Estonian Auxiliary Police

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Estonian Auxiliary Police
Active July 1941 – November 1944
Country  Nazi Germany
Engagements Battle of Stalingrad
Battle for Narva Bridgehead
Battle of Emajõgi
Commanders
Notable
commanders
Friedrich Kurg
Karl Palm
Julius Reinter
Harald Riipalu

Estonian Auxiliary Police were Estonian units that fought in World War II under command of Germany. Estonian regular units allied with Nazi Germany began to be established on 25 August 1941, when under the order of Generalfeldmarschall Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb, commander of the Army Group North, Baltic citizens were permitted to be recruited into Wehrmacht service and grouped into Special units and volunteer battalions to fight against partisans.[1] In this context, Colonel General Georg von Küchler, commander of the 18th Army (Germany), formed six Estonian volunteer guard units (Estnische Sicherungsgruppe, Eesti julgestusgrupp; numbered 181-186) on the basis of the Omakaitse squads (with its members contracted for one year).

After September 1941, the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht started to establish the Estonian Auxiliary Police Battalions ("Schuma") in addition to the aforementioned units to perform the guard duties and fight against partisans in the rear of Army Group North. During the war, 26 "Schuma" battalions were formed in Estonia, numbered from 29th to 45th, 50th, and from the 286th to 293rd. Unlike similar units deployed in the Reichskommissariat Ukraine and White Ruthenia, which were controlled by the Germans, the Estonian Police battalions were made up of national staff and included only one German monitoring officer. Moreover, as a sign of special trust, the Wehrmacht ranking system was introduced in the Estonian Police Battalions. As of October 1, 1942, the Estonian Police forces comprised 10 400 men, with 591 Germans attached to them.

Battles[edit]

The police battalions were mostly engaged in the Eastern Front, occasionally fighting against Soviet partisans.[2]

The 36th Estonian Police Battalion participated in the Battle of Stalingrad. On the way to Stalingrad, the train carrying the battalion fell under Soviet mortar fire as it arrived in the railway station Surovikino in the morning of November 22, 1942. Fighting erupted on the northern outskirt of Surovikino. The battalion was quickly unloaded and assumed defense positions at 09.30. After connducting attacks at 15.00 the battalion was forced to defend the line of Nizny Osinovski, Lukitsevski, Starikovski, Zirkov. That evening, Commanding Major Julius Renter was replaced and lieutenant Harald Riipalu took over the battalion. Forty two men were awarded with the Iron Cross after the battle, among them Harald Riipalu, who later became Knight's Cross holder.

The 37th and 40th battalions were fighting against the partisans in the Pskov Oblast, as was the 38th battalion in the Luga-Pskov-Gdov region. The 288th battalion was engaged in the suppression of the Ronson’s Partisan Republic.[3]

Police Battalions 29th, 31st and 32nd fought in the Battle for Narva Bridgehead.

On August 29, 1944 Police Battalions 37 and 38 participated in the Battle of Emajõgi. As their largest operation, supported by III.Battalion, Estonian Waffen Grenadier Regiment 45, they destroyed the Kärevere bridgehead of two Soviet divisions west from Tartu and recaptured the Tallinn highway bridge over the Emajõgi by 30 August.[2] The operation shifted the entire front back to the southern bank of the Emajõgi. This encouraged the II Army Corps to launch an operation attempting to recapture Tartu on 4 September.

On September 19, 1944 Police Battalion 287 had a clash in Klooga concentration camp with members of the German Sonderkommando, who tried to execute prisoners in the camp.[4]

Police battalions[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Joachim Hoffmann, Die Ostlegionen 1941-1943. Freiburg, 1976, p.18-19
  2. ^ a b Aivar Niglas, Toomas Hiio (2006). "Estonian defence battalions / police battalions". In Toomas Hiio, Meelis Maripuu, & Indrek Paavle. Estonia 1940–1945: Reports of the Estonian International Commission for the Investigation of Crimes Against Humanity. Tallinn. pp. 825–876. 
  3. ^ Eesti vabadusvõitlejad Teises maailmasõjas//Koostaja August Jurs - Tallinn, 1997. p. 146-155
  4. ^ [1]