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The Führer-Begleit-Bataillon (FBB) was formed in June 1938 as Kommando Führerreise from 7. & 8. Kompanie of Infanterie-Regiment (mot) Großdeutschland, it was redesignated Führer-Begleit-Kommando and on 1 October 1939 it was redesignated FBB. It was used to guard Hitler's military headquarters (as well as the railway tracks used by the Führer trains) and to guard him on visits outside Germany.
The decision to have an a security escort unit in the structure of a battalion was taken the days before the Polish Campaign and with order from 24 August 1939 ("Aufstellungsbefehl") the order of battle for the unit was fixed. Having started with two platoons mainly in late August 1939 the preliminary three company structure was reached during fall of 1939 and towards the turn of 1939/40 finally.
The military newspaper reported on 1 October 1939:

Following the return of the FHQu from the Eastern Theatre, the Führer-Begleit-Bataillon was formed from the units of the Wehrmacht which had provided military protection for the Führer during visits to the front. The Führer and Supreme Commander bestowed upon the battalion the standard carrying the Führer emblem and the national embelm of the Reich. (1)


On 12 May 1941 the formation of a Panzer-Kompanie for the FBB was ordered. It was to be equipped with 21 Panzer 731(p) (ex. Polish 7TP), one of only two companies to be formed specifically to be equipped with captured Polish tanks. The formation was cancelled on 18 June and a new Panzer-Kompanie with Panzer 38(t) was ordered to be formed.

Until summer 1942 the FBB was subordinated to the Kommandant Führerhauptquartier. During these first years the Kdt. FHQ was simultaneously the battalion commander.

In August 1943 the FBB was renamed (~ also called) Führer-Grenadier-Bataillon. It was upgraded to the Führer-Begleit-Regiment in September 1944. In November/December 1944 this regiment was upgraded to Führer-Begleit-Brigade, which was redesignated Führer-Begleit-Division in January 1945. The former FBB was to become the Pz.Gren.Rgt. of Führer-Begleit-Brigade and was renamed Pz.Gren.Rgt. 100 / Führer-Begleit-Division on 26 January 1945.


The primary duty of the FBB was the protection of the FHQ. But it was also intended and exercised that elements of the unit should rotate to the combat zone. Therefore out of the battalion Kampfgruppen were built several times and sent to the front, thereby standing under direct command of the Führer although they were attached to higher headquarters there. After finishing their frontline tasks the remnants of the Kampfgruppen returned to the home based FBB at the FHQ. Due to this rotation the FBB practically had a strength of two battalions.

See also Kampfgruppen of the Führer-Begleit-Bataillon.

Commanders

Generalmajor Erwin Rommel (June 1938 - Jan 1940)
Oberstleutnant Kurt Thomas (22 Jan 1940 - 1 Aug 1942)
Hauptmann Pohlmann (? Aug 1942 - ?)

Order of battle (early August 1939)

1. Zug (Lt. Schneider)
2. Zug (Lt. Rössert)

Order of battle (late August 1939)

1. Zug (Lt. Schneider)
2. Zug (Lt. Rössert)
Panzerspähzug
Panzerabwehr-Zug (3,7cm PAK)
Flakzug (2cm vierlinge)
Eisenbahn-Flakzug (2cm vierlinge)

Order of battle (September 1939 , Polish Campaign)

Stab
Kdr (Genmaj Erwin Rommel)
Adjutant
Hauptmann beim Stabe
1. Kompanie
1. Wachzug
2. Wachzug
Panzerabwehrzug
2. Kompanie
Panzerspähzug
1. Kradmeldezug
2. Kradmeldezug
3. (Flak-)Batterie
Nachrichtenzug (mot.)

FBB so-called Frontgruppen during Polish Campaign :
Rittm Frhr von Blomberg , Hptm Spengemann , Hptm Bertram

Order of battle (December 1939)

1. (Wach-)Kompanie
2. (schnelle) [mot.] Kompanie (Rittmeister Frhr von Blomberg) [main body ex 2. Pz.Späh-Lehr-Schwdr./ALA]
Pz.Spähzug : Oberleutnant Rudolf Kiehl (2)
Kradschützenzug : Oberleutnant Struck
3. (schwere) Kompanie

Order of battle (1 January 1941)

Stab
1. Wach-Kompanie (Hauptmann Gruss)
2. Kompanie (mot) (Rittmeister Freiherr von Blomberg)
3. schwere Kompanie (Hauptmann Alfred Nähring)

Order of battle (March 1941)

Stab
1. Wach-Kompanie (Hauptmann Gruss)
2. Kompanie (mot) (Rittmeister Freiherr von Blomberg)
3. schwere Kompanie (Hauptmann Alfred Nähring)
4. Kompanie
Panzer-Zug (Panzer 38 (t) ) (Oberstleutnant Peiper)
IV. Führer-Flak-Abteilung/Flak-Regiment Hermann Göring (Hauptmann Gasda)
Führer-Flugzug-Staffel
Führer-Nachrichten-Kompanie

since June 1941 : 4. Panzer-Kompanie

Order of battle (June 1942)

1. – 4. Schützen-Kompanie
5. Panzerschützen-Kompanie
Sicherungs-Kompanie

Order of battle (August 1943)

1. – 2. Panzergrenadier-Kompanie
3. Grenadier-Kompanie
4. schwere Kompanie
5. Panzer-Kompanie
6. Fla-Kompanie
7. schnelle Kompanie

Order of battle (1944)

1. – 2. Panzergrenadier-Kompanie
3. SS-Panzergrenadier-Kompanie
4. schwere Panzergrenadier-Kompanie
5. Panzer-Kompanie
6. Grenadier-Kompanie
7. SS-Grenadier-Kompanie
8. schnelle Kompanie
9. schwere Kompanie
10. Fla-Kompanie
11. Sturm-Pionier-Kompanie

Ersatz : Ersatz-Brigade „Großdeutschland“ , WK III

Notable members

Erwin Rommel ("The Desert Fox", forced to committ suicide to avoid trial for involvement in the resistance against Hitler, the Bundeswehr barracks Generalfeldmarschall Rommel-Kaserne in Augustdorf was named in his honour 1961 and the Rommel-Kaserne in Dornstadt/Ulm in 1965 as was the Bundesmarine destroyer D187 Rommel)

Insignia

A cuff-title with "Führerhauptquartier" in golden-yellow Gothic writing on black background was introduced pre-war and was worn on the lower left sleeve (as opposed to the unit cuff-titles worn on the right sleeve). On 15 Jan 1941 a new pattern of the cuff-title was introducted, this time in aluminium thread Sütterlin script.
The "Großdeutschland" was also used by soldiers of this unit.
The Hermann Göring soldiers attached to FBB wore the "German Göring" cuff title until 1942 and from then on "Herman Göring".

The men of the unit wore white Waffenfarbe throughout, piping and GD ciphers. This led to the very unusual circumstance of black Panzerjacke with white piping in the armored car platoon.

On 30 September 1939 Hitler personally presented the unit with a unique standard, on one side the normal infantry standard only in red (normally the color used by artillery units) and on the other side the Führerstandarte, the personal flag of Adolf Hitler.

Standard of the Führer-Begleit-Bataillon
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(Courtesy of Wikimedia)

Footnotes

1. "The History of the Panzerkorps Großdeutschland, Vol 1" by Helmuth Spaeter, page 40.
2. Rudolf Kiehl who was known to General Erwin Rommel since the days in Poland later was handpicked by Rommel to command Rommel's own escort battalion in North Africa. This Kampfstaffel des Pz.AOK Afrika was known also as Begleitkommando Rommel or just Kampfgruppe Kiehl. Hptm Kiehl received the KC in that position in July 1942.

Sources used

Roger James Bender & George A. Petersen - Hermann Göring: From Regiment to Fallschirmpanzerkorps
Peter Hoffmann - Hitler's Personal Security: Protecting the Führer 1921-1945
Thomas L. Jentz & Werner Regenberg - Panzer Tracts No. 19-1: Beute-Panzerkampfwagen
Aaron L. Johnson - Hitler's Military Headquarters: Organization, Structures, Security and Personnel
Samuel W. Mitcham Jr - The Panzer Legions: A guide to the German Army Tank Divisions of WWII and Their Commanders
Adolf Schlicht & John R Angolia - Die Deutsche Wehrmacht: Uniformierung und Ausrüstung 1933-1945, Band 1 Das Heer
Helmuth Spaeter - The History of the Panzerkorps Großdeutschland (3 vol)
Georg Tessin - Verbände und Truppen der deutschen Wehrmacht 1933-1945
Gordon Williamson & Thomas McGuirl - German military cuffbands 1784-present

Reference material on this unit

- None known at this time -

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