Korean Soldier Who Fought For Three Armies

There was a Korean soldier who fought during World War II in the Imperial Japanese Army, the Soviet Red Army, and the German Wehrmacht before being captured by the Americans.

Yang Kyoungjong, in 1938 at the age of 18, was in Manchuria when he was conscripted into the Kwantung Army of the Imperial Japanese Army to fight the Soviet Union. He was captured by the Soviet Red Army and was sent to a labor camp, but because of manpower shortages, the Soviets pressured him to fight against Nazi Germany. In 1942, he was sent to the European eastern front.

Yang Kyoungjong

Yang Kyoungjong

In 1943, he was captured by Wehrmacht soldiers in Ukraine and was pressed to fight for Germany. Yang was then sent to Occupied France to fight a battalion of Soviet prisoners-of-war known as the “Eastern Battalion.”

After the D-Day landings in northern France, United States paratroopers captured Yang in 1944, believing him to be Japanese in German uniform. They placed him in a prisoner-of-war camp in the United Kingdom.

Eventually, the truth came out and he emigrated to the United States where he died in 1992 in Illinois.

There is also a movie based on Yang’s life: My Way