Black Soldiers in WW2

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Black Soldiers in WW2

Fri Jun 20, 2014 2:41 am

After taking a glance at my WW2 armies, I realised that I have painted all of their skin lightly coloured, and I think it would be more fair and historically accurate to give my armies a bit of ethnic diversity. So I want to find the % of Black soldiers who fought for the different armies in WW2 so I can paint my armies in that proportion.

It was very easy finding the % of African-American soldiers, but not for the others. So I was wondering if anyone knew of some statistics for the % of Black British Soldiers (including colonial troops). Also, did the Japanese, Germans, and Soviets ever have a substantial Black population amongst their ranks? (when I say substantial, I mean at least above 1%).

Thanks everyone!

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Re: Black Soldiers in WW2

Fri Jun 20, 2014 8:01 pm

In WW2 you'd be hard-pressed to find any units that were mixed, except perhaps for white officers.

In Commonwealth units the West African regiments would obviously be dark-skinned, as would the East African units. Southern African units would mostly be white but some - King's African Rifles? - might recruit from there as well.

Some Indian army troops might be considered 'black' as some sub-continent natives are dark skinned.

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Re: Black Soldiers in WW2

Tue May 12, 2015 5:10 pm

I think Typhoon2 has addressed it pretty well. Back in WWII there simply was not a lot of integration in most armies. In the US both African-Americans and Japanese-Americans were generally concentrated in their own units and often recieved limited deployment (The Japanese-American 442nd Infantry Regiment fought exclusivly in Europe due to unfounded fears about dual loyalties). The US Army didn't really field integratated units until after WWII.

As far as Japanese, German and Soviet armies, I would not expect any non-Japanese in Japanese military units. Japan was rather insular, especially at that time, and did not encorage the sort of large scale immegration that would result in any significant number of non-ethnic Japanese in the country, let alone the army. I can't quote any specific refernces, but I would not expect to see soldiers of African ancestry in either German or Soviet armed forces, either. The only exception might be German Colonial troops, but that really pre-dates the second world war.

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