U.S. Carbines in Germany and Austria

and the
U.S. M1 Carbine

The M1 Carbines
in the
American Occupation Zone

Bremen Enclave

The American Occupation Zone The British Occupation Zone National Agencies Additional Info
Bavaria Berlin Lower Saxony Border Guard Accessories
Bremen Enclave Hessen Bundeswehr Oddities
Wurttemberg-Baden Labor Service Parts

The basic outlines of the British and American zones of occupation had been agreed upon at the Quebec Conference in August 1943. The ports of Bremen and Bremerhaven were designated as part of the British Occupation Zone. The city of Bremerhaven (formerly Wesermunde) sits at the entrance to the Weser River from the North Sea. The city of Bremen is approximately 40 miles upstream from Bremerhaven. Both cities and the approximate 40 miles that separate them were, and still are, a massive major staging and shipping area with deep water access partially into and out of mainland Germany. As with most large ports the area was also (and still is) a major freight transportation hub with rail yards and trucking in addition to the waterway.

The cities and surrounding area were captured by British and Canadian forces in April 1945.

The Quebec Conference agreement had left American forces in Western Europe and the American Occupation Zone in Germany landlocked. As the end of the war neared, the command of American Forces in Europe wanted their own port for supplying U.S. Forces in Europe. The ports of Bremen, Bremerhaven, and the staging areas in the immediate vicinity were designated the Bremen Enclave and turned over to the Americans for this purpose on 23 May 1945. (1)

The Bremen Enclave was about 1500 square miles, roughly the size of Rhode Island. The population was 486,000 in December 1946.

The creation of the Bremen Enclave as a U.S. military support operation within the British Occupation Zone had failed to take into account which nation would handle the duties of the Office of Military Government for rebuilding and managing the area, including the police. The responsibility fluctuated between British and American forces with each constantly changing who would/should handle what, where, and to what degree (2). Since the Americans handled port operations the cities of Bremen and Bremerhaven relied on them for law enforcement.

The area wasn't designated as the 5th American Sector of the American Occupation Zone until 01 Jan 1947. Bringing with it a U.S. Office of Military Government for Bremen.


    • Bremen
    • Bremerhaven


    • Osterholz
    • Wesermarsch
    • Wesermunde

Post War German Police Agencies of the Bremen Enclave

As law enforcement was reconstructed the Bremen Enclave grew to eleven different police agencies with over 2000 police personnel. Agencies were consolidated and/or reorganized on an ongoing basis as the infrastructure of Bremen and Germany was rebuilt.

German Police Agencies - Bremen Enclave
OMGUS DesignationGerman Designation
Bremen CustomsZolldienst
Bremen Municipal PoliceBremen Stadtpolizei
Bremen Port Police (Guard Towers)Bremen Polizei (Wachturm Wachen)
Bremerhaven CustomsZollwachen
Bremerhaven Municipal PoliceBremerhaven Stadtpolizei
Bremerhaven Port Police (Guard Towers)Bremerhaven Wachturm Wachen
Criminal PoliceKriminalpolizei
Prison GuardsGefangnis Gerichtswachen
Rural PoliceBremen Landespolizei
Water PoliceWasserschutzpolizei

Arming the Police of the Bremen Enclave: 1945-1946

After the end of the war it soon became clear the German police needed to be armed. An Allied Control Council Directive in November 1945 provided directions to the occupying nations for arming the German police. The Allied Forces occupying the Bremen Enclave were bound by the directives of the Allied Control Council but without access to the resources and funding of the U.S. Office of Military Government. The enclave was managed by the military units managing the port operations.

Between May 1945 and December 1945, American military police began arming the German police agencies of the Bremen Enclave with whatever was available. This included a limited number of captured Italian Carcano carbines, Italian Beretta Model 38/42 submachine guns, German K98 carbines, FN Model 1910 pistols, and a few American U.S. carbines and handguns (2). The British did not contribute weapons.

The Allied Control Council Directive required all weapons used by the German Police to have markings identifying the police the weapon was assigned too. All of the weapons provided to all of the police agencies within the Bremen Enclave were marked with the same letters signifying the words "Polizei, Bremen, Landespolizei und Stadtpolizei". Meaning the state/land police and city police of the Bremen Enclave. The Landespolizei handled the rural areas and towns outside the cities.

This example is a Smith & Wesson Victory Model revolver, caliber .38 S&W.
It is on display in the National Firearms Museum in Fairfax, VA. The revolver has no import mark.

On 20 Feb 1948, the Bremen Enclave Public Safety Chief authored a written request to OMGUS Bremen HQ requesting additional American weapons for the various police agencies in the Bremen Enclave. The letter indicated the following weapons had already been issued. (2)

American Weapons Issued Prior to 20 Feb 1948
City PoliceS&W revolver, cal. .38 Special103
S&W revolver, cal. .38 S&W296
Water Police 1911 pistol, cal. .45 116
Camp Guards Carbine, cal. .30, M1 120

The Camp Guards were not police officers. They guarded an internment and labor camp located in a warehouse in the Parkallee/Reisport area of Bremen. The camp served as a prison for Nazi's and criminals. Nazi re-education and denazification were conducted at the camp. (2)

The request for additional weapons totaled 2,722 S&W revolvers in .38 Special for the various police agencies and 50 carbines, Cal. .30, Model M1, for the Bremen and Bremerhaven Port Police manning guard towers in the ports. (2)

Records from OMGUS Headquarters indicate that by 30 Jun 1949 German law enforcement agencies within the Bremen Enclave had received 1,721 handguns and 1,044 M1 carbines from the U.S. Military Government (3). These records do not indicate which agencies received which weapons or the quantities.

A different OMGUS document indicates the agencies that received U.S. weapons included the Bremen Police, Bremerhaven Police, German Port Police, and River Police (Water Police). This list may not have been all inclusive. (4)

The Bremen Enclave Landespolizei (rural police) have not been included in the records found so far. The Allied Control Council directive that allowed the German police to be armed indicated the police assigned to the borders could be armed with carbines. All others were to be armed with handguns. The borders of the Bremen Enclave were adjacent the British Occupation Zone. Policing the borders was handled by their Landespolizei as part of their duties policing the three landkreis (counties) of the Bremen Enclave. Throughout all sectors of the American Occupation Zone each sectors Landespolizei were armed with U.S. carbines. The Landespolizei of each German land/state were the largest police agency within each land/state. They were/are equivalent to a U.S. State Police. The majority of U.S. carbines provided to the Bremen Enclave were most likely assigned to their Landespolizei.

The disposition of the American weapons used by Germans in the Bremen Enclave isn't known. The other sectors of the American Occupation Zone reimbursed the Americans for their weapons between 1949 and the end of the occupation in 1955. Thereby retaining ownership of the weapons. Many later selling their American weapons to exporters. It's possible the Bremen Enclave may have returned their weapons to the Americans instead of purchasing them.


1) I Was There by Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy, (1950), p. 263
2) Dienstwaffen der deutschen Polizei und Gendarmerie, Historie, Technik, Kennzeichnung - Bremen & Bremerhaven,
    Bremen by Andreas Giersch, Bremerhaven by Holger Sachse (2015)
3) Semi-Annual German Police Personal & Equipment Report as of 30 Jun 1949 , OMGUS Civil Administration Division,
    Bad Nauheim, 08 Sep 1949
4) OMGUS Arming of the German Port Officers, archives of the Institut für Zeitgeschichte, Munich, Bavaria,
    shipment 15, box 121-1, file 43

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