Legion of French Volunteers Against Bolshevism
The Legion of French Volunteers Against Bolshevism was a collaborationist French
Vichy France
Vichy France, Vichy Regime, or Vichy Government, are common terms used to describe the government of France that collaborated with the Axis powers from July 1940 to August 1944. This government succeeded the Third Republic and preceded the Provisional Government of the French Republic...

The term militia is commonly used today to refer to a military force composed of ordinary citizens to provide defense, emergency law enforcement, or paramilitary service, in times of emergency without being paid a regular salary or committed to a fixed term of service. It is a polyseme with...

 founded on July 8, 1941. It gathered various collaborationist parties, including Marcel Bucard
Marcel Bucard
Marcel Bucard was a French Fascist politician.Early career=...

's Mouvement Franciste
Mouvement Franciste
The Mouvement Franciste was a French Fascist and Antisemitic league created by Marcel Bucard in September 1933; it edited the newspaper Le Francisme. Mouvement Franciste reached of membership of 10,000, and was financed by Italian dictator Benito Mussolini...

, Marcel Déat
Marcel Déat
Marcel Déat was a French Socialist until 1933, when he initiated a spin-off from the French Section of the Workers' International along with other right-wing 'Neosocialists'. He then founded the collaborationist National Popular Rally during the Vichy regime...

's National Popular Rally
National Popular Rally
The National Popular Rally was one of the main Collaborationist parties under the Vichy regime of World War II. It was created in February 1941 by Marcel Déat and was heavily inspired by Fascism.- February-October 1941: the RNP-MNR period :...

, Jacques Doriot
Jacques Doriot
Jacques Doriot was a French politician prior to and during World War II. He began as a Communist but then turned Fascist.-Early life and politics:...

's French Popular Party, Eugène Deloncle
Eugène Deloncle
Eugène Deloncle was a French engineer and Fascist leader, and the adoptive father of Jacques Corrèze....

's Social Revolutionary Movement, Pierre Clémenti's National Collectivist French Party and Pierre Costantini
Pierre Costantini
Pierre Dominique Costantini or commandant Costantini was a French soldier, journalist, writer and Bonapartist militant.-Life:...

's French League
French League
The French League was a collaborationist French movement founded by Pierre Costantini in September 1940...

. It had no formal link with the Vichy regime
Vichy France
Vichy France, Vichy Regime, or Vichy Government, are common terms used to describe the government of France that collaborated with the Axis powers from July 1940 to August 1944. This government succeeded the Third Republic and preceded the Provisional Government of the French Republic...

, even though it was recognized as an "association of public usefulness" by Pierre Laval
Pierre Laval
Pierre Laval was a French politician. He was four times President of the council of ministers of the Third Republic, twice consecutively. Following France's Armistice with Germany in 1940, he served twice in the Vichy Regime as head of government, signing orders permitting the deportation of...

's government in February 1943. Philippe Pétain
Philippe Pétain
Henri Philippe Benoni Omer Joseph Pétain , generally known as Philippe Pétain or Marshal Pétain , was a French general who reached the distinction of Marshal of France, and was later Chief of State of Vichy France , from 1940 to 1944...

, head of state of Vichy France, personally disapproved of Frenchmen wearing German uniforms and never went beyond individual and informal words of support to some specific officers.

It volunteered to fight against the USSR on the Eastern Front
Eastern Front (World War II)
The Eastern Front of World War II was a theatre of World War II between the European Axis powers and co-belligerent Finland against the Soviet Union, Poland, and some other Allies which encompassed Northern, Southern and Eastern Europe from 22 June 1941 to 9 May 1945...

. It was officially known to the Germans as Infantry Regiment (Infanterieregiment) 638.


The Legion of French Volunteers was mainly made up of right-wing Frenchmen and French prisoners of war who preferred fighting to forced labor in Germany. Another unit formed in France, the Tricolor Regiment (La Légion Tricolore) was absorbed into the LVF six months later.


In October 1941, a French infantry regiment, 2,452 men strong, crossed the frontier of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 as part of the foreign contingent of the German invasion force.

During the spring of 1942, the Legion of French Volunteers was reorganized with only the 1st and 3rd battalions and spent the rest of its tour of duty on the Eastern Front fighting partisans
Partisan (military)
A partisan is a member of an irregular military force formed to oppose control of an area by a foreign power or by an army of occupation by some kind of insurgent activity...

 in the rear areas.

In June 1943, the two independent battalions were again united in a single regiment and continued fighting partisans in Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...


On 1 September 1944, the Legion of French Volunteers was officially disbanded. It merged with the Milice
The Milice française , generally called simply Milice, was a paramilitary force created on January 30, 1943 by the Vichy Regime, with German aid, to help fight the French Resistance. The Milice's formal leader was Prime Minister Pierre Laval, though its chief of operations, and actual leader, was...

 to create the SS Charlemagne Division
33rd Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS Charlemagne (1st French)
The 33. Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS Charlemagne and Charlemagne Regiment are collective names used for units of French volunteers in the Wehrmacht and later Waffen-SS during World War II...


Though the French civil authority handed out many death sentences and prison terms to collaborators after the war, some Frenchmen who had fought for the Germans were given the option to redeem themselves by serving in the Foreign Legion
French Foreign Legion
The French Foreign Legion is a unique military service wing of the French Army established in 1831. The foreign legion was exclusively created for foreign nationals willing to serve in the French Armed Forces...

 in French Indochina. Some of the higher ranking officers, however, were still executed, while rank-and-file members were given prison terms.


French volunteers wore German uniforms. But, like other foreign volunteers, the French were allowed to wear their national colors on the right sleeve of their German uniform and on the Stahlhelm
Stahlhelm is German for "steel helmet". The Imperial German Army began to replace the traditional boiled-leather Pickelhaube with the Stahlhelm during World War I in 1916...

. Both German and French decorations were worn.
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