They had a reputation as fearless night-fighters, but the only way they agreed to fight on the Allies side is that they were allowed to 'rape and pillage.'
And that they did. Women and children, men... even a priest were raped. If anyone resisted, they were killed.
Their mere presence in the line were enough to unnerve the Germans and Italians. It's said they took no prisoners.
"An anonymous junior officer from the U.S. 26th Infantry Regiment, a unit which fought alongside the Goumiers in Tunisia, wrote:
Two companies of Goums...were stationed next to our CP, and these had sent out two raiding parties the same night... Mostly mountain men from Morocco, these silent, quick-moving raiders were excellent at night raids, and in surprise attacks. How successful they had been was attested by the two [French] officers who had command of the companies of the Goumiers. The companies lacked most of the clothing, equipment and weapons necessary for warfare. Several raids had remedied that. Inspection of their clothing revealed a good many German articles of clothing under their conventional brown and white vertical striped robes. Their rifles were mixed German and Italian, with a few old French rifles firing clips of four. Mess equipment, and a good deal of the food was also of enemy origin, as were the knives, pistols, blankets and toilet articles. From questioning of the Italian prisoners, it was evident that they had either heard or experienced the merciless raids of the Goums, and they wanted no part of them. Part of the Goums' success lay in their silence as they moved forward, and in their highly perfected art of camouflage. One anecdote ran that one warrior had so successfully camouflaged himself all day in full sight of the Germans that a German officer had wandered over to what he thought was a bush, and had urinated on the motionless head of the Moroccan soldier who bore the trial well, but who marked that particular officer down for special attention that night. Goums did not take any prisoners, and it was well-known to the Germans and Italians what befell anyone who ran afoul of those Moroccans. There was certainly no desire to have our battalion tangle with either of the two raiding parties sent out the same night."
Discussion on World War 2 in general.
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