Genesis of the United States Constabulary

April 1945 - April 1946

This section is still under construction

  Frontier Command
  District Constabulary
  "Mechanized Constabulary Scheduled for Occupation," Stars and Stripes, Nov 14, 1945
  Cavalry units designated as District Constabulary
  US Zone map with DC unit locations
  Redeployment and Demobilization

History of the Fifteenth US Army, 15 August 1944 to 11 July 1945


The use of special military organizations to control and maintain security within occupied zones in Germany dates back to the last weeks of World War II in Europe. On 23 April 1945, as the First, Third, Seventh and Ninth Armies continued their drive towards Berlin, Czechoslovakia and Austria, the Fifteenth Army was assigned the mission of "occupying, organizing and governing" the German territories of Rheinprovinz, Saarland, Pfalz, and that portion of Hessen west of the Rhine River. As of this day, the plan for the occupation of German territory after the German surrender (known as the ECLIPSE Plan) was considered to be in effect for the Fifteenth Army sector. To accomplish its mission, Fifteenth Army divided its sector (see map) into two Corps Areas: a northern area under the control of XXII Corps at Hilden (as of April 25) and a southern area under the control of XXIII Corps with its command post located at Idar Oberstein.

Among the many missions assigned to the Fifteenth Army as an occupation force was the control of personnel moving across the western border of Germany. In a study undertaken by the Fifteenth Army in November 1944 to determine a basis for the troops and organization required for the occupation of the Rhineland, the recommendation had been made to establish a Frontier Command with the responsibility of border control by means of fixed posts, road blocks and motor patrols. On 15 April 1945, Fifteenth Army directed the establishment of the Frontier Command. 

A Prohibited Frontier Zone that extended from one to five kilometers east of the border was established along the entire German border within the Fifteenth Army Area. Both XXII and XXIII Corps established Frontier Commands to control and maintain the security of their sectors of the Frontier Zone. In the XXII Corps area, the 212th Field Artillery Group was given responsibility for operating the Frontier Command. With its Command Post located in the city of Aachen, the Group supported by CIC teams manned several frontier control stations at designated crossing points along the Dutch and Belgian borders. (It appears that the 426th Field Artillery Group, located in Trier, performed similar duties in the XXIII Corps area.)

The border control mission was discontinued when Fifteenth Army was relieved of occupation responsibilities by  British and French forces. The XXII Corps area was turned over to I British Corps on 15 June 1945. The relief of U.S. units in the XXIII Corps area by the French was completed by 10 July 1945.

A District Constabulary jeep waits at a railroad crossing as a US Army troop train passes
through a small German village near Stuttgart, late 1945 or early 1946

With the cessation of hostilities in Europe on May 8 1945, the Army was given the mission of withdrawing its forces to the U.S. Zone of Occupation (see map) and assuming responsibility for security and military government within its assigned zone. By mid-July 1945 the withdrawal into the U.S. Zone of Occupation was completed. On 1 August, the U.S. Zone in Germany was divided into an Eastern Military District comprising all of Land Bavaria (less the Landkreis or county of Lindau which was relinquished to the French) occupied by the Third Army, and a Western Military District (comprising the remainder of the U.S. zone including the Bremen Enclave) which was occupied by the Seventh Army

The term "assumption of occupational duties" encompassed a wide range of responsibilities and activities. Among the more pressing tasks that had to be accomplished by the occupation forces were:

            (1) the enforcement of the terms of surrender;

            (2) the application of sanctions;

            (3) the disarmament and disbandment of the German armed forces;

            (4) the disarmament and control of paramilitary organizations;

            (5) the safeguarding and disposal of captured enemy materiel;

            (6) the arrest and bringing to justice of war criminals;                                             

            (7) the control of transportation and communications;

            (8) the disarmament and control of the police;

            (9) the establishment of law and order;

            (10) the control of governments and military organizations;

            (11) the institution of military government;

            (12) the execution of intelligence functions;

            (13) the control of public information mediums;

            (14) the liberation, care, and repatriation of prisoners of war of Allied nationality;

            (15) the care and repatriation of displaced persons (DPs) of UN nationality.


The original planning for the occupation of Germany and Austria had been directed toward an "Army-Type Occupation Force". Under this plan, the Army would deploy an occupation force large enough to "blanket" the entire conquered country and strong enough to meet any tactical need that might arise. However, the effects of redeployment would initiate a process of deterioration that would ultimately negatively affect the establishment of a stable Occupation Army. Redeployment was initially the process of returning units and troops to the United States to prepare for their subsequent deployment to the Pacific Theater for the war against Japan. Also, under the "point system", redeployment provided for a means of returning "high-point" veterans to the United States for separation from the service. After VJ-Day, redeployment was the ...   

   The role of the occupational divisions, other than the strategic reserve, would be a static one with emphasis upon occupational duties rather than on maneuvers and field training. Consequently, each of the static divisions would be so distributed that they were divided into regimental concentrations with supporting and service troops near the main administrative and communications centers. The divisions will not be dissipated into battalion and company units in a blanket occupation role.

At the same time, the Army was ordered to prepare units for redeployment to the Pacific Theater for the war against Japan. In the months following VE-Day, the structure of the major commands of the European Theater underwent a number of changes, aimed chiefly at adjusting the large wartime combat organization to the lessened needs of post-combat duties in connection with the occupation.  

By mid-July 1945 the withdrawal into the U.S. Zone of Occupation was completed. On 1 August, the U.S. Zone in Germany was divided into an Eastern Military District comprising all of Land Bavaria (less the Landkreis or county of Lindau which was relinquished to the French) occupied by the Third Army, and a Western Military District (comprising the remainder of the U.S. zone including the Bremen Enclave) which was occupied by the Seventh Army. The command of all forces employed in occupational duties within the U.S. Zone was passed to the control of the military districts.

By July 1945, the original occupational troop basis (i.e. the minimum number of troops which the War Department estimated would be necessary to carry on occupational duties in the European Theater) was based on an assumed permanent (army-type) occupation of 8 divisions:

            3 divisions for the Western Military District                         

            4 divisions for the Eastern Military District

            1 division (less 1 Regt) for Berlin

            1 regiment for Bremen      


The above-described distribution was to be accomplished by the close of 1945 and completed no later than 1 March 1946. The plans also called for a strategic reserve of two divisions (1 armored and 1 airborne division) that would be held on an alert or semi-alert basis for missions of a strategic purpose in event of an emergency.

(Source: STARS and STRIPES, November 14, 1945)
Mechanized Constabulary Scheduled for Occupation

USFET Plans Security Force On Trial Basis

Staff Correspondent

FRANKFURT, Nov. 13 -- Highly mobile mechanized security units, which may prove more efficient for occupation duty than infantry-type troops, will be organized soon in Germany on an experimental basis, it was revealed today at USFET headquarters.

Units, to be known as District Constabulary, will specialize in patroling and liaison with other control forces. They are planned to resemble state police forces at home and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

This plan for military occupation of Germany has been under consideration by USFET for several months. As the scheme now takes shape, forces will be similar to mechanized cavalry. Using armored cars, tanks, jeeps, trucks, motorcycles and other vehicles outfitted with full radio and signal equipment, they will patrol areas assigned and maintain contact with local Counter Intelligence Corps detachments, local Military Government police and occupational troop commanders.

Personnel assigned to constabulary units will receive special training to prepare them for their particular duties. Schools will teach men how to conduct raids and searches and how to examine documents and will familiarize them with Military Government laws and ordinances. Staff officers who worked out the plan see several advantages in it. Most obvious is the possibility of quicker action in any area when an emergency situation arises. It is believed that the increased mobility also will keep a greater display of strength before the German populace and enable units to make frequent appearances in outlying communities where American soldiers seldom are seen now.

Operation of the first units will be closely observed and may provide the pattern for organization of a long-term occupation force. If results show that the constabulary gives greater security coverage to proportion to manpower used, more units will be formed, accompanied by a corresponding decrease in infantry-type occupation troops.

Members of experimental groups will wear the letters "DC," standing for "District Constabulary," painted on their helmets in yellow letters three inches high.

The constabulary will not supplant local military police or indigenous MilitaryGovernment police. Its jurisdiction, however, will extend to all security matters in the assigned district or sub-district in which these agencies do not have prior jurisdiction.

(Source: The 17th REPORTER, June 14, 1946)
Enclave District Constabulary

The Enclave DC is headquartered in Grohn with detachments at Bremerhaven and Brake.

The DC's mission is to patrol backroads and isolated areas of the Bremen Enclave, constantly on the watch for trouble or signs of uprisings among the population of the Enclave. To do this the unit makes daily contacts with the Bürgermeisters of the small towns along the patrol route, getting reports from them on the status of civilians within the town and outlying areas not reached by other policing units like the MPs.

The unit also works closely with the CIC, making frequent raids on German suspects to recover government property, secret documents, forbidden books, and firearms.

The Enlcave DC was organized in November 1945 by Capt Robert Crawford.

The unit is organized as
Cannon Company, 29th Infantry Regiment with Hqs and 3 platoons. (Before the 29th Inf Regt, the current occupational unit in the Enclave, the DC unit was attached to the 311th Inf Regt.)

Currently, the DC unit is commanded by 1st Lt Signey E Thompson who assumed command when Capt Crawford left on TDY to the US in May (1946).

Present strength: 143 men and 6 officers.

The unit operates 56 vehicles, including 16 armored cars, 26 jeeps, 6 one-and-a-half ton maintenance trucks and 1 half-track.

The majority of the unit officers were trained at the European Theater Intelligence School (Oberammergau).

The enlisted men received 5 weeks of training in basic DC subjects: driving vehicles, communications and radio work, all weapons, riot duty, patrol technique, military intelligence, and map reading.

Third and Seventh Army cavalry units designated as District Constabulary, late 1945
(Draft!! - will add and correct as I find more details)
6th Cav Gp (DC)   Erlangen    
6th Cav Sq (Mech)    
28th Cav Sq (Mech)    
2nd Cav Gp (DC)   Freising    
Schwaben? 2nd Cav Sq (Mech)    
Oberbayern? 42nd Cav Sq (Mech) Freising?    
15th Cav Gp (DC)   Weinheim    
Wuerttemberg 15th Cav Sq (Mech) Erbach    
Hesse 17th Cav Sq (Mech) Fliegerhorst, Rothwesten    
Cannon Co (DC) 311th Inf Regt (later replaced by 29th Inf Regt) Bremen Bks, Bremen see email    
16th Cav Gp (DC)   Patton Bks, Berlin    


The final version of the Theater Plan for the Zone Constabulary was to shift to the police type method of occupation by a Zone Constabulary, supported by a three division mobile reserve prior to July 1, 1946. The command structure of the Theater was to be simplified by the retention of only one Army headquarters to which the mobile reserve of three divisions, supporting troops, and the Zone Constabulary would be assigned. Static ground and service force units would be grouped under separate headquarters located in Bremen, Vienna, Berlin and Frankfurt which would report directly to the Theater Headquarters. The units comprising the Mobile Reserve, as of July 1, 1946 were:

    Location   PCS/Inact  
  1st Inf Div   Regensburg   (remained in Germany until 1955)  
  9th Inf Div   Augsburg   inact Germany in December 1946  
  508th PIR (Sep)   Frankfurt   redeployed to US November 1946  
  3rd Inf Regt (Sep)   Berlin   inact in Berlin in November 1946  
  5th Inf Regt   Austria   inact Austria Nov 15, 1946  
  29th Inf Regt (Sep)   Bremen   inact Germany Oct 31, 1946  
  3d Inf Div   Bad Wildungen   arr NY Sep 4, 1946  
  14th Inf Regt   Stuttgart   inact Germany Sep 1, 1946  


The Establishment and Operations of the United States Constabulary, 3 October 1945 - 30 June 1947. MAJ James M. Snyder, G-3 Section, HQ US Constabulary, 1947.

History of the Fifteenth United States Army, 21 August 1944 to 11 July 1945

Reorganization of Tactical Forces, VE-Day to 1 January 1949. Occupation Forces in Europe Series. Francis S. Chase, Historical Division, EUCOM, 1950.