Other Military and Auxiliary Organizations
Section I. SS AND POLICE
Any description of organization, mission, and structure of the SS cannot be understood unless one tries to conceive it inwardly with one's blood and heart. It cannot be explained why we contain so much strength though we number so few.
The SS, or Schutzstaffel, is the Protective Guard of the National-Socialist [German Worders'] Party (NSDAP). Officially an independent Gliederung (Branch) of the Party, led by Heinrich Himmler, it actually has a status and importance far exceeding those of the other branches and even those of the Party itself. From its original function of guarding the person of Party leaders and speakers, the SS developed even before the war, into a far-flung organization to protect the entire Nazi movement against all internal enemies. More recently, it has extended its influence and power into every conceivable aspect of German national life and has finally acquired a large measure of control over the Army itself. It is more than a state within a state; it is superior to both the Party and the government.
The rise of the SS has been gradual but unceasing. Because of its origin and its own experience as an underground organization, it has always understood how to combat systematically and unrelentingly any subversive activities in the Reich and in all occupied areas. It was by extension of its responsibility for internal political security that the SS first acquired control of the Secret State Police and later (in 1936) of the entire police forces of Germany. Quite naturally therefore, it was given the policing powers in most of the countries occupied by Germany during the war. It was also logical that the SS, as the elite corps of the Party, should take part in the march into Austria and Czechoslovakia along with the troops of the Army, and that it should furnish small contingents of trained men to fight in the Polish campaign in 1939. This led to the building up of the Waffen-SS, at first consisting of the equivalent of two or three divisions and finally growing to a substantial and favored branch of the armed forces of the nation. In 1943 the SS gained control of the powerful Ministry of the Interior, in which it had already constituted the most important group in the form of the police. During 1943 and 1944 the SS gained more and more influence in the Army itself, taking over successively control of political indoctrination, of the intelligence services, and of the whole replacement, training, and material procurement system.
Apart from these obvious acquisitions of power and authority, the SS has steadily extended its influence into many branches of German life which would seem, on the surface, to have little or nothing to do with its original or derived mission. High-ranking officers of the now occupy controlling positions in most of the central departments of the government, in regional and local administration, in heavy industry, finance, and commerce, and in cultural and charitable activities. Directly or indirectly the SS controls the training of youth in the Hitler Youth organization, the storm troops (SA), and most of the other Party organizations and activities.
The character and purposes of the SS would not be clear without reference to its mystical worship of the German "race". This is exemplified not only by the physical requirements for becoming an SS man, but also by a vast program of procreation propaganda, resettlement of populations, eradication of elements considered racially undesirable, genealogical research, and welfare. Typical of the SS is its insistence that the abbreviation of its title always be printed or typed as the runic symbol of victory and arbitrariness:
The development of SS power is intimately
Figure 1.--Functions of the Reichsführer--SS.
linked to the career of Heinrich Himmler. This seemingly unassuming and quiet-mannered man has obtained one important post after another until today more power is concentrated in his person than in any other man except Hitler. Indeed, his power is much more absolute than that of Hitler, since the latter's actions and decisions are necessarily influenced by various pressure groups within the Party, by consideration of public opinion, and by other outside forces.
Wherever Himmler has secured a position, he has taken the with him. His plurality ofoffices represents not merely a personal union of powers but the acquisition of successive fields for the extension and infiltration of SS influence. It is significant in this connection that in all his various capacities Himmler always uses his original title of Reichsführer-SS (abbreviated RF-SS). The SS is at once the basis and the instrument of Himmler's strength.
For this reason a description of the functions of the RF-SS is the most effective way of indicating the present position of the SS in Germany.
2. External Functions of the RF-SS
As shown in the accompanying chart (Figure 1), the RF-SS holds eight separate offices besides those resulting directly from his position as commander of the SS proper. They are:
a. REICH AND PRUSSIAN MINISTER OF THE INTERIOR (Reichs- und Preussischer Minister des Innern). In this capacity, which he acquired in August 1943, Himmler controls a department for constitutional and legislative matters, the administration of the German civil service (Beamentum) , veterinary matters, and public health, the federalized communal administration, census and survey, and the administration of sports and athletics. This ministry also controls the federalized German police, of which Himmler was the chief long before he became the Minister of the Interior.
b. CHIEF OF THE GERMAN POLICE (Chef der Deutschen Polizei--ChdDtP). In this office, which he has held since June 1936, the RF-SS has succeeded in creating a closely knit national police force fully in accord with the purposes of the SS. The principal measures by which this was accomplished were the federalizing of the former state and local police organizations, the institution of a personnel policy controlled by the SS, the extension of the scope and authority of the police as a whole to new fields, and the interweaving of the administration and functions of the Party Security Service (Sicherhcitsdienst des Reichsführers-SS--SD des RF-SS) with those of the Security Police (Sicherheitspolizei--Sipo). The two last-named organizations were combined under the Central Security Department (Reichssicherheitshauptamt--RSHA).
The German police organization, as such, is divided into two categories, the Security Police and the Order Police (Ordnungspolizei--Orpo).
(1) The Security Police has two branches: The Criminal Investigation Police (Kriminalpolizei--Kripo) and the Secret State Police (Geheime Staatspolizei-- Gestapo). Under the control of the RF-SS the functions of the Criminal Investigation Police have undergone many changes, and it now constitutes a valuable ally of the Secret State Police. The latter, as the political branch of the police, has always led the fight against subversive elements in Germany and served as the executive arm in the process of ridding Germany of "undesirable" elements. An adjunct of the Gestapo is the Frontier Police (Grenzpolizei), which was greatly strengthened in 1944 by attaching to it the Reinforced Frontier Guard Service (Verstärkte Grenzaufsichtsdienst). The latter is properly a branch of the Reich Ministry of Finance and now serves the combined purposes of this ministry and of the political police. Together, these organizations have the new and important mission of preventing the desertion of military personnel, as well as the escape of foreign civilian workers across the borders of the Reich.
(2) The Order Police includes the regular uniformed police and has acquired control of a number of auxiliary organizations which are not always concerned with strictly police functions.
Components of the Order Police are:
Protective Police (Schutzpolizei--Schupo), a regular police force operating in towns and cities with more than about 5,000 inhabitants.
Communal Protective Police (Schutzpolizei der Gemeinden), a regular police force for towns too small to have the urban Protective Police mentioned above.
Gendarmery (Gendarmerie), a regular police force for rural communities.
Administrative Police (Verwaltungspolizei), for such routine functions as registration of residents, inspection of buildings, and the keeping of police records.
Fire Protection Police (Feuerschutzpolizei), a federalized communal fire-fighting organization with police status.
Fire-Fighting Services (Feuerwehren), a federalized organization of voluntary fire fighters, replacing former private societies and associations.
Air Raid Protection Police (Luftschutzpolizei), responsible for aid and clearance measures during air raids.
Urban and Rural Auxiliary Guards (Stadt- und Landwacht), auxiliary police organizations of part-time volunteers in urban and rural areas.
Technical Emergency Corps (Technische Nothilfe--TN), which provides technically trained personnel for emergency work of all kinds, especially in case of a breakdown of public services.
c. CHIEF OF ARMY EQUIPMENT AND COMMANDER OF THE REPLACEMENT ARMY (Chef der Heeresrüstung und Befehlshaber des Ersatzheeres--Ch H Rüst u.BdE). In this function, which he acquired in July 1944, the RF-SS controls the conscription of the Armed Forces, the Army training and replacement system, and Army procurement and supply. He is responsible for the selection and training of future officers and noncommissioned officers and, in his capacity as commander of all forces in the Zone of the Interior, he controls the Volkssturm and orders its employment.
d. REICH COMMISSIONER FOR THE STRENGTHENING OF GERMANISM (Reichskommissar fü die Festigung des Deutschen Volkstums--RKV). Since October 1939, when he received this appointment, the RF-SS has been the highest authority on all matters concerning the settling of Germans in annexed areas. A vast organization was created to deal with the redistribution of property which fell to the Germans as spoils of war.
e. PRESIDENT OF THE SOCIETY "FOUNTAIN OF LIFE" (Verein "Lebensborn e. V"). Through this organization, which he founded in September 1936, the RF-SS takes active control of the numerous measures which the SS has devised in order to insure the "victory of births of good blood".
f. PRESIDENT OF THE SOCIETY "THE ANCESTRAL HERITAGE" (Verein "Das Ahnenerbe"). This group deals with racial and genealogical matters and fosters interest in family tradition and racial purity.
g. PARTY COMMISSIONER FOR ALL RACIAL MATTERS (Beauftragter der NSDAP fü alle Volkstumsfragen). In this function, which is his only official one within the Party proper, the RF-SS acts as the chief adviser to the Führer on racial matters, and as the coordinator between the Party and his own function as Reich Commissioner for the Strengthening of Germanism.
h. PLENIPOTENTIARY GENERAL FOR ADMINISTRATION (Generalbevollmachtigter fü die Verwaltung). This appointment went with that of Minister of the Interior, the previous incumbent (Frick) having received it at the beginning of the war, to coordinate all wartime national administration problems.
3. Internal Special Functions of the RF-SS
In his capacity as commander of the SS proper, Himmler has four special functions not directly connected with the organization and administration of the SS. They are:
a. THE DEPARTMENT FOR THE REPATRIATION OF RACIAL GERMANS (Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle--Vomi) is a bureau which is characterized as a Main Department (Hemptamt) because it comes directly under the RF-SS. Since October 1939 this department has carried out the far-flung resettlement plans for "racial" Germans from the western borderlands of Russia. Hundreds of thousands of such persons have been transferred to the annexed areas of Poland.
b. THE BUREAU MAIN DEPARTMENT SS-Obergruppenführer Heissmeyer (Dienststelle Hauptamt SS-Obergruppenführer Heissmeyer) has as its chief mission the control of the National Political Educational Institutes (Nationalpotitische Erziehungsanstalten -- NPEA) and Boarding Schools (Heimschulen). The former are schools for selected pupils from all over Germany who are supposed to attain a high scholastic record while subjected to most severe indoctrination in Party ideology. Heimschulen are designed for the children of soldiers or of civil service officials who cannot maintain a permanent residence. These schools, in which political indoctrination is especially accentuated, have grown rapidly in number to accommodate large numbers of children rendered homeless by air raids.
c. THE SECURITY SERVICE (Sicherheitsdienst des RF-SS--SD or SD des RF-SS) is nominally a branch of the General SS but is controlled, under Himmler, by the Central Security Office (Reichssicherheitshauptamt) along with the Security Police. It is officially the intelligence service of the Party against internal enemies, while the Security Police (including the Gestapo) is the executive agent for combatting them. From its original mission the SD has constantly grown in scope and in 1944 absorbed the bulk of the Abwehr, the intelligence organization of the Armed Forces. Many of its members were until recently engaged in occupied areas, but their number inside Germany has greatly increased with the shrinking of the areas still occupied. At the same time their importance in Germany has developed steadily and their preparations for the eventuality of defeat can be expected to be the most efficient and far reaching.
d. With the formation of Volks Grenadier units in the latter part of 1944 the RF-SS became responsible for the personnel of these units, acting through a new special branch of the Army Personnel Office (PA/P 7). It is believed that such personnel are more or less interchangeable with the members of the Waffen-SS.
4. SS Control of Public Life
As impressive as the list of the functions of the RF-SS must appear, it is by no means more than an indication of the power of the SS, which has enlarged its position and range of influence steadily by an unobtrusive but thorough policy of infiltration. Dominating almost every branch of official and semi-official German life, the SS has become a super-government composed of a racially conscious "order" of men (and women) bound by a rigid set of rules, the foremost of these being unswerving loyalty to one's immediate chief and unquestioning obedience. This strictdiscipline ensures the complete subservience to the SS, even of those members who joined originally merely as an expedient to be entitled to wear the black uniform and to climb the ladder of political, economic, or even artistic success.
A few statistics may serve to show to what extent this most powerful body has permeated the Third Reich:
Hitler's personal entourage includes at least six SS men.
The Party Reich Directors (Reichsleiter) include ten SS men out of a total of 16. Most of the six non-SS members have suffered a loss of power and prestige in the past two years. Ten of the 26 posts in the Reich Cabinet are held by SS men. Thirty-nine SS men with the rank of colonel or above hold other important posts in the Reich Ministries.
Most of the Reichsstatthalter, provincial presidents, state ministers, and secretaries and vice-presidents of state governments are men whose high SS rank is not always the most publicized feature of their careers. In municipal affairs numerous mayors are identified with the SS.
The permeation of all branches and levels of government in Germany by officers of the SS is matched on a nearly equal scale in industry, finance, commerce, cultural activities, and charitable organizations.
5. Organization of the SS
a. FUNCTIONAL ORGANIZATION. The SS proper is divided functionally into three main groups:
(1) The General SS (Allgemeine SS), composed of the ordinary part-time members of General SS regiments (SS-Standarten), the full-time members (normally with the rank of major or above) of General SS units and headquarters, and non-active members attached to units and headquarters of the General SS. The General SS is not maintained by the state; its expenditures are borne by the Party and ultimately controlled by the Party Treasurer, who himself holds the rank of a full general of the SS.
In certain occupied countries (e.g. Norway, Holland) organizations have been set up which are modeled on the General SS These are known as Germanic SS (Germanische SS) and have their own central organization, ultimately subordinate to the RF-SS in Germany.
(2) The Armed SS (Waffen-SS). This category comprises the full-time military organization
Figure 2.--SS High Command.
of the SS together with their training and replacement units, schools, and installations. It is a specially regulated public instrument of the Reich on the model of the Army and is now considered a component part of the Armed Forces. Its expenses are borne by the State.
(3) The Death's-Head Formations (SS-Totenkopfverbände). These consist mainly of the guard units of concentration camps. Their development from the General SS is closely identified with the work of the Gestapo. Their expenses are a responsibility of the State.
b. HIGH COMMAND ORGANIZATION. The SS High Command is known as the Reichsführung-SS and consists of the RF-SS, his staffs, and the chiefs of the Main Departments (Hauptämter) described below. These Main Departments administer the internal affairs of the three functional subdivisions of the SS.
(1) The Headquarters Staff of the RF-SS (Kommandostab RF-SS) is located at the Field Command Post of the RF-SS (Feldkommandostelle RF-SS) which is usually near Hitler's headquarters in the field (Führerhauptguartier).
(2) The Main Department Personal Staff (Hauptamt Personlicher Stab--HA Pers. Stab) is a permanent installation at Himmler's rear headquarters to assist him in the execution of his manifold tasks.
(3) The SS Central Department (SS-Hauptamt--SS-HA) is responsible for miscellaneous over-all administrative and personnel matters. It is divided into the following five groups (Amtsgpuppen--Ag) :
Group A handles general administration matter.
Group B takes care of recruiting and registration of all categories of SS personnel.
Group C is responsible for propaganda, education, and physical training.
Group D controls the Germanic SS (Germanische SS) including recruitment in cooperation with Group B.
The Executive Staff of the German Volkssturm (Stabsführung des Deutschen Volkssturms) has been identified in the SS Central Department and presumably handles the responsibilities of the RF-SS connected with this national militia.
(4) The SS Main Operational Department (SS-Fuhrungshauptamt--SS-FHA) concerns itself largely with the Waffen-SS. It grew out of the former Operational Office in the SS Central Department in 1940. Its long-time chief, Hans Juttner, is now the deputy of the RF-SS in his capacity as Chief of Army Equipment and Commander of the Replacement Army. This Main Department contains the following four groups:
Group A controls operations, personnel, and supply. It includes the Headquarters Offices (Kommandoämter) of the General SS and of the Waffen-SS. Group B is responsible for the selection and training of officers and noncommissioned officers.
Group C consists of the inspectorates of the various branches of service.
Group D is in charge of medical matters for the entire SS.
(5) The SS Main Economic Administrative Department (SS-Wirtschaftsverwaltungshauptamt--SS-WVHA) is responsible for fiscal matters, administration of SS property and concentration camps, and control of supply installations. It is divided into five groups as follows:
Group A includes finance, law, and certain general administration matters.
Group B is responsible for supply installations and procurement and delivery of certain types of supplies for SS units and headquarters. Group C administers the works and buildings of the SS, including the construction of buildings.
Group D administers all concentration camps.
Group W manages the economic enterprises of the SS.
(6) The SS Main Race and Settlement Department (SS-Rasse- und -Siedlungshauptamt--SS-RuSHA) contains the following four offices (Ämter):
Administration Office (Verwaltungsamt).
Marriage Office (Heiratsamt) which rigidly controls the selection of suitable wives by SS men.
Racial Office (Rassenamt), which selects future SS men and handles the tasks of racial selection connected with the function of the RF-SS as Reich Commissioner for the Strengthening of Germanism.
Settlement Office (Siedlungsamt), which deals with the settlement of discharged SS men, especially in the annexed eastern areas.
The above offices of the Main Race and Settlement Department are further divided into Main Branches (Hauptabteilungen). One of these is the Main Welfare Branch, which handles the problems of welfare and pensions in close cooperation with the SS Main Welfare and Pension Department (SS-Hauptfürsorge- und- Versorgungsamt) in the Reich Ministry of the Interior.
(7) The SS Main Department for Personnel (SS-Personalhauptamt--SS-Pers.HA) is the central recording office for all SS officers and potential officers, including those of the Security Service (SD). It is not itself responsible for promotions and appointments. It is divided into two offices (Ämter):
Figure 3.--SS regional organization.
The Office of Officer Personnel Records (Amt für Führerpersonalien).
The Office for Potential Officers (Amt für Führernachwuchs).
(8) The SS Main Legal Department (Hauptamt SS-Gericht--HA SS-Gericht) is concerned with the special jurisprudence which operates within the SS and police organization. It is divided into four offices (Ämter):
Office I is the Legal Affairs Office.
Office II is the Office for Organization, Personnel, and Disciplinary Matters.
Office III is the Office for Pardons, Reprieves, and the Execution of Sentences.
Office IV is a Liaison Office (Verbindungsamt).
c. REGIONAL ORGANIZATION. (1) General.The basis of the regional organization of the SS is the district (Oberabschnitt--Oa.). There are seventeen of these districts in Germany proper and each coincides exactly with a Wehrkreis (Army corps area). The SS districts are known by geographical names, but it has become a convenient and growing custom to add to the name the Roman numeral of the corresponding Wehrkreis. With two exceptions, the headquarters of the district is in the same city as that of the Wehrkreis. In addition six districts have been organized in occupied countries and are known by names according to their geographical location. One of these, named "Ukraine" was dissolved early in 1944.
The control of a district is entrusted to a Higher SS and Police Commander (Höherer SS und Polizeiführer--HSSPf), who normally commands both the SS and police units and installations in the district.
Occupied areas which have not been organized into SS districts are also commanded by an HSSPf, whose functions are analogous to those of the HSSPf of a district.
In certain areas a regional organization of the Waffen-SS exists side by side with the general regional organization of the SS and police. These areas are controlled, for special purposes of the Waffen-SS only, by territorial Commanders of the Waffen-SS ( Befehlshaber der Waffen-SS--Bfh. d. W-SS).
(2) Authority of the HSSPf. (a) General functions. The HSSPf is the representative of the RF-SS at any given military territorial headquarters, or, where they exist, at the headquarters of the Reich commissioners (Reichskommissare) for occupied areas. As such he is the official adviser in all SS and police matters to the regionalrepresentatives of the Reich government administering any part of such an area.
He is the commander of the SS district if the area under his jurisdiction is constituted as such.
The HSSPf commands the SS and police units and installations in his area except those which have been subordinated to the OKH for operations and those which are commanded by a territorial commander of the Waffen-SS.
Operational commands have been assigned to an HSSPf under different circumstances and in varying degrees. Such commands have consisted of special staffs for combating partisans (SS und Polizei-Fuhrungsstab für Bandenbekampfung) and battle groups which were formed hastily from the forces normally commanded by the HSSPf when his area was invaded or threatened. A number of personalities have in this way graduated from assignment as HSSPf to that of the commander of an SS corps.
Various special offices are sometimes combined with that of the HSSPf in certain areas. For example, the HSSPf in Prague holds the position of Minister of State for Bohemia and Moravia (Staatsminister für Böhmen und Mähren) and acts as the deputy to the Reich Protector of this area. The HSSPf in the Government General holds the position of State Secretary for Security Matters (Staatssekretär des Sicherheitswesens).
With the increasing danger to Germany proper new responsibilities have been thrust upon the HSSPf, especially in the border areas. In some cases he has assumed active command of all units of the auxiliary organizations of the Reich and of the Party, except those of the Todt Organization (OT), so far as they have been organized for defensive combat tasks. In case of an invasion of his area he has been ordered to attach himself and all the units under him, including those of the SS and police, to the commander of the Wehrkreis and to act as his deputy for the latter if necessary.
The full title of an HSSPf may indicate the Wehrkreis (e.g. HSSPf Wehrkreis X), the geographical name of the Oberabschnitt (HSSPf Nordsee), or its headquarters city (HSSPf Hamburg). In occupied or annexed areas the title varies. The following examples are given as illustrations: HSSPf beim Reichskommissar für die besetzten niederländischen Gebiets is also encountered as HSSPf Nordwest or as HSSPf den Haag. The HSSPf in Greece was normally designated HSSPf Griechenland.
Each HSSPf is assisted by a Chief of Staff (Stabsführer) in the execution of all his duties. The latter is also the Chief of Staff of the SS district in those areas where the HSSPf is also the commander of such a district.
(b) Organization of SS districts. In Greater Germany (excluding Bohemia-Moravia and the Government General), the HSSPf has two separate staffs for his two main functions. One staff assists him in the command and administration of the SS, another in that of the police.
The staff of the SS within the SS district consists of the following officers under the Chief of Staff:
Chief Medical Officer.
Director of Training.
Chief Personnel Officer.
Chief Signal Officer.
The Administrative Officer heads the Administrative Office (Verwaltungsamt), which operates under the control of the SS Main Economic Administrative Department and handles all matters of finance and supply within the district.
Each district is divided into two or more sub-districts (Abschnitte), each having its own headquarters. These sub-districts are distinguished by Roman numerals. Their commanders are known as Führer des SS-Abschnitts. The headquarters of the SS sub-districts are organized on the same general lines as those of the district; both are closely parallel to the standard German staff organization for any military unit or headquarters, including the numbers and letters used for the sections and sub-sections.
Each of the districts inside Germany has a Waffen-SS recruiting center (Ergänzungsstelle) administered directly by the SS Central Department. It also has a section for racial and settlement matters (Rasse- und Siedlungswesen), which is under the supervision of the SS Main Race and Settlement Department.
The staff of the HSSPf for the command and administration of the police includes the following two leading police officers under the Chief of Staff:
Inspector of the Security Police and of the Security Service (Inspekteur der Sicherheitspolizei und des Sicherheitsdienstes--IdSuSD, sometimes also given as IdS.)
Inspector of the Order Police (Inspekteur der Ordnungspolizei--IdO). This officer controls the commander of the Barrack Police (those elements of the Protective Police who live in barracks), who has the title of Commander of the Protective Police (Kommandeur der Schutzpolizei).
These inspectors have complete administrative departments covering all aspects of police activities which are assigned to their respective branches.
Certain areas adjacent to Germany, particularly Alsace, Lorraine, and Luxemburg, have been incorporated into Wehrkreise while their civil administration has remained separate. For these areas a dual nomenclature exists for the leading members of the police staff of the HSSPf. They are referred to as Inspectors in the old part of the district and as Senior Commanders (Befehlshaber) of their respective branches for the annexed areas. The latter nomenclature coincides with that of the corresponding officers in areas outside the Reich proper as described below.
The organization of SS districts outside Greater Germany (namely Ost, Nordwest, Nord, Ostland, and formerly Ukraine) is identical to that inside Germany with the following exceptions:
There is an economic section directly subordinate to the HSSPf. This is headed by an officer known as SS-Wirtschafter and replaces the administrative office in the SS district.
The sub-districts of SS districts do not exist. Instead, one or more SS and Police Commanders (SS und Polizeiführer--SSPf) may exist. These are representatives of the HSSPf in all his functions for the sub-area which is assigned to them.
A Waffen-SS Recruiting Inspectorate (Ersatzinspektion der Waffen-SS) replaces the Waffen-SS Recruiting Center.
The leading officers on the staff of the HSSPf for the command and administration of the police have the following titles and functions:
Senior Commander of the Security Police and of the Security Service (Befehlshaber der Sicherheitspolizei und des Sicherheitsdienstes--BdSuSD or BdS). He may control subordinate area commanders (Kommandeure--KdSuSD or KdS).
Senior Commander of the Order Police (Befehlshaber der Ordnungspolizei--BdO). He may control subordinate Commanders (KdO).
These Senior Commanders have complete administrative departments covering all aspects of police activities which are assigned to their respective branches.
The above deviations in the organization of
the police, but not those relating to the SS, also apply to the district Böhmen-Mähren.
(c) Organization of areas which are not SS districts. In occupied areas which are not constituted as SS districts, the HSSPf retains his dual function as commander of all SS and police forces. There is considerably less emphasis on SS matters and normally no special staff for the latter exists. The police functions take on added significance because the HSSPf not only concerns himself with the German police forces but also controls, in varying degrees, the native police in the area. The nomenclature of the police officers coincides with that in SS districts outside Greater Germany.
In Italy several HSSPf's have been installed. They are subordinated to one Supreme SS and Police Commander (Höchster SS und Polizeiführer--Hochst. SSPf). It is believed that the general organization of the areas controlled by these officers differs little from that of the HSSPf and subordinate SSPf's in other occupied areas.
(3) Territorial commanders of the Waffen-SS. In certain selected areas the SS High Command has installed territorial commanders of the Waffen-SS (Befehlshaber der Waffen-SS--Bfh. d. W-SS). These represent the regional echelon of the SS High Command for the Waffen-SS only. They execute its directives and are in complete command of all units of the Waffen-SS in their areas. The commander of the Waffen-SS shares with the HSSPf control of the static installations of the Waffen-SS, but is otherwise completely independent of him. Such commanders have been identified in the Netherlands, in Bohemia and Moravia, in the area of the SS district "Ostland", and in Hungary.
The commander of the Waffen-SS may take on operational assignments under the command of the OKH.
The staff organization of these commanders is comparable to that of a corps. The various members of his staff represent the different offices of the High Command and the Inspectorates of the branches of service.
(4) List of SS districts. The following is a list of the SS districts together with their headquarters and the corresponding Wehrkreise.
Oa. Headquarters Wehrkreis Nordost Konigsberg I Ostsee Stettin II Spree Berlin III Elbe Dresden IV Sudwest Stuttgart V West Dusseldorf VI Sud Munchen VII Sudost Breslau VIII Fulda-Werra Arolsen IX Nordsee Hamburg X Mitte Braunschweig XI Rhein-Westmark Wiesbaden XII Main Nurnberg XIII Donau Wein XVII Alpenland Salzburg XVIII Weichsel Danzig XX Warthe Posen XXI Nordwest Den Haag (Netherlands) Nord Oslo (Norway) Ost Krakau Generalgouvernement Böhmen-Mähren Prague Böhmen und Mähren Ostland Riga (Ostland)
(5) List of SS sub-districts. Each district comprises an average of two or three sub-districts (Abschnitte) distinguished by Roman numerals. The sub-districts are also colloquially referred to by the names of the regions which they comprise or by the location of their headquarters.
Number Oa. Headquarters I Sud Munchen II Elbe Dresden III Spree Berlin IV Mitte Hannover V West Duisburg VI Sudost Breslau VII Nordost Konigsberg VIII Donau Linz IX Main Wurzburg X Sudwest Stuttgart XI Rhein-Westmark Koblenz XII Spree Frankfurt/Oder XIII Ostsee Stettin XIV Nordsee Oldenburg XV Nordsee Hamburg-Altona XVI Mitte Dessau XVII West Munster XVIII Elbe Halle/Saale XIX Sudwest Karlsruhe XX Nordsee Kiel XXI Sudost Hirschberg XXII Nordost Allenstein
XXIII Spree Berlin XXIV Sudost Oppeln XXV West Dortmund XXVI Weichsel Zoppot XXVII Fulda-Werra Weimar XXVIII Main Bayreuth XXIX Sudwest Konstanz XXX Rhein-Westmark Frankfurt/Main XXXI Donau Wien XXXII Sud Augsburg XXXIII Ostsee Schwerin XXXIV Rhein-Westmark Saarbrucken XXXV Alpenland Graz XXXVI Alpenland Salzburg XXXVII Böhmen-Mähren Reichenberg XXXVIII Böhmen-Mähren Karlsbad XXXIX Böhmen-Mähren Brunn XXXX Weichsel Bromberg XXXXI Weichsel Thorn XXXXII Warthe Gnesen XXXXIII Warthe Litzmannstadt XXXXIV Nordost Gumbinnen XXXXV Sudwest Strassburg
(6) SS regiments. The organization of the SS in the echelons below the sub-districts is on a unit rather than a territorial basis, although each unit controls a definite territory. Each sub-district headquarters controls two to four SS infantry regiments (SS-Fuss-Standarten). After 5 years of war these regiments are now no more than skeleton cadres carrying on the tradition and, to a limited extent, the functions of the organization until their members in the Armed Forces and Waffen-SS are demobilized. Regiments are numbered consecutively from 1 to 125.
Each regiment is normally composed of three active battalions (Sturmbanne) and one reserve battalion (Reserve-Sturmbann). The active battalions bear Roman numerals.
Each active battalion consists of four companies (Sturme) and a medical detachment (Sanitätsstaffel). One of the four companies may serve locally as a guard company (Wachkompanie) and one as an emergency company (Alarm-Kompanie), while the remaining two are assigned to general duties.
A reserve battalion has two reserve companies and a reserve medical detachment.
Recruiting battalions (Ergänzungs-Sturmbanne) are reserve battalions which undergo 3 months drilling prior to summary transfer to the Waffen-SS.
Each company is divided into three or four platoons (Trupps), each composed of three sections (Scharen). The file (Rotte) is the smallest unit of the SS.
There are a number of specialist and technical units (Sondereinheiten) in the SS. Among them are: cavalry regiments (SS-Reiterstandarten (R)); signal battalions (SS-Nachrichten-Sturmbanne (N)); engineer battalions (SS-Pionier-Sturmbanne (Pi)); medical companies (SS-Sanitäts-Sturme (San. St.)); motor transport companies (SS-Kraftfahr-Sturme (K)); motorcycle companies (SS-Kradsturme).
Within each district there is also a supplementary reserve formation (Stammabteilung), which is organized into territorial sub-units (Bezirke).
6. The Waffen-SS
a. ORIGIN AND GROWTH. Ever since 1933 a portion of the SS has been armed and trained along military lines and served on a full-time basis, living in special barracks. These troops were originally known as the SS-Verfügungstruppen (SS-VT), the name indicating that they were held at the disposition of Hitler for any purpose whatever. By 1939 four regiments (Standarten) of these troops had been organized.
The Verfügungstruppen took part in the occupation of Austria and Czechoslovakia side by side with the troops of the Army. During the months preceding the outbreak of the war they were given intensive military training and were formed into regular military units which then took an active part in the Polish campaign. Elements of the Death's Head Formations (Totenkopfverbände) also took the field as military units.
During the following winter and spring the regiments which had fought in Poland were expanded into brigades and later into full divisions. This purely military branch of the SS was at first known as the Bewaffnete SS (literally "Armed SS") and later as the Waffen-SS. The Leibstandarte SS "Adolf Hitler" became the SS division of the same name; the Standarte "Deutschland", together with the Austrian Standarte "Der Führer", formed the Verfügungs Division, to which a third regiment "Langemarck" was presently added to form the division "Das Reich"; and the Totenkopf units were formed into the "Totenkopf" Division. These three divisions were to be
the nucleus of the Waffen-SS in its rapid expansion which followed.
The Waffen-SS is based on the tradition of the General SS. It retained the strict racial selection and the emphasis on political indoctrination of the SS. The reasons for its formation were as much political as they were a welcome opportunity to acquire for the SS the officer material which was to prove so valuable later on.
With the intensification of the war the Waffen-SS became the proponent of the recruiting of "Nordic" peoples for military service in the interest of Germany. In 1940 the Standarten "Nordland" and "Westland" were created in order to incorporate such "Germanic" volunteers into the Waffen-SS. They were combined with the existing Standarte "Germania" to form the "Wiking" Division.
In the subsequent years the Waffen-SS proceeded to form native "Legions" in most occupied areas. These, in turn, were later converted into Waffen-SS brigades and divisions.
A slackening in the principles of racial selection occurred only after the war took on much less favorable aspects. During 1943 and 1944 the SS turned more and more toward frantic recruiting of all available manpower in occupied areas. While its major effort was directed toward the incorporation of the "racial" Germans (Volksdeutsche), a method was devised which permitted the recruiting of foreigners of all nationalities on a grand scale, while retaining at least some semblance of the original principles of "Nordic" superiority. Spreading foreigners thinly throughout trustworthy established units soon proved insufficient to digest the mass of recruits. Consequently divisions of foreigners were formed which received a sprinkling of regular Waffen-SS cadres. Finally the necessity arose to complement the officer corps of the Waffen-SS with foreigners.
Still very much concerned with the racial aspects of its units, the Waffen-SS developed a system of nomenclature which dubs the unit as foreign by an addition to its name.
Units containing a high percentage of "racial" Germans and "Germanic" volunteers (i.e. Scandinavians, Dutch, Flemings, Walloons, and Frenchmen), carry the designation "Freiwilligen-" as part of their names, e.g. 11. SS-Freiwilligen-Panzergrenadier-Division "Nordland". Units containing a preponderance of "non-Germanic" personnel, especially members of the Slavic and Baltic peoples, carry the designation "Waffen-" as part of their names, e.g. 15. Waffen-Grenadier-Division-SS (Lett. Nr. 1). Officers of "non-Germanic" origin cannot become full-fledged members of the SS officer corps. They are designated as Waffen-Führer der SS, and the individual rank is always given in the same manner, e.g. Waffen-Untersturmführer.
There is no doubt that this rapid expansion has somewhat modified the character of the Waffen-SS as a political elite formation. Nevertheless, the crack divisions of this organization may still be expected to fight to the very end, especially since the individual soldier and especially the individual officer have been made to feel personally involved in the endless series of war crimes, and strong propaganda has convinced most that their treatment, either in captivity or after defeat, will compare very unfavorably with that accorded other members of the armed forces.
The Waffen-SS at present consists of at least 31 divisions and three brigades, as well as a number of independent smaller units. Of the divisions seven are Panzer divisions. They form the strongest and politically most reliable portion of the Waffen-SS. The balance consists of five Panzer Grenadier divisions, five mountain divisions (of which at least one is believed to have been disbanded), seven infantry divisions, and two cavalry divisions. Three other divisions have been identified, but their type is not certain. About a third of the divisions are classified as "non-Germanic". Of the brigades at least one is of the Panzer Grenadier type and its strength is little less than that of a division.
Of the 13 identified SS Corps five are Panzer corps, two mountain corps, four infantry corps and two of uncertain type. At least one SS Panzer Army exists. It played a prominent part in the Ardennes counteroffensive in December 1944.
Among the divisions of the Waffen-SS one is designated as the SS-Polizei Division. This is the only unit made up of members of the police which has been fully incorporated into the Waffen-SS. It is not to be confused with the SS-Polizei-Regimenter, which have remained part of the police and are described in a separate section below.
b. RECRUITING, TRAINING, AND REPLACEMENT IN THE Waffen-SS. (1) Recruiting. (a) General. In principle, no new members were accepted for the SS after 1933 except from selected graduates of the Hitler Youth. The creation of
Figure 4.--Control of SS recruiting, training, and replacement.
the Waffen-SS and its rapid growth have caused the partial suspension of this rule, although service in the Waffen-SS does not necessarily entail membership in the General SS.
(b) Pre-war recruitment. Suitable SS candidates were singled out while still in the Hitler Youth. In particular boys who had proved themselves, often under SS leadership, in the HJ patrol service (HJ-Streifendienst) were welcomed as future SS men. If the candidate satisfied SS requirements with respect to political reliability, racial purity, and physique, he was accepted at the age of 18 as a candidate (Bewerber). On the occasion of the annual Party Congress (Reichspartei) in September of the same year, he was accepted as an aspirant (Anwärter), received an SS certificate (SS-Ausweis), and was enrolled in the ranks of the SS.
(c) Wartime recruitment. Recruitment and enrollment of new members for the SS have become of particular importance in view of the great expansion of the Waffen-SS during the war. The SS Central Department (SS-Hauptamt) is responsible for recruiting and registration of Germans and of "Germanic" and "non-Germanic" foreigners for the Waffen-SS. It exercises such functions for German and "Germanic" personnel through the Recruiting and Registration Group (Amtsgruppe B), and for "non-Germanic" foreigners through Group D--Germanic SS (Amtsgruppe D).
The SS Main Operational Department (SS-Fuhrungshauptamt--SS-FHA), which is responsible for the operational control of the Waffen-SS, lays down the general policy on recruiting and notifies its special requirements from time to time. The SS Central Department, however, remains responsible for the whole recruiting system of both the General SS and the Waffen-SS. Recruiting for the General SS, now almost at a standstill as a result of the war, is carried out through its own local units.
Service in the Waffen-SS is, at least officially, voluntary. The Waffen-SS claims priority over all other branches of the Armed Forces in the selection of recruits. To meet the high rate of casualties and the expansion of Waffen-SS field divisions, service in the Waffen-SS was made compulsory for all members of the General SS and voluntary transfer of personnel after being inducted into any of the other branches of the Armed Forces was permitted. Since 1943 a great amount of pressure has been exerted on members of the Hitler Youth to "volunteer" for the Waffen-SS. Still more recently, complete Army, Navy, and Air Force units were taken over by the Waffen-SS, given SS training, and incorporated into its field units.
(d) Recruitment machinery within Germany. The enlistment drives of the Waffen-SS within Germany, at first occurring at irregular intervals, are now practically continuous, indicating the great need for replacements. The SS-Standarte "Kurt Eggers", through its various agencies is the most successful propaganda machinery for the Waffen-SS. Through its war reporter battalion (Kriegsberichter Abteilung) it publicizes the important role of the Waffen-SS in the German press. Recruitment for the Waffen-SS is regionally organized and controlled by the recruiting office (Ergänzungsamt--Amt I), which is subordinate to the Recruiting and Registration Group. The regional organization consists of recruiting centers (Ergänzungsstellen), which are named in accordance with the SS districts (SS-Oberabschnitte) in which they are located. They also carry the Roman numeral of the Wehrkreis and are always located at the Wehrkreis headquarters city, except in SS district "Mitte", where the recruiting center is at Braunschweig instead of Hannover, and SS district "Weichsel", where it is at Gotenhafen instead of Danzig. Some of these recruiting centers also maintain branch offices outside Germany for the recruitment of racial Germans (Volksdeutsche). The recruiting centers, in cooperation with various State and military authorities effect the release of the examined and accepted applicants by the Reich Labor Service and by the recruiting sub-area headquarters (Wehrbezirkskommando). The recruits are then sent to a specific training and replacement unit or maneuver area of the Waffen-SS.
In January 1945, the recruiting centers for the Waffen-SS were combined with those of the Army for its volunteers for the officer and noncommissioned officer careers and for Volks Grenadier divisions. Under Himmler's orders "combined recruiting centers of the Army and Waffen-SS" (Ergänzungsstellen des Heeres und der Waffen-SS) were set up in each Wehrkreis, with branch offices in all major cities.
(e) Recruitment machinery outside Germany. The original decision to enlist "Germanic" and "non-Germanic" foreigners to serve with the Waffen-SS was based on the propaganda rather
than on the fighting value of these volunteers. No doubt for this reason the men were mostly organized in small independent national legions.
In Scandinavia and the occupied countries of the West, the recruiting was undertaken largely by the local Nazi and Quisling parties; in the Baltic states by the German controlled governments; and in the Balkans by the German authorities in agreement with the governments concerned. With the growing need for reinforcements, a large element of compulsion entered into the recruiting campaigns. At the same time the small uneconomic legions were reorganized into regiments and battalions, either to be incorporated into existing Waffen-SS divisions or to form the basis for new divisions and brigades. Early in 1943 the German government, in exchange for promises to deliver certain quantities of war equipment, obtained from the governments of Rumania, Hungary, and Slovakia their consent to an all-out recruiting drive for the Waffen-SS among the "racial" Germans domiciled in those countries. In effect, all able-bodied men who could be considered to be of German origin, including some who could scarcely speak the language, were induced by various forms of social and economic pressure to volunteer, and many men already serving in the Armies of these three countries were transferred to the Germans. Well over 100,000 men were obtained in this manner and were distributed among all the divisions of the Waffen-SS.
The whole of this foreign recruiting organization is controlled by the Germanic recruiting office (Germanisches Ergänzungsamt--Amt II) in the Germanic SS group (Amtsgruppe D--Ag D). Originally this recruiting organization consisted of a number of recruiting commands (Ersatzkommandos) established in the principal cities of the occupied countries. Subsequently these were reorganized as SS recruiting inspectorates (SS-Ersatzinspektionen) responsible for recruiting over a wide area, e.g. SS recruiting inspectorate Südostraum at Vienna for the whole of the Balkans. Such inspectorates control a number of recruiting commands covering smaller areas, which again are subdivided into branch offices (Nebenstellen); finally, there are various enlistment centers (Werbestellen) under each branch office.
(2) Training. (a) General. Propaganda on behalf of the SS,political education, physical training, pre-military and technical training, aswell as training within the SS, are the responsibility of the SS Central Department. However, the responsibility for the military training of Waffen-SS units devolves entirely on the SS Main Operational Department.
Before the war the SS aspirant in his first year of service trained for the SA Defense Training Badge (SA-Wehrabzeichen) and the Reich Sports Badge in bronze (bronzenes Reichssportabzeichen). He was then called up first for six months of service in the Reich Labor Service, and then for his term of duty in the German Army. After two and a half years, he returned to the SS to receive further intensive training and indoctrination. Finally, on the ninth of November following his return to civil life, he was inducted into the SS as a full SS man. The outbreak of the war and the creation of the Waffen-SS interrupted this training schedule.
(b) Propaganda and political education. The Office for Political Education (Amt Weltanschauliche Erziehung--Amt I) in the Education and Physical Training Group (Amtsgruppe C--Ag C) is responsible for propaganda and the political education of German personnel. This is carried out mainly in two ways. In the first place this office supervises the issuance of a number of propaganda publications, such as the Waffen-SS recruiting handbook "Dich ruft die Waffen-SS", the series of SS educational booklets (SS-Schuhingshefte), a news magazine for SS and Police (SS-Informationsdienst), and an illustrated magazine with stories and articles for more general consumption (SS-Leitheft). Secondly, this office holds political education courses for SS officers and enlisted personnel in SS training camps (SS-Ausbildungslager) and in addition is responsible for the appointment of education officers (Schulungsoffiziere) to the staffs of the SS training schools. Political and propaganda directives for the Waffen-SS also emanate from this office.
The foreign recruits often require special indoctrination before they can be handed over to the Waffen-SS as fit for its military training. To meet this need special training camps (Ausbildungslager) were established. Such camps and the whole political education of foreign volunteers are under the control and supervision of the Office for Germanic Training (Germanische Erziehung--Amt III) in the Germanic SS group. This office issues a number of propaganda publications for foreign volunteers, including a magazine
for each nationality in its own language and also a number of newspapers.
(c) Physical and preliminary training. The Office for Physical Training (Amt für Leibeserziehung--Amt II) in the Education and Physical Training Group is charged with the responsibility for physical training of all branches of the SS. The SS instructors in athletics and physical culture are trained at the SS Central School for Physical Training (SS-Reichsschule für Leibesulbungen), and special SS manuals on the subject are issued. In addition the Office for Physical Training has set up special physical training camps for the Germanic SS outside the Reich. The SS has for some time taken a very active interest in the pre-military training programs of the Hitler Youth and other Party organizations.
(d) Technical training. As part of the general program of training and preparation for the Waffen-SS, special SS Higher Vocational Schools (SS-Berufsoberschulen) have been set up under the control and direction of the Education and Physical Training Group for giving higher technical training to candidates for the Waffen-SS. All German boys who are apprentices or students in business, trade, or agriculture, and are attending a trade or technical school may apply for entry into such a school as officer applicants of the Waffen-SS. The wartime course is limited to 11/2 years and is free to the selected candidates.
The Vocational Schools of the Waffen-SS (Berufsschulen der Waffen-SS) give similar training, though of a lower standard.
(e) Military training. The military training of the Waffen-SS is controlled entirely by the SS Main Operational Department, which exercises this function through three main agencies:
The Training Branch (Abt 1 d) in the Headquarters Office of the Waffen-SS (Kommandoamt der Waffen-SS--Amt II) supervises and coordinates the whole sphere of training in the Waffen-SS. This branch is divided into a number of sections, each of which is responsible for a certain type of training. Its mission includes close cooperation with all other offices and inspectorates concerned with military training, liaison with the training agencies of the German Army, and issuance and control of all instructional material. It also registers and controls the training of future SS staff officers, providing courses for supply officers (1 b-Lehrgänge) and for intelligence officers (1 c-Lehrgänge).
The SS inspectorates (SS-Inspektionen), which are combined into an inspectorate group (Amtsgruppe C--Ag C), are responsible for the technical and unit training within the various branches of service. There are ten such inspectorates, numbered in a broken series from one to 13. Each one is headed by an Inspector (Inspekteur), who is directly responsible to the Chief of the SS Main Operational Department. It may control experimental and demonstration units and staffs, and it usually works in close liaison with the corresponding inspectorate in the OKH.
The Training Group (Amtsgruppe B--Ag B) is responsible for individual officer and noncommissioned officer training. It exercises these functions through the Office for Officer Training (Amt Führerausbildung--Amt XI), which controls all officer candidate schools (SS-Junkerschulen) and courses, and the Office for Noncommissioned Officer Training (Amt Unterführerausbildung), which controls all noncommissioned officer schools and courses.
(f) Schools and courses. During 1943 and 1944 the Waffen-SS established schools and courses for almost all branches of military affairs needed by a complete and well balanced military organization. As a result, it is now thoroughly equipped with schooling facilities of its own, although certain highly specialized types of personnel are still trained in special SS courses at regular Army schools.
The SS schools may be divided into four categories: special service schools, officer candidate schools, noncommissioned officer schools, and specialist training establishments.
Almost all the schools of the Waffen-SS have certain basic elements of organization in common, which are analogous to those of Army schools. They are headed by a commander who is assisted by a headquarters staff (Kommandostab). Under this they have instruction groups (Lehrgruppen) of battalion status and inspectorates (Inspektionen) of company status.
Special-service schools (Waffenschulen) have the function of providing specialized and advanced training for officers and enlisted personnel in their particular branch of service (Waffengattung). The Waffen-SS has special-service schools for mountain infantry, cavalry, Panzer Grenadiers, and Panzer troops, but not for ordinary infantry; this is explained by the fact that all Waffen-SS field divisions except some of those which are composed principally of non-
German personnel are either Panzer, Panzer-Grenadier, cavalry, or mountain divisions.
The courses at the special-service schools may be divided into three main categories: reserve officer candidate courses (Reserve-Junker-Lehrgänge--RJL); preparatory courses (Vorbereitungs-Lehrgänge) for officer applicants (Führer-Bewerber--FB) and reserve officer applicants (Reserve-Führer-Bewerber--RPB); and courses for technicians, which are found mainly at the special-service schools of the signal troops and artillery and which use special technical equipment peculiar to their respective arms.
Most of the Waffen-SS special-service schools have demonstration regiments (Lehrregimenter) attached to them for demonstrating and instructing and also for experimenting with new weapons and tactics.
Officer candidate schools are discussed in the separate section on the officer corps below.
The two basic types of establishments for the training of noncommissioned officers for the Waffen-SS are the noncommissioned officer schools and separate noncommissioned officer courses. The former are for professional noncommissioned officers and the latter for reserve noncommissioned officers.
The SS noncommissioned officer schools (SS-Unterführer-Schulen), which train German and "Germanic" personnel, and the SS and foreign personnel noncommissioned officer schools (SS-und Waffen-Unterführer-Schulen), which train German and "non-Germanic" personnel, are organized into either one or two battalions, a battalion consisting of a headquarters and four companies. Each company usually trains noncommissioned officers for a different branch of service. On completing the course an SS noncommissioned officer applicant (SS-Unterführer-Bewerber) is appointed SS noncommissioned officer candidate (SS-Unterführer-Anwarter); he may become a sergeant (SS-Unterscharführer) only after demonstrating his abilities in a troop unit.
Besides the courses for professional noncommissioned officers held at the noncommissioned officer schools, the Waffen-SS conducts short-term noncommissioned officer courses (Unterführer-Lehrgänge) for reserve noncommissioned officers. These are usually held in the field divisions during quiet periods.
Specialist training establishments have the mission of training of officer technicians (Technische Führer der Sonderlaufbahnen) and particularly noncommissioned officer technicians (Unterführer der Sonderlaufbahnen). Specialist training establishments include the Motor Technical School of the Waffen-SS (Kraftfahrtechnische Lehranstalt der Waffen-SS at Vienna, the Ordnance Technical School of the Waffen-SS (Waffentechnische Lehranstalt der Waffen-SS) at Dachau, riding and driving schools, motor transport supply-troop schools, and a number of other types.
(3) Replacement. Unlike the Army, the Waffen-SS does not decentralize the control of its replacement system to its regional headquarters in Germany. The entire replacement system of the Waffen-SS is administered centrally by the SS Main Operational Department. Replacement requisitions from field units for ordinary personnel are sent through this department direct to the replacement units concerned. Those for officers go to the SS Main Department for Personnel (SS-Personnel Hauptamt), except that for all officers in the economic administrative service the SS Main Economic Administrative Department (SS-Wirtschaft-Verwaltungs-Hauptamt) is the responsible replacement agency.
The entire system of transferring and assigning Waffen-SS personnel to training and replacement units, field units, schools, and headquarters is controlled by the reinforcement branch (Abt I e) in the Headquarters Office of the Waffen-SS (Kommandoamt der Waffen-SS--Amt II). This branch works in close cooperation with various other agencies regarding the transfer and assignment of specialist personnel. For example, the veterinary troops of the Waffen-SS are supervised by the Veterinary Branch (Abt IV) in the Riding and Driving Office (Amt Reit- und -Fahrwesen--Amt VI), which also conducts their training and courses, while all ordnance troops are controlled by the Ordnance Branch (Abt II) in the office for supply (Nachschubamt--Amt VII). Both these branches maintain personnel assignment sections for their respective specialist personnel. Medical personnel comes under the control of the Administration Office (Amt XIII) in the Medical Group (Sanitätswesen der Waffen-SS-Amtsgruppe D--Ag D).
c. OFFICER CORPS OF THE Waffen-SS. (1) General. The SS Main Department for Personnel (SS-Personal-Hauptamt--SS-Pers HA) keeps a central card file on all officers of the SS. The original officer corps of the SS comprised a number of different categories, mainly dependent
upon the nature of their employment. The creation of the Waffen-SS and its employment as a powerful military force necessitated the formation of a separate officer corps for the Waffen-SS. An officer may, and often does, have different ranks in the two corps.
(2) Selection of prospective officers. The selection, registration, and training of prospective officers for the Waffen-SS is the responsibility of the SS Main Operational Department, which exercises this function through the Office for Officer Training (Amt Führerausbildung--Amt XI) in the Training Group (Amtsgruppe B). At the time of induction the recruiting center reports officer material to this office. Every volunteer has the opportunity to enter the officer career of the Waffen-SS, depending upon three qualifications, namely, his character as a German, his performance as a National Socialist and a member of the SS, and his qualifications as a soldier and leader.
Men selected as prospective officer candidates proceed to a training and replacement unit or training camp of the Waffen-SS. The unit commander concerned decides whether a candidate is fit or unfit for the officer career of the Waffen-SS after he has completed his basic training. The branch of service to which an approved candidate is to be allotted is then determined by the Office for Officer Training in consultation with the various offices and inspectorates of the SS Main Operational Department.
The officer corps of the Waffen-SS comprises three categories:
(a) Active officers of the Waffen-SS (Aktive Führer der Waffen-SS), those who adopt the career of SS officer. The elite of this category includes all pre-war graduates of the SS officer candidate schools.
(b) Reserve officers of the Waffen-SS (Reserve-Führer der Waffen-SS).
(c) Foreign officers of the SS (Waffen-Führer der SS). This category includes all active and reserve officers of "non-Germanic" nationalities. Those eligible include men who previously held a commission in their own armies and those who show leadership qualifications in the ranks of the Waffen-SS. This category, however, does not include officers coming from "Germanic" countries, who may become full-fledged officers (SS-Führer) of either the active or reserve category
(3) Officer candidate schools. Waffen-SS schools designed to train and provide officer material are of two basic types: SS officer candidate schools (SS-Junkerschulen), which train German and "Germanic" officers; and SS and foreign personnel officer candidate schools (SS- und Waffen-Junkerschulen), which train both German personnel and "non-Germanic" foreigners. The courses last about 6 months and are differentiated as either war-officer-candidate courses (Kriegsjunker-Lehrgänge) or war-officer-candidate courses for foreign personnel (Kriegs-Wafenjunker-Lehrgänge).
(a) Active officers. The active officer candidates of the Waffen-SS attend the war-officer-candidate courses (Kriegjunker-Lehrgänge) held at the officer candidate schools. These candidates must have previously completed a preparatory course (Vorbereitungs-Lehrgang) held either at a special-service school or at a training and replacement unit of the Waffen-SS. They start this course as active officer applicants (Führer-Bewerber--FB) and subsequently receive the title of SS-Junker and the equivalent rank of the lowest grade of sergeant (Unterscharführer). After the mid-term examinations at the officer candidate school they become Standartenjunker with the equivalent rank of Scharführer, and after the final examination Standardtenoberjunker (equivalent to Hauptscharführer). Candidates then return to their units and, after a minimum of two months, are appointed 2d Lieutenant (Untersturmführer) by the RF-SS upon the recommendation of their regimental commanders.
(b) Reserve officers. Reserve officer candidates of the Waffen-SS, after taking a preparatory course as Reserve-Führer-Bewerber--RPB, become SS-Junker der Reserve and then attend a reserve officer candidate course (Reserve-Junker-Lehrgang), held at a special-service school of the Waffen-SS and lasting about 4 months. After the mid-term examinations they become Standartenjunker der Reserve, and after the final examinations Standartenoberjunker der Reserve. Foreign officers of the reserve (Waffen-Führer der Reserve) also attend the reserve officer candidate courses.
Like active officer candidates, the graduates become officers only after at least 2 months of service with a unit.
(c) Foreign officers of the SS. "Non-Germanic" officer candidates attend a war officer candidate course for foreign personnel (Kriegs-Waffenjunker-Lehrgang) held at the SS and foreign personnel officer-candidate schools (SS- und
Waffenjunker-Schulen). After its completion they return to their units and after a period of 2 months are appointed Waffen-Untersturmführer by the RF-SS upon the recommendation of their regimental commander.
(4) Officer candidate courses. Apart from the regular courses at the officer-candidate schools described above, the Waffen-SS conducts the following special officer-candidate courses:
Courses for partly disabled SS officer candidates (Lehrgänge für versehrte SS-Junker) held at the officer-candidate schools.
Special course for Panzer officer candidates (Panzer-Junker-Sonderlehrgang).
(5) Other officer training establishments. The Waffen-SS maintains medical and economic administrative officer training establishments with the function of providing for and supervising the military education of prospective active medical and economic administrative officers of the Waffen-SS during the period of their studies at universities and other institutions.
(6) Specialist careers. All officer candidates choosing a specialist career (Sonderlaufbahn) must have certain basic qualifications. They must have spent half a year with a field unit and successfully graduated from an officer candidate school of the Waffen-SS.
The following are the various specialist careers of the Waffen-SS:
(a) Medical career. This includes:
Physician (SS-Führer und Arzt)
Medical technician (SS-Führer im Sanitätstechn. Dienst)
Dentist (SS-Fehrer und Zahnarzt)
Pharmacist (SS-Führer und Apotheker)
The Medical Academy of the Waffen-SS provides for the training of all officers in the medical career. Besides their formal training students attend lectures and practical demonstrations at various universities.
(b) Veterinary career. This includes:
Veterinary (SS-Führer und Veterinär)
Veterinary technician (SS-Führer im Veterinärtechn. Dienst)
Officers in the veterinary career receive their specialist training in the Blacksmith School as well as in the veterinary training and replacement unit of the Waffen-SS.
(c) Administrative career. The Officer School of the Economic Administrative Service of the SS gives lectures and provides practical application for officers in the administrative career. Besides lectures at universities, the training includes practical experience and instruction at an administrative office of the Waffen-SS.
(d) Ordnance technician career. This includes:
Ordnance supply officer (SS-Führer im Waffen- und Munitionsdienst)
Ordnance officer technician (Techn. SS-Führer W)
Engineering officer (Techn. SS-Führer W Ing.)
The Ordnance Technical School and the engineering schools of the Waffen-SS provide for the specialized training of these officers. They also attend lectures and receive practical application at technical institutions.
(e) Motor technical career. This includes:
Motor officers (Technische SS-Führer (K) I)
Motor officers (Technische SS-Führer (K) II)
The Motor Technical School of the Waffen-SS provides for and supervises the training of these officers.
(f) Other specialist careers of the Waffen-SS include:
Officer technician (sig) (Technische SS-Führer (N))
Judge advocate (SS-Führer und Richter)
Notary (SS-Führer und Beurkundungsführer)
Water supply officer (SS-Führer und Wehrgeologe)
Bandmaster (SS-Führer und Musikführer)
The officers in these specialist careers, besides their instruction at technical schools and other establishments of the Waffen-SS, receive specialized training at the special-service schools or specialist training schools of the Waffen-SS.
d. SUPPLY SYSTEM OF THE Waffen-SS. (1) General. Units of the Waffen-SS operating under the tactical control of the Army utilize the regular Army supply channels for supplies of rations, fuel, heavy equipment, and ammunition. In addition, however, the SS maintains its own system of supply distinct from that of the Armed Forces and not subject to control or supervision by the latter. For this purpose a large network of depots and stores has been built up in Germany and in occupied territory.
(2) Control. Operationally these depots and stores come under the control of the SS Main Operational Department, which is responsible for the equipment and supply of SS units and establishments when not under the tactical control of
the Army. The SS Main Economic Administrative Department, on the other hand, is responsible for the detailed administration of these depots, or for the general supervision of administration where there is decentralization of its authority, e.g. to the economic official (SS-Wirtschafter) with a Higher SS and police commander in occupied territory. The actual responsibility for supply is divided between the SS Main Operational Department, which is responsible for initial equipment and the supply and maintenance of arms, ammunition, technical equipment, and transport vehicles, and the SS Main Economic Administrative Department, which is responsible for rations, clothing, personal equipment, coal, wood, and fodder.
For certain types of heavy equipment which are obtainable only from Army depots, agreement is reached between the OKH and the SS Main Operational Department, which becomes responsible for the general supervision of stocks, maintenance, and repair once such equipment has been handed over to an SS unit.
Although the SS and Police supply and administration system in wartime operates primarily for the Waffen-SS and SS police units, its organization and installations are also at the disposal of the General SS and the SS Death's-Head Formations.
(3) Regional organization of supply. The SS Main Economic Administrative Department controls all regional supply depots. There is a marked tendency for SS depots and administrative services to be grouped around concentration camps, notably Dachau and Oranienburg. This arrangement centralized administrative matters, as the concentration camps come under the control of the SS Main Economic Administrative Department, and the inmates of such camps provide a cheap source of labor.
At each SS district headquarters in Germany proper there is an administrative office (Verwaltungsamt) which controls and supervises all supply depots and installations within its area. Similarly at the SS sub-district headquarters there is an administrative branch (Verwaltungsabteilung) with the same functions. At the headquarters of an SS garrison command (SS-Standortbereich) there is an SS garrison administration headquarters (SS-Standortverwaltung) dealing with supply and finance in its area and directly subordinate to the respective SS district and sub-district.
In occupied territory, there is an economic section controlled by an official (SS-Wirtschafter) on the staff of an HSSPf. He is responsible for the administration of all depots and supplies in his region. Where field units of the Waffen-SS are likely to operate in a particular area for a considerable period, special supply bases (Stützpunkte) are usually established at convenient points. These are small and temporary in character.
(4) Channels of supply. All Waffen-SS units requisition their supplies from the SS Main Operational Department, which either makes the issue itself or instructs the SS Main Economic Administrative Department to do so. The latter then either dispatches the material direct to the unit from one of the central depots or from the factory, or arranges for it to be made available to the unit at the nearest convenient sub-depot.
The main stocks of supply are held in central SS depots. These are of two kinds:
Main supply depots (SS-Hauptwirtschaftslager--HWL), containing miscellaneous types of supplies. Special depots, including SS ordnance depots, motor transport supply depots and parks, signal equipment depots, medical equipment depots, and clothing depots.
From these central depots, outlying sub-depots are supplied. These may be either SS supply depots (SS-Nachschublager), mainly found near the borders of Germany and in occupied territory, or SS troop supply depots (SS-Truppenwirtschaftslager--TWL), which hold stocks of clothing, light equipment, fuel, and other goods.
At the time, when the supply lines on the Eastern Front were too far extended, SS supply service headquarters (SS-Nachsehubkommandanturen) were established. Each of these was in itself an important group of depots and administrative offices. Although subordinate for administrative purposes to the SS economic official with the local HSSPf, it was the primary link between the SS main departments and main depots in Germany and the SS units and sub-depots in its own area. It served both as a distribution center and a supply base, and in its depots were held arms, ammunition, motor transport equipment, captured material, clothing, fuel, coal, wood, building material, and other goods. It was also empowered, subject to the approval of the SS economic official with the HSSPf, to make contracts with or purchases from private firms in its area.
(5) Veterinary supply service. The Waffen-SS
maintains its own channel of supply for its cavalry and non-motorized units. Horses for the Waffen-SS are procured through SS remount depots (SS-Remonteämter), which were mainly found until recently in occupied territory. These depots forward the horses to the SS riding and driving schools (SS-Reit-und-Fahrschulen), from where they either go to a unit direct or to an SS base veterinary depot (SS-Heimatpferdepark), which in turn forwards them to an SS veterinary depot (SS-Pferdepark) in a forward area, usually attached to an SS corps. These corps will then make distribution among their divisions which have veterinary companies. Wounded horses, after treatment in the field, go to an SS veterinary hospital (SS-Pferdelazarett) in a forward area and then to an SS base veterinary hospital (SS-Heimatpferdelazarett) in Germany. Veterinary equipment for Waffen-SS units can be obtained from the SS Central Veterinary Park (SS-Hauptveterinärpark) by way of one of the veterinary parks in forward areas.
(6) Movement of supplies. The transportation of SS supplies is coordinated by the transportation officer (Transportoffizier--TO) in the SS Main Operational Department. He maintains liaison both with other SS main departments where necessary and also with the German railway authorities and the transportation authorities of the German Army. Subordinate to him are a number of regional transportation officers, found mainly in those districts close to the German border. Other transportation officers are stationed at principal railway stations in Germany and in occupied territory. At railway junctions particularly important for SS movement, SS reloading stations (SS-Umschlagstellen) are established.
(7) Repair and maintenance of vehicles and equipment. In forward areas, besides the repair and recovery sections at divisions, independent sections may operate at supply depots or at supply service headquarters. In Germany facilities for repair exist at the appropriate SS central depots and also at the SS Ordnance Testing Workshop (SS-Waffenamt-Prufungswerkstätte) and the SS Ordnance Works (SS-Ausrüstungswerke). Extensive use is also made of Army repair facilities.
(8) Medical services. General supervision over the medical services of the SS is exercised by two officers, the Chief SS and Police Medical Officer (Reichsarzt SS und Polizei), who is attached to the Personal Staff RF-SS (Personlicher Stab RF-SS), and the Head of the SS Medical Group, who acts as Inspector General of SS Medical Services.
Actual administration is carried out by the Medical Group (Sanitätswesen der Waffen-SS--Amtsgruppe D) in the SS Main Operational Department, which controls SS hospitals and medical services in Germany and in occupied territory as well as the medical units attached to SS units in the field. It does not, however, automatically follow that all SS casualties are evacuated through SS medical channels. Local circumstances may make it difficult or inexpedient to use SS medical facilities, and it frequently happens that SS wounded are evacuated as far as base hospitals in Germany entirely through regular Army medical channels.
A great number of SS medical institutions, SS hospitals (SS-Lazarette), and SS convalescent homes (SS-Genesungsheime) have been identified both in Germany and in occupied areas.
e. EMPLOYMENT OF THE Waffen-SS IN THE FIELD. Hitler is nominally the Supreme Commander of the Waffen-SS. This command is exercised only through the RF-SS, and it has become very doubtful of late whether Hitler has retained any power to direct Himmler in this or any other capacity.
The field headquarters of the RF-SS (Feldkommandostelle RF-SS) represents nominally the highest echelon in the direction of the employment of the Waffen-SS. Since Himmler is not always present at this headquarters, proper allowance should be made for the fact that the RF-SS will decide in person about such employment, regardless of his whereabouts at the time. No unit, of the Waffen-SS may be dissolved, under any circumstances, by anybody but the RF-SS.
For military operations, units of the Waffen-SS are placed under command of the OKH. In the beginning individual units were assigned to army groups and armies as needed, although an effort was made to give them independent tasks wherever possible. Special emphasis was placed on the propaganda value of their employment, and many spectacular missions were assigned to them, although their military importance and difficulty were often exaggerated. With the progress of the Russian campaign these units became involved in tougher combat assignments. Due to the strict selection of their personnel, not only from a political point of view but also from that of health,
stamina, and stature, these units were in a position to take full advantage of the strong propaganda efforts which the SS made in their behalf. Gaining a reputation as an elite force, divisions of the Waffen-SS began to control regular Army units engaged in the immediate vicinity. The next step was the formation of SS corps which, under OKH command, controlled SS divisions and brigades. Soon certain SS corps held command over a small group of SS units and a much larger proportion of regular Army units. Eventually, certain SS corps commanded Army units only. For a brief period, in 1943, an SS Army existed which held mainly administrative functions in northern Italy. But in the autumn of 1944, when the Sixth Panzer Army was formed, a large unit of the German Army was for the first time designated as an SS unit. Previous to that event, SS generals had held Army commands under the OKH in a few instances during the defense of Normandy and the withdrawal from France.
The territorial commanders of the Waffen-SS (Befehlshaber der Waffen-SS), who have been installed in certain occupied and annexed areas, take charge of operations only in certain special cases. For example, a coast defense sector (Küstenverteidigungsabschnitt) in the Netherlands was commanded by such an officer under the Commanding General in the Netherlands (LXXXVIII Army Corps). His command included training and replacement units of the Waffen-SS, of the SS Police, and of the Air Force.
In theory, the influence of the RF-SS ceases with the subordination of Waffen-SS units to the Army. In effect, however, much evidence points to the fact that he retains the right to pass on the type of employment which the Army may prescribe.
The temporary relief of Rundstedt as commander of the Western Front in 1944 is attributed, at least in part, to a conflict between him and the RF-SS resulting from discrepancies of opinion as to the employment of the Waffen-SS in that theater.
Units of the Waffen-SS have been employed in all theatres of the war, except in North Africa and in the original campaign in Norway. From the small beginning of regimental units participating in the Polish campaign, active employment of Waffen-SS units grew to at least two divisions in the Western and Balkan drives of 1940 and 1941. One division was engaged in Finland from the beginning of the Russian campaign. In Russia itself the number of Waffen-SS units engaged grew from five divisions in 1942 to at least four corps and 13 divisions for the better part of 1944.An SS brigade participated in the defense of Corsica and was later committed as a division in the Italian theater, while another appeared there to assist in the internal tasks resulting from the Italian collapse. To this were added a new division and a new brigade in 1944. Two corps and at least seven divisions fought at various times against the partisans in Yugoslavia, and one division formed an important component of the occupation forces in Greece. Two Waffen-SS corps and six divisions were employed in Normandy and participated in the withdrawal from France. On the Western Front one Army, at least six corps, and a minimum of nine divisions were opposing Allied forces at the beginning of 1945. Two or three corps, nine divisions, and two brigades formed the strength of the Waffen-SS in Hungary at that time.
Corps units of the Waffen-SS, such as Panzer, heavy artillery, observation, projector, signal, reconnaissance, and antiaircraft battalions and smaller units of the same and other types, may be used as tactical support for both Waffen-SS and Army units.
Ever since the SS increased its power over the Army so suddenly in July 1944, rumors have persisted that individual members of the Waffen-SS became attached to regular Army units, especially in the low echelons, in order to increase the reliability of these troops. The fact that units of the Waffen-SS were used to prevent mass desertions or withdrawals contrary to orders is established. Waffen-SS personnel forms the nucleus of the Volks Grenadier and probably also the Volkssturm units. To some extent personnel of the Waffen-SS was exchanged with Army personnel, while whole contingents of Air Corps and Navy personnel were repeatedly pressed into the service of the Waffen-SS when it became urgently necessary to reform badly mauled Waffen-SS units.
Another recent trend is the assumption of command functions in the Waffen-SS by high-ranking Army officers. They appear with SS ranks equivalent to their former Army ranks. Although this procedure may be caused merely by military expediency, it is not likely that a high-ranking German officer would assume an SS rank without coming under the special disciplinary rules of the SS and without having reconciled himself to its program, ideals, and plans for the future.
7. SS Police Units
a. INTRODUCTION. Parts of the German Order Police (Ordnungspolizei--Orpo) have maintained a strict military organization patterned after that of the regular Army. Known as the Barrack Police (Kasernierte Polizei), a branch of the Protective Police (Schutzpolizei--Schupo), they are quartered in large towns in Germany, usually in company strength. These units are commanded in each locality by a Commander of the Protective Police (Kommandeur der Schutzpolizei), who receives his orders from the Inspector of the Order Police (Inspekteur der Ordnungspolizei), a member of the staff of the HSSPf in each district. Their function is to act as a mobile reserve for the ordinary municipal police. They may be described as the lineal descendants of the old "green" police (Landespolizei), a quasi-military body of men permitted to Germany by the Treaty of Versailles.
For service abroad during the war these Barrack Police have been formed into SS police regiments (SS-Polizei-Regimenter) and SS-Police Battalions (SS-Polizei-Bataillone), most of them motorized, which are organized and equipped on a military basis but usually lack heavy weapons.
The development of these units started with the formation of centuries (Hundertschaften) in 1939, which soon developed into independent battalions. A battalion consists of about 550 men, organized into a headquarters and four companies, and equipped with rifles, machine guns, antitank guns, and armored cars. Battalions were originally numbered in the series 1 to 325. Most of them were reorganized into regiments in 1943 and numbered in one consecutive series running up to about 37. Most of these regiments appear simply as SS-Polizei-regiment (followed by its number), but at least one regiment is an SS-Polizei-Gebirgsjäger-Regiment (SS Police Mountain Infantry Regiment).
The ideology and general bearing of these units are similar to those of the Waffen-SS. They have gained a very similar reputation for their conduct, especially as occupation troops. These units are not part of the Waffen-SS, and they should not be confused with the SS-Polizei-Division, a Waffen-SS division composed of police personnel.
b. RECRUITING, TRAINING, AND REPLACEMENT. (1) Recruiting. Before the war candidates for the Protective Police had to meet very high standards of health and physique, to be members of the SS or some other Party organization, and to pass a special aptitude test. The expansion of the SS police units during the war made it necessary to relax these requirements. At the same time an effort was made to recruit men who had been discharged from the regular Armed Forces for one reason or another, and special privileges were offered them in the form of advanced noncommissioned officer ratings depending on the number of years of previous service.
Later on the recruiting authorities for the SS police units, just like those for the Waffen-SS, resorted more and more to the manpower of occupied countries, especially in Eastern and Southeastern Europe. These men were first used in separate units known as Schutzmannschaften or militia, chiefly for guard duties and small-scale counter-partisan activities; such units were then incorporated into the SS police organization, sometimes forming entire regiments which were called police volunteer regiments (Polizei-Freiwilligen-Regimenter).
(2) Training. The police organization maintains its own school system but frequently has to use the school facilities of either the Army or the Waffen-SS. All training activities are controlled and supervised by the Headquarters Office (Kommandant) of the Order Police in the Main Department of the Order Police (Hauptamt Ordnungspolizei). Personnel after induction receive basic training in the special-service schools of the police (Polizei-Waffenschulen) and specialized training either at the specialist training establishments of the police or the specialist training schools of the Army or Waffen-SS.
Noncommissioned officer and officer candidate schools of the Police provide for the training of noncommissioned officer and officer material. In addition special noncommissioned officer and officer candidate courses are held at the special-service schools of the police.
(3) Replacement. The replacement system of the police is likewise the responsibility of the Headquarters Office in the Main Department of the Order Police. This office includes a personnel office, a reinforcement branch, and an administration and law office which performs the functions of replacement and assignment of personnel in a manner very similar to that of the corresponding offices of the SS High Command.
The actual replacement units of the SS police regiments are the special-service schools, which were formerly called instruction battalions (Lehr-Bataillione). These units receive their personnel from the recruit assembly centers (Erfassungsdienststellen) of the Protective Police. For officers and specialist personnel, the responsible replacement units are the officer candidate schools and specialist training schools.
c. OFFICER CORPS. All officers of the Protective Police are recruited in wartime from graduates of the SS officer candidate schools (SS-Junkerschulen). They are then given special police training at police officer schools. All officers now have dual rank in the SS and the Protective Police.
d. SUPPLY. The SS police regiments have their own supply depots and their own channels of supply. They receive such supplies from the Main Ordnance Depot of the Order Police (Hauptzeugamt der Ordnungspolizei) and from the police procurement depots (Polizei-Beschaffungsämter) as well as from the clothing distribution centers of the police (Bekleidungslieferstellen der Polizei). For certain types of supply, however, they depend upon the supply depots and installations of the Waffen-SS or those of the Army.
e. EMPLOYMENT OF SS POLICE UNITS IN THE FIELD. The employment of police units for military purposes dates back to 1939, when a Räumungshundertschaft der Polizei was engaged in directing refugees who were evacuated from the western border areas. Their main mission was to keep the roads clear for the columns of the Armed Forces. The expansion into battalions was brought about in order to cope with the type of guerrilla warfare which originated in Russia behind the lines of the swiftly advancing German forces. Numerous units employed here gained valuable experience which they put to good use in their later missions in Yugoslavia, Greece, Italy, and France. SS police units were also stationed wherever large-scale construction of defense works was in progress, e.g. at the Atlantic Wall and in the Mediterranean defense zone. At times SS police units joined with combat troops in the front lines, especially where defensive operations became urgent. In most cases only elements of SS police regiments have been identified in one place. Battalions of the same regiment have been found in different sectors and even on different fronts.
Normally these units come under the regional command of the HSSPf represented by the commander of the Order Police. In certain areas special headquarters have been formed under the HSSPf to carry out such tasks as the combating of partisans. Sometimes SS police units have been placed under Army command for military operations, or they may be directly subordinate to a commander of the Waffen-SS who in turn comes under the Army.
Section II. AUXILIARY ORGANIZATIONS
Certain militarized organizations have developed from independent or Party formations to full-fledged partners of the Armed Forces. In the field, when they operate directly for the Armed Forces, they are described as attached to them (Wehrmachtgefolge); but they also perform many supply, construction, policing, and training tasks of military importance when not actually associated with military units.
2. Labor Service
The German Labor Service (Reichsarbeitsdienst--RAD) arose from a Party organization set up in 1931 and known as the NS-Arbeitsdienst for the purpose of easing unemployment. It grew in importance with the rearmament of Germany, and a law in 1935 made service in the RAD, now separated from the Party and made into a State organization, compulsory for all young Germans. The strength of the RAD in 1939 is estimated at 360,000 men; it is now considerably less. The RAD is a Supreme Reich Authority with the same status as the Ministries. It has nevertheless maintained its strong ties to the Party, documented by the position of its chief, the Reichsarbeitsführer, as a member of the High Command (Reichsleitung) of the Party.
The mission of the RAD in peacetime consisted in the creation of jobs, the performance of public works, the revival of interest in the dignity of manual labor, and above all the physical hardening, disciplining, and political indoctrination of its members.
The RAD has its own regional organization based on 40 Arbeitsgaue which contain numerous groups (Gruppen) and detachments (Abteilungen). A detachment normally consists of about 200 men.
Army SS Police TN (and other auxiliary police) RAD OT NSKK Party-Officials# SA and NSFK HJ Gren. SS-Mann Anwarter Anwarter Arbeitsmann Arbeiter Sturmmann Heifer Sturmmann## Hitlerjunge Ob. Gren. Sturmmann Vormann Vormann Obersturmmann Oberhelfer Obersturmmann## Rottenführer Gefr. Rottenführer Unterwachtmeister Unterwachtmeister Obervormann Meister Rottenführer Arbeitsleiter Rottenführer Oberrottenführer Ob. Gefr. Rottwachtmeister Rottwachtmeister Hauptvormann Obermeister Oberarbeitsleiter Stabsgefr. Untertruppführer Hauptarbeitsleiter Unt. Offz. Unterscharführer Wachtmeister Wachtmeister Truppführer Truppführer Scharführer Scharführer Kameradschaftsführer Unt. Feldw. Scharführer Oberwachtmeister Oberwachtmeister Oberscharführer Oberscharführer Oberkameradschaftsführer Feldw. Oberscharführer Zugwachtmeister Zugwachtmeister Obertruppführer Obertruppführer Truppführer Bereitschaftsleiter Truppführer Scharführer Ob. Feldw. Hauptscharführer Hauptwachtmeister Hauptwachtmeister Haupttruppführer Obertruppführer Oberbereitschaftsleiter Obertruppführer Oberscharführer Stabsfeldw. Sturmscharführer Bereitschaftswachtmeister Haupttruppführer Hauptbereitschaftsleiter Haupttruppführer Meister Meister Unterfeldmeister Obermeister Lt. Untersturmführer Leutnan Zugführer Feldmeister Frontführer Sturmführer Einsatzleiter Sturmführer Gefolgschaftsführer Ob. Lt. Obersturmführer Oberleutnant Oberzugführer Oberfeldmeister Oberfrontführer Obersturmführer Obereinsatzleiter Obersturmführer Obergefolgschaftsführer Hauptmann Hauptsturmführer Hauptmann Bereitschaftsführer Oberstfeldmeister Hauptfrontführer Hauptsturmführer Haupteinsatzleiter Hauptsturmführer Hauptgefolgschaftsführer Major Sturmbannführer Major Abteilungsführer Arbeitsführer Stabsfrontführer Staffelführer Gemeinschaftsleiter Sturmbannführer Stammführer Obst. Lt. Ohersturmbannführer Oberstleutnant Oberabteilungsführer Oberarbeitsführer Oberstabsfrontführer Oberstaffelführer Hauptgemeinschaftsleiter Obersturmbannführer Oberstammführer Oberst Standartenführer Oberst Landesführer Oberstarbeitsführer Oberstfrontführer Standartenführer Hauptabschnittsführer Standartenführer Bannführer Oberführer Oberführer Hauptbereichsleiter Oberführer Hauptbannführer Gen. Maj. Brigadeführer Generalmajor Generalarbeitsführer Einsatzleiter Brigadeführer Hauptdienstleiter Brigadeführer Gebeitsführer Gen. Lt. Gruppenführer Generalleutnant (Chef der TN) Obergeneralarbeitsführer Einsatzgruppenleiter II Gruppenführer Hauptbefehlsleiter Gruppenführer Obergebeitsführer General Obergruppenführer General Einsatzgruppenleiter I Obergruppenführer Gauleiter Obergruppenführer Stabsführer Gen. Obst. Oberstgruppenführer Generaloberst Reichsarbeitsführer Chef der OT Korpsführer Reichsleiter Stabschef der SA Reichsjugendführer Gen. Feldm. Reichsführer-SS # This is only a selection of the many Party ranks. ## SA-Sturmmann equals NSFK-Mann.
SA-Obersturmmann equals NSFK-Sturmmann.
Figure 5.--Table of equivalent ranks.
The work done by the RAD was of substantial military value even in peacetime. It helped to build fortifications and formed the nucleus of the construction battalions of the Army and Air Force at the outbreak of war. Such battalions, which were originally formed by the outright conversion of RAD groups, had an average strength of 2,000 men and consisted of four construction companies and three construction columns. These units prepared the way for the work of the engineers and did the pick and shovel work under them. During the Polish campaign the work consisted of road and railway repair work and of construction of airfields. In addition they brought up supplies, collected and sorted captured equipment, and helped with the harvest. In December 1939 the RAD reverted to its original form and continued to carry out its wartime duties under its own commanders and under RAD rules and administration. By 1943 the RAD men were completely militarized. In addition to the shovel work, they were employed to lay minefields and man fortifications and were taught antitank and antiaircraft defense. In 1944 such employment became more general while conditions inside Germany necessitated the use of the RAD to operate antiaircraft batteries, fight fires, clear bomb damage, and build temporary quarters for the bombed-out.
Units remaining in the field or finding themselves in German areas which became parts of the fighting front were often incorporated into the Wehrmacht without further ado,
3. Todt Organization
The Organisation Todt (OT) was first formed by the late Dr. Todt in 1938 to build the western defenses known in Germany as the Westwall. In wartime its Einsatzgruppen (Work Groups) were employed as construction units in almost all defensive construction works, especially those in France, Italy, and the Lowlands. The OT cooperates closely with private firms in its missions for the Wehrmacht and employs increasing numbers of foreign laborers. Its liaison with the Army is maintained through the fortress engineer staffs (Festungspionierstäbe). The transport system of the OT is maintained by the NSKK (see below). The German personnel of the OT is armed in order to be prepared for any surprise attack while working on the building site. Most of the men belong to age groups which are expected to have received military training during the last war. Refresher courses are held.
4. Nazi Party Motor Transport Corps
The Nationalsozialistisches Kraftfahrkorps (NSKK) was organized under its present title in 1931 to increase the mobility of the SA (Brown-shirts). After 1933 the NSKK turned to the training of drivers for the eventual use of the Armed Forces.
As a branch (Gliederung) of the Party, the NSKK has its own regional organization which is divided into Motorobergruppen and further into Motorgruppen. Membership is on a voluntary basis.
Since the outbreak of war the NSKK has fulfilled three important functions. It has organized pre-military training in the motorized branch of the Hitler Youth, it has provided an auxiliary transportation service in the communications zone in support of the Armed Forces, and it has trained tank crews for the Army. For the transport function NSKK units were organized as four separate brigades (Brigaden).
With the forming of the Volkssturm in October 1944 the NSKK became responsible for its automotive training.
5. Technical Emergency Corps
The Technische Nothilfe (TN), often referred to as the Teno, is a branch of the Order Police (Ordnungspolizei). It is a corps of engineers, technicians, and skilled and semi-skilled specialists in construction work, public utilities operation, communications, metal salvage, and other related fields.
Most of its members are men over military age. General requirements are those of the SS and Police.
Founded in 1919 as a strike-breaking organization the TN was retained after 1933 as a force of the state to cope with emergencies and dangers to the public. Incorporated into the police in 1937, the TN continued to perform its original mission in wartime. In addition, units of the TN were employed in construction and repair work and in many other technical tasks with the Armed Forces. Portions of these units have been incorporated into the Army as technical troops (Technische Truppen), which have since lost their identity as TN units entirely. TN units are known to have performed engineer functions for SS-Polizei units which were employed in defensive tasks in forward echelons.
Founded by Hitler in October 1944, this national militia organization represents an ultimate effort to mobilize all available manpower for employment in total war. It includes all German men between the ages of sixteen and sixty who are not in the Armed Forces and who are able to bear arms. The members of the Volkssturm are described as soldiers for the duration of their employment, which is to take place locally wherever a given area is threatened. The Volkssturm has the mission of reinforcing the active strength of the Armed Forces and defending German soil to the last. It is recruited under the auspices of the Party, whose formations join in providing its cadres and officers. The leadership in the Party regions is assigned to the Gauleiter, the rifle training to the SA, and the automotive training to the NSKK. Beyond that all installations and institutions of the Party serve to form and train the new units. Himmler, as Commander of the Replacement Army, is responsible for the organization of the Volkssturm and for ordering its mobilization and employment in any particular area.
Section III. OTHER PARTY ORGANIZATIONS
Certain uniformed organizations of the Party in addition to those described above may also be regarded as potential auxiliary units to the German military forces. They have been encountered performing important functions of a quasi-military nature in the occupied countries and will all, without exception, be called upon for either combat or supporting duties in the defense of any part of Germany proper under immediate military threat.
The National-Socialist Party itself (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei--NSDAP) has an elaborate hierarchy of central, regional, and local headquarters with departments for all its manifold interests at all levels. Through this apparatus it is able to keep a close watch on all aspects of German life and all the activities of the citizens. Its High Command (Reichsleitung) at Munich includes bureaus (Ämter) which more or less parallel the Ministries of the national government in Berlin. The heads of the principal activities are called Reichsleiter, of whom some 16 now exist. These, together with the Gauleiter who head the 43 Party regions (Gaue), constitute the top leadership of the Party. Under them are vast numbers of Party functionaries known as political leaders (Politische Leiter), who have their own complicated system of ranks and uniforms and are well suited to organizing and guiding resistance within Germany.
To train the corps of political leaders in Nazi ideology and methods the Party has established a system of special schools, including four "castles of the order" (Ordensburgen) for highly select students and a large number of regional and district training "castles" (Gau- and Kreis-Schulungsburgen).
When the Volkssturm was created in October 1944, responsibility for recruiting and organizing it locally was vested in the Gauleiter. This is the first occasion on which the Party authorities as such have been entrusted with a function which is primarily military in nature.
Besides its regular regional and functional subdivisions the Party includes four special branches (Gliederungen) --the SA, SS, NSKK, and HJ--and a number of affiliated formations (angeschlossene Verbande), each of which is a self-contained organization with its own particular mission, regional structure, ranks, uniforms, and significance to the war effort of the nation. Since these have not been discussed in the previous sections they are dealt with briefly below.
1. Storm Troops (Sturmabteilungen SA)
These are organized on a pattern similar to that of the SS. The highest regional subdivision is the Gruppe, which is divided into Standarten, or regiments. As the oldest semi-military organization of the Party, the SA is designed as the Party's instrument for the training and indoctrination of its members and for supporting its domestic political aims in public. Membership in the SA is voluntary. Leading SA personalities for a time entertained hopes of an eventual merging of their organization with the Armed Forces, so as to create a "Brown Army" under their personal leadership. At the same time these leaders hoped to demand stronger revolutionary action by the Party in keeping with the anti-capitalistic tendencies inherent in the SA, which has always drawn its members chiefly from the lower middle-class and the lower bureaucracy. These tendencies were forcibly destroyed in the purge of 1934, in which Himmler played a leading part. From then on the SS, previously an organization within the SA, grew steadily in power and the SA sank into relative political unimportance. Since 1943 a rejuvenation of the SA has taken place, largely under the auspices of the SS.
Since 1939 the SA has made a substantial contribution to the German war effort through its assigned responsibility for military training preceding or following the period of regular military service. It also trains those who were rejected by the Armed Forces for physical reasons. In 1944 the SA was entrusted with the task of teaching every German marksmanship, and with the forming of the Volkssturm in October 1944 the SA became responsible for its rifle training.
The bulk of the pre-war members of the SA were drawn into the Army, whose 60th Panzer Grenadier Division is composed mainly of SA men and carries the name "Feldherrnhalle" in honor of the most elite peacetime regiment of the SA.
2. National-Socialist Aviation Corps (Nationalsozialistisches Fliegerkorps--NSFK)
This organization incorporated the existing associations for aviation into one Party-controlled organization in April 1937. The mission of the NSFK consists in pre-military training of prospective members of the Air Force, post-military training of its reservists, and general furthering of air-mindedness among the German people. Particularly outstanding have been its efforts in the development of the use of gliders. Its regional organization, like that of the SA, is based on Gruppen and Standarten. Membership is voluntary and excludes simultaneous membership in the SS, SA, or NSKK.
3. Hitler Youth (Hitler-Jugend--HJ)
All German youths between the ages of 10 and 18 belong to this organization of the Party, which is charged with their thorough pre-military training and political indoctrination. Pre-military training has been greatly expanded in the course of this war. For this purpose about 300 Wehrertuchtigungslager (military fitness camps) were installed, beginning in 1943. Participants in these training courses were subsequently incorporated into the Armed Forces and especially into the Waffen-SS, whose 12th Panzer Division bears the name "Hitler-Jugend". Graduates of the HJ become eligible for Party membership. They may either choose a career as Party functionaries (Politische Letter) or may join the SS, SA, NSKK, or NSFK.
Girls belong to a branch of the HJ known as the League of German Girls (Bund Deutscher Madel--BDM) and join the Party Women's Organization (NS-Frauenschaft) upon reaching the age of 21.
The HJ for boys is divided into the Hitler-Jugend proper (for boys from 14 to 18) and the Deutsches Jungvolk--DJ, for boys from 10 to 14. Its regional organization is based on Gebiete, which are further divided into Banne, Stamme, Gefolgschaften, Scharen, and Kameradschaften.
Units of the HJ have been committed to "war employment" (Kriegsenisatz), discharging such duties as fire fighting and air raid protection. They have also been widely employed to help with the harvest and as conductors, mail clerks, postmen, and street cleaners as well as for salvage activities and collections for war charities. Since 1943 most members of the HJ have had to serve as antiaircraft auxiliaries (HJ-Luftwaffenhelfer and HJ-Marinehelfer), performing many functions in the antiaircraft batteries, which relieve older men for combat duty.
Bazooka battalions (Panzerschreckabteilungen) have recently been formed from HJ personnel. Close liaison between the HJ and both the Armed Forces and the Waffen-SS is maintained by means of specially appointed liaison officers. The elite of the HJ is used in its special Patrol Service (Streifendienst), which combines all the tasks of a junior SS and police force. The members of this group are most unscrupulous and are used as raiding squads and informers. In Poland they formed pursuit detachments (Rollkommandos) serving under officers of the SS Death's-Head Formations.
Section IV. EMERGENCY DEFENSE OF GERMAN SOIL
Detailed plans exist for the rapid mobilization of all the auxiliary organizations described in the above paragraphs in case of the actual invasion of, or immediate military threat to, any part of Germany proper. Elaborate administrative preparations have been made for their operational control and chain of command in such an emergency.
The commander of each corps area (Wehrkreis) has always been responsible for organizing the emergency defense of his territory. Since, however, he normally controls only the static military forces and installations of the Armed Forces proper, the Higher SS and Police Commander (HSSPf) has been designated to join him in case of invasion and to take control of all the other available manpower in the area which is organized in a form suitable to aid in its defense. He is not to be subordinated to the Wehrkreis commander but must cooperate with him and will deputize for him if necessary. The only exception to this is the Todt Organization, whose units and installations pass directly to the control of the Wehrkreis commander in such an emergency.
Under the HSSPf the Wehrkreis is divided, for emergency defense, into security zones (Sicherungsbereiche), each headed by a commander of the Protective Police (Schupo). In case of invasion each such commander joins the Armed Forces commander (Wehrmachtkommandant) in the major garrison area which most nearly coincides with the security zone. The Armed Forces commander then acts, in collaboration with the security zone commander, as "combat commander" (Kampfkommandant) of the area, a concept introduced in 1944 for commanders who take full charge of areas which are expected to become cut off and which must be defended to the "last cartridge". The commander of the security zone will take the place of the combat commander in case he should become a casualty, unless there is another officer senior to him in the area.
The organizations which come under the control of the Higher SS and Police Commander in emergency include the Waffen-SS, Security Police, Protective Police, Rural Police, special employment units of the General SS (SS-z.b. V.), special employment units of the SA (SA-z.b. V.), Urban and Rural Auxiliary Guards, Fire-fighting Police and Fire-fighting Services, Technical Emergency Corps, German Labor Service, Postal and Railway Security Forces, Industrial Emergency Units (Industrie-Alarmeinheiten), Plant Protection Service (Werkschutz), the German Red Cross, and the Volkssturm.
This arrangement for the emergency defense of German soil is in sharp contrast to the established prerogatives of the Army in military matters in that responsibility as well as actual control of the defending forces is to be shared between the proper territorial military authority and the representative of its principal rival, the SS.
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