Illustrated history of the Handschar Division


Re: Illustrated history of the Handschar Division

Post by 42gunner »

5 more rare pics


Stab guards Neuhammer 1943
(original caption "Stab section" that guarded the Staff or perhaps the Divisional Staff)

Same formation, just down the line.


Himmler inspection Neuhammer 1943
Sauberzweig can be clearly seen to the left of Himmler

Same day, only a couple of meters down the line
The unit might be the 7th Battery of SS-AR13 prior to crew drills

The Mufti being greeted by Sauberzweig


Last edited by 42gunner on Fri Aug 13, 2010 6:00 am, edited 7 times in total.


Re: Illustrated history of the Handschar Division

Post by 42gunner »

Movement to the Balkans

Ninety-three freight trains were required to move them men and combat necessary equipment from Neuhammer to Srem in the movement that would start in mid February of 1944. The men were issued ammunition and rations to last them the trip. Strict security measures were taken as soon as the transports crossed the Croatian border into “bandit infested territory”

“Our morale was at fever pitch as we left Germany. We taught we were the best division in the world. We had the newest equipment and equipment. We believed that we would make a difference in our homeland.”

-Ibrahim Alimabegovic

“After the unload at Vinkovci, we undertook a motorized road march of about 15km to Jarmina. Jarmina, a small village inhabited almost exclusively by ethnic Germans. We were all quartered in private residences and were heartily greeted and looked after by the population. Unfortunately, our stay there was short in duration.”

-Heinz Gerlach

March 7th, the Mevlud celebration was observed with lectures and special rations.

Bosut Forest Stronghold
Unternehmen Wegweiser

Situation: The Bosut forrest was a notorious communist stronghold and before the new Division could move into Bosnia it had to clear it. In the past the area was used as a supply center. Reports spoke of hedgehog positions, barracks complexes, guerrilla patrols and even a British liaison officer. Before the operation even began patrols from Regt. 27 caught some 40 prisoners.

1. Main Staff Vojvodina at Sremska Raca
2. IV Vojvodina Brigade near Lipovac
3. Elements of the VI Vojvodina Brigade
4. II Srem Detachment and aid station in Crkviste
5. District Staff #8 and education camp at Visnjicevo

Estimated Strength: 2,000-2,500 men under partisan officer Sava Stefanovic

Commander’s Intent: Cleanse the densely wooded area.
The attacking units would be divided into three task forces and a blockade unit to trap and destroy the partisan forces

The assault began on the 10th and the final movements ended at the end of the 12th, when the forest was deemed safe.

Friendly and accompanying units:
1. Task Force Aufklarungs Abt. 13 (Kuhler) with two infantry companies from Jager Regiment 40, one platoon of assault guns from SS-Sturmgeschutz Batterie 105, 1 Flak platoon from AR 13 and one police company which would remain in Racinovci.
2. Task Force Regt. 28 (Raithel) with the 2nd Battalion of AR13 and one police company from Zupanja
3. Task Force Regt. 27 (Hampel) with the 1st Battalion of AR13, I./Pi. Btl. 13, and 1. and 3./Flak Abt. 13
4. Blockade Unit Jager Regiment 40 (mixed Wehrmacht units) Pi. Btl. 142 from 42nd Jager Division.
Other units were the Wehrmacht security battalion 808. Western flank was secured by the leftover of the Division’s units; III/AR13, 19./28 and 1./Pz Jg. Abt. 13. The rest of the Pioneer battalion also stood in reserve securing the garrison area.

The monitor “Bosna”, an old river gun boat, was placed at the Germans’ disposal by the Croats to assist in the blockade along the river.

Bela Crkva Massacre
As the spearheads were advancing towards their objectives on the final day of the operation (12th), units of II/27 came up on a small Serbian Orthodox village of Bela Crkva:
“the enemy left, having murdered all of the town’s inhabitants.”
- Diary of Jorg Deh, March 12 1944
Eventough Aufklarungs Abt. 13 was there two days earlier, Deh was still convinced the partisans committed the crime.
Neither the Zentralle Stelle der Landesjustizverwaltungen nor Zbornik dokumenata documented it.
The overall operation was a success.

Some rumors about the Bosnians’ battlefield conduct had already reached the SS leadership in Germany.
Herman Fegelein, while at a conference in Hitler’s headquarters held in early April, told a story of one Bosnian who killed seventeen of the enemy with nothing but his knife or the even more outrageous claims of cutting the hearts out of their enemies. Many of the division’s members and officers found the claims laughable. Helmut Heiber (Division Staff) remarked: “Fegelein had obviously read too much Karl May during his youth.”

Here's the quote
Last edited by 42gunner on Thu Apr 15, 2010 3:37 am, edited 2 times in total.


Re: Illustrated history of the Handschar Division

Post by 42gunner »

Unternehmen Save
15. March 1944

Just three days after their first successful operation against the partisans, the Division was undertaking another operation, this one, the long awaited crossing into the Homeland.
Each unit commander was ordered to prepare a short text to commemorate the event.

“We have now reached the Bosnian frontier and will soon begin the march into the Homeland.
I was recently able to travel throughout almost all of Bosnia. What I saw shocked me. The fields lay uncultivated, the villages burned out and destroyed. The few remaining inhabitants live in cellars or underground shelters. Misery reigns in the refugee camps as I’ve never before seen in my life.
This must be changed through swift and energetic action.
The necessity of our task has only become greater through what I have witnessed. The task demands that each and ever one of you perform your duty - only then can we carry it out . . . .The Fuhrer has provided you with his best weapons. Not only do you have these in your hands, but above all you have an idea in your hearts - to liberate the Homeland.
I also saw some of your fathers. Their eyes, when I told them that I was your division commander, shined as brightly as yours. . . .
Before long, each of you shall be standing in the place that you call home, as a soldier and a gentleman; standing firm as a defender of the idea of saving the culture of Europe - the idea of Adolf Hitler.
I wish every one of you “soldier’s luck” and know . . . that you will be loyal until the end.
As we cross this river commemorate the great historic task that the leader of the new Europe, Adolf Hitler, has set for us - to liberate the long suffering Bosnian homeland and through this to form the bridge for the liberation of Muslim Albania. To our Fuhrer, Adolf, who seeks the dawn of a just and free Europe.
Sieg Heil
Handžaru Udaraj!
- Sauberzweig’s open letter to the Division. 15. March 1944

The map above is a reconstruction of German plans for the initial day of the operation.

Regt. 27 crosses at Bosanska Raca.
Resistance was light.

Aided by a preparatory barrage, Regt. 28 crossed at the Brcko bridge.
Last edited by 42gunner on Thu Mar 11, 2010 10:20 am, edited 1 time in total.


Re: Illustrated history of the Handschar Division

Post by 42gunner »

Regt. 28 enters Brčko

This next series of photographs is believed to be the initial day of Unternehmen Save, 15. March 1944.

The picture above looks like men of Regt. 28 crossing the Brcko bridge. Note how the platoon's two machine gunners are marching into Bosnia side by side.

Hotel Posavina is visible in the background, it would become the division’s HQ for the coming weeks.

SS-Obersturmführer Karl Liecke with two riflemen.

Sauberzweig is welcomed into Bosnia by Dr. Dzafer Beg Kulenovic, the Muslim vice president of NDH Croatia.

The arrival of the Division was “heralded by the Muslim population, who had been promised a great deal by the German high command.”
Last edited by 42gunner on Thu Apr 22, 2010 2:10 am, edited 5 times in total.


Re: Illustrated history of the Handschar Division

Post by 42gunner »

Regt. 27 takes Bijeljina

Elements of Regt. 27 advance towards Bijeljina (by the end of the first day, most of the units were in positions for a three sided attack on Bijeljina).

SS-Regt. 27 takes Bijeljina, only 2 days into the operation. It falls with light resistance.
It was the units of the western column that met the heaviest resistance during the operation as they raced towards the Majevica mountain range.
II/28 stormed the partisan defenses at Celic, with their new commander, Hans Hanke on point.
The enemy, having spent most of its ammunition, withdrew with heavy casualties.
Company sized reconnaissance was carried out along the Celic-Lopare road and it’s positions were fortified.
Two partisan divisions, the 16th and 36th Vojvodina, counterattacked on the evening of 17-18 March. Their target was Regt. 28’s positions at Koraj and Zabrde. The partisans failed, suffering 201 dead.

“One…19 March, we were ordered to re-take Zabrde. The enemy had dug in and we are unable to dislodge them. We fought until noon when our ammunition was exhausted. The enemy pressed the attack but we had to escape. We had heavy losses. In these four days the 2nd Brigade suffered fifty dead, eighty-two wounded, and forty missing.”

-partisan commander

The Division’s Reconnaissance troops mopped up the remainder of local resistance in the following weeks.


Re: Illustrated history of the Handschar Division

Post by 42gunner »

Mevlud 1944
20. April

Inside a Brcko mosque, Muslim members of the division (SS-Regt. 28), accompanied by civilians hold a Mevlud ceremony. Many SS issue and civilian fezzes can be seen. One of the Division’s Imams is seen speaking.

Following the operation many units idled. Even tough it angered the Bosnians, pause was necessary so the partisans would not attempt a quick return to the area.


"You, my dear men, have performed your duty true to your oaths. I thank you all for your heroic deeds, be it on the Sava or on the edge of the Majevica’s; everywhere you have performed well. You have learned the combat methods of the enemy and have seen how superior we are to him in ever respect, not only because we have better weapons, but because we bear the faith that alone is capable of achieving victory.”

Spring 1944

Handschar machine gunner and a civilian
Last edited by 42gunner on Sat Nov 26, 2011 12:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Illustrated history of the Handschar Division

Post by Brigardefuhrer »

:) This has been a great series so far and I look forward to more!keep up the good work.
"I require able bodied men,with good horse and gun.
I wish none but those who desire to be actively engaged".
"Come on boys,if you want a heap of fun and to kill some yankees".
Nathan Bedford Forest.


Re: Illustrated history of the Handschar Division

Post by 42gunner »

thanks Brigadefuhrer :D
My plan is to help Handschar re-enactors make a better and more realistic impression.

Uniforms, 1944

Majority of the men wore the SS M43 tunic, what the men of Handschar did that was unique was they would often cut the upper breast pockets off.
As this SS-Oberscharfuhrer has done above.

The combat uniform, traditional SS combat attire, was the most up to date smock (if available, to match the helmet) As early as 1940, while the rest of the world's armies were still wearing WW1-style single color uniforms, the Waffen SS members were covering their tunics with camouflage smocks. In 1944, they finally combined the two ideas and made one of the first camouflaged battle dress uniforms, the Model 1944 pea dot. Many divisions that were formed during the summer of 1944, like Kama and Skanderbeg, recieved a decent amount of the new camouflage uniforms.
The most common smock for Handschar was the M42 blurred edge spring, Type II pattern.
As you can see from the picture, the breadbag strap was used to hold the ammo belt up.

A variety of tunics were worn by the Handschar and Kama Divisions during the year 1944.
In the rear or on home leave, members of the division could be seen wearing the dress version of the M43 uniform (collar opened up with shirt and tie) A handful of members could be seen wearing the complete M44 dot uniform. Even rarer was the tropical version of SS tunic. Which was normally a common sight amonst meditarranean theater units such as SS Karstjager.
Last edited by 42gunner on Wed Apr 21, 2010 11:00 pm, edited 5 times in total.


Re: Illustrated history of the Handschar Division

Post by 42gunner »

The Regiments

Judging from the maps, the tactics of the Division’s regimental pincers are obvious.
For most of 1944, Regiment 28 would clear resistance pockets and strongholds in the western edge of the divisional operating area, in coordination with Regiment 27, who in addition would act as the blocking element. Preventing new enemy units from crossing the Drina from Serbia or retreating enemies from crossing into Serbia, where the Division did not operate.
The pincers would often branch off to attack a suspected stronghold from the flanks or 3 sides. If a stronghold was pinpointed, it would be bypassed and it’s retreat route cut off. Once the bulk of the enemy’s resistance was destroyed, Jagdkommandos would be sent out to mop up the remnants, often operating without heavy artillery support.

The commanders of the main task forces at this point are:
Regiment 27 : SS-Obersturmbannfuhrer Desiderius Hampel
Regiment 28 : SS-Obersturmbannfuhrer Helmuth Raithel
Aufklarungs Abteilung 13 : SS-Sturmbannfuhrer Emil Kuhler
Artillerie Regiment 13 was divided up and distributed amongst the infantry battalions, sometimes 2 batteries (8 guns) per battalion. It’s commander in the spring of 1944 was SS-Obersturmbannfuhrer Ernst Schmedding
Pionier Abteilung 13 : SS-Hauptsturmfuhrer Heinz Knoll

Unternehmen Osterei
12. April 1944

Aided by good weather, Regt. 27 quickly captured Janja and continue onto the Ugljevik mines. They were cleared after heavy fighting. Partisans lost 106 men, further 45 surrendered and 2 deserted entirely. Large quantities of weapons and medical supplies were captured. Aid stations were also discovered in the area.

Regt. 28 in the meantime advanced onto Priboj. The Albanian battalion was ordered to take the Majevica heights
On the 15th , the Aufklarungs Abteilung, advanced into the western Majevicas from Bukvik into Srebrenik, and later Gradacac.
Recon troops were taking the initiative, being the southern most unit during Unternehmen Save, and now the western most unit in the Division.

One partisan in the face of SS-Recon troops wrote in his diary:

17 April - The enemy offensive is underway and we are in great danger
We must pull back in the face of the Germans, who are driving on Srebrenik. We retreat into the forest. With us is the local commander and the aid station.
18 April - At 0530 we pull back farther to Zahirovici, from where we move into the Majevica together with the Tuzla Brigade
19 April - In the afternoon we are brought some bread and dry vegetables.
We had been eating book pages and tree bark. The Germans are still in Srebrenik.
20 April - Today we have only paper and bark to eat…
22 April - The entire day we have received no food. A group en route to Razljani with rations was scattered by the Germans
23 April - We pull back deeper into the forest…We received some bread and potatoes. Several comrades who went to Razljani were probably captured by the Germans.
25 April - We have received no food the entire day. In the afternoon it began to rain. At 1900 hours, 14 comrades leave towards Srebrenik to fetch some plums. When they do not arrive, we plunder flour and potatoes from some nearby houses.

The 16th and 36th Vojvodina divisions were withdrawn from the Majevica, leaving the 38th in place....but soon even the 38th had to withdraw along with 200 of it's wounded.

Interestingly, many Muslim SS members, who recieved the Iron Cross, only wore the ribbon.

I/28 was reformed since the Albanians were ordered elsewhere (read below) some of it’s members were now operating in their own neighborhoods:

“Our battalion was operating…east of Celic, Many of the Bosnians in our unit were natives of this particular area. As we entered a certain town, one of the Bosnians came across his family’s horse. It was quite clear that the horse and soldier knew each other. He attempted to locate his parents, without success. Tragically, it was later confirmed that his family had been murdered by the Partisans.”

Sturmmann, possibly, with his father.

A returning SS man is greeted by his wife (obscurred) and his mother.
The picture also reveals a rare example of an early war H shaped barrel band on the K98 (in the Division, where most rifles were late war models)

Two civilians plow a field as men of the Division pass by.

the early days
Things were going well for the Handschar division, they were armed, trained and afforded the opportunity to fight for their parts of Bosnia.
Last edited by 42gunner on Mon Aug 02, 2010 11:27 pm, edited 12 times in total.


Re: Illustrated history of the Handschar Division

Post by 42gunner »

Introduction to SS-Jagdkommandos
“The Cruel Hunters”

It is here that we get an insight into these counter-insurgency specialists that were the Jagdkommandos.
They had no official unit within Handschar but were rather formed from regular infantry companies to work in small teams whenever the regimental or battalion commander needed them, sometimes at battalion strenght. They were lightly armed, often motorized and relied on small unit tactics to win the day.
These new tactics were adopted in the fall of 1943, and are considered as the first signs of trying to cope with the partisan/insurgent threat. Their tactics and duties are a mix of Aufklarungs and Feldgendarmerie ones.
(The following comes from Counter insurgency in Modern History)
The idea was based on guerrilla warfare, fight fire with fire, to act and think like the enemy, play their game and beat them at it; set traps, ambushes and take prisoners.
Drastic and brutal measure made up for the lack of manpower. This meant the routing of supporters from villages and living bases. Having said this, it doesn’t mean it was a standard operating procedure. The German forces would sometimes leave everything intact, and the partisans in turn would come out and counter-terrorize the people, directing their anger at collaborators and suspects.
It was clear that neither side wanted to win hearts, minds was sufficient. It was done by demonstrating superiority with sheer violence. The civilians like in modern times, were left with the choice to support the stronger side.

The dark side was evident in Hitler’s intent:

"If we do not wage this struggle against the bandits in the East and in the Balkans by the most brutal means, our available resources will not last in the foreseeable future to control this pestilence. Therefore, the troops are allowed and obliged to apply every mean without exception in this fight, also against women and children, as long as it is successful. Considering, no matter in what way, are a crime against the German people and soldiers on the front, who have to bear the attacks of the bandits and who cannot have any understanding for giving mercy to the bandits and their collaborators." A. Hitler

Classifying them as “banditen” , the next question was asked: ‘just what price are these non-uniformed fighters going to pay?’
That “price” was settled in late 1941 when French Communists launched a bombing campaign against the Germans in Paris. After a handful of casualties, Hitler demanded that a 100 should be executed for each German soldier. Later arguments resulted in a “softened” sentence by deporting a 100 banditen/sympathizers to the east for each incident.
All of the prisoners that were captured during the operations (number almost reaches 2,000 in 1944) were handed over to the Ustasa and other German police units for further questioning.
The first case of these tactics being implemented by SS-Gebirgsjager units in the southeast was the case of 7. SS-Prinz Eugen. Where partisans complained that the enemy was infiltrating their lines and was behind them and amongst them.


Notice the partisan’s captured uniform and cartridge belt, his K98 is in the hands of the soldier second from left. Judging by the two opened cartridge pouches you can tell he was involved in a light skirmish.
(This illustration is based off a real photograph, guess which one)

Following Osterei, Jagdkommandos were active in neutralizing and mopping up hostile forces within the security area.
21. April - a skirmish in Mrtvica-Posavci area ends in 91 dead partisans, 92 prisoners and one enemy deserter. One MG, 6 rifles and various equipment and small arms ammunition was captured.
22. April - Enemy forces in the Bijeljina area withdraw to the south in the face of Regt. 27’s advance. 89 enemy dead, 12 prisoners, 8 enemy deserters, and large amounts of small arms and artillery ammunition is also captured.
23. April - Enemy bunkers are seized in the area south of Bijeljina after heavy hand to hand fighting. Over 200 enemy dead. Over 100 prisoners, including Italians and Jews ( handed over )
Last edited by 42gunner on Thu Apr 15, 2010 3:48 am, edited 3 times in total.


Re: Illustrated history of the Handschar Division

Post by 42gunner »

The Albanian Battalion leaves Handschar

Osterei was the last operation of the Albanian I/28 battalion while with Handschar (the battalion would be reformed with Bosnians from various infantry companies, some new recruits).
I/28 was arguably the best armed, most disciplined and most successful Albanian SS formation of the war.
On the 17th of April, Himmler ordered the formation of the 21st Waffen-Gebirgs der SS-Skanderbeg Division, and so the Albanian men from I/28 were sent by rail to Pristina to make up the nucleus of this new formation.
"My goal is clear: The creation of two territorial corps, one in Bosnia, the other in Albania. These two corps, with the Division 'Prinz Eugen', as an army of five SS mountain divisions is the goal for 1944."

Berger told Himmler, that the Albanians “were quite sad about leaving.”


Twenty eight years later and even their load-out doesn’t change much.

Himmler was once again nostalgic about WW1 era units, when on 26th November 1943, he requested that the Albanians get a proper piece of headgear. The Albanerfez, similar to the one worn by the Albanian Legion of the Austro Hungarian Army. Initially he wanted them to be white but that didn’t prove too tactical. So a feldgrau version was made with regulation insignia (without the tassel off course)


I/28 Battalion Spring 1944, judging from the background it might be during Wegweiser, Bosut Forest.
The Albanerfez saw it’s widest use while in Handschar, where even Sauberzweig could be seen wearing it, most likely on his visit to the battalion.
Contrary to the popular belief, men of SS-Skanderbeg wore a lot of various camouflage caps and whatever they got issued.
Once Skanderbeg was finally dissolved, the remaining enlisted men, NCOs and officers were sent to SS-Regiment 14 of the 7th SS Mountain Division Prinz Eugen. The Regiment itself was renamed to Skanderbeg, despite the low number of actual Albanians in it. It was only a honorary name.

Himmler’s idea of branching off and making new divisions, expanding his SS empire under pressure from the front, weakened many other divisions. The loss of a battalion was a significant one, along with it went a good deal of German NCOs. Only a couple of months later, Handschar would provide men and leadership for the 23.SS Division.


Re: Illustrated history of the Handschar Division

Post by 42gunner »

The Division was performing flawlessly in battle, the only problem were the low level desertions (at this point). They were significant enough to where even Hitler demanded that the deserters be “hunted down.”
Since the forming phases to the early operations, the bulk of the deserters were the Catholic Croats of the Division. Who no longer wanted to be a part of it. Many went back to their previous positions in the Ustasa where discipline was more relaxed. In 1943, when 2,800 Croats were recruited, only a couple of companies worth remained by April of 1944. Sauberzweig later wrote:

Where difficulties arise or a few men desert, it signifies a failure of the officers. Incidents such as these occur only in units with Croatian officers or in those that contain the remaining 300 or so Catholic Croatians. Therefore I refuse to accept any Catholic Croatians (officers or NCOs) into the division.”

Some sources state that those remaining men were taken out of their original units and thrown into the military police unit of the division. So as to remove all negative influences that could lead to further desertions and breakdowns of units.

Feldgendarmerie Trupp 13
“Head Hunters”

Instead of the SS eagle on their left sleeve the Feldgendarms wore their own version of the Police Eagle.

Altough smaller than it’s Wehrmacht counterpark, it fulfilled the same duties and proved instrumental in counter-insurgency warfare. The Waffen-SS Feldgendarmerie focused on "taking care of their own", and left most rear-line issues to the Heer Feldgendarmes or "Kettenhunde". Yet the Waffen-SS Feldgendarmerie had a more sinister nickname: "Kopfjaeger" or "Head Hunters". The name was an obvious referral to the SS "Totenkopf" (Death's Head) skull emblem embroidered on the front of their caps. But its deeper meaning lay in its reference to their severe reputation as efficient military policeman and strict enforcers of military law.

Routine ID check.

Questioning of one Muslim civilian (after he crossed the river in his boat) The NCO on the right is very light armed. Barely a K98 and a bayonet. Feldgendarmes are also often seen wearing jack boots, rather than Bergschuhe.

Traffic control, maintaining military order and discipline, collection and escorting of prisoners of war, collection and redirection of stragglers, prevention of looting, supervision and control of the civilian populace in occupied areas, disarming civilians, checking captured enemy soldiers for documents, maps or other useful information, checking papers of soldiers on leave or in transit, collection of enemy propaganda leaflets and prevention of distribution of such material, searching for shot-down enemy fliers, providing street patrols in occupied areas, prevention of sabotage, control of evacuees during retreats, duties of a security nature in cooperation with the Geheime Feldpolizei (counter espionage, apprehending deserters, border control, anti-partisan duties)

Almost like Jagdkommandos, the men of Trupp 13 were armed mainly with rifles. Here a platoon level sweep plans to cut off a village, look for possible partisans and sympathizers, based on intel or reports provided. It is likely that Feldgendarmerie units could be supported by and lead teams of Jagdkommandos to aid in the capture of an individual. They were known for putting down uprisings and other acts of rebellion for which some were awarded the Knight’s Cross.
Last edited by 42gunner on Mon May 23, 2011 6:58 am, edited 4 times in total.


Re: Illustrated history of the Handschar Division

Post by 42gunner »

Mounted Feldgendarmerie (their uniforms show that it’s a predominantly Bosnian unit)
The enlisted men are armed with K98s while the NCOs have only pistols.
Issue of the K98 is interesting because if they were ambushed or accompanying Jagdkommandos, they were expected to join the fight. As shown here, horses provide a primitive yet effective level of mobility but their armament presents them as a soft target for the partisans.
Machine pistols were a priority for infantry NCOs in Gebirgsjager units and so they are doing best with what they have here.
Gorgets are evident but only a few of the men bothered to sew on the SS-Feldgendarmerie cuff title.

Same unit, letting their horses get a drink.

The Feldgendarmerie's authority allowed them to pass through secured areas, roadblocks, guard posts, etc, and to conduct searches of both personnel and property wherever deemed necessary, and in doing so they could commandeer assistance from other military personnel. In the event of dispute, and Feldgendarme held superiority over any other soldier of similar rank from any other branch of service.
The Feldgendarmerie have fulfilled the psychological purpose. Their actions have rapidly gained them a reputation... their help and support were much sought after."
"General der Flieger Speidel, 1945."

Brutality and consequences of partisan warfare are obvious in the illustration above. A weapons cache was found on the civilian’s farm and he was accused of aiding the insurgents. The SNCO on the right is a veteran of the partisan fight, his anti partisan badge is clearly seen. A very coveted award for the men of the Waffen SS.

A lot of dark mysticism shrouds these units and their history is very bloody as the enforcers of military law on their own and the enemy.

The original BH Regiments of WW1 had their own version of these troops, called Feldjagers. And just like the Bosnians who fought on every front during WW1, the Feldgendarms did so during WW2. Many were decorated for bravery and in the last months of the war were deployed as regular troops in last ditch attemps and counterattacks. All Feldgendarms caught by Soviets were executed as there was a bounty on their heads. Knowing their fate they would often carry a second, fake Soldbuch (paybook) denoting their status as regular soldiers.

Within the occupied areas, the "Feldgendarmerie" had the following functions:
Traffic control.
Control duties at ports and airfields.
Administrative control of aliens and cattle diseases.
Hunting, fishing, business, agricutural and forestry police duties.
Police patrol duties.
When their parent divisions were advancing the "Feldgendarmerie" followed the combat troops closely and:
Acted as and established temporary town majors and army straggler's posts.
Rounded up enemy stragglers and guerilla's.
Collecteding refugees and prisoners of war (POW).
Guarded captured booty.
Ensured that civilian weapons were surrendered.
Were responsible for the organisation of civilian labour
Erected military and civil signs
In the home areas of the German Reich they were responsible for:
Discipline amongst troops
The rounding up of deserters
Military traffic control
Marshaling refugees
The evacuation of prisoners

This badge was the pride and joy of an SS man who dedicated his time to putting down the rebellion in occupied territories. SS men wore it with pride and taught it was uniquely an SS award. Their Wehrmacht counterparts however...didnt display the same enthusiasm, they would avoid wearing it, and there aren’t many pictures of them doing so. In Himmler's eyes, the partisan resistance fighters were an illegal organization, however, many soldiers knew that if the APB was entered into their Soldbuch it would've meant their life at the end of the war. Counter-insurgency battles were ferocious in nature and one usually had to get his hands dirty to obtain the badge. Hitler once said that Close Combat Clasp was the highest and most honorable infantry award, the APB was two times harder to get, the qualifications were so high that it was like getting the CC twice.
It was a signature award of the SS-Gebirgsjager formations in the “sudost”, and especially the SS-Feldgendarmerie and SS-Jagdkommando formations.

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Re: Illustrated history of the Handschar Division

Post by John Wilson »

March 7th, the Mevlud celebration was observed with lectures and special rations.

My pizza's shit, where's the pork cheese and mushroom? :lol:
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Re: Illustrated history of the Handschar Division

Post by JDR »

John Wilson wrote:Image
March 7th, the Mevlud celebration was observed with lectures and special rations.

My pizza's shit, where's the pork cheese and mushroom? :lol:

i was right wagonwheels were bigger back then lol
And that boys is how you take a penalty.

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