Führer order on the armed units of the SS, 17 August 1938
- Published: 30 December 2010 30 December 2010
- Last Updated: 07 April 2012 07 April 2012
(100 [crossed out, on top of it] "ten" [in pencil] photo copies
copy [in ink])
Enclosure to number 1164/3
top secret WFA/L II
Draft of June 3rd with changes Reichsführer SS of 6/10/1938 and additions concerning signal corps unit.
[in ink] 1st Copy 3 copies 1st copy
The Führer and Reich's Chancellor.
[in ink] 10
By means of the nomination of the Reichsführer SS and chief of the German police in the ministry of the interior on 6/17/1936 (Reichsgesetzblatt I, page 487), I have created he basis for the unification and reorganization of the German police.
With this step, the Schutzstaffeln of the NSDAP which were under the Reichsführer SS and chief of the German police even up to now, have entered into close connection with the duties of the German police.
In order to regulate these tasks and in order to delineate the common tasks of the SS and of the Wehrmacht, I hereby order the following inclusively and basically: [the above written in pencil]
1. Being a political organization of the NSDAP, the SS as such does not need any military set-up and training for its political obligations. It carries no weapons.
2. For special inner-political tasks for the Reichsführer SS and chief of the German police, tasks which I might have to assign to him from time to time, or for the mobile use within the wartime army (SS-Verfuegungstruppe). The following SS units which either already exist, or will be set up in case of mobilization, are exempted from the regulations of number 1:
The SS-reinforcement Totenkopfverbände (police reinforcement).
In peacetime they are under the Reichsführer SS and chief of the German police, who, with the exception mentioned in paragraph II, alone has the responsibility for the organization, training, arming, and full use in regard to inner-political tasks given him from me.
In peace time, no organizational connection with the Wehrmacht exists in this regard. (See orders in II and III for the case of mobilization.)
Arms, ammunition, tools, equipment, and military handbooks for the armed SS units will be procured through the Wehrmacht, upon payment.
II. The armed units of the SS
A. The SS-Verfügungstruppe
1. The SS Verfügungstruppe is neither a part of the Wehrmacht nor a part of the police. It is a standing armed unit, exclusively at my disposal. As such, and as a unit of the NSDAP its members are to be selected by the Reichsführer SS according to the ideological and political standards which I have ordered for the NSDAP and for the Schutzstaffeln. Its members are to be trained and its ranks filled with.volunteers from those who are subject to serve in the army who have finished their duties in the obligatory labor service. The service period for volunteers is 4 years. It may be prolonged for SS-Unterführer. Special regulations are in force for SS leaders. The regular compulsory military service (par. 8 of the law relating to military service) is fulfilled by service of the same amount of time in the SS Verfügungstruppe.
The SS Verfügungstruppe receives its financial resources through the Ministry of the Interior. Its budget requires a checkup by the high command of the Wehrmacht.
2. The SS Verfügungstruppe falls into the following parts:
1 headquarters staff. (Leibstandarte-SS Adolf Hitler) motorized [in ink].
2 motorcycle battalions under a Standarte Staff.
1 engineer battalion motorized [in ink].
1 signal battalion motorized [in ink].
1 medical unit.
The complete strength, the organization, the arming, and the equipment of the SS Verfügungstruppe depend on the task allocated in peace time and in case of mobilization.
In case of mobilization, the Standarten and independent Sturmbanne are organized like the corresponding units of an infantry division respectively of a motorized infantry division of the army [illegible remark in ink].
The engineer unit is fully motorized.
The signal unit (motorized) is organized like an infantry division signal unit (motorized).
The peacetime strength and equipment of the army are the pattern for the strength and equipment of the staffs and units of the SS Verfügungstruppe. Personnel and material necessary above the peacetime strength and the table of equipment will be determined in cooperation with the high command of the Wehrmacht and the Reichsführer SS and chief of the German police.
For use in the interior, the Standarten are reinforced by the following special formation:
(Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler)
1 armored reconnaissance platoon. [Panzerspaehzug; the word "zug" is added in ink].
1 motorcycle platoon.
1 motorized engineer platoon.
the other Standarten
1 armored reconnaissance platoon.
1 light infantry motorcycle platoon.
and by additional telephone and radio units for the signal platoons.
the non-motorized units
1 trucking platoon each.
The signal unit (motorized) with additional means of communication in order to safeguard the communication system of the Reichsführer SS and chief of the German police. The necessary personnel and material will be determined in cooperation with the high-command of the Wehrmacht and the Reichsführer SS and chief of the German police.
The final aim is the complete mobilization of all Standarten and independent units; in the case of mobilization, the skeleton corps of the reinforcement units of the SS Totenkopfverbände, to whom in peacetime the short training of replacements for the SS Totenkopfverbände was entrusted, are to be devoted to the task of insuring replacements for the SS Verfügungstruppe (see C 2).
The supreme commander of the army prepares the SS Verfügungstruppe for their use within the wartime army. He issues the necessary orders, regulates their working with reserve army authorities, supports the training and makes inspections. He is authorized to transfer these powers to lower echelon offices and to report to me about the state of combat training, after prior consultation with the Reichsführer SS and chief of the German police.
A timely exchange of officers, respectively leaders between the army and the SS Verfügungstruppe is to be carried out in mutual agreement as soon as the officer situation permits it.
Any changes in the organization, the strength and the arming of the SS Verfügungstruppe have to be approved by me.
3. Orders for the case of mobilization.
A. The employment of the SS Verfügungstruppe in case of mobilization is a double one:
1. By the supreme commander of the army within the wartime army. In that case, it comes completely under military laws and regulation, but remains a unit of the NSDAP politically.
2. In case of necessity in-the interior according to my orders. In that case, it is under the Reichsführer SS and chief of the German police.
In case of mobilization, I myself will make the decision about the time, strength and manner of the incorporation of the SS Verfügungstruppe into the wartime army; these things will depend on the inner political situation at that time.
During the war, the skeleton corps of the reinforcement units of the SS Totenkopfverbände, to whom in peacetime the short training of replacements for the SS. Totenkopfverbände was entrusted, are to be devoted to the task of insuring a reserve which should meet the ideologic and political spirit of the Verfügungstruppe.
In case of mobilization, all members of the SS who did their compulsory military duty in the SS Verfügungstruppe are generally to be used to reinforce the SS Verfügungstruppe. Older classes of the SS Verfuengungstruppe also may be used to fill the ranks of the reinforcement of the SS Totenkopfverbände police reinforcement which will be set-up in case of mobilization in so far as they are not needed as replacements for the SS Verfuengungstruppe.
In case of mobilization, the replacements for the SS Verfügungstruppe also may be used to fill up the ranks of young, untrained draftees.
B. The SS Junker Schools.
1. The SS Junker schools including the SS medical. Junker school educate the officer replacements for the armed parts of the SS and for the German police.
2. The Junkers who have served at least one year of front line duty in the SS Verfügungstruppe and have completed the SS Junker schools and subsequently the non-commissioned officer school successfully, and who have accordingly served more than two years under arms (see par. 8 of the military law), have fulfilled their compulsory military duty.
Leaders and leader aspirants who have successfully finished the non-commissioned officer school in service that is incorporated into the Wehrmacht, will be given a rank which corresponds to their rank in the armed parts of the SS, or in the police.
3. The budgets of the SS Verfügungstruppe, the SS Totenkopfverbände, and the German police will bear the partial costs of the schools for that number of Junkers which corresponds to their calculated need for leaders.
4. These orders about the SS Junker schools are in force retroactive to 3/15/1935.
C. The SS Totenkopfverbände.
1. The SS Totenkopfverbände are neither a part of the army nor of the police. They are a standing armed unit of the SS to clear up special tasks of police nature. I reserve the right to assign duties from time to time.
As such, as a unit of the NSDAP, they are to be selected and trained according to the ideological and political directives which I have issued for the NSDAP and for the Schutzstaffeln; they are to be replaced by the use of volunteers capable of serving the SS, who as a rule have served their compulsory military duty in the army. The army must give its agreement for special cases of exception. These units are under the Reichsführer SS and chief of the German police who is responsible to me for their organization, training, arming, and full readiness for action.
The Reichsführer SS and chief of the German police is entitled to recruit suitable volunteers of the army before their discharge in cooperation with the supreme command of the army.
The service period for non-commissioned officers and men is 12 years. Service time in the army is to be counted. The necessary question of the pension will be taken up at a later date.
The SS Totenkopfverbände receive their financial means through the ministry of the Interior.
Starting 4/1/1938, the SS Totenkopfverbände are organized as follows:
Directorate staff with signal unit,
4 Standarten with 3 Sturmbanne each with 3 infantry companies (each 148 men strong).
1 machine gun company (150 men strong).
1 medical unit.
1 medical group necessary for the medical care of those camp prisoners who work outside.
Besides, each Standarte:
1 motorcycle group (crossed out).
1 group with weapons suited for street fights to be set up in 1939 (crossed out).
1 trucking unit.
1 Signal platoon.
Besides 1 signal platoon for each Sturmbann to be set up in 1939 (crossed out).
2. Replacement units for the short time training for the reinforcement of the SS Totenkopfverbände (police reinforcement). Strength corresponding to the reinforcement battalion of the army. All units of the SS Totenkopfverbände are to be motorized temporarily with 3-ton Opel-Blitz cars.
3. The strength and organization of the units will be determined by the extent of their special tasks of police nature (see fig. 1) and will be determined by me according to requirements upon suggestions of the Reichsführer SS and chief of the German police.
4. The armament and equipment of the SS Totenkopfverbände depends on their special tasks (see fig. 1); both are to be suggested to me by the Reichsführer SS and chief of the German police, after he has discussed them with the supreme command of the army.
5. Regulations for the case of the mobilization.
The SS Totenkopfverbände form the skeleton corps for the reinforcement of the SS Totenkopfverbände (police reinforcement) and will be replaced in the guarding of the concentration camps by members of the General SS who are over 45 years of age and had military training.
The skeleton corps which, up to now, were units of the two replacement units for the short time training of the reinforcement of the SS Totenkopfverbände will be transferred to the SS Verfügungstruppe as skeleton crews of the replacement units for that unit.
D. Reinforcement of the SS Totenkopfverbände (police reinforcement).
1. The reinforcement of the SS Totenkopfverbände is a police unit which will be set up and armed automatically in the case of mobilization, in an emergency, at my command.
2. The Reichsführer SS and chief of the German police will decide its strength within the total strength of all police units which I shall determine for the territory of the Reich.
3. The organization, distribution of units, armament, and training of the reinforcement of the SS Totenkopfverbände depend entirely on the police tasks they will have to handle.
The responsibility for the full readiness for action in that respect rests with the Reichsführer SS and chief of the German police who will have to make suitable suggestions to me concerning armament and equipment, after prior consultation with the supreme command of the army.
4. The training of the reinforcements of the SS Totenkopfverbände who are provided for the use of war and are between 26 and 35 years of age will be undertaken in peacetime by the replacement units of the SS Totenkopfverbände (compare with C 2).
5. The ministry of the interior will request the financial resources for the training of the reinforcement of the SS Totenkopfverbände from the supreme command of the army, as R. V. special resources.
III. The General SS (Allgemeine SS)
All other members, not mentioned in I or II of the general SS (Allgemeine SS) which is unarmed, are at the disposal of the army in case of war (according to the regulations of the military law).
However, considering the special inner-political tasks which the SS has to solve in close connection with the German police in case of mobilization, I hereby order the following:
1. The staff of the Reichsführer SS, the staffs of the three main offices (SS, SD, and RuS main officer, the SS Oberabschnittsstaebe and SS Abschnittstaebe) remain in case of war for tasks of police nature. The Reichsführer SS regulates their strength which will be cut down to a minimum size for that purpose, SS members provided for those staffs are be deferred from service in the army in case of war.
2. All clothing and equipment, motor cars, arms, ammunition and other equipment owned by the SS are regulated by the legal orders in case of mobilization; this, provided they are not necessary for the setting up of the armed SS units and staffs mentioned under I and II.
IV. Decrees of execution
The supreme command of the army issues the decrees of execution necessary to paragraph II in all questions concerning the army and the case of mobilization in cooperation with the Reichsführer SS and chief of the German police.
The Reichsführer SS and chief of the German police issues the decrees of execution concerning the police and inner political measures in cooperation with the supreme command of the army.
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