Estonian Auxiliary Police

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Estonian Auxiliary Police
ActiveJuly 1941 – November 1944
Country Nazi Germany
BranchSchutzmannschaft
RoleRear security
Part ofWehrmacht / Order Police / SS of Nazi Germany
EngagementsBattle of Stalingrad
Battle for Narva Bridgehead
Battle of Emajõgi
Commanders
Notable
commanders
Harald Riipalu

Estonian Auxiliary Police were Estonian collaborationist police units during World War II.

Formation[edit]

Estonian units were first established on 25 August 1941, when under the order of Field Marshal Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb, commander of the Army Group North, Baltic citizens were permitted to be recruited into Wehrmacht service and grouped into volunteer battalions for security duties.[1] In this context, 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 for rear-security duties in the Army Group North Rear Area. 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. As of October 1, 1942, the Estonian police forces comprised 10,400 men, with 591 Germans attached to them.

Operational history[edit]

The police battalions were mostly engaged in the Wehrmacht Army Group Rear Areas.[2] The 37th and 40th battalions were employed on rear-security duties 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 29, 31 and 32 fought in the Battle for Narva Bridgehead.[citation needed]

From 22 November to 31 December 1942 the 36th Estonian Police Battalion took part of the Battle of Stalingrad.[2] On August 29, 1944 Police Battalions 37 and 38 participated in the fighting against the Soviet Tartu Offensive. As their largest operation, supported by the 3rd Battalion of the 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.[4] 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.

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 (eds.). 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 by August Jurs - Tallinn, 1997. p. 146-155
  4. ^ Toomas Hiio (2006). "Combat in Estonia in 1944". In Toomas Hiio; Meelis Maripuu; Indrek Paavle (eds.). Estonia 1940–1945: Reports of the Estonian International Commission for the Investigation of Crimes Against Humanity. Tallinn. pp. 1035–1094.