(iii) Feldgendarmerie der Waffen-SS

Prior to the outbreak of war, the still very small SS-Verfügungstruppe had no particular need for its own Feldgendarmerie branch. Even though it participated in large scale troop movements such as the occupation of the Sudetenland, the Anschluss with Austria etc., any required provost support was provided by the same Motorisierte Gendarmerie troops assigned to the army for the same purpose.

By the outbreak of war however, the SS-Verfügungsdivision and SS-Totenkopf Division each fielded a Feldgendarmerie-Trupp. As the now renamed Waffen-SS grew, so each new division would be assigned its own Feldgendarmerie-Trupp, and in the case of some of the larger and more powerful units, its own Feldgendarmerie-Kompanie.

Not every Waffen-SS division which existed on paper however, ever reached full strength status in reality and in the case of some of these units, no trace can be found of any intended Feldgendarmerie-Trupp actually being created.

Although as a general rule, only field units of divisional size or greater would be allocated its own Feldgendarmerie-Trupp, in a small number of cases brigade sized units in the Waffen-SS were also allocated their own Feldgendarmerie. Corps and headquarters establishments were also known to have had Feldgendarmerie elements attached.

As with the Feldgendarmerie of the Luftwaffe, those of the Waffen-SS existed to provide provost support to Waffen-SS divisions in the field. Within the borders of the Reich all military police functions were carried out by the Feldgendarmerie of the Heer. Members of the Waffen-SS for example committing disciplinary infringements whilst on leave in Germany would be dealt with by military policemen of the army attached to the local Kommandantur.

SS-Unterscharführer Erwin Bartmann was a member of the elite LAH (Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler), the unit which began life as the personal bodyguard of the Führer. Based in the capital of the Reich, the LAH was extremely ‘high profile’ and mounted guard at the Reichskanzlei.

Despite his NCO rank and membership of this influential unit, on committing some minor faux pas when travelling through Berlin, Bartmann was ‘collared’ by the military police and reported to his unit. The army Feldgendarmerie had no qualms about disciplining a member of the powerful SS. Interestingly, the same veteran could not recall ever having seen an SS-Feldgendarm. This is perhaps not all that surprising. At the front, troops are more likely to encounter Feldgendarmen directing traffic at crossroads or manning checkpoints when they would often be wearing the protective motorcycle coat. With no distinctive SS insignia visible, it might easily be assumed such troops were from the army Feldgendarmerie. Like their army counterparts, the Waffen-SS units seem to have drawn their Feldgendarmerie personnel from the civilian police. Or at least the initial cadre staff of experienced officers and NCOs, with men drawn from its own ranks gradually being trained to fulfil the provost role.

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Soldbuch to Schützen Hans Uglorz who served with the SS-Feldgendarmerie in the SS-Polizei Division. (Henner Lindlar)

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Note the entry in Section C of the Uglorz Soldbuch for service with the Feldgendarmerie-Leutnant of the Polizei Division. (Henner Lindlar)

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Werpass of Unterscharführer Franz Erhart who served with the SS-Feldgendarmerie of the Totenkopf Division. (Henner Lindlar)

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The fourth entry from the Erhart Wehrpass shown here reads ‘Feldgend. Kp/ SS-T-Pz. Gren.Div.’ or ‘Feldgendarmerie Leutnant/SS-Totenkopf Panzer Grenadier Division’. (Henner Lindlar)

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Medals are awarded to members of the Feldgendarmerie from the SS-Totenkopf Division. The army pattern cufftitle is worn. (Gary Wood)

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An SS-Feldgendarm on duty at a traffic post for SS vehicles. (Henner Lindlar)

Uniforms and Insignia

SS-Feldgendarmen wore exactly the same range of uniforms and equipment as their regular comrades, only certain special insignia identifying their particular role and authority.

Shoulder Straps

Feldgendarmen of the Waffen-SS wore the same orange-red Waffenfarbe as their army counterparts. It was featured as piping to the edge of enlisted mens and NCOs straps and as intermediate underlay between the braid and black wool base material of officers straps. As of course no Waffenfarbe was featured on regulation SS collar tabs, the shoulder strap was the principal bearer of the distinctive Waffenfarbe colour.

Headgear

The standard Waffenfarbe colour for piping on Waffen-SS visor caps was white for all branches of the service. For short period however, between May and November 1940, piping in branch colours was permitted. Photographs exist of SS-Feldgendarmen where it is quite clear that the piping to the crown and cap band of the visor cap is certainly not white, and can therefore be assumed to be in orange-red.

Notwithstanding the fact that branch-piped SS visor caps for the Feldgendarmerie must have existed, such caps have been so expertly faked in recent times that it is almost impossible to find an example over which agreement on originality can be established between experienced collectors.

Waffenfarbe colour in the form of and inverted rayon chevron of Russia Braid or soutache enclosing the Totenkopf was also worn on the field cap and once again, photos of SS-Feldgendarmen wearing field caps with what can only be an orange-red Waffenfarbe soutache exist.

Arm Eagles

Typically, throughout the war, the standard arm eagle worn by SS-Feldgendarmen was the basic machine woven or machine embroidered SS sleeve eagle. Less common though it certainly occurred and can be proven through original period photos, the best known of which show Feldgendarmerie personnel from the Handschar Division, was the use of the Feldgendarmerie police style arm eagle embroidered in orange thread on a field grey base. In fact this police style eagle was prescribed for SS-Feldgendarmerie units in 1942 though it would appear that most continued to wear the regular SS arm eagle. In any case, the use of this police style arm eagle was abolished altogether (also for the Heer) in October 1944. There do exist photos which show the use of a police style arm eagle worn below the SS eagle. Even from black and white photos, it appears that in these cases, the eagle being worn is that of the Schutzpolizei, embroidered in green, not orange thread.

In 1943, the SS introduced a diamond shaped sleeve badge (Ärmelraute) as a ‘tradition’ badge to indicate the wearers former status as a member of the police, and it is believed that the police eagles seen worn below the SS arm eagle on such photographs are Schutzpolizei eagles used for the same purpose and are not Feldgendarmerie eagles. In any case, no regulation has been discovered allowing the use of two arm eagles on Waffen-SS uniform ( as opposed to one eagle and a ‘tradition’ badge).

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Mealtime for the Feldgendarmen of the SS-Totenkopf Division. Note that they wear the runic collar patch, not the normal deaths-head patch of the Totenkopf Division. (Gary Wood)

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Two SS-Rottenführer from the SS-Feldgendarmerie of the elite Leibstandarte escorting British prisoners. Although somewhat blurred, the photo shows both the Divisional ‘Adolf Hitler’ cufftitle and the ‘SS-Feldgendarmerie’ cufftitle are being worn. (Josef Charita)

Cuffbands

On the outbreak of war, members of the SS-Feldgendarmerie were issued with the same machine woven grey on brown rayon cuffband as used by the Heer and Luftwaffe. In August 1942 however, a specific SS version of the cuffband was introduced. It was 3.2 cm wide, woven in silver grey rayon on black with the text SS-Feldgendarmerie in Latin script letters. This band was worn until November 1944 when the Feldgendarmerie of the Waffen-SS, like their Wehrmacht counterparts, ceased to wear a cuffband.

Gorget

The gorget worn by the SS-Feldgendarmerie the standard Heer pattern.

In the recent publication ‘Ringkragen und Brustschilder im Dritten Reich’, authors Wim Saris and Andrew Mollo show a interesting variant of the Fedgendarmerie gorget which is similar in concept to the special version created for the Grossdeutschland Division. In this case however, the additional thin sheet metal plate added across the top of the gorget features a so-called Sonnenrad or “Sunwheel” type circular swastika. This was the emblem used by 5 SS-Panzer Division ‘Wiking’, so although so far no photographs have emerged showing this gorget being worn by members of SS-Feldgendarmerietrupp 5, it seems likely that this gorget was indeed, like its GD counterpart, a unit modified variant for the military police of this elite unit.

Waffen-SS Feldgendarmerie Units

Initially, the Waffen-SS tended to title their Feldgendarmerie units with the name of the parent unit, but eventually settled on a numerical system where the number of the Feldgendarmerie-Trupp followed that of the parent division, thus SS-Feldgendarmerie-Trupp 12 was part of 12 SS-Panzer Division “Hitlerjugend”.

Divisional Units

Parent

SS-Feldgend.-Komp 1

1 SS-Panzer Div.“LSSAH“

SS-Feldgend.-Komp 2

2 SS-Panzer Div.“ Das Reich“

SS-Feldgend.-Komp 3

3 SS-Panzer Div. “Totenkopf“

SS-Feldgend.-Komp 4

4 SS-Polizei-Division

SS-Feldgend.-Komp 5

5 SS-Panzer Div.„“Wiking“

SS-Feldgend.-Komp 6

6 SS-Gebirgs-Div. “Nord“

SS-Feldgend.-Trupp 7

7 SS-Gebirgs-Div.“Prinz Eugen“

SS-Feldgend.-Trupp 8

8 SS-Kavallerie-Div. “Florian Geyer“

SS-Feldgend.-Trupp 9

9 SS-Panzer Div. “Hohenstaufen“

SS-Feldgend.-Komp 10

10 SS-Panzer Div. “Frundsberg“

SS-Feldgend.-Komp 11

11 SS-Panzergrenadier Div. “Nordland“

SS-Feldgend.-Komp 12

12 SS-Panzer Div. “Hitlerjugend“

SS-Feldgend.-Trupp 13

13 Waffen-Gebirgs-Div. der SS “Handschar“

SS-Feldgend.-Trupp 14

14 Waffen-Grenadier-Div. der SS

SS-Feldgend.-Trupp 15

15 Waffen-Grenadier-Div. der SS

SS-Feldgend.-Komp 16

16 SS-Panzergrenadier Div. “Reichsführer-SS“

SS-Feldgend.-Komp 17

17 SS-Panzergrenadier Div. “Gotz v. Berlichingen“

SS-Feldgend.-Komp 18

18 SS-Freiwilligen Panzergrenadier Div. “Horst Wessel“

SS-Feldgend.-Trupp 19

19 Waffen-Grenadier-Div. der SS

SS-Feldgend.-Trupp 20

20 Waffen-Grenadier-Div. der SS

SS-Feldgend.-Trupp 21

21 Waffen-Gebirgs-Div. der SS “Skanderbeg“

SS-Feldgend.-Trupp 26

26 Waffen-Grenadier-Div. der SS

SS-Feldgend.-Trupp 27

27 Freiwilligen-Grenadier-Div. der SS “Langemarck“

SS-Feldgend.-Trupp 31

31 Freiwilligen-Grenadier-Div. der SS

SS-Feldgend.-Trupp 37

37 SS-Freiwilligen Kavallerie Div.

Corps Units

Parent

SS-Feldgendarmerie-Kompanie SS-Panzerkorps LAH

I SS-Panzerkorps

SS-Feldgendarmerie-Kompanie 1 SS-Panzerkorps

I SS-Panzerkorps

SS-Feldgendarmerie-Kompanie 101

I SS-Panzerkorps

SS-Feldgendarmerie-Kompanie II SS-Panzerkorps

II SS-Panzerkorps

SS-Feldgendarmerie-Kompanie 102

II SS-Panzerkorps

SS-Feldgendarmerie-Kompanie III (germ.) SS-Panzerkorps

III SS-Panzerkorps

SS-Feldgendarmerie-Kompanie 103

III SS-Panzerkorps

SS-Feldgendarmerie-Kompanie IV SS-Panzerkorps

IV SS-Panzerkorps

SS-Feldgendarmerie-Kompanie 104

IV SS-Panzerkorps

SS-Feldgendarmerie-Kompanie 105

V SS-Panzerkorps

SS-Feldgendarmerie-Kompanie 106

VI SS-Panzerkorps

SS-Feldgendarmerie-Kompanie 107

VII SS-Korps

SS-Feldgendarmerie-Kompanie 109

IX SS-Korps

SS-Feldgendarmerie-Kompanie 509

IX SS-Korps

SS-Feldgendarmerie-Kompanie 111

XI SS-Korps

SS-Feldgendarmerie-Kompanie 112

SS-Feldgendarmerie-Kompanie 113

XIII SS-Korps

SS-Feldgendarmerie-Kompanie XVIII SS-Korps

XVIII SS-Korps

 

Brigade Units

Parent

Feldgendarmerie-Trupp SS-Brigade 1

1 SS-Brigade

Feldgendarmerie-Trupp SS-Infanterie Brigade 1

1 SS-Infanterie Brigade

SS-Feldgendarmerie-Trupp 51

1 SS-Infanterie Brigade

Feldgendarmerie-Trupp SS-Brigade 2 RFSS

SS-Brigade RFSS

Feldgendarmerie-Trupp SS-Infanterie Brigade 2

2 SS-Infanterie Brigade

SS-Feldgendarmerie-Trupp 52

2 SS-Infanterie Brigade

SS-Feldgendarmerie-Trupp 54

SS-Brigade Nederland

Feldgendarmerie-Trupp SS-Kavallerie Brigade

SS-Kavallerie Brigade

SS-Feldgendarmerie-Trupp franz. SS-Brigade

franzözische SS-Brigade

Miscellaneous

Feldgendarmerie-Trupp Generalkommando Waffen-(Gebirgs) Armeekorps SS

1. Feldgendarmerie-Trupp Kommandostab rückwärtige Dienst Reichsführer-SS

1. Feldgendarmerie-Trupp Reichsführer-SS

Feldgendarmerie-Trupp Reichsführer-SS

SS-Feldgendarmerie-Kompanie Reichsführer-SS

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A fine portrait study of an SS-Hauptscharführer wearing the machine woven ‘SS-Feldgendarmerie’ cufftitle. Note also the Infantry Assault Badge being worn.

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A fine portrait shot of a Oberschutze of SS-Feldgendarmerie. (Henner Lindlar)

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Soldbuch of Oberscharführer Konrad Broxtermann who served with the SS-Feldgendarmerie attached to the famed ‘Wiking’ Division. (Henner Lindlar)

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The Broxtermann Soldbuch. Note the entry in Section C ‘ 5 SS. P-Div ‘Wiking’ Feldgend.-Komp.’ (Henner Lindlar)

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Soldbuch to Hauptscharführer of SS-Feldgendarmerie Walter Redmann.

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Entries from the Redmann Soldbuch showing service with the SS-Feldgendarmerie units of two elite Panzer Divisions, ‘Wiking’ and ‘Frundsberg’.

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Award entries from the Redmann Soldbuch showing the War Merit Cross 2nd Class , East Front Medal, Iron Cross 2nd Class and Wound Badge in Black.

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Soldbuch to SS-Sturmmann of Feldgendarmerie Fritz Aurich. (Henner Lindlar)

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The Aurich Soldbuch showing the unit entry for his service with the Feldgendarmerietrupp of the SS Kavallerie-Brigade. (Henner Lindlar)

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Extremely rare Soldbuch to Oberscharführer Fritz Franzke who served with the SS-Feldgendarmerie attached to the personal staff of Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler. (Henner Lindlar)

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The handwritten entry in Section C shows service with Feldgend. Komp. Kdo. Stab RFSS or Feldgendarmerie Leutnant Kommandostab RFSS. (Henner Lindlar)

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