HISTORY OF THE MILITÄRBEFEHLSHABER

BELGIEN - NORDFRANKREICH (Kommandostab)

   

 

 

1940     1941     1942     1943     1944

 

1. 1940

 

On 16 May 1940, 62-year old  General der Infanterie Alexander von Falkenhausen was appointed Militärbefehlshaber in den Niederlanden, with headquarters in Den Haag. Until then, von Falkenhausen had been commander of the Dresden military region. Initially, the command would be subordinated to the Heeresgruppe B, which had carried out the invasion in the Netherlands. In his capacity von Falkenhausen would take over the role previously assumed by the Oberquartierstab of the Heeresgruppe.

Also on the same day, however, so still during the German invasion in Belgium (10-28 May 1940) it was decided that the part of Belgium which had already been conquered by the Germans  and was controlled by the Heeresgruppe B would also be subjected to the military government of the Militärbefehlshaber in den Niederlanden.

On 20 May 1940 von Flaknehausen was officially ordered to assume the above command responsibilities.

On 21 May 1940 von Falkenhausen officially assumed his responsibilities as Militärbefehlshaber in den Niederlanden. His headquarters were located in The Hague. Subordinated to him was a military Kommandostab, headed by Major von Harbou. Von Harbou was not unknown to Belgian industrialists, as he had been the managing director of the Consortium de l'Azote. The Kommandostab controlled the Landesschützenbataillone; the Feldgendarmerie and the Geheime Feldpolizei (the latter consisting of some 500 offivers and agents). Much more extensive was the Militärverwaltungsstab, in charge of all civil affairs. It was run run by 46-year old Kriegsverwaltungschef Eggert Reeder, until then the head of the city government of Cologne. The deputy Verwaltungschef was General von Craushaar.Its orders were three-fold: demobilisation of the (Dutch) army, restoration of peace and order and the establishment of a military government. Military forces subordinated to the Militärbefehlshaber were the X Armeekorps with the 207 Infanteriedivision and the 227 Infanteriedivision.

On 21 May 1940 we find a first overview of the personnel strength of the headquarters of the Militärbefehlshaber; the total of 453 men was shared fairly equally between the Kommandostab (233) and the Verwaltung (220). On the same day, however, an order from Hitler was received that The Netherlands were to be governed by a civil administration headed by Reichskommissar Dr Seiss-Inquart. The projected date for this change was 29 May.

On 23 May 1940 the Heeresgruppe B, to which the Militärbefehlshaber was still subordinated, ordered that from the occupied Belgian territories the Turnhout area in the province of Antwerp and the entire province of Limburg were to be taken over by the Militärverwaltung. More specifically, the Oberfeldkommandantur 591 was to administer Noord-Brabant and Limburg. The only areas not under the control of von Falkenhausen were Walcheren, North and South-Beveland and the Dutch territory south the of the Westerschelde (Zeeuws-Vlaanderen).

On 29 May 1940 von Falkenhausen transferred his powers to, one the one hand, Dr Seiss-Inquart for civil affairs and, on the other hand, General der Flieger Christansen for all Wehrmacht matters. As such, von Falkenhausen's role in The Netherlands had come to an end.

On 30 May 1940 von Falkenhausen moved his headquarters from The Hague to Brussels

On 31 May 1940 General der Infanterie von Falkenhausen was appointed Militärbefehlshaber in Belgien und Nordfrankreich, with headquarters in Brussels. Also on this day, the following decisions were taken:

  • The restoration of order in the combat area (Kampfraum) as well as the processing of captured equipment and weapons (Beute) were to be performed by the Armeeoberkommando 18, under the command of general von Küchler.

  • The Armeeoberkommando 18 was also made responsible for the security along the Belgian and French coasts, initially as far south as Etaples.

  • Several occupation troops (Besatzungstruppen) wete subordinated to the Militärbefehlshaber. However, the units subordinated to the AOK 18 were not to be considered as occupation troops.

  • The Oberquartiermeister Belgien (Generalmajor  Jaenecke) would be subordinated territiriallt to the Militärbefehlshaber as of 1 June.

  • The Kommandanturen and occupation troops deployed in the rear combat areas (rückwärtigen Armeegebieten) were territorially suboedinated to the Armeeoberkommandos.

  • The interests of the fighting troops were to be given priority to those of the Militärverwaltung.

  • The Kommandanturen and occupation troops deployed in Belgium and Luxemburg by the Heeresgruppe A were to remain in their areas until further notice.

  • For the occupation of the occupied French territories the Kommandanturen and occupation troops thus far deployed in the Netherlands would be subordinated

On 1 June 1940 von Falkenhausen officially assumed command as the Militärbefehlshaber in Belgien und Nordfrankreich. With this the subordination to the Heeresgruppe B also came to an end. From then on, the Militärbefehshaber was directly subordinated to the Oberkommando des Heeres.

Also on this day, we find another overview of the personnel strength of the headquarters of the Militärbefehlshaber; the total of 396 men was shared equally between the Kommandostab (198) and the Verwaltung (198). Finally, on this day, the rear boundary of the Heeresgruppen B  and A were moved to the Rechsgrenze.

On 2 June 1940 the number of Oberfeldkommandanturen and the provinces they would cover were decided upon: OFK 671 (Brussels) for the provinces Antwerpen, Brabant and Limburg; OFK 598 (Luik) for the provinces Luik and Luxemburg; OFK 520 (Chateau d'Ardennes) for the provinces Namen and Henegouwen; and the OFK 570 (Gent) for the provinces Oost-Vlaanderen and West-Vlaanderen. The Grand Duchy of Luxemburg was managed by the Feldkommandantur 515, which was directly subordinated to the Militärbefehlshaber. The organization of the military government in Northern France was not yet completed, but the following units were envisaged: the OFK 670 (Lille) and the OFK 671 (Valenciennes), while the location of the OFK 591 and 592 were still to be decided upon. Finally, the Landesschützenbataillon 663, then located in Mechelen, would be subordinated to the OFK 570 in Gent .

On 3 June 1940 the Armeeoberkommando 18 informed the Militärbefehlshaber that it would be wise to also locate Ortskommandanturen in the cities of Calais and Boulogne, even though these were located within the area of tesponsibility of the former. Also on this day, clear command boundaries were drawn between the two. Thus the area between the Reichsgrenze and the rear boundarry of the Armeegebiet was fully controlled by the Mililitärbefehlshaber, whereas the aread between the rear boundary of the Armeegebiet and that of the Gefechtsgebiet was only managed, but not controlled, by the Militärbefehlshaber. In the latter area the AOK 18 was in full control. Again it was confirmed that total priority was to be given to the requirements of the AOK 18. Also, it was agree that units functioning as OKH Reserve within the area of control of the Militärbefehlshaber would initially be supplied by the AOK 18, and only at a later stage by the Militärbefehlshaber. In addition, the 15 Kriegslazarette, 3 Sammelsanitätsparke and the 5 Auffangslager für Kriegsgefangene were also the responsibility of the Militärbefehlshaber.

On 4 June 1940 the Heeresgruppe A, which had conducted the attack on Belgium and the Northern France and was until then had been controlling the military government of Belgium and Luxemburg ordered this task to be officially transferred to the Militärverwaltung. Also on this day two infantry divisions were subordinated to the Militärbefehlshaber, namely the 351 Infanteriedivision and the 358 Infanteriedivision. While the former was ordered to move from Sittard to Gent, the latter received orders to move from Liège to Lille. Also subordinated to the Militärbefehlshaber, for guard duty along the Dutch-Belgian border was the Grenzwachregiment 26. Further, the Oberquartiermeister Belgien, General Jaenecke, was also subordinated, albeit only territorially. Within this command, an Arbeitsstab des Generalbevollmächtigten für das Kraftfahrzeugwesen with headquarters in Brussels was established to take care of matters concerning vehicles. To manage the considerable war booty in Belgium an Oberfeldzugstab Belgien was established, which was itself subdivided into 6 Feldzeugstäbe. Finally, a platoon of the elite Wachbataillon Berlin, was detached to Brussels to guard the Belgian king at the Royal Palace at Laken and subordinated to the Militärbefehlshaber.

The mission of the Militärbefehlshaber was also defined: firstly, to ensure that a situation of order would return to the area as soon as possible; and secondly, to facilitate usage of the country's resources for the requirements of the German army and war economy.

On 5 June 1940 a counter-order undid the subordination of the 351 Infanteriedivision.

On 7 June 1940 the various Landesschützenbataillone were divided over the occupied areas: 4 batallions for Brussels, 2 for Antwerp, 4 for the province of Limburg, 2 for the province of Eastern Flanders and 3 for Luxemburg. In addition, 2 batallions were active with AOK 18 for the Oberquartiermeister Belgien as well as Grenzwachregiment 46. Further, Grenzwachregiment 26 was guarding the Dutch-Belgian border. Also, 10 batallions and 23 railroad guard companies were awaiting transport out of the area. Finally, it was planned to position the 358 Infanteriedivision between Oostende and Dunkirk to assist the AOK 18 in war booty processing and POW guard duty, the planned date of arrival of the division in the area mentioned above being 15 June.

On 10 June 1940 it was decided that the northwestern part of France would be controlled by the Oberfeldkommandanturen 591 (Neufchatel-en-Bray), 592 (provisionally Laon) and 671 (Charleville-Mézières)

On 11 June 1940 we find another overview of the personnel strength of the headquarters of the Militärbefehlshaber; the total of 440 men was shared fairly equally between the Kommandostab (227) and the Verwaltung (213).

At this point in time the Militärbefehlshaber Belgien und Nordfrankreich was the only one of its kind in the West. This changed on 12 June 1940 when General der Artillerie von Bockelberg was appointed Militärbefehlshaber Paris.

One day later, on 13 June 1940, Generaloberst Blaskowitz was nominated as Militärbefehlshaber in Frankreich (beginning 17 June)(with exception of the departements Nord and Pas-de-Calais) with Generalmajor Auleb as head of the Kommandostab and Kriegsverwaltungschef Posse leading the Verwaltungsstab. The headquarters were located in Compiègne.

On the same day, a further unit was formed, this time subordinated to the Militärbefehlshaber Belgien und Nordfrankreich. This was the Rüstungsinspektion Belgien, also with headquarters in Brussels and commanded by Oberst der Luftwaffe Franssen. It was given 4 tasks: logistical support of the fighting army through setting up of repair shops and making available Hilfsstoffen; collecting and securing all important supplies of raw materials, semi-finished products and other goods; the restarting of factories; and, finally, logistical support for repairing roads and railways. Personnel for this unit was drawn for the Oberfeldkommandanturen.

On 15 June 1940 the Oberquartiermeister Belgien command was integrated into the staff of the Militärbefehlshaber, its personnel reinforcing the latter. Also on this day the command authorities of the Militärbefehlshaber were defined once more: maintaining security and order in the occupied territories, guarding the borders and protecting the coast from enemy attacks. Obviously the Militärbefehlshaber was also tasked with administering the occupied territories with priority to be given to: exploiting the country's resources for the benefit of the German army, collecting the war booty and making it ready to be used again, and helping to establish logistics bases in the hinterland. In this function the Militärbefehlshaber would have the command powers of an army commander and would be directly subordinated to the OKH.

On 15 June the organization of the Kommandaturen and troops of the Militärbefehlshaber was as follows (including changes on 19 June):

 

 

From 16 June 1940 onwards the following troops were subordinated to the Militärbefehlshaber: General zbV III (Arras), 358 Landesschützendivision (Schelde estuary - Belgian-French border), 208 Infanteriedivision (Belgian-French border - Cap Gris Nez), 254 Infanteriedivision (Cap Gris Nez - both sides of the Somme estuary), 225 Infanteriedivision (reserve - Cambrai/Albert area) and the 351 Infanteriedivision (reserve - still underway to the Kortrijk area). Considering the area to be covered by these units was extremely large, it was recognized that only key points could be occupied and that much of the coastline was to be covered by patrols. Also, it was decided that 1 regiment of each coastal division was to be held in reserve further inland (Bruges, St-Omer and Hesdin). The coastal divisions were expected to have occupied their positions by 20 June; the 351 Infanteriedivision was expected to reach Kortrijk on 24 June. Communications were managed by the Höheren Nachrichtenführer Belgien with the Feldnachrichtenkommandantur 20 (Gent) for Belgium and the Hilfsfeldnarchrichtenkommandantur Lille for the north of France.

The Militärbefehlshaber also maintained close contact with the Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine commands in his area. For the Luftwaffe  the main command was the Luftgaukommando Belgien-Nordfrankreich, established on 1 June 1940 in Brussels and commanded by Generalmajor Fritz Löb (who would be killed in an aircrash at Brussels on 22 June and succeeded by General Curt Pflugbeil. The main naby command in the area was that of the Kommandierender Admiral West, Admiral Schuster, who was also located in Brussels until the end of the month (then moved to Paris and renamed Kommandierender Admiral Frankreich).

A document dated 19 June 1940 puts the number of Landesschützenbataillonen in the area of the Militärbefehlshaber Belgien und Nordfrankreich at twenty-two.

On 21 June 1940 the Militärbefehlshaber Belgien und Nordfrankreich was ordered to transfer coastal defence duties on both sides of the Somme estuary to the Militärbefehlshaber Frankreich. This also involved the 225 Infanteriedivision to be moved from the Cambrai/Albert area to the Lillers-St-Pol-Bethune area. On the same days, however, prior notice was given of a Führerbefehl installing a civil government in the Netherlands, headed by Reichskommissar Dr. Seys-Inquart with a provisional transition date set on 29 June 1940. Consequently, von Falkenhausen's function in the Netherlands would quickly became irrelevant. Perhaps as a result of this, his official designation was changed to Militärbefehlshaber in den Niederlanden und Belgien on 22 June 1940. Finally, on 21 June, we find another overview of the personnel strength of the headquarters of the Militärbefehlshaber; the total of 462 men was shared equally between the Kommandostab (230) and the Verwaltung (232).

On 23 June 1940 the Heeresgruppenkommando B issued an order that in the Belgian occupied territories (the fighting was still going on in parts of the country) the province of Limburg and the district of Turnhout in the province of Antwerp were to be taken over by the Militärverwaltung.

On 25 June 1940 we learn that von Falkenhausen expressed himself as opposed to the possibility of his Militärverwaltung being replaced in a Zivilverwaltung in a letter sent to the Oberkommando des Heeres. This action by the Mimitärbefehlshaber was triggered by a visit of Statssekretär Ahrens, who told von Falkenhausen that Gauleiter Kaufmann would soon be appointed as Reichskommisar for Belgium and northern France. In the document von Falkenhausen first pointed out that various duties (some of which also of military importance) had been entrusted to him by the OKH. He then argued that, in spite of the importance of the political, administrative and purely economic issues regarding the country, the latter were to be subordinated to the military interests at that point in time. Also on this day, the Militärbefehlshaber reported that the following Landesschützenbataillone had been assigned the following railroad security duties:

  • Landesschützenbataillone 773 and 774 on the railway lines:

    • Dutch border-Antwerpen-Brussels-Halle-Braine-le-Comte

    • Brussels-Ottignies-Baulers-Luttre

    • Neerpelt-Hasselt-Gembloux

    • Mechelen-Dendermonde

  • Landesschützenbataillon 484 on the lines:

    • Dendermonde-Gent-Doornik-Lille-Douai-Arras-Achiet and Arras-Doullens

  • Landesschützenbataillon 485 for the lines:

    • Braine-le-Comte-Jurbise-Mons-Valenciennes-Auloye-Hirson-Laon

    • Luttes-Manage-Mons -Maubeuge-Aulnoye-Busignies-Cambrai-Epehy-

    • Gembloux-Fleurus-Ottignies

    • Fleurus-Charlerou-Mariembourg-Anor

On 26 June 1940 the Militärbefehlshaber was notified that, in view of the re-organisation of the army, the division which were until then subordinated to him for coastal defence purposes, would be withdrawn from his command and assigned other duties.

On 28 June 1940 the dissolution of the Oberquartiermeister Belgien as an independent headquarters was ordered, as well as its integration in the staff of the Militärbefehlshaber. From this moment onwards the latter was organised as follows: Kommandostab, Verwaltungsstab, Rüstungsinspektion and the Oberquartiermeisterstab.

On 29 June 1940 the occupied Dutch territory was duly tranferred to the Reichskommissar. On the same day, the Oberquartiermeister Belgien was integrated into the headquarters of the Militärbefehlshaber. In addition, a Rüstungsinspektion or economic inspection was to be established. Leading positions were to be occupied by Major von Harbout (Kommandostab), Oberst Baentsch (Oberquartiermeisterstab), Kriegsverwaltungschef Reeder (verwaltungsstab) and Oberst der Luftwaffe Franssen (Rüstungsinspektion). Finally, on this day the Militärbefehlshaber also reported that all Geheime Feldpolizei groups had arrived in his area of command as had assumed operational duties.

On 30 June 1940 von Falkenhausen moved his command from Den Haag to Brussels. The Kommandostab was based at the Colonial Ministry at the Place Royale, while the Militärverwaltungsstab was located at the Finance Ministry in the Wetstraat, both in the centre of Brussels. Von Falkenhausen himself resided in 2 rooms at the Plaza Hotel.

On 30 June 1940 important changes affected von Falkenhausen's colleague further south, in occupied France (with the exception of the departements Nord and Pas-de-Calais). Generaloberst Blaskowitz, the then Militärbefehshaber für das besetzte Frankreich und für Paris, was replaced by General der Infanterie Streccius as Chef der Militärverwaltung in Frankreich.

On 31 June 1940 von Falkenhausen was now officially appointed as Militärbefehlshaber in Belgien und Nordfrankreich, officially taking command on 1 July. Also on this date, the subordination of the command to the Heeresgruppe B ended, and it was no subordinated directly to the Oberkommando des Heeres (OKH). Only the areas of Belgium and Northern France which were not situated in the so-called Gefechtsgebiet were initually under his control. The Gefechtsgebiet or Kampfraum, on the other hand, was managed by the Armeeoberkommando 18, which was made responsible for managing captured goods and vehicles and for defending the coast as far south as Etaples.It was further made clear that the interests of the AOK 18 had priority over the interests of the Milutärverwaltung. It was also decided that for the military government of France, the occupation troops and Kommandanturen from the Netherlands would be used.

 

On 1 July 1940 the first edition of the German-run Brüsseler Zeitung appeared in Belgium. Also on this day, the Militärbefehlshaber wrote to the commander of the Generalkommando zbV III. We rember from above that this unit had been subordinated to the Militärbefehlshaber from 16 June onwards to command a number of divisions.It now became clear that this situation was to change again on 12 Jully (see below). The document also detailed changes in the areas of the infantry divisions securing the coast between the Dutch-Belgian border and Le Treport at that time. The old situation at that point was as follows (from north to south):

  • 358 Infanteriedivision at the Belgian coast

  • 208 Infanteriedivision, 254 Infanteriedivision, 227 Infanteriedivision at the French coast

Also on 1 July we find another overview of the personnel strength of the headquarters of the Militärbefehlshaber; the total of 453 men was shared fairly equally between the Kommandostab (233) and the Verwaltung (220).

On the basis of a document of 1 July 1940 the following units were to perform coastal defence duties from 12 July onwards:
  • Generalkommando XXXXII Armeekorps (headquarters in Ypres)(officially assumed command of the divisions below on 12 July)
    • 225 Infanteriedivision (Schelde estuary to Belgian-French border). This division was in the process of relieving the 358 Infanteriedivision at the Belgian coast (headquarters in Bruges). The 225 Infanteriedivision had been stationed in the Bethune-Lillers-St-Pol area, with headquarters in Bethune. After the relief operation the 358 Infanteriedivision was to move to the Gent area. The relief operation was to start on 3 July.
    • 208 Infanteriedivision (Belgian-French border to Cap Gris Nez)
  • Generalkommando XXXXIII Armeekorps (headquarters in the area St-Pol)(officially assumed command of the divisions below on 12 July)
    • 164 Infanteriedivision (from Cap Gris Nez to the estuary of the Authie). This division was in the process of taking over the left sector of the 208 Infanteriedivision, thus shortening the sector of the latter.
    • 254 Infanteriedivision (from the estuary of the Authie to the Somme estuary). This division was in the process of extending its sector to the south (Somme estuary) in order to free up the 227 Infanteriedivision, which until then had been stationed to its north.
    • 296 Infanteriedivision (from the Somme estuary to Le Tréport (?)). Thus unit was in the process of taking over the left sector of the 254 Infanteriedivision.
The document of 1 July further stated that after the above 2 corps had assumed command the General zbV III was to be withdrawn to Brussels at the disposal of the Militärbefehlshaber and, importantly, that the Militärbefehlshaber was in command of the above forces until the Armeeoberkommando 16 would take over command (12 July 1940).

On 6 July 1940 the reorganisation of the coastal defence divisions, which were being withdrawn from the Militärbefehlshaber (see above), began to take shape when the VII Armeekorps arrived from the Verdun area and set up headquarters in Hesdin. Starting on 7 July it assumed command of the 254 Infanteriedivision (stationed between the Cap Gris Nez and the Somme). On the same day the 358 Landesschützendivision (Schelde estuary - Belgian-French border) was replaced by the 225 Infanteriedivision, which set up its headquarters in Bruges, and moved inland to the Gent area. On 12 July the 225 Infanteriedivision and the 208 Infanteriedivision (Belgian-French border - Cap Gris Nez) were officially subordinated to the XXXXII Armeekorpsi, which cam from the Chemin des Dames area. Left under the command of the Militärbefehlshaber were thus only the 351 Infanteriedivision and the 358 Infanteriedivision. The old Generalkommando zbV III transferred its headquarters to Brussels and was assigned to the OKH.

Also on 6 July, the Militärbefehlshaber wrote to the Armeeoberkommandos 9 and 16, in preparation for their taking over the infantry divisions in the area. In this document he explained the organisation of his command in some detail, mentioning, e.g. all the Oberfeldkommandanturen with their respective commanders (see the pdf-files on this page). Interestingly, he also mentioned the presence of Festungskommandanturen  in Namur and Liège and of Lagerkommandanturen at the training grounds of Beverloo (Generalleutnant Hansen) and Maria-ter-Heide (Generalmajor Curtze) In the extensive document, Falkenhausen does not only introduce and detauil his command but also points out that the forces under his command do not suffice for all the guard duties and requests the field armies to provide forces for guard duties as well. In the same document he also introduces the leadership; Major iG von Harbou as the Chef Kommandostab, Oberst iG Baentsch as the Oberquartiermeister, Regierungspräsident Reeder as Militärverwaltungschef and Oberst Franssen as head of the Rüstungsinspektion.

On 11 July 1940 we find another overview of the personnel strength of the headquarters of the Militärbefehlshaber; the total of 495 men was shared between the Kommandostab (285) and the Verwaltung (210). Also, on this day, the headquarters of the Heeresgruppe A moved to Saint-Germain (Hotel Henri IV).
On 12 July 1940 the armies and corps mentioned above officially assumed command of the divisions also mentioned above.The AOK16  was headquartered in Tourcoing and the XXXXII Armeekorps (with headquarters in Ieper) assumed command of the 225  and 208 Infanteriedivisionen. At that point only the 351 and 358 Infanteriedivisionen were still directly subordinated to the Militärbefehlshaber and the Generalkommando zbV III was withdrawn from Lille to Brussels and put at the disposal of the OKH.
On 15 July 1940 in view of the new organisational set-up, the OKH head, von Brauchitsch, felt the need to clearly delineate responsibilities between the active troops (ie.e the armies) and the Militärbefehlshaber.
On 18 July 1940 the OKH informed that Militärbefehlshaber that Hitler had decided that there was no longer a Belgian government and that any attempt to seek contact with the Militärverwaltung was to be declined. Also on this day the Kommandanturen and Landesschützenverbände of the Militärbefehlshaber were deployed as follows:

 

 

On 20 July 1940 the news was received that Vize-Admiral Fleischer was to be appointed as Befehlshaber im Marineabschnitt Schelde-Somme with headquarters at Lumbres, later Wimille. Also on this date, the Oberkommando des Heeres finally decided that Belgium was to continue being governed by a Militärverwaltung "auf Vorschlag des Militärbefehlshabers". At the same time, it was decided that Luxemburg would be run by a Zivilverwaltung  headed by Gauleiter Simon. It wasd also decided that the Belgian King would not be aloowed to play any political role whatsoever and that his correspondence would be strictly restricted to private correspondence, with official letters and documents addressed to the King to be handed over to the OKW. Finally, on the same day, an order was given which prohibited access to the cities of Brussels, Antwerp and Liège for all Wehrmacht personnel, except those with an official reason for being there.

On 21 July 1940 Gauleiter Simon was appointed as Chef der Zivilverwaltung in Luxemburg. Neverthless, the command was subordinated to the Militärbefehlshaber. On thez same day it was decided, for purposes of coastal security, to declare the area west of the following line as Gefechtsgebiet: Sas-van-Gent - Bruges - Diksmuide - Bergiues - Ardres - Desvres - Montreuil - Nampont - Abbeville - Blangy - Londinières - Longueville - Doudeville - Bolbec - Tancarville.(excluding all these places).

On 23 July 1940 we find another overview of the personnel strength of the headquarters of the Militärbefehlshaber; the total of 501 men was shared between the Kommandostab (265) and the Verwaltung (236).

On 24-25 July 1940 the 351 Infanteriedivision and the 358 Infanteriedivision were transferred to the north of the Belgian province of Luxemburg and the west of the province of Liège, respectively, while remaining under the command of the Militärbefehlshaber.

From 25 July 1940 onwards the inhabitants of a 10-km wide zone along the coast were forbidden were forbidden to go any further than 5 km from their home in any direction.

On 27 July 1940 the General zbV III was again subordinated to the Militärbefehlshaber. Its main task would be the organisation of the Landesschützeneinheiten and Radfahrwachbataillonen. Also on this day, Richard Heydrich, right hand of Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler, met von Falkenhausen in Brussels. Heydrich was the head of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt in Berlin and of the political police organisation Sicherheitspolizei-Sicherheitsdienst (SIPO-SD). He told von Falkenhausen that he had been tasked with organising a police organization in Belgium and the north of France. Much to the dislike of Himmler this was not possible in the form of a Höherer SS- und Polizeiführer, since Belgium and the north of France were governed by a Militärverwaltung. Still, the sheer size of the territory to be controlled and the limited resources of the Feldgendarmerie and the Geheime Feldpolizei, under direct control of von Falkenhausen, forced the Militärbefehlshaber to accept the presence of another police force, albeit not under his control. Thus, the SIPO-SD set up its headquarters at 453 Avenue Louise in Brussels under the leadership of SS-Obersturmbahnführer Karl Hasselbacher. Hasselbacher himself in his role as Beauftragter was subordinated to SS-Brigadeführer Max Thomas, who resided in Paris as Befehlshaber der Sicherheitspolizei und des SD in Belgien und Nordfrankreich and reported to the latter on a regular basis.

On 28 July 1940 the boundary between the 16 Armee and the 9 Armee were redrawn. While the latter became responsible for the sector south of the Somme and thus effectively left the area of the Militärbefehlshaber, the former now controlled all forces within the area of command of the Militärbefehlshaber.

On 29 July 1940 changes were made to the final billeting areas of the 351 and 358 Infanteriedivision, before being transferred to the Aachen area. Thus the former was to move to the area Verviers-Liège-Visé-Eupen, while the latter was to transfer to the area Tongeren-Bilzen-Maastricht.

 

On 1 August 1940 the Feldkommandantur 515 left Luxemburg for the Channel Islands. On the same day, the withdrawing 358 Infanteriedivision was ordered to shed three infantry battalions to be sent to the following: III/IR 648 to Bruges (AOK16), II/IR 641 to Dinard (AOK6) and II/IR 643 to Neufchatel (AOK9).

On 8 August 1940 the Militärbefehlshaber apparently felt the need to urge the OKH for a clarification with respect to the status of the German administration and Gauleiter Simon in Luxemburg. The Militärbefehlshaber had recentlt learned from a document that Simon was directly subordinated to Hitler. Falkenhausen rightly pointed out that this was contradicted by the OKH order of 21 July.

On 9 August 1940 the  351 and 358 Infanteriedivision had arrived in the Aachen area, thus leaving the area of the Militärbefehlshaber.

On 10 August 1940 the commander of the Generalkommando zbV III, General der Infanterie von Roques (headquartered at the Chaussée de la Hulpe 169 in Brussels) was charged with the supervision of all training courses. In addition, for the NCOs of the LS-Bataillonen training courses were to be started at Maria-ter-Heide under the command of Major Messerschmitt, the commander of the Wachbataillon 609.

On 11 August 1940 we find another overview of the personnel strength of the headquarters of the Militärbefehlshaber; the total of 485 men was shared between the Kommandostab (258) and the Verwaltung (227).

On 13 August 1940 Luxemburg officially left the area of command of the Militärbefehlshaber.

On 15 August 1940 the Militärbefehlshaber ordered the protection of some river streches in Belgium, notably the Bruges-Gent canal, the Gent-Terneuzen canal and the Gent-Dendermonde-Antwerpen stretch, with forces provided by elements of the Grenzwachregiment Clüver. This was in reaction to an order issued to the Abwehrstelle Belgien to secure the important canals against sabotage. As this command, however, did not have the forces to carry out this order the Militärbefehlshaber (and the AOK16 for the streches Bruges-Ostend and connecting canals) were involved. The securing of these canals was seen as such a priority that the securing of the Dutch-Belgian border (the prime dutiy of the GreWa Clüver) became less important.

On 20 August 1940 the Kommandostab and the Verwaltungsstab consisted of the following officers:

 

 

Also on 20 August 1940 the Abwehrstelle Belgien (with Nebenstelle Lille) was organized as follows:

 

 

Finally, on 20 August 1940 the Kommandanturen and Landesschützenverbände of the Militärbefehlshaber were deployed as follows:

 

 

 

On 21 August 1940 the Oberquartiermeisterstab of the Militärbefehlshaber was organized as follows:

 

 

On 22 August 1940 the Landesschützenbataillon 772 was transferred from Diekirch in Luxemburg to the coast. More specifically, the headquarters and 2 companies were to be stationed inland at St-Omer, with 2 companies in Dunkirk and 1 each in Calais and Boulogne.

On 24 August 1940 the Militärbefehlshaber issued a formal order for the protection of the Flemish canals against sabotage. For this purpose 2 Sicherungsgebiete were established:

  • Sicherungsgebiet A: Terneuzen-Gent/Gent-Brüssel/Gent-Dendermonde-Antwerpen. The troops were drawn from a batallion of the Grenzwachregiment Clüver under the command of regimental commander himself

  • Sicherungsgebiet B: Brügge-Zeebrügge/Brügge-Dünkirchen/Dünkirchen-Watten. The troops for this area were drawn from the Landesschützenbataillon 386 (Oostende) and the Radfahrwachbataillon 330  (Dunkirk) under the command of a regimental commander still to be appointed. (On 6 September 1940 Major Wollschläger of the Grewa Clüver was officially assigned this task.)

The above units were to closely cooperate with the Abwehrstelle Belgien, which had Dienstellen in Ostende (Oberleutnant Justus, for the area between the Dutch-Belgian border and Nieuwpoort, Polizeimeister Weins in Hotel du Bassin) and Dunkirk (Hauptmann Möhring, for the area between Nieuwpoort and the river Aa estuary in Gravelines, Oberleutnant Altmüller). Close cooperation was also to take place with the Wasserstrassenamt Brüssel (part of the Wehrmachtsverkehrdirektion Brüssel, close to the railway station Brussels-North) and the Wasserstrassenamt Gent (Nederkouter 22).

On 28 August 1940 the Landesschützenverbände of the Militärbefehlshaber were deployed as follows:

 

 

On 6 September 1940 Major Wollschläger of the Grenzwachregiment Clüver was given command of the Sicherungsabschnitt B in Veurne (presumably for river protection duties, see above). Subordinated to him were the Landesschützenbataillon 386 in Ostend (previously Angleur) and Radfahrwachbataillon 330 in Dunkirk.

On 8 September 1940 the Kommandanturen and Landesschützenverbände of the Militärbefehlshaber were deployed as follows:

 

 

On 11 September 1940 the Militärbefehlshaber received the new that the Reichsführer SS (Heinrich Himmler) had ordered the establisment of an SS-unit made up entirely of Flemish recruits. Responsible for the organisation of the Waffen-SS in the occupied countries was SS-Brigadeführer Gottlob Berger, then the Chef des SS-Hauptamtes.

On 13 September 1940 the head of the SIPO-SD in Belgium and northern France, Karl Hasselbacher, died in a car accident in Cambrai.

On 16 September 1940 the Militärbefehlshaber ordered security measures to be taken for the depots in the port of Antwerp, following the bombing of the port in recent times. What is interesting about this document is that it provides us with an overview of depot (units) in the port of Antwerp and elsewhere: Umschlagstäbe Klimann und Baniseth and ammunition deports in the Antwerp forts. Also the folloiwng depot units were ordered to check security in their respective areas: Versorgungsbezirke Gent, St-Omer und Avesnes, Kriegsmarinedienststellen Rotterdam und Antwerpen, Transportkommandanturen Utrecht und Brüssel, and the Verladestäbe Antwerpen und Rotterdam.

On 20 September 1940 the Kommandostab and the Verwaltungsstab consisted of the following officers (changes with 20 August are indicated in red):

 

 

Also on 20 September 1940 the Abwehrstelle Belgien (with Nebenstelle Lille) was organized as follows (changes with 20 August are indicated in red):

 

 

On 25 September 1940 it was reported that all the troops, Kommandanturen and organisations in the command area of the Militärbefehlshaber numbered 421,000 men and that soon another 70,000 Luftwaffe troops would be added soon, briging the total number to 491,000 men.

On 26 September 1940 the Militärbefehlshaber received a visit from SS-Brigadeführer Berger, who was responsible for organizing the Waffen-SS in the occupied territories. The latter informed von Falkenhausen that, thus far, some Flemish 30 volunteers had signed up (+/-80 in Antwerp and +/-50 in Gent).

 

On 1 October 1940 Generalfeldmarschall Gerd von Rundstedt was appointed Oberbefehlshaber West, thus becoming responsible for all German troops in the West.(except those still controlled by the Militärbefehlshaber). His chief of staff was General der Infanterie Georg von Sodenstern. Initially, this command was identical with that of Heeresgruppenkommando A, which command von Rundstedt also headed.

On 9 October 1940 the Oberbefehlshaber des Heeres, von Brauchitsch once again, in the face of doubt as to the delineation of powers between the Militärbefehlshaber and the troops, made clear where the line was to be drawn.

On 13 October 1940 the OKH informed the Militärbefehlshaber that German border guards were to take up positions along the Belgian-French border. There troops were to be subordinated not to von Falkenhausen but to the Beauftragten des Reichsminister des Finanzien für den Zollgrenzschutz Frankreich in Paris, Finanzpräsident Lottner. In the sector from to the coast to Baisieux (east of Lille) 715 German border guards were to replace the Belgia and French colleagues. Falkenhausen was made responsible for the wihdrawal of the latter and their families from the border areas as well as for their reuse elsewhere.. Only in the sector Armentières to Baisieux were Flemish border guards llowed to stay on. For the remain of the border the Belgian and French border guards were allowedto stay on under the supervision of 450 German guards (300 between Baisieux and Maubeuge and 150 between Maubeuge and the border with Luxemburg).

On 15 October 1940 the Militärbefehlshaber received a visit from the Oberarbeitsführer Müller-Brandenburg, who was the representative in Brussels of the RAD Reichsarbeitsführer Constantin Hierl.

On 20 October 1940 the Landesschützenverbände of the Militärbefehlshaber were deployed as follows:

 

 

On 25 October 1940 the Miliärbefehlshaber Frankreich, General der Infanterie Streccius, was succeeded by General der Infanterie von Stulpnägel.

On 26 October 1940 the command of Heeresgruppe D was established in France to take command of occupation forces in the West. Also, on this day, it was decided that the Oberquartiermeister with the headquarters of the Militärbefehlshaber Belgien-Nordfrankreich would become responsvile for the preparation of the logistical support of the attack armies for the Unternehmen Seelöwe.

On 30 October 1940 Generalfeldmarschall Erwin von Witzleben officially took command of Heeresgruppe D. On the same day, Generalfeldmarschall von Rundstedt was appointed as Oberbefehlshaber West. Subordinated to him were the Heeresgruppen A and D, as well as the Befehlshaber des Truppen des Heeres in den Niederlanden. The Heeresgruppe D, especially established for the defence of the occupied West was subordinated to the OBWest in all operational matters, while remaining suboedinated to the OKH in all other matters. Of some interest is a document stipulating the powers of the OBWest vis-à-vis those of the Militärbefehlshaber. Thus, the OBWest, being the local representative of the OKH was empowered to request information from the Militärbefehlshaber. He also possessed a Weisungsrecht when this was necessary in the intererests of the occupation (Besatzungsgewalt).Finally, he was empowered to take over the command of actions started by the Militärbefehlshaber at all times if such actions were of a decisive military or political nature.

Also on 30 October 1940 von Falkenhausen sent an extensive report to the OKH. In this document he reported on 11 issues, some of which are detailed below:

  • Landesschützenbataillone: von Falkenhausen essentially complained that these batallions had been active for months and were in need of being pulled out to rest. Many of these troops had also been engaged in securing canals annd railroads, in which operations they were being stretched to their limits. As this situation was quite untenable, only the important facilities could be secured in future. An additional problem was that the regular army was pulling out troops on guard duty for reasons of operational training, so that more LS-troops would be needed to take over these guard dities.

  • Betreuung der Truppe (care of the troops): thus far 4 Frontbuchhandlungen (front libraries) had been established: 2 static (Brussels and Antwerp) and 2 mobile. Further static libraries were planned in Lille, Bruges and Calais. In the 20 largest cities Soldatenkinos (cinemas) had been, established screening films daily, while in some 170 other cities cinemas had been established screening movies 2 to 3 times weekly. In addition, mobile cinema cars had also been established. Soldatenheime had been established or planned in the following areas: OFK Lille (2 active/6 planned), OFL Liège (1/2), OFK Gent (3/3), OFK Charleroi (2/4)

  • Cooperation with the Wehrmacht regular troops was judged to be smooth and unproblematic. However, von Falkenhausen point out that some were still not conscious of the fact that a pipulation that was expected to work to the benefit of Germany, could not be governed with harshness.

  • The overall situation in the occupied territories was assessed as 'quiet'. The few short and limited strikes which had occurred had not changed this. The food situation, however, was described as tense. Sabotage activity had so far been restricted to cutting through visible and thus vulnerable communication cables, for which the troops could partly be blamed.

On 31 October 1940 the Kommandanturen and Landesschützenverbände of the Militärbefehlshaber were deployed as follows:

 

 

At the end of October 1940 Standartenführer Constantin Canaris succeeded the deceased Hasselbacher as SIPO-SD chief in Brussels.In contrast to Hasselbacher, Canaris joined forces with von Falkenhausen in limiting the influence of the SS, notably the arbitrary arrests and detentions.

 

On 5 November 1940 a map shows the disposition of units of the Heer and Luftwaffe in the area of the Militärbefehlshaber Belgien-Nordfranklreich. This large map is interesting in that it does not only show the coastal defence division, but also all divisions and headquarters in the interior of Belgium and France (but also including The Netherlands). The processed version below opens in GE:. The map is marked September-October 1940 and presumbaly reflects the situation in these months.

 

 

On 6 November 1940 a document was released with respect to the winter season and the road system. On the order of the OKH the network of Durchgangsstrassen, determined by the Chef des Transportwesens was to be kept usable and safe during the winter months. The total network of Durchgangsstrassen was 4,770 km long. In addition, the AOK 16 had also proposed a network of roads qualifyring for this winter service. The maintenance work was to be carried out by the Belgian and French authorities, while military units were kept in reserve only. For the purpose of the winter service a total of 17 (numbered 1-17) Strassenkommandanturen were established by the Militärbefehlshaber.

On 7 November 1940 the security of waterways was addressed. A change in the canal security system was deemed necessary. Thus, 2 security sectors or Sicherungsabschnitte were established:

  • Sicherungsabschnitt A:  Landesschützenbataillon 378 (Nieuwpoort): von Brügge (Blockstelle 6) bis Block 10

  • Sicherungsabschnitt B: Landesschützenbataillon 860 (Watten): von Blockstelle 11 bis Watten (Blockstelle14, einschliesslich Block 14b)

  • The schwere Aufräumungs- und Störungstrupp in Gent was dissolved (and transferred to the technische Nothilfe).The Trupps in Nieuwpoort and Watten were subordinated to the Sicherungsabschnitt A and B, respectively.

  • The leichte Aufräumungs- und Störungstrupps in Sailly-sur-la-Lys, Harelbeke, Gent and Bourbourg were dissolved. Their personnel was partially to relieve the personnel of the Minenräumtrupps,, while the remainder of the personnel was to return to the Baubataillon 94. The Trupps in Brugge and Oudenburg were subordinated to the Sicherungsabschnitt A, while those in Dunkirk and Pont d'Ardres were to be subordinated to the Sicherungsabschnitt b.

  • The Minenräumtrupp Gent was to be dissolved. The personnel of the Trupps in Brugge and Dunkirk were to be relieved by the personnel from Gent and from the personnel of the dissolved Trupps.

  • It was further decided that the Feldgendarmerietrupp 616 was to be transferred from Veurne to Kortrijk and would organise patrols along a number of canals.

  • Finally, the locks in the whole area would remain being secured by the Baubataillon 105.

On 12 November 1940 measures were ordered for the security of the coastal area. This involved the expulsion of undesirable civilains on the one hand and the listiing of all foreign and stateless civilians.

On 17 November 1940 we learn the the Abteilung Quartiermeister of the Stadtkommandantur Brügge was located in the Steenstraat 25.

On 20 November 1940 an order was issued with respect to the new organization of the Militärbefehlshaber. The order is not detailed here as it results can be found in the next organizational overview below. The main change, though, was that the Oberfeldkommandanturen were to take over the duties and replace the Feldkommandanturen in the provinces where they were based.

On 25 November 1940 a map shows the disposition of units of the Heer and Luftwaffe in the area of the Militärbefehlshaber Belgien-Nordfranklreich. This large map is interesting in that it does not only show the coastal defence division, but also all divisions and headquarters in the interior of Belgium and France (but also including The Netherlands). The processed version below opens in GE:. The map is marked Anlage zu AOK 16 10 October 1940 and presumbaly reflects the situation in this month (as well as in November). The document below can be compared with the document of 5 November above:.

 

 

On 25 November 1940 there was also an overview of the organisation and deployment of all security batallions (Landesschützen). It can be found below.

 

 

On 28 November 1940 the Militärbefehlshaber issued his report to the OKH for the month of November. The following main items of interest were reported:

  • The change of the OFK  and FK in the new organisation (OFK no longer as superordinate adminsitrative entity) was in progress.

  • The question of the reorganization of the OK in static Kreiskommandanturen was being processed, as was the question to free up more Kommandanturen for deployment in other areas.

  • The security measures ordered for the coastal area (see above) were being implemented

  • Since the AOK16 was no longer willing to 'loan' forces for the security of the major cities in Belgium (Absperrung) the cities of Liège, Antwerpen and Lille could no longer be controlled in this way. Absperrung was only still possible for the city of Brussel where a LS-Bataillon assumed these responsibilities.

  • One of the Anlage to this report contain interesting further details on the organization of the Truppenübungsplatz Beverloo. The commander at this time was Generalleutnant Hansen, with Major Günther as Adjudant. The Stabsgeschäftszimmer Abt 1 was located on the road to Hechtel (house no.10. Oberstleutnant Struck of the Abt II was the officer in command of all shooring on the ranges. His Geschaftszaimmer was in the Rue de la France. The Heeresunterkunftsverwaltung was headed by Oberzahlmeister Brückner.

  • Finally, it was reported that the Feldgendarmerieabteilung 521, which had been deployed with three companies, had been reinforced during the month of September by one company of the Feldgendarmerieabteilung 561.

On 4 December 1940 the Militärbefehlshaber ordered the establishment of Landesschutzen companies equipped with bicycles. In all 19 batallions were ordered to establish one such company each.by 1 January.

On 8 December 1940 the Militärbefehlshaber issued another overview of all Kommandanturen and units in his area of command. The overview, reflecting the situation on 6 December, has been processed in the document below:

 

 

On 24 December 1940  the Militärbefehlshaber complained about the lack of sufficient military units at his disposal. Of the 32 batallions subordinated to him; only 27 could actually be used for security and guard duties. Relief and special duty forces were small in number. Also, as a result of the ever-changing duties the batallions were spread unevenly across the area, meaning that it was, for example, to have one platoon ready for an emergency in greater Brussels. The Absperrung of Liège, Antwerpen and Lille had already been given up (see above), but now, with the request for 3 more batallions to be shed, the Absperrung of Brussels would also have to be given up. Of a total of 9457 troops available, 4590 were currently deployed on guard duty, leaving only 4867 for relief and special duties. The extraction of 10-15 more batallions would mean that the current duties could no longer be fulfilled. Falkenhausen requested the Kriegsmatine being asked to give back units temporarily subordfinated to it. If no replacements were made available, the number of objects to be guarded would have to be reduced considerably and, in the opinion of Falkenhausen, unacceptably.

On 31 December 1940 the Militärbefehlshaber issued his report to the OKH for the month of November. The following main items of interest were reported:

  • The number of troops present in the area of the Militärbefehlshaber had been reduced considerably

  • Due to the limitation of the motor vehicle pool and petrol allocations, more use was ti be made of bicycles. Thus 19 LS batallions had been ordered to establish 1 bicycke company each.

  • During the first half of the month 5 Feldkommandanturen had left the area of command.

  • The following units were ready to be transported out of the area from 1/1/41: 12 OK and 3 LS-Batallions.

2. 1941

 

On 3 January 1941 a map shows the disposition of units of the Heer and Luftwaffe in the area of the Militärbefehlshaber Belgien-Nordfranklreich. This large map is interesting in that it does not only show the coastal defence division, but also all divisions and headquarters in the interior of Belgium and France (but also including The Netherlands). The processed version below opens in GE:. The map reflects the situation on 17 December 1940.. The document below can be compared with the document of 5 and 25 November above:.

 

 

On 6 January 1941 the Militärbefehlshaber published the list of the by now Strassenkommandanturen for the benefit of the Ortskommandanten. The Strassenkommandanturen, divided into Bezirke,  were responsible for keeping the roads open during the winter period. The actual list can be found here.

On 14 January 1941 the Militärbefehlshaber issued another overview of all Kommandanturen and units in his area of command. The overview, reflecting the situation on 12 January, has been processed in the document below:

 

 

On 18 January 1941 the Militärbefehlshaber wrote to the OKH to essentially complain about the large number of forces being taken away from him. The reason this time was the OKH order of 11 January, ordering the preparations of a further 7 security batallions to be transferred  In the document the Militärbefeglshaber explicitly stated that he would no longer able to upkeep security and order in his area of command if these were endangered. He then stated that the AOK16 had already placed forces near the big cities and industrial areas (more specifically a regiment near Halle for Brussels, a bicycle squadron for Antwerp, as well as 2 artillery batallions west of Antwerp.The Militärbefehlshaber pointed out that this arrangement would suffice on the condition that he had enough security forces at his disposal. The latter, however, would no longer be the case when his force was reduced with 7 batallions, as planned. As a solution to this problem the Militärbefehlshaber then proposed the subordination of 3 divisions from the AOK 16 to this commaand.

On 21 January 1941 the Militärbefehlshaber, on orders of the OKH, ordered the transfer of the 7 Landesschutzenbataillonen mentioned above to the OKH.

On 28 January 1941 the Militärbefehlshaber received an answer from the OKH to his request of 18 January above. The OKH replied that a subordination of 3divisions was neither possible nor planned. Hwiever, in the event of internal unrest, the field army would be requested to make forces available.

On 31 January 1941 the Militärbefehlshaber dubmitted his report for the month of January. On the same day, he issued an order for the use of troops in case of internal unrest. In this order it was first made clear that the upkeeping of order and security in other than the coastal areas was the responsibility of the Miltärbefehlshaber. However, in case of imminent danger only the commander of an army (and no other Wehrmacht commander) could give provisional orders to elements of the military administration. In case of unrest between Belgian or French civilians their civil administration wouil have to intervene. Wether or not German Feldgendarmerie or troops would have to be used, was to be decided by the local Kommandanturen. In case of an uprising against the Wehrmacht the Militärbefehlshaber was to secure his own military installations, as well as the facilities important to the Wehrmacht. The armies and the other Wehrmacht services would be expect to secure and/or defend their own facilities. The Anlage to this document contains a list of such important facilities. This list has been processed in the document below:

 

 

The winter and spring months of 1941 saw a number of minor as well as major strikes by coal workers in Belgium. On 30 January 1941 a strike erupted in the Liège area. A few days after this strike had finished, another one broke out on 6 February 1941, this time in the Mons area. The reason for these (and later) strikes was the lack of food experienced by the miners. Though not openly worried by these so far minor strikes, the Militärbefehlshaber's actions suggest the opposite. Thus on 7 February 1941 he released an order for the use of troops in case of internal unrest. Other minor and brief strike in the same areas occurred between 14 and 17 February and 2 and 7 April.

 

On 7 February 1941 the Militärbefehlshaber issued a report on the occurrence of acts of sabotage in his area of command. In the period July 1940 - January 1941 a total of 388 acts of sabotage had been investigated, 340 of which had been cable sabotages (most of which involuntary).

On 10 February 1941 there was an overview of the organisation and deployment of all security batallions (Landesschützen). It can be found below.

 

 

 

On 12 February 1941 the Militärbefehlshaber issued a document on the loss and transfer of further security batallions and Kommandanturen. Indeed, the Militärbefehlshaber had been informed that the pulling out of 8 further security batallions was to be prepared by 1/3, in addition to 6 Ortskommandanturen. As a result the deployment of the security batallions also had to be reorganized (see changes in the overviews).

On 14 February 1941 the Militärbefehlsyhaber (on the orders of the OKH) ordered the setting-up of further Einsatzkompanien equipped with bicycles for 9 security battalions. Since one battalion was to set up 2 companies, a total of 10 extra companies was to be set up.

A document of 15 February 1941, appointing some officers as Standortälteste, gives us a valuable insight in some of the names of high-ranking officers at this point in time. Named thus are

  • Feldkommandant FK 520, Oberst Kaldrack

  • Kreiskommandant KK 913, Major Bresges

  • Kommandeur Landesschützenregimentsstab 75, Major Semmelmann

  • Oberfeldkommandant OFK 520 Generalmajor Gullmann

  • Feldkommandant FK 598 Oberst von Pochmann

  • Feldkommandant FK 681, Oberstleutnant von Kröcher

On 24 February 1941 the Militärbefehlshaber ordered changes in the deployment of the rail security batallions (Bahnschutzbattailone). The details will not be provided here (see the overviews for general locations). Also on the same day a change in the deployment of the Kreiskommandanturen was ordered (see the overviews).

On 25 February 1941 the Militärbefehlshaber reported that the loss of 2 Landesschützenregimentsstäben necessitated a new allocation of batallions over the remaining regimental headquarters.(see the overviews).

On 27 February 1941 the Militärbefehlshaber determined the Polizei- and Sperrstude for the population, as well as the Zapfenstreich for the troops.

 

On 1 March 1941 the Militärbefehlshaber issued another overview of all Kommandanturen and security units in his area of command. The overview, reflecting the situation on 1 March, has been processed in the document below:

 

 

On the same day we also find an overview of all the units of the Oberquartiermeister Belgien, however reflecting the situation on 15 January 1941:

 

 

On 3 March 1941 the Militärbefehlshaber released an order for the further extraction of units. Thus, the following units were made available and put at the disposal of the OKH by 15/3: 3 Feldkommandanturen, 9 Ortskommandanturen, 2 Landesschützenregimentsstäbe and 8 security batallions.

On 4 March 1941 the Militärbefehlshaber issued his monthly report on activities during the month of February. The most important topic of this report were the major changes in the deployment of units: 5 Ortskomandanturen and 3 LS-batallions had been transported out of the area, while 8 Feldkommandanturen, 9 Ortskommandanturen, 2 LS regimental headquarters and 8 security batallions were ready for transportation from 1/3 onwards. It was further noted that due to the new arrangelent that every Wehrmacht service was now guarding its own objects, the tasks assigned could be carried out as long as the overall situation remained peaceful.

On 7 March 1941 an overview is available of the deployment of the Landesschüzenverbände, reflecting the situation on 5 March:

 

 

On 16 March 1941 Generalleutnant von Hammerstein-Equord replaced Generalmajor Müller as Oberfeldkommandant Brüssel.

On 18 March 1941 important changes were reported in the command structure of the security batallions. The major change was the extraction of the General zbV III on 20 March. Until that time this had been the superordinate command for all the security batallions in the area of command of the Militärbefehlshaber. In the new situation the Oberfeldkommandanten were to be responsible for the deployment of the security batallions (Dienstbetrieb) deployed in their area, while the remaining LS- regimental headquarters would monitor the execution of these security tasks. Also, the individual security batallions would remain subordinated to the regimental commanders. Finally, the rail security batallions would receive their instruction directly from the Militärbefehlshaber.

On 31 March 1941 a German document reported that in Charleroi the Kommandant des rückwärtigen Armeegebietes 556, Generalmajor Krausehold was to assume the duties of  Standortelteste, thus relieving Major Semmelmann, who was pulled out with his Landesschützenregimentsstab 75 on 29 March.

 

On 7 April 1941 the Militärbefehlshaber was visited by some of the top brass in the area, notably Generaloberst Busch (AOK16), General der Flieger Loerzer (II Fliegerkorps), Generalleutnant von Chappuis (XXXVIII Armeekorps) and Generallautnant von Hammerstein (Oberfeldkommandant Brüssel).

On 10 April 1941 the Militärbefehlshaber ordered the protection of important factories against paratroopers.

On 12 April 1941 the Militärbefehlshaber issued an order, yet again, for the pulling out and transfer of some of his units. This time 3 security batallions were to be prepared for transfer by 1/5. This was followed by another order on 17 April 1941, which identified 6 Kommandanturen to be ready for transfer also by 1/5. This again led to a reorganisation of the remaining forces (see regular overviews).

On 15 April 1941 the command of Oberbefehlshaber West became identical with that of Heeresgruppenkommando D  and on 1 May 1941 Generalfeldmarschal Erwin von Witzleben officially became Oberbefehlshaber West.

On 22 April 1941 the Militärbefehlshaber in a document again repeated the order of the OBWest to limit forces allocated to guard duties to an absolute minimum and added further measures to achieve this.

On 25 April 1941 the Militärbefehlshaber issued another overview of all Kommandanturen and security units in his area of command. The overview, reflecting the situation on 1 May, has been processed in the document below:

 

 

 

On 3 May 1941 the Militärbefehlshaber issued his report to the OKH for the month of April. After detailing units having been lost and units standing by for transfer, he points out that the severe weakening of available security forces caused him to take special measures. Thus a security batallion (Bewachungsabteilung) had been established consisting entirely of Flemish peopleand numbering some 600. These troops would be used for guard duties in the Flemish provinces of the country. Having complted their training, this force was planned to achieve operational readiness by 1 June. As a result, more Belgian police would be freed up. These were deemed urgently necessary, now that especially the east of the country was now occupied by german forces to a much lesser degree. In case of the initiative being a success, more Flemish would be drafted in. A similar initiative was planned for the Walloon part of Belgium. Also, the Militärbefehlshaber pointed out that the security duties in the provinces Limburg, Liège, Namur and Luxembourg  demanded special attention since the AOK16 no longer had troops stationed in these. Thus dedicated bicycle units (Fahrradbereitschaften) were to be increased in number, while the setting-up of a readiness truck unit (bereitschaftskrafewagenkolonne) was planned.

On 10 May 1941 the major strike among the coal miners erupted in the Liège area and later expanded to the province of Limburg. Again the main reason for the strikes was the bad food situation. At its height, on 18 May, more than 80,000 miners were estimated to be on strike. The sheer scale of the strikes prompted the Militärbefehlshaber to impose punitive measures upon the coal mines management, in case work was not resumed. These theats apparently worked as the strike was all but finished on 23 May.

However, no sooner had this strike ended then on 28 May 1941 a stike of coal miners erupted in the Lille area and beyond. On 4 June the Germans estimated some 83,000 miners were on strike. This time punitive measures were actually taken and some people were convicted. Probably as a result, the strike died on 4 June.

 

On 14 May 1941 an order was released for dealing with attacks by paratroops in areas not occupied by the army. A further order in this respect was released on 4 July. The document of 14 May started out by saying that an area of Belgium east of the line Kapellen-Diest-Namur-Givet would not be occupied by units of the field army. Thus, combatting parachtitsts in this area was the responsibility of the Oberfeldkommandanturen and the Truppenübungsplatzkommandanturen. However, since these only had weak forces, often otherwise engaged, at their disposal, their deployment was to be planned very carefully.  Planned counterattacks were to be executed by so-called Jagdkommandos. Such units were to be established in every Standort. An overview of the deployment of these units was to be submitted on 1 June. Interestingly, 2 Anlagen to this document mention both important companies to be protected against parachutists and railway bridges for which protection was deemed necessary.

  • Companies to be protected:

    • Erla-Werke VII (Motrsel, Antwerpen): 11 men German guard

    • Daimler-Benz (Mortsel, Antwerpen): 11 men German guard

    • Fabrique National (Herstal, Liège): 23 men German guard

    • Pieper SA (Herstal, Liège): German guard requested

  • Railway bridges for which protection was deemed necessary:

    • Canal bridge (Hasselt-Hamont line)(774(B))

    • Meuse and Albert canal bridges at Visé (line Tongeren-Remersdaal)(774(B))

    • Bridge at Dolhain (line Dolhein-Angleur)(771(B))

    • Meuse bridges at Flemalle-Haute and Namur (line Liège-Namur)(771(B))

A possible result of the strikes mentioned above became clear on 15 May 1941. On this day the Oberkommando des Heeres ordered that some of the units of the reserve army, normally based in Germany itself, were to be based between Liège and Bastogne n occupied Belgium .Howevr, it was made clear at the same time that in normal circumstances these troops would only be subordinated to the Militärbefehlshaber territorially.On 19 May 1941 it was also decided that the Landesschutzenbataillon 651 was to be transferred from the Channel coast no Nivelles and subordinated directly to the Militärbefehlshaber for "special duties". No doubt, these measures were one of the topics when the Oberbefehlshaber des Heeres Generalfeldmarschall von Brauchitsch visited von Falkenhausen on 22 May.

 

On 6 June 1941 the Militärbefehlshaber reported that the Chef des Transportwesens beim OKH had changed the main transport railways and so-called Notfahrplonstrecken and Notfahrplanumleitungsstrecken which were to be guarded. Three main Transportstrassen were designated:

  • Achiet-Douai-Lille-Kortrijk-Gent-Mechelen-Antwerpen-Essen

  • Busigny-Maubeuge-Ottignies-Leuven-Aarschot-Hasselt-Visé-Reichsgrenze (mit Ableitung Hasselt-Neerpelt-Hamont)

  • Anor-Mariembourg-Charleroi-Namur-Liège-Reichsgrenze (mit Ableitung Tamines-Yvoir-Givet und Ableitung Liège-Visé

From 14 June onwards the following security plan was to take effect for the Transportstrassen (the Notfahrplanstrecken are not detailed)::

  • LS Btl 773(B)

    • Essen-Antwerpen-Mechelen

    • Ottignies-Aarschot-Hasselt

    • Hasselt Neerpelt-Hamont

  • LS Btl 770(B): Lille-Kortrijk-Deinze-Gent-Dendermonde-Mechelen

  • LS Btl 774(B): Hasselt-Tongeren-Visé-Reichsgrenze and Visé-Liège

  • LS Btl 771(B): Namur-Liège-Verviers-Reichsgrenze

  • LS Btl 485(B): Anor-Mariembourg-Charleroi-Namur mit Ableitung Tamines-Yvoir-Givet

  • LS Btl 484(B): Achiet-Arras-Douai-Lille

On the above stretches designated tunnels and bridges were to be guarded, but also railway stations themselves. Guard parties typically consisted of between 6 and 14 soldiers.

On 13 June 1941 the Standortkommandant Boulogne was Hauptmann Pabst. Also on this day we find an overview of the deployment of the Landesschützenbataillone. In the document below units having left are shown with shading, while the arrows show moves with the area of the Befehlshaber. The document clearly shows that yet another 2 batallions were lost.

 

 

On 17 June 1941 the Militärbefehlshaber announced that Ersatztruppen (reserve troops) were to be brought in from Germany and station in the area. Involved were the Infanterieersatzregiment 227 (HQ and 1 batallion in Liège and 1 batallion in Verviers) and the Infanterieersatzregiment 254 (HQ and 1 batallion in Namur, with a further batallion each in Vielsalm and Bastogne). Advance parties would arrive on 20 June. The units were only territorially subordinated to the Militärbefehlshaber. They could not be used for general security duties, but could be deployed to hunt for paratroopers and downed aircrew.

On 19 June 1941  further details on the above-mentioned troops were released, including their composition and transfers:

  • Infanterieersatzregiment 227

    • Liège: Stab, IG-Ersatzkompanie, Infanterienachrichtenersatzkompanie, Infanteriepanzerjägerersatzkompanie, Infanterieersatzbataillon 412

    • Verviers: Infanterieersatzbataillon 366

  • Infanterieersatzregiment 254

    • Namur:  Stab, IG-Ersatzkompanie, Infanterienachrichtenersatzkompanie, Infanteriepanzerjägerersatzkompanie, Infanterieersatzbataillon 484

    • Bastogne: Infanterieersatzbataillon 454

    • Vielsalm: Infanterieersatzbataillon 474

The document below provides a detailed overview of the organisation of the command on 21 June 1941 based on a German document of 1 May 1941. Since the document mentions some units were still to form on 21 June 1941, these are also included, hence the different dates:

 

 

 

On 23 June 1941 the first of the reserve units from Germany (see above) arrived. Thus, the headquarters and regimental units of the Inafnterie-Ersatzregiment 227 and the headquarters and four companies of the Infanterie-Ersatzbataillon 412 were given quarters in Liège.Three days later, Infanterie-Ersatzbataillon 366 arrived in Verviers.In order to make these and other security units more mobile, the OKH ordered the surplus trucks of the Grenzwachregiment Clüver to be distributed among the Oberfeldkommandanturen.

Also on 23 June the Militärbefehlshaber received orders from the OKH to start preparing measures in coastal areas where preparations for the attack against England were (pretended to be) taken, with the explicit aim of fooling the enemy into believing that action against England was being prepared. These measures included limiting the movement of freedom of civilians as well as prohibitions to leave one's home between 9pm and 5am and to enter or leave the coastal areas. Most far-reaching was the measure to evacuate all civilians from coastal areas where secret preparations were being made or where secret infrastructures were located. It was stressed that these measures were to be prepared only. However, the occupation armies, inclusing AOK 15, were ordered to provide the Militärbefehlshaber with a maps in which the areas were outlined in which the above measures were to be taken for real in the event of an emergency.

On 26 June 1941 the Militärbefhelshaber reported that 28 redundant trucks (coming from the Grewa Cûver) were to be used to equip the Oberfeldkommandanturen. Each OFK would receive 5 or 6 trucks.

On 27 June 1941 a document lists the duties of the Landesschützenbataillonen (B) and gives new new duties. These are detailed below:

  • securing the Transportstrassen by means of patrols and sentry duty

  • constant readiness for quick deployment to the Notfahrplanstrecken and Notfahrplanumleitungsstrecken

  • securing the Sonderzüge (special trains) ordered by the OKH

  • (new) combatting paratroops

  • (new) clearing up of air-raid damage

Between 1 July 1940 and 1 July 1941 many of the Kommandanturen and Landesschutzen units were either transferred or, more often, withdrawn from the area of command of the Militärbefehlshaber. The following table provides a comprehensive overview of the dates on which these units were moved.

 

 

 

 

On 1 July 1941 security measures were ordered to protect the special trains carrying high-ranked Reich officials and military personnel. Security was to be provided by the Landesschützenbataillonen (B). Further on this day and order was issued for the combatting pf parachutists. The responsibility for this was hared between the coastal sector commanders (for the Gefechtsgebiet), the commander of billeted troops (in billeting areas outside of the Gefechtsgebiet) and the OFKs (in areas not occupied by units of the field army).Additionally, the setting-up of a reporting network was to be undertaken, also involving the Flugwachen of the Flugmeldedienst.and railway security units.

On 2 July 1941 a brief report was issued on the flämische Wachabteilung. The establishing of such a unit had been decided upon on 6 May. At the start of June, the recruiting of 80 NCOs and 697 other ranks had started in Maria-ter-Heide. Also, 8 Flemish officers had been released from captivity for the batallion. This was also the start of a 6-week training.. After completion of this training (in mid-July) the unit was to be deployed in Flanders with individual companies subordinated to the LS-Btl of the OFK 570 (Gent) and 672 (Brussels). A further release from prison of 6 additional officers had also been requested.

On 3 July 1941 and order was released for the training of the Bahnschutzbataillonen.The training was to address the following: discipline, handling of weapons, special duties in railway defence and combatting of enemy parachutists.

On 4 July 1941 the Militärbefehlshaber issued an order on the combatting of parachutists. More specifically, the document contains a detailed list of railways installatioons (such as engine deports, pumping and water stations) which were to be particularly secured against parachute attacks. Also on this day, the transfer of reserve trrops into the area of the Militärbefehlshaber was again addressed. More specifically, the Artillerieersatzabteilung 26 was to be transferred from Osnabrück to Spa with its headquarters and 2 batteries. The unit was to be billeted in the Spa military barracks. Like the other units, this unit was ubordinated only territorially, but could be called upon to fight parachute landings.

On 7 July 1941 the Militärbefehlshaber was informed that a number of Luftwaffe training units had been based in his area of command: the Fliegerausbildungsbataillonen 10 (Maubeuge), 12 (Douai), 22 (Gent) and 51 (Antwerpen/Deurne).

ON 11 July 1941  the Militärbefehlshaber ordered the defence of offices and quarters by their own personnel in case of internal unrest and until reserves would arrive. The document is interesting in that it offers us a list of such places in Brussels: Place Royale Nr 7 anf Nr 3 for the Kommandostab, the hotels Plaza and Cosmopolite, the Florida garage, the Ausweichquartier and the hotels Cecil, Touring., Savoy and Anspach.

On 12 July 1941 an additional order was issued with respect to the colonial ministry, which would also be defended by members of the Kommandostab until the arrival of reserves. A further order of the same day ordered the transfer of a part of the Kommandostab to a ready reserve headquarters (Ausweichquartier) in case of the highest alert phase (Stufe C) being declared. Unfortunately, the location of this reserve headquarters is not mentioned. Further on this day, a order was released with respect to the possibility of a parachute attack (possibly combined with internal unrest) on 14 July, especially following an intercepted appeal by De Gaulle. The document is interesting in that it shows which forces were available at the time. Thus, the reserves of the OFKs not on guard duty, especially the units designated for combating parachutists, could be called upon. However, use could also be made of the batallions of the Fliegerausbildungsregimenter in the area, in so far as they we not need for the defence of Luftwaffe facilities and they were deployed where they we located. In case deployment in other locations was envisaged, the Luftgaukommando first had to be asked for permission. The document also made very clear that troops of the field army could not be called upon. Fortunately, some other units were still available, notably 2 companies of the Grenzwachregiment Clüver in Brussels and 1 company (motorized) in Maria-tar-Heide, as well as the 1. and 2. Feldgendarmerie-Ersatzkompanien in Brussels. Finally, the recently-arrived reserve troops were also available: in Liège the Stab Infanterieersatzregiment 227 and the Infanterieersatzbataillon 412; in Verviers the Infanterieersatzbataillon 366; and in Arlon the HQ and 3 companies of the Infanterieersatzbataillon 313.

On 14 July 1941 further reserve units arrived: the headquarters and regimental units of the Infanterie-Ersatzregiment 254 (Namur) and the Infanterie- Ersatzbataillonen 484 (Namur), 474 (Vielsalm) and 454 (Bastogne).On the same day detailed orders were given in case of internal unrest.

 On 17 July an order was issued for the use of troops in the event of new strikes.Thus 6 lessons were drawn from the previous strikes. Firstly, the mobility of the troops deployed was considered to be of primordial importance. In addition to the 6 trucksz allocated to each OFK, further trucks could be requested from the Armeenachschubführer 578. The possibility existed for OFKs to buy motorcycles, but such a purchase had to be requested with the Generalbevollmächtigten für das Kraftfahrwesen, Major Becker, Brussels, Cinquentenaire, Hall 2. In case motorization was not possible, units had to be quipped with bicycles. An earlier order had already ordered that each LS-Bataillon was to have 1 company equipped with bicycles. Secondly, had grenades were to be at the disposal of the troops. Thirdly, each company deployed into a strike area was to have certain additional personnel (see document). Fourthly, communication lines leading into the strike area were to be laid. Fifthly, there were to be (a sufficient number of) interpreters with the troops. Finally,

there were to be (a sufficient number of) maps with the troops. Finally on this day, an order was issued on how to deal with crashlanded airplanes or downed airmen.

On 18 July 1941 the on 6 May established Flemish Wachbataillon I was activated after six weeks of training. Its companies were allocated as follows: 2 companies for the OFK Brüssel and 4 companies for the OFK Gent. Soon after, the establishment of further Flemish and Walloon Wachabteilungen was ordered.

On 22 July 1941 and following the demonstrations in Belgium on 21 July, the Wehrmachtangehörigen were told off for intervening in demonstrations and assuming police duties in the process, as these police duties were not a part of their duties.

In an order of 24 July 1941  the increasing problem of cable sabotage was addressed (mainly in Northern France). It was felt to be important to act and punish cable sabotage more severely and faster. In case of sabotage each local authority would have to organize the security of the line. In case a of a repeat sabotage, the leader of the security team was to be arrested and deported to a concentration camp and excuses were not to be taken into account. Further on this day, the status of the Flemish Wachbataillon I was reported on. The batallion had been in training from the start of June to mid-July. From 17 July onwards the unit had been divided in companies over the LS-Bataillonen stationed in Flanders. The unit consisted of some 800 troops. It was planned to establish further batallions, both of Flemish and Walloon origin. The soldiers essentially wore adapted Belgian uniforms. The soldiers were considered Wehrmachtsgefolge.

On 25 July 1941 an order addressed the keeping of peace and order. In the past the cooperation between the military and the administrative sections of the OFKs had not always worked effiiciently. Thus, the setting-up of a joint Arbeitsstab was ordered. Also on this day, the Militärbefehlshaber issued an order concerning the removal of all non-essential military personnel at the coast. This had, in fact been ordered earlier by the AOK15 and particularly affected the OFKs 570 and 670.

On 28 July 1941 the headquarters of Division Nr 165, a reserve unit, set up quarters in Spa to coordinate the two reserve regiments already present on Belgian territory.

On 29 July 1941 the Militärbefehlshaber isssued new orders for dealing with internal unrest in Belgium and northern France, following new orders from the OKH. In essence, only troops of the Militärbefehlshaber would initially be used to break up internal unrest. However, if the situation threatened to get out of control, troops allocated by the OBWest could also be used. In extreme cases, the latter would also assume overall control of the forces used. Importantly, regular reports were also to contain detailed reports on the attitude of the civilian population.

On 31 July 1941 the Kommandostab issued its monthly status reports for the months of June and July 1941. The first item discussed involved the transfer of units. In the period under consideration the following units were lost:: Nachrichtenzug LS-Regimentsstab 22 in Namur. The following units were ready for moving out of the area: OK I 699, OK I 707 and the Landesschützenbataillon 657. However, in the same period, the following units had also newly arrived in the area of command:

  • Stab 156 Division in Spa

  • Infanterie-Ersatzregiment 227 with regimental units and 2 batallions (Liège and Verviers)

  • Infanterie-Ersatzregiment 254 with regimental units and  batallions (Namur, Bastogne, Vielsalm)

  • Artillerie-Ersatzabteilung with headquarters and 2 batteries (Spa)

  • Infanterieersatzbataillon 313 (Arlon)

  • Fliegerausbildungsregiment 10 (Maubeuge)

  • Fliegerausbildungsregiment 12 (Douai)

  • Fliegerausbildungsregiment 51 (Antwerpen)

  • Fliegerausbildungsregiment 53 (Sint-Truiden and Tongeren)

  • Fliegerausbildungsregiment 22 (Gent)

The second point discussed was the situation within the area of command. Following the situation in the East and the increased activity of the RAF the general situation was assessed as having become more tense. Measures had been taken/prepared against parachutists and internal unrest. In the period air raids had intensified, especially along the coast and on industrial facilities in Northern France, resulting in considerable economic damage. In carrying out duties in the midst of this changed situation the weakness of the available military forces had become starkly clear, with only minimal reserves available. However, meanwhile, the Flämische Wachabteilung consisting of 14 officers, 80NCOs and 697 other ranks had been deployed. or organized into 6 companies.A second Flemish unit was expected to be established in mid-August; However, the similar setting-up of a Walloon unit had to be delayed, due to lack of available personnel. The current volunteers were drafted into the NSKK  and the Walloon Freiwilligenlegion.Control of the civilian coastal population had been stepped up and a partial evacuation of the latter prepared. Furthern railway security had been reorganized (see above). Next, the attitude of the population was affected by the bad food supply situation. Between 27/5 and 10/6 83000 works had been on strike in Northern France. More than 200 communists were arested, interned in Huy and then deported to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp.

In the period there was increasing sabotage to telephone cables and railway lines, mainly in Northern France. The number of interruptions of the coastal communicaties network had extremy intensified as a result of enemy air attacks. Störungstrupps had worked relentlessly to repair the problems.The relocation of the coastal cable (Brugge-Oostende-de Panne-Duinkerke-Calais-Boulogne-le Touquet), carried out by the OKW was expected to be completed and operational in mid-August. On 6 July 1941 direct bomb hits had damaged the Verstärkeramt, the Durchgangsvermittlung, the WT-Amt and the civilian telephone exchange in Lille.In addition, the telephone line Lille-Brussel and the regional lines Lille-Tourcoing and Lille-Roubaix had been damaged. (but repaired within 24-48 hours). The work of the Sonderstab Seekabel in the area of the Höheren Nachrichtenführer had been completed. The Landepunkte of the sea cable planned for special purposes had been connected to the next Verstärkeramt and were constantly being monitored by the Feldschaltabteilung 1.All Landepünkte had been checked and mapped.

Since 10 June 1941 Brtish radio broadcasts in German, French, Dutch and Flemish were being jammed, with the aid of 9 Störsender, centrally controlled by a Störbefehlsstelle in Brussels. The 9 jamming transmitters were located in Brussegem, Edegem, Wondelgem, Vichte, Seclin, Lille (2), Binche and Plainevaux.

On 10 July 1941 the Brieftaubenzug Belgien (carrier pigeon platoon) had been established. At the time it consisted of 1634 pigeons.

In the period May 1940 to 30 June 1941 court marshalls had been instigated against 106 officers, 295 NCOs and 1963 other ranks. Of this total of 2364 only 808 were actually convicted. In the same period litigation had been started against 12893 civilians. Of these 7166 had effectively been convicted, including 9 death sentences.

In terms of logistics the Intendant beim Militärbegfehlshaber had established 8 bodenständige Verpflegungsdienststellen (Antwerpen, Brüssel, Lille, Gent, Lüttich (with attazched offices in Hasselt, Beverloo and Libramont), Mons, Namur), 24 Heeresunterkunftsverwaltungen, 2 Bekleidungslager, 4 Heeresbaudienststellen, 1 Heeresüberweisungskasse (Brüssel), 1 Wirtschaftskompanie with attached Transportstab for the required large transport capacity (600 tonnes). The following bakery and butchery units had been deployed:  Schlächtereiabteilung 202, Schlächtereikompanie 341, Schlächtereizug 504, Bäckereikompanie 310 and the Bäckereikompanie 687. For food supplies a Grossmarkentenderei Brüssel had been established.

For billeting the troops 88 Belgian army barracks had been re-used..

Finally, an overview of bombing attacks ordered by city/town was also included in the report, as well as an overview of sabotage cases. Of the latter, a total of 41 acts was noted in June and 51 in July. Of these the large majority were cable sabotage acts (35 and 33 respectively).

 

On 4 August 1941 the Militärbefehlshaber issued guidelines for the keeping of the order.

On 12 August 1941 the Militärbefehlshaber issued further guidelines for action in the event of internal unrest and ordered the establishment of a second Flemish Wachabteilung.This new unit was to be trained in the period 19/8-30/9 at Maria-ter-Heide.

On 22 August 1941 a meeting took place at the Ia's offices led by Major Koethe to discuss the interior situation and measures to be taken. The document is interesting in that it mentions the officers present, thus presenting us with an overview of important I a and Ic officers with the area of the Militärbefehlshaber.Thus, present were Major Koethe, Hauptmann Schneider, Hauptmann Neuber and Oberleutnant Martin of the Ia, Major von Humann-Hainhoven (Ic), Major iG Gäthgens (Oberquartiermeister), Oberkriegsverwaltungsrat Dr Leiber (Militärverwaltung), Oberstleutnant von Engelmann and Feldpolizeisekretär Altmann (Abwehrstelle), Direktor  Dr Draeger and Feldpolizeikommissar Deinass (geheime Feldpolizei), Oberstleutnant Dr Trull and Leutnant Stöversand (Ordnungsdienst), Kriminalkommissar Dr Harnischfeger and Kriminalkommissar Dr Pütz. Major Scheibler and Ritmmeister Zapp (Ic) of the OFK 672, Major Corte, Hauptmann Rippel and Leutnant Dr Barrabas (Ia) of the OFK 670, Major Hierl and Hauptmann Dr Bachseitz of the OFK 570, Major Bruch and Hauptmann Trabert of the OFK 589 and Hauptmann Ofenschüssel and Hauptmann Jaeggle of the OFK 520. Also interesting is the mention of a planned allocation of armoured cars (Panzerkraftwagen)(2 each for Brussels and Lille and 1 each for Liège, Antwerp and Gent, with a a further four at the disposal of the Militärbefehlshaber. Further reserves were the reservetroops (see above), with specifically the two AT-companies.

In an attempt to counter the increasing animosity of the population against the German authorities the Militärbefehlshaber on 26 August 1941 announced that hostages would be shot if members of the Wehrmacht were attacked by the resistance and the perpetrators were not immediately apprehended. In case of injuries, a number of hostages in relation to the seveity of the attack would be shot. In case the victim was killed, a minimuml of 5 hostages would be shot. Further, all political detainees were considered as hostages.

 

On 2 September 1941 the Militärbefehlshaber was promised 12 armoured cars, of which 6 captured Renault cars had already been delivered. (2 each for Lille and Brussels and 2 of the Grenzwachregiment Clüver at the disposal of the Militärbefehlshaber). The remaining cars were for Antwerp, Liège and Gent (1 each) and 2 moire of the Grewa Clüver at the disposal of the Militärbefehlshaber). With this car/these cars and further trucks equipped with sandbags abd MGs a motorized armoured unit was to be built in each city mentioned above. Also the Grenzwachregiment Clüver was tasked with establishing such a unit for Brussels.

The end of August-beginning of September saw a substantial increase in the number of people being convicted and imprisoned or shot..

On 3 September 1941 a document discusses the treating of sabotage cases.. What is interesting is a map detailing the presence of the geheime Feldpolizei. Thus the Gruppen were located in Antwerpen (Gruppe 712); Brussels (Gruppe (Luft) 530), Gent (Gruppa 8), Lille (Gruppe (Luft/Armee/MilBH) 3), Namur (Gruppe 739), Liège (Gruppe 648). Arras (Gruppe 737). In addition, smaller units wee located in Le Touquet, Cassel, Bruges, Valenciennes, Loverval, Finally, a unit was also located in Tourcoing with the AOK15. Also mentioned on the map were the Hafenüberwachungsstellen Ostende, Dünkirchen, Calais and Boulogne (all part of the navy).

On 6 September 1941 the Kommandostab issued its monthly status reports for the month of August 1941. The document consists of 10 points:

  1. There were no changes in the organization of the troops. However, the Militärbefehlshaber had requested a simplication of the organisation of the OFKs  and the FKs. More specifically, the enlarged FK 682 would become directly subordinated and the FKs 578 and 598 would be given up.

  2. Enemy air attacks had become more common, especially in the coastal area and the Liège area, albeit only with small military and economic damage.Enemy aircraft losses in the area had been considerable. Still, it had not always been possible to capture downed aircrew.

  3. The prepartions for combatting internal unrest and an attack by paratroops had been concluded.

  4. The number of reserve troops in the area of the Militärbefehlshaber was ca 24000 (8100 army, 8800 air force and 7100 navy).

  5. Sabotage activity has increased conssiderably in Northern France and the Liège area.

  6. There had been some attacks on soldiers duirng this month. in case of further attacks hostages were to be shot. Also, the communist party in Belgium was prohibited (this had already been the case in France).

  7. The general attitude of the troops continued being good. The companies of the flämische Wachabteiling I had performed well.Since 19 August, the Abteiling II, consisting of 14 officers, 49 NCOs and 509 other ranks, had been in training.

  8. For participation in the war against Russia 1 Flemish and 1 Walloon region had been established. The had departed for the Russian front at the end of August.Numbers having left were 450 Flemish and 820 Walloons. The Walloons were to be integrated into the arrmy, rather than the SS. The Flemish volunteers were trained in the Lager DEBIZA in the Generalgouvernement Polen.as the SS-unit Legion Vlaandern. Their total strength was 1250, divided over 2 batallions. Some 500 more Flemish served in other SS units. The Wallon soldiers had established the wallonischen Infanteriebataillon 373

  9. The attitude of the civilian population had become more hostile. Critical point remained the food supply

  10. Finally, the 'undisciplined' buying of Belgian products by Wehrmacht members continued unabated with very negative consequences on the Belgian economy.

The report also contained a detailed overview of enemy air action, ordered by city or town.

On 18 September 1941 the Militärbefehlshabrer ordered a reorganisation of his area of command from 1 October onwards. Firstly, the provinces of East and West-Flanders were combined under the responsibility of the OFK570 in Gent. The Feldkommandentur 578 would be renamed OK II 578. The OFK 570 would be reinforced with the Gruppe Gericht of the FK 578. The Feldgendarmerietrupp a (mot) 4 of the FK 578 would be allocated to the OK II 578. Secondly, the provinces Namur and Luxembourg were to be combined under the Feldkommandantur 682  in Namur. and was to become directly subordinated to the Militärbefehlshaber. The Feldkommandantur 598 was renamed OK 598, which would be reinforced with the Gruppe Gericht of the former. The Feldgendarmerietrupp a (mot) 9 of the FK 598 would be allocated to the OK 598.

Also starting from 1 October 1941 the landesschützen units would be divided over the OKFs as follows:

  • OFK 589 with the LS-Bataillonen 626 and 651

  • OFK 520 with the LS-Bataillonen 330, 835, Stab u. 1. Kompanie 873

  • FK 682 with the LS-Bataillonen 526, 3. Kompanie 657

  • OFK 670 was to receive the 3. Kompanie 838 in return for the 3. Kompanie 657 to be handed over to the FK 682.

What is also interesting about this document is the long list of recipients of this order. It provides us an insight into the various units associated with (though not necessarily subordinated to) the command of the Militärbefehlshaber (especially outside the actual Militärverwaltung and including units present in the area of command). The list can be found processed in the document below:

 

 

On 22 September 1941 an important Planspiel was held at the Kommandostab headquarters in Brussels. The goal of the game was to simulate the possible military responses in case of internal unrest (strike and insurrection). Specifically, an area between Charleroi and Mons had been lost to the insurgents and the plan was to retake Charleroi from the northeast and Mons from the southwest. Interesting in the document are the forces planned to carry out the operation: the Charleroi attack would be carried out by 15 companies of the Grenzwachregiment Clüver and 5 1/2 companies of the Infanterie-Ersatzregiment 254 and the Bataillon 313, supported by 2 armoured cars, 5 Infanteriegeschütze, and two artillery batteries (1 Kanonen, 1 Haubitze) of the Ersatz-Artillerieabteil!ung 26. For the attack on Mons Luftwaffe units would be used!. The attack would be commanded by the Kommandeur Fliegerausbildungsregiment 10 in Maubeuge with 2 motorized companies each of the Fliegerausbildungsregimenter 10, 12, 22, 51; one company of Landesschützen of the OFK 570, 7 AT-canons of the reserve infantry regiments and 1 armoured car of the OFK 670.. A major problem was the transport of the Grenzwachregiment Clüver; For the transport the following transport units were ordered to provide trucks

  • Nachschubkolonnenabteilung 40 in Watten: 14 trucks

  • Betriebskolonne 906 in Menen: 1 company + 10 trucks

  • Nachschubkolonnenabteilung 40 in Antwerpen: 37 trucks

  • Nachschubkolonnenabteilung 40 in Utrecht: 12 trucks

  • Betriebskolonne 908 in Brussels: 12 trucks

  • Betriebskolonne 907 in Brussels: 12 trucks

  • Nachschubkolonnenabteilung 40 in Landrecies: 12 trucks

The document further reveals Major Koethe as Chef des Stabes of the Militärbefehlshaber, Major Gaethgens, Rittmeister Schöller of the OFK Brüssel, Oberst Lossen (Ordnungsdienst), Oberst Müller as Höherer Nachrichtenführer, Major Corte of the OFK Lille, Major Frese of the Fliegerausbildungsregiment 10, Major von Websky of the OFK Lüttich, Hauptmann Mayer of the OK Gent and Major Werner of tyhe OFK Mons.. We also find out that each Kommandantur had a group of Feldgendarmerie of up to 30 men. In addition, the OFKs and FKs also had so-called a-Trupps and c-(tmot) Trupps. We also learrn that the GFP-Gruppe in Mons with an Aussenkommissariat in Charleroi was 30 members strong. As far as communications were concerned we learn that a puerely military Fernsprecyhbaukompanie was no longer at the disposal. Rather, the work was being carried out by 9 German Postbautrupps as well as Belgian and French ¨Postbautrupps.

On 30 September 1941 the Militärbefehlshaber released a further order concerning the combatting of internal unrest.

 

On 1 October 1941 we find an overview of the organization of the Feldgendarmerie in the area of the Militärbefehlshaber:

 

 

Also on this date of 1 October we find a detailed overview of the organisation of the command, which can be found below:

 

 

Finally on 1 October we also have an overview of all the Landesschützeneinheiten:

 

 

On 3 October 1941 the Militärbefehlshaber sent an usual warning to the Oberkommado des Heeres. In the document Falkenhausen complained about the bad treatment of the Belgian people, especially as concerned the food supply. He then warned of the consequences if this situation was to continue.

On 4 October 1941 the Militärbefehlshaber issued an order concerning the attitude towards the Belgian police. The reason for this move was that on some occasions mebers of the German military had cause difficulties for the Belgian police in executing their duties. It was ordered that, while the Belgian police did not have any power over tyhe Wehrmacht, it should be left to carry out is business. Also, members of the Wehrmacht were to follow directions given by Belgian police, e.g. in road traffic.

On 12 October 1941 the Militärbefehlshaber released his overall status report for the month of September 1941. The report consisted of 13 points:

  1. Organisational changes with a view of simplification and personnel savings (see above)

  2. In response to the increased number of attacks on Wehrmacht personnel and sabotage acts in Northern France, Verordnungen had been issued. The required number of hostages had been arrested. 12 death sentences had been pronounced at the end of August and in September and 25 hostages had been shot

  3. Reference to the Planspiel of 22 September (see above)

  4. The MilBH complained that the demands with respect to accommodation from the reserve units present in the area of command were exaggerated, or at least much higher than those of the regular troops

  5. The situation of the Belgian population was assessed as bad in every respect. Falkenhausen expressed his fear that, in the end, labour performance and the will to work would suffer greatly, if the Belgian population was not given the most necessary goods.

  6. The Belgian currency was said to be in great risk, especially considering the permanently increasing expenditure on army formations in the area.

  7. The MilBH also complained that the Ausverkau or sell-off of Belgian goods (to the Reich) was still continung.

  8. Here, too, the MilBH complained that reports on the administration of Belgium and Northern France had contained false statements and views. He requested that news reports would use reliable sources of the MilBH in future. Further, Falkenhausen also pointed out that in the communication with the OKH too many other Reichs- und Wehrmachtsstellen had been involved, leading to delays.

  9. The general attitude of the troops was judged to be satisfactory.

  10. All Sonderführer were being given military training.

  11. To give every German the possibility to serve the fatherland with a weapon, the MilBH ordered a list of officers, Beamte, Sonderführer, etc who had not fought yet, either in WWI or in the current war.

  12. The news received from the Walloon Legion (wallonisches Infanteriebataillon 373) was fully positive, with especially the psychological work of the training cadre resulting in a good military attitude. This was said NOT  to be so much the case for the Flemish.

  13. In the months August-September-October (until 11/10) 66 members of the Wehrmacht had been killed by the enemy air force and a further 180 injured. The number for the civilian population were 202 and 254, respectively.

On 22 October 1941 issued an order for the guzrding of some railway lines. This was said to be due to the increased number of sabotage acts and attacks on trains in the industrial region in the north of France. Each of the two railway defence units stationed in France (484(B) and 485(B)) were tasked with activelu and permanently guarding specific stretches. This additional mission also meant changes to the Bewachungsplan in Belgium. Full details are contained in the document.

On 26 October 1941 Constantin Canaris was replaced by SS-Sturmbahnführer Ernst Ehlers as head of the SIPO-SD in Brussels.

On 28 October 1941 the Militärbefehlshaber issued a further order concerning the combatting of possible internal unrest. In this respect, it was seen as important that every last man and every last weapons could be used. Thus, all Dientstellen were ordered to check which units could be given a combat mission in this respect and to identify and report units that refused to be given such a mission.

On 29 October 1941 the allocation of armoured cars was again discussed. The Militärbefehlshaber reported that 30 Vickers Armstrong armoured cars had been provided by the Heereskraftfahrpark for some weeks (their permanent allocation had been requested). The 30 armoured cars were divided as follows: 3 for the Grewa Clüver (and at the disposal of the MilBH), 6 for the OFK672, 4 for the OFK570, 6 for the OFK670, 5 for the OFK520, 4 for the OFK589 and  2 for the FK682. Also on this day, the Militärbefehlshaber issued an order to counter possibile unrest on 11 and 15 November (Armistice Day and King's Day) in Belgium. The order was to take measures in such a way that possible unrest could be prevent or, if it did occur, broken up immediately.

 

On 5 November 1941 the Landesschützeneinheiten under the command of the Kommandostab were said to be some 1,900 men short. Discussed were the low number of replacements (1,000) as well as the poor quality of the replacements.

On 6 November 1941  the Militärbefehlshaber released his overall status report for the month of October 1941. The report consisted of 7 points:

  1. The overall situation had remained unchanged in relation to the September report

  2. Security of the area: In the area Valenciennes-Mons-Charleroi the 227 Infanteriedivision had been replaced by the 71 Infanteriedivision. During the relieving period armoured formation from the area of the Militärbefehlshaber Frankreich had been moved to this area. As the LS-Bataillonen had not received replacements for some time the shortage of troops for guard duty and for reserve had become noticeable. A certain level of relief had been brought by the allocation of 20 azrmoured cars (see above). Due to the increased need for railway protection a new operational order had been released for the railway protection batallions (see above).

  3. Sabotage: In the north of France sabotage acts against the Wehrmacht had intensified. In Belgium the situation in the industrial regions of Charleroi and Liège had also deteriorated. 3 radio sets and one printing press had been confiscated. Various people had been arrested and 8 death sentences had been pronounced.

  4. The general attitude of the troops was satisfactory as before and training had been continued

  5. On 1 October a further 4 Flemish guard companies had taken up theur duties. There was now a flämische Wachabteilung I with 5 companies with the OFK 570 and a flämische Wachabteilung II with 4 companies with the OFK 672 (but with 1 company at the Truppeübungsplatz Beverloo.). Thus far, the Flemish units had yielded good results. Preparations had been made for establishing a Walloon Wachabteilung  for 3 November with a motorized company for the Oberquartiermeister.

  6. On 28 October a meeting was held with the Intendanten  and Oberquartiermeister of all the units of the Wehrmacht stationed in the area of command. Discussed were the limitation of buying possibilities and the risk of inflation.

  7. Overview of enemy air attacks

On 12 November 1941 the Militärbefhelshaber reported on the acts of sabotage in the period 1-15 October. The sabotage to barns, fields and train wagons reported by the GFP were spread across the months of September and October as follows:  barns (6 September, 3 October), fields (23 September, 27 October), train wagons (33 September, 33 October). The reported attacks with explosives on railway infrastructure fell within the reporting period of the GFP. In response to these acts, the guarding of the fields and barns by the local authorities had been ordered, so that the local population would be made responsible for preventing further such acts. Also, increased guarding of railway lines running through quarries had been ordered, Further, several person had been arrested and 40 persons had been transferred to the Geisellager Lille. These action had led to a noticeable decrease in the number of sabotage acts.

Further on this day, the Militärbefehlshaber sent a message to the OKH and the OKW with respect to 2 rail sabotage acts in the night of 10/11 and 11/12 November. Even though there was no damage, the following measusres were taken: 1) Setting-up of a Sonderkommissariat of the GFP against the terrorist group; 2) increased protection by Bahnschutztruppen; 3) the guarding of 120km of railway lines around Liège by the local population.; 4) sending out locomotives in front of important trans; 5) military trains to be accompanied by hostages.

On 13 November 1941 the OKH requested further information on the above. These questions were answered by Major Koethe.

On 23 November 1941 the Militärbefehshaber addressed a message to the Heeresgruppenkommando D on the planned withdrawal of forces. He reported that he 'only' possessed 18 Landesschützenbataillone (from the original 30), 6 Landesschützenbataillone (Bahnschutz) and the Grenzwachregiment Clüver. The former 2 together were also short of 1200 men. In normal times only 398 of the required 480 objects to be guarded would be guarded, and this only by overasking the troops. The LS-Bataillone have also had to set up Fallschirmjagdkommandos. In addition, in case of Auferstehung 1500 Landesschützen would have to be shed, in which cases many duties could no longer be fulfilled. Double sentries were not available anywhere, only single ones. In case of internal unrest ca 320 objects could not be guarded. Despite this economical situation, the OFK and FK did not have sufficient reserves. The current situation is only tenable for as long as field army and reserve troops were located in the area. In the event these were pulled out, a serious danger for the security of the territory would arise.

All 6 railway protection companies were deployed to guard 98 objects. However, in case of internal unrest, these troops would have to guard an additional 548 objects, which would simply be impossible.

Even though the Grenzwachregiment Clüver was a big unit, most of its companies were guarding the Dutch-Belgian border (smuggling), with the excpetion of 2 companies in Brussels  and one company each in Beverloo and Maria-ter-HeideI; In case these troops had toç be used, the said border would be unguarded.

The Militärbefehlshaber concluded that, in view of the above, a further withdrawal of (already insufficient) forces could not be justified.

On 25 November 1941 a meeting was held to discuss to check tyhe deployment of Jagdkommandos in anticipation of a meeting in Paris on 28 November on ways to improve the search for downed aircrew. Present were Major Koethe, Hauptmann Morgenbrod, Hauptmann Neuber, Oberleutnant Martin, Rittmeister Schöller (OFK672), Major von Websky (OFK589), Hauptmann  Jägle (OFK520), Hauptmann Dieter (OFK570) and Hauptmann von Schütz (FK682). An interesting fact mentioned in the document is thart, even though Flakscheinwerfer units played an important role in the case for downed aircrew, these units had never taken up contact with the units of the Militärbefehlshaber. Also, nothing was known on the Jagdkommandos of Luftwaffe units.

On 26 November 1941 we find an interesting comparison: for the 11.6m inhabitants in Belgium and Northern France 18 LS-Btl and 6 LS--Btl (B) were available, while for the 22m inhabitants of the area of the MilBH Frankreich, 47 LS-Btl were available, with a further 37 for POW camps.

On 27 November 1941 the Militärbefehlshaber issued an order on the importance of mutual exchange of information with the field army headquarters, so that the latter would be fully aware of the duties of the former and their importance in the overall war effort. Also on this day, some Landesschützeneinheiten changed locations:

  • Stab + 1. Kp LS-Btl 737 von Brügge nach Gent, 2. Kp von Courtrai nach Gent, 3. Kp von Ypren/Houthulst nach Gent

  • Stab+3. Kp/LS-Btl 627 von Gent nach Brügge, 2. Kp von Gent nach Courtrai, 1. Kp von Gent nach Ypern

On 30 November 1941 the Militärbefehlshaber issued a document on alleged attacks on members of the Wehrmacht What is interesting about the document is that, while a number of attacks are shown to have really happened, it is also pointed out that a number of alleged attacks were fabricated by the German soldiers themselves as a cover-up. The document warned that each case was tobe throughly investigated before any measures were taken.

 

Bertween 5 and 9 December 1941 discussions were held concerning the loss of units for the Russian front. In spite of serious objections the Militärbefehlshaber expressed his willingness to lose 6 Kommandanturen, 3 Landesschützen regimental headquarters and 8 batallions.For the latter, however, the Militärbefehlshaber requested OBWest that the divisions under his command would take over the security duties of those batallions. This was refused by OBWest in a meeting on 12 December. In this meeting OBWest objected to further units being drawn away from the West, calling for the units to remain.

On 10 December 1941 a document was issued concerning the protection and guarding of f so-called Notbetriebsstrecken or emergency railway lines. In the case of a general emergency for the railways or Notbetrieb only certain important railways stations would be occupied and kept operational by German railway personnel. In connection with the ensuing change in the occupation of railway stations the Wehrmachtstransportleitung Paris had issued new information on 22 November. The information is about railway line stretches and stations to be deleted from or included in the system for the area of the Transportkommandantur Brüssel.

On 17 December 1941 ordered that all units in charge of the protection of constructions (Anlagen) were to be informed as soon as possible of the fact that the Abwehrstelle Belgien had received information that sabotage acts were to be carried out in the near future. As far as possible the constructions at risk were to be guarded by the police or even civilians. Especially transformer cabins, electricity works and overland cables were deemed to be at risk.

On 19 December 1941 a further reduction of effectives was ordered. The following Kommandanturen were to be made ready to be transferred from 15/1 onwards: KK701 (Bastogne), KK642 (Avesnes), OKI 699 (Roubaix), OKI 707 (Maubeuge), OKI 705 (Mons), OKII 578 (Brügge).

On 23 December 1941 the Militärbefehlshaber addressed the theft of Wehrmacht goods.

On 24 December 1941 all units were alerted that sabotage attacks were expect against trains with soldiers on leave. To counter the threat, it was ordered that in the part part of the first wagon of each train carrying soldiers on leave, 5-6 civilians were to be present, guarded by a Begleitkommando.

On 27 December 1941 an order addressed the issue of combatting parachutists in areas which would no longer be accupied by the army after 15/1. In these areas Jagdkommandos were to be established.

 

3. 1942

 

On 2 January 1942 an order was issued concerning the capture of allied pilots, the procedure for reporting downed aircraft and that for dealing with captured eney air force material.

On 4 January 1942 the OBWest sent a message to the Militärbefehlshaber. In it he first pointed out that the defensive weakness as a result of the pulling out of forces, which would be felt especually from February onwards, necessitated answering the question how, in case of drohender Gefahr additional forces could be made available by the other Wehrmacht services and by the Militärbefehlshaber to bolster the defensive strength. Hence, the latter was asked to answers the question which Landesschützen units could be made available, how and when they would be ready for deployment and how they could be transported to the required area.

On 6 January 1942 all leaves were cancelled in the command area due to the occurrence of typhoid in France.

On 8 January 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber sent his answer to the question asked by the OBWest on 4 January above. His answer was that units could not be made available in advance. Only when, in case of drohender Gefahr, the civilian population remained calm, could be assessed if, where and how units could be made available to the AOK15. Additional complications mentioned were the training of the troops and the limited means of transport. Further on this day, the Militärbefehlshaber submitted his report for the months of November-December 1941. It addressed the following issues:

  • The forces available for keeping peace and order were assessed as weak and would only suffice if the population kept calm. Attacks against German Wehrmacht personnel and installations were evaluated as Einzelfälle, i.e. isolated actions. The population was deemed to be generally averse to such actions.

  • The general attitude of the population was negatively affected by poor nutritional and house heating conditions

  • The attitude of the troops was good, also vis-à-vis the population.

  • Training of the Landesschützen units was being carried out by courses. In January a school for the Weiterbildung von Offizieren was to be opened in Gent. The Flemish and Walloon Wachbataillone had functioned well. The first Flemish unit consisted of 100 officers and NCO and 700 other ranks, organized in 5 companies (operating in the area of the OFK570 Gent).On 19 August a second Flemish unit was established with a strength of +/- 60 officers/NCOs and 500 other ranks (operating with 4 companies in the area of the OFK672 Brüssel). The Walloon unit, with 4 training companies of which 1 motorized, had been established at the start of November)

  • The command had lost 14 of the original 31 LS-batallions, 14 of the original 17 FK and 9 of the original 43 OK.

  • Coal production within the command area could be increased if the 6000 Walloon POW in Germany would be released. The refusal of the OKW to release these POWs also had negative effects on the population.

  • The deployment of military organs as advisers for the support and control of the agricultural sector had been successful.

  • The organized and planned use of labour, materials and financial resources had been destabilized by the selfish interests of other parts of the Wehrmacht, especially the Luftwaffe.

  • The unbridled black market purchases of rare goods by Germans had lead to high inflation in the area of command, which would eventually also hurt Germany's interests. It had already been requested in the past to put a stop to this.

  • Efforts to move towards unified communication, thereby avoiding the spreading of rumours, had been successful.

On 10 January 1942 the OK II 578 Brügge had left the area of command

On 13 January 1942 a meeting was held in Brussels to discuss measures to be taken to counter cable sabotage in the Hasselt area. The document is interesting in that it mentions several names and functions: Major Koethe, Ia MilBH, Major Neister, Ic XII Fliegerkorps? Major von Selchos, chef des Kommandostabes OFK Brüssel, Rittmeister Zapp, Ic OFK Brüssel and Leutnant Adamsky of the Stab, Flakscheinwerferregiment 6. Also on this day, the KK 693 Turnhout was transferred to Avesnes. The Kreis Turnhout was now administred by the FK520 Antwerpen

On 15 January 1942 KK701 (Bastogne), KK642 (Avesnes), OKI 699 (Roubaix), OKI 707 (Maubeuge), OKI 705 (Mons) were ready to be transferred. The Kreis Bastogne was now administred by the KK598 Arlon and the Kreis Marche by the KK636 Neufchateau.

On 20 January 1942 a meeting was held to discuss how to deal with criminal offences against the German state and the occupant. The document is interesting in that it mentions the names of the participants. In addition to Oberstleutnant von Harbou and the Ia Major Koethe the following names are mentioned: from the Kommandostab Ia Hauptmann Neuber and Oberkriegsgerichtsrat Jentsch, the Militärverwaltungschef Oberkriegsverwaltungsrat von Randenbortgh; from the Abwehrstelle Belgien Oberstleutnant Hintermayer and Hauptmann Braun and from the geheime Feldpolizei Feldpolizeidirektot Kletzke and Feldpolizeikommissar Deinass.

On 21 January 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber issued an order stating that in order to increase the combat power of units Infanteriepioniergruppen would be trained. Three platoon with the 3 batallions of the Grenzwachregiment Clüver and 1 squad per company for each of the LS-batallions.

 

On 7 February 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber informed the commander of the Flakartillerieschule in Knokke, Oberstleutnant Bachmann, that the transfer of the school ot Maria-ter-Heide had been approved, albeit under the condition that the AOK15 had the right to have units of the HK XXXVII train there. The Militärbefehlshaber would take over the responsibility for the location and barracks in Knokke (through the KK663 in Roeselare), with the intention of accommodating 1500-2000 troops there.

On 9 February 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber informed the OKH of the above changes. In this document we also learn the reason, namely the frequent damage to target planes by British low-level air attacks. We also learn that ca. 3500 troops were based there. The date of the takeover was fixed on 28 February.

On 10 February 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber issued another order with regard to the above transfer. The commander of Maria-ter-Heide was to report when all the sentry, guard and patrol duties had been taken over by the Flakartillerieschule. From that moment the 3/LS-Bataillon 525 would return to the OFK672 Brüssel. Also, from 3 March onwards, the 8/GreWa Clüver would again be at the disposal of the regiment. These units had been located at Maria-ter-Heide.

An interesting development in the above transfer takes plan on 16 February 1942. Apparently, the Luftwaffe had complained about the 'loss' of the location in Knokke. The kommandantur of the Ubungplatz Knocke was to be provided not by the Militärbefehlshaber but by the Luftwaffe, more specifically the Luftgaukommando Belgien-Nordfrankreich with the 6. Flakdivision. Since the KK 663 would not be required to provide the Kommandantur, the resulting reorganisation in the province of West-Flanders (see above) would not take place.

On 17 February 1942 a meeting took place to discuss the frequent thefts from railway wagons filled with explosives, ammunition, weapons and general provisions. The document is interesting in that it mentions a large number of important persons present at the meeting: Thus, from the Kommandostab the Ia Major Koethe, as well as Hauptmann Neuber and Hauptmann Morgenbrod.; from the Abwehrstelle Belgien Major Görtz und Rittmeister Liebster; from the Ordnungsdienst Oberst Lossen; from the Rüstungsinspektion Oberstleutnant Willich, Oberleutnant Meyer and Rittmeister Schu; from the geheime Feldpolizei, Feldpolizeikommissar Gramm; from the Militärverwaltung Oberkriegsverwaltungsrat Leiber and Kriegsverwaltungsrat Hass; (Gruppe Chemie) from the Wehrmachtsverkehrsdirektion, from the Eisenbahndirektion ReichsbahnratBell; from the IVa Kriegsverwaltungsrat Binapfl, from the Oberquartiermeister Hauptmann Krause, from the Transportkommandantur Major Beckmann and from the Transportoffizier Hauptmann Arnold.

On 18 February 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber informed the troops in his command that the OBWest had ordered the AOK15 that the regular field troops were to obey orders from the Flemish and Walloon Wachabteilungen.

On 22 February 1942 5 Kommandanturen left the area of the Militärbefehlshaber

On 25 February 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber reported to the OBWest with respect to the conclusions reached to counter the theft from railway waggins (see above).

From 28 February 1942 onwards 1 company of the Grenzwachregiment Clüver was transferred fom Maria-ter-Heide to the French-Belgian border to try to stop the smuggling of goods across that border.

 

On 2 March 1942 the newly-appointed Militärbefehlshaber Frankreich, General von Stülpnagel visited his counterpart in Brussels.

On 3 March 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber ordered extra protection for communications facilities following some attacks on such facilities in the Nantes area. Also on this day, the Militärbefehlshaber recommended that troops would not stay longer than 3 months in their quarters to avoid too close relations with local inhabiltants, following a number of unfortunate cases of this sort. In the case of static organisations, it was to be recommended that the personnel be rotated frequently.

On 6 March 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber emphasized the importance of good training practice. Some soldiers had been wounded or kille in firefights with them or their fellow soldiers often missing the other party.

On 8 March 1942 the LS-Regimentsstab 115 left the area of command.

On 12 March 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber submitted his report for the period January-February 1942. It addressed the following issues:

  • The first item covered was discipline. In general this was found to be good, even after an independent inspection by an officer sent by the OKH. Less positive was the wave of thefts of army property (see also above). This had been countered by increased security and severe punishments of those found guilty. Finally, no signs had been found in the area of command to confirm the GFP findings in France of a negative effect on the morale of troops by soldiers returning from the Russian front.

  • Military tasks: with the re-organisation of the territory of the AOK15 there were more areas where no field troops at all were stationed. This had resulted in the area in which the Militärbefehlshaber was supposed to fight parachutists almost doubling as well as more guard duties.As a result, total radiness in all contingies could not be guaranteed.

  • Units lost: in the period concerned 6 OK and 1 LS-Regimentsstab had been lost, as well as 86 individual troops.

  • The training of the LS-units was being made difficult by the many guard and security duties and by the weather. However, a special course for engineer duties had been organised. Also, the request for allocation of of heavy weapons had been partially granted. Other courses had also been organized.

  • Belgian formations: the deployment of the Flemish and Walloon Wachabteilungen had been successful. One of the units had been allocated to the Oberquartiermeisterstab for deployment with the Armeenachschubführer 578 after its members had received lorry driving training. To increase the authority of the units OBWest had also released an order that orders given by the members of the units were to be be followed by the field troops as well. The Feiwilligenlegion Flandern and the Legion Wallonie (Wallonisches Infanteriebataillon 373) had successfully operated on the Russian front and suffered losses.

  • Internal unrest: the planned integration of all available German forces and their armement had been executed. All OFK's had been ordered to hold simulation games thus preparing for internal unrest scenarious. It had been agreed with the Wehrkreiskommando VI that, if necessary, one company each of 2 reserve batallions in Aachen would be made available as reinforcement.

  • Luftwaffe flak artillery school: the school had been moved from Knokke to Maria-ter-Heide

  • Handing over of motorized vehicles and fuel: 500 motorized vehicles and ca. 700cbm of fuel were made available to the OKH

  • Traffic: railway transport was severely hindered by the loss of rolling stock and the weather. As a result many factories had to close due to coal shortages. Road and canal traffic were hindered by snow and ice.

  • Order and security: were fully present. The Belgian gendarmerie had been included in the reorganisation. Little resistance activity was noted. The population was generally quiet but suffered from hunger and cold, negatively affecting feelings towards the occupying forces.

  • Raids and sabotage: an overview was presented. The number of sabotage acts had fallen from 128 in October 1941 to just 22 in February 1942.

  • Economic production of the country: high

On 15 March 1942 important changes were made to the location of the Kreiskommandanturen

On 16 March 1942 an overview was given of static security units having been transferred at the end of February/beginning of March:

  • 14/2: LS-Batl 627: 2. Kompanie von Courtrai nach Knocke

  • 27/2: LS-Batl 908: 1. Kompanie von St-Omer nach Bethune; 2. Kompanie von Bethune nach St-Omer

  • 5/3: LS-Batl 736: 3. Kp von Wavre/Meerdael/Nivelles nach Brüssel; LS-Batl 735: 3. Kp von Brüssel nach 2/3 Wavre/Meerdael, 1/3 Nivelles

  • 6/3: LS-Batl 625: 1. Kp von Antwerpen nach 2/3 Mecheln/1/3Breendonk; 2. Kp von Turnhout/Mecheln/Breendonk nach Antwerpen

  • 9/3: LS-Batl 525: ; Kompanie von Maria-ter-Heide nach Antwerpen; LS-Regimentstab 115: ausgeschieden

On 19 March 1942 the Abwehrstelle Belgien informed the Militärbefehlshaber that a large-scale attack in the Antwerp area could be expected on 20/3

On 23 March 1942 the first of many illegal transmitters was located and the operators arrested. The tracking and location of such transmitters was a joint effort by the Abwehrstelle Belgien and the Funküberwachungskompanie 3/N 9. Further transmitters were located on 30/3, 6/4, 14/4, 15/4, 2/5, 15/5, 22/5, 5/6.and 23/11.

On 26 March 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber passed on an order from Hitler himself following an inspection visit of the Reichsmarschall Göring in France. Interestingly, the Militärbefehlshaber was forced to make three concessions. Firtsly, it was ordered that all German personnel, especially in the coastal areas, were to be equipmmed with hand weapons and be given a weapons permit. Such permits had been refused by the Militärverwaltung. Secondly, the prohibition for the field troops and other organisations to recover building materials was lifted. Finally, all units of the Militärverwaltung were ordered to give full assistance to the field army in theire defensive preparations and to do away with any measures preventing this.

Also on this day the units were informed that on 30 March heavy weapons would be given out by the Oberquartiermeister Feldzeugstab at the Pferdelazarett in Brussel/Etterbeek. The four OFK's were to receive 8 sMG08 each, meaning either 2 or 4 weapons per batallion. The Grenzwachregiment Clüver was to receive 28 of these weapons.

Still on this day, the Militärbefehlshaber informed his units that he had been ordered to make forces available for deployment elsewhere. This would of course mean a further weakening or forces available to fight and put down inner unrest. In addition, it was expected that the Fliegerausbildungsregimenter would also be drafted into coastal defence so that these troops could no longer be called upon in an emergency. In view of the above a different organisation and training of the security batallions was necessary. Specifically, 2 types of company were to be established: Wachkompanien, consisting of lesser able-bodied men and Einsatzkompanien consisting or more able-bodied troops. The latter troops were to be trained in actual fighting. By 7 April the OFK's were ordered to report how many companies of the two types their subordinated batallions were able to build.

On 27 March 1942 the 323 Infanteriedivision was reported to have taken up quarters in the Mons-Charleroi area, replacing the 716 Infanteriedivision, which had left the area of command of the Militärbefehlshaber. Also on this day, the Militärbefehlshaber wrote the the Luftgaukomando Belgien-Nordfrankreich concerning troop accomodation in Knokke. Falkenhausen first referred to a recent oder stating that the Militärbefehlshaber would only decide on the accommodation of his troops in the combat area at the coast together with the division troop commander for that area. In the case of Knokke, this was the commander of the 306 Infanteriedivision. This commander, now, had found it unacceptable that, in addition to his troops, more than 2500 troops would be accommodated there. Also, the hotels and houses at the coast were not available. This decision led to problems for the Militärbefehlshaber. While the Flakschule had originally accommodated 3500 men, only 2500 were now allowed. This also meant that, with the exception of the Kommandantur des Flakschiessplatzes Knocke no other Luftwaffe units could be accommodated here. Even an occupation of the Luftwaffe Erholungsheimi had been declined by the 306 ID.

On 28 March 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber submitted a report to the OBWest concerning events, i.e. sabotage acts, in the period 22-28/3

 

From 1 April 1942 onwards Himmler had a permanent representative of the SS in Brussels, Gruppenführer Jungclaus. Jungclaus maintained no contacts with von Falkenhausen, but de facto had the same or even more power. In return, Himmler no longer demanded a Höherer SS und Polizeiführer for occupied Belgium. Further on this day, the Militärbefehlshaber isued new orders for dealing with sabotage cases, this in the context of an increasing number of such cases. Interestingly, the docment contains a list of the relevant Abwehrstellen for the abwehrmässige Beaebeitung of sabotage cases.

  • for Belgium: Abwehrstelle Belgien (Wetstraat 63, Brussel)

  • for northern France: Abwehrnebenstelle Lille (Rue National 104, Lille)

  • for the closed-off ciastal areas:

    • between the Dutch border and Gravelines: Abwehrnebenstelle Boulogne, Aussenstelle De Haan (fernspr Dienststelle Robert über HV De Haan)

    • between Gravelines and Authie estuary: Abwehrnebenstelle Boulogne in Wimereux (fernspr Dienststelle Robert über MV Wimille - MV Wimereux)

  • for sabotage cases in factories: the Abwehroffiziere at the Rüstungskommandos:

    • AO III/Rü 1 (Major Paulus) for the provinces: Brabant, Antwerpen, Oost-Vlaanderen, West-Vlaanderen (Rüstungskommando Shellhaus, Rue Cantersteen, Brüssel)

    • AO III/Rü 2 (Major Fischer) for the provinces Henegouwen and Namen (Rüstungskommando, Boulevard Zoé Dryon 1, Charleroi)

    • AO III/Rü 3 (Hauptmann Jung) for the provinces Limburg, Luik, Luxemburg (Rüstungskommando, Rue Paul Devaux 6, Luik)

    • AO III/Rü Lille (Major Cuypers) for the departements Nord and Pas-de-Calais (Abwehrnebenstelle Lille (Rue National 104, Lille)

Sabotage were to be reported to the Kreiskommandanturen and investigated by the GFP (or Feldgendarmerie if the former could be contacted immediately).

On 2 April 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber issued an order concerning the occupation of bridges across the canal Gent-Terneuzen and the river Lys (Leie). The document starts out by saying that the AOK15 had planned an inland resistance line at the Canal Gent-Terneuzen and the river Lys, in case the main defensive line at the coast was broken through. In case the forces of the Militärbefehlshaber training in Knokke were released by the troop commanders, the Militärbefehlshaber had agreed to occupy 56 bridges across the above canal/river with bridge guard units equipped as demolition squads, each consisting of 1NCO or corporal and 6 other ranks. The 9 bridges across the Terneuzen canal were to be occupied by the Grenzwachregiment Clüver and the others across the river Lys by the OFK570 in Gent. For this the latter had at its disposal: the Pionierausbildungscursus mit Pionierausbildungszug of the Grewa Clüver (for the time being still in Maria-ter-Heide, later in Knokke) and forces located in Knokke. For demolition work, 1.5 tonnes/bridge were planned. The Militärbefehlshaber also support the AOK15 view that each bridge unit was to have 1 light MG. Since these could not be provided, they would have to be requested from the OBWest.

Further on this day, the Militärbefehlshaber again addressed the issue of thefts of Wehrmacht goods from train wagons, which had increased in number and were becoming a real problem.

On 4 April 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber submitted a report to the OBWest concerning events, i.e. sabotage acts, in the period 29/3-4/4

On 7 April 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber informed and warned his units an operation of the type which occured in St-Nazaire was also possible against Antwerp in the Schelde estuary. He noted that the right wing of the 306 Infanteriedivision was located at Breskens and that east of here there were no more troops, with the exception of some flak at Terneuzen. The Militärbefehlshaber, therefore, ordered the OFK 672 to prepare the planned defence of Antwerp , including the Schelde estuary on both banks under the command of Generalmajor Hederich of the FK 520 and including all Wehrmacht units in the area. In addition the Grenzwachregiment Clüver was ordered to push forward some security forces froim the Dutch-Belgian border to positions at Walsoorde, Terneuzen, positions west of Terneuzen and Hoodplaat. Finally, the latter unit was also to find out what had be done to counter enemy (air) landings in the area between Bergen-op-Zoom and the Dutch-Belgian border.

On 9 April 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber issued an order with respect to future training courses. The training courses for officers, candidate-officers and junior commanders would be moved from Knokke to Maria-ter-Heide, while the engineer courses would continue being held in Gent. Finally, the training of the Flemish and Walloon Wachabteilungen was planned in Kontich. The commander of all the training courses was Oberstleutnant Roemhild of the OFK570.

On 12 April 1942 6 Luftwaffeflakersatzabteilungen were reported to have taken up quarters in the area of the Militärbefehlshaber, notably in Tienen, Doornik, Valenciennes, Condé, Cambrai and Arras.

On 16 April 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber addressed some issues regarding the Flemish and Walloon Wachabteilungen, including promotions and the support for the troops in case of their being involved in civil court cases. Also, the troops were obliged to advertise so that new candidates could be attacted? After a medical examination these candidates were to be sent to the flämische und wallonische Ersatzkompanie in Kontich train station: Kontich Kaserne).

On 17 April 1942 the Militärbefehlshaver forwarded the document Befehlsbefugnisse an der Küste, signed by Hitler himself, to his units. The document also contained the additions to the Führer order by OBWest, by the AOK15 and by the Militärbefehlshaber himself. It was the explicit mission of the Militärbefehlshaber to keep the peace and order (e.g. by preventing sabotage) and to cover the rear of the field army (e.g. by acting against parachute landings and keeping open roads and railways). In this context, the AOK15 asked the MilBH about the mission given to the subordinated troops and the availability of reserves. In his own additions the Militärbefehlshaber made it very clear that, in the event of major combat at the coast, field army troops and Fliegerausbildungsregimenter could not be called upon to assist in restoting peace an order or combat parachutists. Also the troops of the Fliegerausbildungsregimenter, other units of the Luftwaffe (both for as long as they would not be required elsewhere) and reserve units of the Heer and navy located within the area of the Militärbefehlshaber were to assist in combatting parachutists. Further, the Bahnschutzbataillonen were to guard the railways. By limiting simlle guard duties, reserves were to be buiilt. This was to be facilitated by the previously ordered reorganisation of forces into Wacheinheiten and Einsatzeinheiten. Should the enemy break through at the coast the following units were to establish defences with all available troops:

  • I/Grenzwachregiment Clüver at the Gent-Terneuzen canal north of Gent

  • OFK570 at the river Leie between Gent and Menen

  • OFK670 at the rivers Leie and Ternoise between Menen and Hesdin

Also, in case no other measures were necessary, the Militärbefehlshaber envisaged deploying his reserves as follows:

  • 1 batallion of the Grewa Clüver from the northeast and east to the Mechelen area (8 hours)

  • 1 reinforced batallion of the Grewa Clüver was to remain in Brussels (2 hours)

  • Multiple companies from the Marinestammregiment Beverloo from Beverloo to Ninove (6 hours)

  • Infanterie-Ersatzregiment 227 mit Regimentseinheiten und Infanterie-Ersatzbataillon 412 (ca. 1100 Mann) remains in Liège (2 hours)

  • Infanterie-Ersatzbataillon 366 (ca. 700 Mann) remains in Verviers (2 hours)

  • Infanterie-Ersatzbataillon 328 (ca. 560 Mann) from Aachen to Halle (2 1/2 days)

  • Artillerie-Ersatzabteilung with 1 Kanonen- und 1 Haubitzbatterie, je 4 Geschützen from Spa to Engien (40 hours)

The Kreiskommandantur 771 Boulogne would be withdrawn to Hesdin, as it could not defend itself. What needed to happen to the KK 714 Dünkirchen was still being assessed.

In recent months a number of sabotage actions and attacks on German military personnel had taken place. This had resulted in (communist) hostages being shot or deported to Germany. On 18 April 1942 it was reported that the measures taken by the Militärbefehlshaber to counter these acts had been presented to Hitler on 16 April and that Hitler had expressed his greatest satisfaction with the measures taken.

On 19 April 1942 Generalfeldmarschall von Rundstedt visisted the Militärbefehlshabe. In addition to discussions about the defence of the Schelde estuary, the Militärbefehlshaber also informed von Rundstedt that the remaining security forces no longer sufficed to carry out all the duties.

On 21 April 1942 Falkenhausen was visiited by Generalleutnant Warlimont, the deputy head of the of the OKW. in this meeting Falkenhausen complained about the limited effectivenenss of his command due to the absence of communication with other centres of command..Also on this day, Falkenhausen issued an order following the loss of two more Kreiskommandanturen, .i.e. the KK708 Roulers and the KK703 Valenciennes. This led to the following reorganisation from 30 April onwards:

  • KK510 Brügge would become responsbible for the arrondissements Brugge, Oostende, Veurne and Dixmuide

  • KK654 Ypern would be transferred to Roeselare and become responsible for the arrondissements Tielt, Roeselare and Ieper.

  • KK693 Avesnes would be transferred to Valenciennes and become responsible for the arrondissements Valenciennes

  • The Feldgendarmerietrupp 849 Roulers would be transferred to Brugge and subordinated to the KK510 Brügge.

  • The Feldgendarmerietrupp 814 Valenciennes would be subordinated to the KK693.

On 27 April 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber issued an order ordering the drafting in of every German in the area for either a military or police function. List of all German men were to be compiled (on the basis of lists from the Nazi party) and individual files were to be drafted. A copy of these information files was to be sent to the Wehrbezirkskommando Ausland Berlin, Nebenstelle Brüssel (Rue de Commerce 23).

 

On 1 May 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber issued an order for the creation of the Hilfsgendarmerie. This was necessary due to the (too) small numbers of German Feldgendarmerie available. The current average strength of a Feldgendarmerietrupp was 1 NCO and 25 other ranks. Two measures in particular were ordered: firstly the strenthening of the Feldgendarmietrupp from 25 to 30 other ranks and, secondly, the deployment of 30 Hilfsgendarmen per Feldgendarmerietrupp. Importantly, reliable Flemish and Walloon civilians could apply.

On 2 May 1942 the 371 Infanteriedivision arrived in the area Beverloo-Turnhout-Antwerpen, with the divisional headquarters in Herentals, while the divisional headquarters of the 106 Infanteriedivision was located in Lillers.

On 3 May 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber issued guidelines for the training of the LS-Bataillonen during the summer. Also on this day, he submitted his weekly report on sabotage acts to OBWest for the period 26/4 to 2/5.

On 6 May 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber reported to the OBWest and the AOK15 regarding measures take in the context of the Grundlegender Befehl des OBWest. He reported that the ordered cooperation with all the Wehrmacht services was now guranteed throughout his area of command. He akso reported that the Luftgaukommando Belgien-Nordfrankreich had informed him that the non-flying Luftwaffe units in the area would primarily be needed for the Luftwaffe's own needs. Only if and when there was an emergency, would the Luftgaukommando be able to say if and in which strength the ca. 40.000 toops of the Fliegerausbildungsregimenter and Flakersatzabteilungen could be made available to put down unrest.However, all smaller units and headquarters in the area of command had been drawn in by the OFKs. Since combat and guard units had already been built from Flemish and Walloon supporters of the German cause, the Militärbefehlshaber deemed it efficient not to build new units from the German civilians in his area of command, but rather to use them to strenthen formations such as the Feldgenadermier or Belgien police, or to use them as sentries along raikways and on bridges, dirvers, local guides, etc. Preparations in this respect had been taken, while some measures had already been executed. The most important task in Belgium was seen to be the strengthening of the Feldgendarmerie and the Belgian police. The former was too weak; the latter unreliable. The second most important task was the reinforcing of railway and bridge security.

Also on 6 May, and in further acting on a document of 17 April (see above) concerning the Befehlsbefugnisse an der Küste, the Militärbefehlshaber made the comments on progress made. All German civilians would be drafted in by the Aussenstelle of the Wehrbezirkskommando Ausland in Brussels. However, this action was not to be awaited: the all known German civilians were already to be given a mission and trained for it. Also measures had been taken to reinforce the Feldgendarmerie and the Belgian security forces. Measures had also been taken to protect bridges, railroads and roads. In case of major fighting at the coast it was also planned to operationally subordinate the Bahnbataillonen to the OFKs.

On 7 May 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber warned his units for apparently impending revolts on 10 May. The units of the Grenzwachregiment Clüver stationed in Brussels (5. Kompanie and the Panzerabteilung) were to maintain 1/2 hour readiness. The units were also at the disposal of the OFK672 for demonstration purposes. Also on this day, the Militärbefehlshaber submitted his monthly report to the OBWest for the months of March and April. In this document he mainly summarized actions he had taken and which are documents in the entries above. Specifically with respect to units the document also contains the following status report:

  • The following units had been made ready to leave the area of command: Landesschützenbataillon 774(B), OKI 703 (Valenciennes), OKI 708 (Roeselare)I. The KK711 had been moved from Boulogne to Desvres, while the KK714 had been moved from Calais to Cassel.

  • The area Tienen-Turnhout-Mechelen-Leuven was occupied by reserve troops of the BdE.

  • Five Flakersatzabteilungen had been transferred into the area of command: Doornik, Valaenciennes, Cambrai, Arras and Lille.

  • The accommodation of further Fliegerausbildungsregimenter in the area Avesnes-Maubeuge-Valenciennes-Cambrai was envisaged.

  • On 1 April the following Belgian military formations were active: 3 flämische Wachabteilungen (12 Kompanien, 1725 Mann), 1 wallonische Wachabteilung (4 Kompanien, 650 Mann), 2 wallonische Kraftfahrkolonnen (225 Mann), the latter subordinated to the Nachschubführer 578 of the Oberquartiermeisterstab. A further 30 men of the flemische Wachabteilungen were commandeered to the höherer Nachrichtenführer. Four further companies of Flemish and Walloon security companies were undergoing training.

A sad event also mentioned was the accidental explosing of 150 tonnes of chemicals at the Tessenderloo Chemie factory, destroying part of the factory and, worse, part of the village of Tessenderloo, killing 275 civilians and injuring a further 1400. We also learn that since the start of the occupation 32 radio transmitters had been confiscated and only 3-4 were thought to be still in use.

On 15 May 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber issued further instructions for the strengthening of combat power by the use of German civilians, Volksdeutsche and German-friendly Belgians. With respect to the latter, we also learn that a further ca. 600 Flemish ca. 600 Walloons would be trained  in 2 2-week courses from the end of May until the beginning of July. The Flemish would receive their training in the SS-schools in Schoten and the Walloons in Kontich. The commanders of the training courses were Oberst Lossen in Schoten and Generalmajor von Claer in Kontich. In case of inner unrest or large-scale combat at the coast, the German civilians, Reichsdeutsche and Belgian volunteers would be allocated to strengthen LS-Einheiten (only Reichs- oder Volksdeutsche), the Hilfsgendarmerie (preferably with Belgians), and the Flemish and Walloon security units (Wacheinehiten).

A further document on this day provides more detail with respect to the training of the Flemish/Walloon volunteers mentioned above.

On 17 May 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber submitted to the OBWest his report on the Vorkomnisse (i.e. sabotage) cases in the period 10-16 May.

On 18 May 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber informed his command on some changes on the training courses mentioned above. Thus, 300 of the Flemish were to be trained in 3 2-week courses in Schoten, with the other 300 in 1 2-week course in Kontich. Also on this day the possible use of the 15. Schiffsstammabteilung in Beverloo was changed (cf. 17/4 above). The unit would not now be engaged in coastal defence, but would be at the disposal of the OFK672 in case of inner unrest or actions against parachutists.

On 20 May 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber issued a completely new order for the protection of railroads in the non-combat area, thereby declaring all prevous orders null and void. Within the combat zone, this responsibility would be assumed by the field army. Also on this day, the Militärbefehlshaber issued a document concerning the new Alarmregulung introduced by OBWest. Specifically for the command of the Militärbefehlshaber there was a three-stage alarm procedure: ständige Alarmbereischaft (ie. always in place); Alarmstufe I and Alarmstufe II. In times of tension it was possible to also give a Vorwarnung with the code word drohende Gefahr. The document explains the measures to be taken in the different stages. In addition and, allegedly, to prevent confusion, the alarm procedure in case of inner unrest was entirely different: Massnahmen gegen innere Unruhen Stufe A oder B oder C.

On 23 May 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber submitted his Übersicht der Vorkomnisse for the period 17-23 May to OBWest.

On 24 May 1942 an order was released on the securing of telephones at railway stations. It was ordered that every station in the list attached was to be occupied by at least 2 armed Germans at the phone, subordinated to the relevant Bahnhofsoffizier. The latter were stationed in Hasselt, Brussels, Brussels-south, Namur, Mons, Brussels-Schaarbeek, Antwerpen, Hasselt, Kortrijk, Gent

On 25 May 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber wrote to the 156 Division in Spa and the Infanterieersatz. He passed on the order of the OBWest to fake a large troop presence in the West, involving the reserve units as well. The units mentioned were ordered to pretend to be full-blown divisions, by showing divisional and regimental signs.

On 26 May 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber issued a new order for the combatting of parachutists in areas not occupied by the field army. Since 25 May the areas of the territory of the MilBH not occupied by the field army had changed and new orders for the organsied combatting of parachutists in these areas were released. On the same day, an order was also issued for the protection of railway lines against sabotage. This order was partially changed in a second order of the same day. Units involved were the LS-Bataillonen (B) 484 and 773.

On 27 May 1942 the military commander issued an order to prepare the protection of further railway lines. Each line mentioned was given the code nam Fall and followed by a number. Further units involved were the LS-Bataillonen (B) 485, 770, 771. Also on this day, a change was ordered to the Alarmregelung. In actual fact, the Abwehr- und Alarmbereitschaft was relaxed.

On 29 May 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber issued an order concerning the drafting in of Volks- and Reichsdeutschen within the area of the military commander for active service in the German army. The order was especially meant as a clarification of existing uncertainties. A follow-up order was issued on 5 June.

On 30 May 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber submitted his Übersicht der Vorkomnisse for the period 24-30 May to OBWest. Further on this day, the training plan for the LS-units for the second half of 1942 was issued.

 

On 1 June 1942 the military commander issued an order on the increasing of combat strength and readiness in the context of the Befehlsbefügnisse at the coast. Basically, the order passed on orders formulated by OBWest. Firstly, the creation of Kampfliste was ordered, showing the combat mission of every man. Secondly, Alarmeinheiten were to be established by headquarters and rear support units. In large cities besondere Verbände were to be established and trained. Further in the document OBWest also gave his grundlegende Bemerkungen on the basis of his inspection visists.

On 2 June 1942 an order was issued on the Alarmregeling in the context of the the increasing of combat strength and readiness. The following Bereitschaftsgrade were ordered:

  • Küstenverteidigung: drohende Gefahr und Alarmstufe I; Massnahmen gegen innere Unruhen, Stufe A und B

  • Küstenverteidigung: Alarmstufe II; Massnahmen gegen innere Unruhen: Stufe C

  • höchste Bereitschaft

Further, the drawing up of Alarmpläne and Kampfliste was ordered.

On 3 June 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber again addressed the issue of the increasing of the combat strength and combat readiness.Considering the ever weakening numerical strength of the forces of the military commander, the folllowing measures had been taken to increase combat strength/readiness:

  • Measures for raising the combat strength of the LS-Einheiten

    • Raising of combat strenth by limiting guard duties to the absolute minimum ("What can be done by a civilian or woman, should not be done by a soldier').

    • Offereing test possible training for the units

    • Improving the armament

    • Providing better mobility through bikes and trucks

    • Creating Wachkompanien of less able men and Einsatzkompanien of more able men

    • Training of infantry engineers (1 section in every company)

    • Reinforcing the LS-Einheiten by means of trained Reichsdeutsche during times of tension

  • Preparation for the readiness and transport of trained units of the reserve troops in the area, as well as the Marinestammregiment Beverloo and reserves of the military commander

  • Creation of 19 companies of Flemish and Walloon Wachkompanien with +/- 3000 men for taking over guard duties

  • Measures for the drafting in of every man and every weapon available

On the basis of OBWest orders the above measures had been expanded as follows:

  • Drafting in of all Reichsdeutsche and Volksdeutsche willing to fight

  • Training a further 600 Flemish and 600 Walloon men for use as Hilfsgendarmen

  • Increased and stronger drafting in of sldiers and civilians in headquarters, supply installations, ...for armed combat

  • Training of German women and girls as nurses

  • Drafting of Alarmpläne  and Kampflisten

  • Alert exercises

Still, the military commander pointed out that, in spite of the above measures, the available forces were insufficient. During times of tension it was considered impossible to secure with just 17.000 troops a highly-industrialised area with +/- 11 million inhabitants. Meanwhile, further units had been lost, while the number of missions had been increased. In contrast to earlier times, the field army could no longer be counted on to bring support when needed. Also, in large areas not occupied by the field army the military commander alone was responsbile for dealing with parachutists. In additiotion, the LS-units had taken over the mission of occupying and, if necessary, destroying the bridges over the Gent-Terneuzen canal and the river Lys. Finally, rail security duties had greatly increased. As a result, numerous important objects were presently not being guarded. To make matters worse, 5000 Ukranians were expected for mining woek, necessitating a guard force of some 150 troops.

Further on this day an enemy transmitter was found through a cooperation between the Abwehr, the GFP and Funküberwachungskompanie 616.

On 7 June 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber submitted his Übersicht der Vorkomnisse for the period 31 May to 6 June to OBWest.

On 8 June 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber reported that, since a few days, there had been strikes in various mines in the Charleroi area.

On 10 June 1942 reported that the OKH had ordered that the former area of the FK 682 was to be dissolved. The Namur province was to be subordinated to the OFK 520 and the Luxemburg province to the OFK 589. The FK 682 was to be transformed in an Ortskommandantur.

On 12 June 1942 the military commander reported that the Charleroi strikes (see above) had been further expanding until 11 June, with almost 5000 strikers on 11 June, although a general strike had been averted by taking strong measures. On 12 June, the strikes had ended.

On 13 June 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber submitted his Übersicht der Vorkomnisse for the period 7-13 June to OBWest.

On 16 June 1942 the military commander issued an order for the use of reserve units of the Heer and the Kriegsmarine located within the area of command in case of internal unrest. The parts of the Marinestammregiment Beverloo NOT allocated as reserves to the MilBH would be at the disposal of the OFK 672, unless they were needed to relieve the company of the Grenzwachregiment Clüver, currently located at Beverloo. Due to the difficult situation in Liège the OFK 589 was authorized, if necessary, to use the combat-capable reserve field army units there (implying that some units of the Infanterieersatzregiment 227 and the Infanterieersatzbataillon 412 would remain as reserves to the MilBH. Finally, the Infanterieersatzbataillon 313 in Arlon would NOT be subordinated to the MilBH but would be at the disposal of the KK Arlon for local security. Further on this day, the military commander issued a document approving all of the submitted operational plans for the rail security battalions.

On 18 June 1942 the military command passed on the order from OBWest that all German men carrying a weapon and not wearing the uniform of the Heer, Luftwaffe or Kriegsmarine were to wear a yellow armband with the words Deutsche Wehrmacht in the event of combat, so that they would be shown to be combattants. However, in an addition to this document the MilBH stated that, preferably, these men were to be provided with uniforms of the LS or the Feldgendarmerie. Only in cases in which they was not possible, the yellow armband would have to be sown on just before combat.

Further on this day the Militärbefehlshaber issued an order for the defence of the Schelde estuary. The reason was the taking-over of the southern bank of the river by the 712 Infanteriedivision. This meant that, on the one hand, Grewa Clüver was to withdraw the units in the strongpoint A east of Hoofdplaat and in the strongpoint B west of Terneuzen and, on the other hand, that the units of the regiment in the strongpoints C, D and E were to become tactically subordinated to the 712 Infanteriedivision. Further, the units of the regiment in the strongpoints F/G/H located where the Schelde flows into the Westerschelde would become tactically subordinated to the FK 520 Antwerpen. The defence of Antwerp was to be carried out under the command of the commander of the FK 520. Since the enemy could land parachute troops at the Deurne airfield, the defence of the airfield was to be given maximum attention.

Still on this day, it was reported that the Ia, Oberstleutnant iG Koethe, accompanied by Hauptmann Schneider had inspected several Kommandanturen to check whether all of the above measures had been taken correctly. This was found to be the case. From this document we also learn that the training of the Flemish and Walloon Wachabteilungen and of the Hilfsgendarmen took place in Kontich and, to a small extent, in the SS-school in Schoten. We also learn that the commander of the FK520 in Antwerpen was Generalmajor Hederich. Of particular importance in the port of Antwerp was the large lock. This was found to be protected against torpedoes by 2 steel nets as well as through sentries and securities. Land targets would be taken on by a nearby Flak battery.

Against possible air assaults (again the Deurne airfield), the following measures had been taken: +/- 136 Flak guns protected Antwerp. A number of Fallschirmjägerkommandos with 1400 men and 26 motorized Flak guns were available. The Deurne airfield was protect by the ground personnel who occupied several strongppoints along the airfield perimeter. In all, the measures taken for the defence of Antwerp were found to be satisfactory.

On 21 June 1942 the Militârbefehlshaber warned for a possible large-scale sabotage action in the following days. Also on this day the  Militärbefehlshaber submitted his Übersicht der Vorkomnisse for the period 14-20 June to OBWest.

On 22 June 1942 the military commander issued an order clarifying the concept of innere Bereitschaft. Specifically, the concepts of Massnahmen gegen innnere Unruhen Stufe A/B/C were to be replaced by innere Bereitschaft A/B/C.

On 23 June 1942 the military commander wrote to the OKH to request the Grenzachregiment Clüver to be mase availabe as operational reserve in case of an emergency. The request was preceded by a long list of (extra) duties now the responsibility of the Militärbefehlshaber and of units not longer availabe as reserves. The document is interesting in that it details the precise role of each unit at this time:

  • Units of the field army were no longer available in case of internal unrest

  • The responsibility for combatting enemy parachitists had been doubled.

  • In case of large-scale operation the Militärbefehlshaber had pledged forces for the formation of an Auffanglinie at the canal Gent-Terneuzen and the river Lys and the destruction of its bridges if necessary.

  • The 3 companies of the Grewa Clüver located west of Antwerp along the Dutch-Belgian border had occupied the southern bank of the Westerschelde and were tactically subordinated to the AOK15. In case om combat at the coast these companies would fight there and would, therefore, no longer be available to the military commander.

  • The defence of Antwerp and the mouth of the Schelde leading into the Westerschelde was the sole responsibility of the Militärbefehlshaber. The forces available in Antwerp were insufficient for such a defence. Therefore, the companies of the Grewa Cluver east of Antwerp along the border would have to be drawn in for the defence of Antwerp.

  • The rail security duties had been heavily increased.

  • The Fliegerausbildungsregimenter with the area of the MilBH were no longer available to the military commander

  • From the 6 infantry reserve battalions present in the area the one in Arlon would be allocated to the MilBH Frankreich in case of internal unrest. The battalions in Namur and Liège were destined to act as local reserves in these cities. This left only the two battalions in Vielsalm and Bastogne, of which only one company each was einsatzfähig for combat.

  • The available LS-units were insufficient for the current tasks. In addition in the Auferstehung case , 1000 LS-troops would have to be shed for supply duties for the field army. Furthermore, guard personnel for the expected 5000 Russian workers could not be provided at the moment.

  • The only unit which would be deployed fast was the Grenzwachregiment Clüver. This regiment had the following duties:

    • 8 companies were guarding the Dutch-Belgian border

    • 1 company was the Wachkompanie at the Truppenübungsplatz Beverloo.

    • 5 companies were located as a reserve in Brussels, with 1 company acting as Wachkompanie. These companies were at present used for various tasks all over the area of the MilBH.

    • The regiment consisted of 72 officers, 3 Beamte, 307 NCOs and 2144 other ranks

    • Average ages in the regiment were 43.7 for the officers, 35 for the Beamte, 38.2 for the NCOs and 34.7 for the other ranks

    • Available weapons of the regiment were Gewehre 98, Karabiner 98k, Gewehre 29 (p) and 244 lMG 26 (t).

It was therefore considered necessary that 8 companies were to be drawn away from the border. Of these 3 (west of Antwerp) would be subordinated to the AOK15. This lft only the 5 remaining as reserve for the MilBH. However, it was estimated that 10 companies was the minimum requirement.

On 26 June 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber issued an order for the combating of parachutists outside of the Küstengefechtsgebiet. The following arrangement was ordered (in agreement with the AOK15).  In the coastal combat area the responsibility would remain with the sector commanders. Outside of this area the MilBH would be responsible, regardless of whether or not field army units were stationed in this area. The Armee- and Korpsreserven stationed in this area would also keep ready additional Fallschirmjagdkommandos. Also on this day, the military commander informed his units that in the period 4-8 July the OBWest was to inspect the Schelde sector

 

On 1 July 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber issued an order concerning the deployment of civilian German labour as combattants, clarifying administrative and practical procedures. Also on this day, the military commander passed on an OBWest order for dealing with expected attacks on weapons and ammo deports, vehicle parks and Wehrmacht prisons.

On 2 July 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber issued an order on the subject of enemy air landings. Reason were messages that the British army was being trained in air landing operations. The Fallschirmjagdkommandos were to attack without delay if they were located close to the landing sites. If located further a well-prepared attack was to be executed. If the enemy outnumbered local defences, the latter were to keep the attackers tied down until reinforcements for a counterattack had arrived. Still on this day, the military commander passed on an OBWest order on the aiding of British soldiers by the local population. The order eseentially stated that the Abwehr was to investigate any connections between captured allied soldiers and the local population. The exception was downed airmen., in which case the Abwehr could only submiy any questions to the Luftwaffe.

In the period 4-8 July 1942 OBWest inspected the Schelde sector.

On 4 July 1942 the military commander issued an order concerning the control over and training of the Landesschützen units. After the departure of Generalmajor von Claer responsibility for the above was passed on to Generalleutnant von Hammerstein-Equord, the commander of the OFK 672. The latter also controlled the Lehrstab in Maria-ter-Heide and the Lehrstab of the Wachabteilungen in Kontich. On the other hand, the OFK 520 was to continue providing the Lehrkompanie in Maria-ter-Heide. Also the engineer courses in Oostakker remained subordinated to the OFK 570.

Also on this day the Militärbefehlshaber issued an order for the defence of the Schelde estuary and the river approach to Antwerp, as well as Antwerp itself. The document begins by laying down the defensive responsibilities:

  • for the recce and preparation of the defensive measures at sea: Marinegruppenkommando Nord

  • for the artillery engaging naval targets, the sealing off by artillery and the defence of the Schelde estuary: Seekommandant Süd-Holland

  • for the defence against landing attempts and the defence of the northern Schelde bank: W.B. Niederlande

  • for the defence against landing attempts and the defence of the southern Schelde bank: AOK15

  • for the control of the Schelde river with fire: W.B. Niederlande from the north and AOK15 from the south

  • for the defence of the inner Schelde access to Antwerp and the defence of Antwerp: Militärbefehlshaber in close cooperation with the AOK15

  • fo AA-defence and participation in land combat: Luftgaukommando Holland

The document then addressed the boundaries between some of the above units:

  • Between Marinebefehlshaber Niederlande - Kanalküste: Landesgrenze Holland - Belgien bis zur inneren Schelde

  • Between W.B. Niederlande - AOK15: Schele-Mitte von Mündung bis zur inneren Schelde, dann die holländisch-belgische Grenze.

  • Between Luftgaukommando Holland und BNF: holländisch-belgische Grenze

  • Between 712ID -Militärbefehlshaber: Terneuzen-Zaamslag-Axel-Overslag

Between the W.B. Niederlande north of the Westerschelde until the die holländisch-belgische Grenze on the one hand, as well as 712 ID deployed on the right wing of the AOK15 on the southern bank of the Westerschelde on the other hand, the commander of the FK 520 Oberst Nadrowski, under the OFK 672, took over security of the southern bank of the Westerschelde east of Terneuzen, the inner Schelde until Antwerp as well as Antwerp itself with its important infrastructure against all enemy actions as the Abschnitt Antwerpen.

The combat patrols (Gefechtsstreifen) of the Abschnitt Antwerpen encompassed:

  • west of the Schelde: the Dutch areaa south of the Westerschelde, east of the boundary between 712ID -Militärbefehlshaber: Terneuzen-Zaamslag-Axel-Overslag, as well as the Belgian area north of the line Kruibeke - Capelle-Brug.

  • east of the Schelde: the Belgian area, except for the arrondissement of Antwerp, is subordinated to the OFK 672 and Oberst Nadrowski only tactically for the Schelde defence.

The following units were subordinated to the Abschnitt Antwerpen:

  • tactically for the preparation and the execution of the defence of the Abschnitt Antwerpen all the troops of the 3 Wehrmacht services within the sector, including the Stab of the . Bataillon, as well as the 1. 2. 13. und 14. Kompanie of the Grenzwachregiment Clüver

On 5 July 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber took over the command of the Abschnitt Antwetpen with a view to the defence of the inner Schelde estuary and the defence of Antwerp.The local commander in Antwerp was the commander of the Feldkommandantur 520., Oberst Nadrowski.

On 6 July 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber issued an order for the division of the occupied territory in case of combat. In this case, the following division would come into effect:

  • Gefechtsgebiet: Küste (today's Küstengefechtsgebiet)

  • rückwärtiges Armeegebiet: Arrondissement Antwerpen, West and East-Flanders, Northern France (without the Kreiskommandanturbezirke Douai, Valanciennes, Cambrai.

  • Sicherungsgebiet: other areas of Belgium and Northern France

In case of combat, the first two area would become subordinated to the AOK15. The commander of the entire rückwärtiges Armeegebiet of the AOK15, Generalleutnant Niehoff was appointed. Finally, the Sicherungsgebiet would continue being run by the military commander. The main exception were airfield and other installations belonging to the Luftwaffe. In case of an attack Oberst Nadrowski and the Abschnitt Antwerpen would be subordinated to the AOK15. Both Niehoff and Nadrowski would be double-hatted and retain command of their respective part of their Kommandanturen in the Sicherungsgebiet.

On 8 July 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber issued a short order stating that, since the Abschnitt Antwerpen belonged to the Gefechtsgebiet: Küste, this area would leave the rückwärtiges Armeegebiet.

On 9 July 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber issued a special order for the Abschnitt Antwerpen, which he addressed to the OFK 672. This order stated that OBWest had ordered that the MilBH was to be sent the Infanterieregiment 313 of the 337 Infanteriedivision  to Antwerp without delay for its defence. The regiment was to be accommodated and supplied by the Abschnitt Antwerpen with the Regimentstab in Antwerpen, one battalion west of Antwerp and one battalion north, east or southeast of Antwerp. The regiment would be at the disposal of the Abschnitt Antwerpen for combating parachutists as well as deployment in case of enemy attack or internal unrest. In other case the unit would be Heeresgruppenreserve.

On 10 July 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber issued an order for the protection of important rail lines as well as roads.This document also mentions that the presence of 1000 Russians was envisaged for repair work near Hasselt and 1400 near Douai. Further on this day, the Militärbefehlshaber also sent a message to the Luftgaukommando Belgien-Nordfrankreich with respect to the defence of Antwerp, informing them that the arrondissement Antwerpen was Gefechtsgebiet and that, consequenly, the commander of Antwerp, subordinated to the MilBH, would command the units of all three Wehrmacht services in its defence.

On 11 July 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber reported to OBWest on the deployment organization of the Grenzwachregiment Clüver. This was as follows:

  • The regiment was made up of 1 regimental HQ, 3 battalion HQs and 14 companies, for which 1 Panzerabteiling for Brussels had been established.

  • In the Abschnitt Antwerpen 1 battalion HQ and 3 companies were deployed west of the Schelde and 1 company east of the Schelde. The latter was also responsible for the protection of the Dutch-Belgian border of the Abschnitt.

  • 2 battalion headquarters with 4 companies secured the Dutch-Belgian border west of the Abschnitt Antwerpen.

  • 1 company was Wachkompanie on the truppenübungsplate Beverloo.

  • 5 companies were deployed in Brussels, of which 1 Wachkompanie and the remainder as a reserve

  • In case of combat or internal unrest it was planned to withdraw the companies from the Dutch-Belgian border to form the necessary fast mobile reserve together with the Brussels companies.

Further on 11 July the Militärbefehlshaber ordered that, instead of the IR 313, the IR 688 and the I/AR 337 would immediately be transported to the Abschnitt Antwerpen.

On 12 July 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber ordered that the alerting of troops by means of sirens was to be discontinued, acting on an OBWest order.

On 13 July 1942 the Infanterieregiment 688 and the I/AR337 of the 371 Infanteriedivision arrived in the area. These units, however, did not remain long in the area since they left the area of command for the Armeeoberkommando 7 on 29 July.

Also on 13 July the Militärbefehlshaber submitted his monthly reports for May and June. Falkenhausen began his report on a pessimistic note. While the tasks assigned to his command had been increasing, the forces at his disposal had, yet again, be decreased. Consequently, Falkenhausen could no longer fully guarantee the protection of important facilities, defensive measures against assaults from the air and peace and order in the area behind the combat zone. However, he then listed all the measures having been taken to increase both combat strength and combat readiness. Meanwhile, training courses had been continued, engineer platoons were being trained and one further company each of Flemish and Walloon Wachtruppen had been established. Yet, requests for stronger armements had only been met in small part. The population was deemed to be quiet and the attitude of the troops good. The latter, however, could not be said of other Wehrmacht services, interfering in the administration of the area and/or engaging in black market activities. Then follows an overview of enemy air aictivity, bombs dropped, casualties and damage suffered. The combat against the resistance was deemed very successful with 21 enemy transmitters found and 25 agents arrested in the first six months of the year. In the Anlagen the Oberquartiermeister and the Landwirtschaftlichen Berater also submitted their reports. Further one Anlage contained an overview of sabotage cases.

On 15 July 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber issued an order for the deployment of the participants and Lehrstab of the Landesschützenbataillon courses in Maria-ter-Heide in case of combat actions. The deployment had been agreed with the AOK15. The troops would return to their respective units and the Lehrkompanie provided by the Sicherungsregiment 16 would join the reserve and move to Oostmalle. In case Antwerp was attacked all troops present would come under the command of the Abschnitt Antwerpen.

On 16 July 1942 the Militärbefehslaber issued an order on the surveilling of the Russian miners who were working in the area, as well as future arrivals. For the mine area around Hasselt two Flemish guard companies were subordinated to the OFK 672. Similarly, two Walloon companies were subordinated to the OFK 670 for the mining area in the north of France.

On 17 July 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber communicated an order coming from the OBWest concerning the (new) enemy situation. Interesting in the list of recipients are the Marinestammregiment in Beverloo and the 15. Schiffsstammabteilung in Helchteren. Further, he issued an order concerning the training courses at Maria-ter-Heide. Also on this day, the military commander communicated that with immediate effect the HE 177 could be spotted in the occupied territories. Finally, the military commander issued an order to prevent incidents occuring during the upcoming 21 July, the national day of Belgium. One measure was the explicit showing of tanks in the streets and planes in the air.

On 18 July 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber issued an order on the defence of the Schelde estuary. The tactical boundary between the WBNdl and the AOK15 was moved northwards. The AOK15 territory now also included the islands of Beveland and Walcheren. In the period 18-20 July the AOK15 would be sent two Walküre divisions; the 39ID to be used on Walcheren and the Bevelands and the 65ID, to be deployed in the area west and east of Antwerp. Consequently, the IR 688 was to be kept ready for departure. Further on this day, the military commander issued an order in which he communicated the Einzelbefehl Nr 18 of the OBWest, concerning the security of headquarters, airfield and special installations.

On 22 July 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber issued an order on the basis of grundlegnder Befehl OBWest Nr 1 on improving combat power and readiness. More specifically referred to here was the role of rail eingineers and officials of the Reichsbahn. In the event of combat these troops were to continue carrying out their duties and, therefore, not to be drafted into combat units. Only when absolutely necessary were they to defend themselves. The military commander added the same aslo applied in the case of the internal unrest. Further on this day, an order was issued concerning the identification of combattants in case of combat. For uniformed members of the OT, RAD, NSKK and the party, the Swastika was sufficient. Non-uniformed men were to wear a yellow arm band with Deutsche Wehrmacht to be identified as combattants.

On 23 July 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber issued an order on the allocation of weapons. Indeed, the command was to receive several dozen weapons, mainly from the AOK15 and AOK7. The document also indicated how they were to be divided. Importantly, the weapons were only lent and were to be kept ready to be returned at all times.

On 24 July 1942 the military commander communicated the OBWest Grundlegender Befehl Nr 13 to this units. Further on this day, a report was submitted to the OBWest on measures taken for the protection of railroads. The document was accompanied by a map. Finally on this day, an order was issued with changes  and additions to the order of 2 January on measures for the capture of parachutists.

On 25 July 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber submitted to OBWest an overview of events in the period 19-25/7.

On 27 July 1942 the military commander issued an order in which he emphasized that the current situation necessitated that military interests were more important than any other interests. This especially concerned support for the fighting troops.

On 29 July 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber ordered the assembly of the Grenzwachregiment Clüver when the codename Landpartie was used. Specifically, the part of the unit deployed east of the Schelde (except for the 2. Kompanie) would be assembled in Mechelen (11. Kompanie von Berneau - Marktplatz; 12. Kompanie von Bocholt - Marktplatz; 3. Kompanie von Truppenübungsplatz Beverloo; 7. Kompanie von Turnhout - Marktplatz and the 4. Kompanie von Hoogstraten  - Marktplatz). The strength of the companies was 173 NCOs and other ranks.

On 30 July 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber issued an order commandeering Lehrpersonal to the training courses in Kontich. In the dociment many members of the three Flemish Wachabteilungen and the Walloon Wachabteilung are mentioned.

 

On 1 August 1942 the 23 Infanteriedivision was relocated from the Mons-Tournai area to the Kortrijk-Roeselare-Lillers-Armentières area. Also on this day, the Militärbefehlshaber submitted to OBWest an overview of events in the period 26/7 - 1/8.

On 3 August 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber added his orders to the Grundlegende Bemerkung des OBWest Nr 6 on the subject of experiences drawn from attenting an exercise by an armoured unit. Further on this day, an ordered was issued concerning the avvance reporting of firing exercises affecting or possibly endangering air traffic. The request was made by the Luftgaukommando.

On 4 August 1942 responsibility for the the repulsion of landing attemps as well as for the defence of both banks of the river Schelde, as well as Antwerp was transferred to the Generalkommando Y. However, the exact moment of the change of commanded had not yet been decided. Fully subordinated were the 712 and 39 Infanteriedivisionen; The Abschnitt Antwerpen was tactically subordinated. Finally, the 65 ID was only subordinated for training, disciplinary and economic purposes. Further on this day, an order was issued concerning the use of MGs for firing air enemy aicraft.

On 6 August, as result of this event, the new commander of the Abschnitt Antwerpen became Generalmajor Krech, the commander of the Truppenübungsplatz Maria-ter-Heide. His Ia was Major Rieth, while Hauptmann Fiedler was the Ib.

Further on this day, the Militärbefehlshaber felt the need to order that, until the official command change would take effect, he would still remain in command of the Abschnitt Antwerpen. Generalmajor Krech was urged to quickly decide on the command organisation in the Abschnitt Antwerpen and to establish contact with the 65ID. Also, since no reserves would any longer be available after the departure of the IR 688, the MilBH would request OBWest to allocate 2 batallions of the 65ID to be subordinated tactically. One of these would be used to protect the locks in the port; the other would be reserve.

On 7 August 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber communicated an order of OBWest for the protection of headquarters, troops, Wehrmachtangehörigen and Wehrmachtgefolge. The reason for this was an attack on a group of soldiers practising sports in a Paris stadium on 5 August, which left 3 soldiers killed and 42 injured. The Militärbefehlshaber added that all incidents in his territory were to be reported to the Geheime Feldpolizei.

On 8 August 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber submitted to OBWest an overview of events in the period 2-8/8.

On 9 August 1942  the Abschnitt Antwerpen was officially subordinated to the Generalkommando Schelde. At the same time, however, OBWest also made clear that use of parts of the 65 Infanteriedivision in Antwerp was only possible in an emergency and with the the consent of OBWest.

On 10 August 1942 in the afternoon the commander of the Generalkommando Schelde Generalleutnant Ottenbacher travelled to Brussels for a meeting with General von Falkenhausen, the Militärbefehlshaber Belgien-Nordfrankreich. Here, it was first agreed that the Generalkommando could transfer units subordinated to the Militärbefehlshaber in a tactical emergency. Also, it was stated that the Grenzwachregiment Clüver currently performed pure border security duties of a police nature. Discussions were also held with the Höherer Nachrichtenführer Oberstleutnant Müller. Finally, it was agreed that in an emergency 1 company of the II/Grenzwachregiment Clüver could be moved (with bicycles) from the area of Kapellen to the port of Antwerp for the defence of the locks and tunnels.Further on this day, the Militärbefehlshaber passed on a message from OBWest with regard to a new kind of enemy Störballon. Also on this day, the Militärbefehlshaber issued a document concerning the passing of troops through his territory. In the event of an enemy attack on the Dutch coasts, a large number of German divisions (mentioned in the document) would pass from the territory of the Militärbefehlshaber Frankreich through that of the Militärbefehlshaber Belgian-Nordfrankreich during a total period of 6 days. The document further ordered the necessary traffic movementg coordination and accommodation for the passing troops. Oberst Clüver and Oberstleutnant Mangelsdorf were appointed as Strassenkommandanten. Units of the Grenzwachregiment Clüver would be available for the Verkehrsregelung, together with troops from the Feldgendarmerieersatzkompanie Zellick as well as the headquarters of the Landesschützenbataillonen 525 and 330. Oberleutnant Rückert of the Kommandantur des Truppenübungsplatz Beverloo was appointed Verkehrsregelungspost in Hechtel.

Further on 10 August, the minutes of a meeting concerning the transport of troops in the above case were drawn up.

On 11 August 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber issued an order concerning the protection of railroads and railway stations. Each of the Bahnschutzbataillonen were given specific tasks in the document. The document was also accompanied by a detailed map.

On 12 August 1942 the commander of the Generalkommando Schelde, Generalleutnant Ottenbacher met with the commander of I/Grenzwachregiment Clüver, Major Feltgen in Hulst.

On 14 August 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber submitted to OBWest an overview of events in the period 9-14/8.

On 15 August 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber issued an order assigning members of his headquarters staff to his senior commanders for the Bearbeitung of operational plans and orders. The document is interesting in that it mentions a large number of staff officers. All names can be found below:

  • Under the Chef des Generalstabes Oberstleutnant von Harbou: Oberleutnant Graf v.d. Schulenburg (Ordonnanzoffizier), Major Hartog (Verbindungsoffizier Paris)

  • Under the Ia, Oberstleutnant Koethe: Hauptleute Morgenbrod, Schneider, Neuber, Stelzmüller und Schiller (Stopi)

  • Under the Höheren Nachrichtenführer Oberst Müller: Major Siemon

  • Under the Oberquartiermeister, Oberstleutnant von Hauenschild: Ia, Hauptmann Küster, Hmot Oberstleutnant Kersting and Rittmeister Milde; Fz Hauptmann Hecht and Oberleutnant Wasser.; Armeenachrichtenführer Oberst von Platen and major Ruhnke; IVa Generalstabsintendant Fritsch, Oberintendanturrat Dr. Feller and Oberintendanturrat Dr. Fogt; IVb Generalstabsartzt Dr Blum and Stabsartzt Dr Förster; IVc, Oberstveterinär Dr. Hoffmann and Stabsveterinär Dr Reinholt; Armeefeldpostmeister Dr Stange und Feldoberpostrat Dr Haller.

On 21 August 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber submitted to OBWest an overview of events in the period 15-21/8.

On 27 August 1942 the military commander ordered the OFK 670 to confiscate radios in northern France.

On 28 August 1942 the military commander communicated that with immediate effect the Ju 86R  could be spotted in the occupied territories. Also on this day the Militärbefehlshaber submitted to OBWest an overview of events in the period 22-28/8.

 

On 2 September 1942 the mililtary commander communicated that, on the orders of the OBWest the code names for the sending of units in the case of an attack on the Dutch coast would be renamed from Fall A and Fall B into Aufmarschbewegung 1A and Aufmarschbewegung 1B with immediate effect.

On 3 September 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber asked OBWest for 4 extra companies of Landesschützen. Actually, this was a request formulated by the AOK15. In case of large-scale combat at the coast, the AOK15 wanted to occupy, in addition to the Lys line, the line St-Omer-Aire-Béthune-Douai. However, the Landesschützeneinheiten available to the OFK 670 were not sufficient for this. 4 Landesschützenkompanien were said to be missing. The Militärbefehlshaber made it clear that he was unable to provide these units. The OBWest was therefore asked to provide these companies for the OFK670. On 9 September the OBWest responded that this was impossible.

On 4 September 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber issued an order concerning a new Alarmregelung. The reason was that the OBWest feared enemy landing on the European coast in September. On days when there was a high risk of such a landing Vorwarnung would be called in order to speed up the Marschbereitschaft of reserves to 2 hours. Further on this an order was also issued concerning further training courses at Maria-ter-Heide.

On 5 September 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber submitted to OBWest an overview of events in the period 29/8-4/9.

On 6 September 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber issued an order concerning the training of army soldiers in Luftzielbeschuss, to take place in Harderwijk.

On 7 September 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber submitted his monthly reports for July and August. To begin, he again complained that the number of troops available to him had again decreased with the loss of a GFP group. Also, new assignments could mostly not be fulfilled in the previous months. Also, the fact that the units were called upon to provide numerous Begleitkommandos  was no longer felt to be tenable. Special forces for this had been requested. In addition, he listed a long list of measures taken to increase combat strength and combat readiness. Interestingly, the military commander expressed his disagreement with the creation of a rear army area (rückwärtiges Armeegebiet) in case of an attack. That area was, at present, located within the area of the Militärverwaltung and the military commander wanted to keep it that way. Two Anlagen contained an overview of air attacks and sabotage cases.

Further on this day, the Militärbefehlshaber issued an order on measures for capturing enemy air crews and the safeguarding of captured equipment. The document quoted passaged from a Luftwaffe document on the subject drafted by the Luftgaukommando Belgien-Nordfrankreich.

On 8 September 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber issued an order concerning the training of Walloons for service in the Hilfsgendarmerie.

On 10 September 1942 the military commander issued an order on the priority road use by Flak units. In the event of an enemy landing special Flak units would take over AA+defences along the marching routes used by the reserves. In doing so these units would have absolute priority.

On 12 September 1942 the military commander submitted to OBWest an overview of events in the period 5-11/9.

On 14 September 1942 the military commander wrote to the OKH/Chef des Transportwesens on the subject of Zugbegleitkommandos. Falkenhausen first, again, complained that his available forces were not sufficient to carry out the constantly increasing number of tasks, not even with the Flemish and Walloon Wachabteilungen. The situation had been aggravated by the need to provide protection parties for trains. On the request of the Militärbefehlshaber the Wehrmachttransportleiting Paris had requested the creation of a special force of ca. 500 troops; In this document the Militärbefehlshaber expression his support for this request.

On 15 September 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber issued an order concerning the traffac control in the event of major combat action, more specifically in the rear combat area. Oberstleutnant Wollschläger from the Grenzwachregiment Clüver was appointed Stabsoffizier für Marschüberwachung beim Militärbefehlshaber. The command areas of the OFKs were to become a Verkehrsabschnitt each in which Strassenkommandanten could be appointed.

On 16 September 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber was informed that a second reserve division (in addition to the 156 Reservedivision) and a corps headquarters would be transferred to his area.

On 17 September 1942 the military commander wrote that, on the order of the Führer, civilians who would contribute to the caoture of enemy agents or soldiers could be rewarded with the release of a relative prisoner.

On 18 September 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber submitted to OBWest an overview of events in the period 12-18/9.

On 21 September 1942 the military commander issued an order concerning shooting practice of the Landesschützen. An Anlage, drafted by the OKH, discussed Russian front combat experience for shooting practice training.

On 25 September 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber submitted to OBWest an overview of events in the period 19-25/9.

On 27 September 1942 Oberstleutnant Wollschläger (of the Grenzwachregiment Clüver) was appointed Strassenkommandant (traffic commander) for troop movements through the area of the Militärbefehlshaber. In this capacity, he replaced Oberst Clüver himself. On the same day, the 191 Reservedivision started arriving in the area Mons-Tournai-Charleroi, while the Generalkommando LXVII Reservekorps set up headquarters in Leuven. The sub-units of the 191 Reservedivision were accommodated in Charleroi-Mons-Nivelles-Tienen-Ronse-Oudenaarde and Geraardsbergen.

A similar document of 29 September repeated the above locations, adding Ramegnies-Chin. Also, mention was made of the Reservedivision 156, which  had been in the area of command since early 1941. The sub-units of the latter division were accommodated in Spa-Liège-Verviers-Namur-Vielsalm and Bastogne. The document was accompanied by a map showing the location of the divisions.

On 29 September 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber again took up the issue of the Zugbegleitkommandos. After the Chef des Transportwesens had rejected the request, the military commander now requested a Landesschützen unit of some 500 men as Zugbegleitformation.

 

On 2 October 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber submitted to OBWest an overview of events in the period 26/9-2/10.

On 6 October 1942 the Chef des Generalstabes OBWest, Generalmajor Blumentritt visited the area of the military commander (Brussels).

On 7 October 1942 the Generalkommando LXVII Reservekorps officially took command of both the 191 Reservedivision (with headquarters in Charleroi) and the 156 Reservedivision (with headquarters in Spa). The fact that these divisions were reserve formations is clear from the fact that when the 191 Reservedivision had fully arrived on this day, it counted only a strength of 2941 men. Further on this day, the Chef des Generalstabes OBWest, Generalmajor Blumentritt visited the area of the military commander (Antwerp). Further on this day, the Militärbefehlshaber released an interesting order: if a downed British airman were to ask to speak privately to an officer and mention the code word illusion, the Abwehrstelle Belgien was to be alerted. We take this to mean that the airmain in question would be spying for the Germans.

On 9 October 1942 we learn that the 7. Fliegerdivision left the area of command. Because of the departure of this unit the assembly areas in case of Aufmarschbewegung 1B were to be changed as follows: the 10. Panzerdivision would move to the previously planned area (headquarters in Baarle-Nassau), while the Panzerbrigade 100 would move to the area previously planned for the 7. Fliegerdivision (headquarters in Turnhout). Finally on this day, the Militärbefehlshaber submitted to OBWest an overview of events in the period 3-9/10. We find a reference to the Heereskraftfahrpark 520.

On 10 October 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber issued a document on the earlier-mentioned subject of freeing close relatives of people who would denounce enemy agents. Despite the success of this measure, there was a problem if the person in question did not have close relatives. The military commander therefore requested the OKW to change the qualification close relative into a relative.

On 12 October 1942 the military commander reported that after lengthy investigations the leaders of the resistance group of the belgischen Freiheitslegion had been captured in the area Sint-Niklaas-Aalst (the group was said to be closely related to the Belgian White Brigade). The complete uncovering of the entire organisation was still ongoing, with this far 67 members arrested.

On 13 October 1942 the Militärbefehshaber expressed his agreement with the transfer of the Ersatzeinheiten of the 156 Reservedivision currently located in his area in the period 21-30 October. This affected units located in Verviers-Liège-Bastogne-Vielsalm-Namur and Spa.

On 15 October 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber submitted an important report to the OBWest in which complained about the lack of Landesschützen forces and other forces still available to him to carry out the many duties expected of him. In the past six months - and in addition to troops lost to the Russian front - force levels had been severely weakened due to three reasons:

  1. For purposes of combat in case of an enemy landing at the coast, the following forces had been places at the disposal of the AOK15:

    1. 9 companies in the Abschnitt Antwerpen

    2. 4 companies for the Aufnahmestellung at the canal Gent-Terneuzen and the river Lys in case of an enemy breakthrough.

  2. The earlier Einsatzreserven had been reduced:

    1. The forces of the 156 Ersatzdivision, 5 Fliegerausbildungsregimenter and 2 Luftgaufeldregimenter had been lost

    2. The forces of the Marinestammregiment Beverloo, including the 15. Schiffsstammabteilung in Helchteren had been reduced from 10 companies to only one.

  3. Force reductions in favour of the Russian front had severely weakened remaining forces.

The Militärbefehlshaber then pointed out the consequences of the above losses. Firstly, the security and reserve forces of the OFKs had become completely insufficient. Secondly, the Einsatzreserve at the disposal of the military commander had been reduces as follows between April and October 1942: companies from 43 to 11, Geschütze from 18 to -, Pak from 26 to 3, heavy mortars from 29 to 17, heavy MG from 32 to 20. Finally, it had become questionable whether the rear of the combat army could still be defended against internal unrest, sabotage and enemy paratroopers.

All of this lead to the military commander requesting that the Einsatzgruppen of the 156 Reservedivision would not be used for creating Brunhilde divisions, but rather would be left at the disposal of the military commander.

On 16 October 1942 the military commander submitted to OBWest an overview of events in the period 10-16/10

On 18 October 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber issued an order concerning the Einteilung of the occupied territories for combat. On the basis of a new order released by the OBWest a new order would take effect. Henceforth a difference was to be made between the Sicherung of the occupied territories (the normal situation) and the Einteilung of the occupied territories for combat. In the former case the area was divided into the Gefechtsgebiet Küste (where the AOK15 was responsible for all security duties) and the Unterkunftsbereich where the military commander was responsible for all security. In the latter case the same division would exist. However, the duties would be different. In the Gefechtsgebiet Küste the army commander would take over all responsibilities from the military commander. The former, however, could still decide to leace certain duties in the hands of the latter. In the Sicherungsgebiet it was important that the military commander carried out the orders given by the army commander. For this reason the folllowing liaison officers would be sent to the AOK15: Major Schneider (Ia), Major Stratmann (Oberquartiermesiter) and the Oberkriegsverwaltungsrat von Werder. The OFKs and the höheren Nachrichtenführer would also send liaison officers to the divisions and corps in their areas. However, the military commander remained responsible for all security duties in the Sicherungsgebiet.

On 19 October 1942 the OKW refused the request to also release relatives instead of only close relatives in return for information leading to the capture of enemy agents.

On 23 October the military commander submitted to OBWest an overview of events in the period 17-23/10

On 26 October 1942 the Bataillons- und Abteilungsführerschule was transferred from Mourmelon (near Suippes) to Antwerp. Further on this day, the Militärbefehlshaber issued an order concerning the deployment of the Bahnschutzbataillone A meeting with the commanders of these battalions had brought to light they were being deployed in different ways, resulring in some units not having reserve forces. It was therefore decided that Einsatzreserven were to be availble, that every sentry was to be replaced after 1/4 year at the latest and that training was to be carried out.

On 27 October 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber issued a new order concerning the transfer of divisions in case of an attack on the Dutch coast (see 10 August above).

On 28 October 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber issued an order on the possibility of internal unrest in Belgium on 11 and 15 November and measures to prevent this. Of some interest here is the list of recipients, offering a full overview of German headquarters in the area. The list includes the OFKs, Grewa Clüver, Truppenübungsplätze Beverloo und Maria-ter-Heide, Höherer Nachrichtenführer, Oberquartiermeister, Militärverwaltung, Ordnungsdienst, Abwehrstelle Belgien, Leitender Feldpolizeidirektor, Beauftragter des Chefs der Sicherungspolizei und der Sicherheitsdienst, Dienststelle Brüssel, Propaganda-Abteilung Belgien, Transportkommandantur Brüssel, Transportkommandantur Lille, T. O., Hauptverkehrsdirektion Brüssel, Generalkommando LXVII Reservekorps, Zollgrenzschutz-Befehlsstelle Brüssel, Adjudantur Schloss Laeken, Ehrenwache Schloss Laeken, Frontleitstelle Brüssel, Beauftragter der Reiharbeitsführers beim Militärbefehlshaber as well as the normal military commands and internal sections.

 

On 4 November 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber issued an order concerning the use of reserve units for security duties in his area. He first pointed out that these reserve units were subordinated to the Chef H. Rüst. udn BdE, but were territorially subordinated to the him. In view of their training activities they could not be called upon for permanent security and guard duty. The concentration of the combat-capable parts of these units in mobile Eingreifgruppen was being prepared. If necessary, these would be called up and were at the disposal of the OKW. Considering the above, the units of the reserve divisions could only be called upon in very specific cases. In the event that the Eingreifgruppen were called up, only the non-combat-capable parts would be available. Onlyh in case of the highest danger would all reserve units be at the disposal of the OFKs in their respective territories.

On 5 November 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber issued an order concerning the traffic control in case of major combat. On the same day, the military commander issued another order urging its units to be on guard, even in winter, for possible allied landings.

On 6 November 1942 the military commander submitted to OBWest an overview of events in the period 31/10 - 6/11.

On 10 November 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber issued an order on Alarmeinheiten and the strengthening of the combat strength. Further on this day, the Ia, Oberstleutnant Koethe paid a visit to the Marinestammregiment in Beverloo, under the command of the Korvettenkapitän Schmitz. The latter gave a brief overview of the organisation of his unit. This showed that there were at present 4 Abteilungen, of which 2 were in Beverloo, 1 in Brugge and 1 in Holland. Both Beveloo units currently had a strength of some 4200. However, Beverloo had a big personnal turnover, amounting to 2000-3000 a month. The next big change would be on 15 November when 2000 men would leave and be replaced bt 1200 which were to receive basic training. However, these 1200 men could be used for security and guard duties. In case of an emergency this had even been planned. On a daily basis, the regiment provided a Wache of 200 men, supplemented in an emergency by Aussenwachen with a strength of 100 men. Permanently available were 3 Jagdkommandos with a strength of 36 men each. These Jagdkommandos would also remain available in an emergency case. In case of drohender Gefahr a Verfügungskompanie would be at the disposal of the military commander. In the most positive scenario, the regiment could additionally make available some 2000 men or 10-12 companies. These companies could be made mobile with the available trucks. Even though they did not possess heavy weapons, 60 light MGs could be provided. In necessary the FK Antwerpen could dispose of the Stabskompanie des Personalbüros. A planned meeting with the Admiral der Seebefehlsstellen on the same day did not take place.

On 12 November 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber issued an order concerning the possibility to cal upon the assistance of the naval forces in his territory for security duties. It followed the meeting with the commander of the Marinestammregiment Beverloo on 10 November above. Actually, the document was addressed to this unit, as well as to the 15. Schiffsstammabteilung Helcheren, the OFK 672 and the Kommandantur Truppenübungsplatz Beverloo, with the Admitral der Seebefehlsstellen mentioned as nachrichtlich. The military commander first pointed out that he was responsible for security in the Sicherungsgebiet and that units of all the Wehrmacht services not required for combat or local defence were to be offerd to him. The naval units mentioned above were located in his area. For combating paratroopers the units would form Jagdkommandos, which were at the disposal of the military commander. Further, in case of Alarmstufe II or Innere Bereitschaft C the following units were to be provided:

  • by the Marinestammregiment

    • the forces available for combat (less the Jagdkommandos) in companies of 150-200 troops with battalion headquarters and a regimental headquarters.as Einsatzreserve of the Militärbefehlshaber.

    • the forces not available for combat, but available for security duties, in as far as they were not used for the security of their own or local installations.

  • by the 15. Schiffsstammabteilung

    • all troops not belonging to the Jagdkommandos or required for local security duties, at the disposal of the OFK 672.

On 13 November 1942 the military commander submitted to OBWest an overview of events in the period 7-13/11.

On 16 November 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber issued an order on the basis of the grundlegende Bemerkungen OBWest Nr 14. In the order the military commander stated that the OBWest had ordered the following on the basis of processed experiences: 1) training guidelines for coastal defence (all soldiers should at least have seen a tank and experienced there is no need to be afraid of them); 2) measures against air attacks; 3) communications (problems with private conversations and secrecy) and 4) The military commander added that these measures also held for the units under his command.

On 17 November 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber issued concerning new recruits for the Landesschützenbataillonen. A total of 1200 new recruits had been received. For further training the soldiers had been asigned to the Grenzwachregiment Clüver. The troops would be distributed over the various LS-battalions in such a way that the difference between the actual strength and the theoretcial strength would be more or less the same in all units. Some troops would immediately be assigned; the others after having finished their training. An Anlage detailed which units were to receive how many new recruits. From this document it transpires that especially the Bahnschutzbataillonen had been greatly understrength.

On 19 November 1942 the Feldflakartillerieschule (West) 30, which had been located at the Truppenübungsplatz Maria-ter-Heide, was relocated to Antwerpen-Hoogboom on the orders of the Luftgaukommando Belgien-Nordfrankreich. On the same day the Militärbefehlshaber issued an order warning for enemy operations on the basis of information received. Especially places were locomotives were located were at risk. So, when the code word heute Nacht was given special measures had to be taken to protect these installations.

On 20 November 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber submitted to OBWest an overview of events in the period 14-20/11.

At around this time we find a list of locations for the various sub-units of the 191 Reservedivision, with headquarters in Charleroi. The sub-units were based in Charleroi, Nivelles, Soignies, Tien, Ronse, Oudenaarde, Geraardsbergen, Enghien, Ath, Mons, Tournai, Thuin, Morlanwelz and Pieton.

On 22 November 1942 the headquarters of the LXVIII Reservekorps was moved to Brussels in order to be able to work more efficiently with other commands, such as the Militärbefehlshaber Belgien-Nordfrankreich, which was also based in Brussels. The headquarters were located in various buildings on the Avenue des Nations, Avenue Louise and Avenue Molière. Also on this day the Landesschützenbataillon 684 was officially designated Zugbegleitkommando  (train accompaniment unit) and subordinated to the Militärbefehlshaber.

On 23 November 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber issued for the transfer of the transfer of two Landesschützenbataillonen (837 and 625) to the area of the Militärbefehlshaber Frankreich. This had been ordered by OBWest.

On 24 November 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber issued an order on security measures to be taken in case of major combat, especially taking and shooting hostages and the protection of important railroads and roads, bridges and other objects that could not easily be rebuilt. On the same day, the Militärbefehlshaber issued another order on the same subject. In this document we learn that in case of Alarmstufe II or innere Bereitschaft C, security forces would be made available by the Marinestammregiment Beverloo to the OFKs.

At around this time we find a list of locations for the various sub-units of the 156 Reservedivision, with headquarters in Spa. The sub-units were based in Spa, Vielsalm, Bastogne, Verviers, Liège, Namur, St. Servais, Dave, Bouge, Rhisnes, Belgrade, Wépion, Erpent-Val and Jambes.

On 27 November 1942 two Landesschützenbataillonen (837 and 625) were transferred to the area of the Militärbefehlshaber Frankreich. Further on this day, the Militärbefehlshaber submitted to OBWest an overview of events in the period 21-27/11.

On 28 November 1942 the units of the Transportbegleitbataillon 684 (see 22 November) had arrived in their areas. The headquarters and 2 companies were located in Brussels, while 1 company each was located in Hasselt and Venlo.

 

On 4 December 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber submitted to OBWest an overview of events in the period 28/11-4/12. On the same day the Untersturmführer of the Flemish SS, Schollen, was shot. If the perpetrators were not found within 6 days, 10 communists would be shot and 200 people would be arrested and interned.

On 9 December 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber issued an order ordering the carrying of arms at all times during service. The cause for this order was the fact that men going to the Ersatzteillagern 6 in Huy and 36 in Seilles had not been carrying weapons.

On 11 December 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber submitted to OBWest an overview of events in the period 5-11/12.

On 14 December 1942 the 338 Infanteriedivision had arrived in the Antwerp area, where it functioned as Heeresgruppenreserve. As a further reserve, the 26 Panzerdivision was located in the Ieper area as Armeereserve.

On 15 December 1942 we find a detailed overview of the organisation of the command, which can be found below:

 

 

Finally on 15 December we also have an overview of all the Landesschützeneinheiten:

 

 

As Anlage  we find an Einsatzkarte of the above units.

On 17 December 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber ordered caution during the festive season.

On 18 December 1942 the 1. und 2. Kompanie/Landesschützenbataillon 708, said to belong to Stalag 304 Leuven (in existence since October 1942), arrived in the area of the Militärbefehlshaber for the purpose of guarding Russian POW's. The headquarters were located in Leuven. Also mentioned at this point were the locations of the companies: Binche (1. Kp), Winterslag (2. Kp), Lens (3. Kp) and Hasselt (4. Kp). Further on this day, the Militärbefehlshaber issued an order concerning enemy air attacks on rai and road infrastructure. He started out by stating that increased air attacks were causing heavy losses for rolling stock, especially locomotives. OBwest had ordered that Flak defenceswere to be increased and organized more effectively. Thus far, the existing Flak defences of the Bahnschutztruppen had not been very effective. Specifcally more Flak-MG were to be used an the operators better trained. Hauptmann  Sudbrack from the Grewa Clüver, was mentioned as an adviser, since he had been trained in MG-Flak defences by the Luftwaffe. Finally on this day, the Militärbefehlshaber submitted to OBWest an overview of events in the period 12-18/12.

On 20 December 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber issued an order on traffic movement control in the event of major combat. The new element in this order was a new map with the Querstrassen detremined by OBWest, i.e. roads running northeast to southwest across the occupied territories. A second map gave an overview of telephone communication possibilities along the Marschstrassen. The map showed telephone lines of the Heer and the Luftwaffe, as well as the presence of Heeresvermittlungen and Sprechstellen. Included on the map is a most detailed overview of the precise location of the Sprechstellen and the unit to which the Sprechstellen belonged. This information has been detailed below (though some less relevant data have been omitted):

 

 

On 22 December 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber released an order concerning parachuted saboteurs. The immediate cause was the allied commando sabotage raid which took place in Bordeaux on 12 December. The Militärbefehlshaber pointed out the importance of dealing correctlty with sabotage and, above all, of preventing sabotage.

On 24 December 1942 a report mentions the presence of an Heeresabnahmestelle Herstal. On the same day the Militärbefehlshaber issued an order on attacks on military personnel. Indeed, the day before the first attacks were made on Wehrmacht personnel, rather than members of collaboration movements only. The order ordered strong measures with increased patrols and razzias. For this purpose, one platoon of the Feldgendarmerieersatzkompanie Zellick would be placed at the disposal of the OFK 589. It was also deemed necessary to involve Landesschützen and the reserve army units located in Liège.

On 26 December 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber submitted to OBWest an overview of events in the period 19-25/12.

On 29 December 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber issued an order on the protection of depots of the Oberquartiermeister AOK15. Indeed the latter has brought to attention that many depots with valuable goods were only weakly protected and vulnerable to attacks. Measures were to be taken to ensure that when under attack a depot could ask for and receive reinforcements.

On 30 December 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber issued another onder on saboteurs. He pointed out that various incidents in the recent past had pointed to increased infiltrations in and behind the coastal defences.

On 31 December 1942 the Militärbefehlshaber ordered 10,000 bicycles to be confiscated in the wider Brussels area, in response to attacks on Wehrmachtangehörige and deutschfreundliche Landeseinwohner in recent weeks. In the same reaction 20 Belgians were also executed.

 

3. 1943

 

On 1 January 1943 the Militärbefehlshaber submitted to OBWest an overview of events in the period 26/12-1/1.

On 5 January 1943 the Militärbefehlshaber issued a brief order that the securing of important objects by means of hostage-taking was to be expanded to a number of logistics depots and Heer installations. What is most interesting in this order is the list of such installations that follows:

  • In the area of the OFK670: Armeemunitions lager Wotan (bei St Amand), Armeebkeleidungslager Fort Englos (bei Lille), Armeebekleidungslager Le Quesnoy (bei Valenciennes), Armeeholzlager Lille, Armeekraftfahrpark 531 Estaires, Reifenstaffel 117 Arras, Instandsetzungsstaffel 590 Arras, Armeeverpflegungsausgabestelle 599 Roubaix, Armeemarketenderei Roubaix, Armeeverpflegungslager St Omer Fochkaserne, Bahnhof, Slachthof, Feuerwehrsaal, Kloster, Armeemarketenderei St Omer, Lager Wardrecques bei St Omer, Lager Strazeele, Lager Pont d'Ardres, Armeeverpflegungslager Cambrai, Schlächtereiabteilung 203 Cambrai, Slächtereikompanie 699 Lille-St André, Armeebekleidungsausgabestelle 599 Lager Roubaix, Armeepferdepark 531 Zweigstelle Artres, Armeeveterinärpark 529 Armentières.

  • In the area of the OFK570: Feldwerkstatt 573 Roulers, Bäckereikompanie 513 Roulers.

Further on 5 January an order was issued concerning the marching directions 1A and 1B governing the transport of units in the event of an attack on the Dutch coast. With this order these movements were newly ordered and all previous orders were to be destroyed. Some of the units would be marching through the area of the Militärbefehlshaber to the area Antwerpen-Weert-s'Hertogenbosch. These units were the 26 Panzerdivision and the SS-Panzergrenadierdivision Das Reich.

Around the same time we also find some interesting statistics with respect to the year 1942. By attacks a total of 18 Wehrmachtangehörige had been attacked, of whom 4 fatally. 11 of these had been attacked in December alone, marking a significant increase in this month. In contrast no fewer that 202 members of collaborating movements had been attacked in the same year, of whom 31 fatally. Also in 1942 the GFP and the SD had conducted had conducted 24 actions against terrorist movements in which 5 or more people were arrested. A total of 12 members of the GFP and Feldgendarmerie had been attacked, of whom 5 fatally.

On 6 January 1943 546 new Landesschützen recruits arrived in Brussels as a replacement for recent departures. As before, they were initially allocated to the Grenzwachregiment Clüver for further training, after which they would be divided over the Landesschützen einheiten.

On 9 January 1943 the Militärbefehlshaber submitted his report of events to OBWest for the period 2/1-8/1.

On 12 January 1943 the 1 und 3. Kompanie/Landesschützenbataillon 837 returned from the area of the Militärbefehlshaber Frankreich (see above) and set up quarters in Lille. The batallion had completely returned on 14 January. Also on this day, an order was issued on the subject of planned actions by enemy parachute troops., this on the basis of recent interrogation reports.
On 14 January 1943 the Militärbefehlshaber mentioned that, on the orders of the OKW, he could approve the payment of rewards to civilians in assisting in the apprehension of people. Also, a reward in kind was the release of arrested family members. In those situation in which the two rewards might apply, the Militärbefhelshaber now requested the permission to make a decision himself. Further on this day, the Militärbefehlshaber complained to OBWest. The main reason was that in November 1942 2 batallions of security troops had been transferred to the Militärbefehlshaber Frankreich. Now, however, one of these was about to be returned. In addition replacements were also to arrive from Germany so as to form 2 batallions. However, since these replacements were first still to be trained there would be a shortage of troops. In this context, it was pointed out that shedding of units and the simultaneous increased security in the Sicherungsgebiet were impossible.

On 15 January 1943 the Militärbefehlshaber issued an order, on the orders of the OBWest concerning  the possible confiscation of civilian radios.. Such a confiscation had been advised negatively by OBWest and this communication was now passed on. Further on this day, the Militärbefehlshaber issued hisr report of events for the period 9/1-15/1.
On 19 January 1943 it was reported that the leader of the overall terror and sabotage action in Belgium had been apprehended and that the uncovering of that organization was to now hoped for. Further on this day, the MilBH passed on a message by OBWest on recent nightly enemy air activity in support of sabotage and issued an order for increased alertness.
Further on this day, there was an important meeting between the Militärbefehlshaber and Admiral Canaris on the matter of a Höheren SS- und Polizeiführer for his area. Also Canaris believed that Falkenhausen had everything under control and that the special Belgian situation, not to be compared with France or The Netherlands, meant that it would be better not to appoint an AA-officer.  

On 20 January 1943 the SD-Befehlsstelle in Brussels was attacked by fighter planes. Also on this day, the MilBH passed on some notes that the OBWest had received from the OKL on British paratroops. The document mentioned the existenxce of at least 2 and probably 3-4 airborne division, each consisting of 10.000 men.

On 23 January 1943 the Militärbefehlshaber submitted to OBWest an overview of events in the period 16-22/1. Also on this day it was reported that in an action organised by the SD in Charleroi 23 resistance members were captured, including the leader of 6 groups and 2 leaders of sub-groups. Finally on this day, the Militärbefehlshaber sent a message OKH on the matter of the deployment of a Höheren SS- und Polizeiführer. He pointed out that resistance activity was limited and the successes hab been achieved against resistance groups, then stating clearly that the deployment of a Höheren SS- und Polizeiführer.would not yield more result. Instead he asked to reinforce the SD, which was subordianted to him. This document is all the more interesting as von Falkenhausen argued that any such deployment would be damaging to the Germans themselves. He also pointed out that, unlike in Holland and France, he alone was in charge and that that unity of command would be broken up. Finally, he defended the good work Reeder has done in recent years.

On 26 January 1943 the Militärbefehlshaber wrote that he had no objections agaisnt German civilians in the Gefechtsgebiet Küste wearing a yellow armband with Deutsche Wehrmacht.in the event of combat. Also on this day, 74 persons were arrested near Liège in a coordinated action of the Feldgendarmerie, GFP and SD.

On 29 January 1943 the Militärbefehlshaber informed his subordinate units that it was possible that a division would be located around Antwerp and Maria-ter-Heide as Heeresgruppenreserve. Also on this day, the Militärbefehlshaber issued his report of events for the period 23-29 January.

 

On 1 February 1943 the Militärbefehlshaber issued an order concerning the increasing of combat power. Actually, the order was very specific adding two more units freed for having to deliver combat troops in the event of an attack, namely the Abteilung Wasserstrassen of the Heeresverkehrsdirektion Brüssel and Paris. On the same day an order from the OBWest was also forwarded on the deployment of German civilian worksrs as Kombattanten. The OBWest order was brief, simply ordering that the Kombattanten were also effectively soldiers during preparation and training.

On 2 February 1943 the Militärbefehlshaber issues an order on the reinforcing of combat strength in the West. Due to units being lost to the Russian and African fronts, combat strength had te be found elsewhere, both within the Wehrmacht and the Wehrmachtsgefolge.

On 3 February 1943 an new Stabsoffizier fûr Marschüberwachung was appointed. Oberstleutnant Feltgen of the Grenzwachregiment Clüver as to replace Oberstleutnant Wollschläger.

On 4 February 1943 the Militärbefehlshaber issued an order with guidelines for combatting inner unrest, a 7-page document. An Anlage contained order for measures to be taken by the Oberfeldkommandanturen. There were three alert phases: innere Bereitschaft A, B and C.

On 5 February 1943 the Militärbefehlshaber submitted to OBWest an overview of events in the period 30/1-5/2.

On 6 February 1943 the Militârbefehlshaber ordered a training course to be held at Maria-ter-Heide (8. Lehrgang für Offiziere (Kompanieführer)) between 17/2 and 18/3.

On 8 February 1943 the Militärbefehshaber reported that also the deployment of gliders was to be expect in case of an enemy attack.

On 9 February 1943 the Militärbefehlshaber forwarded a combat report from the Grenzwachregiment Clüver on allied low-level attacks of the river Schelde. The reporting unit was the 13. Kompanie. Mentioned in the report is the Widerstandsnester Krähe and Löwe.

On 10 February 1943 an order was issued for the security of objects by means of hostages in case of large-scale combat<. The objects were more specifically logistical facilities of the Oberquartiermeister.

On 12 February 1943 the Militärbefehlshaber submitted to OBWest an overview of events in the period 6-12/2.

On 13 February 1943 it was reported that the following courses were to be organised at Maria-ter-Heide: 4. Lehrgang für Offiziersanwärter (24/2-27/5) and the 7. Lehrgang für Unterführer (24/2-8/4).

On 16 February 1943 n order was issued prohibiting the use of trucks to collect supplies due to fuel shortage. Instead, the railways and horse and cart were to be used.

On 17 February 1943 the Militärbefehlshaber warned for the likelihood of large-scale enemy landings by sea and air. Simultaneously, large-scale sabotage and civilian unrest were to be expected. To deal with this in the Sicherungsgebiet no other forces than those presently available, as well as local security provided by Luftwaffe and navy. As concerned the deployment of the Marinestammregiment (currently the 1 Flottillenstammregiment) Beverloo the order of 23 November 1942 remained in force. The document then pointed out essential principles for dealing with such a contingency. Finally, the document mentioned the location of the Einsatzreserven:

  • Grenzwachregiment Clüver: 1 Batl zu 4 Kompanien in Brüssel, 1 Batl mit je 2 Kompanien in St. Trond und Andenne; Batl-Stab in St-Trond (hierzu sind 2 Komp aus bder Grenzsicherung, sowie die auf dem Truppenübungsplatz Beverloo untergebrachte Kompanien heranzuziehen)

  • LS-Bataillon 508 (in Aufstellung in Brüssel) in Soignies

  • LS-Bataillon 750 (in Aufstellung in Brüssel) in Valenciennes

Further on this day, it was reported that a strike, which had broken out the day before in Charleroi, was losing its strength as a result of severe measures taken. The number of strikers had decreased from 7000 to 3000. The situation in Charleroi was quiet.

On 18 February 1943 it was reported that the Charleroi strike had been ended.

On 19 February 1943 the Militärbefehlshaber issued his overview of events for the period 12-19/2.

On 22 February 1943 the Militärbefehlshaber forwarded a report from OBWest again warning for allied attacks. Further on this day an order was released for a Notbetriebstreckennetz as of 1/3, i.e. railway lines to be used in an emergency. Orders were also given to the Bahnschutz units.

On 23 February 1943 the Landesschützenbataillon 508 was transferred to Soignies, while the Landeschützenbataillon 750 was relocated to Valenciennes. Further on this day the Militärbefehlshaber forwarded an change to the Grundlegenden Befehl des OBWest Nr 13 of 21/7/42. It allowed the use of French civilians in Offizierkasinos and Kantinen.

On 24 February 1943 an order was issued announcing the Unterführerlehrgang für flämische Wachabteilungen in Kontich in the period 17/3-15/4.

On 25 February 1943 a strike erupted in the steel works near Luik. Some 2,500 workers were on strike. The reason was that 25% of the skilled workers were to be transferred to Germany. The strike came to an end on 3 March. Also on this day the Militärbefehlshaber reported that only 1600 troops of the 1. Flottillenstammregiment Beverloo still remained for security duties. These were divided over the 5 OFKs with between 200-400 allocated to each OFK. In addition the OFK 672 was also said to dispose of the troops of the 15. Schiffsstammabteilung Helchteren.

On 26 February 1943 the Militärbefehlshaber report an ongoing strike at Cockerill involving some 6-7000 strikers. Further on this day, an order was issued for the training of Alarmeinheiten. Apparently, the OFK 671 had grouped the Alarmeinheiten in Brussel into an Alarmregiment which would now be given further training. The unit was referred to as the Alarmregiment Brüssel. Of some interest is one of the 2 Anlagen, which offers an overview of various units subordinated to the Militärbefehlshaber and located in Brussel:

  • Propaganda-Abteilung Belgien, Heereskraftfahrpark 250; Kriegskarten- und Vermessungsamt (zusammen mit Heeresabnahme-Inspizient und Wehrmachtsgräberoffizier, SS-Brigadeführer Jungclaus, Chef der Sicherheitspolizei und SD

  • Festungsrückbaustab 1 (zusammen mit Feldschaltabteilung zbV 1 und Dienstaufsichtrichter im Lg), Ortskommandantur Brüssel, Rüstungsinspecktion, Der Beauftragte für Schrott-und Altmetallerfassung, Oberquartiermeisterstab, der leitende Intendant (Schellhaus), Heeresunterkunftsverwaltung (zusammen mit Feldzeugstab zbV31, Wehrmachtsbeschaffungsamt und Lg.Kdo BNF Archiv und Karten,) Organisation Todt, Kommandostab, Heeresbekleidungslager, Hauptverkehrsdirektion, OFK 672, Wehrbezirkskommando Ausland (zusammen mit Zollgrenzschutz, Zentralstelle für Generatoren und Kdr für Urlauber-Überwachung Wachoffz. Süd

  • Aussenstelle des OKW für Truppenbetreuung, Frontleitstelle, Militärverwaltungschef, Heeresverpflegungsstelle, der bevollmächtigter für d. Kraftfahrwesen, Transportkommandnatur Brüssel (zusammen mit Kdr für Urlauber-Überwachung Wach-Offz Nord

Finally on this day, also released was the overview of events in the period 20-26/2.

On 27 February 1943 it was reported that the number of strikers in Liège has decreased from 20.000 to 4.000 and the at Cockerill everyone was working again. It was also reported that the strikes did not delay the Abstransport of workers to Germany.

 

On 1 March 1943 the Militärbefehlshaber forwarded 2 OBWest documents, the Grundlegender Befhel Nr 21 and the Grundlegende Bemerkungen Nr 21. In the order he pointed out the importance of the duties of the units and well as the training. Since, in the event of an allied attack, some enemy tanks might break through into the Sicherungsgebiet it was important to establish and train Panzernahbekämpfungstrupps, the training taking place in Oostakker. Also Falsschirmjägerkommandos were expected to be marschbereit within 15 minutes. On this day, it was also reported that only 900 workers were still on strike.

On 2 March 1943 a meeting took place in Antwerp with the LXXXIX AK. Present were General der Infanterie von Hubicki and Oberstleutnant von Boeltzig of the corps and Generalleutnant von Hammerstein and Ia Oberst Koethe. The latter were of the opinion that it was better that Generalmajor Schmidt would take over the Abschnitt Antwerpen, rather than the younger Generalmajor Krech. It was also felt that Schmidt wouuld be able to combine both the dutuies of Feldkommandant and Abschnittskommandeur. The former Feldkommandant Oberst Nadrowsky was said to be wenig aktiv. The corps commander agreed. In consequence the Stab of Krech would be added to Schmidt as tactical HQ. The Gefechtsstand was to remain at the Schloss Merxem in Merksem. The burden on Schmidt would be eased as an Oberst or Obersleutnant would take command of the Unterabschnitt Antwerpen-Stadt, while Krech would command the Unterabschnitt Ost.

On 3 March 1943 the Kommandostab issued an Aktennotiz concerning measures to reinforce combat strength in the event of civilian unrest and air landings in the Sicherungsgebiet after the withdrawal of the reserve division. Additional Jagdkommandos were needed to compensate for the lost Kommandos of the reserve divisions. Further, a freeing up of Landesschützen was necessary by guard duties being taken over by Alarmeinheiten. Thirdly, even though they were weak, the Einsatzreserven of the Militärbefehlshaber were deployed such that they could easily deal with unrest or large-scale landings. In addition, 2 further companies of the Grenzwachregiment Clüver had been withdrawn from the border duties. Finally, the importance of further training was stressed. What then follows in an overview of available forces for guard duty and deployment in the area of the Militärbefehlshaber:

  • Im Normalfall

    • Wachen: 26 1/3 Kompanien (8 1/3 flam/wall Wachkompanien)

    • Einsatz: 37 2/3 Kompanien (2 flam. Wachkompanien)

  • Im Alarmfall

    • Wachen: 35 Kompanien (9 1/3 flam/wall) + 1.600 Mann I. Flo. St. Beverloo

    • Einsatz: 51 1/3 Kompanien (1 flam. Wachk.)

  • Bahnschutzbataillonen:

    • Im Normalfall:

      • Wachen: 22 Kompanien

      • Reserve: 6 Kompanien in Ausbildung

    • Im Alarmfall:

      • Wachen: 28 Kompanien

      • Reserve: -

On 6 March 1943 the Kommandostab released an Aktennotiz. Point of discussion was the increasing number of attacks on Belgians cooperating with Germany. It was felt that special measures were needed to counter this. It was agreed that 10 members of the resistance would be shot. Further on this day, also released was the overview of events in the period 27/2-5/3

On 8 May 1943 the Militärbefehlshaber issued an order on the possibility of large-scale combat. This was due to OBWest warning that an enemy large-scale landing was probable in the period 10/3-15/4. The order then listed several measures to be taken during this period. Interestingly, the order also stated that in the near future exercises in combating air landings would be held with the support of the XI Fliegerkorps of General der Flieger Student. Actual air landings by trained German paratroopers were planned.

On 10 March 1943 the Militärbefehlshaber issued their Zusätze to the OBWest Grundlegender Befehl  der OBWest Nr 23. This order precisely covered the keeping of peace and order in the event of large-scale combat. The OFK were to establish contact with the Generalkommandos, suggesting to the latter officers as Kampfkommandanten. The Armee planned to have the following rear line for the first deployment area of Kampfkommandnaten and Strassenkommandanten: Turnhout-Herentals-Mechemen-Dendermonde-Gent-Lille-Bethune-St.Pol-Amiens. Also, the OFK were already to consider tactically important locations.  Further on this day, an order was issued that the older weapons being used were to be taken care of better.

On 11 March 1943 an important change took place in the command organization of Antwerp. Thus, Generalmajor Schmidt assumed command of the Abschnitt Antwerpen, while the former commander Generalmajor Krech (also the commander of the Truppenübungsplatz Maria-ter-Heide) took over the Unterabschnitt Ost. Schmidt was also the commander of the Feldkommandantur 520 in Antwerp.

On 26 March 1943 the Militärbefehlshaber informed his superiors of the fact that a French traffic guard (französische Verkehrswacht) had been established in the area of the Militärbefehlshaber Frankreich in order to protect less important objects along railway lines. Falkenhausen wrote that the setting-up of a similar organization in his area of command would be desirable.

On the same day Falkenhausen also discussed the increasing number of resistance actions in the area of the Oberfeldkommandantur Lüttich. In order to be able to combat these actions better, he wrote that the OFK was allocated a batallion of the Grenzwachregiment Clüver (4 companies).as well as a larger number of Feldgendarmen, and this for the period 29 March - 10 April.

 

On 2 April 1943 the Transportsicherungsbataillon 357 had arrived in the area of command. The headquarters, together with the first and second companies were based in Lille, the 3rd company in Brussels and the 4th company in Valenciennes.

On 14 April 1943 the Militärbefehlshaber reported that Wehrertüchtigungslager for the Hitlerjugend were to be erected in the area of command, starting from 2 May. These training and indoctrination camps were to give the Hitler youths a pre-miltary training. Camps were established in Gent, Groenendaal (near Brussels) and Bastogne.

 

On 9 June 1943 the Militärbefehlshaber ordered Alarmstufe I for the following units: OFK Gent, OFK Lille, Regimentsstab + III Batl GreWa Clüver  and Landesschützenbataillon 750. The reason was an indication of possible allied action. The measure was revoked on 10 June. It was ordered a second time on 12 June 1943 and again revoked the following day.

On 26 June 1943 the Landesschützenbataillon 837 was transported from Lille to the area of the Militärbefehlshaber Frankreich, a move which had been ordered by the OKW.

 

On 11 July 1943 the staff section of the KVA Antwerpen was established.

On 15 July 1943 the Militärbefehlshaber reported that a Dutch police batallion, which had bee operating in the area of the Militärbefehlshaber, hab been relocated to the Netherlands. The batallion had been in Belgium to prevent former Dutch soldiers, who were again be forced to become POW in Germany, to flee to Belgium.

On 30 July 1943 the Militärbefehlshaber requested the SS to be allocated a military police batallion to combat the resistance in the Ardennes area. This request was apparently ignored.

 

On 6 August 1943 we learn that units of the Grenswachregiment Clüver (whose name had by now changed into Sicherungsregiment 16) had been fighting the resistance in the Ardennes. On this day three companies of the regiment were withdrawn from the Ardennes. Thus the 3rd company was transferred to Aarschot, the 5th company to Leuven and the 14th company to Brussels. The latter company was then to be transferred to Maria-ter-Heide on 16 August to relieve 2/237 Landesschützenbataillon as Ausbildungskompanie.

On 16 August 1943 Falkenhausen reported that intelligence suggested an impending allied attack on the Channel Coast. All subordinate units were ordere to check their command and communication procedures. Reserve units were ordered to be ready for movement within the hour. Also on this day the Oberfeldkommandantur Lüttich and the Sicherungsregiment 16 were ordered to immediately relocate the 3 companies of the regiment still in the Ardennes. Thus a batallion headquartes and company were ordered to Tienen, another company to Andennes and third company to Seilles.

On 17 August 1943 one of the above measures was relaxed: the one-hour readiness for reserve was only to be observed at night. During the day, a four-hour readiness was ordered. Also on this day we learn that provisional transport had been organized for 16 companies (10 from the SR 16 and 3 each from the Landesschützenbataillone 750 and 508).

 

On 6 September 1943 the Militärbefehlshaber reported that he had 24 battalions on hand: 16 of these were Landesschützenbataillone, 5 Landesschützenbataillone im Eisenbahnschutz (railroad protection) and 3 battalions of the Sicherungsregiment 16. These 24 battalions were deployed as follows: 2 battalions in the KVA Antwerpen (for use by the AOK15), 5 battalions for railroad protection, 4 battalions as Eingreifreserve of the Militärbefehlshaber, 4 battalions as Eingreifreserve of the Oberfeldkommandanturen and 9 battalions being used for guard duties.

On 9 September 1943 Falkenhausen again declared Alarmstufe I. The reason for this measure was that the allied air force had systematically been attacking airfields, traffic and defence installations, prompting the German to expect an allied landing. In line with Führerweising Nr 40 OBWest had also asked all defensive measures to be reviewed and this order was passen on to subordinate units.Even though the Alarmstufe was quickly called off again, Falkenhausen also declared a Sperrstuden, fixed at 10pm, for all locations where troops were billeted on 10 September. This evening clock was called off again on 20 September.

On 20 September 1943 the Wehrertüchtigungslager of the Hitlerjuged were moved to safer locations close to the German border. Thus the WE-Lager Groenendaal was relocated to Bastogne and the WE-Lager Bastogne to Spa. The document further states that all WE-Lager were now situated close to the German border: WE-Lager I-II in Vielsalm, WE-Lager I-III in Spa and WE-Lager I-IV in Bastogne.

On 30 September 1943 the Militärbefehlshaber was able to report that every unit had reviewed their defence and security measures in case of enemy attack or internal unrest, as was ordered by the OBWest.

 

On 4 October 1943 it was reported that the Landesschützenbataillon 837 (until now operationl in the area of command of the Militärbefehlshaber Frankreich) would agein be put at the disposal of the Militärbefehlshaber Belgien-Nordfrakreich from 10 October onwards. The battalion would be tactically subordinated to the AOK15 for object defence in the area north od St-Omer.The battalion was tactically subordianted to the Pionierstab 101 in Hallines by the AOK15.

On 5 October 1943 an important meeting took place in which measures were discussed in order to deal with active armed Ardennes resistance movements in future. The following conclusions were reached:

1) possibilities for the transfer of further Feldgendarmerie and geheime Feldpolizei forces to the Ardennes area would be evaluated;

2) the Feldgendarmerie was to be freed of non-military police duties; instead Landesschützen units were to be given police tasks and their police training was to be improved;

3) The Kommandanturen were to permananently have motorized forces (Überfalkommandos) at their disposal;

4) the Belgian Gendarmerie was to be angaged more in combating resistance movements;

5) the Jagdschutzkommandos (Sicherungskommandos) deployed in the Ardennes were to be increased in numbers and employed in fighting armed resistance.

On 8 October 1943 the 2. Kompanie/Landesschützenbataillon 771(B) was withdrawn from security duties at the Watten project and relocated to its battalion in Chaudfontaine.

On 10 October 1943 the Landesschützenbataillon 837 entered the area of command of the Militärbefehlshaber. The headquarters and 2 companies were based in Thiennes; the third company was located in Caffiers.

On 12 October 1943 Falkenhausen reported that on 10 October a strike had broken out in the area Béthune-Lens. The 7500 strikers were said to be acting under communist influence. Even though several arrests were made, the strike movement increased in numbers. Thus, on 18 October 1943 the Landesschützenbataillon 750, which had been deployed in Cambrai for a few days, was today subordinated to the OFK 670 Lille for deployment in the strike area.

On 21 October 1943 II/Sicherungsregiment 16 was subordinated to the OFK 589 Lüttich for the purpose of fighting the resistance in the Ardennes region.

On 25 October 1943 the Landesschützenbataillon, which had been deployed in the strike area around Lens (see above) moved back into its lodgings in Valenciennes.

On 26 October 1943 the II/Sicherungsregiment 16 was transferred from the Tienen-Seilles-Andennes area to the Neufchatea area for use in the southern Ardennes region.

On 29 October 1943 the Militärbefehlshaber (on orders of OBWest) ordered 3 of his own battalions to be transferred to Russia. The Landesschützenbataillonen involved were the nos. 330, 508 and 750.

 

On 3 November 1943 Falkenhausen requested OBWest to be allocated 3 Ostbataillonen, most likely to replace the 3 Landesschützenbataillonen lost (see above). On the same day a Terrorbande (armed resistance gang) was apparently captured/arrested in the Ardennes region. Also, an ammo dump in Kortrijk was discovered. Finally, also on this day, one company of the Landesschützenbataillon 863 was ordered to deploy for the purpose of replacing the Landesschützenbataillon 360. On 5 November we learn that the above-mentioned company, 2. Kompanie/Landesschützenbataillon 863 was moved from Valenciennes to Mons and subordinated to the OFK 520.

On 10 November 1943 Generalfeldmarschall Keitel visited von Falkenhausen in Brussels. The meeting was held in the Hotel Plaza, the lodgings of Falkenhausen. Also on this day, a second company of the Landesschützenbataillon 863 was transferred to the OFK 520.

On 15 November 1943 II/Sicherungsregiment 16 was transferred from the area of Neufchatea (see above) to an area south of Liège to fight the resistance there.

On 16-17 November the 3 designated battalions (see above) were transported off to Russia. Also on 17 November two of the three replacement battalions, the Ostbataillone 600 and 669 arrived in the area of command. They were subordinated to the Sicherungsregiment 16 and lodged in the cloyster of Ramegnies-Chin near Doornik.

On 18 November 1943 the Landesschüzenbataillon 627 with its headquarters and 2 companies was transferred to Gent and subordinated to AOK15 to assist with the construction of the 2. Stellung in the area near to the Dutch border to the north of Gent. On 19 November a flämische Wachkompanie was transferred to the same area for the same purpose.

On 22 November 1943 the third east battalion, the Wolgatartarenbataillon 827 arrived, was subordinated to the Sicherungsregiment 16 was well, and lodged in Kaulille (near Bocholt).

 

TO BE CONTINUED