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PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2006 9:11 pm 
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Joined: Fri May 06, 2005 10:19 pm
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Location: South West England
About the Geheime Feld Polizei

At the outbreak of the war the German high command organised a secret police force (the Geheime Feld Polizei of GFP) to serve with the Armed Forces. It was principally designed to carry out security work in the field, as the executive agent of the Abwehr (Intelligence Service - also known as Section Ic) of the Wehrmacht.

The experiences of the German army in the 1870-71 war and particularly in the First World War had made clear the necessity for a Geheime Feldpolizei (GFP or 'Secret Field Police') for the defence of occupied areas from espionage, sabotage, subversion; for early intervention against the undermining of their own troops and for the fight against resistance organisations. It therefore followed that units of Geheime Feldpolizei were required for this type of operation within the armed forces after 1933.

In the beginning the GFP was made up of personnel from the Gestapo and of the Kriminalpolizei (Kripo or Criminal Police). They were commandeered for the duration of the war as officials to the armed forces (known as Wehrmachtbeamten. These officials were members of the armed forces and at the same time also civil servants. They were subject to military discipline.), however they kept the ranks of the police with the addition of der Feldpolizei. Armed forces members, whom appeared suitable by way of special knowledge or abilities for GFP employment, were appointed as auxiliary field police officers, however they retained their military rank. After finishing service with the GFP, they were returned to their unit and were sworn to secrecy, with regards to all operation procedures.

The GFP gained their first experiences during the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39 with the Condor Legion. The group consisted of approximately 30 men and carried the designation "S/88/Ic". They co-operated closely with the secret service of Franco's troops (Servicio Informacion Policia Militar). One of the main activities in Spain was the pursuit of Germans, who fought in the international brigades. Arrangements with Franco meant that captured Germans from these brigades were handed over to the GFP.

During the partial mobilization of the armed forces for the occupation of Austria in March 1938, the military district VII (Munich) sent GFP group 570.

During the annexation of the Sudetenland in the autumn of 1938 and final occupation of Czechoslovakia in the spring of 1939, co-operation with the intelligence organisations of other security agencies was developed. While the GFP fulfilled police functions within the operational areas, the security agencies made mass arrests of potential opponents in order to eliminate resistance.

After careful evaluation of the experiences gained in Spain, Austria and Czechoslovakia an order was issued on the 21st of July 1939 by the chief of the Oberkommado der Wehrmacht (German High Command), GeneralOberst Wilheim Keitel - this was Heeresdienstvorschrift 150, "Regulations for the Secret Field Police".

Duties

The GFP field manual defined their principle functions as:

1. The prevention and discovery of espionage and other offences against security in the German Armed Forces as well as of all other military and civilian tendencies and actions within the zone of operations, which may be hostile to the Reich. Special emphasis is placed on the prevention and prosecution of sabotage, demoralising propaganda and rumour-mongering. This includes the control of identity papers, travel permits and supervision of all civilian movement in forward and rear areas;
2. The prevention of civilians from joining in an action against the occupying forces;
3. The execution of all security measures within the forward and rear zones of operation. The GFP also acts as an advisory capacity to all officers dealing with military intelligence and security;
4. The recording of people suitable to act as agents;
5. The execution of all security police tasks not within the field of action of the Feldgendarmerie;
6. The briefing of all military HQ and the issuing of directives on questions affecting military security;
7. All other functions of military intelligence in co-operation with, and according to instructions from, Section Ic.

Heeresdienstvorschrift 150 further defined their duties thus: "the purpose and task of the GFP is the safety and support of the operations of the field army. In addition it also follows that the GFP operate beyond the framework of the actual defence and pay attention to all occurrences, which can damage our own operations. The term "defence" is is therefore in the area of operations to be laid out. The activity of the GFP cannot be specified in detail exhaustively. Furthermore the nature of German defence against the behaviour of hostile espionage, sabotage and propaganda services also depends on the conditions in the area of operations."

The GFP maintained close co-operation with section Ic Abwehroffizier (counter intelligence officer) of the intelligence section of the armed forces.

GFP personnel were provided with identity papers which allowed them to enter any military building, pass through any barrier or into any restricted area without question. They were also empowered to use all military channels of communications as well as any transport, supply or billeting facilities they deemed necessary.

Deployment

Typically, the GFP were deployed in gruppe (groups) - these were made up of 50 men: 1 Heeresbeamte with an equivalent rank of Major or higher, 32 Heeresbeamten with equivalent ranks of Leutnant, Oberleutnant and Hauptmann (2nd Lieutenant, Lieutenant and Captain) and 17 auxiliary personnel (usually seconded Feldgendarmen or civilian policemen). The gruppe could then be broken down further, to the point where only one or two GFP heeresbeamten were policing a large area - in some cases a single GFP could be attached to a Feldgendarmerie unit to assist in anti-partisan operations (as we have based our GFP section on).

n practice the deployment of the GFP was inaccurately defined by the regulations and became very different depending upon the operational area. Their activity in occupied North and Western Europe showed a completely different side than on the Eastern front. In the Netherlands, Denmark and Norway the GFP was, to a large extent, limited to the protection of the armed forces. In Belgium and France the deployment of GFP forces as a police of the military administrations for the fight against resistance, espionage and sabotage as well as, increasingly, the breakdown of their own troops.

By the second half of the war, the GFP were winning the fight against subversion and sabotage in the Wehrmacht. From the middle of 1943 isolated cases had been identified where German soldiers, who in France and Russia, had deserted to the resistance/partisans. In 1944 the cases of desertion started to rise very rapidly; for example, in Army Group Central the GFP, in the spring of 1944 were looking for 3142 armed forces deserters. These masses of soldiers did not all go to the Red Army but roamed on their own, often for months, as militias in rear areas. The competitive and often overlapping nature of the many agencies stationed in the rear permitted many deserters to get off by underhand or devious means and partially falsified papers.
The courts-martial notified the GFP of deserters, and a search within the entire army group was then arranged. At regular intervals, a gazette of wanted soldiers was published, which was circulated to all the security and police agencies in that army group. Individual units and divisions also maintained a record of their own deserters and wanted soldiers.

Uniform
The uniform is the same as that of any army officer, with a few exceptions, these being:

* The collar tabs have an additional piece of blue-grey Russian braid sewn around the top, rear and bottom (in order to denote he is an army official)
* The shoulder boards have an additional layer of green underneath the blue-grey waffenfarbe (called the 'nebenfarbe')
* The band around the cap is also blue-grey instead of green, again this is to denote an army official.
* The GFP cuff title is worn on the left sleeve (it is a matter of debate as to whether these were worn or not) - although similar to the SS style.

Dave

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