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Regiment 962 and 961 were formed at the end of 1942 in Belgium as Disciplinary 999 Brigade and were based in the

Antwerp Region. A so called "Bewahrungseinheit" or "Strafbattalion" were German soldiers who had done some kind

of failure ( Theft's, almost Deserter's, or so called "Cowards in the front of the Enemy", and so on. Being in this unit

was the only chance of Rehabilitation, it's debated as to whether this unit was a penal unit, dispite this assumption the

ordinary ranks were not permitted to wear the National Eagle, collar patches or cockade on their uniforms, nor were

they allowed to wear the traditional army belt with the National Eagle displayed on them.

In March 1943 the unit had reached up to Division size and became 999 Division, at the same time 961 and 962 rifle

Regiments ( MOT ) were sent to North Afrika and were redesignated as the 999th Leichte Afrika Division.

Actual units in N.Afrika were.

 

961 Afrika-Schutzen-Regiment ( MOT ).

962 Afrika-Schutzen-Regiment ( MOT ).

999 Artillerie Battalion ( MOT ).

999 Pioneer- Battalion ( MOT ).

999 Astronomischer-Messtrupp ( MOT ) ( Navigation ).

999 Krankenkraftwagen-Zug ( MOT ) ( Ambulance ).

999 Feldgendarmie-Trupp ( MOT ) ( Field-Police ).

 

Initially fighting as individual Regiments, and then assigned to the D.A.K. and fought as such until the end of the campaign

in Afrika. and during their short history and dispite the fact they were supposedly a penal unit they committed themselves

fairly well, those units of the Division not sent to N.Afrika were posted to Greece.

 

Here's a few pages from a Wehrpass to Hermann Knaack of 962 Regiment, Hermann served from Dec 1942 to Oct 1943

With 6th Kompany, the unit was assigned some of the worst duties such as mine clearance in the face of the Enemy and

military actions which had little chance of success ("Forlorn Hope Engagements").

Hermann Knaack was wounded in action soon after his arrival and was repatriated for recovery before the Afrika Korps

surrenderd. Due to the severity of his wounds he was finally discharged on 25.10.44 as medically unfit for active service.

He was awarded the wound badge in black.post-3823-0-00941600-1424711855_thumb.jpgpost-3823-0-62032000-1424711876_thumb.jpgpost-3823-0-76391200-1424711896_thumb.jpgpost-3823-0-00213500-1424711915_thumb.jpg

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Officers and enlisted soldiers sentenced to these units were stripped of all insignia, instead they wore a red triangle on the

sleeve indicating they belonged to a penal unit.

These units were under the control of the Feldgendarmerie, convicted felons were granted a clean slate if they volunteered

to serve in these units, and any prisoner that survived their missions would be deemed "Fit to Fight" and returned to the field

with the "Rights" of a combat soldier and gain back all awards/rank ect- this also applied to civilian prisoners who volunteered

to serve in these units.

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  • 1 month later...

963 Afrika-Schutzen Regiment.

 

The 963 regiment was put together in Heuberg at the beginning of 1943, and was to be sent to Africa/Tunisia to join with

the 961 and 962 regiments as part of the 999 Afrika Division.

But were not ready in time to be sent there before the surrender of D.A.K. in Tunisia, so were sent instead to Greece.

 

Below is a photo of Afrika-Schutzen Regiment 963, on parade at the "Vereidgung"- ( "OATH" Ceremony ) swearing-in

at Heuberg in 1943.post-3823-0-20431700-1427483171_thumb.jpg

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Very interesting, perhaps you could post some of his documents?

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On 23/02/2015 at 22:15, Greg said:

interesting that they could not wear the eagle yet still could be awarded for wounds!

No eagle, no collar patches, no insignia, and apparently there was a special belt buckle for penal battalions, with a blank centre medallion.

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I have a book "Die Mit dem blauen Schein" by Hans Burkhrdt, and Guenter Erxleben, and it shows troops training at the base "dem Heuberg" and the trainees all ex offenders of the Reich justice system are in fact wearing shoulder boards with the waffenfarbe and they are wearing the collar Wehrmacht symbols. No eagles in uniforms however.

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Uniforms were normally "abgerissen" with penal units, i.e., no collar Litzen and no shoulder pieces, as previously mentioned.  What is a "blauer Schein", similiar to an "Extra-Wurst"?

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Bildergebnis für koppelschloss strafbataillon

Belt buckle, often stated as "Strafbataillon", here with maker's mark
(internet photos)

Bildergebnis für strafbataillon

Bildergebnis für strafbataillon

There are not many photos of such personnel to be found

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Hans-G%C3%BCnter-Erxleben-und-Kurt-Nettball-Burkhardt+Die-mit-dem-blauen-Schein-%C3%BCber-den.jpg

Die mit dem blauen Schein über den antifaschistischen Widerstand in den 999er Formationen d. faschist. dt. Wehrmacht (1942 - 1945)
Burkhardt, Hans; Günter Erxleben und Kurt Nettball, Berlin/ Militärverlag der Dt. Demokrat. Republik, 1982, Leineneinband
Wer waren die Leute mit dem "blauen Schein", was verbarg sich hinter dieser Bezeichnung? Die Bescheinigung, mit der die "Wehrunwürdigkeit" für die faschistische deutsche Wehrmacht amtlich dokumentiert wurde, hatte eine blaue Farbe....

As found in internet book lists

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Background: The Ausschließungsschein was a document given to those who were found to be unworthy of service in the Wehrmacht, either the result of a criminal offence or some other reason

138274_image.jpg

Ausschließungsschein-1940-Repro-Stadtarchiv-Herne.jpg

 

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