Police in the Occupied Zones after WW2

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Police in the Occupied Zones after WW2

Post  Les-Art on Sun 29 Aug 2010, 2:52 am

Hi Guys.
Time for a new thread.
This one will be for the uniforms of the Police in the Occupied Zones after WW2, I was thinking Germany and Austria as I have some info on this area.

I'll start with the combined Military Police in Vienna, who patroled in Jeeps with four occupants initially, one each from the allied powers - Britian, France, Russia and the USA.
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http://i38.servimg.com/u/f38/13/98/25/75/last_p10.jpg
This photo shows the last Combined patrol in 1945, that's the caption from the old Corbis website.
Left to right are -
U.S. Military Police, Britain Royal Military Police, France Gendarmerie Nationale, U.S.S.R. Military Police
By the fact that the British guy is wearing shorts it must have been a warm day. The U.S. and French MP have dressed for the occassion. I don't know much about MP's so if anyone as anything to add that would be useful.

This one is from 1946.
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http://i38.servimg.com/u/f38/13/98/25/75/berlin10.jpg
Of note here is the use of more insignias especially armbands. The helmets have additions showing the wearers unit or country - Red star on the Russian, Unit emblem on the U.S. and French ones.
The top of the British M.P om the left is RED and is removable, his nelt, holster and gaiters are whitened webbing.
The Frenchman on the right is wearing a U.S. issued uniform with French formation patch.

You can see these units used during the movie 'The Third Man'.

Add your comments,
Best Regards,
Les

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Berlin Police

Post  Les-Art on Sun 29 Aug 2010, 3:05 am

I found this excellent image of a Berlin Policeman taken in 1945.
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http://i38.servimg.com/u/f38/13/98/25/75/1945_b10.jpg
He is still wearing the 1933 uniform, and under the new occupying forces regulations has removed any articles that show the swastika , in this case the schako plate and unseen here his arm patch on the left sleeve, he has also removed the rank eppaulettes and moved the schako cockade down from the top of the schako to fill the gap made by the plate. This was done as an interim measure until a new uniform could be sourced and issued.

It was also common practice in some forces to just remove the swastika from the helmet plate and still retain the eagle. I have a photo somwhere of a shako used like this,

I will dig out a few more photos to post shortly.

Les

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Thuringia Police

Post  Les-Art on Sun 29 Aug 2010, 3:18 am

Another nice clear photo.
This one was taken in Thuringia in 1946 showing a policewoman directing traffic in the centre of the city.
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http://i38.servimg.com/u/f38/13/98/25/75/1946_t10.jpg
Of note are the ex-army felt winter boots and policemans overcoat, woman took over several police functions during this period for obvious reasons. The schako is interesting from two points it is either from pre-war stocks used by the VerkhersPolizei (Traffic Police) without a shako plate or it has been entirely painted white.
The Armband, was widely used at this time, the most common variety was simply White with 'POLIZEI' in black block lettering.
No rank insignias are worn in keeping with the new regulations.

More to come.

Les

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Hannover Police 1947

Post  Les-Art on Sun 29 Aug 2010, 3:29 am

by the timne this next photo was taken things were moving on considerably with the issue of new uniforms in most areas and a better organiation of the local Police.
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http://i38.servimg.com/u/f38/13/98/25/75/hanove10.jpg
The uniforms in this area were now Dark Blue and the schako shown was issued in 1946 and was changed in 1952 to a Cap.
These Police men now have rank insignias which were allowed under the later issued regulations and have new alloy breast badges showing their personal numbers, in case of complaint from the public or occupying forces, it shows the horse emblem of neidersaschen(Lower Saxony) the Lander (State) in which Hannover is situated.
The man in the centre , the more senior rank, appears to be wearing a pre war tunic, note the number of buttons down the front and turnback cuffs.

That's all for now, will post more shortly.
Regrads,
Les

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Frankfurt Police 1946

Post  Les-Art on Sun 29 Aug 2010, 4:07 am

Found another clear photo
This one shows a Traffic Policeman at work in Frankfurt in 1946.
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http://i38.servimg.com/u/f38/13/98/25/75/1946_f10.jpg
Of note here is the White painted PUCH motorcycle. looks like a recent paint job, probably a civilian model originally.
Uniform wise he is wearing a British Police issue cap with goggles pushed up on to its' front, this was a British administered zone, the coat is a pre-war issue for the Frankfurt Traffic Police. The belt would appear to be the 1933 German issue and the truncheon(night stick) hanging from it is black rubber. His boots are not german police issue and may possibly be British Despatch Rider(DR) issue. Many British item were issued in these zones.

Best Regards,
Les

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Thank you, especially for the knowledgeable comments.

Post  mconrad on Sun 29 Aug 2010, 4:13 am

Thank you, especially for the knowledgeable comments.

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Re: Police in the Occupied Zones after WW2

Post  Les-Art on Sun 29 Aug 2010, 4:18 am

Hi mconrad,
It's good to see someone is out there. Thanks for your comment.

I hope to add more to this tthread as I collate more info and find more clear photos.
Do you have anything to contribute photo wise ?

Regards.
Les

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Re: Police in the Occupied Zones after WW2

Post  Les-Art on Sun 29 Aug 2010, 4:34 am

This website is very interesting with regards to some comments about the Austrian Gendarmerie and the use of the US M1 carbine in this and other forces in the occupied zones.
http://www.bavarianm1carbines.com/austria.html

There is a lot to read so it may take you some time but it is worth it, I've learned a lot already.

Should be able to do something on the Austrian Police and Gendarmerie now.

Les

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More German Police

Post  Les-Art on Tue 31 Aug 2010, 5:53 am

To continue this thread I have found a few more photos from Getty Images which may be of interest.

Berlin Police escorting Black Marketeers to the central Police Station 1946.
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http://i38.servimg.com/u/f38/13/98/25/75/black_10.jpg
Of note here is the variations of uniforms on the escort group. The man on the right appears to be wearing the early war German Army jacket with dark green collar and ankle boots,possibly US army issue.
The man on the right has a late war German Army jacket and work trousers. All are wearing the 1933 German Police schako without plate and the Cockade moved down. No pistols are worn as per the regulations.

Vienna Police raid on Black marketeers building 1946.
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http://i38.servimg.com/u/f38/13/98/25/75/vienna10.jpg
In the foreground the local policeman wears his German Police 1933 issue uniform with the insignias removed from his cap and the gap partly filled with what appears to be a pre-war Vienna Security Police, Wein Sicherheitswache Polizei, cap badge which was a shield with red/white/red enamel. In the background the Allied Combined Military Police unit can be seen, mainly US, the British contingent seems to be an MP from a Scottish Regiment, Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders, which is unusual as they normally are Royal Military Police.

More to come.
Les

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British zone German police.

Post  Les-Art on Tue 31 Aug 2010, 6:09 am

This one shows a British Captain with the Control Commission Germany inspecting German police rifles.
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http://i38.servimg.com/u/f38/13/98/25/75/capt_h10.jpg
The policemen nearest the camera on the left is still wearing his 1933 uniform with rank insignias, only the cap badge seems to have been removed. The man next to him has a mid war army jacket and has found a roundel to put on his cap. This photo is taken somewhere in the British zone during 1947 , this is confirmed by the armband on the man at the right wearing an MG POLICE armband. According to the photo caption the British officer is an Inspector from the Manchester City Police, this bringing over of civilian police officers from the UK was quite normal and was thought to be worth while as they would be familiar with everyday policing problem that the military would strugle with.

More to come.
Les

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Austrian Gendarmerie

Post  Les-Art on Tue 31 Aug 2010, 6:23 am

Found this photo of two Gendarmes dressed in historical uniforms during the 125th Anniversary celebrations of the Austrian Gendarmerie in 1974.
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http://i38.servimg.com/u/f38/13/98/25/75/scan0010.jpg
The man in the foreground is wearing an armband which shows that he is serving in the Russian Sector of occupied Austria it reads 'Oesterr. Gendarmerie' over cyrillic lettering ,which I presume says the same.
I need help in identify the origin of his uniform as it doesn't seem to conform to any German military uniform , could it be of Russian or Austrian military type. His cap is obviously Austrian.
The man in the background is either in the pre-war uniform or post 1948 uniform. More research is needed.

REgards,
Les

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Breman POlizei 1945 - 1948

Post  Les-Art on Fri 03 Sep 2010, 3:01 am

Had this info on the New Blue Police for Europe thread but think it is more appropriate here.

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http://i28.servimg.com/u/f28/13/98/25/75/bremen10.jpg
If the illustartion is cut of slightly then click on above link for full image.

Regards,
Les

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The U.S. Constabulary 1946 - 1952

Post  Les-Art on Fri 03 Sep 2010, 3:15 am

Hi There,
I didn't know anything about this force and came across it while surfing.

The U.S. Constabulary policed the U.S. Zones between 1946 and 1952 and it was made up of U.S. Military personel seconded from various units. Here is their uniform,
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http://i38.servimg.com/u/f38/13/98/25/75/unifor10.jpg
They were distinguished from U.S. Army units Military Police by having gold coloured cravats and double gold stripes on their helmets. There shoulder patch was a 'C' with a lightening bolt through it. This illlustration, from a website devoted to this unit ,shows an officer on the left and an enlisted man on the right, both are armed with the standard G.I. issue Colt .45 pistol and the enlisted man has a Thompson .45 sub machine gun. The helmet insignias are unclear but possibly the Constabulary logo on the front and the area designation on the side.

More to come,
Regards,
Les

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Bremen Zone

Post  mconrad on Fri 03 Sep 2010, 3:19 am

Some may wonder how Bremen is in the US military occupation zone when the division of Germany into Allied occupation zones allocated southern Germany to the US. I'm pretty sure the answer is that the port facilities of Bremen were an enclave in the British zone given to the Americans for logistics and transport reasons.

When I was in Germany in the 1970s there were US units thickly strewn across Baden, Wurttemberg, and Bavaria, but in the north only a logistics command at Bremen.

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The U.S. Constabulary 1946 - 1952

Post  mconrad on Fri 03 Sep 2010, 3:27 am

"The U.S. Constabulary policed the U.S. Zones between 1946 and 1952 and it was made up of U.S. Military personel seconded from various units."

Quibble on my part - the men were not seconded. Various US cavalry units (i.e. armored cars and light tanks) that had fought in Europe during the war were redesignated and reorganized with constabulary titles. After the end of the constabulary mission these units reacquired their more historical cavalry type designations.

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Re: Police in the Occupied Zones after WW2

Post  Les-Art on Fri 03 Sep 2010, 3:43 am

Hi Mark,
You are right ,I haven't read through the website about this unit but I did notice something about cavalry.
For the full story check out their website;
www.usconstabulary.com
I found this when surfing for some other info. I appreciate you taking part in this thread if you have any other comments feel free to add what you know.

Regarding the BREMEN POLIZEI post above, my german is not good enough to get all the detail of why the US were in that area, however the local police insignia collectors were adamant that the uniform was based on the New York Police one. I am not an expert on these matter mearly an enthusiast and am quite happy to correct or accept corrections on any info I post.

Best Regards,
Les

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US Constabulary Inspection

Post  Les-Art on Fri 03 Sep 2010, 3:55 am

Found this on Getty Images
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http://i38.servimg.com/u/f38/13/98/25/75/us_con10.jpg
Of note here is the confirmation on what Mark was saying about the US Constabulary being Cavalry and Armoured unit guys, this is an inspection by a Constabulary officer who is still clearly wearing his Armoured Unit patch.
There are some differences in what the men are wearing from the illustration previously shown in this thread, namely the helmets only have a badge on the front and the officer on the left is wearing a web belt instead of the leather one. I don't know enough about the U.S. Army uniforms ,some one here will have an explanation, coukld it be that leather equipment belts were used for DRess occassions and web belts for work wear and that the phot shows a snap inspection of men on duty.

Refards,
Les

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Just acquired something about this (Constabulary)

Post  mconrad on Tue 07 Sep 2010, 5:52 am

The "FOOTLOCKER" (dedicated to collectors of US uniforms) just came in the mail, and it serendipitously had this article. I thought it interesting that the kind of unit transformed into constabulary in post-war Europe (armored cavalry) was at least sometimes already familiar with the internal security mission. This man's war was apparently largely spent patrolling southern California in an armored car. Later his unit served at the tail end of hostilities in northwest Europe, but I don't think the unit was chosen for constabulary duty since it wasn't of Regular Army lineage (haven't checked this out, but that's my suspicion).

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Article on US Constabulary in post-war Europe

Post  mconrad on Mon 18 Apr 2011, 12:53 pm

If there's still interest in this subject, this article may be useful:

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Re: Police in the Occupied Zones after WW2

Post  mconrad on Mon 18 Apr 2011, 1:01 pm

Les-Art wrote:Found this on Getty Images
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http://i38.servimg.com/u/f38/13/98/25/75/us_con10.jpg
Of note here is the confirmation on what Mark was saying about the US Constabulary being Cavalry and Armored unit guys, this is an inspection by a Constabulary officer who is still clearly wearing his Armored Unit patch.
There are some differences in what the men are wearing from the illustration previously shown in this thread, namely the helmets only have a badge on the front and the officer on the left is wearing a web belt instead of the leather one. I don't know enough about the U.S. Army uniforms ,some one here will have an explanation, could it be that leather equipment belts were used for dress occasions and web belts for work wear and that the photo shows a snap inspection of men on duty.

Regards,
Les

Based on what I've just been reading, that's got to be MG Harmon, commanding general of the Constabulary. The armored patch is his wartime service unit. His Constabulary patch would be on the left shoulder. That's US Army style - past combat unit on the right, current unit on the left.
Regards,
Mark

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Re: Police in the Occupied Zones after WW2

Post  BlueTrain on Fri 14 Jun 2013, 11:18 pm

For some reason this silly computer won't let me look at any of the linked images except for the very last one (the article by Rutledge). I served in Germany for almost two years and never heard of the Constabulary until much later or at least never associated it with Germany. However, one of my former supervisors 20 years ago told me his first overseas assignment was with the US Constabulary and his issue weapon was a Thompson. Coincidentally, my son also served in Germany in the same town as Elvis Presley as well as my son-in-law with his wife, my daughter. Unfortunately, he's now in Afganistan. But I digress.

I was not able to see the image with the leather belts that were mentioned. There used to be a leather MP set, which was brown in those days, that consisted of the garrison belt, which had been general issue for all male enlisted men, an adjustable shoulder strap that supported a leather piece on the right side to which the issue holster for the .45 auto could be attached with the wire hooks on the holster. However, other holsters could also be used and it would take the holster for the 4" barrel .38 revolvers then in service, which had the same wire hooks. All of this was later made in black and some sets were in patent leather. I have a photo of my father wearing such a set during WWII but his outfit included a reverse draw holster for a .45 M1917 revolver, which had a leather loop that went over the entire rig, there being no wire hooks. He was not an MP, though, so obviously it was on issue to other troops.

I understand that rig is no longer used. Instead there is a more or less standard police-type Sam Browne belt (no shoulder straps) for all armed forces police use, which was probably introduced around the time the Beretta was adopted.

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Re: Police in the Occupied Zones after WW2

Post  ChrisF202 on Sat 15 Jun 2013, 2:25 pm

What is the reason behind US Army Military Police carrying the .38 Smith & Wesson revolver instead of the Colt M1911? I believe this was the case from the ~1960s right up until the Beretta was phased in starting in the late 1980s.

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Re: Police in the Occupied Zones after WW2

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