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The Azad Hind Legion (India)


Last modified: 2003-06-21 by rob raeside
Keywords: india | azad hind | world war ii | tiger |
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[Azad Hind] by Jaume Ollé


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In world war II indian prisioners of war in North Africa were released to form a Waffen-SS unit, the Azad Hind Legion. Their Colour was a yellow-white-green horizontal tricolour, with the white stripe twice the size of the others and containing a "springing tiger". Lettered in white in the yellow stripe: Azad, and in the green stripe, Hind. They were captured in southern Germany at the end of the war, and shipped back to India to be tried for treason.
Todd Mills, 17 April 1997

A long, long story (on which I did my M.A.). Units were formed in Germany and sowtheast Asia among captured Indian prisioners of war during WWII under the leadership of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. There is much fantasy and fraud regarding the flags, insignia, medals, etc. of the Indian National Army (as they were called). When the provisional government was announced in Berlin in 1942, the standard Indian National Congress flag was used: like the modern Indian flag but with what was more obviously a spinning wheel in the center. Interviews with veterans and photographs both from Europe and Asia confirm the use of this flag. The flag described (with the springing tiger) has a doubtful pedigree, although the German unit (never SS, by the way!) may have used it briefly, in early 1944.
Ed Haynes, 18 April 1997

Two photographs and an artist's colour interpretation of the Azad Hind flag are included in Brian Davis' FLAGS OF THE THIRD REICH: (2) WAFFEN-SS (Osprey, 1994). I hadn't noticed before, but the uniforms of the colour guard are clearly Wehrmacht and not Waffen-SS. (Actually in one photo, they wear a mix of British, Sikh and German and headgear.) According to Davis, the date of presentation and the ultimate fate of the Colour are unknown, but he guesses it might have been seized by British Intelligence. The Azad Hind (also known as Indian Infantry Regiment 950) took an oath of loyalty to Hitler, Bose and "free India" in September 1942, at which time the Colour may have been presented. Alternatively it may have been presented at Easter 1943 when the Legion moved to Holland. The Legion was formed progressively between December 1941 and December 1942, by which time it numbered 3500 men in 4 battalions. The Colour was paraded on 6 Nov. 1943 at a ceremony at the Hotel Kaiserhof in Berlin announcing the creation the Indian National Government.
Todd Mills, 18 April 1997

The Azad Hind Fauj (Free Indian Army, aka IR 950) never wore the Wehrmacht chest eagle, so technically (!) they weren't even Wehrmacht.
Ed Haynes, 19 April 1997

This unit was know as Indische Freiwilligen Legion der Waffen-SS when it became a part of the Waffen-SS. (A complete (?) history of these voluteers can be found on German Armed Forces in WWII,
Marcus Wendel, 5 June 1999