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Hitler's Penal Battalions
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 honourable 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.
Preface; Introduction; 1 The Nazi Penal System; 2 The Creation of Penal Units, The Parole Battalions-Special Penal Units-The Field Penal Camps-The Field Penal Battalions-Strafbatalions; 3 The Classification and Organization of Penal Units, Parole Units-Second Class Soldiers-Probation Units-Field Custody Detachments-Punishment Trains-Field Special Battalions-Field Police; 4 SS Parachute Battalions, 500th SS Parachute Battalion-600th SS Parachute Battalion; 5 36th Waffen SS Grenadier Division; 6 Storm and Infantry Units, 440th Sturm Division Rhodos-600th SS Parachute Battalion-502nd SS Light Infantry Battalion-SS Commando Group Centre-Infantry Units-999th Fortress Infantry Battalion; 7 999th Light Africa Division; 8 The German Replacement Army; 9 Kriegsmarine and Luftwaffe Units , Kriegsmarine-Luftwaffe; 10 Guilt by Association; Epilogue; Endnotes; Appendix I Military Organizations of the Third Reich; Appendix II German Army Group North-As of 13 October 1944; Appendix III German Army Group Centre-As of 22 April 1942; Appendix IV German Army Group South-As of 26 December 1943; Appendix V German Army Group F (South-East)-As of 15 August 1944; Appendix VI German Army Group B-As of 16 September 1944; Appendix VII German Army Group G-As of 18 October 1944; Bibliography.
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