadier Division of the SS. Pen and Sword. ISBN 978-1848842311.