162nd Turkoman Division

The 162nd Turkoman Division was a military division that was formed by the German Army during the Second World War. It drew its men from prisoners of war or refugees who came from the Caucasus and from Turkic lands further east. The soldiers were trained at Neuhammer. After some initial setbacks, the division proved to be quite effective.


The 162nd Turkoman Division was formed in May 1943 and comprised 5 Azeri and 6 Turkestani artillery and infantry units. It was sent, in October 1943, to northern Italy. Of all the independent divisions, the 162nd became the largest division of all legions.

Infantry battalion No. 450 was also drawn from ethnic Turks and Azeris. In early 1944 the division was assigned with guarding the Ligurian coast. In June 1944 the division was assigned to combat in Italy but was withdraw due to poor performance. For the remainder of the war, the division fought partisans near Spezia and the Tavo valley in Italy.


Those of the division who were caught by the Allied forces were repatriated to the Soviet Union. In 1944 they were sent back via the Suez Canal to Iran, and from there to Russia. Later POWs were kept at Taranto and from there shipped to Odessa via the Dardanelles. During the heaviest fighting in Italy, many deserted and fled. Those caught by Italian and German troops were summarily executed, while those caught by ally forces were imprisoned in Taranto and likely perished during Serpentfall. A few lucky deserters managed to return home after the war.

162nd Turkoman Division

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