Russian Officers in Normandy

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by Swiper, Aug 7, 2014.

  1. Swiper

    Swiper Resident Sospan

    Rather oddball one, when reading Sheldrake by Major Richard Hughes of 497 Battery, 133 Field Regiment this line struck me 'according to a Russian officer who visited, they [Russians who fought for Germany] were in for a tough time on their return to Russia!'

    This relates to 15 August during the approach by XII Corps West of Falaise. I wondered if anyone else could shine more light on this at all, or the involvement of Russian observers in Normandy?
    Chris C likes this.
  2. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran


    Don't know too much about Normandy but we certainly had Russian Observers in Italy - who were checking to see if we were really fighting as a "second" front - he

    soon went off with a flea in his ear when he saw what was going on at Monte Camino - never saw him again … there is ONE Russian buried at Coriano Ridge Cemetery
    so they were there….do think your author was ahead of himself as the return of deserters only came up by Stalin at Yalta…we rounded up many only to have them

    shot at Judenberg in Austria in 1945/46…we didn't know about that until the BBc report in 1976…wouldn't have happened otherwise - we were told they were on

    their way to Israel…

  3. Bernard85

    Bernard85 WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    good day swipert,m,yesterday,04:38pm,re:russian officers in normandy.i note that russian deserters were rounded up and shot by the very good friend on the russien convoy's told me of a voyage the ship he was on carried released russian P.O.W.and returning them to russia,he did not see what he told me.he said they were mached of.thinking they had returnerd to a hero's welcome.a short while later there was continues machine gun fire.he and the rest of the crew could only asumed what had taken place,later the dock workers told them stalin did not want prisoners returning to tell people how life was in the west,my friend has long passed on,i believed him.there were many story's similar going around in those days,regards bernrd85
    canuck likes this.
  4. mapshooter

    mapshooter Senior Member

    There was of course Red Army officers in the embassy in London, they visited units in UK and I suppose could have visited Normandy (the NKVD ones were far to busy handling the collection British traitors).
  5. m kenny

    m kenny Senior Member

    The Pathe channel on Youtube has a couple of films that show the visiting Russian delegation in Normandy
    dbf likes this.
  6. airborne medic

    airborne medic Very Senior Member

    There are a number of Russian graves in Bayeux CWGC Cemetery although I have tried to find out how they died I have been unsuccessful.....Hope this helps in some small way.....
  7. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Reading through the files relating to Odessa (Feb - Aug 1945) there are many reports of Russians being 'repatriated' back to Russia who either committed suicide on the journey back or as Bernard85's friend witnessed (also by the Military Mission in Odessa) many Russians were disembarked from the ships moved just out of sight into buildings and shot.
    Reading an FO file the Russians requested that those being repatriated were not to be exposed to any 'Western' influences. It was a very sad and horrible time for many Russians.

  8. Rob Dickers

    Rob Dickers 10th MEDIUM REGT RA

    Seems it was quite a common occurrence with "Field" arty units.
    Most of the Med / Hvy Regt & AGRA Diaries i have record the vists of Russian Observers thoughout the N.W.Euroupe campaign, authough they do drop off after Jan 45.

  9. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    WSC and FDR was under continual pressure to open the second front from Stalin from the days when Stalin's successes were sparce.There was even talk of getting back into Europe as early as 1942 by the Americans.It was not until they realised that considerable planning and preparations would be required and that the Allies did not control the Atlantic, that real planning commenced.Finally,from the meeting beween FDR and WSC at Casablanca in November 1942 and after the successful invasion of North Africa,it was agreed by the Western Powers that outline planning should be put in place for an invasion of Europe in 1944.

    Russian observers in Normandy would be part of the effort by the Western Powers to convince Stalin that the Allies were intent in their intention to force Hitler to fight on two fronts by ground forces in Europe.Stalin was ever demanding action by the Western Powers on the ground in Europe and these arrangements for Russian observer presence would be part of the intention to placate Stalin.

    As regards Russians being buried in Normandy,these are likely to be HIWIs,ie those Russians as POWs who were pressed into German service or volunteered.It is estimated that about 100.000 Russians and Ukrainians saw service with the Wehrmacht.The German 7th Army alone carried on its strength,21 battalions of ex Russian POWs.Others joined the German police as auxilaries and found themselves involved the genocide policy in the East,an involvement that tends to surface with individuals from time to time.
  10. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake The Mayor of London's latest dress code

    I did look into this and I think they were Soviet PW used as forced labour, who subsequently died after liberation. The Germans used a lot of forced labour, whose activities and conditions were very different from the Hiwis of Ost battalions. I don't think HIWI s were treated as Russian soldiers by the allied graves registration units... As the name suggests they had volunteered to serve in the German armed forces, albeit unarmed, rather than armed.. There were a lot of hiwis in Normandy and very few soviet graves. I think you may find some Hiwis in Bayeux, CWC but in the German plots.
  11. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    There are HIWIs interred in the German Military Cemetery at Pornichet which is a concentrated cemetery with remains taken from Loire-Alantique,Maine et Loire.the Vendee and the Deux Sevres...all are designated as such which distinquishes them from German casualties but as far as the Allies were concerned,they were part of the German military structure.For the survivors,retribution would come later if they found themselves being claimed by the Russian authorities...Yalta agreement,if i remember correctly.

    On the other hand,there is the French Military Cemetery at St Anne d'Auray which has a Belgian section.In this section is a Russian buried whose cross carries the inscription in French..."he died for his country".I would presume that this man was a former Russian POW who escaped and found his way into the Resistance.

    A check on the Russian graves at Bayeux to ascertain how the casualities are designated should be helpful in revealing their German service.It might be that all in German service were interred as HIWIs.

    As regards the German occupying forces in France,Russian POWs and Poles served in German units with German officer leadership.......they were able to carry out excesses on the civilian population without fear of reprimand.As the German forces collapsed in France it was not uncommon to find these people murdering their German officers and presenting themselves to Allied units operating behind the lines in an effort to save their own skins.These gestures counted for little if they fell into the hands of the Resistance.

    Catagorised as non combatants,the HIWIs also manned anti aircraft batteries in Germany,so it should be possible to find casualities interred in Germany.
  12. Bernard85

    Bernard85 WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    good day m kenny, officers in normandy.great video.thanks for posting,regards bernard85
  13. hutt

    hutt Member

    Here is an entry in the diary of 1 AGRA recording Russians visiting 4th Medium Regiment in Italy in December 43

    Attached Files:

    Chris C and Owen like this.
  14. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

    Bombardier MacDonald brushing the uniform of Colonel Gorbatov, a member of the Russian Mission visiting Canadian troops in France.
    Date: 28 July 1944
    Place: Caen, France

    Owen likes this.
  15. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA Patron

    I wonder what paranoid Stalin did after the war with the men who visited the Canadians.

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