Soon after Germany invaded the Soviet Union, the leadership of the newly founded Independent State of Croatia expressed its desire to participate in this "crusade against Bolshevism". Hitler approved the request and so the Croatian Legion, consisting of volunteers from all three branches of the Croatian Armed Forces, was created. Its ground component, the 369th Reinforced (Croatian) Infantry Regiment, was the first to be formed.
The Croatian legionaries participated in some of the most famous engagements of World War 2, including the first battle of Kharkov, Operation Fridericus, Plan Blau and finally the grim struggle for Stalingrad. The Regiment was the only non-German unit to participate in the attack on Stalin's city... the other allies were relegated to holding flanks. Initially, this was viewed as a great honour, a reward for its sacrifices and successes, proof that the Wehrmacht had full trust in the Regiment. However, this "honour" would demand the ultimate price. Croatian blood soaked Stalingrad's soil and four months later the unit's pitiful remnants were herded into captivity.
Two Croatian sergeants managed to preserve the regimental archive by taking it with them on one of the last flights out of besieged Stalingrad. This unique collection, which includes war diaries, daily orders, combat reports and award recommendations, was the primary resource used to create this book. Additional records from German and Russian archives complete the picture. The Regiment's origins, formation, training and battles are examined in detail. Croatian Legion: The 369th Reinforced (Croatian) Infantry Regiment on the Eastern Front, 1941-1943 offers a unique perspective of the fighting on the Eastern Front through the eyes of a foreign volunteer unit.