by Allen Milcic

In early 1943, a group of Croatians that volunteered for service with the German military was formed into an anti-aircraft (Flak) Legion unit of the Luftwaffe and sent for service to the Eastern Front. The unit was known as the 'Hrvatska PZ Legija' (Croatian Anti-Aircraft Legion) and consisted of 350 gunners and some 3,000 support troops. They were commanded by Bojnik (Major) Srnec, and served in the Ukraine until the fall of Crimea to the Soviets, at which time they were withdrawn to Zagreb (Croatia) where they remained till the end of the war.

A second volunteer Croatian Anti-Aircraft Legion unit of the Luftwaffe was formed in late 1943 in Germany. After training (that took place in Auxerre and Bordeaux France as well as in Germany) the Legion became part of the German Heimatflak - 7/s. Flakabteilung 463-(0), 22. Flak-Division. They remained in Germany until the end of the war.

A group of Croatian aircraft mechanics and technicians, after training in France and Czechia in 1942, were also inducted into the Luftwaffe where they served as foreign volunteers until the end of the war.

All of the Croatian personnel that served in the Luftwaffe wore regulation German uniforms and insignia, with the Croatian chessboard shield (with the 'Hrvatska' title) on their left sleeves. A metal 'Anti-aircraft Legion' badge was designed and issued in 1944 and was worn on the right chest pocket.

Sources used

Research by Allen Milcic

Reference material on this unit

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