Military Archive Research
by Dr. Stuart C Blank
Member of the Orders and Medals Research Society (OMRS)
Member of the Royal Air Force Historical Society (RAFHS)
Member of the Naval Historical Collectors and Research Association (NHCRA)
Member of the Nautical Archaeology Society (NAS)
Member of the International Bank Note Society (IBNS)
Member of the International Bond and Share Society (IBSS)




Review of
World War II German Police Units
By Gordon Williamson
(Illustrated by Gerry Embleton)
Osprey Publishing (
ISBN 9781846030680
RRP GBP £9.99

For many years I have sought an introductory text to the system the Nazi Germans used to Police their territory. The Policing of Nazi Europe was intricately interwoven with the SS but the Police were still a separate department. Finding reference texts on the Police has been difficult but this volume satisfies this demand. This first rate book introduces the various facets of the German Police system and it is an exceptional reference work.

The German Police were an integrated element of the Nazi regime and as soon as Hitler had achieved power he sought to re-organise the Policing system. Before his ascendency to power the German Police system was decentralised and provincial. He sought to develop it into a single state apparatus and it became integrated with the SS at command level.

Although the Nazi Police were centrally controlled it was separated into a number of departments and functions. Many of these had their own uniforms, insignia and distinctions. This volume is a concise text which gives an outstanding overview of the Policing system. It is “introductory” but it is also a very good reference book. In its 48 pages it covers all the types of Police and their “distinctions” / uniforms etc and it is a superb guide.

The book starts with an introduction on the background of the Police and it covers the Prussian Police, the Hilfspolizei, Landespolizei, the integration with the SS, the Ordnungspolizei (Order Police) and the Sicherheitspolizei (Security Police). It is also notes the Pre-war police departments and functions and defines their scopes of responsibility.

The Ordnungspolizei is then described in greater detail. Of note are the Schutzpolizei (regular uniformed Police in the larger towns and cities – usually abbreviated to “Schupo”), Schupo combat units and the Schutzpolizei der Gemeinden (Municipal Police). The Gendarmerie, a “provincial” police formation, is also discussed and comments are made regarding the Motorisierte Gendarmerie (“Traffic Police”) Landwacht (an auxiliary unit), Kolonialpolizei (Colonial Police), Wasserschutzpolizei (Waterways Police), Feuerschutzpolizei (Fire Brigade), Feuerwehren (“Auxiliary” Fire Brigade), Luftschutzpolizei (Air Raid Precautions Police) and the Technische Nothilfe (Technical Emergency Service).

Special and Auxiliary Police units are also mentioned and these cover Bahnschutzpolizei (Railways Police), Postschutz (Postal Protection), Funkschutz (Guards for radio transmitting stations), NSKK, SA Feldpolizei, SA Feldjager, Ordnungspolizei Administrative branch, female auxiliaries and Prison officials.

The book concludes with a few pages on the personal awards and documents that were issued to members of the Police. It is an excellent reference work and it is likely to become a standard reference book on the subject. Congratulations are due to the authors for their outstanding research.

March 2012