At the start of the German occupation of Belgium in May 1940, Flemish recruits from northern Belgium – considered by the Nazis to be 'Germanic' – were accepted individually into Waffen-SS units. After Hitler's invasion of the USSR in June 1941, additional recruits from the French-speaking south (Wallonia) were also drafted in. Both communities formed volunteer 'Legions' to fight (according to Goebbels' propaganda machine) 'for European civilization against the Bolshevik threat'. The Flemish Legion was incorporated into the Waffen-SS and the Walloon Legion into the German Army. Both served on the Russian Front in 1942-43. The Walloon Legion was then transferred into the Waffen-SS (the decorated Walloon officer, Leon Degrelle, became a publicized 'poster boy' for foreign SS volunteers). Both Legions were then redesignated as SS Assault Brigades and, from then onwards, saw extremely heavy fighting in the Ukraine and on the Baltic front. In autumn 1944, their survivors were withdrawn from the front and incorporated into two new SS Divisions: 27. 'Langemarck' and 28. 'Wallonien'.
This new account, featuring detailed color plates of uniform and insignia, recounts the battle history of the French and Flemish-speaking Belgian SS, up to their final transformation into full divisions in the winter of 1944/45.
About the Author
MASSIMILIANO AFIERO was born in Afragola (Naples) in 1964. An IT teacher and programmer, he has been interested in military history since his youth, specializing in the history of Axis units during World War II, particularly the Waffen-SS. He is one of a few Italian researchers to have personally interviewed veterans of the Waffen-SS and published their stories. Since May 2008, he has been Editor-in-Chief of the bimonthly magazine SGM (Seconda Guerra Mondiale) and, in January 2017, he started his own magazine The Axis Forces in World War II. His other titles for Osprey include: MAA 524:Norwegian Waffen-SS Legion, 1941-43 and MAA 531:Dutch Waffen-SS Legion & Brigade 1941-44.
Ramiro Bujeiro has become a frequent and popular contributor to Osprey since illustrating Warrior 23:US Marine in Vietnam 1965–73
(1998). He is an experienced commercial artist who lives and works in his native city of Buenos Aires, Argentina. His professional background includes commissions as a figure illustrator and strip cartoonist for clients all over Europe, the Americas and in Great Britain. His main interests are the political and military history of Europe in the first half of the 20th century.