Part of the "French Volunteers and Collaborationist Forces" series by Daniel Laurentand Ben Dekho

From the end of the First World War there was a nationalist movement in Brittany, led by the PNB (Parti National Breton, National Breton Party), seeking independence from “colonialist France”. The German occupation authorities – especially the Wehrmacht - evinced some sympathy for them, in spite of the heavy protest of the Vichy government and the desire of the Nazi administration to placate them. But the French Resistance was also strong in Brittany. On September 4, 1943, Yann Bricler, head of the local PNB section, was assassinated in Quimper. On December 12, a suspected communist assassin shot Fr. Yann-Vari Perrot, leader of the Catholic Breton nationalist group Bleun Brug.

Celestin Lainé, an activist who organized several anti-French bombings in Brittany before the war, called for revenge. With the help of the local branch of the Sipo-SD, he created the Bezen Perrot (Perrot Unit) registered by the Germans as the Bretonische Waffenverband der SS. 70 volunteers were recruited, wearing SS uniforms or civilian clothes. The Germans forbade the use of any distinctive Breton insignia. According to some account, it seems that some of them were wearing a celtic cross armband in combat but that cannot be confirmed.

They were engaged in operations against the Maquis and Resistance from March 1944. In early August, as the Allied forces approached Brittany, some of them “disappeared” while a large group joined the German retreat. They ended up in the Tübingen area. The remaining ‘gour’ (Breton for ‘soldiers’) were incorporated in some SD special units, while a few chose to join active Waffen-SS formations like the Charlemagne Division. When Germany surrendered, several, like Lainé, managed to take refuge in Ireland. Some remained in Germany, helped by German civilians, while others were arrested either in Germany or France.

Casualties: 6 combat deaths including three from hostile Allied fire; one summarily executed by the Maquis; one killed by a Resistance fighter during an interrogation; and one who turned coat and was killed fighting against the Germans in Paris. Two more were executed by French authorities in July 1946.

Known Breton (French) and German members of the Bretonische Waffenverbande der SS (1944)

1. SS-Untersturmfuehrer Celestin Laine (Breton name Neven Hénaff) - first commander of the unit. Escaped to Ireland. Sentenced to death in absentia. Passed away in 1983
2. SS-Sturmscharfuehrer Ael (Ange) Peresse aka Cocal - unit adjutant. Sentenced to death in absentia. Became a German citizen after the war. Passed away in Munich, 1984.
3. SS-Untersturmfuehrer Wild (Alsatian) - 2nd commander of the unit
4. SS-Haupsturmfuehrer Hans Grimm aka Lecomte (Alsatian) - nominal commander of the unit
5. SS-Oberscharfuehrer Erich Froeboese (German) - unit's quartermaster
6. SS-Oberscharfuehrer Maout - Wound badge
7. SS-Oberscharfuehrer Alan Heussaf - Wound badge. Commander of the 2nd platoon. Sentenced to death in absentia. Exiled in Ireland, passed in 1999.
8. SS-Mann Marcel Bibe - Wound badge, executed in 1945
9. SS-Oberscharfuehrer Leon Jasson - commander of the 1st platoon. Executed 17th July 1945
10. SS-Muzikmeister Polig Guirec (the one and only musician of the unit. This Breton unit used the bagpipe as a wake-up call, evidenced by their Celtic origins) - a law student
11. SS-Mann Larnikol de Plovanaleg
12. SS-Mann Lezet de Sant-Malo
13. SS-Mann Jean Chanteau (alias Mabinog)
14. SS-Mann Yves Le Négaret, LVF between 16 June 1943 and May 1944, joining Bezen Perrot on 6 June 1944
15. SS-Mann Louis Feutren 'Le Maître'
16. SS-Mann Youenn Le Noac'h 'Ruzik'
17. SS-Mann Yann Bourc'hiz 'Guével'
18. SS-Mann Guyomarc'h
19. SS-Mann Guyomarc'h Guyomarc'h, brother of above named SS-Mann
20. SS-Mann Guyomarc'h Alphonse Le Boulc'h
21. SS-Mann Foix 'Eskob' or 'Bishop'
22. SS-Mann Auguste Le Deuff (first killed; shot by a captive Resistance fighter who had concealed a pistol in his beret)
23. SS-Mann Yann Laizet (or Le Nezet) 'Stern' (killed in gunfight with FFI commandos, 1944)
24. SS-Mann Jean Larnicol 'Gonidec' (as above)
25. SS-Mann Yann Louarn 'Le Du' (apparently summarily executed by the Maquis)
26. SS-Mann Job Hirgair 'Ivarc'h' (killed in Germany during an Allied strafing attack on a train)
27. SS-Mann Joseph Le Berre 'Kernel' (killed in Paris while fighting for the FFI -- that is, against the Germans!)