Front Aufklärungs Kommando

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krichter33
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Front Aufklärungs Kommando

Post by krichter33 » 01 Oct 2020 21:08

I have read a little about these Abwehr controlled units that were used to gather intelligence in the field. However, I can't find much more information about them. I was curious if anyone knew anything more about how these units operated, the makeup of these units, some of their missions, etc... Thanks.

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Re: Front Aufklärungs Kommando

Post by Tamari » 01 Oct 2020 22:38

Hello krichter33,

in the so called Westfeldzug against France the Abwehr had created some mobile teams which were tasked to bring in/ discover documents and things like that about the fleeing French intelligence services and the French armed forces. Information about the armed forces were shared with "Fremde Heere West" while Abwehr itself analyzed the documents about its French counterparts. Unfortunately I forgot the name of one of these officers. I think one of these team-leaders was Alexander Waag, a long-time officer of Abwehr I and a relative of Admiral Canaris' wife whose maiden-name was Waag. => https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Waag

These units were to some extent the predecessor of the Frontaufklärungskommando (FAK) and the subordinated Frontaufklärungstrupps (FAT).

During operation Barbarossa and its follwing operations in Russia every Abwehr department (I, II, III) had created smaller units which were tasked with the specific duties of their parental department. So Abwehrkommandos and Abwehrtrupp with a number 1 as the first of three numbers had to recruit intelligence sources near and behind the frontline. 2-er units had to conduct sabotage and diversion against Russian units and infrastructure and 3-er units were in charge for mobile counter-intelligence operations what means that they had to catch Russian spies or partisans and special forces units of the NKVD.

Especially in the later stage of the war the so called Abwehrstellen (Ast) and Nebenstellen (Nest) were closed due to the advance of the allies and more and more of these mobile units were build up. Per example near the French channel-coast the Ast Anger III-branch was in charge to safeguard the V-weapons against enemy sabotage and spies. These part of the Nest was transformed in a mobile FAT-3 detachment which had retreated with the V-weapons-unit back into Germany. Source: Burghardt, Franz Josef: „Spione der Vergeltung. Die deutsche Abwehr in Nordfrankreich und die geheimdienstliche Sicherung der Abschussgebiete für V-Waffen im Zweiten Weltkrieg“, Verlag Weber, 2017

Later on with the merger of the Abwehr with the RSHA in spring and summer 1944 the units were renamed FAK and FAT.

These units had often its own trainings camps were they trained there own German people but also foreign "volunteers" who sometimes deserted and killed their german "masters" on behalf of NKVD.

Such a FAK or FAT consists of 20 up to thirty German soldiers. I'm not aware for I- and III-er units but this is a normal number for II-units.

Per example I can give you an overview about the personell of FAT 205 on the Eastern front.

Hauptmann Walter Thomsen Truppführer
Leutnant Ganss Deputy Truppführer
Leutnant Helmut Hasselmann
Leutnant Paul Krisch
Leutnant Gert Laue
Leutnant Maasen
Leutnant Ernst Reichert
Sonderführer (Z) Eugen Lursk
Sonderführer (Z) Anasthasius Schroeder
Sonderführer (G) Eduard Sass
Oberfeldwebel Alfons Paulus
Oberfeldwebel Winckler
Feldwebel Karl Herbert Barton
Unteroffizier Anton Biniasch
Unteroffizier Eckey
Unteroffizier Georg Fischer
Unteroffizier Gerhard Fock
Unteroffizier Ernst Hassler
Unteroffizier Richard Wagner
Unteroffizier Gerhard Wilks

In this list the privates and Schützen/ Grenadiers/ Jägers and so on are missing. => Source: https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom ... R_0001.pdf

(Walter Thomsen was a police-officer and had visited the Charlottenburger SIPO-school and had joined the Bundeskriminalamt / BKA after the war while he was charged for murder of a Russian interpreter/ volunteer at the end of the war)

(maybe Hasselmann was before this assignment with FAT 216 in Kurland where he had cooperated with SS-Jagdverband to build up a Latvian resistance movement against the Red Army) source: Felder, Björn M.: „Mit Lettland leben, mit Lettland sterben. Der SS-Jagdverband Ost - Unternehmen „Wildkatze“ und die Vorbereitung von antisowjetischen Partisanen in Lettland (1944-1945)“, in: Zeitschrift für Ostmitteleuropa-Forschung Nr. 1, 2005 (54), S. 98-127. and https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom ... 1_0015.pdf


Other sources for the mobile FAK and FAT especially with sabotage and diversion assignments are:

Witzel, Dietrich F.: „Kommandoverbände der Abwehr II im Zweiten Weltkrieg“, in: Beiheft zur Europäischen Wehrkunde, Heft 5, Oktober 1990

Biddiscombe, Perry: „The SS-Hunter Battalions. The hidden history of the Nazi resistance movement 1944-45”, Tempus, Stroud/ Gloucestershire 2006

Gurrey, Donald: „Across the Lines. An Account of Axis Intelligence and Sabotage in Italy 1943-45“,

Kluiters, Frans: „R-Netzwerke“,

Pahl, Magnus: „Fremde Heere Ost. Hitlers militärische Feindaufklärung“, Ch. Links Verlag, Berlin 2012

Sayer, Ian/ Botting, Douglas: „America’s Secret Army. The untold Story of the Counter Intelligence Corps“, Franklin Watts, New York/ Toronto 1989

Tesapides, Byron: „German Intelligence and Secrect Agencies in Greece during WW II 1941- 1944”

Gellermann, Günther W.: „Moskau ruft Heeresgruppe Mitte. Was nicht im Wehrmachtsbericht stand: Die Einsätze des geheimen Kampfgeschwaders 200 im Zweiten Weltkrieg“, Bernard & Graefe, Koblenz 1988

Gellermann, Günther W.: „Tief im Hinterland des Gegners. Ausgewählte Unternehmen deutscher Nachrichtendienste im Zweiten Weltkrieg“, Bernard & Graefe, Bonn 1999

Müller, Norbert/ Kaden, Helma: „Das Amt Ausland/Abwehr im Oberkommando der Wehrmacht“, Bundesarchiv, Koblenz 2007

Stephan, Robert W.: „Stalin's Secret War: Soviet Counterintelligence against the Nazis, 1941-1945”, University Press of Kansas, 2004

https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom ... T_0011.pdf
https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom ... T_0013.pdf
https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom ... T_0017.pdf
https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom ... T_0018.pdf
https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom ... T_0022.pdf
https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom ... T_0023.pdf
https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom ... T_0029.pdf

https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom ... R_0001.pdf
https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom ... R_0003.pdf
https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom ... R_0001.pdf


British national archive in Kew (you can download these files for 3,90 pounds with PayPal):

KV-2-161 Peter Schagen
KV-2-968 Richard Gerken
KV-2-976 Dr. Walter Keilholz
KV-2-2138 Dr.Murad Ferid


I hope this was informative for a first answer.

Best regards

Robert.

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Re: Front Aufklärungs Kommando

Post by Tamari » 02 Oct 2020 06:02

Sorry, I have to correct that Lt. Hasselmann was probably before with FAT 216 in Courland. It was FAT 212 with a Lt. von Fircks as second-in-command while FAT 216 was engaged on the Balcan under the command of Dr. phil Walter Zawadil and played a role in Operation Knightsmove (Rösselsprung) against Tito.

https://www.munzinger.de/search/portrai ... /4749.html

Best regards

Robert

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Re: Front Aufklärungs Kommando

Post by krichter33 » 02 Oct 2020 07:12

Thank you sooooo much for all this great information!!! This is exactly what I was looking for!

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Re: Front Aufklärungs Kommando

Post by krichter33 » 02 Oct 2020 07:37

This is interesting since I believe these units are little known in the English speaking world. The SS-Jagdverbande and the Brandenburgers are known, but I don't believe many know of the operations of the FAK and FAT. Do you know if most of the soldiers in these units were from the Heer or the polizei? Also, since the FAK and FAT were originally part of the Abwehr, did they have any connection with the Brandenburgers when they were part of the Abwehr?

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Re: Front Aufklärungs Kommando

Post by Tamari » 02 Oct 2020 22:28

Sorry,

I had written a very long answer to your question but I had a Logout so my whole text was killed. :oops: :cry:

I hope that I will find the time to re-write my answer in the next week. But I'm not sure. maybe later.

Regards

Robert

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Re: Front Aufklärungs Kommando

Post by Sam Wren » 08 Oct 2020 03:15

While not very informative, a member (Ogefr. Ernst Schwenteck) of Frontaufklärungs-Kommando (Abwehr) 130 was killed in Serquigny, Normandie on 8/17/44:
48724_6910_0248-01079.jpg
48724_6910_0248-01080.jpg
The complete name of the unit is not on the card but it can be ascertained due to the presence of the Feldpost Nummer written in black next to the unit name.
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Re: Front Aufklärungs Kommando

Post by history1 » 08 Oct 2020 14:26

Sam Wren wrote:
08 Oct 2020 03:15
[...] The complete name of the unit is not on the card but it can be ascertained due to the presence of the Feldpost Nummer written in black next to the unit name.
FPN: 02273
(2.1.1940-27.4.1940) 3. Kompanie Luftwaffen-Bau-Bataillon 1/VII,
(25.1.1943-31.7.1943) 5. Kompanie Luftwaffen-Bau-Bataillon 7/XIII, u. gestrichen,
(1.8.1943-23.3.1944) 14.3.1944 Abwehr-Kommando 130,
(24.3.1944-6.11.1944) 27.9.1944 Frontaufklärungs-Kommando (Abwehr) 130

By the way, the acronym for "Obergefreiter" on the card is "Ob.Gefr.".

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Re: Front Aufklärungs Kommando

Post by Tamari » 08 Oct 2020 20:25

Hello Sam and history1,

thank you very much for your interesting information about Frontaufklärungskommando (FAK) 130 in France.
According to the former Abwehr W/T operator Rudolf F. Staritz FAK 130 in Vetheuil had the following Frontaufklärungstrupps subordinated:

FAT 131 Paris
FAT 132 Angers
FAT 133 Croix near Roubaix
FAT 134 Nijmegen/ in the Netherlands
FAT 137 Paris (z.b.V.)
FAT 138 Paris (z.b.V.)
FAT 163 Paris (I Wi)

Source: https://www.cryptomuseum.com/intel/abwe ... abwehr.pdf, page 36

Best regards

Robert

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Re: Front Aufklärungs Kommando

Post by Tamari » 08 Oct 2020 22:02

krichter33 wrote:
02 Oct 2020 07:37
This is interesting since I believe these units are little known in the English speaking world. The SS-Jagdverbande and the Brandenburgers are known, but I don't believe many know of the operations of the FAK and FAT. Do you know if most of the soldiers in these units were from the Heer or the polizei? Also, since the FAK and FAT were originally part of the Abwehr, did they have any connection with the Brandenburgers when they were part of the Abwehr?
Hello krichter33,

Now I try it again to answer your interesting question.

1. Were most of the soldiers of the FAK and FAT from the Heer or the Police?
First of all most of the members of the FAK and FAT were regular soldiers from the army. But to answer your two questions more precisely, regarding your questions we always have to make a clear distinction between the FAK-/FAT-I, FAK-/FAT-II and FAK-/FAT-III units.
Although I’m not that expert on the departments Abwehr I and Abwehr III and their FAK and FAT, I can say that these departments had specific tasks on behalf of the Luftwaffe and the Kriegsmarine. So Abwehr I L had to gain information about foreign air forces while Abwehr I M was the equivalent for the Kriegsmarine. In this context both units were more staffed with members of the Wehrmacht’s Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine branch than its Abwehr-II counterpart and it is also clear that the FAK and FAT – which had taken over the responsibility of the Abwehrstellen I L and I M – had for sure Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine experts in its ranks.

Given the more ground-centered tasks of Abwehr II and its FAK and FAT it is understandable that these units had more soldiers of the army in its ranks.

Nevertheless I know the following soldiers of the Kriegsmarine who served with FAK-II and FAT-II:
Laurinat, Dipl.-Ing.(Korvettenkapitän/ Kapitänleutnant)
Laurinat was an engineer and leader of sabotage-school of Group II of Ast Antwerpen and later Ast Athens. At the end of the war he was leader of a Frontaufklärung-II training camp in Rummelsburg/ Pommerania and had to train Lithuanians.

Wengoborski, (Oberleutnant zur See)
Wengoborski was born in 1904 or 1905, lived in Bremen and was captain of the merchant navy and within the Abwehr an expert for Turkey. After several posts in South-East Europe since March 1945 he was in charge of FAT 254.

Zweibäumer, (Korvettenkapitän)
Leader of Frontaufklärungstrupps 253
https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom ... L_0006.pdf

It is possible that FAK-III and FAT-III units had more former police men its ranks due to their comparable task of counter-intelligence and partisan-hunting.

Maybe in this context it is of interest to learn that two sons of Germany’s later chancellor Konrad Adenauer had served with Abwehr III units. Dr. Max Adenauer (1910-2004), second son of Konrad served since 1943 as a Lt. with Abwehr III counter-intelligence – Frontaufklärung III West); his superior was the well-known Oberst Oskar Reile. The lawyer Dr. Konrad Adenauer (1906-1993), Konrad’s oldest son, was in March 1943 with 37 years drafted into the Wehrmacht. After basic-training he served as a driver in Kraftfahr-Ersatzabteilung 23 and since autumn 1944 as a private with and interpreter with the Frontaufklärungstrupp 391 Brontan and Oslo/ Norway (Feldpostnummer 21851 G), where he went into captivity.

Source:
https://www.gemeinschaft-katholischer-s ... AG_269.pdf, page 74
https://www.konrad-adenauer.de/quellen/ ... dney-clive


Hauptmann Richard Gerken of FAK 213 and Walter Thomsen of FAT 205 were former police-men. The holder of the knights-cross Hauptmann Friedrich Hummel, the head of Leitstelle für Frontaufklärung II West was also a police-officer.


In general, the people of FAK and FAT-II came from various backgrounds. Lawyers, businessman, politicians and farmers, and a lot of them had an academic background. So you can find a lot of PhD’s and professors within these units. Per example: Major der Reserve Prof. Dr. phil. habil. Georg Gerullis, Dr. Friedrich Wilhelm Goethert (Archeology), Dr. Hans von Wassilewski, Dr. Hans Raupach, Oberleutnant Dr. Murad Ferid, Dr. Ehrenfried Schütte, Leutnant Dr. Walter Brunner, Gefreiter Dr. Anton Deutsch (interpreter and recruiter of FAT 258), Dr. Hermann Eichhöfer (Kommando 26 z.b.V.), Dr. Viktor Fadrus (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viktor_Fadrus_(Sohn)), Dr. Wilhelm Gragert (leader of FAK 210 in France), Sonderführer Dr. Walter Greiff (FAT 255 in Italy), Stabsarzt Dr. Said El Katib (FAT 202 or FAT 207), Dr. Walter Keilholz, Dr. Gottfried Kniesche (a former 9th company Brandenburger and Truppführer of FAT 215 after Hauptmann Dr. René Kramer was killed near Podgorica), Sonderführer Dr. Wolfgang Lentz (librarian and in 1944 with Abwehrtrupp 207 in Albania), Leutnant Prof. Dr. phil Werner Markert (FAK 202), Leutnant Dr. Hans-Christof Messow (FAT in Metkovic), Oberleutnant Dr. Hans Albert Reinkemeyer, Sonderführer Dr.reinhard Karl Wilhelm Reme, Leutnant Dr. phil. Günter Schlegelberger (FAK 205 and FAK 206, see also viewtopic.php?f=45&t=80130&p=2290992&hi ... r#p2290992), and so on and so on . . .


2. Did they have any connection with the Brandenburgers when they were part of the Abwehr?
I do not see a closer connection between the Brandenburgers and the FAK and FAT of Abwehr I and Abwehr III but the connection of these “special forces” with the FAK-II and FAT-II was very close.
First of all the Brandenburgers were the brainchild of Abwehr II officers (see also my post viewtopic.php?f=50&t=252225 05 Oct 2020, 05:52):
the Brandenburgers were the brainchild of Abwehr officer Theodor Hippel and had its roots in the irregular Forces of Sudetendeutsches Freikorps 1938 and its Polish equivalents 1939 which were formed/ used by Abwehr II (Oberst Helmuth Groscurth and later Erwin Lahousen).
But the connection was far more complex.

Abwehr II used irregular forces to foment trouble and to secure vital installations in Wehrmachts campaign in Czechslovakia and Poland. But these volunteers were often untrained and not integrated in a military chain of command which caused unnecessary losses. So the idea was to transform the potential of German Volksdeutsche and experienced officers often with an engineering background into a military unit in Abwehr II structure. The resistance members in Abwehr like Friedrich Wilhelm Heinz and Hans-Albrecht Herzner saw also the potential to use such a unit in a possible coup d'etat against the regime.

German Recruits from all over the world (South Africa, Brazil and often Palestine) were send to the Brandenburgers and were trained in their trainings structures at Quenzgut at Brandenburg an der Havel and later in the so called Regenwurmlager at Meseritz. So Abwehr II had a standing pool of soldiers which had been handpicked for Abwehr II own operations.

But the operations of the Brandenburgers and its goals/ were planned by the Wehrmacht. Per example the use of Brandenburgers for Operation Sealion was coordinated by special Liaison officers of Abwehr II (Wolfgang Abshagen and others) with the Ic/ AO of 6th Army Oberst Rudolf Karl Paltzo.
https://wwii.germandocsinrussia.org/de/ ... rid/zoom/1

Year for year Abwehr lost more grip on the Brandenburgers which were later transfered to Wehrmachtführungsstab of OKW. Old Abwehr Officers like Friedrich Wilhelm Heinz (who lead a Brandenburg Regiment on the Balcan) also criticized that Admiral Canaris and Hans Oster had lost relatively early interest in the Brandenburgers and that the fighting efforts of these units.

So the Brandenburgers were from Abwehr II point of view more or less a pool of valuable trainees for Abwehr's own planned and conducted operations. But also the posts of officers and NCO’s in the FAK-II and FAT-II were filled with former Brandenburgers and not only after the merger between Abwehr I and Abwehr II with the RSHA in form of MilAmt in the RSHA. Here you can find some names of Brandenburgers who later served in FAK and FAT.

Hauptmann Günter Eggers later leader of Sonderkommando Albania, according to Perry Biddiscombe Eggers was the Balcan-version of Apocalypse Now’s Col. Walter E. Kurtz

Leutnant Egon Krieger (staff of 4th Regiment Brandenburg)
Dr. Gottfried Kniesche (9th company of the Brandenburgers)
Leutnant Hans-Jürgen Kirchner (from Palestine)
Leutnant Peter Schagen (had lived in Brazil)
(possibly) Hubert Pfannenstiel (possibly South-Tyrolean)
Ritterkreuzträger Major Dietrich F. Witzel
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=108174&p=1937020&hi ... l#p1937020

. . and a lot more . . .



Best regards
Robert

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Re: Front Aufklärungs Kommando

Post by krichter33 » 09 Oct 2020 07:14

Wow!!! Thank you so much for all this great information! I'm really impressed. Are there any books in English that go into greater detail about the FAK II and FAT II units? Also, I do find it interesting that a number of soldiers from these units were awarded combat decorations like the Ritterkreuz or the Deutsches Kreuz. Do you have any information about the type of "missions" some of the FAK II and FAT II units conducted, primarily missions in combat zones? It was my understanding that the only units the Germans had that were "special operations" units that conducted those type of combat missions were Brandenburgers and to a lesser extent SS-Jagdverbande, as well as some Fallschirmjager units. Did certain FAK II and FAT II units also conduct such "special" combat missions involving sabotage, etc....? Once again THANKS for the great reply. I am learning a lot about a subject that I have previously learned very little about.

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Re: Front Aufklärungs Kommando

Post by Tamari » 09 Oct 2020 19:32

Hello krichter33, hello to all of you,

In my opinion Perry Biddiscombe’s “The SS-Hunter Battalions” is probably the best comprehensive book on this topic although it is originally about Otto Skorzeny’s SS-Jagdverbände. But due to the fact that Otto Skorzeny dual-hatted RSHA Amt VI (S)abotage, its subordinated SS-Jagdverbände and in addition MilAmt D as the successor institution of Abwehr II, you can find a lot about both sabotage and diversion outfits and their rivalries and operations in this book.

IMHO on the one hand you definitely can compare the Frontaufklärungskommandos-II and their subordinated Frontaufklärungstrupps-II with other “special forces” like the Brandenburgers, the Marineeinsatzkommandos (MEK) of the Kommando der Kleinkampfverbände (KDK) under Admiral Helmuth Heye and maybe also with specialized Parachute units of the Luftwaffe due to their comparable tasks: strike behind enemy lines. But on the other hand the FAK and FAT had a very different approach and personnel structure and attitude in comparison to the Jagdverbände and the Brandenburgers or the MEK.

Per example, if you have a closer look on the SS-Jagdverbände, a lot its personnel came from the regular Waffen-SS and had fought in the various elite or less elite SS-units (Karl Fucker/ 6. SS-Gebirgsdivision “Nord”), had combat experience and only few of them had served in the SD (Karl Radl) or SIPO or something like that. In addition they got between 800 and 1.200 former Brandenburgers in mid-1944 when the unit was transformed into a regular PzGrDiv.

Coming to the Brandenburgers, although they were build up by the Abwehr and had in the early stages of the war consisted of adventurers and Volksdeutsche functionaries/ politicians, they had developed over years itself into a pure fighting force. Maybe they had also some older officers who sometimes lack the necessary military capabilities due to age and/ or health issues, I thought about people like Dr. Wolf-Justin Hartmann (see in Lawrence Paterson’s “Hitler’s Brandenburgers”) and they had also an older training staff with people like Major Fritz Vatter who was 65 years old. But all in all, the cadre of the Brandenburgers were a bunch of younger and fit soldiers although they had lost during the war its unique operational style from the early years of the war and were more and more forced by their superiors/ higher echelons to conduct ordinary anti-partisan operations which were comparable to these of regular Jägerdivisions on the Balcan.

The personnel of the FAK and FAT were often older academics as I had mentioned yesterday. The lower ranks were quite often 30 years old and sometimes older. A lot of the officers had fought in the World War I and were re-activated in the thirties or during the war and had the status of reserve officers. Some had great sympathies of the conspirators around Admiral Canaris, Hans Oster and Colonel Lahousen. Some of them had joined or were brought into the Abwehr to be safe from prosecution or suspicion of party elements or the Gestapo. Former Austro-Hungarian officers like Hauptmann Otto Modriniak (leader of FAK 201/ Balcan) were in no favor for the Nazi party and the Prussian militarism (see in P. Biddiscombe and KV-2-3015_3 Murad Ferid, page 41).

All these aspect had possibly played a role that most of the FAK and FAT’s operations were mostly not conducted withe the same verve like those of the Brandenburgers. In many cases the FAK and FAT had only trained foreign individuals like right-wing extremists and nationalist parties andother volunteers and had send them on their mission without larger groups of German soldiers accompanying them. Sometimes they had also recruited German soldiers and send them behind enemy lines. These older officers had in many cases not the intention to accompany their trainees. Another aspect was, that one important task was not tocinducht direct action but to produce propaganda leaflets and foment diversion of the enemy combat power. I’m not that sure but as far as I had understand this issue, the FAK 211 in Italy had spread rumors and leaflets specifically targeting the Indian units of the British 8th Army and the Polish Anders Army under the command of General Wladyslaw Anders to lower the moral and the fighting spirit.

But yes, FAK and FAT or the so-called Sonderkommandos had also conducted amazing operations behind enemy lines.
Technically “operation Schamyl” in the Caucasus was not an FAK or FAT operation but one of an Abwehr-II Sonderkommando but its style was comparable to that of later FAK operations. Hauptmann d. R. Erhard Lange was awarded the Knights-Cross. One of Erhard Langes comrades Feldwebel/ later Leutnant Dr. von Moritz alias von Loewen was later send with Sonderkommando Lange to Albania and in 1945 he had set up a so-called “Streifkorps” school and participated in operations behind enemy lines. In my opinion he was one of the few really bad-ass soldiers of the FAK and FAT units.

Hauptmann later Major Dietrich F. Witzel, a former Brandenburger - who had participated in the famous bridge operation in the Netherlands when Leutnant Wilhelm Walther was the awarded the first Knight-Cross of the Brandenburgers -, was also a specialist for bolt actions. He got in 1944 the Knights-Cross for a political mission: to infiltrate behind Russian lines and make contact to the Ukrainian nationalist UPA. He and his small team were recovered by a Kampfgeschwader 200 airplane. (see also Magnus Pahl’s “Hitler's Fremde Heere Ost: German Military Intelligence on the Eastern Front 1942-45”)

“Operation Jaguar” is one of my favorite operations of a FAT. Planned and conducted by the Baltic-German Leutnant Eugen Heinrich Simon Weyde, who was a fluent Russian speaker, FAT 213 used captured Russian tanks and Russian volunteers and penetrated behind enemy lines and attacked repairing stations and so on. As far as I remembered it, Weyde was awarded the German Cross in Gold. He has also written a book (“Die trojanische List”) in which he mentioned this amazing operation.

Major Erwein Thun-Hohenstein was leader of Trupp Edelweiss or FAT 218 in Slovakia and fought successfully against partisans and their British and OSS partners. He was recommended for the Knights-Cross but was disliked by Otto Skorzeny who skipped this proposal. Thun-Hohenstein’s subordinated Muslims and Slovaks shoot Jews and OSS officers for which he was sentenced to death and was executed after the war but not by the Western-Allies (Jim Downs "World War II: OSS Tragedy in Slovakia"and https://spectator.sme.sk/c/20021433/rea ... clean.html).

Feldwebel Waldemar Göttler had received the Knight-Cross in 1943 for his actions in Volltarnung (full-cover/ wearing Russian uniforms) together with Russian volunteers behind enemy lines when they shoot a lot Communist party officials and partisans in the Krasnodar area. After the war he was captured by the Soviets and was executed (https://www.stsg.de/cms/node/11114?such ... urchsuchen).

It seems, that especially the FAK 202 and its Streifkorps unit was very active in the closing-days of WWII. Soldiers of FAK 202 like Johann Haugeneder (born 1920 in Salzburg), Max Zwiener and Martin Skierlo had received high merits for their behind enemy lines operations (see also viewtopic.php?f=5&t=4033&p=1214678&hili ... b#p1214678). But they paid a high price. Like Waldemar Göttler, Obergefreiter Johann Haugeneder and Feldwebel Max Zwiener were both executed by Soviet authorities (source: https://www.stsg.de/cms/node/11114?such ... urchsuchen)

In addition the actions of the Colonel Kurtz of the Balcan, Hauptmann Günter Eggers, who was beloved by his foreign fighters, are surely worth for a deeper research (https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom ... 2_0008.pdf and https://www.dghk.net/index.php?artikel=1385). Also Reinhard Kopp's (FAT 214) operations with his volunteers on the Balcan seem very interesting although he was after the war a Holocaust-denier moron and very active to help with the Catholic's church Nazi war criminals to fled into exile in South-America.

These actions (Witzel, Weyde, Göttler) are comparable with those of the Brandenburgers but most of FAK' and FAT's ordinary actions/ operations can in my personal opinion not really be compared with “real” special forces” operations.

Nevertheless the personnel of the FAK and FAT and its often more political missions and its settings are very very interesting.

Best regards

Robert

Edward L. Hsiao
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Re: Front Aufklärungs Kommando

Post by Edward L. Hsiao » 10 Oct 2020 01:59

Dear Robert,

Thank you for the interesting information concerning FAT and FAK operations behind enemy lines. Sabotage and raiding missions are my favorite for German special forces.

Edward L. Hsiao

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krichter33
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Re: Front Aufklärungs Kommando

Post by krichter33 » 10 Oct 2020 08:52

Thank you again for this great information. I really appreciate it! Can most of this information that you posted about FAK and FAT operations be found in the SS-Hunter Battalions book? Also, I'm planning on ordering Paterson's book Hitler's Brandenburgers. Is it better than previous works on the subject? Also the MEK and Kleinkampf units of the Kriegsmarine were very interesting as well, yet I don't know much about them. Is there any book that deals with their operations? And of course KG 200 is another unit that I find interesting. It's interesting that one doesn't think of the German's in WW2 as having special operations units or conducting clandestine, or special operations. One is usually aware of the operations of the the U.S. and British. However, it does seem the Germans did at least conduct quite a few special operations, successfully or not. Once again thank you so much!

Rossano
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Re: Front Aufklärungs Kommando

Post by Rossano » 10 Oct 2020 09:18

Gentlemen, very interesting.
I am working on the Stellenbesetzung of the OKW/Abw. and I have a few FAK (with a few Kdr.) only.
I' m not interested in the FAT. I' d be grateful to You(to all) who can give me :
FAK numbers with their Kdr., possibly with first names, ranks, and dates (from/to when) too.
I hope You' ll help me, thanks.

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