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(wow, i thought spain was a neutral in WW2) The Death of the Spanish Blue Division

On the frigid morning of Feb. 10, 1943, the 5,900 soldiers of the 250th “Blue” Infantry Division — Spanish volunteers fighting for the Axis on the Eastern Front of World War II — were sitting in their trenches and dugouts when the high-explosive shells fired from hundreds of Soviet artillery pieces fell from the sky. For those soldiers, the world turned into fire.

Two hours later, three Soviet infantry divisions stormed into the Axis defensive positions, marking the beginning of the battle of Krasny Bor, an obscure but significant battle near Leningrad — still under siege at this point — which culminated in an Axis victory at the cost of the Blue Division, which was virtually destroyed.

Krasny Bor was part of the larger Soviet offensive Operation Polar Star, the brainchild of Gen. Georgy Zhukov following the success two weeks earlier of Operation Iska, which opened a short land — and soon rail — corridor into Leningrad, bringing badly needed supplies into the city.


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