I'm doing research on the experience of Belgian POW's in German camps in 1940-1945. The command structure of the German camp system is pretty straightforward and well understood by now, but I'm still very confused about which German units were responsible for the actual capture/gathering/transportation of the POW's during the Western Campaign of May-June 1940.
From what I read in memoirs and war diaries of Belgian POW's, the days following 28 May 1940 (Capitulation of the Belgian Army) were very chaotic and the German armed forces were clearly understaffed to handle such a big number of POW's. But even in those circumstances, they managed to put large groups of prisoners on boats, gather them in army barracks and put them on trains. Who did that?
Lexicon-des-Wehrmacht is giving me some clues, but seems very incomplete as well:
- The website attributes an important role to the 'Kommandanten des rückwärtigen Heeresgebiet’ (Korück). In the case of the 6th Army, that would be Korück 585. But I don't know how well established this Korück system was by then?
- The Korück would use Feldgendarmerie and Wachsoldaten des Heeres to staff improvised Auffanglager and Kriegsgefangenensammelstellen. But again, I doubt if this system had the chance to be established during such a short campaign?
- I noticed that Feldgendarmerie units (Truppe) were attached to almost every Army Corps of the 6th Army. Maybe they took care of the POW's?
Please feel free to comment, or point me to relevant literature on this subject.
My question is also general in nature: how did German forces prepare for the capture of POW's? Was there a certain system and logic in place before the start of each campaign, with a clear command structure and clear responsibilities? Which level took control? Army? Army Corps? Division?
Karel Strobbe, Ghent, Belgium