U.S. Carbines in Germany and Austria

and the
U.S. M1 Carbine

The M1 Carbines
in the
American Occupation Zone
used by the
Labor Service, Industrial Police, Civilian Guard

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

Shortly after the end of the war the American forces hired Germans and displaced persons for various jobs. The umbrella organization for these jobs was the Labor Service/Civilian Support. These units provided a mobile, noncombatant civilian work force capable of carrying out assigned peacetime missions independently in support of the U.S. Army Europe.

The units were generally aligned by nationality. Most were Germans, but also included units made up from people of Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Albania, Czechoslovakia, and others. At least one group was made up of displaced persons from all of the Baltic States. The displaced persons employed by Labor Service/Civilian Support were people who could not return to their homeland, for various reasons.

To assist in guarding both German and American government and industry facilities, a Civilian Guard (CG) was included under the Labor Service. The Civilian Guard soon became known as the Industrial Police, and in 1948 those guarding American military facilities were designated Civilian Guard Battalions of the Labor Service. The Guard battalions wore the uniforms of the U.S. military branch they served. Guard Battalions had their own barracks on the facilities of the branch of the military they served. Besides guarding facilities, they also guarded bridges, truck cargo, ammunition dumps, etc.

The Guard Battalions were armed with the U.S. M1 carbine by the American forces they served. They carried their carbines while on duty and stored them in their barracks where they lived when not on duty. Guard Battalions served the American forces in Germany up into the 1980's. When they no longer needed their carbines, they were returned to the U.S. forces that had provided them.

Many photographs of these units in possession of the U.S. M1 carbine can be viewed at the following website.

West German Guard Battalions

Guard Battalions of Displaced Persons from the Baltic States

Guard Battalions of Displaced Persons from Estonia

For a detailed description of the duties of the Labor Service Guard Battalions, I highly recommend the private historical website of the U.S. Army Europe, Germany, devoted to the Labor Service Guard Battalions.

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