Yang Kyoungjong

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Yang Kyoungjong
Yang Kyoungjong.jpg
Yang Kyongjong (left) in Wehrmacht attire following capture by American paratroopers in June 1944 after D-Day
Born March 3, 1920
Korea Japanese Protectorate, Empire of Japan (modern-day North Korea)
Died April 7, 1992 (aged 72)
Evanston, Illinois, U.S.
Allegiance  Japan
 Soviet Union
Service/branch  Imperial Japanese Army
Red Army
 Wehrmacht Heer
Years of service 1938–1939 (IJA)
1942–1943 (Red Army)
1943–1944 (Wehrmacht Heer)

Battles of Khalkhin Gol
World War II

Korean name
Hangul 양경종
Revised Romanization Yang Gyeong-jong
McCune–Reischauer Yang Kyŏng-chong
Names in other languages
Japanese name
Kana ヤン・キョンジョン
Romanization Yan Kyonjon
Russian name
Russian Ян Кёнджон
Romanization Yan Kyondzhon

Yang Kyoungjong (Korean: 양경종; March 3, 1920 – April 7, 1992) was a Korean soldier who fought in the Imperial Japanese Army, the Soviet Red Army, and later the German Wehrmacht during World War II. He is to date the only soldier to fight on three sides of a war, and this status has earned him recognition.[1][2][3][4]

Imperial Japanese Army[edit]

In 1938, at 18, he was in Manchuria when he was conscripted into the Kwantung Army of the Imperial Japanese Army to fight against the Soviet Union. (At the time, Korea was ruled by Japan.)

During the Battle of Khalkhin Gol, he was captured by the Soviet Red Army and sent to a gulag.

Soviet Army[edit]

Because of Soviet manpower shortages in the fight against Nazi Germany, he was pressed, in 1942, into fighting in the Red Army, along with thousands of other prisoners. He was sent to the Eastern Front of Europe.[1][3]

German Army[edit]

In 1943, he was captured by Wehrmacht soldiers in eastern Ukraine during the Third Battle of Kharkov, and then joined the "Eastern Battalions" to fight for Germany. Yang was sent to Occupied France to serve in a battalion of former Soviet prisoners of war on the Cotentin peninsula in Normandy, close to Utah Beach. After the D-Day landings in northern France by the Allied forces, Yang was captured by paratroopers of the United States Army in June 1944. The Americans initially believed him to be a Japanese soldier in German uniform; at the time, Lieutenant Robert Brewer of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, reported that his regiment had captured four Asians in German uniform after the Utah Beach landings, and that initially no one was able to communicate with them. Yang was sent to a prison camp in Britain and later transferred to a camp in the United States.

Later life[edit]

Yang Kyoungjong, a German prisoner-of-war, was released by the US Army from captivity at the end of the war. He moved to Illinois, United States, where he lived until his death, in 1992.[1]


In December 2005, the Seoul Broadcasting System aired a documentary on the existence of the Asian soldiers who served Nazi Germany and were captured by Allied forces. The documentary concluded that although there had been Asian soldiers in the German army during World War II, there was no clear evidence for the existence of Yang Kyoungjong.[5]

In popular culture[edit]

The 2011 South Korean film, My Way was loosely based on the war experience of Yang Kyoungjong.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Antony Beevor, 2 June 2012, The soldier forced to fight for three sides in WW2... the ultimate tale of a man who became a reluctant veteran of the Japanese, German and Soviet armies Archived 2012-10-31 at the Wayback Machine., Daily Mail
  2. ^ 26 June 2012, What's New About WW2 Archived 2013-02-04 at the Wayback Machine., Huffington Post
  3. ^ a b Ambrose, Stephen (1994). D-Day June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of WWII. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0671673345
  4. ^ Antony Beevor, (2012). The Second World War. Weidenfeld and Nicholson. ISBN 0297860704
  5. ^ "다시보기 : SBS 스페셜". wizard2.sbs.co.kr. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2016-06-06. 

External links[edit]