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 Post subject: British Free Corps
PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2008 18:36 pm 
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Location: Chelmsford, Essex
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I am interested in displaying a typical scene of when they were posted to Dresden for Weapons training. the scene i have pictured is a few shelter half's, Panzerfrausts, MP-44's, translators, etc. Again the idea is that this is a display of a typical German Home front wartime scene. but more importantly to educate those who show an interest in what was going on in the Home Front of Germany '44 onwards and the British Free Corps were part of that.

I am intersted to know what other German and fellow reenactors think on this matter, and as new German forces reenactor on the scene, so to speak. How would you think this would be taken by fellow reenactors and Members of the public. Im looking at next year 2009 for a display as i have other commitments until then.

But once again i must say that i would hate to see this thread spiral off into a was it right/ wrong thread. And as a reenactor i like to see reenactors country wide pulling together and supporting one another, its what we are best at.

Shaun

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 Post subject: Re: British Free Corps
PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2008 14:58 pm 
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Location: Expatriate living in Germany
Real Name: William D.G. Medland
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The BFC served several months in Dresden, they attended the
Waffen-SS Sturmpioneer school and learnt how to use various
assault weapons including the MP44 and Flame Thrower.
The BFC were issued later with a Hanomag 251 and a Schwimmwagen.

Two BFC soldiers were killed during the Dresden air raid.

It is most likely that when the remaining eight men went into
the frontline with the Nordland Division in 1945, they would have
been issued with the latest weapons and equipment.

Cheers, bill.

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 Post subject: Re: British Free Corps
PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2008 15:04 pm 
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Outstanding cheers for the corrections there Bill.

Shaun

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 Post subject: Re: British Free Corps
PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2008 15:22 pm 
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GunBunny3218 wrote:
Outstanding cheers for the corrections there Bill.

Shaun


I didnt correct you at all Shaun, I just added more details :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: British Free Corps
PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2008 16:57 pm 
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Reenacting foreign volunteers is a tricky business Shaun. I'm suprised though that you chose to reenact the BFC with such exotica as MP44's etc. Apart from a few unsubstantiated accounts stating that a couple of BFC guys fought with Nordland in Berlin, the BFC didn't get issued much in the way of weaponry as they were not trusted by the German Inspection, also there were only ever about 40 to 60 at any time. Would you not be better off doing a more 'relaxed' BFC impression showing a 'walking out' type with just a pistol holster and belt?

I do not think that a BFC display with flame throwers, assault rifles and other such gear is very true to the actuality of the BFC's existence (ie generally dispirited, drunk and demoralised). Perhaps if you are doing Dresden then you could have a soot blackened uniform and carry some fire buckets and rescue gear?

Just my two pennies worth.

Mark A

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 Post subject: Re: British Free Corps
PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2008 23:23 pm 
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Cookie wrote:
Reenacting foreign volunteers is a tricky business Shaun. I'm suprised though that you chose to reenact the BFC with such exotica as MP44's etc. Apart from a few unsubstantiated accounts stating that a couple of BFC guys fought with Nordland in Berlin, the BFC didn't get issued much in the way of weaponry as they were not trusted by the German Inspection, also there were only ever about 40 to 60 at any time. Would you not be better off doing a more 'relaxed' BFC impression showing a 'walking out' type with just a pistol holster and belt?

I do not think that a BFC display with flame throwers, assault rifles and other such gear is very true to the actuality of the BFC's existence (ie generally dispirited, drunk and demoralised). Perhaps if you are doing Dresden then you could have a soot blackened uniform and carry some fire buckets and rescue gear?

Just my two pennies worth.

Mark A


I always portray the early phase of the BFC, based on the famous
Berry/Minchin photo. But I have no problem if someone wishes to
reenact the late period.

Ed Dyer´s group in the States portray the late period armed with
MP44´s and they have no problems with that. Infact they field
more members than the original group had in April 1945!

Cheers, Bill.

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 Post subject: Re: British Free Corps
PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2008 11:47 am 
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Yeah Bill, exactly. The 'late' period is a reenactors wet dream isn't it? But not very accurate though? The idea that a dozen or so Brit SS men went around fighting in Berlin armed to the teeth with MP44's and Panzerfausts is highly unlikely. The Nordland Division to which theywere attached didn't have enough MP44's ect to equip its own men effectively.
Its the same old reenactor-ism. Choose a subject you think is cool and wear what you like because you have the gear and you think you look the business.

Those guys in America. Enough said...

Your BFC impression is the right one. The period like you say in the Minchin photo when they went around the camps trying to enlist volunteers. They were an unsuccessful propaganda stunt that went nowhere. Not anywere near the combat records of the French, Walloons, Latvians etc. So why not reenact them as they were?

But hey, who am I to preach? We all do what we want, how we want. At least its another person doing Foreign Volunteers!

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 Post subject: Re: British Free Corps
PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2008 23:01 pm 
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Hi Cookie,
I always read your comments with interest, after all we are both
interested in the study of forign volunteers, regardless of unit.

I would like to take the Berry/Minchin impression a stage further,
perhaps at Beltring? It would be great if I could inter-react with
a British unit, who would play POWs for half hour and reenact a
recruiting attempt..... with Wehrmacht protection on call.
It would be interesting to see how the MOPs take it in and respond?
OK, I would be seen as the "bad guy", but I bet it has never been
done before?

Alterative, how about if I was taken prisoner by one of the advancing
Allied units (American or British), how would the questioning go?
Would TFH be up for that?
( I could try and convince them I was really a German, and their
task would be to trick me into speaking English, thus exposing my
identity).

Cheers, Bill.

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 Post subject: Re: British Free Corps
PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2008 9:23 am 
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Hi Bill,

Thats an interesting idea. Im sure that would draw some interest.

Shaun

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 Post subject: Re: British Free Corps
PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2008 9:36 am 
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Can I ask a daft question, :oops: (not researched this at all)
How were they recruited in England? Was it British Nationals already living in Germany? Intrigued! I've seen the footage of them recruiting Dutch Volunteers.
K

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Women's Navy Great Coat
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 Post subject: Re: British Free Corps
PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2008 10:02 am 
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Hi Kate,

They came from four areas really.....

1. Living in Germany at outbreak of war (mixed parents)

2. British POWs captured during the course of the war
(the last recruit Frank Axon, was recruited in Feb.45)

3. Members of the Merchant Navy.

4. Civilians living on the Channel Islands
(at least two, three if you count Eddie Chapman, but he was Abwehr).

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 Post subject: Re: British Free Corps
PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2008 10:09 am 
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Thanks Bill!
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Be very careful about loaning original items...also, please keep an eye out for :
*Still missing* Because some folks are devoid of an ounce of honesty or integrity.
Women's Navy Great Coat
Green floor length 1930s evening dress with sleeves set on net.
Blue and white rayon dress with peplum
Black velvet halter necked dress with silver shot thread skirt (may still have Harrods label in it) I have photos of all of these items and I know where they are in Scunthorpe, but would appreciate a nod if they come up for sale. [/color]


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 Post subject: Re: British Free Corps
PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2008 10:19 am 
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Hi Bill,

Thats a good idea. I'm always thinking of the photo's of the French volunteers who where caught by Gen. Leclerc's troops and shot out of hand (apparently for laughing at him- touchy guy). I guess the 'logistical' problems of doing a display like that is getting the right units in the right setting. Other than that I don't see a problem at all.

A British Army field screening unit would be an idea. I have a friend who's Austrian Grandfather was in British army intelligence and interrogated German and Austrian soldiers at the end of the war in Austria. He usually did this out of a tent or in factories that had been turned into makeshift camps. He did some work for the OSS in Austria whilst the Russians were there, stealing Nazi scientists etc out from under the red's noses.

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 Post subject: Re: British Free Corps
PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2008 10:30 am 
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Gen. Leclerc looked at the Charlemagne volunteers and asked something like:

As Frenchmen, why are you wearing foreign uniforms?

The French SS men looked at the General in U.S. uniform and replied:

Why do you wear a foreign uniform?

The General ordered all 12 men to be stood against the wall and shot!

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 Post subject: Re: British Free Corps
PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2008 12:50 pm 
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I guess he was having a bad day or something. Probably forgot whose side he was on...

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 Post subject: Re: British Free Corps
PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2008 12:54 pm 
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The French are still touchy about their time under German Occupation, for a long time they managed to preserve the illusion that they were all in the Resistance.
Most 'joined' the Resistance after the 6th of June '44.
I remember reading about De Gaulle, he came to England on a French Navy destroyer, he asked the Captain if he and his ship were going to continue the fight
from England, the Captain replied no, once he had disembarked De Gaulle and his men, he was returning to France to surrender to the Germans.
If you weren't a Communist(but only after 22 June '41) or a Gaullist, you kept their head down. A large number of Frenchmen and others, signed up to the 'anti-communist crusade' line promoted by the Germans.
l

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