Saturday, September 13, 2008

Freiwillige SS Reg. Warager

In March 1942 the formation of volunteer battalion began in Belgrad. It was done under the order of the Commander-in-Chief in the Balkans who wanted to recruit Russian volunteers for the landing operation near Novorossiysk. The battalion was formed under the command of Captain M. A. Semenov and was a combatant infantry detachment with the strength of 600 persons. The battalion supplying was performed through the SS chief administration, but the detachment subordinated to the commandment of various divisions and Wehrmacht groups. Semenov was given the rank of Hauptsturmfuhrer SS.

The battalion was never sent to the Eastern front. Instead since August 1943 it was used against Yugoslav partisans. In the end of 1943 Semenov handed over the commandment to German officer and went to Germany where took part in the formation of Russian special volunteer units. In the end of 1944 the battalion was expanded into the 'Warager' regiment in Slovenia. The personnel consisted of emigrants and prisoners of war. They were recruited in the camps in Germany and countries occupied. One of the battalions of the 'Warager' regiment was formed in Schlesien. Its strength was 2.500 soldiers and officers. The commander was Colonel M. A. Semenov and his deputy -- Major M. G. Grinev. That battalion became the part of the group of General-major A. V. Turkul which on paper was the part of the KONR forces. After Germany capitulated the battalion was moved in Italy in the camp for war prisoners which located near the town of Taranto. Later some soldiers and officers were extradited to the USSR, some to Yugoslavia. Only a very small group that joined the Russian corps during the last days of war evaded the common fate.

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