Kalmykian Cavalry Corps

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The Kalmykian Cavalry Corps (German: Kalmücken-Kavallerie-Korps) was a unit of about 5,000 Kalmyk volunteers who chose to join the German Army in 1942 rather than remain in Kalmykia as German forces retreated before the Red Army. In 1943, Stalin subsequently declared the Kalmyk population as a whole to be German collaborators and had them deported to Siberia suffering great loss of life.

When Erich von Manstein led the 16th Motorized Infantry Division into Kalmykia in early 1942 he already had some Kalmyk advisors from a committee drawn together by Goebbels for propaganda purposes. These were supplemented by other Kalmyks who had settled in Belgrade following their flight with White Russian emigres after the Russian October Revolution.

Kalmyk Kavallerie Korps acted within German Wehrmacht as an independent allied force with all leadership positions taken by Kalmyks. Most of the officers were Kalmyks themselves, with previous Soviet military experience. A few Germans that were present within the corps performed only auxiliary and administrative functions.

The Kalmykian Cavalry Corps fought with the Wehrmacht behind the lines, especially around the Azov Sea. At the end of 1944, the surviving Kalmyk cavalry troops, together with their families, retreated with the German army. About 2,000 went to Silesia, Poland and 1,500 to Zagreb, Croatia, where they were reorganized to fight against the partisans. After the war, nearly all of the surviving Kalmyk soldiers along with the Kalmyk families that accompanied them were forcibly repatriated to the Soviet Union.

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