Legion Stamps and Postal History
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
Storm Division Souvenir 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.
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.
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