TM-E 30-451 Handbook on German Military Forces

[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department Technical Manual, TM-E 30-451: Handbook on German Military Forces published in March 1945. — Figures and illustrations are not reproduced, see source details. — As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. — Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]



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.


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