Beginning in 1943, Hitler organized the formation of Bosnian Muslims into several divisions of the Waffen SS and other units. The largest was the 13th "Handschar" division, which conducted operations against Communist partisans in the Balkans starting in February 1944. In fact the 13th SS "Handschar" was at least made up of 10% catholic Croats, this was done out of compromise since the Croat facists, the Ustashe had objected to the recruitment of the bosnian muslims, since they were worried about possible independence and considered the muslim areas a part of their greater Croatia. The uniform worn by the division was regular SS issue, with a divisional collar patch showing an arm, holding a Scimitar, over a Swastika. On the left arm was a Croatian armshield (red-white chessboard). Headgear was the Fez, in field grey (normal service) or red ("walking out"), with the SS eagle and death's head emblazoned. Non-Muslim members could opt to wear the normal SS mountain cap. The oval mountain troop Edelweiss patch was worn on the right arm. The division also had Muslim imams in the division.
The "Handschar" division was entirely commanded by German officers. Towards the end of the war however, many of its members deserted the division sometimes with their weapons, as many of the Muslims decided to return to Bosnia to protect their homes and families or defected to titos partisans. The division was essentially disbanded by november 1944, although some sources allege a small number continued to fight until being captured or killed by 1945.
Pictured here is a Handschar Mortarman (Gebirgsjager) from the 13.Gebirgs-Division 'Handschar' (kroatische Nr. 1), serving in the Balkans Campaign during 1944 - "Hasan Malnar." Sold Out!