Strafbattalion: Hitler's Penal Battalions

Strafbattalion: Hitler's Penal Battalions

by Walter Zapotoczny Jr.


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When war broke out in 1939, Hitler created ‘Strafbattalion’ (Penal Battalion) units to deal with incarcerated members of the Wehrmacht as well as ‘subversives.' His order stated that any first-time convicted soldier could return to his unit after he had served a portion of his sentence in ‘a special probation corps before the enemy.' Beginning in April 1941, convicted soldiers—even those sentenced to death—who had shown exceptional bravery or meritorious service were allowed to rejoin their original units. However those in probation units were expected to undertake dangerous operations at the front. Refusal entailed enforcement of the original sentence. The soldiers who ‘win back an honorable place in the national community’ had done everything that was asked of them: risky advance teams, spyware and shock troops, laying mines under enemy fire. This book examines the penal units, their combat history and order of battle.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781781556474
Publisher: Fonthill Media
Publication date: 02/07/2018
Sales rank: 883,398
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Walter S. Zapotoczny Jr. is an award-winning writer and editor with over 25 years’ experience producing many different types of copy. He is the author of over 150 published articles and three books. Walter is a contributing writer and reviewer for several international publications. He is a former historian with the US Army, specializing is military history, Holocaust studies and events that transcend single states, regions and cultures. A native of Pennsylvania, Walter holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors in world military history and a Master of Arts with honors in global history from American Public University.

Table of Contents

Preface 5

Introduction 9

1 The Nazi Penal System 21

2 The Creation of Penal Units 34

3 The Classification and Organization of Penal Units 46

Parole Units 46

Second Class Soldiers 46

Probation Units 47

999 Units 54

Field Custody Detachments 59

Punishment Trains 65

Order of Battle as of July 1,1942 66

Field Special Battalions 69

Field Police 71

Wehrmacht Prisons 74

4 SS Parachute Battalions 77

500th SS Parachute Battalion 77

600th SS Parachute Battalion 81

5 36th Waffen SS Grenadier Division 82

Order of Battle 88

6 Storm and Infantry Units 89

440th Sturm Division Rhodos 89

Order of Battle 90

"502nd SS Light Infantry Battalion 93

SS Commando Group Centre 94

Infantry Units 95

999th Fortress Infantry Battalion 99

7 999th Light Africa Division 109

Order of Battle 114

8 The German Replacement Army 116

Wehrkreis (Military Districts) 120

9 Kriegsmarine and Luftwaffe Units 123

Kriegsmarine 123

Luftwaffe 126

10 Guilt by Association 146

Epilogue 149

Appendix I Military Organizations of the Third Reich 152

Appendix II German Army Group North: As of October 13,1944 161

Appendix III German Army Group Centre: As of April 22, 1942 167

Appendix IV German Army Group South: As of December 26, 1943 181

Appendix V German Army Group F (South-East): As of October 4, 1943 194

Appendix VI German Army Group B: As of January 1, 1943 199

Appendix VII German Army Group G: As of October 18,1944 206

Endnotes 212

Bibliography 221

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