Feldwebel Hans Probst
Hans Probst was born on the 8th of April 1920 in Oberröbling, Germany.
Probst had his Soldbuch issued on the 4th of October 1940, after an Infantry training, he was sent to the front with:
Infanterie Regiment 53 / 14 Infanterie Division
Probst joined the unit in early 1941, and from June 1941 the division took part in the Russian campaign and fought in the central section of the Eastern Front in the Smolensk and Rzhev area.
Probst proved his skills as a soldier in a short time earning the following medals:
August 1941 – Black Wounds Badge – wounded by shrapnel (31b)
January 1942 – Iron Cross Second Class
February 1942 – Infantry Assault Badge in Silver
April 1942 – Iron Cross First Class
October 1942 – Eastern Front Medal
After Probst had recovered he joined a new unit, as an infamous “Kettenhund”
Feldjäger Bataillon 2 (Later: Feldjäger Regiment 2)
Formed 25 December 1943 from a mixture of Heer, Luftwaffe and Waffen-SS personnel organised into five fully motorised Kompanien. It operated exclusively on the Eastern Front.
Use: Spring 1944 South Poland-Galicia; Summer 1944 Belarus – Baltic States (Grodno-Kovno); from October 1944 East Prussia (Lyck, Bischofsburg); from January 1945 west of the Vistula, then in Silesia (Schweidnitz); most recently at Heeregruppe Center.
By August 1944, Probst was promoted to a Feldwebel and was wounded once again by shrapnel.
Issued a Erfurt pistol and later a Singer pistol. In 1944 a small lamp.
During the second half of the war, as Germany’s military fortunes waned, morale and motivation of the German front line troops began to decline. Indiscipline and desertion rates increased to worrying proportions. In addition it rapidly became clear that huge levels of manpower and equipment was being effectively wasted in the occupied areas, especially in countries like France where occupation troops often lived in what seemed like luxurious circumstances compared to their comrades on the Eastern Front.
One of the major factors leading to the creation of the Feldjägerkorps was a visit to occupied France by Generaloberst Jodl to inspect the preparations for the anticipated allied invasion. Jodl was shocked at the relative luxury in which senior command elements had housed themselves, clean luxury hotels or châteaux with carpeted floors, comfortably furnished and richly decorated. One unit which he reportedly went to visit were all absent on a hunt!
In addition, as front line units were decimated in fighting on the eastern front, there resulted a large number of non-combatant elements which existed to supply these combat units, but had no units left to support. Clearly the situation of bloated rear area formations living in relative safety and luxury, consuming vast amounts of food, fuel and manpower whilst the front line combat units suffered could not be allowed to continue.
In December 1943, a Führer decree was issued creating the Feldjägerkommandos.
The Feldjägerkommandos and battalions are Wehrmacht troops and are directly subordinate to the OKW. The have the task of checking and combing out units of the army, navy air-force and Waffen-SS. These tasks will be carried out in close connection with the territorial commanders. The commanders of the Feldjägerkommandos are responsible solely to the Chief of the OKW. Enforcement measures, task forces, patrol services should be made available to the Feldjägerkommandos.
So we can see that not only were the Feldjägerkommandos given supreme authority to carry out their tasks in relation to Wehrmacht forces, but Waffen-SS also, and that they had the power to call on whatever support they needed from the local commanders.
The following definitions of the tasks of the Feldjäger were published by the OKH (Oberkommando des Heeres—High Command of the Army) in September 1944 (O.K.H. (Ch H Rüst u. BdE), 15 September 44—7378/44—Stab/.Ia2.) and also in a special supplement to army orders bulletin (Heeresmitteilungsblatt) as H.M. 1944, Issue Nr 24.
- Feldjäger have the task, as ordered by the Führer and under direct command of the Chief of the Oberkomando der Wehrmacht in the rear areas, to maintain temporary and complete authority, military discipline and order in all situations, if necessary by ruthless measures up to the immediate use of firearms.
- Feldjäger are special, proven front soldiers, whose activities have the sole aim of supporting the front line. They ensure the area behind the front is kept secure. They expect therefore and with good reason the greatest appreciation for their difficult task, primarily from frontline soldiers of all ranks.
- Feldjäger have received from the Führer, in order to accomplish their assigned tasks, particularly wide ranging power and authority over members of all parts of the armed forces, the Waffen-SS and organisations used in the support of the armed forces (OT, NSKK etc.)
- Feldjäger co-operate closely with all Order services in the area in which they are employed (Wehrmachtstreifendienst, Feldgendarmerie, Kommandanturen, Polizei, Guards, Patrols and Sentries of all kinds). They carry out their tasks as required by the prevailing situation at the front. Criticisms of, or resistance to, Feldjäger orders are unjustified and are also considered as proof of the lack of correct military attitude and insight due to indiscipline.
- Feldjäger eliminates all possibility of mismanagement in the area between fighting front and homeland front, which disparage the great sacrifices of every good German and the combatants of the armed forces.
- Feldjäger ensure the delivery of redundant and surplus personnel and material from rear agencies and units and the supply of personnel and material fit for the front, to the fighting troops.
- Feldjäger fight behind the front against disobedience, desertion, self-interest, neglect and sloppy work of any type. They are strictly monitored in the performance of their duties by their superiors, with any misdemeanours particularly severely punished and discharged from the Feldjägerkorps.
- Feldjäger on duty are recognizable by gorgets, red armbands and a special Ausweis.
Their service is difficult, self sacrificing and highly responsible.
All are required to help and to facilitate, by disciplined behaviour, the difficult task of the Feldjäger, because the military discipline of the German soldier is the guarantee of victory. In this regard the Feldjäger is a strict and fair helper.
Feldjäger were recruited from experienced personnel from the Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS, though the Luftwaffe element was minimal. Heer and Waffen-SS members were expected to be combat veterans though Luftwaffe personnel generally came from redundant aircrew and ground crew so the combat experience would not be appropriate.
A very rare unit to find, this is one of a handful of Kettenhunde I have seen in many years. The picture is also very nice displaying his awards. Probst was not recorded as missing or killed. Missing the Holiday page.