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)

 

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Review of
German Security and Police Soldier 1939-45
By Gordon Williamson (Illustrated by Velimir Vuksic)
Osprey Publishing (www.ospreypublishing.com)
ISBN 9781841764160 (print)
ISBN 9781782000396 (pdf)
ISBN 9781782000075 (ebook)
RRP GBP £ depends on format


The security apparatus of the Third Reich was massive and extremely complex. The “normal” Police was divided into numerous categories depending upon the nature of their duties (Protection, Municipal Protection, Rural, Colonial, Fire Police etc.) and this organisation alone would need a substantial volume in its own right to describe it fully.

In addition to the “normal” Police there was the security apparatus of the Armed Forces (including their own “regular” military Police), the secret field Police and the Army’s security divisions. These were complemented by the Waffen-SS which had its own military police and it embraced a number of special field units which spent most of their time on security and anti-partisan duties. These latter units were not strictly designated as security elements but they performed these duties ruthlessly. Any good volume on the security elements of Nazi Germany cannot avoid the Allgemeine-SS as this organisation incorporated some of the most feared security organs ever created (i.e. the SD and Gestapo). This work gives a good appraisal and overview of all these departments.

The formations covered in this book have been categorised into three main headings. They are Wehrmacht, Police and SS / Security Police. There was considerable over-lap and interlinking between the Police and the SS. Personnel often had ranks in both the Police and SS and had dual-roles appropriately.

The book offers an informed view of the duties performed by these organisations and it charts the typical experiences of World War 2 security and police soldiers. Their duties were varied and included routine military traffic duty, and combating partisans / resistance fighters. It covers the “regular” military police of the Wehrmacht and the Waffen-SS, combat element of the German State Police, Sicherheitsdienst (SD), the Schutzmannschaft’s units and the awful anti-partisan “Dirlewanger” and “Kaminski” units.

It is very difficult to give a highly detailed examination of all of these units in a modest volume but the author has produced an excellent synopsis of them. He has carefully delineated and specified the scope of this work and there are sister volumes covering those elements not given detailed coverage here (one of which has been previously reviewed).

The author has created a book that serves as an outstanding intermediate text that will appeal to both the specialist and those new to the subject. If you are wishing to study the Third Reich’s security apparatus then this volume is an excellent place to start. Overall the author has produced a volume that is outstanding and highly useful. I am confident that this book will rank amongst the best works on this subject.

August 2013