German Police Unit Marks, 1920-1937

The following tables list the base forms for police unit marks found in German Small Arms Markings From Authentic Sources by J. Goertz and D. Bryans, Walsworth Publishing Co., Marceline MO, USA, 1997. This book contains English translations of the actual regulations issued by the German authorities from the Imperial and Weimar eras, and is an invaluable source of information about the often obscure markings found on German weapons and equipment until 1937, when unit marking of materiel was officially discontinued.

Unit marks were applied to many kinds of German military and police equipment during the Imperial and Weimar eras. A complete discussion of the interpretation of German unit marks is outside the scope of the information presented here, but they indicate which unit(s) the materiel were issued to. (For more information, consult The Imperial German Regimental Marking [Revised Edition] by Jeff Noll, P.O. Box 7184, Ventura, CA 93006, USA.) Knowing that, and having the history of the German military and police units, one can sometimes derive some information about where such materiel have been (e.g., which battles in WWI). Thus, unit marks give one some history about the items on which they are found.

Unit marks normally take the form:

[some letters] . [letters or number] . [letters or number] . [number]

The first set of letters on the line indicate the military or police unit that the item was issued to. There are many possible combinations of letters and numbers, and the information presented here addresses just those pertaining to German police units in the Weimar and early Nazi era.

The last numbers on the line indicate the item number of the item that was issued to a unit; e.g., the 351st P08 pistol issued to the Schutzpolizei of Stettin.

As always, I'm not responsible for any inaccuracies in the data, just for the transcription. Please report any errors to me.

I. German Police Forces during the Weimar Era

[This information is lifted almost verbatim from Weimar and Early Nazi Lugers and their Accessories, by Jan C. Still, printed by Walsworth Publishing Co., Marceline, MO 64658 USA.]

The IMKK, Inter-Alliierte Militaer-Kontroll-Kommission (Inter-Allied Military Control Commission), was established to enforce the provisions of the Treaty of Versailles on German soil. It worked through various subcommissions and left Germany during January 1927.

The Treaty of Versailles (through the IMKK) restricted the size of Weimar police forces to their 1914 level, namely 150,000 men. Police arms had a similar restriction. The German state depended on the stabilizing influence of its police during the violence and disorder of the Weimar period and evaded restrictions placed on them. The military character and arms of this police force were a source of comflict with the IMKK, who feared that an expanded police force would become a ready reserve for the German Army. A 1925 dated report of the IMKK notes noncompliance and violations of the Treaty of Versailles by the German police. It cites that the German police exceeded the limit of 150,000 by 30,000 men and that the Schutzpolizei had a military character.

During the Weimar Era, German police power remained decentralized. It was centered in the federal states of Prussia, Bavaria, Baden, Wuerttemberg, Hesse, Saxony, and others. These consisted of the following city and rural police groups:

The Einwohnerwehr was a paramilitary police force formed by an order of the Prussian Ministry of the Interior dated April 15, 1919, to allow citizens to protect themselves from looters, armed gangs, and revolutionaries. It was subject to the command of the local Reichswehr regiments which supplied its guns. This was forbidden by the Treaty of Versailles, and after repeated demands by the IMKK, on June 29, 1921, the Berlin government dissolved the Einwohnerwehr. The Einwohnerwehr had a membership of hundreds of thousands and was formed mostly from former servicemen. Many of its members (for example Captain Ernst Roehm, future head of the SA [Sturmabteilung, a.k.a. the Brown Shirts]) eventually joined the Nazi Party.

II. Bavarian Police Defense Force (Polizeiwehr Bayern), 1920

The base forms of the unit marks for this police force are contained in regulations issued in 1920, and are shown in the following table.

Bavarian Police Unit Marks, 1920
Mark Meaning
Pw.B. Polizeiwehr Bayern (Bavarian Police Defense Force)
Fl. Aviation units
Gr. Staff
J. Staff
K. Automobile units
N. Communications units
P. Arsenals
St. Patrol units
T. Technical centuria
Roman numerals Detatchment identifiers
Arabic numerals Centuria identifiers

For example,

Pw.B. 2 St 16 - item 16 of the 2nd patrol unit.

III. Prussian Police (Schutzpolizei), 1922

The base forms of the unit marks for this police force are contained in regulations issued in 1922, and are shown in the following table.

Prussian Police (Schutzpolizei) Unit Marks, 1922
Mark Meaning
Roman numerals Identification of individual units or independent centuria within an administrative district
Arabic numerals Enumeration of centuria, or factory numbers, or property numbers
S.A. Aurich district
S.Al. Allenstein district
S.Ar. Arnsberg district
S.Br. Breslau district
S.C. Kassel district
S.D. Duesseldorf district
S.E. Erfurt district
S.F. Frankfurt/Oder district
S.G. Gumbinnen district
S.H. Hannover district
S.Hi. Hildesheim district
S.K. Koeslin district
S.Kg. Keonigsberg district
S.L. Lueneburg district
S.Li. Liegnitz district
S.M. Muenster district
S.Ma. Marienwerder district
S.Me. Merseburg district
S.Mg. Magdeburg district
S.Mi. Minden district
S.O. Osnabrueck district
S.P. Potsdam district
S.S. Schneidemuhl district
S.Sch. Schleswig district
S.Sd. Stralsund district
S.St. Stettin district
S.Sta. Stade district
S.W. Wiesbaden district

Occupied Rheinland areas, 1922
Mark Meaning
S.An. Aachen district
S.Koe. Koeln district
S.Wi. Wiesbaden district

Police schools, 1922
Mark Meaning
H.Ps. Senior service police academy, Potsdam
P.B. Berlin police school
P.Bg. Brandenburg police school
P.H. Hannover police school
P.He. Hessen-Nassau police school
P.N. Niederschlesien police school
P.O. Ostpreussen police school
P.P. Pommern police school
P.S. Sachsen police school
P.Sch. Schlesiwg-Holstein police school
P.W. Westfalen police school
Ps.L. School for physical training

Air surveillance departments, 1922
Mark Meaning
L.B. Berlin
L.Bg. Brendenburg
L.H. Hannover
L.He. Hessen-Nassau
L.N. Niederschlesien
L.O. Ostpreussen
L.P. Pommern
L.S. Sachsen
L.Sch. Schleswig-Holstein
L.W. Westfalen

For example,

S.Al.II 1. 12 - item 12 of the first centuria within command II in the Allenstein district.

Markings used in Berlin, 1922
Mark Meaning
P.N.B. Berlin police communications section
S.B.B. Berlin mounted police section
S.B.Ko. Berlin Command of maintenance/supply section
S.B.M. Berlin Mitte (Middle) police group
S.B.No. Berlin Nord (North) police group
S.B.O. Berlin Ost (East) police group
S.B.S. Berlin Sued (South) police group
S.B.So. Berlin Suedost (Southest) police group
S.B.W. Berlin West police group

For example,

S.B.S.I 1.7 - item 7 in the 1st Centuria within command I of the South Berlin police group.

Note: Air surveillance departments controlled by the provincial presidents were stamped like the police schools, but with an "L" instead of "P".

IV. Bavarian State Police (Landespolizei), 1930

The base forms of the unit marks for this police force are contained in regulations issued in 1930, and are shown in the following table.

Bavarian State Police Unit Marks, 1930
Mark Meaning
A Augsbug [sic]
B Bamberg
E Eichstaett
F Fuerstenfeldbruck
H Hof
K Kaiserslautern
L Lindau
Lu Ludwigshafen
M Muenchen
N Nuernberg-Fuerth
R Regensburg
Sp Speyer
W Wuertzburg
Z Zweibruecken
Wi.M. Wirtschaftsamt Muenchen (Munich procurement office)
Wi.N. Wirtschaftsamt Nuernberg (Nuremberg procurement office)
Fl.S. Flugueberwachung Bayern-Sued (South Bavarian avaiation supervision)
Fl.N. Flugueberwachung Bayern-Nord (North Bavarian aviation supervision)
I. Abschnitt I (Section I)
1. 1. Hundertschaft (first centuria)
N Nachrichtentechniche Abteilung (communications section)
N.A. Ausbildungsstaffel der Nachr. -techn. Abtlg. (communications training section)
N.Ba. Baustaffel der Nachr. -techn. Abtlg. (communications maintenance squadron)
K Kraftfahrabteilung (motor transport seciont)
K.S. Sonderwagenstaffel der Kraftfahrabteilung (armored vehicle squadron)
1 1. Lehrabteiling (1st training section)
P.R. Polizei-Reitschule (police equestrian school)
b berittene Abteilung (mounted section)

For example,

M.5. - Kommando Muenchen, staff, gun 5

N.b.5. - Kommando Nuernberg-Fuerth, berittene Abteilung, gun 5

W.K.S.5. - Kommando Wuertzburg, Kraftfahr-Sonderabteilung, Sonderwagen-Staffel, gun 5

V. Prussian Police (Schutzpolizei), 1932

The base forms of the unit marks for this police force were ammended in regulations issued in 1932, and are shown in the following table.

Prussian Police, 1932
Mark Meaning
K. Assigned to Kriminalpolizei (detective force)
L. Assigned to Landjaegerei (rural constabulary)
S. Assigned to Schutzpolizei (municipal police)
A. Aurich district
Al. Allenstein district
An. Aachen district
Ar. Arnsberg district
B. Berlin police administration
Br. Breslau district
D. Duesseldorf district
E. Erfurt district
F. Frenkfurt (Oder) district
G. Gumbinnen district
H. Hannover district
Hi. Hildesheim district
K. Koeslin district
Ka. Kassel district
Kg. Koenigsberg district
Koe. Koeln district
Kz. Koblenz district
Lg. Lueneburg district
Li. Liegnitz district
M. Muenster district
Me. Merseburg district
Mg. Magdeburg district
Mi. Minden district
O. Osnabrueck district
Op. Oppeln district
P. Potsdam district
S. Schneidemuhl district
Sch. Schleswig district
Sd. Stralsund district
Si. Sigmaringen district
St. Stettin district
Sta. Stade district
T. Trier district
W. Wiesbaden district
Wpr. Westpreussen district
HP. Senior Service police academy
LS.Al. Allenstein Landjaegerei school
LST. Trier police school
PB. Bonn police school
PBd. Brendenburg a.d. Havel police school
PBg. Burg police school
PFr. Frankenstein police school
PHi. Hildesheim police school
PK. Kiel police school
Pl. Police School for physical education
PI. Police institude
PM. Muenster police school
PMd. Hannoeversch-Muenden police school
PS. Sensburg police school
PT. Treptow a.d. Rega police school
PTV. Police institute for technology and transport
Rh.P. Rheinpolizei

For example,

S.Br.I.365 - Schutzpolizei of Breslau, first precinct, item 365

LS.Al.13 - item 13 of the Landjaegerei school in Allenstein

K.B.526 - item 526 of the Kriminalpolizei of Berlin

VI. Einwohnerwehr Bayern

In a typical attempt to demonstrate its political autonomy, the federal state of Bavaria had the small arms issued to its members of the Einwohnerwehr marked E W B on pistol grips and rifle butts. This was naturally discontinued with the dissolution of the Einwohnerwehr in 1921.

Back to Old Military Markings home page