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News from a wargamer with a special interest in the military history of the Balkans. It mainly covers my current reading and wargaming projects. For more detail you can visit the web sites I edit - Balkan Military History and Glasgow & District Wargaming Society. Or follow me on Twitter @Balkan_Dave
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Monday 4 November 2013

Handschar in 28mm

The latest additions to my Bolt Action 28mm Balkan WW2 project are the Handschar. Or properly, the 13th Waffen Mountain Division of the SS Handschar (1st Croatian). 

This was a Waffen SS unit recruited mostly from Bosnian Muslims. They joined up primarily to secure their communities from the depredations of the Croatian Ustashi. By 1943 over 100,000 Bosnian Muslims had been killed and 250,000 had become refugees. Himmler had a somewhat romantic view of Islam and the fighting reputation of Bosnians, based on their record in WW1. The Bosnians had a generally positive view of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which meant they were inclined to welcome the Germans.

They spent most of the war fighting Tito's partisans in a series of operations that had limited success. As the Russians poured through the Balkans they mostly drifted home. Those who stayed to the bitter end either died in action or were executed for war crimes. Not a happy story, but they are an important and distinctive unit in partisan warfare of the period.

The models are Warlord Germans with Handschar heads that be bought separately. There are plenty of pictures of these troops in George Lepre's 1997 book, 'Himmler's Bosnian Division: The Waffen-SS Handschar Division 1943–1945'. Plus the Osprey titles on the period.

1 comment:

  1. I am looking forward to seeing them in action on the table top.