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In August 1945, the four allied powers: America, Britain, France and Russia, divided Germany into four military occupation zones. America took control of the Southern area (comprising what is today the states of Baden-Wurttemberg, Bavaria, Bremen & Hessen). Britain took the North West (comprising Schleswig Holstein, Hamburg, Nordrhein Westfalen and Niedersachsen), France the South West (comprising Rheinland Pfalz and Saarland) and Russia the East (comprising what is today Brandenburg, Thuringen, Sachsen, Sachsen / Anhalt & Mecklenburg Vorpommern). The Capitol of Berlin was also divided into four quadrants. Note: The Russian sector will be explored separately in the East German Police Thread.

The former German provinces of East Prussia, East Pomerania, and Silesia were transferred to Poland. Originally, Bremen was also to have been part of the British controlled sector, but the Americans took control of Bremen, arguing that they required at least one secure harbor.

By 1955 most of West Germany sovereignty had been restored except Saarland which did not re-join till 1957. East and West Germany would remain divided till 1990.

Each respective allied country brought with it their own unique vision of policing. This can be seen in the wide variety of uniforms and insignia. Additionally, the immediate ramifications on the existing police were also diverse. In some sections, such as the British controlled North West, the continued use of war time uniform (absent the III Reich insignia) was of less concern than in the American sector where uniforms were banned till they could be replaced.

The uniforms and insignia worn in each respective state are diverse. It would be extremely difficult to try and write a detailed outline in this opening. But over time I will attempt to add individual outlines as these threads expand. Those seeking specific information are encouraged to contact me direct. Please understand, I am not an expert, just a collector with a passion for German police insignia.

Suffice to say that the uniform history can, and is encouraged to, be viewed in three different time periods:

1) 1945 – 1979 (Diverse Uniforms)
2) 1979 – 2005 (Green Uniforms)
3) 2005 – Present (Blue Uniforms)

From 1945 till 1979, the various states had a wide array of insignia and rank. Additionally, uniforms varied from green to blue, and various shades thereof. One could leave the City State of Hamburg where the police NCOs wore blue uniforms with inverted British style chevrons and go to Schleswig Holstein where they wore Green uniforms with III Reich style rank. In contrast, one could go to Bavaria which had both a State Police (Landespolizei) as well as City Police (Gemeinde / Stadt) forces. The last city police force was Munich, which was finally merged into the state police in 1975. This organization was also prevalent in the other American Sector states.

This confusing structure remained until the mid 70’s when a re-organization took place to clearly define the Police uniform & vehicle standards. This resulted in a standard of green jacket, tan pants and shirts, and green hats. The arm patches and hat badges also were redesigned, the only difference was the display of the states crest in the center. Rank insignia was also changed to one standard style. Vehicles were also redesigned to conform to a white & green motif with the lettering “Polizei” in bold lettering.

In 2005 a 2nd reorganization took place, this time moving away from the green uniforms to a more recognized blue uniform. Hat badges, patches and rank remain the same as before, just in a blue motif. Vehicles also changed to a silver & blue design. The changes are still underway although more than 2/3 are already changed. The last remaining “green” states being Sachsen, Bavaria and Saarland (as of June 2007).

Besides the state police agencies, collectors should also examine the other law enforcement agencies: Bundespolizei (formerly the Bundesgrenzschutz), Bahnpolizei (merged into the BGS in 1992), Zoll, and Bundestagpolizei.

Happy Collecting,

Andrew

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Andrew, thank you very much for the above introduction to start this thread off in the right direction! Your participation to the Police Uniforms Forum is greatly appreciated and highly valued!

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Dave

Thank you very much for your kind words. I feel that my participation here is an honor. Hopefully I will be able to expand on this thread with outlines on the individual states. Doing it that way is the only realisitic way of approaching it.

Andrew


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First let me say that I feel terrible that it has taken me so long to write this. The other day I injured my wrist and it has taken a few days to get over the tenderness. Advil & Tylenol are tremendous !!

Anyway, here is the 1st installment along with photos. My goal is to write a little blurb about each state individually (Alpabetical Order) and then post corresponding photos.

If anyone has any questions, or corrections, please feel free to ask.

Andrew


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Baden-Württemberg

After World War II Allied forces established three states: Württemberg-Baden (occupied by the US), Württemberg-Hohenzollern (France) and Baden (France). In 1949 these three states became parts of the Federal Republic of Germany. These states officially merged on 25 April 1952 into Baden-Württemberg. In 1953, the various “Wasserschutz Polizei” patrols were also merged.

Prior to the merger I know of five different insignia used by the polizei in these areas (Photo 1). This photo shows four of these patches (3 Arm Patches & 1 Hat Patch). The fourth is a green version of the Baden patch. Obviously they are extremely difficult to find.

In addition to a state police “Landespolizei” in the US sector, there were additional municipal departments “Stadtpolizei” (Photo 2). My research has determined that there were approximately 62 of these city police departments with their own individual patches, breast badges and hat badges. This was all part of the “decentralized” policing preferred by the US Military Government. Eventually these local departments would be merged into the state police beginning with the ones employing the fewest officers.

Two separate and distinct uniforms were worn during this time by the state police (Green) and City Police (Blue). Each featured their own distinct pie shaped collar rank (Photo 3 & 3a). As each municipality was merged into the state police, the uniform was changed over. The last merger of a municipal department took place in the early 70’s.

Additionally, the state police also had an water police section which wore the same patch as the state police, except with a navy blue background. This remained in effect till the mid 1970’s when West Germany instituted a nationwide reorganization of all police departments.

In the mid 70’s a change was instituted that created one uniform look for every police agency within West Germany. Gone were the varying shades of blue and green. What resulted was a standardized uniform featuring hat badge, patch, and rank (Photo 4 a & b). Each state would have one uniform for normal patrol officers (Green) and one for water patrol (Blue) which closely resembles a naval uniform.

Obviously there are always going to be “rule breakers” in the bunch. I will try to identify them as they occur in each state. For Baden-Württemberg it was the shape of the rank and placement of the four stars in the PHM, E/PHK and Ltd. Pol. Dir. Ranks.

From the late 80’s to present there has been a growth of what is refereed to as “special unit” insignia. While some are officially worn, other remain novelty products of the units or organizations. I have depicted a few of these (Photo 5).

Around 2000, another change occurred in the vehicles. They went from the Green & White scheme to a Green & Silver.

In 2005 another uniform reorganization took place. All uniforms are being transitioned over to a navy blue design. In addition to the change in the standard uniform, the police have also adopted a more casual uniform. This has caused a change in all patches, rank insignia as well as vehicles. At the present time (June 2007) Baden-Württemberg is still in the transition phase.

I will step up to the plate and say I am not fond of the new uniforms. While I always appreciate new insignia to track down, the uniforms look more like the product of a 5th Avenue Designer, then something that is practical for patrol. Time will tell.

Andrew

PS: Before someone asks, no these are not all in my collection....... I wish !!! Some are, while others are from reference sources I have compiled over the years.


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Photo 1 - Patches worn from 1946 - 1952



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Municipal Police - Photo 2



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Photo 3 - State Police



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Photo 3a - Municipal Police (Stuttgart)



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Photo 4 - State Police (1976 - Present *)



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Photo 4b - Rank Structure



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Photo 5 - Special Unit Patches



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Next Post - Bavaria

My apologies for the delay. I have 95% of the next post / photos already done. Just awaiting clarification on the use of a particular insignia.

Andrew


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For those of you who enjoyed the explanation of police insignia in Baden-Württemberg, grab a drink cause the fun continues. 1st Let me say that while American administration of Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria and Hessen might have ultimately led to a lot of neat insignia for collectors, it is a bunny to try and document. So without any further complaining, lets press on to the insignia of post war Bavaria.

In keeping with it’s theme of “de-centralized policing” the US Military Government once established two separate police agencies. The “Gendarmerie” which patrolled the rural areas and “Stadt or Gemeinde Polizei” which were responsible for policing in cities with over 5,000 inhabitants. In early 1946, the title Gendarmerie was replaced with “Landpolizei”. I have not seen a “Gendarmerie” patch before. Additionally, Bavaria is comprised of 7 administrative districts and at one time each district had it’s own separate insignia. (Photo 1)

My research has determined that there were approximately 152 of these city police departments with their own individual patches, breast badges and hat badges. Eventually these local departments would be merged into the state police generally beginning with the ones employing the fewest officers. The mergers began in January 1953 with the city police of Olching. Munich was the last to be merged on October 1st, 1975. (Photo 2)

Subsequently, the state police changed their title from Landpolizei to Landespolizei. (Photo 3)

From 1946-1952, training for the state police was conducted at the Landpolizeischule. In 1953, when the mergers began. Training was centralized under the auspices of the Bayerische Polizeischule. I’m not positive if there was ever an insignia for the original Landpolizeischule, but the subsequent Bayerische Polizeischule did have their own insignia. In 1951 a separate Alert (Disorder) Police (Bereitschaftspolizei) was instituted and along with it came a distinct patch. (Photo 4)

Another interesting aspect of Bavaria law enforcement is that beginning in 1946 and continuing to 1998, Bavaria maintained a border police “Grenzpolizei”. They also had their own separate and distinct insignia. (Photo 5) While originally an independent authority, in 1952 it became a sub-command within the State Police. Additionally, the Bavarian Police also maintains it’s own Mountain Rescue unit “Polizeibergfuhrer”, originally part of the Grenzpolizei, the unit evolved into a specialized mountain rescue unit and has it’s own insignia (Photo 5)

All insignia, Landespolizei, Bereitschaftspolizei and Grenzpolizei were worn until the reorganization in the mid 70’s. These were replaced with the standardized uniform featuring hat badge, patch, and rank. Each state would have one uniform for normal patrol officers (Green) and one for water patrol (Blue). (Photo 6) Bavaria has not begun the changeover to the new uniforms as of June 2007.

The Landeskriminalamt (LKA) is the state criminal police agency of the Bavarian police which is headquartered in Munich. (Photo 7) Their duties included forensics, bomb disposal, hostage negotiations, narcotics and organized crime investigations. Each state maintains their own LKA, which is directly subordinate to the state ministry of the interior. There is also a federal version which will be discussed later.

From the late 80’s to present there has been a growth of what is refereed to as “special unit” insignia. While some are officially worn, others remain novelty products of the units or organizations. I have depicted a few of these (Photo 8).

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask. Andrew


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Photo - 1

Post WWII - Landpolizei


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Photo - 2

Stadtpolizei


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Photo - 2a

Detailed examination of the City of Munich Stadtpolizei. The blue rank was used by the city police forces. The Land/Landespolizei utilized green colored backing.


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Photo - 3

Landespolizei


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Photo - 4

Police Academy & Riot Police

The Panther is the logo of the BePo. The lower images with the different colored borders are for martial arts and are equivalent to the different belts.


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Photo - 5

Grenzpolizei & Polizeibergfuhrer


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Photo - 6

Current Insignia (as of June 2007)


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Bavaria State Criminal Police (LKA)


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Special Unit Insignia


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Next up is Berlin. Be patient, as there is a lot to do with this state.

Andrew


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Pat,

A very nice collection of West German Police caps. I see you have what looks to be a Berlin Verkehrspolizei white top cap in the center of the bottom row. Here is a well worn Berlin peaked cap that I got from a Sergeant that I did a ride along with in Berlin about ten years ago. He styled it into a "50 mission crush" but since he was then on a plain clothing assignment, he said he would just requisition a new cap when he went back into uniform.

When I was there around 1993, there had just been a scandal with the Berlin traffic police accused of siphoning off some traffic fine money before it got turned in. Most of the traffic police guys at that time were recently integrated East German policemen who were in the midst of the accusations. The Verkhrspolizei were not a bunch of happy campers at that time and were a pretty sullen lot. They did look good in their white top caps though.

George

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Berlin Polizei Schrimmütze
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Here is what I have left of my West German police hats the time frames they were used if from the 70's-90's. Sorry for the crap picture.

pat

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"I only had two beers officer, I swear."

"In GOD we trust, everyone else keep your hands were we can see them"

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Removable Hauptwachtmeister shoulder boards with green interior cords and aluminum wire outer cords. The wool backing and attaching straps are also green. These West German police shoulder boards are made in the WWII style, unlike later East German shoulder boards.

George

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Hauptwachtmeister Shoulder Boards
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Machine sewn shoulder patch of the Rheinland-Pfalz Polizei. This patch is also worn on the left sleeve of the moosegreen shirt. The shirt can be worn with removable shoulder boards without the tunic in summer and in winter. This is an early oval shaped patch but shield shape patches will be found on later Rheinland-Pfalz Polizei uniforms.

George

"You can't please everyone, so you've got to please yourself." Ricky Nelson

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Rheinland-Pfalz Polizei
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West German police uniform from Rheinland-Pfalz. A four button uniform that has an open collar and no collar tabs. It is worn with a yellow (moosegreen) shirt and a green tie. The tunic is dated 1972 and has a WWII style bandage pocket and a slit in the right pocket for the pistol to be worn outside the tunic while suspended from an interior belt.

George

"You can't please everyone, so you've got to please yourself." Ricky Nelson

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Rheinland-Pfalz Polizeijacke
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Back of tunic showing two panel cut with a slit in the tail. The trousers for this uniform are of the same color twill without piping. The trousers do have a baton pocket in the pant leg.

George

"You can't please everyone, so you've got to please yourself." Ricky Nelson

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Back of Tunic
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View of the Berlin Schupo sleeve insignia that is machine sewn to the summer weight tunic.

Berlin_Schupo_star_patch.JPG (48.43 KB, 370 downloads)

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View of the machine sewn gold wire WSP Officer rank stripes on the cuffs. The cuff stripes are sewn into the sleeve seam as is proper for this style of rank insignia. Notice the gold wire police star machine sewn above the stripes. This police star is different than the five pointed star found on similar naval tunics.

"You can't please everyone, so you've got to please yourself." Ricky Nelson

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WSP Rank Insignia
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Inside liner is grass- green silk , the tunic has 2 inside breast pockets . Liner of the arm sleeves is a stripe gray-white cutton . Inside front also has a wound-pack pocket .All buttons are hmkd."A" for Assmann. Tailor label says :" A.W.Hering--BREMEN--Am Wall 119 "---;if you want to order one made for you !!

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West German Wasserschutzpolizei Officer tunic. This blue double breasted tunic has dual gold rank stripes on the sleeves but has no provision for shoulder boards or collar tabs. The tunic has a false lower right pocket with an opening for the pistol that is hung from the trouser belt in typical West German Police fashion. The uniform is 55% polyester and 45% wool with gilt fouled anchor buttons.

George

"You can't please everyone, so you've got to please yourself." Ricky Nelson

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Bavarian WSP Officer Tunic
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View of the machine sewn Bavarian Polizei sleeve isignia on the left sleeve. This insignia is embroidered in gilt wire on blue felt backing.

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Bavarian Polizei
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View of the back of the Bavarian WSP tunic showing the two panel cut with a central seam. It is made without a vent in the tail in typical naval style.

George

"You can't please everyone, so you've got to please yourself." Ricky Nelson

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Bavarian Wasserschutzpolizei
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The Hamburg City Gate insignia on each lapel.

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I have not added anything to this thread for awhile so here is an early West German Berlin Schutzpolizei tunic. It is blue and was worn without shoulder boards. The US forces did not like the new German Police being dressed in green so they mandated blue uniforms in the 1940s. German Police agencies gradually changed back to the traditional green uniforms that one sees in Germany today.

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Backside.

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