The Kommandostab RFSS (Kommandostab Reichsführer-SS) was formed on 7 April 1941 as Einsatzstab RFSS (Einsatzstab Reichsführer-SS) and redesignated on 6 May 1941. It was used to coordinate anti-partisan operations on the Eastern Front and to assist in the rounding up of by-passed Red Army units.
It was assigned to XXXXII Armeekorps when it arrived on the Eastern Front but on 27 June Heinrich Himmler removed it from Heer control.
The units of the Kommandostab were normally assigned to the Höhere SS und Polizeiführer (HSSPF) (regional SS and police commanders) and very rarely operated as a combined unit.

Known war crimes

The unit was involved in a large number of atrocities in connection with the anti-partisan operations and it also supported the Einsatzgruppen in the murder of Jews.

Commanders

SS-Gruppenführer Kurt Knoblauch (7 April 1941 - Nov 1942)
SS-Brigadeführer Ernst Rode (26 Nov 1942 - ? 1944)

Manpower strength

June 1941 18.438
30 June 1944 1.553

Order of battle (22 June 1941)

1. SS-Infanterie-Brigade (mot)
2. SS-Infanterie-Brigade (mot)
SS-Kavallerie-Regiment 1
SS-Kavallerie-Regiment 2
Begleitbataillon Reichsführer-SS
Nachrichten-Kompanie
Wehrgeologen-Kompanie
Nachschubdienst
DRK-Lazarett
Veterinär-Kompanie
Feldpost-Dienste

Order of battle (Oct 1941)

Stab
1. SS-Infanterie-Brigade (mot)
2. SS-Infanterie-Brigade (mot)
SS-Kavallerie-Brigade
Begleitbataillon Reichsführer-SS
SS-Flak-Abteilung Ost
Flak-Abteilung Kommandostab RFSS
Nachrichten-Abteilung
Nachschub-Dienste
Verwaltungsdienste
Veterinärdienste

See also the SS-Sonderbataillon Kommandostab Reichsführer-SS.

SS-Ersatz-Bataillon Ost was formed in Breslau in April 1941 as a replacement unit for the units attached to Kommandostab RFSS. It was redesignated SS-Infanterie-Ersatz-Bataillon Ost 15 October 1942 and was split in two units in June 1943: SS-Grenadier-Ersatz-Bataillon Ost (later give the number 31 and finally 18) and SS-Grenadier-Ausbildungs-Bataillon (later give the number 31 and finally 18). In April 1945 they again merged, this time into SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Ausbildungs-und-Ersatz-Bataillon 18.

Sources used

Yitzhak Arad - The Holocaust in the Soviet Union
Christopher R. Browning - The Origins of the Final Solution: The Evolution of Nazi Jewish Policy, September 1939-March 1942
Christopher R. Browning - The Path to Genocide: Essays on Launching the Final Solution
Dr. K-G Klietmann - Die Waffen-SS: eine Dokumentation
Richard Landwehr - A brief history of the SS-Grenadier-Ausbildungs-und-Ersatz-Bataillon 18 (in Siegrunen, No 79)
Kurt Mehner - Die Waffen-SS und Polizei 1939-1945
James Pontolillo - Murderous Elite: The Waffen-SS and its complete record of war crimes
George H. Stein - The Waffen SS: Hitler's Elite Guard at War, 1939-1945
Mark C. Yerger - German Cross in Gold Holders of the SS and Police, Volume 4: Cavalry Brigade & Divisions
Mark C. Yerger - Riding East: The SS Cavalry Brigade in Poland and Russia 1939-1942

Reference material on this unit

Yehoshua Buchler - Kommandostab Reichsführer-SS: Himmler's personal murder brigades in 1941 (Holocaust and Genocide Studies 1986 Vol 1, No 1)
Martin Cüppers - Wegbereiter der Shoah: Die Waffen-SS, der Kommandostab Reichsführer-SS und die Judenvernichtung 1939-1945
G.M. Prechtl - Unsere Ehre Heißt Treue: Kriegstagebuch des Kommandosstabes Reichführer-SS - Tätigkeitsberichte der 1. und 2. SS-Inf.Brigade, der 1. SS-Kav.Brigade und von Sonderkommandos der SS
Mark C. Yerger - Riding East: The SS Cavalry Brigade in Poland and Russia 1939-1942

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