The Indian Legion was a military unit created during World War II in the Third Reich. Intended to serve as a liberation force for British-ruled India, it was made up of Indian POWs, nationalist/independence volunteers, and expatriates in Europe.
Due to its origins in the Indian independence movement, it was also known as the “Tiger Legion” and the “Azad Hind Fauj”.
Initially formed as part of the German Army, it was officially assigned to the Waffen-SS from August 1944.
Indian Independence leader Subhas Chandra Bose initiated the formation of the legion, as part of his efforts to win India’s independence by freeing a war against Britain, when he came to Berlin in 1941 seeking German help.
The initial recruits in 1941 were volunteers from the Indian students residing in Germany at the time, and a handful of Indian prisoners of war who had been captured during the North African Campaign.
It would later attract a larger number of Indian POWs as volunteers.