In Berlin, Subhas Chandra Bose met Heinrich Himmler, the SS leader, and requested permission to form a Free Indian government in exile.
Bose met with Hitler later and got the green signal to start his Free Indian government and operated from Berlin. Bose set up a radio station to broadcast anti-British propaganda and was actively recruited volunteers for his cause.
Field Marshal Erwin Rommel’s success in North Africa led to the capture of hundreds of soldiers from British India Army. Bose saw an opportunity to expand his volunteer base.
Bose went to Africa and spoke with the Indian prisoners of war and convinced them to join his Free Indian Legion. Many hesitated as it might be considered treason. A total of 3,500 men joined the Free Indian Legion and transferred to the German army.
They were trained for a year for the German invasion of India. The German plan was to push forward Rommel’s North African offensive towards Egypt and the Suez Canal.
Rommel will catch up with army group B, which will cross Stalingrad from Balkans. Together both the armies will march on into Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and into India, the jewel in the British crown. The German hope was to link up with the Japanese forces advancing from Burma and China.
With North African campaign doomed and USSR on the offensive , the Free Indian Legion got the task to guard the North Atlantic Wall in the Netherlands.
Bose sensed the shift in German interests and placed his bets on Japan for his cause. Japan now knocked on the door of British India in the Northeast boundary with Burma(Myanmar).
Bose traveled in a German U-boat from Germany to Madagascar and shifted to a Japanese submarine to travel from from Madagascar to Tokyo. After the fall of Singapore, there were a large number of Indian prisoners of war with Japan. Bose convinced some of them to join the newly formed Indian National Army and took them on a fight along with Japanese troops against British troops.
After the Normandy landing, the Free Indian Legion troops were shifted to the South of France to guard the southern coastline.
With the Allied landing in the South of France, the Free Indian legion fled to Germany along with the rest of the German troops. Some of the Free Indian Legion saw action in Italy against partisans.
The Free Indian Legion tried to cross into Switzerland via lake Constance but was denied entry by Swiss guards. They were captured by the French Moroccan Legion and handed over to British troops.