United States Constabulary
European Command

Looking for more information from military/civilian personnel assigned to or associated with the U.S. Army in Germany from 1945 to 1989. If you have any stories or thoughts on the subject, please contact me.


History 

HQ US Constab

1st Con Bde

2nd Con Bde

3rd Con Bde

4th Con Regt (Austria)

15th Constab Sq

16th Con Sq (Sep)* (Berlin)

24th Constab Sq

Constabulary School
Dept. of Public Safety

1946 - 1952

Border Patrol

Commanding Generals


HQ Constab Phone Book (Dec 1946)

7767 TTU


7732nd FA Gp

555th Engr Gp

Armd Inf Bns

Newspaper articles

Related Links

* transfer to a different website


 
History
 

28th Constabulary Squadron at the Kurhaus in Bad Steben,
a border outpost near Hof, 1945 (CriticalPast website)
 
  A book on the U.S. Constabulary in Germany by John Capone

 
1946
(Source: Email from James O. Whittaker, HQ US Constabulary)
I arrived at Hq US Con in Bamberg in July 1946 (when it opened) and stayed with them through the move to Heidelberg and was there until my discharge in 1947. I had enlisted for 18 months in the Regular Army - the shortest enlistment time for the Army ever.

They were DESPERATE for replacement of combat troops both in Europe and in Japan at that time - desperate! Combat troops wanted to come home NOW and the occupation was a mess - shootings, rapes, thefts, etc. by American troops. Constabulary was formed to put some "spit and polish" into the occupation. One of Patton's Generals was chosen to lead.

My basic training was in Ft McClellan Alabama 6 weeks (less than half the time given to combat training). Then on to Ft Dix NJ and a troop transport from NYC to Cherborg, France - from there via troop train across France, crossing the frontier at Saarbrücken and on to Amberg repple depot.

I was assigned to G-3 in Con Hq. Bamberg and as a Clerk Typist, read every "serious incident" report from throughout our Occupation Zone for the 13 months I was in Germany. (We had direct phone lines to Brigade Hqs. in Munich, Stuttgart, and Frankfurt.) So I have a very good picture in my mind of what occurred in that period.

G-3 also ran General Ernest Harmon's Map room which showed visually the picture of the situation all over our Occpation Zone. Harmon (Ole Gravel Voice) was a WW I cavalryman, wearing riding boots and breeches, along with ribbons from his pocket up to his epulet. In our Hq. we had no officers below the rank of Major (most had served several years during the war and wanted to remain in order to secure their pensions.) Same was true of enlisted men. So many sergeants remained, it was virtually impossible to get a promotion (I was T/5 throughout).

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
By troop train across France one would never know there had been a war. At each stop, French civilians by the hundreds surrounded the train waiting for gifts of cigarettes, K rations, etc. Not until we approached the Saar did I see barbed wire, burned out tanks, and finally, pillboxes. I never forgot the shock of seeing the ruins of Saarbrücken that stretched as far as the eye could see. From then on, in Germany, no civilians approached our train.

One cannot imagine the bombing destruction in Germany. Every single larger city had been hammered again and again. Even tiny Bamberg had suffered a couple of minor raids, according to my German friends. At least one fourth of all the housing in Germany had been burned or blown up. More people (100,000) burned to death in one night in a Hamburg incendiary bombing (American and British bombers) than were killed by the Atomic Bomb at Hiroshima.

The US Army was segregated. Entire towns and villages were occupied by Colored troops. In other large camps, DP's from Eastern Europe (slave laborers) were camped by the thousands. We had more trouble with these two groups than with any others. On the General's map of "serious incidents," the towns occupied by US Colored troops were black with pins representing rapes, fatal vehicle accidents, thefts, etc etc. (I am not making any judgments, just reporting the facts)

ANY incident involving JEWS was to be reported to Hq., however insignificant. Germans reported cattle stolen and butchered by the DP's The UN was responsible for their control (UNRRA). German civilians were generally well behaved and friendly toward the Americans. Many had fled with millions of others in the largest mass migration in human history from Northern Germany (near Berlin) to the South. Fear of the Russians was the driving force. The retreating German Army had blown up every single bridge in the cities as they retreated in 1945, making the migration of civilians even more difficult.

I remember in the destroyed cities, seeing houses of which only the front door remained. Relatives had written current addresses on the door, in case their relatives came looking for them. German radio every morning broadcast the descriptions of literally hundreds of small children who could not be identified. Separated from their parents, the hope was that some could be united based on the descriptions. (These were small children who did not know their last names or where they were from)

The Shutzstaffel (SS) had been declared a "criminal organization" at Nurnberg. Every member was subject to arrest (unlike the Wehrmacht). Hence, we had large camps all over our Occupation Zone with SS waiting to be interrogated (and possibly tried for war crimes). One of the Constabulary assigments was to take prisoner any SS (who could be identified by the tattoo in their left arm pit).

When the Constabulary Hq moved to what had been an SS Kaserne in Heidelberg, we dined off SS China and used SS silverware. Tablecloths together with menus and German waiters were on hand. (This was for Enlisted men like me) The deutschmark was virtually worthless and the Germany economy non existent. We used script. Black market was the only business in town (for everyone). Germans accepted the occupation forces BUT resented wives of American officers who paraded out of the PX with arms loaded with groceries, while Germans were still rooting through our garbage cans. They also resented American officers who went into German houses (one fourth were destroyed) and told the occupants "you have twenty four hours to leave, taking only personal items" Then the American officer and his wife moved into the house. This made me ashamed to be an American.

Shortly after I arrived in Bamberg I went to a session of the Nurnberg Trials (Sept. 1946) some 35 miles or so away. I sat some 20 feet from Hermann Goering and the other defendants on the main floor of the courtroom. Much later I became close friends with Dr. Gus Gilbert who had been prison psychologist throughout the entire period of the trials.

General Ernest Harmon was a colorful guy, to say the least. He had an honor guard of MP's - about 30 of them - who didn't vary more than an inch in height. Wearing the colorful gold scarves at their throats with the helmets marked with the "C and lightning bolt, and the paratrooper boots, they were impressive.

Even more impressive was when General Harmon came through town. The Germans watched in awe. They LOVED uniforms and the military - ANY military, even ours!! Leading the procession in a "V" shape, were three of these MP's on motor cycles with Thompson sub-machine guns in holsters on the front wheels. Following them were two jeeps with a 50 cal. machine gun mounted in back, then an armored car, then General Harmon's car, then two more jeeps, followed up by three Harley motorcycles (in a "V") with machine guns, bringing up the rear -- ALL with sirens wailing. Quite a sight and sound.

General Harmon also had his own private streamlined 3-car train (photo) decorated with the Constabulary symbols, (it had been Goering's train) AND his own private plane (a DC-3) (probably Goering's plane) Finally, he had one of Goering's custom made Mercedes autos at the Bamberg Kaserne. It was armoured plated, with bullet proof glass in the windows. Six speed forward, three speed reverse transmission.

Harmon, as I told you, was an old Cavalry General and always wore riding boots and breeches with ribbons up to his shoulder. I saw him one day at our Hq with General Bradley - quite a contrast. Bradley always wore the same uniform as enlisted men (only with his General's stars of course).

I don't know why Bamberg was chosen to start out the Hq - probably its location and the fact it had a Wermacht Kaserne that was undamaged. When Patton's 7th Army was deactivated and came back to the States, we moved to the former SS Hq. in Heidelberg, as you know.

Other items. We were told not to "fraternize" with the Germans. Now how stupid can you get? Send 18 year old boys over so they see young, blue eyed, blond haired German girls, and tell them "no fraternization." Needless to say, it didn't work. Nor did the "Spruchkammer Courts" (de-Nazification Courts) A joke. Those who had been members of the Nazi Party were forbidden to work for the Americans (at first). Then it was discovered we could not run the occupation without these people (everyone worth anything - almost - had been a Party member). In my 13 months in Germany I had many German friends, but never met a Nazi -- not one. Isn't that strange? ha ha Maybe they were all killed in the war. I did meet a couple of girls who had been in the Hitler Jugend (Youth) however. Nor did I see more than a handful of German young men my age. Those I did see had lost an arm or a leg. In fact, virtually an entire generation of young German men was wiped out in the war.

My stay was before the Berlin Wall, before the Berlin airlift and of course, before the Cold War had started. We were not allowed into Austria, Poland, or the Russian sector except to take the train from Frankfurt to Berlin (which I did). We had to wear the Army uniform 100% of the time. I, of course, wore it on a trip in to Prague and wound up alone in the middle of the May Day Celebration with Communist banners and pictures of Stalin and Lenin all around me. Sweat, sweat!! Curious stares all around.

G-3 in our Hq worked 24-7. Each of us was on duty two weeks 8-5, then one week of 5-12, then one week of 12-8. THEN we got a three day pass. Usually we doubled up with another guy and worked 5PM to 8AM and the other guy did the same for us. That gave us five days off a month (including the 3 day pass). I traveled throughout Europe on every chance I had. I made many German friends and spent many many evenings in their apartments listening to them talk about their experiences during the war. It gave me a perspective on WWII few others had (or have today). I even attended one of the first concerts of the Bamberg Symphony - sitting in the German audience with our winter coats on (no fuel for heat).

Two years ago my wife and I were "Invited Guests" for the 50th anniversary of the Symphony in Bamberg. Unfortunately we could not attend. I was frightened by an "I & E" (Information and Education) Film on the Werewolves when we were at the embarcation center at Ft Dix. Warned to expect attacks on us, we were all on guard when we arrived in Germany. There were never any such attacks or any werewolves. From my position in the Hq. I would have known (at least not in 1946-47).

I was an immature 18 year old when I arrived in Germany but a much more grown up and mature 19 year old when I left. I had seen Paris, London, Brussels, Amsterdam, Berlin (where I walked down into Hitler's Fuhrerbunker where he had killed himself,) Rome (where I shook hands with the Pope), Prague (and the Communist May Day celebration) Nurnberg (facing Goering and the rest of the "gang" close up). I loved writing term papers on all these things when I got to college at Texas Christian University and Harvard on my return to the US.

Shortly after arriving in Bamberg and the US Constabulary Hq., an interesting event took place in our Occupation Zone. The newspapers announced the return of the survivors of the German Sixth Army - the men who had been taken prisoner by the Russians at Stalingrad. One hundred thousand Germans were taken prisoner. Put on the train at Stalingrad, they were taken to Moscow and made to march down the streets (without weapons obviously) They filled the street curb to curb and as far as the eye could see. Then they were again loaded on trains and shipped to Siberia. Ten thousand returned to Germany. "But where are the rest?" the Germans asked the Russians "We don't know. That's all we have," they replied.

Another interesting event. The Stars and Stripes announced the Nurnberg Trials were going "into their last 21 days" One day was to be set aside to sum up the case for and against EACH of the Nazi defendants. I decided I had to see this. I got a day off and hitchiked to Nurnberg. The engines on some German cars I saw on the roads, had been converted to charcoal burners (A fact very very few Americans have ever heard about. A large round object like the water heater you have at home, was mounted on the rear bumper -- part of the trunk had been cut out to accommodate it. These were fairly common on the roads along with our jeeps some of which still had wire cutters mounted on the front bumper (another fact few Americans remember). The cutters were designed to cut wire stretched across rural roads intended to decapitate Americans riding in the Jeep. This was only done during WW II - not during the occupation.

Arriving in the smashed city of Nurnberg I got a Court Room pass from the Provost Marshal's office. At the entrance through the wall surrounding the Palace of Justice (photo 1, photo 2, photo 3) two MP's armed with Thompson sub machine guns, inspected my pass. At the door to the building another MP, similarly armed, inspected my pass. Inside I was directed to an office where I received a Court Room pass. On the corridor leading to the Court Room, two more MP's inspected THAT pass. Finally, at the door to the Court Room, another MP checked my pass. At last ... I entered and took a seat on the main floor of the court room.

Shortly the defendants entered, took their seats and the proceedings began. Hermann Goering was about twenty feet from me, sitting at the end of the defendants box. The case for and against Fritz Sauckel was beeing summarized. Sauckel had been in charge of Nazi Slave labor. He was later sentenced to death and hanged. A few weeks later when I was back in Bamberg, the sentences were posted in the front windows of local stores. German civilians crowded around to look. "They deserved it" was a typical reaction. "A gang of criminals" was another reaction. These sentences expiated any German guilt over their involvment in the Nazi regime, in my opinion. "Not my fault" was the reaction -- "THEY were to blame."

A few years ago my wife and I visited Nurnberg and to our surprise, found that the Palace of Justice, along with the Court Room I had seen, is still there. The two of us entered with a guide and stood next to the railing that had been in front of Goering's seat. An odd feeling to be there, fifty years after the trials ended.

In January of 1947 I got a three day pass and with the extra two days from working double shifts, took off for Berlin. I took the train from Frankfurt, sharing a compartment with a Russian officer. Neither of us could speak the others language so not much transpired on that trip through the Russian Occupation Zone.

In Berlin, I had arranged to see British friends I had met in Switzerland. They were working for the British military in Berlin at the time. Shortly after arriving and getting a place to stay, I hired a taxi to take me over to the Reich Chancellery. We drove down Unter den Linden past the Russian War Memorial and the monument to the Franco Prussian war (which had a huge tri color (French) flag hanging from the top of it). On past the Tiergarten on our right, which was largely devoid of trees - all of which had been cut down for fuel.

The ruins of the Reichstag were on the left as we approached Brandenburg Gate. No guards were on duty at the Gate, only a sign in four languages which said "you are now leaving the American sector, entering the Russian sector." My cab didn't even slow down as we drove through. Remember, this was before the Cold War. Snow covered everything, and that winter was one of the coldest on record. Hardly a building could be seen that one could live in. The city was a huge ruin.

Shortly, we turned right and drove a couple of blocks, pulling up at the side entrance to the Reich Chancellery. I got out, paid my driver, and walked in. Some Germans were selling photos taken during the war of the Chancellery and I bought some, which I still have. Largely intact, all the light fixtures had been torn out and there was Russian graffiti on the walls. But I walked on to what had been Hitler's office (no furniture was left, only empty rooms). Then I walked out to the right, into the garden where Hitler and Eva Braun had been cremated. I walked over to the entrance to the Fuhrer bunker which was guarded by a single Russian solder. He didn't challenge me in any way (I was in Army uniform) and I entered the bunker. Unfortunately I did not have a "torch" (flashlight) so it was not possible to go very far down into the Bunker. I could see an empty safe, with the door open (too heavy to lug up the stairs) but not much else.

It gave me an erie feeling to stand down in that shelter which had played such an important role toward the end of World War II. I never forgot the destruction and desolation in Berlin (or in the other large German cities such as Frankfurt,Munich, Mannheim, and Stuttgart.) German friends told me they could see Nurnberg burning at night from as far away as Bamberg (some 35 or so miles). Berlin could be seen burning up to 90 miles way. Day and night bombing took place through the last weeks of the war.

1950
(Source: US CON Troop List 1, 5 Jan 1950)
 
ORGANIZATION (JAN 1950)

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US Constabulary School
 

The information presented on this page is meant to provide some historical background on the formation and operation of the U.S. Constabulary School in Sonthofen, Germany. If anyone has additional information, corrections or stories relating to the school, Sonthofen military community or any other aspect of their service with the U.S. Armed Forces during the early years of the Occupation in Germany and Austria - please contact me.

 
The image above stems from a Photo Album published c. 1948 by the US Constabulary School, Burg Sonthofen, Bavaria, Germany.
 
Primary Sources:
(1) The Establishment and Operations of the United States Constabulary, 3 October 1945 - 30 June 1947. Historical Sub-Section, G-3 Section, HQ U.S. Constabulary, 1947.
(2) History of the U.S. Constabulary, 10 January 1946 - 31 December 1946. Historical Division, HQ European Command, 1947.
(3) The United States Constabulary - A History. William M. Tevington, Turner Publishing Co., 1998.
 
Formation
u The Third U.S. Army Constabulary Planning Board was formed at Bad Toelz in early January 1946 to develop an organizational and operational plan for the US Constabulary. Early in the planning stage the Board recognized the need for a Constabulary School that would train both officers and enlisted men in the methods required to perform the new Constabulary mission.

u
On 15 January 1946, the 2nd Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron, part of the District Constabulary already in operation at the time, was ordered to Sonthofen were they replaced 3rd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment which had been performing occupational duties in that sector. Upon its arrival in Sonthofen, the 2nd Cav Recon Sq assumed control of the former Adolf Hitler Schule and immediately began preparing the school plant for operations. This school was located in a winter sports area of Upper Allgaeu, at the foot of the Bavaria Alps. It had originally been constructed as a school to train youthful candidates for positions of leadership within the Nazi party.

u
On 12 February 1946, the 465th Anti-Aircraft Automatic Weapons Battalion, Self-Propelled, arrived at Sonthofen to relieve the 2nd as School Troops. The 2nd Cav, minus A Troop, returned to 2nd Cavalry Group control on 26 February and reassumed their District Constabulary role. A Troop remained at Sonthofen until 23 March to break in the new school troops. The Troop then rejoined the rest of the 2nd Squadron at their new station in Lenggries.
u In accordance with preliminary tables of organization developed for the School Squadron in late January 1946, the 465th was redesignated as U.S. Constabulary School Squadron and organized as follows:
Headquarters Troop
Service Troop
Instructors Troop
Demonstration Troop 1)
Guard & MP Troop
Medical Detachment
Band

1) it appears that the Demonstration and Guard troops were combined at some point to form the Demonstration & Guard (D&G) Troop. Anybody have details about this?


u
The School Squadron strength comprised 122 officers, 6 warrant officers and 820 enlisted men.
 
Curriculum

u The emphasis in creating a curriculum for the Constabulary School was placed on those subjects believed to be peculiar to Constabulary operation but not part of the standard training of a soldier. The curriculum included instructions in the geography, history and politics of Germany. The technical and specialist training for the Constabulary trooper included the theory and practice of criminal investigation, police records, self-defense, riot duty, raids and searches and the apprehension of wanted persons.

u The original material presented to the first classes represented an educated guess of the subjects believed essential to the operation of a mobile occupational police force. Modifications to courses of study were made with the passing of time as the District Constabulary and later the US Constabulary gained operational experience in the field and new requirements were determined. Also, some courses such as communications and intelligence were soon eliminated because they duplicated those taught at Theater schools, such as Ansbach (Theater Signal School) and Oberammergau (Theater Intelligence School).

 
Departmental Organization

u The curriculum of the school was organized by grouping courses of instruction by related subjects and placing them under functional departments of the Academics Division. The division, under the supervision of the Assistant Commandant, was comprised of:

Headquarters, Academics Division
Training Aids Department
Department of Geopolitics
Department of Public Safety
Department of Tactics
Department of Motor Transport
Department of General Subjects 2)
Department of Weapons 3)
Communications Department 4)
Student Squadron

2) discontinued effective 20 September 1946
3) established 1 February 1947
4) discontinued effective 23 November 1946

Headquarters, Academics Division - supervised and coordinated the activities of the Academic instructional departments and the student squadron.

Training Aids Department - supported the instructional departments with charts, graphs and other training aids. In addition, the department operated the training film library and projection and public address equipment.

Department of Geopolitics - provided the student with a knowledge of the historical, geographical and psychological background of the German people and nation.

Department of Public Safety - originally designated as Department of Police, was responsible for all instructions relating to police work, the greatest single operational task performed by the Constabulary.

Department of Tactics - presented a balanced course of instruction consisting of normal military operations dealing with both Motorized Infantry and Mechanized Cavalry tactics as well as Constabulary operations. With increased experience in the field, the focus of this course shifted more towards specific Constabulary functions such as border control, raids and searches, and providing more demonstrations and practical work. To aid in the presentation of intelligence subjects a control room was constructed modeled after the one maintained by Constabulary Headquarters. This room provided an up to date picture of intelligence developments and Constabulary operations throughout the US Zone.

Department of Motor Transport - was primarly involved in instructing officers and enlisted men in first echelon motor maintenance. On 1 January 1947, the course of instruction of the Third U.S. Army Aircraft and Engine Mechanic School was added to the department with the transfer of this school from Bad Reichenhall.

Department of General Studies - taught unarmed defense, intelligence subjects, map reading and key German words and phrases. Effective 20 September 1946, this department was discontinued and its courses transferred to other departments.

Department of Weapons - instructed troopers in weapons with the objective of improving individual and group marksmanship, developing competent instructors and promoting the safe handling of firearms.

Communications Department - provided general communications, wire communications, radio and radio operations training. This department was discontinued on 23 November 1946 because of duplication of courses taught by the Theater Signal School in Ansbach.

Student Squadron - incoming students were assigned to the squadron for purposes of control, administration and discipline. The Squadron was organized into a headquarters consisting of the Sqduadron Commander, Squadron Executive, Sergeant Major, clerks and orderlies. In addition to the permanent staff, a squadron staff composed of student officers assisted the Squadron Commander. Troops were organized under student officers and non-commissioned officers. Each troop was headed by a faculty advisor who assisted the Squadron Commander in the execution of inspection and in administration.

 
Consolidation and Closure

u In January 1947, Theater Headquarters decided to consolidate the 7719th Theater School (Special) located at Seckenheim and the Theater Military Police School 5), at Nellingen, with the US Constabulary School in Sonthofen. The consolidation became effective 20 January, when the 7719th was transferred to Sonthofen. This school retained its separate identity and continued to function as a Theater School. With the consolidation, the US Constabulary School began to take on the character of a Theater school. By 30 June 1947, the Constabulary was teaching five concurrent courses. Two of these were Constabulary courses, the other three were on a Theater-wide basis. 370 of the 750 students were from non-Constabulary units or commands.

u In the spring of 1948 the U.S. Constabulary began to reorganize as a tactical force. The process of relieving the Constabulary of many of its police-type activities such as border control, highway patrol and other law enforcement functions and of returning these duties to the reconstituted German police was in full swing. The focus of training shifted from internal security to combat readiness. With the establishment of the Tank Training Center in Vilseck, the Constabulary began the process of converting the old police-type units to armored combat organizations. The need for the Constabulary School at Sonthofen had ceased to exist and it was closed in June 1948. Personnel from the inactivated school were absorbed into the new 7732nd Field Artillery Group which was formed on 20 July 1948 at Sonthofen.

5) The Theater MP School was not moved to Sonthofen until early 1948. It staid there as part of the U.S. Constabulary School for only two months. In May 1948 it was consolidated with the Theater Intelligence School in Oberammergau, near Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

 
Military Community

u On 29 April 1946, the first U.S. military dependents arrived in Europe. By the end of June of the same year, Theater Headquarters had subdivided the U.S. occupied Zone into 53 military communities where in-theater military dependents would live. These small posts were operated by station complement units 6) responsible for receiving, storing and issuing the supplies required to sustain the military and dependent population; performing all but major maintenance services; and operating local medical and hospitalization facilities.

u The military community site for Sonthofen was established at Oberstdorf about eight miles south of the School. A commissary, post exchange and dispensary were established at Oberstdorf and began operations on 20 July 1946. By the end of 1946 there were seventy dependent families living in the military community.

u The Women's Army Corps (WAC) detachment established at the School in September 1946 was also billeted in the town. The WAC detachment was assigned to help alleviate the critical shortages of administrative personnel. Personnel from this detachment worked in various headquarters sections and in the Academic Division, wherever shortages were most critical.

u Arrangements were made to provide transportation to the School for personnel living in Oberstdorf. A night and day bus service was soon supplemented by a morning and evening train service between Oberstdorf and the Constabulary School.

6) As far as I have been able to determine, a detachment of the 7815th SCU out of Augsburg was responsible for operating the Sonthofen military community.


Constabulary School

 

1. Burg Sonthofen (KB)

2. Sonthofen School (KB)
 
3. A section of the post (KB)
 

4. Inside the post (KB)

5. Quadrangle (KB)

6. Class V: Graduation day (KB)
 

7. Main gate (KB)

8. Red Cross Club (KB)

9. Post Library (KB)
 

10. Service Club (KB)

11. Mess Hall (KB)

12. Post gym (KB)
 

13. Traffic Maze (KB)

14. Sonthofen (KB)

15. Oberstdorf (KB)
 

 
(Source: Email from James Lantz, 465th AAA Bn and D&G Troop, 1945-1946)
I was a  member of the permanent personnel at Sonthofen, arriving in Feb. 1946.  I was, for 6 weeks, attached/unassigned to the 465th AAA AW Bn while the school was being formed.  Then was in the Demonstration & Guard Troop which was located in the town in what I was told had been a German Cavalry Unit. We had five M24 light tanks. 

I drove the command tank and our platoon leader was  Lt. Edwin P Kawasaki, a first generation Japanese/American fresh out of OCS.  He was from Cleveland OH.  We drove and fired the 75MM gun as a demonstration for the students.  We could not get any parts for our tanks in the ETO and my tank was on deadline when I left because the track bushings and pins were so worn, they would throw off.  I did go to Regensburg  and Nuremburg searching for parts.  Drove by the front off the building where the war crimes trials were being held at that time.  Also drove out into the amphitheater where Hitler gave his rally speeches.
 
The Red Cross operated a hotel at Immenstadt for weekend passes and there was a lake for swimming and boating.  I believe it was about 8 kilometers from Sonthofen.
 
I had been under the impression that the school was previously used to train Hitler Youth and before that it served as a school for the SS.
 
Having been in the last draft group which left my county (McDonough IL) on July 31, 1945, I returned to the States in November and was released on Nov 30, 1946 with 30 days terminal leave and my discharge at Fort Sheridan was effective on Jan 1 1947.  I recall that when Japan surrendered while I was in basic at Fort Knox, a ruling came down that if draftees had been in over 6 months, they could enlist for 1 year, or if they had been in less than 6 months, they could enlist for 18 Months.  I elected to pass this.  Several did accept the offer and when I left Sonthofen, I waved goodbye to them.  As you can see I had only a total of 17 months service.

Constabulary School

 

1. James Lantz near main gate (KB)

2. Lantz's M-24 light tank, D & G Trp (KB)
 
3. M-24 in the motor pool area (KB)
 

4. Lantz's tank crew (KB)

5. Red Cross Canteen Sonthofen (KB)

6. James Lantz (KB)
 

7. German artillery equipment, Nuernberg July 1946 (KB)

   

 
(Source: John Capone)

Constabulary School

 

1. Burg Sonthofen 1946 (KB)

2. Burg Sonthofen (KB)
 
3. Burg Sonthofen (KB)
 

4. Constabulary insignia on tower (KB)

5. S/Sgt John Capone (KB)

6. School party (KB)
 

7. School party (KB)

8. Graduation Day (KB)

9. Graduation Day (KB)
 

10. Graduation Day (KB)

11. Graduation Day (KB)

12. Graduation Day (KB)
 

13. Graduation Day (KB)

14. Graduation Day (KB)

15. Physical education (KB)
 

16. Physical education (KB)

17. Self defense (KB)

18. Marching (KB)
 

19. Lightning Bolt article (KB)
     

 
Newspaper articles
 

(Source: Military Review, March 1947)  

"Mobility,

Vigilance, Justice"A Saga of the Constabulary












Lieutenant Colonel A.F. Irzyk, Cavalry

S-3, 1st Constabulary Brigade


Very quietly and unobtrusively a new force took control of the policing of the United States Zone of Occupation in Germany on 1 July 1946. There was no fuss nor fanfare as a brand new military organization became operational. Rather, the transition was affected smoothly, thoroughly and efficiently. The impact of this change, however, was felt at once in the entire Zone. Yellow flashes of color, characteristic of the new unit, became conspicuous all along the Zonal Boundaries and Frontiers separating the U.S. Zone from the Zones of the French, Russians, and British and from the countries of Czechoslovakia and Austria. New and brightly outfitted soldiers in their freshly painted vehicles were quickly noticed, as well, along the roads and in the towns. The Germans, Displaced Per-sons and American Troops immediately became aware of something new.

Just what is the Constabulary, what is it set up to do and how is it going about doing its job?

Late in 1945 redeployment had become virtually a torrent. The American Army of Occupation in Germany was shrinking at an alarming rate. The occupation, which had only begun a few months previously, had already reached a critical stage. With each passing day there was more and more to do and, ironically, less and less with which to do it. Obviously something had to be "snatched out of the hat" to save what might become a disastrous situation. It was a foregone conclusion by now that the size of the American Army in Germany would be inadequate to conform to the original idea of occupation. Therefore, it was only natural at such a realization to change the plan. It was decided that an answer to the dilemma might be the organization of a small, highly-trained, mobile unit that could police Germany on much the same basis as some of the better state police forces in the United States.

Such was the beginning of the United States Constabulary. Could this unit control Germany and at the same time keep to a minimum the number of troops needed to occupy the nation, and thus assist the Army in meeting the extremely difficult requirements de-manded of it? That answer is now being prepared for the history books.

Late in 1945 the United States Constabulary as such was merely a series of ideas. Early in 1946 those ideas had climbed onto paper. By February the organization and plans had been approved. To those who had just completed weeks of arduous, gruelling work the starting line had just been reached. The words and figures and numbers were to be given life. The pre-viously secret plans were now disclosed, and the persons and units that were to become part of the new organization dug in at once and began to give their creation flesh and blood and a heart.

The First Armored Division and the Fourth Armored Division, both of which had had long periods of service, had won lasting fame during long, hard months of combat and had only a few months previously been designated as probable permanent occupational di-visions, furnished the nucleus for the Constabulary. All ten operational battal-ions (three tank, three infantry, three field artillery and the reconnaissance squadron) of the Fourth Armored Di-vision became Constabulary Squadrons. The Division's Headquarters and Head-quarters Company became Head-quarters and Headquarters Troop of the 1st Constabulary Brigade, the Division's Combat Command "A" became the 2d Constabulary Brigade Headquarters and Combat "B" became the Headquarters for the 3d Brigade. Similarly, battalions of the 1st Armored Division became Constabulary Squadrons and the com-bat commands changed to Constabulary Regiments. The balance of the units and manpower were supplied by cavalry reconnaissance squadrons and tank destroyer battalions, most of whom had outstanding combat records. Thus, the beginning was auspicious, for the backbone of the Constabulary was already rich with history and tradition.

Almost immediately, however, the units were whittled down to the bone. All officers and men who would leave for home via the redeployment pipeline prior to 30 June 1946 were immediately transferred to other units. By the time the shuffle of troops was completed each organization of the new Con-stabulary force was down to a bare cadre size. There were few officers, men and vehicles. Despite such a severe handicap, the units, by the middle of March, began to take shape. An intensive and extensive training program utilizing the highest standards possible was embarked upon, and almost at once, signs of definite pro-gress was noticeable. Constabulary Headquarters, outgrowth of VI Corps, began growing and functioning. This headquarters dealt with each of its squadrons directly and separately, but soon the squadrons were being integrated into regiments and later regiments into brigades. Slowly and gradually at first, this embryo of a completely new military unit, of an experimental force used to control a defeated nation took shape, found its legs, and began to take its first unsteady steps. On 1 July little more than three months later, the unit was full grown and working.

To those on the scene the trans-formation has been well nigh un-believable. By its first working day, the Constabulary was a highly trained, well equipped, smartly uniformed, confident and capable organization that already had acquired a high morale, esprit de corps and a healthy cockiness. All this when the American Army had reached its lowest ebb in a long, long time and when practically all experienced per-sonnel had since left for home.

Today the eyes of the multitude are upon the Constabulary. The military world, especially, is receiving its recent acquisition with much interest, for the Constabulary is unlike any other military organization. As an experiment in the policing of an occupied nation, the Constabulary has the attention of much of the world focused upon it.

Organization

The United States Constabulary numbers today approximately 34,526 officers and men. This large command, headed by Major General Harmon, has a Chief of Staff and a Deputy Chief of Staff. Its general staff consists of a G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4, provost marshal and a public safety officer. Except for a few variations it has much the same special staff sections as are normally found in a division headquarters but more especially a corps headquarters. As more and more problems are confronted, more sections are being added, and as a result, the head-quarters is still being expanded.

Within the headquarters in addition to the headquarters and headquarters troop, are special troops consisting of a signal squadron, a band, a school squadron, a military police company, a car platoon, an intelligence detachment, a counter-intelligence corps unit, and a representation from the criminal investigation division. Attached to the Constabulary is a special service com-pany and an ordnance medium main-tenance company, and in support is an Air Liaison Squadron.

The Constabulary, except for its headquarters and supporting troops, is divided into three Constabulary bri-gades, the 1st, 2d, and 3d Brigades. Each brigade has a headquarters and headquarters troop and its staff generally parallels the Constabulary headquarters staff except to a smaller degree. A brigadier general commands each of the three brigades.

Under each brigade are three Con-stabulary regiments. Each has a head-quarters troop consisting among others things of a horse platoon with thirty horses and a motorcycle platoon with twenty-five motorcycles. A service troop and a tank troop equipped with the latest light tanks complete the regimental headquarters organization.

Three Constabulary squadrons are an integral part of each regiment. A Constabulary squadron has six troops: a headquarters troop, three mechanized troops and two motorized troops. Mechanized troops have already proved themselves more suitable for con-stabulary operations, and because of this factor, the motorized troops have recently been furnished with additional vehicles in order to make them as mobile and as effective as the mechanized troops. Except for the tanks that are a part of regimental head-quarters, all of the operational vehicles are either "Jeeps," M-8, or M-20 armored cars. A quick glance will show that the operational units of the Con-stabulary consist of twenty-seven squadrons, nine regiments and three brigades.

Since the Constabulary covers virtually the entire U.S. Zone of Occupation, its units, of necessity, are widely scattered. Brigade headquarters are located at each of the three Land (state) capitals. The 1st Brigade is located in Wiesbaden, capital of Greater Hesse; the 2d Brigade is at Munich, capital of Bavaria; while the 3d Brigade is at Stuttgart, capital of Wurttemberg-Baden. Brigade areas conform generally to Land boundaries while squadron boundaries usually follow Kreis (small German county) boundaries. Each squadron, however, controls several Kreise.

Mission

The mission of the United States Con-stabulary, as stated in the formal, direct and businesslike tone of its directive, is to "maintain general military and civil security; assist in the accomplishment of the objectives of the United States Government in the occupied U.S. Zone of Germany (exclusive of the Berlin District and Bremen Enclave), by means of an active patrol system prepared to take prompt and effective action to forestall and suppress riots, rebellions, and acts prejudicial to the security of the U.S. occupational policies, and forces; and maintain effective military control of the borders encompassing the U.S. Zone."  

Operations

To accomplish its assigned mission the Constabulary mans the border posts on the interzonal boundaries separating the U.S. Zone from the zones of the French, Russians and British and on the frontiers separating the U.S. Zone from Czechoslovakia and Austria. Intensified patrolling is done within a 1000 yard band along the boundaries and borders by foot, horse and vehicular patrols. To give further security in depth, intensified patrolling is performed by vehicular patrols within a band extending ten miles from the boundaries. Additional vehicular patrols operate constantly throughout the entire area covering hundreds of thousands of miles each week. The patrols periodically cover every road and check every town, village and hamlet.

Although border control and area patrols constitute two of the major types of operations, the mission of the Con-stabulary requires a host of others, all of vast importance. In order to discourage and suppress speeding which has caused so many fatalities in Germany, a network of effective speed traps is operated with spot punishment meted out to offenders by roving Summary Court Officers. Some of the most outstanding examples of the Con-stabulary in action have been its "search and seizure" operations. Such acts commonly referred to as "swoop raids" are levelled at areas or points where known or suspected illegal activities exist.

After much careful planning, the raiding force usually hits its objective at first light when the persons affected by the raid are still in their last moments of slumber. Surprise is essential to success and usually is obtained.

Still other functions of the Con-stabulary are the setting up of check points and road blocks, operating railroad check points and operation of Constabulary stations.

Check points and road blocks are brief affairs that constitute an extremely effective "spot check." The check points are set up without warning for approxi- mately (illegible) at crossroads and on roadsides and its purpose is to examine the credentials of every traveler that passes that point while the checkers are at work. The principle here is again surprise, and after the post has been operated a short time, and by the time the word is beginning to get out, the check point moves to a new location.

Railroad check points differ from road check points in that they are of a permanent nature and are operated just inside a border. They check every train that is entering the American Zone or departing from it. Both passengers and baggage come under the scrutiny of the troopers.

Constabulary stations are a recent development. They are merely a Con-stabulary office manned permanently by six or eight men in or near an area that is considered troublesome yet which has no Constabulary Troops stationed in it. The station will provide Germans and American troops alike with a source to contact when giving or securing information or in the event of an emergency. (The Germans have long since ceased calling the Constabulary, "Harmon's Gestapo," for they realize that the Constabulary is interested only in the protection of the law abiding and the apprehension and prosecution of transgressors.)  

Experimentation

Continually experimenting, the Con-stabulary, on 1 July for example, took over border control from infantry units which it relieved, and troopers continued operating as all units before them had done. The border until that time had been controlled by static posts which in most cases covered roads. The posts gained the desired results only in the immediate area of the post. Prospective border violators quickly learned the locations of the posts and simply detoured them and invariably found an open spot to use in their crossing, for soldiers on post were tied closely to the restricted area of their post. (It is an impossibility to completely "close" the border.) Three weeks of experience quickly proved that static posts on the border were not the answer to most effective control of that border. The plan was changed at once to make provisions for foot, horse, and vehicular patrols that operated parallel to the border and in depth. The patrols were dispatched at irregular intervals over changing routes. Static posts have not been entirely abandoned but are still maintained in key places and on main roads. As a result, border violators never know when they will come upon a Constabulary patrol with troopers on the alert for just such individuals. The line of demarcation where border control ends and area security begins is difficult to decide, for many border violators are picked up well into the interior by vigilant patrolmen.

The Constabulary has experimented with all methods of operation in its constant quest for the "approved solution". It has tried performing its tasks with virtually all of its troops employed and conversely, it has operated with a good sized force in reserve so that a policy of frequent rotation could be used in order to keep a program of review training constantly in effect, and to prevent the heavily extended troops from growing stale.

The risk of loss in administrative con-trol in favor of added operational effectiveness was taken and small units of platoon size were placed in widely scattered areas in an effort to cut down on "backtracking" of patrols, and to have Constabulary personnel available in all localities. Sometimes before, the experiment in effect was the concentration of all non-operational troops in one locality, in an effort to strengthen administrative control. This, of course, weakened in a certain extent the operational effectiveness. Gaining valuable knowledge by its intelligent ex-perimentation, the Constabulary is pres-ently operating under a plan that combines the best features of all plans that they have tried to date. The end is not in sight, however, as it is contem-plated that at least one more shift will be made.

The Constabulary University

Much credit for the success of the Constabulary to date must, of necessity, go to Sonthofen. Sonthofen, as all men of the Constabulary know, is the Constabulary University, the institution that gives selected Constabulary Officers and men their Constabulary Bachelor's Degree. The school sits on the crest of a small hill overlooking the town of Sonthofen approximately ninety miles southwest of Munich. Constab-ulary students today study in the same classrooms where not too long ago the cream of Hitler Youth trained. Sonthofen School, originally a preparatory school for the National Socialistic Ordensburg, was constructed in 1937 under the direction of Dr. Robert Ley and Baldur von Schirach, cost $26,000,000 but was never completed. This school is surrounded by the Algaeu Alps, and provides its classes with every imagina-ble facility. Each month Sonthofen turns out a little less than a thousand trained officers and men. The Constabulary's field grade officers take an abbreviated course lasting five days. Company grade officers and enlisted men are provided with a fully-packed four weeks course that, General McNarney has said, "surpasses any previous military conditioning program." The school's cur-riculum consists of four courses: a basic course for officers and enlisted men and three specialized and technical courses for enlisted men - the communications course, the investigator's course and the desk and records course.

Each month, special trains start at the extreme ends of the U.S. Zone and con-verge upon Sonthofen picking up students all along the way. After they reach the school, the students are presented with a course of study that has rarely been equalled in Army training. Courses are thoroughly planned, effectively organized and are expertly and interestingly presented by as competent a staff of military educators as could have been assembled. Subjects include not only the normal military subjects such as maintenance, driver training, leadership, weapons, map reading and tactics, but include a host of subjects called "Constabulary Subjects." These include: passes and permits; technique and mechanics of arrest; operation of desk and records section; interrogation, confession and statements; evidence; rules, collection, preservation; traffic control and accidents and many others. The trooper's education is completed with the study of general subjects of vital interest such as: History of Germany; Potsdam Conference; Military Govern-ment; U.N.R.R.A. and Displaced Persons; International Relations; and German Courts, Laws and Political Parties. As can be seen, the education provided by the Constabulary School is varied and complete. The training must equip the school's graduates to be able to meet the great demands placed upon them.  

Scope of Operations

The scope of the Constabulary's mission is tremendous. Its requirements (illegible) constantly sprinting with all the (illegible) it is able to muster. An illustration to indicate the magnitude of the Constabulary effort is the vehicular and pedestrian bridge and the railroad bridge that cross from the city of Mainz in the French Zone to the American Zone. On the former the papers and credentials of 25,000 persons were checked on a single day, while on the latter it is customary, on an average day, to check the passes and baggage of 12,000 individuals. By multiplying those two routine instances by many score, one is able to gain some realization of the tremendous responsibility of the Constabulary today.

The men of the Constabulary are not burdened with static commitments such as the guarding of prisoner of war camps, civilian internee enclosures and other vital installations. Such tasks are taken over by the few infantry units that still remain. It is the job of the Constabu-lary however, to contact periodically (as often as once every three days) the town mayors of all towns, military government detachments and head-quarters of U.S. Troop units in the Con-stabulary areas of responsibility. It is hoped that such close liaison will provide the Constabulary with all the information it requires in order to perform its mission. One of the es-pecially bright features of Constabulary operations is its utilization of German police. Cooperation between the two is good and is becoming progressively better. In very many instances the troops are working side by side with Germans with the latter giving valuable service.

One will quickly agree that the operations just discussed are quite a mouthful. What manner of men are they that are accomplishing or attempting to accomplish such an extensive task?

Youth and Inexperience

Today, the United States Constabu-lary consists primarily of young, inexperienced men. Most of them have had only a short period of overseas service, and their total time in the Army is extremely short, as well. Although approximately seventy-three per cent of the troopers are Regular Army men, one does not often see men with decorations or overseas stripes in the Constabulary. Many of the Regular Army men enlisted for a year or eighteen months, and already the enlistment is nearly completed for a large number of them. Many are already in the process of departing for home.

What is perhaps the most outstanding characteristic of the Constabulary is its youth. The average age of the Con-stabulary Trooper is twenty-two, which would indicate that a very high percentage are eighteen and nineteen years of age.

Since most men who today are assigned to the Constabulary have such little service, they must receive immediate training and indoctrination. Thus, the training of new men is a constant, important part of the Constabulary program.

It has long been assumed that top notch Noncommissioned Officers are the backbone of the army. "Old Army Non-Coms" are conspicuous by their absence in the Constabulary as in the rest of the Army overseas today, which places a tremendous burden upon the officers and upon the young enlisted men who must assume important jobs without the experience or training necessary to handle them adequately. Similarly, technical specialists which make an Army operate and function are sadly lacking. This has caused a critical situation. Radio operators, radio repairmen, mechanics, typists, and the hundred and one other specialists that pump blood into the heart of an Army are an extremely scarce commodity, indeed.

Yet, the Constabulary today is doing an outstanding piece of work as is attested by the many units and agencies which are in a position to observe or work with it. The Constabulary Troopers have an air about them and a record of accomplishments that already sets them apart from most other military units.

Uniform

In order to distinguish the Constabulary and to add luster to its appearance the troopers are uniquely uniformed. Yellow is the Constabulary trademark. The Troopers' helmet liners have two bright yellow stripes around them with the Constabulary patch on the front, they wear yellow scarves when on duty and in special formations, and even the vehicles hold their own, for they, too, are hugged by wide yellow stripes. Sam Browne belts, new leather boots and visored caps are soon to be issued to all men in order to make the trooper as natty a soldier as there is today.  

Lightning Bolt

The Constabulary like a young child is ever restless, never satisfied. Filled with the determination to do the best job possible, it constantly keeps its eyes and ears cocked for new ideas and new improvements. During a few months of operations it has profited tremendously by experience. Operational exigencies have found wanting the framework upon which the Constabulary was built. As a result, a program is presently underway to attempt to make changes to the Table of Organization and Equipment so that the Constabulary will be so equipped and so organized as to be able to accomplish ever better the task before it.

Thus, the unit with its well-hidden nervousness and perhaps misgivings with which it started is now well established. Still feeling its growing pains and sometimes overzealous in its eagerness to make good, the Constabulary is making now and again an inevitable mistake. No one doubts but that the Constabulary is definitely here to stay. And today all over the U.S. Zone of Germany law violators are more skittish, less confident, and less eager to take a chance; law-abiding German civilians are breathing more easily; American and German drivers alike invariably ease up on their accelerators as a Constabulary patrol passes; and the Constabulary is again showing the world that an American can soldier without being pushed by a war.

And thus in Europe today the flash of the "Lightning Bold" no longer portends a storm, but is greeted as a good omen, for the words "Mobility, Vigilance, Justice" are no longer simply words or even an expression, slogan or motto, but now represent a distinct policy, a manner of operating, a characterization of the performance of the United States Constabulary.


(Source: Military Review, October 1949)  

A Progress Report on the United States Constabulary






Captain H.P. Rand, Field Artillery

An earlier article in the MILITARY REVIEW discussed the history, organization, and operation of the United States Constabulary from the time of its inception in early 1946 until the end of the first 6-months' period of operation. Many changes have taken place since then to affect the structure and operations of the Lightningbolt force. However, the name, primary mission, distinctive uniform, and insignia remain as in the past. The purpose of this article is to bring readers up-to-date.

Personnel and Organization

Early in 1947, the redeployment of enlisted men took on large proportions and no compensating shipments of replacements arrived from the Zone of Interior. As a result, the Constabulary found itself greatly understrength. In order to alleviate this situation, it was decided to make one troop in each squadron inoperative, retaining four line troops and a headquarters troop as the basic organization of the squadron. In addition, the light tank troops, which had been organic in all regiments, were inactivated. The reduction of line troops to four per squadron was in line with a new table of organization for which early War Department approval was anticipated.

A heavy burden fell on the Constabulary in January 1947, when the headquarters took over the functions of the Third United States Army and many Third Army tasks became its responsibility. During February, the headquarters moved from Bamberg to Heidelberg, which had been Third Army head-quarters. Third Army in Europe phased out on 15 March 1947, and Constabulary headquarters returned to full-time duty on its primary mission.

A general Theater reorganization took place during this same period. Certain administrative functions, previously performed by the Base Sections, were now concentrated under newly organized units, the Military Posts. Constabulary Headquarters functioned as headquarters of the Second District of Military Posts, the 1st Infantry Division serving as headquarters of the First District. The dividing line between the First and Second Military Districts was the geographical boundary between the German states of Bavaria (First District) and Hesse and Wurttemberg-Baden (Second District). It is to be noted that no such dividing line existed between the area of the United States Constabulary and the 1st Infantry Division as far as their respective primary functions were concerned. This additional task remained with Constabulary Headquarters until the Districts were phased out in the spring of 1948 and the Military Posts were placed directly under the European Command (EUCOM).

In the spring of 1947, the Theater received a cut in troop strength, and the Constabulary had to absorb its share. The Constabulary was called on to submit a new table of organization, based on a reduced troop ceiling. The plan which was put into effect provided for a substantial decrease in the number of units within the Constabulary. One brigade was eliminated, leaving a total of two. Four regiments were deactivated, leaving five. Of 27 squadrons, 11 were deactivated, leaving 16. These major changes in organization were put into effect in several phases, beginning 1 July 1947. In order to retain units by historical precedence, a general renumbering process ensued which shifted numerical designations from squadron to squadron. The only squadron un-affected by this change was the 1st (Blackhawk) Squadron, a direct descendent of the famous 1st Cavalry Regiment.

Under the revised organization, the 1st Brigade controlled the same area as the Second Military District (states of Hesse and Wurttemberg-Baden) and the 2d Brigade, the area of the First Military District (state of Bavaria). The reorganization did not entail any change in the operational mission of the Constabulary. This mission was to "maintain general military and civilian security; assist in the accomplishment of the objectives of the United States Government in the occupied US Zone of Germany (exclusive of the Berlin District and Bremen Enclave) by means of an active patrol system prepared to take prompt and effective action to forestall and suppress riots, rebellions, and acts prejudical to the security of the US occupational policies and forces; and maintain effective military control of the borders encompassing the US Zone."

Of the five remaining regiments one, the 2d, was concentrated in a single location. A light tank troop was reactivated for it and a recoilless rifle troop added. The squadrons of the other four regiments were located in different towns with specific operational areas assigned to each. The four remaining line troops in each squadron were all organized alike as mechanized troops, thus eliminating the motorized troops which existed formerly.

Generally, this organization remained unchanged until a "remanning table" was published in April 1948. This provided for a reorganization of all line troops without making any changes in major items of equipment. The reason of this reorganization was the fact that the role of the Constabulary in the Army of Occupation had begun to change. During the first year and a half of its existence, the Constabulary was primarily a police force. Now the emphasis was shifted to a purely military mission which required changes in training, planning, and organization. Under the remanning table, the line troop was composed of troop headquarters and line platoons of reconnaissance, rifle, and weapons type. Each reconnaissance platoon consisted of identical sections of ¼-ton trucks and M-8s. The rifle platoons comprised rifle squads, riding in 2½-ton trucks, and light machine-gun sections of two squads each. The weapons platoons comprised mortar squads and recoilless rifle sections. New weapons, in addition to the recoilless rifles, included the rocket launcher and rifle grenade launcher.

The practice of arming each trooper with a pistol, in addition to a second individual weapon such as a rifle or a submachine gun, was discontinued under the remanning table. Only one weapon to a man was the new basis of individual arming. Mortars, rocket launchers, and grenade launchers were also authorized for all headquarters and special troops.

Constabulary Headquarters was forced to move from Heidelberg to Stuttgart in February 1948, to make way for Headquarters, EUCOM, which gave up Frankfurt to the Bi-zonal Administration.

With the ever-decreasing need for a special-type police force in the European Command, the summer of 1948 found the Constabulary undergoing still another reorganization. This time, the changes were radical. Regiments were reorganized as armored cavalry. One regiment remains concentrated in one location; the others are reinforced by Constabulary squadrons, as previously organized. These remaining Constabulary squadrons do whatever police work needs to be done while the armored cavalry units concentrate on training.

The new armored cavalry regiments are organized generally under Department of the Army tables. This latest reorganization was accomplished during the summer and fall of 1948 but was not officially affected by general orders until 20 December. On that date, the first announcement of the changes was released to the press.

Under this latest plan, the brigades assume functions comparable to those of a combat command in the armored division, and the brigade headquarters have been reorganized to fit this new function. In due time, it is anticipated that special troops assigned to the Constabulary will be attached to the brigades. As of the early part of 1949, the following special units are organic in the Constabulary: a field artillery group with 4 battalions; 2 engineer combat battalions (1 of which was the first Negro Constabulary unit); several smaller engineer units; ordnance maintenance and truck outfits as well as one horse troop.

Operations

Operational tasks have changed with the peaceful and almost uneventful progress of the occupation. No civil disorders have materialized, the German population has shown no animosity toward the United States Occupation Forces, and, generally, the German police forces have assumed responsibility for internal security to such an extent that Constabulary operations could be materially curtailed. Ever since the reorganization effected during mid-1947, the emphasis of Constabulary operations has been on intelligence collection and liaison with other agencies, such as Counter Intelligence Corps, Criminal Investigation Division, Military Government, and German police. Occasional patrols show the German populace that the Lightningbolt force is still around.

The gradual withdrawal from intensive operations began in early 1947, when a Theater directive indicated the Theater Commander's desire that all military units occupy former German military installations (kasernes) and, wherever feasible, withdraw from large, overcrowded German cities. This resulted in a progressive concentration of Constabulary units until all were entirely consolidated by squadron, except for a few small detachments on border posts and other special places.

A very unexpected and pleasing accompaniment of these withdrawals from many locations were the many complaints from the population over the disappearance of the Constabulary men. Many a German felt, and many officials expressed it openly and officially, that the departure of the yellow-scarved troopers had given encouragement to criminal elements.

Similarly, of course, many a Military Government liaison and security officer requested that the Constabulary return to his area to assist him and the German law-enforcement agencies in maintaining low crime rates and generally in giving everyone a feeling of security. Since the Theater Commander's policy was and is to hand the internal functions back to the Germans, none of these calls for return were granted.

The zonal border security functions which the Constabulary assumed at the beginning of its operations were turned over to the German border police forces during the fall of 1947. The Germans were given the responsibility for keeping illegal crossings of the border to a minimum. Allied personnel alone remained the responsibility of the Con-stabulary, since the German police have not as yet been given authority over them. With the complete opening of the British and French interzonal boundaries during 1948, the last remaining Constabulary border posts there were withdrawn. Only on the Russian border are permanent check points for Allies maintained. A few "international trains," operating across national borders, are still spot-checked by the troopers to collect information on the effectiveness and efficiency of German controls.

During 1946 and 1947, the Constabulary made a continuous effort to help German law-enforcement agencies to regain their operational know-how and prestige, which they had lost while operating as stooges for Hitler's Third Reich. This was accomplished by joint patrols with German police, by having German police present at check points, and by loaning them equipment, such as vehicles and radios. While no specific orders have been issued discontinuing this practice, it was found no longer necessary, since the German police agencies have become more and more self-sufficient. The equipment, as well as the personnel available to them, has improved in quality and quantity to an extent where the German police are not dependent on Constabulary assistance any longer. At the present time, the tendency is to turn over some of the US Zone internal security responsibility, formerly belonging exclusively to the Constabulary, to the Military Posts who have military police and service troops at their disposal to cope with any civil disorders. The tendency is clearly a return of the Constabulary to "normal" military duties.

Many observers attribute the uneventful and smooth execution of the occupation to the Constabulary's operations. If it had not been for the preventive actions of the Con-stabulary during 1946 and 1947, for their ever-active patrols, their effective intelligence collection, and their close liaison with local authorities, the internal situation in the US Zone of Germany might well have been entirely different. It is difficult, if not impossible, to fully assess the actual effect of the Constabulary. However, in fairness to the tremendous effort made by the Constabulary, this speculation should be part of the record.

During a typical month in 1946 and 1947, anywhere from 400,000 to 1,000,000 miles were travelled by foot, motorcycle, horse, and vehicular patrols of the Constabulary. From 8,000 to 15,000 road blocks were established, and from 1,500 to 2,700 L-5 liaison plane missions were flown. These operations were accomplished from more than 200 stations. Today, all Constabulary units occupy only about 20 locations.

As in its early days, the Constabulary is still being used for unusual missions. At one time, two full squadrons were employed in a 2-day operation to comb an area for a large number of AWOL soldiers known to be in hiding. A brigade headquarters was charged with this mission, since the area involved covered two different regimental zones. Close coordination with German police, CIC, and Military Government was effected and the mission executed without incident.

During a recent search for a murderer, the entire Constabulary was employed, setting up road blocks and check points throughout the US Zone to apprehend the criminal.

Check and search operations to clean out known areas of crime are still undertaken occasionally. Anything from wanted persons to large stocks of "black market" goods and weapons are the usual results of these well-planned operations.

Prior to the issue of the new German currency, the Constabulary played a vital part in the distribution of the money. First, under Top Secret orders, details were called to Frankfurt at irregular intervals to assist in the transport of the boxes containing the money from the train to the vaults of a bank. To avoid security breaches, no officer or enlisted man was employed on these operations more than once. After the 24,000 boxes were safely deposited, over a period of several months, the task of distributing them again was tossed into the Constabulary's lap. Due to the geographical proximity of one of the brigade headquarters, the task was turned over to the brigade. The planning was difficult because of the Top Secret classification of the operation and the many agencies involved. Military Government was in overall charge. French and British military and civilian agencies participated. The US Army Transportation Corps was committed to furnish the truck transportation. An infantry regiment supplied the labor for the stevedoring. Military Police units furnished local security. All of these, as well as housekeeping units, had to cooperate during the planning stage. The operation was executed smoothly and efficiently, the Constabulary employing a total of 200 "jeeps," 100 officers, and 500 enlisted men. A total of some 50 convoys were organized in Frankfurt and dispatched throughout the occupied areas. Every Constabulary vehicle involved was equipped with a machine gun and every convoy had a minimum of two radio sets. (Illegible) attached to the Constabulary established check points for the convoys on the roads. Some 50 L-5 airplanes furnished an air umbrella day and night, communicating by radio or flags with the convoys to determine whether they had encountered any trouble.

Several times, the Constabulary has been called upon to assist in searches for lost aircraft. Its ready availability, great mobility, and fine communications facilities lend themselves well to special missions of this type.

Training

As the concentration of Constabulary squadrons commenced early in 1947 and the emphasis began to shift from police work to military training, the life of the average trooper underwent decisive changes. In the past, he had spent the bulk of his time on patrols, or at check points, speed traps, and other locations. Now he began to receive an ever-increasing amount of training. For a long time, due to the large turnover in personnel, the training was concentrated on perfecting the individual soldier. Basic subjects were repeated again and again, with emphasis on weapons firing.

Later, with the introduction of a training program for all Constabulary reinforcements, small unit training was initiated and successfully carried out. In the fall of 1947, the platoon was declared the basic training unit, with only occasional work under troop and squadron control. The reason for this was mainly the decision on the part of the commanding general that junior officers and non-commissioned officers of all grades needed the training in their jobs as commanders and leaders.

Not until the spring of 1948 did the Constabulary attempt major unit tactical training. Troop exercises were conducted in which both reconnaissance (cavalry) and dismounted (infantry) problems were executed. Units of troop size also were ordered into the field for periods of 1 to 2 weeks to become accustomed to field life and to carry out troop problems. The results of this training cycle were very gratifying. Along with the tactical improvements in all units, an increase in morale was noted throughout. Reenlistment figures went up, and deficiency reports went down. During the summer months, most elements of the Constabulary participated in field maneuvers of from 1 to 3 months' duration at Grafenwohr, one of the former German Army's largest maneuver areas. Several joint exercises, from CPX's to full-scale maneuvers, were held with the 1st Infantry Division, which spent the entire summer there.

With the 1948 reorganization to armored cavalry accomplished, the divergencies in tactical doctrine which existed during the early days were bound to disappear. With a non-standard type of unit under the command of officers of all ground force branches, there used to be a good deal of disagreement as to how to employ the mechanized troops of the Constabulary with their ¼-ton and M-8 vehicles. Some units employed their outfits dismounted, others used armored cavalry tactics, still others developed a doctrine all their own. The new armored cavalry type of organization eliminated this problem.

Of course, a period of retraining was needed to acquaint officers and men with their new equipment and indoctrinate them with armored cavalry tactics. All regiments operated tank training centers during the retraining phase, which will be climaxed during the maneuver season at Grafenwohr this year.

Intelligence

Since the Constabulary is the only major force in the European Command whose units are spread throughout the US Zone of Occupation, with area security responsibility for the entire zone, it is in a better position than other units to collect zone-wide intelligence and to evaluate it. The intelligence net established by the Constabulary is exemplary, and its intelligence reports are of the greatest value to the Theater G-2. There are intelligence NCO's in each line company to keep the men "intelligence-conscious" at all times. Weekly classes on intelligence are prescribed to impress constantly on the troops that each of them is a potential agent. In addition to organic personnel, the Constabulary has various intelligence agencies attached to it. Through daily spot reports, as well as weekly intelligence summaries and other periodic publications from all regiments, the intelligence net functions uninterruptedly.

Whenever special conditions indicate particular areas of intelligence interest, the flexible system of coverage is adjusted to concentrate on the desired spot, and appropriate measures are taken to cope with the situation. Thus, for example, reports may indicate unrest among the population in certain towns. As a result, a show of force of armored vehicles will quickly and effectively quiet the restless populace. When strikes occur or undesirable political activities increase, intelligence agents are concentrated and the frequency of reports is stepped up. Thus, by one means or another, the Constabulary keeps abreast of any activities in the zone which may threaten internal security.

The Constabulary School

The Constabulary School at Sonthofen undertook the teaching of non-Constabulary subjects and of non-Constabulary students during 1947. In the early days, the School devoted itself entirely to improving the standards of officers and enlisted men specifically for Constabulary work. Later, it took up general subjects, such as courses under War Department Circular No. 9, a Military Police course, and various other subjects, but in June 1948, the School was closed and became available for the headquarters of the Field Artillery Group.

Commanders

The Constabulary's founder and leader in its early days was Major General Ernest N. Harmon. He relinquished command on 1 May 1947 to Major General Withers A. Burress, who had commanded the 100th Division and had been Theater G-2 immediately preceding his Constabulary assignment. General Burress left the force in April 1948, and turned command over to Major General Louis A. Craig. The present commander is Major General I.D. White, who succeeded General Harmon during the war as commanding general of the 2d Armored Division. The two Brigades have experienced only one turnover in commanding generals. In the 1st Brigade, Brigadier General F.B. Prickett commanded from the activation until his return to the United States in November 1947; his successor is Brigadier General Arthur G. Trudeau. The 2d Brigade was commanded by Brigadier General Hobart R. Gay until his redeployment and relief by General Edmund B. Sebree.


 
Related Links
United States Constabulary - Hosted by the US Constabulary Association; covers the 1946-1952 Occupation period in Germany. (There is also some information on the Constabulary in Austria) - lots of detail, lots of photos!!!