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The Constabulary


After WWII, the U.S.Army begun to constitute an occupation police,which, as security police (sometimes also called Lightning Bolt Police*),took care of security in postwar Germany between 1946 and 1952/3). These so called Constabulary units in the U.S. Zone of Occupationhad a strength of approx. 38,000, i.e. 3 brigades with 3 regiments. The helmet insignia showed a blue C on yellow and a red lightning bolt*.

On June 30, 1946. The NEUE ZEITUNG, an American newspaper for the German population, reported from Constabulary Headquarters Bamberg: “U.S. Constabulary Forces, a new security force. On July 1, the Constabulary will be designated with the keeping of law and order. 38,000 policemen will control cities, streets and borders with their tanks, armored cars, their jeeps motorcycles and trucks. The new organization liaisons with the occupational forces, the military police and the German civilian police, and will take care that a dense police protection network is covering the American occupation zone. British and French officers are very interested in this American experiment and consider similar institutions in their zones. Chief of the U.S. Constabulary is Major General Ernest N. Harmon. The former commander of the 1st Armored Division… To have the necessary mobility and adaptability for its various tasks, airplanes, all types of vehicles, and a great number of horses shall be at their disposal. In addition, it will be supported by special groups of researchers, interpreters and detectives. The U.S. Constabulary shall support and reinforce the existing American and German authorities which are commissioned to uphold law and order, but not replace them… Mobility, vigilance, and justice are the motto of the Constabulary. The men of the Constabulary are trained as policemen as well as soldiers., and it is required that they unite the good capacities of both… The new U.S. Constabulary is the second organization which is activated by the U.S. Army to maintain the peace in foreign countries under U.S. control. The first was the Philippines Constabulary, established in 1903.” After all, Major General Ernest N. Harmon, the commander of the Constabulary, published the following job description: “The men of the U.S. Constabulary are soldiers and policemen at the same time. They are at attention all over the U.S. zone to support the politics of the American government. Honesty, correctness and politeness will lead them in the performance of their activities…!” So far some excerpts of the report.

By the end of 1948, these regiments returned to their original task and organization as Armored Cavalry Regiment. They were equipped not only with the Light Armored Car, M.8 and the Armored Utility Car, M.20, but also with the Light Tank M.24 Chaffee and the Medium Tank, M.26 Pershing.

In Augsburg, the 2nd Constabulary Brigade was located in Sheridan Kaserne near Stadtbergen Gate, while the 5th Cavalry Regiment with the 74th Squadron was in Gablingen. In April 1951, General Eisenhower visited the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment (A.C.R.) during a combat training in the Deuringen Training Area (called „Panzerkessel“). Already in October of the same year, the Constabulary left Augsburg after a grand parade on Fugger Street.

Mr. Irvin L. Deneen served during most of the Constabulary Area in Augsburg with D Co, 2nd Bn, 2nd A.C.R. He donated AiA some valuable photographs of his military service for which we owe him our special thanks. His exceptional task immediately after the war was to keep Hermann Goering in custody during the Nuremberg Trials.

M24 Tank at Sheridan Kaserne
strange interrogation training
Sociability in the barracks bar
Irvin L. Deneen