Belgian Armed Forces

Belgian soldiers take a rest by the roadside

Belgian Army

In 1914 neutral Belgium had been suddenly attacked by the German Army and had experienced four years of trench warfare. After the German occupation of the Rhineland in 1936 the country was again jolted into awareness of impending danger. National service was extended from 8 to 12 months, the military budget increased by 15 per cent, and new fortifications were constructed. But this could not conceal the fact that military thinking had not progressed beyond the trenches of World War One. Armour, for example, was only considered an offensive weapon, and Belgium, … learn more

Baltic volunteers with the German Army

Decoration of Baltic soldiers and auxiliaries in German service.

On 22 June 1941 the Red Army’s 29th Corps (Baltic Special Military District) disintegrated. The two divisions (the 179th and 184th ?) were ex-Lithuanian Army Divisions. The mutinied, killed most of their officers and commissars, then declared themselves a new Lithuanian Army.The hole they leave in the Russian line let a German Panzer corps drive on Kaunas, which 6,000 troops from the former 29th Corps had already captured. The Germans disarmed them and gradually used them as Einsatzgruppen forces, prison guards, etc.
It is also believed that two ex-Latvian divisions disappeared as … learn more

Russian Troops with the German Army

Russian Cossacks in German service.

Strength and Organization of the Volunteers from Russia

The continuous drain of German military personnel brought about by the bitter fighting on the Eastern Front, together with increasing partisan activity in the German rear, brought about a gradual process which began with the employment of the vast numbers of Red Army prisoners of war held by the Germans.
These selected Red Army men were given German uniforms stripped of insignia, and were often entered on the strength returns of the German unit. These ‘frans’ or Hiwis (short for Hilfswillige or volunteer helper) meant that German units could … learn more

July 21, 1944 (Friday)

US Marines on the beach of Guam.

Sea War Pacific

Home Front Germany
Himmler appointed commander of Home Army; Guderian, COGS.
Von Stülpnagel, anti-Nazi commander in Paris, commits suicide.

Home Front Russia
Moscow-based Union of Polish Patriots renamed Polish Committee of National Liberation (officially recognized as the ‘legitimate’ Polish Government, August 15).