Walloon SS soldiers in the Battle of the Bulge...

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Harro
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Walloon SS soldiers in the Battle of the Bulge...

Post by Harro » 07 Nov 2021 13:26

Ages ago, I read something (Axis History Forum? Facebook?) about a section of Walloon SS soldiers (Degrelle's men) who were deployed in the Ardennes in December 1944. Does anyone have more information?

I am specifically looking into the possibility that they acted as guides/interpreters in the Leibstandarte and the other Waffen-SS divisions which took part in the Battle of the Bulge.

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FransN
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Re: Walloon SS soldiers in the Battle of the Bulge...

Post by FransN » 07 Nov 2021 19:54

Hi Timo,

Eddy de Bruyne & Marc Rikmenspoel: "For Rex and for Belgium", Helion & Co. Ltd., Solihull, 2004. Some relevant passages:
On p. 151: "A telephone call to the Berlin OKW (on Christmas Day) confirmed that a Walloon participation in the military operations had never been planned. As a matter of fact, the mission that the Reichsführer-SS had assigned to Degrelle was only a political one. The Feldgendarmerie received the order to block Degrelle's escort when it arrived at the Belgian border.
Degrelle's escort (under SS-Hstuf. Henri Derriks) arrived at Nettersheim, near the Belgian border on 24 December and stayed there until the 6. SS-Pt. Armee got rid of the Walloon forces on 6 January 1945, by detaching them to XII. SS-AK of the 15. Armee.
In the end, if Degrelle could take about ten men into the Ardennes (elements of 3rd platoon of 1st Company under Stavelot-born SS-Hauptscharführer Maxime Havet) he owed it to Sepp Dietrich from whom the cunning Degrelle had wrung ´local`facilities.
On 25 December, Dietrich's headquarters moved to Meyerode, near St. Vith. So did Degrelle. Together with his personal guard and a newly arrived Walloon Signals group (whose mission it was to establish communication liaison between Dietrich's HQ and the Walloon leader), he arrived at Steinbach, on Belgian territory.
Present at Steinbach were: Léon Degrelle; SS-Ostuf. Roger Wastiau (Signals officer); SS-Ustuf. Raymond Camby (orderly); SS-Ustuf. Tony Gombert (orderly); SS-Ustuf. Robert du Welz (Supply officer); SS-Ostuf. Paul Suys (once assisting chief Rex-Vlaanderen); SS-Hscha. René H.... (second in command of the Signals group); Degrelle's personal protection squad and SS-Hstuf. Karl Schaeffer, German orderly and Himmler's spy.
On 1 January 1945, a coach transporting Rexist politicians arrived at Limelé, with Victor Matthys heading the delegation.
On 2 January 1945, Degrelle moved to Limerlé, too. He was to stay there until 7 a.m., 10 January 1945.
During his presence in the Belgian Ardennes, while waiting for the German troops to drive to the Meuse River, Degrelle spent his time visiting Sepp Dietrich's HQs and reading Mémoires de Honoré, valet de Chambre de Napoléon, a book that he had discovered on one of Mr. Dufourny's bookshelves.
Between 2 January and 10 January 1945, Degrelle's entourage grew bigger by the arrival of:
A group of Walloon war correspondents; A second group of Rexist politicians (3 January); The rest of 3rd platoon of 1./I./69 Rgt. under SS-Ostuf. Henri Thyssen; Catholic Chaplain (Padre Gérard) who was to celebrate the mass on 7 January; Paul Mezzetta, chief of the Jeunesse Légionnaire.
A SD squad led by Charles Lambinon showed up (3 January) but was sent back immediately.
Early in the morning of 10 January 1945, Degrelle left the Ardennes for other horizons"

Best regards,
Frans

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Re: Walloon SS soldiers in the Battle of the Bulge...

Post by FransN » 07 Nov 2021 20:15

One more observation.
Gérard Grégoire: "Les Panzer de Peiper face à l'U.S. Army" (no publ. date; bought from the author). Monsier Gilbert Collard de Targnon gives a testimony about a German checkpoint (19 December 1944, apparently near Targnon). He was asked for his papers by someone (no uniform is described) who spoke correct French, but with a local accent. Mr. Collard thought they were "Garde Wallonne".
In the same book a testimony by Monsieur Léon Nézer who was stopped by a German soldier near the Moulin Maréchal on 18 December 1944. This soldier spoke French with a very pronounced accent. He said he was from Paris. Apparently he served with Kampfgruppe Peiper.
Later he was interrogated again since his clothing looked somewhat military and he was suspected to belong to the Résistence. During the interrogation he was surrounded by young French soldiers, wearing round paratrooper helmets, from the Milice of Darnand (according to him).

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Harro
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Re: Walloon SS soldiers in the Battle of the Bulge...

Post by Harro » 08 Nov 2021 14:23

Thanks Frans, that second part is interesting because it also hints at French-speaking guides and/or interpreters present with the Leibstandarte before Degrelle arrived in the area. I've also come across witness statements from civilians who talked about an "SS soldier" with Knittel's men who "spoke French with a Walloon accent and vocabulary". This relates to the 19th of December. Ofcourse it could simply have been somebody from the East Cantons who volunteered for the Leibstandarte at some point (as the Nazi's deemed them German nationals he would end up in a German SS unit instead of Degrelle's men). Herbert Mäger, author of "Verlorene Ehre - Verratene Treue" came from the East Cantons and ended up in the LAH after he volunteered. He did not take part in the Battle of the Bulge but surely there must have been others like him.

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Re: Walloon SS soldiers in the Battle of the Bulge...

Post by FransN » 09 Nov 2021 16:11

Slightly of topic, but maybe of interest in this context of French-speaking SS men in the Battle of the Bulge:
(translated from the original Flemish language)
Belgian civilians were killed in the villages of Bourcy (20 December) and Noville-lez-Bastogne (21 December). The inhabitants of these villages declared unanimously that the killers had to be French SS men, since their helmets had a shield with the French tricolore flag.
"While standing before the town-hall, Mr. Beujean declares, we were guarded by German soldiers which had a death's head on the collar of their greatcoats. Others wore helmets which had a shield with the French tricolore flag. All these soldiers spoke French well, even with each other. In my opinion they were indeed French volunteers". He also confirms that "all the soldiers who participated in the massacre spoke the French language" and he adds "The officer, the NCO and the soldiers wore darkgreen uniforms and shields with a death's head. All the others wore the German helmet with the French tricolore flag; all spoke French".
Source:Commissie voor oorlogsmisdaden (Committee for War Crimes) "De oorlogsmisdaden gepleegd tijdend het tegenoffensief von Rundstedt in the Ardennen, december 1944 - januari 1945" (War crimes committed during the counter offensive von Rundstedt in the Ardennes, December 1944 - January 1945), Luik, Georges Thone, uitgever (Liege, Georges Thone, publisher), 1949.

Frans

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Re: Walloon SS soldiers in the Battle of the Bulge...

Post by FransN » 09 Nov 2021 19:04

With regard to post 5: I forgot to mention that these French SS men belonged to a special Gestapo detachment, not to any military unit.
Frans

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Re: Walloon SS soldiers in the Battle of the Bulge...

Post by RFVD11 » 10 Nov 2021 11:22

It was not 6.SS-Pz.Armee, but 6.Pz.Armee. Thought was given to form a Schnellkorps with Langemarck to advance into Belgium after a breakthrough, but never happened.
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Re: Walloon SS soldiers in the Battle of the Bulge...

Post by bookboar » 10 Mar 2022 11:02

Does anyone know more about Roger Wastiau ? I knew an antiquarian bookseller by that name in 1966-1969. His bookshop was in Brussels. I wonder if this was the same person as SS-Obersturmführer Roger Wastiau (Signals officer). Many thanks for any help

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Re: Walloon SS soldiers in the Battle of the Bulge...

Post by Prosper Vandenbroucke » 10 Mar 2022 22:37

Hello, here is some information about Roger Wastiau
I didnt know if he was an antiquarian bookseller, but I don't think so. He was an hotel manager before the war.

Wastiaux died in 1985

SS-Hauptsturmführer:
Born: 30. Oct. 1921 in Grammont (Geraardsbergen).
Died: (Still living, in Brussels, as of 20. May 1957)
Assignments:
Chef SS-Nachrichten-Abteilung 28, 28.SS-Freiw.Gren.Div. "Wallonien": 1945.
IIa (1.Adjutant), 5.SS-Freiw.-Sturmbrigade "Wallonien": 1944-19. Oct. 1944.
The information is here :
http://www.geocities.ws/orion47.geo/BEL ... SS.htmlYou

You have other information also here (In French language and with some pic’s.)
https://books.google.be/books?id=KnJJDw ... au&f=false
Wastiaux died in 1985

The same info in English here:
https://books.google.be/books?id=P0qFDw ... au&f=false

Kindly regards
Prosper

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