Friday, February 5, 2010

Edgar Puaud

Born on 29 October 1889 at Orléans, France, Edgar Puaud was a profesional soldier. After finishing his NCO training in École Militaire Saint Maixent, he started his fighting career in the Great War as an NCO in a machine gun unit and, after wounded in 1915, finished the Wars as a Captain. Leaving the French Army in 1920, he later joins the French Legion Etrangère, got his former rank, and served in Middle-East and Indochina between 1926 to 1939.

After the fall of French, Puaud joined with Vichy French Army and command an infantry battalion. In 1942, he led the office of recruiting of the Legion Etrangère at Agen until he joins "Légion Tricolore" in July 1942. He served under General Galy as chief of staff until the disbandment of the Legion.

In June 1943, Edgard Puaud, now a colonel, was appointed to command the ‘Legion des Volontaires Français Contre le Bolchevisme’ (or LVF), the French formation that fought under the Wehrmacht in Eastern Front. He led the legion in both front-line and anti-partisan campaigns, where it got considerable success. In April 1944, Puaud was promoted by the Vichy government to the rank of brigadier-general.

On 1 September 1944 the LVF suddenly dissolved and absorbed into the French Waffen-SS brigade. Puaud was appointed to lead the new unit, and finally got the rank of Waffen Oberfuhrer der SS. He later led the expanded French Waffen-SS brigade, the 33.Waffen Grenadier Division der SS ‘Charlemagne’.

In the end of February 1945, the lightly-armed ‘Charlemagne’ Division was attack by four Red Army infantry divisions and two tank brigades from 1st Belorussian Front in Pomerania. In the rout that ensued, the outflanked Frenchmen split, and then reformed into three "wandering" battle-groups that met varying fates. Two groups successfully escape to the west, but the remaining group, under Puaud leadership, destroyed. Puaud himself, injured during the attempt to escape, disappear in mysterious circumstances. His ultimate fate has never been officially determined. Probably he died during the battle.

Copyright©2010 by Nino Oktorino

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