Friday, September 20, 2013
In that previous blog entry I ask this question:
"Those penal battalions a wartime measure perhaps UNIQUE TO THE RED ARMY?"
And thanks to Dan we have the answer:
"Read the book The Forgotten Soldier by Guy Sajer."
"In it the author mentions WWII German soldiers being placed in penal batallions if they lost equipment. The example was of a junior officer who lost his binoculars during a retreat over a river, escaping by the skin of his teeth. It is a great book worth reading."
The German during the Second World War [WW2] also having penal battalions. Special correctional contingents of soldiers who had shirked duty or committed an offense either major or trivial, disobedient, etc.
This was the Strafbattalion. From the wiki:
"Strafbattalion . . . is the generic term for penal units created from prisoners during the Second World War in all branches of the Wehrmacht."
"Soldiers and civilian criminals sentenced to these units were generally poorly-armed and required to undertake dangerous high-casualty missions."
"Strafbattalion were operated and administered by the German military police."
Those German military police the feldgendarmes ["chain dogs"].
"By 1943, the course of World War II had turned against Nazi Germany. Due to military losses and the need to maintain discipline by example, the German High Command ordered that further punishment units should be formed from the thousands of Wehrmacht military prisoners held in its military prison."
"These Strafbattalione, which were under the control of the Feldgendarmerie, were then used to conduct dangerous operations (sometimes akin to suicide missions) for the Heer such as clearing minefields, assaulting difficult objectives and defending positions against overwhelming attacking forces."
"They were also made to do manual hard labor in front-line locations building and repairing military infrastructure and defenses."
Expiate your sentence, be punished and corrected so as to perform further honorable, loyal and effective military service! NOT necessarily however were you expected to DIE!
This too I was not aware of. The Feldjagerkorps. More hard core head knockers a specially conceived and apparently autonomous unit given extraordinary powers summary and final!
"In the final years of the war, order within all branches of the Wehrmacht was upheld by a specially-formed military police, the Feldjägerkorps. These military police units, which had seniority over all other Feldgendarmerie, were formed from combat-decorated officers and NCOs. Possessing the direct authority from the OKW, they had the power to maintain control and discipline throughout all the German armed forces including the SS. The Feldjägerkorps had the authority in the field to summarily execute officers or enlisted men for any breach of military discipline, order or duty."
Those persons in a German penal battalion stripped of all rank and assigned to wear a red triangle. That red triangle usually designating a political offender within the German concentration camp system. The preponderance of those offenders in the German penal battalions were political as that term understood?