Croatian Legion Stamps and Postal History

    Postal History

    Croatian Legion card

    Initially Croatian and Italian volunteers serving in German units paid for postage. By 24 July 1942, the Croatian government made an agreement with Germany that postcards and letters weighing from 100gms up to 250gms could be sent through the Feldpost service between members of the German and Croatia forces.
    Airmail service was free of charge, special Luftfeldost labels were provided to each soldier. A postal charge of 20Rpf in Germany and 7.50Kuna in Croatia was applied to packages weighing from 250gms to 1000gms.

    Feldpost numbers were assigned to all the forces, as well a number of police regiments and battalions.
    It should be noted that Croatians serving in Italian units were assigned Italian Posta Militare (PM) numbers.
    All mail was subject for inspection and censorship by Germany, Italy and Croatia.

    Shown is rare special exhibition card with special cancel. This card was sold in in Zagreb from 6 November 1941 and ended on 30 January 1942.

    Croatian Legion stamp

    Croatian Legion Stamp

    The Croatian postal administration issued several stamps relating to volunteers:

    On 3 December 1941, a blue semi-postal stamp was issued, with a postal value of 4 + 2Kn and was valid until 30 January 1942.
    The stamp shows Legionnaires holding shields with national emblems of Germany, Croatia, and Italy. The first legionnaire shown holds a sword, symbolic of the defense of Europe from Bolshevism. On the upper left side it has the inscription "Borba Udruzene Europa na Istoku" (The Struggle of a United Europe in the East).
    A total of 139,626 stamps were printed.

    A special exhibition card and cancel was issued in Zagreb on 6 November 1941 and ended on 30 January 1942. The card is 9 x 13cm, bore the same stamp design, but with the colors orange and brown with the dates of the exhibition at the bottom. The cancel is 28mm circular post mark with same inscription of the stamp. The surtax was for the benefit of the 369th Infantry Regiment.

    The Croatian postal government issued special Minister Albums on many Croatian stamps. The blue Legion stamp was issued on a minister album and was provided to higher government officials. The folder contained one complete imperforate, one vertical imperf., one horizontal imperf., and a miniature sheet, also the souvenir card with special cancel. In addition a special jumbo label showing the same image and color as the card was made.

    Croatian Legion stamps

    Croatian Legion Stamps

    On 1 July 1943, four different value stamps were printed, commemorating a battle that Croatian forces took part. These four issues were design by R. Valic and printed in Zagreb on white paper, some are printed on brownish paper.

    1. 1 + 0.50Kn, green color, showing the head of a sailor with a Sea of Azov as background. There were 1,130,000 stamps printed.
    2. 2 + 1Kn, red color, showing the head of a pilot with background of Sevastopol. There were 1,200,791 stamps printed.
    3. 3.50 + 1.50Kn, blue color, showing the head of a Legionnaire wearing German helmet with background of Stalingrad. There were 2,002,380 stamps printed.
    4. 9 + 4.50Kn, brown color, showing the head of a soldier wearing Italian helmet with background of mechanized column in the Don region.

    The proceeds of the sale were used to support family members. there were 760,000 stamps printed. Besides the stamps, two souvenir sheets showing the same designs with different colors were issue, (perf. 11-1/2mm and imperf.). The combined printing on both sheets was 200,000. The wording around the margins reads: Croatian Legion. The Minister Albums were made for the Legion issues. Each album contains partial sheets of each stamp perf., imperf., vert-imperf., horz-imperf. In addition the album also contains many color proofs and souvenir sheet proofs showing each phase of printing.

    Croatian Storm Division Souvenir Sheet

    Croatian Storm sheet

    The elite Croatian Storm Division was formed on October 9, 1944. Stamps were printed to promote and support the division on January 9, 1945. Only 500 sheets, each sheet with four souvenir panes were made. The stamps inside the sheet were line perforated 11 and the sheet measure 216mm x 134mm.

    The designer's initials "OA" was applied to the art work in manuscript.

    There is a very interesting story involving murder and espionage relating to the Storm sheet for those interested please contact me for details.

    Croatian Volunteers in the service of Italy

    These Croatians were recruited by Italians who controlled coastal and certain sectors of Croatia. A contingent of 1200 volunteers was attached to the Italian 8th Army. The formation was known as the "88. Legione Croata Autotransportabile." These Croatians wore Italian Army uniforms. In addition, in May 1943 a Croatian legion was being raised (about four months before the collapse of the Italian army). This legion was sent to Lake Gorda in northern Italy, where it was formed into a 1800 man combat regiment of two battalions, one artillery battalion an engineer company, and a replacement battalion. This regiment was located in the Italo-Slovene border and used for guard duty by the Germans when the Italians surrendered. Nevertheless the legion was sent to Stockerau training camp, where the regiment was disbanded. Its men composed of Croatians and Italians were used to reinforce the Croatian 369th, 373rd and 392nd Infantry Divisions.

    [ Front Page ] [ Top] [Previous Page [ Next Page]