Abwehr Organization

German auxiliary organizations 1919-1945.
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Abwehr Organization

Post by Abicht » Mon Dec 04, 2006 11:04 am

I thought there may be some interest in organizational data on the Abwehr, up to June 1st when the whole Abwehr was absorbed by the SD.

The Abwehr was an integral part of the German High Command and all its affiliations were with the Wehrmacht, not with the Party or Party formations. It’s head Admiral Canaris, though himself an old Party member and a notorious right-wing intriguer was politically associated with naval and military circles, from which the majority of Abwehr officers were recruited.

The headquarters of the Abwehr Amt were in the OKW building at Tripitzufer 72, but the main operational sections moved out to Zossen with other sections of the OKW in early summer 1943, when the Allied bombing of Berlin began to assume dangerous proportions. After heavy bombing at the end of 1943 there was a further large scale evacuation of Abwehr offices from Berlin to Potsdam. The remaining departments were scattered in different parts of Germany, while small holding sections remained at various addresses in Berlin.

Functionally the Abwehr was divided into three main operational sections (Abteilungen) and an administrative section. Abt I dealt with the collection of operational intelligence, Abt II with sabotage and subversion, Abt III with counter-espionage and to a limited extent with security. The heads of these Abteilungen were called Chef I, Chef II, and Chef III, and were, at the time, of the reorganization (June 1st 1944) of the Abwehr, Oberst d.G. Hansen, Oberst d.G. Freytag von Loringhoven, and Oberst d.G. Heinrich respectively. The fourth section, dealing with administration, was called Abt Z or Zentralabteilung, and headed by Oberst Jacobsen.

The workings of the individual Abt and Gruppen-

Abteilung I
was the most important section; it was subdivided into several departments (Gruppen):
- IH (Heer) espionage against foreign armies. This included a subsection IH T (Heer-Technik) dealing with technical matters.
- IM (Marine) espionage against foreign navies. This included a sub-section IM T (Marine-Technik) dealing with technical matters.
- IL (Luft) espionage against foreign air forces.
- I T/W (Technik-Luftwaffe) espionage in the aircraft industry
- I Wi (Wirtschaft) economic espionage
- IG (Geheimsachen) providing forged documents, secret inks, photographic apparatus, and other technical appliances of espionage.
- Ii secret communications, including pigeon post, land-lines wireless telephones (W/I)

The heads of these Gruppen at headquarters were called Chef or Leiter IH ect. And were responsible to Chef I.

Abteilung II was the active arm of the Abwehr concerned with material and moral sabotage. It was divided into eastern and Western departments after the manner of the whole Amt and these departments were further subdivided geographically, e.g. West-Sud, Ost-Nord, and OR (Orient). Within these, there was a division of work as follows:

S- work (Sabotage) material sabotage, e.g. the use of agents to destroy aircraft on the ground, to sink ships in harbors, or to blow up communications, ammunition dumps, factories ect., in accordance with the operational requirements of the moment.

J- work (Insurgierung) moral sabotage, e.g. the use of agents and propaganda to foster revolt among dissident minorities in enemy territory or to organize fifth columns in territory though which the Wehrmacht marched.

It is important to emphasize J work, because its importance diminished when the military forces of Germany began to retreat, and thus a mistaken belief had grown up by the Allies that Abt II was concerned with sabotage in the narrower sense only.

Further Abt II included a special department, II/T (Technik), which supplied high-explosives and other material for sabotage. These explosives were often made up in cartons or tins purporting to contain food products. Thus saboteurs sent to the UK were issued with dynamite in cartons labeled in English “Starch” and in tins labeled “French Beans” or “Green Peas”. Detonators were issued in thin blocks of wood which contained recesses into which they were inserted; while fuses were sewn into leather belts. Further, saboteurs were instructed in the manufacturing of “home made” bombs from simple ingredients, e.g. chlorate and sugar in the proportion of 4 to 1, or saltpeter, flour and sulphur in the proportion of 100 to 30 to 15.

II DO – Finally, Abt II took over from Abt III in early 1944 a section known as DO (the first two letters of Donau) which had been part of Abt II and designated III Wi DO. Its headquarters were at Vienna under Kapitan Weiss, and its duties are believed to have been the protection of Danubian traffic from the counter-sabotage and counter-espionage points of view. Its powers seem, however, to have been wider than this definition would suggest, and when, on one occasion, some sailors deserted their ships for fear of Allied bombing, it was able to make prompt arrangements for placing them under martial law. It formerly had outstations at Belgrade and Bucharest and it maintained close contact with the DDSG ( Donau Dampfschiffarhrtsgesellschaft), one of the directors of which was among its most important agents. Whether it was absorbed into the Militarisches Amt (what the Abwehr became upon absorption into the SD) is unclear.

Abteilung III was the counter-espionage and security section, responsible for the security of the Abwehr and the Armed Forces. For the latter purpose it worked in close connection with the Geheime Feldpolizei (GFP), the security police of the Wehrmacht. The following are the principal departments of Abt III:

-III A administration
-III H security in the German Army
-III M security in the German Navy
-III Luft security in the German Air Force

III H, III M and III Luft were grouped under the symbol III W (Wehrmacht) forming the section responsible for coordinating general security and counter-espionage work in the armed forces.

-III Wi (Wirtschaft) protection of German industries
-III C (Civil) security of civilian establishments connected with the Wehrmacht; often in liaison with the security service.
-III F (Feind) penetration of enemy intelligence services; the largest and most important section.
-III D deception of Allied intelligence services for strategic purposes
-III KGF (Kriegsgefangen) security in P.W. camps
-III U (Unterricht) compilation of statistics for instruction in security matters
-III N (Nachrichten) supervision of public communications (censorship)

As in Abt I, most of the departments of Abt III were subdivided into numbered divisions e.g. III F1 and III F 2, ect.

Abteilung Z was the administrative section. Its most considerable departments were the following:

- ZO (Organization) general organization and planning of the whole Abwehr. It was also known as Kriegsabwehr, and its head was automatically the Chef Z. ZO was also responsible for keeping the central card index, ZK.
- ZK (Zentralkartei) the central card index and ZKV (zentralkartei Vau-Manner), the central register of agents.
- ZA (Abjutantur) the adjutant’s department for the whole Abwehr, and responsible for all questions of personnel, such as postings, transfers, leave, decorations, ect.
- ZF (Finanzen) the paymasters department. Apart from day-to-day matters of pay and expenses, purchasing material, and auditing accounts, it was also responsible for securing foreign exchange for the Abwehr.
- ZR (Recht) the legal department, which dealt with contracts, court cases of treason, ect.

In every Abwehr station there was an officer responsible for Z matters.

In addition to the above functional divisions, there was a geographical division which applied thought the Abwehr, viz into East and West, i.e. roughly of a line drawn North to South through Berlin. But while the various sections of Abt I, with the possible exception of I Wi, were all subdivided in this manner as IH/West, I Luft/Ost, Abt II was subdivided as a single unit into II West and II Ost. Again only certain of the Abt III sections are known with certainty to have been subdivided, and in one of these, III F, the subsection was into III F 1 which covered the West and III F 3 which covered the East. But in the case of Abt I, and IH officer in (e.g.) Madrid would send his reports to Abt IH/West and his opposite number in (e.g.) Sofia to Abt IH/Ost.

…next post will cover the regional and geographic military divisions of the Abwehr (Abwherstellen / Wehrkreis)
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Regional

Post by Abicht » Tue Dec 26, 2006 11:16 am

Wehrkreis and Ast

Regionally, the Abwehr was represented by Abwehrstellen (generally abbreviated to Ast). The Abwehrstellen in Germany corresponded to the military divisions of the country (Wehrkreis). Germany was divided into numbered Wehrkreis and there was one Ast in each of them. The Vienna military region was Wehrkreis (Wkr) XVII, and Ast Vienna was Ast im Wehrkreis XVII or more shortly Ast XVII. These original Wehrkreis Asts were as follows:
  • I. Konigsberg
    II. Stettin
    III. Berlin
    IV. Dresden
    V. Stuttgart
    VI. Munster
    VII. Munich
    VIII. Breslau
    IX. Kassel
    X. Hamburg
    XI. Hanover
    XII. Wiesbaden
    XIII. Nurnberg (Wehrkreis XIV, XV, XVI did not exist)
    XVII. Vienna
    XVIII. Salzburg
    XIX. Prague (Protectorate)
    XX. Danzig
    XXI. Pozan (Posen)
In the Wehrkreis with several large towns, there were frequently smaller stations subordinate to the Ast, which were called Nebenstellen or Nests.

The following Nest are known or believed to have existed in the various Wehrkreis (not definitive).
  • II. Stralsund
    V. Lorrach and Karlsruhe
    VI. Cologne
    IX. Frankfurt
    X. Bremen, Flensburg, Wilhelmshaven, Kiel
    XII. Saarbrucken
    XVII. Linz
    XVIII. Klagenfurt, Innsbruck, Graz.
    XX. Bydgoszcz (Bromberg)
    XXI. Katowice
Every Ast or Nest was under an Abwehr officer called Leiter (Ast-Leiter or Nest-Leiter), and reproduced (with variations) the features of the Abwehr Amt, e.g. there were Gruppe I, Gruppe II, Gruppe III, which were the local cells of the headquarters Abwehrabteilungen; each Gruppe was under a Gruppenleiter (Leiter I ect.). A subsection of a Gruppe in an Ast was called a Referat or Untergruppe.

The Work of the Wehrkreis Ast

Constitutionally, an Ast in Germany was required to collect operational intelligence for the Wehrkreis HQ to which it was attached and to maintain military security in the area of the Wehrkreis command. This done, its duty was accomplished. But in time of war these tasks did not fully occupy its expanded resources, and each station was, therefore, expected to recruit, train and dispatch abroad a regular flow or agents to any area which might yield armed forces intelligence. Not every Ast, however, accepted this view of its war time commitments. The Astleiter at Konigsberg, for example, is known to have been of the opinion that it was a waste of time and money to attempt to send individual agents abroad.

Ast Stettin was concerned almost wholly with naval espionage, this being a natural consequence of its geographical position and of the demand for information of this type from the local naval command. Its Leiter was a naval officer – Kapitan Wiebe- and he chose naval men to assist him. Against this background its activities assume coherence. Originally active against the Scandinavian countries and through them against Iceland and Greenland, when it sought to obtain weather reports, its energies were diverted by the opening of the war against Russia, which made it for a brief period a base for the Abwherkommandos on the Baltic front. Toward the end of 1941, when the eastern Front was stabilized well within Russia, Ast Stettin turned once more toward the Atlantic. But as the occupation of Norway and Denmark now rendered necessary the dispatch of its agents through the Iberian Peninsula, it established small outstations in Bilbao, Vigo, and Madrid and at the same time worked through Portugal. It also made use of the connections of local business houses in Turkey to send agents through the Balkans to work against the Allies in that country.

Ast Berlin (not to be confused with the Abwehr Amt in Berlin) was particularly concerned with military and economic espionage, and specialized in the use of Jewish and Swiss agents. Its activities were largely inspired by its energetic Leiter I. Oberstleutnant Schulz-Bachusen, and when he was transferred to special duties in Paris early in 1944 its external work quickly collapsed. There was no particular area for its operations and its agents have been identified as working against widely-spaced targets.

Ast Dresden was active before the war against Czechoslovakia. After the occupation of that country it did little of importance. As with Ast Berlin, one energetic officer, Leiter I Wi (Oberstleutnant Daehne), was responsible for control of the majority of its agents, who were employed upon economic espionage in Spain and Turkey. His activity won him promotion in December 1942 and with his departure Ast Dresden relapsed into insignificance.
Ast Stuttgart was consistently active. Its directing of personnel were men of considerable ability, and the fact that it was able to make use, through local business firms, of numerous commercial contacts in France, Spain, and Portugal provided it with high-grade agents. Early in the war it worked against France, but after the armistice of 1940 it began to build up a network in Spain and Portugal which concentrated at first on economic and subsequently military espionage. Toward the end of 1943, possibly as a result of its previous record, it was assigned the task of coordinating the Abwehr’s stay-behind network in Southern France and the Iberian Peninsula, and with this it latterly became increasingly concerned.

Next post-
Ast Munster, Ast Munich, Ast Breslau, Ast Hamburg, Ast Wiesbadem
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Post by Abicht » Thu Dec 28, 2006 1:14 pm

Ast Munster concentrated on obtaining military and technical air intelligence. For this purpose it maintained a reporting center at Hendaye on the Franco-Spanish frontier through which it collected reports from an agent network in Spain. It also trained agents for dispatch to South America and North Africa. But its activities were always overshadowed by the work of its Nest at Cologne, technically subordinate, though in reality independent of it.

Nest Cologne was solely concerned with economic espionage and was known as the “Ast fur Wirtschaftsforschung”. The important commercial position of Cologne simplified this task since its business houses in neutral territory provided ready-made centers for espionage. The Nestleiter, Oberstleutnaut Focke, was exceptionally active, and his energy and efficiency won him the position of Chef I Wi Abwehr Amt while still remaining Leiter of the Nest. His greatest success was to organize a considerable network in Argentina which reported quickly and in great detail information derived from US trade and technical journals. He also sent agents into French North Africa, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, and Turkey among neutral countries, and to the US and UK, South Africa, and the Belgian Congo among enemy territories, receiving reports from a large number of former and a few of the latter.

Ast Munich was engaged almost exclusively, until the collapse of the Fascist government in Italy, in economic intelligence in the Balkans, although neither the geographical position nor the industrial or economic position of Munich seemed to justify such a specialization. Since at least July 1943, when Abwehr began to take an increasing interest in espionage in Italy, it also acted as a depot for the Abwehrkommandos in Italy, a function which is easily explained by its geographical position.

Ast Breslau was an important station for work against Czechoslovakia and Poland. After the occupation of these countries it concentrated on counter-espionage and in particular on the penetration of Polish clandestine organizations. The transfer to Sofia of its Leiter III F, Oberst Fabian, in January 1942 reduced its activity even in this sphere; but in 1944 he was posted back and may have returned to his previous activity. For the rest of the war, Ast Breslau dispatched agents to the Balkans and Turkey to carry out economic espionage.

Ast Hamburg (and its subsidiary Nests at Bremen and Kiel) concentrated chiefly on naval and to a lesser extent on military and technical-economic intelligence. Ast Hamburg worked on a larger scale than any other Ast, though it does not seem to have been very successful. Its targets were almost exclusively the UK and British territory and the USA. It was made responsible for intelligence work in connection with the projected invasion of England, and in the second half of 1940 it dispatched there, directly or indirectly, a large number of agents. The emphasis which it always laid upon naval intelligence followed naturally from Hamburg’s position as a great port. As in the case of Stettin, its Leiter, Kaptian Wichmann, was a naval officer, with a tendency to select naval subordinates, and the heads of the Nests at Bremen and Keil were both naval men. Apart from agents in the UK and USA, it maintained considerable networks in Brazil (up to 1942) reporting on Allied shipping in the South Atlantic, in Turkey reporting on British military dispositions in the Near East, and in the Iberian Peninsula as a basis for administering agents further a field. It also supplied trained personnel for special naval operations first in Greece and Cyrenaica (Libya) and later in Southern Russia. In 1944 it sent agents to Spanish Morocco, the Balearics, and the French Riviera.

Ast Wiesbaden was solely concerned with work against France and the French Empire. Wiesbaden was the seat of the German Army’s HQ for the attack of 1940 and the station was responsible for the intelligence work required in connection with it. After the collapse of France Wiesbaden became the headquarters of the German Armistice Commission whose offices in the unoccupied zone and it French North Africa provided the necessary cover for the stations agents – often French businessmen who were willing to collaborate – whose main concern was thenceforth with the supply of economic intelligence. The Allied landings in North Africa broke up the German Armistice Commission’s network in that area; while the effect of the total occupation of France on November 11th, 1942 was to transfer the whole of that part of Abwehr organization in the Zone Sud, for which Ast Wiesbaden had previously been responsible, to the control of Ast Paris. Early in 1944, however, Wiesbaden was selected as the headquarters of the Abwehr in Western Europe and was made responsible for the coordination of the post-occupational network in Northern France and the Low Countries.

next- Ast Vienna, Salzburg, Prague, and stations in the occupied territory
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Post by Abicht » Fri Dec 29, 2006 8:22 am

Ast Vienna was concentrated to a large extent, though not exclusively, on obtaining intelligence from the Balkans and the Middle East, which it attempted to do not only by dispatching individual agents, but also by the establishment and control of small stations. The bulk of this work was in the IH (Heer) field, though the IM (Marine) was only slightly less important. Two aspects of its activity deserves special mention: (1) its penetration of high Romanian political and military circles through a network of local Volksdeutsche (the GAMILLSCHEG organization), and (2) its use of tobacco firms in Turkey for espionage purposes.

Ast Salzburg although the Ast of a large and important Wehrkreis, and control of three Nests (Innsbruck, Graz, Klagenfurt), was of hardly any importance until the summer of 1943, and even in 1944, when it controlled an Abwehrkommando in Italy, it could only be called a third-class station.

Ast Prague (Protectorate) was established after the German occupation of Bohemia and Moravia in March 1939. During the summer of that year its main activities were directed against Poland in anticipation of the German attack on that country. After the occupation of Poland it directed its attention almost entirely to the Balkans, where it’s I Wi (economic espionage) and III F (penetration of enemy intelligence services) sections dispatched numerous agents, though IH (Heer) also worked against the USSR. In 1939 Ast Prague controlled outstations at Brno, Moravska (Ostrava), and Zilina; but none of these seemed to be of much importance. After the reorganization of June 1944 its III F section changed its designation to 6 Z Sud-Ost and became responsible for directing all III F activities in the Balkans.

Organization of Abwehr Stations in the Occupied Territories

As soon as a country had been occupied and the threat of military counter-attack against it removed, the Abwehr was organized along lines similar to those adopted in the Reich. To each unit of military administration there would be an Ast which would ordinarily be designated by the name of the country in which it operated, e.g. Ast Netherlands, Ast Belgium, ect. When a country was divided into more than one unit of administration, as was the case in France, there would be as many Asts as there were centers of control, and thus at one time or another there were Asts in Angers, Dijon, Lyons, Bordeaux, and Arras, though only four of these existed at any one time. Further, if there was a supreme military commander (Oberbefehlshaber) in a country or group of countries, a head Ast or Astleitstelle (Astl) would be set up at his HQ to collect intelligence from his area of command. Thus in France there was an “Abwehrleitstelle Frankreich beim Oberfehlshaber West” to which all other Asts in France forwarded their reports in addition to passing them to Abwehr Amt Berlin.

Within the area of each Ast there were established subsidiary stations known as Nebenstellen (Nests) organized along the same lines as the parent Ast to which they were directly responsible. Apart from counter-espionage, the main function of both Asts and Nests was to recruit and train agents from dispatch into Allied or neutral territory, and not to organize espionage and sabotage against their own areas, for which activities there would indeed have been no occasion as the Germans were in occupation. To assist in this purpose there were often created small or specialized units known as Aussenstellen (Aust) and Meldekopfe (Mk). An Aussenstellen was a subsidiary station devoted to one particular branch of Abwehr work only. Thus Ast The Hague maintained an Aussenstellen at Overveen for obtaining local naval intelligence, and Alst Paris and Aussenstellen at St. Jean de Luz which recruited Basques for training in sabotage and sedition. A Meldekopf was simply a center for receiving and transmitting reports and an advanced base from which an Ast or Astl could pass its agents to their area of operation. Thus, Ast Brussels maintained a Meldkopf in Paris and Ast Bordeaux at Hendaye, on the Franco-Spanish frontier.

The Kriegsorganization (KO)

In most neutral countries and in countries allied to Germany but not considered as occupied (Bulgaria), the Ast system, with its undisguised military connections, was replaced by the Kreigsorganization (KO). There were KOs in (not an all inclusive listing) Bulgaria, Finland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and Turkey. Where it did exist it used as cover the German diplomatic mission. The service attaches were always responsible for the work of their respective Gruppe I sections. After the June 1944 reorganization the designation KdM (Kommando des Meldegebietes) had entirely replaced that of Ast or KO.

Hungary, Italy, and Romania were unusual exceptions which I will touch upon later.

Next post…the Territorial stations in Athens, Belgrade, and Brussels
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Post by Abicht » Wed Jan 03, 2007 9:57 am

Ast Athens was established in April 1943 after the German occupation together with Ast Salonika, which temporarily replaced it as the controlling Abwehr station in Greece in June 1942, when Salonika became the HQ of the German Army command in the Balkans (Heeresgruppe F). Both stations were originally concerned with obtaining armed forces intelligence to assist the German pincer movement aimed against the Middle East from the Caucasus and Egypt. The principal subsidiary stations of Ast Athens were at Canea and Heraklion, which together constituted Nest Crete: while those of Ast Salonika were in the Aegean Islands, e.g. Chios, Lemnos, and Samos, which were directly controlled by its Nest Mytilene. When it was decided in August 1943 to place the Abwehr in the Balkans on a mobile footing, a number of Meldetrupps were formed both on the mainland and in the islands which were at first controlled by Asts Athens and Salonika but eventually passed under Meldekommandos (Meldekdo) 111, 201, and 310 at Belgrade. The Leiter Ast Athens was successively, Oberst Dr Ludwig Dischler and Oberstleutnant Sensburg, and the Leiter Ast Salonika successively Oberst Kleiner, Oberst von Kornatzki, and Oberstleutnant Klinkmueller. Both Sensburg and Klinkmueller were subsequently put in charge of Meldekommandos based in Belgrade.

Ast Belgrade was established in April 1943, immediately after the German occupation of Yugoslavia. Its principal subsidiary stations were Ast Zagreb and Nest Sarajevo. The Leiter was Oberst Dr. Kohoutek, and the principal objective, apart from reconnaissance and operations against the Partisans, was the collection of intelligence from the Middle East, particularly from Turkey. In August 1943 the German Army Command for the Balkans (Heeresgruppe F) was transferred from Salonika to Belgrade and the Awehrkommando system was introduced in the form of Gruppen I, II, and II Meldetrupps, based on Belgrade and subordinated respectively to Meldekdo 111 (Oberstleutnant Sensburg), Meldekdo 201 (Oberstleutnant Strojil) and Meldekdo 310 (Oberstleutnant Klinkmueller). Belgrade and Zagreb retained their designation as Ast; but Ast Zagreb and such minor Nests as had existed, were reduced to the status of Meldekopfe. A post occupational network was established during 1943, largely by Gruppe II, and early in 1944 a training camp was established at Zagreb in connection with it, known as Rest-Meldkopf Croatia.

In May 1943 Ast Belgrade attempted to establish an Abwehr organization in Albania under Hauptmann Stratil-Sauer, but General Ame, then head of SIM protested and he was withdrawn. After the Italian Armistice of September 9th, 1943 Hauptmann Matl was sent from Belgrade to take over the Italian intelligence center at Tirana, and from October commanded Meldetrupp 173 controlled by Meldekdo 111 (Belgrade). Meldekopfe were set up at Verona, Berat, Koritza, and Pec and a Gruppe III Trupp was established at Debar. A unit of Sonderkommandos of the Brandenburg Division under Hauptmann Lange was also established at Tirana in September 1943 for work against the guerrillas.

Ast Brussels came into existence in June 1940 immediately after the German occupation of Belgium. Its was originally little more than an outstation of Nest Bremen, but by the beginning of 1941, when the projected invasion of England had fallen into abeyance, it achieved independent status. Its principal outstations were; (1) Aust Antwerp, which handled all IM activities, (2) Aust Boulogne, included in its network because it fell within part of France for which the German High Command in Brussels was administratively responsible, and important in 1940 as the station form which numerous agents were dispatched to the UK, (3) Ast Lille, which appears to have been principally concerned with III F work. Ast headquarters were at 67 rue de la Loi, Brussels. The Leiter, Oberst Servais, appeared to have been a figure-head, but a number of his officers, e.g. Hauptmann Brinkhaus (IH) Sonderfuher Rademacher (I T/LW) were very active, particularly the latter, as the dispatch of I T/LW agents was a specialty of the station. At the end of 1943 Ast Brussels lost its independent status and was merged in Alst West. Its subsidiary stations were dissolved.

Ast Bucharest, the headquarters of Ast Romania, was established late in 1940 with subsidiary stations at Constanza, Ploesti, Orsova, Giurgiu, Sulina, Cernauti, and Sibiu. The Leiter was Oberst Otto von Rodler, replaced by Oberstleutnant Bauer early in 1944. Apart from local counter-espionage, in which the Romanian I.S. collaborated, the principal objectives were espionage against Russia and the Middle East, and sabotage undertakings against the USSR organized from Bessarabia during the first months of the German advance into Russia. A post occupational network was established in the Ploesti oil-fields. Ast Bucharest doesn’t appear to have been very active, and was in fact the least important of the Balkan station.

More to come...
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Post by Abicht » Fri Jan 05, 2007 8:58 am

Ast Copenhagen was established in April 1940, immediately after the German occupation of Denmark together with its Nest in Aarhus. Principal objectives were naval and military espionage directed against the Allies in Iceland and Greenland and against allied shipping in northern waters, and counter-espionage against the Danish and Allied intelligence and resistance movements. In addition to Copenhagen and Aarhus, the ports of Skagen, Hirtshals, Esbjerg, Odense, and Helsinger were centers of intelligence activity. The Leiter in October 1944 was Oberstleutnant Schwiertz, appointed in about May 1944. The headquarters were located at the Hotel Cosmopolite, Copenhagen.

Ast Cracow was very inactive operationally and was apparently concerned almost entirely with domestic problems of an occupied country. It maintained, however, three W/T (wireless telephone) training schools. Its Leiter up to May 1944 was Oberstleutnant Frederici, who then became Leiter KdM Portugal.

Ast The Hague had much the same history as Ast Brussels. It was established immediately after the German occupation of Holland and replaced the older KO organization which had assisted Nest Cologne in preparing for the invasion. The new Ast was at first under the administrative control of Ast Hamburg, but had become independent by the beginning of 1941. Its headquarters were at 13 Parkweg, The Hague, until May 1943 when they were transferred to Hilversum. Its principal subsidiary stations, dissolved early in 1944, were: (1) Aust Overveen, responsible for IM, and (2) Aust Amsterdam, responsible for Wi after 1943, when Ast Netherlands was allowed its own I Wi section, a branch of activity hithero controlled by Nest Cologne. Apart from the dispatch of agents abroad, the principal objective of Ast Netherland was the collection of naval intelligence through a fishing boat reporting service directed from Ijmuiden and other Dutch ports by the Leiter IM Korvettenkapitan Strauch, but as Strauch was chiefly interested in this as a money-making racket, the quality of the intelligence received was not believed to have been high.

Ast Italy was established soon after the Italian Armistice of September 1943 and superseded KO Italy the headquarters of which had been at Frascati under Oberst Helfferich. The functions of KO Italy has been principally to supply Kesselring with armed forces intelligence obtained from the Balkans, North Africa, and the Iberian Peninsula. Ast Italy, on the other hand, covered all branches of Abwehr activity. Its headquarters were moved to Borghetto in Northern Italy in the autumn of 1943, but Helfferich, who continued to act as Leiter, spent most of his time in Rome. The transfer to Borghetto coincided, however, with the changeover to the Abwehrkommando system. The principal Kommandos were Kdo 150 (Hauptmann Berger), Kdo 190 (Oberleutnant Hoermann), Kdo 212 (Hauptmann Heilmann), and Kdo 309 (Oberstleutnant Steinberg). These units, though largely independent, at first came under the general control of the Ast; but after the fall of Rome the Ast fell increasingly into the background, and when the Abwehr was reorganized in June 1944, they were placed under the direct command of the Army. The Borghetto station continued till the end of the war, but was subordinated for the most part to a new station at Merano, under Oberstleutnant Engelmann, which was set up in September-October 1944 to coordinate all Gruppe I activities.

Ast Oslo was established in June 1940 immediately after the German occupation of Norway. Its principal subsidiary stations had been Nests Trondheim, Bergen, and Tromso, all of which were set up in the same year. Principal objectives were the dispatch of agents to the UK and Iceland and espionage against Sweden and the USSR. An unsuccessful attempt to established meteorological stations in Greenland and Jan Mayen Island was made by Einstakommando under Graf Ulrich von Finkenstein, controlled by Ast Stettin, which was withdrawn from Norway in November 1940. Oberstleutnant Johannes Nowak was appointed Leiter in July 1940, but was succeeded by Kapitan Udo von Bonin in November 1942. In June 1944 the Sipo and SD took control and von Bonin was replaced by Standartenfuher Fehlis. Ast headquarters in Oslo was at Klingenberggate S. 9, but was moved in the fall of 1944 to Sjofartsdygnungen, Kongensgate. Apart from considerable IH activity against Sweden, the Abwehr in Norway became increasingly on the defensive from mid 1944 onwards, and was largely concerned with the formation of a post-occupational network.
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Post by Abicht » Fri Jan 05, 2007 8:59 am

Double Post
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Post by Abicht » Tue Jan 09, 2007 1:40 pm

Alst Paris was established immediately after the armistice of 1940, and was the controlling station of the Abwehr in France and covered the Zone Nord up to the time of the total occupation of France on 11 November 1942, after which it also took over the Abwehr stations in the Zone Sud. The most important of its subsidiary stations were (1) Aust Le Havre, from which its more ambitious IM undertakings were directed, (2) Nest Nantes, its principal Gruppe II center, (3) Ast Angers, which was mainly concerned with III F work, (4) Ast Lyons, whose network of minor stations it controlled after the occupation, (5) Ast Bordeaux, which was particularly active in the Iberian Peninsula, but was also responsible for obtaining naval intelligence for the German submarine service, (6) Nest Marseilles, the IM station for the Western Mediterranean, and (7) Ast Arras, which was first identified at the end of 1943, was formerly a Gruppe III station and particularly interested in intelligence from the UK. The Leiter Alst Paris from 1940 was Oberst Rudolph, formerly of Nest Cologne, (who I think was arrested in Germany in 1944), and headquarters were the Hotel Lutetia, 43 Bd. Raspail, Paris 6e. Early in 1944 Alst Paris was superseded by the more fluid organization known as Alst West, divided into two sections, the one at Wiesbaden, and the other at Paris. A number of subsidiary stations were dissolved and their personnel were transferred to the Abwehrkommandos and Trupps, which withdrew with the advance of Allied forces. Nest Bordeaux continued, however, until late summer 1944; while Asts Arras, Dijon, and Lyons were still working late into 1944.

Ast Riga commonly known as Ast Ostland, was established when the Germans occupied the Baltic States in 1941 with Fregattenkapitan Liebenschutz as Leiter. A subsidiary station was set up at the same time at Tallinn which acquired the status of an Ast in 1942, when it became independent of Riga. Ast Tallinn was completely reorganized in 1943, and, after a number of changes in personnel, Oberst Vogt was appointed Leiter in August of that year. There are slight indications that an Abwehr station may have existed at Kaunas, but there is no information as to its activities. The name of the Leiter Ast Ostland is not clear. The principal objective of both stations was obviously the USSR.

Ast Warsaw was presumably established soon after the German occupation of Poland in 1939. It was the center from which all the Abwehrkommandos on the Eastern Front were directed and from and it received and forwarded their reports through its W/T station. Its organization is not however clear since it is uncertian whether the organization knwon as Walli is identical with or independent of it. Part of Walli moved to Poznan (Posen) in October 1944 on account of the almost complete destruction of Warsaw, and it is likely that the Ast also transferred there.

Next - the Kriegsorganisations (KO) in Bulgaria, Finland, Hungary, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and Turkey
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Post by Abicht » Mon Jan 22, 2007 11:01 am

The Kriegorganisations (KO)

KO Bulgaria was greatly expanded in 1941 and became the most important Abwehr station in the Balkans. Its Leiter was Oberstleutnant Dr. Wagner and the headquarters were at 57, rue Patriarch Eftimei, Sofia. Prominent among its officers was the Leiter III Major Fabian (see Ast Breslau). The more important of its subsidiary stations were (1) Mks Varna and Burgaz, reporting stations established by IM Ast Vienna, (2) Nest Plovdiv, the advanced base for work against Turkish Thrace, (3) Mk Svilengrad, a frontier control station manned by the GFP, (4) Mk Ivailovgrad, an I Luft station. In addition, KO Bulgaria maintained an Aussenstelle at Skopje for III F work against the Partisans and small posts in Greece at Dedeagatch, Demotika, Kavalla, and Samothrace. The KO withdrew from Sofia to Samakov in April 1944 and from there to Budapest in July 1944, leaving behind a few Meldetrupps which later retreated into Greece and the former Yugoslavia. Its post-occupational network had been organized in 1943.

Sofia was also the headquarters of (1) Luftmeldekopf Sud-Ost, established by I Luft of Ast Vienna with its headquarters at 55 Bd. Skoboleff. It was directed by Richard Klatt and obtained intelligence reports, few of which were of much value, from Russia, the Middle East, and North Africa. It was transferred to Budapest in November 1943. (2) The “Chaine” Organization set up by Ast Vienna IH early in 1942 with its headquarters at 10 Dibrudja and directed by Hauptmann Bernard Koller. Its was primarily responsible for establishing the post occupational network in Southeastern Europe and Turkey. It withdrew to Samakov in January 1944, and then to Budapest in September to that year.

KO Finland was set up in 1940 under Fregattenkapitan Cellarius, Naval Attaché for Finland, Latvia, and Estonia, and operated from headquarters known as the “Bureau Cellarius” in Helsinki, with branches in Rovaniemi, Mikkeli, and Petsamo. In the early days of Barbarossa there was close collaboration between the Abwehr and the Finnish I.S. How far the termination of hostilities between Finland and the USSR affected the Abwehr network is not clear from the OSS documents, but it was known that Cellarius was still in Finland in September 1944, though it was stated his departure was imminent at that time.

KdM Hungary Up to the time of the German occupation of Hungary on March 19th 1944, the Abwehr had relied, at least ostensibly, upon intelligence received through the Hungarian I.S. to which Abwehr liaison officers were attached – a collaboration which had become ineffective as the war turned against Germany. After the occupation, Budapest became for a brief period a Nest, but the mobile system was almost immediately introduced and by June 1944 a Gruppe I Truppe, almost certainly controlled by Belgrade, had been established in Budapest. In July ’44, however, Oberst Wagner, formerly Leiter KO Bulgaria, was transferred to Budapest with orders to set up KdM Hungary, by which title the Abwehr organization in that country was then designated.

KO Portugal worked throughout the war from headquarters in the German Embassy, Lisbon. It had certain interest in Oporto, the Algarve, and in Portuguese Islands, where it controlled W/T equipped agents, but did not establish any stations. Its Leiter, Oberst Rolf Frederici, formerly of Ast Cracow, succeeded Albert von Karsthoff in April 1944. The principal objectives of KO Portugal were: (1) to obtain armed forces intelligence by penetrating Allied circles in Lisbon, by sending agents on Portuguese ships plying to East and West Africa, (2) counter-espionage against Allied intelligence activities in Portugal, and (3) the transmission or Reports received at numerous cover addresses from agents in the UK, USA, and in South America, (4) the creation of a “Stay-Behind” organization.

KO Spain worked throughout the war from its headquarters in the German Embassy, Madrid, and with subsidiary stations at all the principal Spanish ports, including Seville, and at Tetuan, and covered Morocco, Rio de Oro, and the Canaries. The Leiter during the greater part of this period was Gustav Lenz who was replaced in September 1944 by Oberst Kleyenstueber, formerly Leiter I Luft Abwehr Amt. The principal objectives of KO Spain were: (1) the collection of information regarding Allied western lines of communication with the Mediterranean theatre, though the observation posts established for this purpose on both sides of the Straits of Gibraltar had been either closed down or considerably reduced in number by the end of 1943, (2) sabotage against British shipping in Spanish ports, which was discontinued for political reasons from early 1944, (3) the employment of seamen agents as observers on Spanish ships plying to South America, (4) the training and dispatch of agents for employment abroad, especially in the US, the Western Hemisphere, and the UK, (5) the transmission of intelligence reports received at numerous cover addresses from agents in the UK and US, and South America, (6) the creation of a “stay-behind” network.

KO Sweden was directed by the Air Attaché, Oberst Jens Peter Petersen until the fall of 1942, when he was replaced by Dr Hans Georg Wagner. Up to this time headquarters had been the German Legation; but Wagner, who combined the functions of Ast Leiter with those of Leiter III, set up in addition a new office, the Dienststelle Wagner, at Nybrogatan 27, Stockholm. As the Naval and Military Attaches each had his own office and received and transmitted his reports independently, KO Sweden thus contained at least four separate sections. By 1944, however, Wagner had become completely compromised, and after the reorganization of June 1944, he was replaced by Hauptmann Albert Utermark. The principal objectives of KO Sweden were: (1) the penetration of Allied organization and line of communication in German controlled territory, and (2) the provision of information on the war potential of the USSR and on the production capacity of the Western Allies.

KO Switzerland was primarily responsible up to the Franco-German Armistice in June 1940 for espionage against France and for reporting upon the defenses of Switzerland and her industrial potential. After the collapse of France its activities were concentrated on the unoccupied zone and on preparing the way for a German occupation of Switzerland, should it be necessary. The Leiter was Oberstleutnant Waag until March 1943, when he was succeeded by Korvettenkapitan Hans Meissner. Headquarters were the German Embassy, Bern. Subsidiary stations existed at Zurich (mainly I Wi) and Geneva (the advanced base for the operations against France). There were also minor posts in Lausanne, Luganno, Locarno, and Constanz. An important preoccupation of KO Switzerland was the penetration of such Allied intelligence services as they were operating in Switzerland.

KONO (Turkey) In 1940-1941 the principal Abwehr representative in Turkey was Dr. Victor Friede, responsible to Ast Hamburg. Side by side with his organization, there was a second, under Oberst Schultze-Bernett, formerly of KO The Hauge, who succeeded, largely through the good offices of von Papen, in ousting Friede. His organization became known as KONO (KO Naher Ost) and was based in Istanbul. In the spring of 1943 he was succeeded as Leiter by Oberst Paul Leverkuehn, who was dismissed in February 1944, and replaced by Fregattenkapitan Erich Pfeiffer. The most important subsidiary stations were: (1) Izmir (principally IM), (2) Ankara under Dr. Rudolf Roser, an active German intelligence officer in Syria until the Allied occupation of that country, and (3) Adana, a collecting station for reports on the Middle East. KONO, which was at one time extremely active, was seriously weakened early in 1944 by the defection to the Allies of certain members of its staff.
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Abwehr in Norway

Post by Regiment Norge » Thu Jan 24, 2008 3:59 am

Hi!

Very interesting material Abicht.

In Norway both Abwehr and SD have got their history written by an norwegian professor in history Tore Pryser. The book "Hitlers hemmelige norske agenter" has major contribution to the history of the Abwehr/SD on norwegian soil. Unfortunately the book with pictures are in norwegian language.

The material to the book was found in various sentences against german and norwegians serving in these units. Also material from the intelligence section of the arme (declassified in the late 1990s) as CIC papers were used.

Regard
Regiment Norge

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Re: Abwehr Organization & Secret Field Police

Post by Antonio J Munoz » Sat Aug 30, 2008 9:45 am

For those of you interested in the German Geheimefeldpolizei (Secret Field Police), I have edited and published (selling on Amazon.com and www.europabooks.com web site) a book which includes Feldpolizeichef Wilhelm Krichbaum's post-war work on the activities of the GFP in the war, as well as my thesis work dealing with (among many other things) the GFP units in the region of Army Group South and Ukraine. The title of the book is: The Secret Field Police Wehrmacht Geheime Feldpolizei Forces in World War II, 1939-1945. The ISBN is: 1891227750. The price is hefty ($85.00), but the information is priceless!

Regards-
Antonio Munoz

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Abicht
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Re: Abwehr Organization

Post by Abicht » Sat Dec 13, 2008 10:42 am

Where did your information come from? Archives?
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