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Russian volunteers who enlisted into the German Army (Wehrmacht Heer) wore the patch of the Russian Liberation Army, an army which did not yet exist but was presented as a reality by Nazi propaganda.These volunteers (called Hiwi, an acronym for Hilfswilliger, roughly meaning "volunteers") were not under any Russian command or control; they were exclusively under German command carrying out various noncombat duties.
The volunteers were mostly Soviet prisoners of war but also included White Russian émigrés (some of whom were veterans of the anti-communist White Army from the Russian Civil War).There were instances of bitter fighting to the very end, triggered by mishandled propaganda from the Allies that accurately told of the quick repatriation of soldiers back to the Soviet Union after they gave up.only to be disbanded before seeing combat in July 1944.On 14 November 1944 it was officially renamed the Armed Forces of the Committee for the Liberation of the Peoples of Russia, with the KONR being formed as political body for the army to be loyal to.On 28 January 1945, it was officially declared that the Russian divisions no longer formed part of the German Army, but would directly be under the command of KONR.In an October 1943 report, 8th Army concluded grimly: "All local volunteers are unreliable during enemy contact.
Principal reason of unreliability is the employment of these volunteers in the East." Two days previously, army had recorded in the KTB stern measures to be taken in the event of further cases of rebellion or unreliability, investing in regimental commanders far-reaching powers to perform summary courts and execute the verdicts.
Many Soviet prisoners of war volunteered to serve under the German command just in order to get out from Nazi POW camps which were notorious for starving Soviet prisoners to death.
Meanwhile, the newly captured Soviet general Andrei Andreevich Vlasov, along with his German and Russian allies, was desperately lobbying the German high command, hoping that a green light would be given for the formation of a real armed force that would be exclusively under Russian control.
A number of them were employed at the Battle of Stalingrad, where it was estimated that as much as one quarter of the 6th Army's strength were Soviet citizens.
Soon, several German commanders began forming small armed units out of them for various tasks, including combat against Soviet partisans, driving vehicles, carrying wounded, and delivering supplies.
They were able to somewhat win over Alfred Rosenberg.