The armies of the Western allies included numerous formations of the colonial troops, staffed by immigrants from the Asian and African colonies of Great Britain and France. The rank and file and sergeants of these units were recruited from Africans and Asians, people of a completely different culture, with a different mentality. They had completely different, their own ideas about war, about victory, about the vanquished, and their own point of view on how to behave with the vanquished. All this has been shaped within the framework of African and Asian cultures for centuries, if not millennia.
The sad fame of the "main rapists" of the Second World War as part of the troops of the Western allies was entrenched in French colonial troops recruited from natives of North and West Africa. As you know, in the XIX century, France began to form the first units, and then the larger units, staffed by residents of the territories of modern Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Senegal, Mali, Mauritania. “Senegalese shooters”, spagies, zouaves, goumeri - that’s all. The children of the sands of the Sahara, the Atlas mountains and the savannahs of the Sahel took part in many wars in France, including two world wars.
“War with women” (“guerra al femminile”) is the name given to many modern Italian sources by the entry of Moroccan units into Italy. By the time the Allies launched hostilities on Italian soil, Italy was almost out of war. Soon the regime of Mussolini fell, and the resistance to the allies continued to be provided mainly by German units located in Italy. In addition to the Anglo-American troops, units of the French army staffed by Africans also entered Italy. It was they who caused the greatest horror. But not on the enemy, but on the local civilian population. This was the second coming of the natives of the distant Maghreb on Italian soil - after the medieval landings of the “barbarian” pirates on the Mediterranean coast of Italy and France, when entire villages were emptied, and their inhabitants were taken to the slave markets of Maghreb and Turkey by the thousands.
The structure of the French Expeditionary Corps, which entered the territory of Italy, included the regiments of Moroccan Gumières. First they fought in North Africa - against the Italian and German troops in Libya, and then were transferred to Europe. Part of the Moroccan Gummere were in the operational disposal of the command of the American 1-th Infantry Division. Here it is necessary to say a little about who the Moroccan Gummies are and why they were needed by the French command.
In 1908, when French troops colonized Morocco, Brigadier General Albert Amadá, commander of the expeditionary army, proposed hiring people from the Berber tribes of the Atlas Mountains to military service. In 1911, they were given the official status of the military units of the French army. At first, the Gumier units were recruited according to the principle customary for the colonial troops - the French were appointed officers, most often transferred from the Algerian units, and Moroccans occupied the soldiers and sergeants. Most actively France used the Gumiers in the war for the establishment of a protectorate over Morocco. Over 22 thousands of Moroccans participated on the side of France in the colonization of their own homeland, 12 thousands of them died in the battles. However, there were always a lot of those wishing to enter French military service in Morocco. For young men from poor peasant families, this was a good chance to get “full board” in the form of a good salary by the Moroccan standards, food, uniforms.
In November 1943, the Gumier units were sent to mainland Italy. Using Moroccan units, the Allied Command was guided by several considerations. First, in this way, the losses of the European parts proper were reduced by attracting Africans. Secondly, the Moroccan regiments were recruited mainly from among the inhabitants of the Atlas Mountains, who were better adapted to combat in mountain conditions. Thirdly, the cruelty of the Moroccans was also a kind of psychological weapons: the glory of the “exploits” of the Gumières was far ahead of them.
In the allied forces, the Gummies, perhaps, kept the palm in terms of the number of crimes against the civilian population on Italian territory. This was also not surprising. The mentality of African warriors - people of different cultures and different faiths - played a very large role. The natives of the Maghreb were there, where they were a force against the unarmed and defenseless local population. A large number of white women, for whom no one could intercede, and after all, many hummer men, except for prostitutes, and women in general, did not have anything in their lives - most of them entered the military service as single. In addition, traditionally discipline in the Gumier regiments was at a much lower level than in other parts and formations of the allied armies. The junior commanders recruited from the Moroccans, he himself had exactly the same mentality as the ordinary soldiers, and the few French officers could not fully control the situation, as they feared their own subordinates. Yes, and what to hide, many of them looked through their fingers at the atrocities of the soldiers, believing that it was necessary to be so defeated.
The Allied campaign of the taking of Monte Cassino in Central Italy, which took place in May 1944, was widely known. Italian historians claim that the taking of Monte Cassino was accompanied by a multitude of crimes against civilians. Many soldiers of the allied forces were making them, but it was the Moroccan Goumerians who particularly distinguished themselves. Historians claim that all the women and girls between the ages of 11 and 80 years of age were raped in the local villages and villages by the Hummers. Gumiera did not disdain even deep old women, often raped very young girls, as well as boys and adolescents male. Approximately 800 of Italian men who tried to protect their relatives from rape were brutally murdered by the Moroccan Humeres. Mass rape caused real epidemics of sexually transmitted diseases, because the native soldiers often hurt them themselves, infected at the time from prostitutes.
Of course, the rapists themselves are to blame for the atrocities against the civilian population. History has not preserved the names of most of them, and practically all of them are no longer alive in our time. But it is impossible to relieve responsibility for the behavior of the gumiers from the Allied command, in the first place - from the leadership of the Fighting France. It was the French command that decided to use African units on European soil, perfectly aware of how Africans who came from the colonies relate to Europeans. For the gumiers and other similar units, the war in Europe was a foreign war, it was seen only as a way to earn money, as well as to rob and rape the local population with impunity. The French command knew this very well. The behavior of the hummers could not be justified by any revenge - unlike the Nazis who atrocized on Soviet soil, who killed and raped Soviet people, the Italians did not terrorize Morocco and Moroccans, they did not kill the family of hummers, and generally had nothing to do with Morocco.
Marshal of France Alphonse Juan (1888-1967). The name of this man, a veteran of the First and Second World War, is showered not only with honors, but also curses. That he is called one of the main responsible for the crimes of the colonial troops in Italy. Famous words attributed to subordinates are attributed to Marshal Juyen:
“Soldiers! You are not fighting for the freedom of your land. This time I tell you: if you win the battle, then you will have the best home, women and wine in the world. But not a single German should be left alive. I say that and keep my promise. Fifty hours after a victory you will be absolutely free in your actions. No one will punish you afterwards, no matter what you commit. ”
In fact, with these words, Alfons Juan resolved the violence and blessed the Moroccan Gumières to commit numerous crimes against the civilian population. But, unlike the illiterate inhabitants of distant African mountains and deserts, Alphonse Juan was a European, sort of a cultured person, with a higher education, a representative of the elite of French society. And the fact that he not only covered violence (this could be understood - reputation and all that), but openly called for it even before it began, testifies that the French generals were not far from their opponents - the Nazi executioners.
For three days, Monte Cassino was given to plunder Moroccan Gumeras. What happened in the vicinity, it is difficult to describe in words. The famous novel by the world famous Italian writer Alberto Moravia “Chochara” is also dedicated to the terrible events of the Italian campaign of the allies. How many human tragedies were connected with the actions of the Gumiers, now it is impossible to count.
True, we must pay tribute to the command of the allies, sometimes for the crimes committed by the Gummeras, nevertheless followed the punishment. Some French generals and officers retained human qualities and dignity and sought in every way to stop the chaos perpetrated by the soldiers of African troops. Thus, 160 initiated criminal cases on crimes against the local population, 360 military personnel became their defendants, mainly from the Moroccan Humeri regiments. There were even a few death sentences. But this is a drop in a sea of blood and tears, arranged by Moroccan soldiers.
In 2011, the president of the National Association of Victims of marocchinate (namely, the Italians call those events) Emiliano Siotti shed light on the scale of the tragedy of the war years. The only reported cases of violence, he said, were about 20 thousands. However, according to current estimates, at least 60 of thousands of Italian women were raped. In the overwhelming majority of cases, the rape was group-based, they involved human 2-3-4, but there were also rape of 100 women and even 300 soldiers. The murders of rape victims were not uncommon. For example, 27 May 1944, in Valecorse, was raped by several 17-year-old Gummeres, after which she was shot. There were a lot of such cases.
Pope Pius XII, aware of the horrors that were taking place, personally addressed General Charles de Gaulle, but the leader of the Fighting France did not deign the Pontiff with his reply. The American command offered the French generals their own method of dealing with rape - to get regimental prostitutes, but this proposal was not accepted. When the war was over, the French command quickly brought the Moroccan regiments from Italy, apparently fearing wide publicity and trying to hide the traces of most of the crimes committed.
1 August 1947, two years after the end of World War II, Italy sent an official note of protest to the French government. However, the French leadership did not take serious measures to punish the guilty and confined to duty phrases. There was no proper reaction to the repeated appeals of Italy in 1951 and 1993. Although the crimes were committed directly by the Gumeras, who came from Morocco, France is still responsible for them. It was the French marshals and generals, including not only Alphonse Juan who, in all fairness, had to answer for this before the court, but also Charles de Gaulle, released the genie from the bottle.