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DRAGON "Blue Division: my personal opinion
Lector
Joined: April 17, 2009
KitMaker: 32 posts
AeroScale: 1 posts
Posted: Thursday, February 17, 2011 - 08:26 PM UTC
Good Mornig, Gentlemen,

I must confess that I´m a bit astonished about a couple of what I think are “not entirely well balanced comments”. Of course I think that those comments do not intend to offend, OK?

Let´s take a slow reading at the comments in this news:

http://www.armorama.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=8460&mode=thread&order=0

Mr Brae / Jim (if you allow me the intimacy),

I´m neither a “Blue Division” die hard nor a Extreme-Right guy, ok? I am what I like to call an “independent mind”. Let me tell you, please, what is my point of view.

So first I must tell you a little history, to understand what is what I think a part of the generic background of the so-called “Spirit of the Blue Division”.

Here I go:

One of my grandparents, C., from Turis (Valencia). He was an illiterate person (but he played very well the trombone!), a farm hand labourer, poor as a rat, literally, who was conscripted at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War, in the Republican side: after the war he perpetrated the sin of having been conscripted in the loosers band and not having died or not having deserted. He had a hell of a hard time after the war. He fought in the Teruel front (terrible cold, terrible), where he lost his brother in action, and as a "postre", he was wounded in both legs, being the only survivor of his crew (in this aspect, he served with a crew in some kind of heavy weapon, I don´t know exactly if it was an HMG, or a small arty piece)). At the end of the war (1939, July), he was near Cartagena (Murcia)… when everything went to hell he headed home, he walked trough the fields during night and got hidden during day.

Yes it sounds like a dramatic movie history, ah? But it is true, I really do not have very specific details, but my mother told me.

This history is only valid if you believe me of course, but it depends on you.

((and with all my sincere respects retiredbee2, as you can read, I must tell you that in the world, at the time of dying or pouring blood in a war, the world is not only the USA -the country of my admired last Citizen soldiers- vision of “band of brothers”, “the Pacific”, or “Saving Private Ryan” , and I think that the same can be applied to the modelling world)).

In the other hand we had my grandparent, F., from Arevalo (Avila). He was in the “rebel” side (The Nationalist Army): he was in the winner side, so “pride and joy” for him and his relatives. Very little action during war, an admin job. No dramas.

Twenty years after the end of the war, they knew each other, and they were fully friendly between them. Both from two antagonic sides. They died long time ago, in 1.976 and in 1.981. Some days I pay a solitary visit to the cemetery where they are buried, where is also my mother and my grandmothers. I´m not a religious man, but I like to visit them.

As Spaniard I´think that I need to contribute with what I think can clarify some questions about the 250th Infantry Division, AKA “la División Azul”.

1.- That Division was integrated in the Wehrmacht, it was not a “Nazi División”, it was not part of Waffen SS, like other nationalities had some of their “volunteer corps”. And also, the Waffen SS were not exactly the “Political SS”. It was a kind of unofficial “payment” made by the Spanish Government for all the support given by the Nazi regime to the nationalist war effort.

2.- As any Army in the world, the 250th Inf Div contained fanatics of course. And also normal people. It contained a lot of convinced anti-communist, usually deeply catholic, who were convinced of the “necessity” of fighting against bolshevism. It contained a lot of extremely hardened veterans. And lot of professional soldiers. And it contained also an “uncertain” (who knows) proportions of soldiers who enlisted to “clean” his after war personal file for having pertained to the “red” side (the loosers)… and also soldiers who simply enlisted to aid a relative who was imprisoned or having really bad times also as a result of being “loosers”. Really desperated people. I go to my job everyday, but I do not love my job, and I need it. I think that my simil is OK?

That’s the nature of war. There is no black or white, I think.

I think, I say. But I have not the monopoly of True.

And that was happening in Spain an Europe and Asia in these days. Spain. A pre-war very poor, illiterate, and primitive country (for the Western Europe economic/industrial standards), that was also desolated by a bloody civil-war, a country filled with hundreds of thousands of victors, and hundreds of thousands of loosers, and some hundreds of thousands of dead.

That is my non-professional explanation, quite aseptic, I think, of what was “really” the Blue Division. In can´t see it as a Nazi Division. It is impossible to me.

In the other hand I recommend you to read a little about that Division, about Krasny Bor, and about how that Division treated and were treated WARMLY by the Russian civil population of the zone. If you have any doubt about the last, ASK if you can to a Russian who knows something about the fighting in the Novgorod – Krasny Bor zone. Please read, but do not read chasing Nazis, read the history, please. Read the drama. Read their exploits (they had, read, please, read).

In the other hand, as a very very modest and unpretending modeller that I am… Mr.Brae/Jim, also with all my respect: I can´t understand why do you make that kind of comments about simply four plastic figures… would you do the same comments about a Tiger Tank?? About Waffen SS Dragon figures?? About Imperial Japanese Army figures?? I can´t remember having read before commentaries like those in Armorama... why in this case? I do not bear Nazis, I do not bear extreme-right, I do not bear extreme-left, I do not bear extremisms, integrisms, or geocentric, polar visions of things… I am not a war monger, but I like military moldelling… I have just seen with curiosity just four winter german figures that Dragon says that they are from “Blue Division”… and that’s all, or am I wrong???

But I am absolutely convinced that they have been made without any secondary intention.

Maybe I´m a little suspicious today, I´m almost three days without sleeping, a couple of hours a day…

Thank you all, guys,
Cheers,
Roberto.
jimbrae
_VISITCOMMUNITY
Provincia de Lugo, Spain / España
Joined: April 23, 2003
KitMaker: 12,927 posts
AeroScale: 291 posts
Posted: Thursday, February 17, 2011 - 08:59 PM UTC
Roberto, while I accept your comments and also understand that not all members of the División Azul were fanatics, the truth was that they were volunteers in service of one of the worst regimes the world has ever seen.

To Clarify:

1) I NEVER stated they were part of the SS. Others may have inferred that. assuming they were of a similar nature to Viking or Charlemagne.

2) While there is a lot of romanticism about the Republican cause (and even more about the Civil War) it was, in the final analysis, a situation with little black or white. Extremists on both sides - fanatics tied to Moscow and fanatics tied to Berlin.

3) What does concern me, is a little incident which happened here a few months ago. One of our regional newspaper published an interview with a former member of the División Azul. In this, he clearly stated that he and a number of others (post 1943) had continued serving with the Nazi Regime. In 1944 they volunteered to serve as part of the guard unit as Auschwitz - with the FULL permission of the Spanish government. I did some checking and yes, it happened. Not something that 'La Memoria Historica' are going to investigate anytime soon?

4) I may be somewhat prejudiced in all of this, and thank God by grandparents NEVER had to make these terrible choices that yours did. My father and all of his cousins etc,served on the Allied side in WWII and i'm damned glad they did.

5) I DON'T have any problems with modeling of SS Units whatsoever, nor if the sprit moved me, modeling the División Azul. What I have a problem with is not understanding what happened during those terrible times. When I see, as I have, the street names such as 'Condor Legion' or, as we had until a few years ago, a large bronze statue of Franco in Ferrol, it frankly turns my stomach. Understand the history, don't deny it, but don't give honor to people who had none.

Un Saludo
Lector
Joined: April 17, 2009
KitMaker: 32 posts
AeroScale: 1 posts
Posted: Thursday, February 17, 2011 - 11:51 PM UTC
Hey, Jim,

OK, OK, man, I think that now I understand much more wich was your message.

All clear, Jim.

Yes, about your comment that you´re "somewhat prejudiced", I agree with you... I think that you are a bit "involved" with the historic background . A very extreme and dramatic period of human history of radical positionings, "ideas", and acts.

I don´t want to forget history, I´m sure that you agree with me that it is essential not to forget history.

But as a Spaniard I must tell you that one day I listened an old man, very sadly involved in terrible facts, saying : "for today´s Spanish society, the shadow os the Civil War is still among us, and it´s a very long shadow". I must agree with that phrase.

I absolutely agree with you in categorically condemning any involvement of any individual in Crimes Against Humanity or War Crimes (your commentary about Auschwitz). Inconditionally...

Yes, I agree with you that the nazi regime and the japanese "state of mind" must hve been the worst, the darkest part of the human history (we can talk also about Stalinism, Maoism, an a lot of more "-isms"), at least by now... But also: not every men are automatically criminals or fanatic by the fact of having fought in this or that side of war! I think.

War is, in my opinion, a perfect sample of the most despicable part of the human nature. All parts are there to kill another human beings, guilty or not guilty.

I think that this kind of possible generalization is (or can be) a mistake.

Bad actions and good actions are, in the end, carried on by individuals.

And... finally... no, Jim, I am absolutely not easy at giving honors... unfortunately for me, I´m of very skeptical nature.

Cheers,
Roberto
FJCabeza
_VISITCOMMUNITY
Spain / España
Joined: October 25, 2007
KitMaker: 111 posts
AeroScale: 0 posts
Posted: Thursday, March 31, 2011 - 02:07 PM UTC
Facts:
The Blue Division was mainly an Army and Falange affair. The "División de Voluntarios Españoles en Rusia" became "Blue" when most of the enroled volunteers were Falangists, only Officers and NCO were mostly from the Army. It was mainly a Nacional Sindicalista unit and (In the way Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera saw it) a Fascist unit...Not Nazi
They sweared submission to the Führer until the defeat of the Communist Regime. They were NEVER intended to fight against Western Allies, neither the Russian people to whom they saw as victims of Communism.
There were isolated acts of vandalism and they had their ration of "Bandenkampf" too so do not expect all of them them to be angels, mainly in the latter stages were conscription was necessary (After Kursk, before most of the troop were volunteers) and some were forced to enrole .
The hate to Communism was deeply inside the hart of the "Nacionales" they were responsible of many atrocities along the SCW, even against Anarchist and Troskist as you surely know, and the source of Spanish Communism was Russia "USSR" (URSS in Spanish) "Rusia es Culpable" Russia is Guilty...
Falange, as initialy conceived, was not a Party for the oligachy (Señoritos) but more of a "Catholic-Republican-nonMarxist-Socialism" that included mostly workers into its cadres many coming from leftist parties. Franco saw them as a potential danger to his regime and then unified the party with the Requeté (Monarchic Ultracatholic Miltia) thus diluting his power, he saw also the Blue Division as a good way to send the hardcore of the Old Falange (Camisas Viejas) to death or captivity in Russia, and it worked fairly well.
The Blue Division fought well, as good as any other German Infantry Division, but its main difference was the way they treated local population (Appart from the occasional chicken coop raid) sharing food and medicins with them.Several Divisionarios married Rusian women and send them to Spain.
The Spanish volunteers informed to the Spanish Government of the way the German treated locals , included mass executions in which they refused to take part...This was silenced .
I didn´t know of any Divisionario that ended as Camp Guard, I would like to see the sources if possible...I hope it is not the same case that the president of the Spanish Association of Camp Inmates that never saw a Camp until after the war.
A small number of Spaniards also fought with SS: Into the Wallonien and Karstjäger units.
It is said that some fought at Berlin with the Unit Ezquerra. Long time ago I read a transcription of a Spanish SS testimony in which he stated that they were issued Pea Dot 1944 uniforms, StG 44 and plenty of Panzerfaust ; to which they added Yokes and Arrows, Spanish armshields and their spanish decorations (Most of them were SCW veterans) and then sent to Berlin in trucks and then to the captivity in the Gulag.
And finaly as everybody seems necessary to tell their political conviction : I´m a convinced leftist , but truth must prevail.
Cheers
PS: By the way, stories are History only if we can see it with the right perspective. I do not agree with the destruction of Francoist monuments, statues, shields...What I want is that my Dauhgters could see the Yoke and Arrow beside the Mural Crown of the Republican Shield, so that they can understand what happened and try to avoid it to happen again. You can´t erase 40 years of History just because there was a Dictator. Then we should forget the worst King Spain had (Far worse, murderer , evil, traitor, than Franco was) Fernando VII, then the disastrous Regency of his widow , the Reign of Isabel II with two civil wars...Should I follow?
Railspltr
_VISITCOMMUNITY
United States
Joined: March 19, 2010
KitMaker: 96 posts
AeroScale: 0 posts
Posted: Sunday, August 28, 2011 - 02:20 AM UTC
Good insights Roberto and FJ. Too often in the U.S. the only viewpoint we get of the Guerra Civil is that of the left wing unionist Republican "Abraham Lincoln Brigades." And nothing about the Catholic and Monarchist factions in the Nationalist army.
As a modeller it would be nice to see some Tercio or Requette or tank crew 1/35 figures. Any ideas on how to find a 1/35 Tercio PzKpfw I crewman?