I own a Polizei helmet named to a member of SS-Polizei-Gebirgsjäger-Regiment-18. Using various sources, I compiled a history of that regiment for my own use. I thought it might prove useful to some members. Please let me know if there are any glaring errors or omissions.
SS-Polizei-Gebirgsjäger-Regiment-18 was formed on May 23 1942 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen (Bavaria) from Polizei-Bataillon 302 (Munich) as I Batallion, 312 (Innsbruck) as II Batallion and 325 (unknown) as III Batallion. Each Polizei-Bataillon consisted of about 1200 men within 4 companies of 300 men numbered 1 to 4. After they were combined into the regiment, their Company and Batallion numbers were changed to conform to those of the regimental numbering system. So Companies 1 to 4 of Police Batallion 302 became 1 to 4 of I Batallion; Companies 1 to 4 of Police Batallion 312 became 5 to 8 of II Batallion; and Companies 1 to 4 of Police Batallion 325 became 9 to 12 of III Batallion.
The regiment also contained a mountain artillery battalion of one staff battery and three 75mm artillery batteries and was at the disposal of the Chef der Ordnungspolizei (Chief of the Order Police), SS-Oberst-Gruppenführer und Generaloberst der Polizei Kurt Daleuge. The first regimental commander was Oberst der Schutzpolizei Hermann Franz. He had been placed in command of the forming regiment in May 1942 and led the unit until August 1943.
Of the 38 Polizei Regiments, the 18th was the only one to bear the designation Gebirgsjäger which means "mountain troops". Pictures of their vehicles show an eidelweiss (symbol of German mountain troops) on the right front fender. In recognition of their mountain troop status, members of SS-Polizei-Gebirgsjäger-Regiment-18 were the only Police regiment allowed to wear an edelweiss badge on their lower left sleeve. In February 1943 all Polizei-Regimenter had "SS" prefixed to their titles resulting in the name SS-Polizei-Regiment.
For the rest of 1942 the regiment operated in the region of Slovenia in Yugoslavia against the Slovenian partisans. In July it was in the Upper Krajina region and in August it operated in the localities of Blegos, Pokljuca, Jelovica, the Steiner Alps, and Tucheinartal. At the beginning of September it moved through Jelovica, Herzogswald and St. Valentin (by Moerautsch). In October it moved through Leermos-Ehrwald, Hammersbach, Greinau and Kreuzeck before reforming and replenishing the rest of the month.
On December 1-3rd, the regiment was sent by rail to Danzig, West Prussia. By December 25th-27th I Batallion arrived at Hanko, Finland. On December 30th, it was located at Oulu. The II Battalion followed on December 28-30th to Hanko, arriving in Oulu on January 1st, 1943. The III Battalion arrived at Hanko between December 31st, 1942 and January 2nd, 1943 and made it to Oulu on January 3rd. By June 1943, it was subordinate to the XX Gebirgsarmee under General Dietl and formed part of the German XVIII Gebirgsjägerkorps, with the right flank of the German 7th Gebirgsjäger Division and the left flank the 6th SS-Division "Nord" of the Waffen-SS. The regiment fought in north-central Finland until July 10th, when it returned to Oulu in preparation for withdrawal from Finland. By July 25th, 1943 the unit was embarking and on the 31st they reached Danzig.
By August 2nd, 1943 the regiment was on its way to Greece. By August 18th I and II Battalions were located in Amfissa. The III Battalion was operating with elements of the German elite "Brandenberg" Division and then with the 11th Luftwaffe Field Division. In the beginning of November 1943 the regiment's I Battalion moved to Corinth at the mouth of the Peloponnese and by November 10th the battalions were located as follows:
1) I in Nemea
2) II in Kopais
3) III in Zykladen
In December 1943 the battalions were located in Skurta, Thebes and Zykladen respectively.
The regiment served in numerous areas of Greece such as Kopais, Levadia, Helicon district, Karutia, Athens, Amfissa, Marathon, Karditsa, Euboea, Molo, and Topolia. Between June 6-21st 1944 the regiment's II and III Battalions, plus the regiment's mountain artillery battalion (minus one battery which remained with I Battalion back in Athens) took part in "Operation Viper" in the Taygetos Mountains.
Between July 5th and August 25th the II and III Battalions served in the Parnon Hills by Amfissa and in an operation entitled "Kreuzotter". The I Battalion operated in the Saloniki Mountains. In August the I and III Battalions were stationed at Karutia while II was at Carpenisio.
In September 1944 the Germans began their withdrawal from Greece. During the march to Belgrade through the Topola region, an ambush sees only 1 officer and 11 men survive from III Batallion. By October 11th the I and II Battalions were located in Belgrade, Serbia (Yugoslavia). With vastly superior forces, from September 29th to October 22nd 1944 the Red Army launched fierce attacks in its efforts to liberate the Yugoslave capital. The German forces in the city to include SS-Polizei-Gebirgsjäger-Regiment-18 put up a valiant but futile defense suffering heavy losses and by October 20th, Belgrade was free of German forces. On October 23rd what was left of the regiment met at Irig.
The regiment's subsequent positions followed the general retreat of the German Armed Forces in the Balkans:
December 1944 - February 1945: Basenova, Mandelos, Kuzmin, Osijek
February 15 - March 30: Valpovo, Noskovski
April 1 - 26: Vasla, Varazdin
April 27 - May 5: Koprivnica
May 8: Ludbreg/Jabzabet
May 9: Treun-Pragerhof
In April and May 1945, the decimated regiment served as rear garde for General Pannwitz's XV Cossack Cavalry Corps (which consisted of mostly Russians) during the bitter defensive fighting against the Soviets.
During the 3 years that it was in existence, SS-Polizei-Gebirgsjäger-Regiment-18 fought in the most brutal kind of warfare and suffered horrendous losses. Of the initial complement of 4800 men it had a causualty rate of 65% or a total of 3080 killed, wounded or missing. The remainder surrendered to the Soviets on the Austro-Yugoslave border.
July 1942 - August 1943: Oberst der Schutzpolizei Hermann Franz
September 1943 - October 2nd 1944: Oberstleutnant Hösl (wounded on Oct 2)
October 2nd - 10th 1944: Major der Polizei Mann (commander for little over a week, he was killed in Belgrade by a mine)
October 11th 1944 - May 1945: Major der Schutzpolizei Poys
May 1942 - September 1943: Oberstleutnant Hösl
September 1943 - October 2nd 44: Major der Polizei Mann
October - November 1944: Hauptmann der Polizei Reischl
November - December 1944: Oberstleutnant der Polizei Staudacher
December 1944 - April 1945: Hauptmann der Polizei Musall
April - May 1945: Major der Polizei Fotter
May 1942 - December 1943: Major der Polizei Zuehlke
December 1943 - May 1944: Major der Polizei Poys
June 1944 - September 1944: Hauptmann der Polizei Rosenschon
September 1944 - October 1944: Major der Polizei Poys
October 1944 - March 1945: Hauptmann der Polizei Eickelbaum
March - May 1945: Hauptmann der Polizei Rosenschon
May - September 1942: Oberstleutnant der Polizei Dietz (who was later killed during the Battle of Budapest)
September 1942 - September 1944: Hauptmann der Polizei Spann
September - October 1944: Hauptmann der Polizei Malten (KIA Oct 13 1944)
October - November 1944: Hauptmann der Polizei Lachauer
November 1944 - May 1945: Hauptmann der Polizei Heber (shot in a Yugoslav POW camp shortly after the war)
May 5-8 1945: Major der Polizei Hoffman
note: III Battalion also contained 1 company-sized cavalry squadron, 1 signals company and 1 150mm heavy infantry gun Company
SS-Polizei Gebirgs Artillerie Abteilung
SS-Sturnbannführer und Major der Gendarmerie Wilhelm Braun
Adjutant: Oberleutnant der Schutzpolizei Michaels (until July 1943) then
Leutnant der Polizei Franz (KIA Belgrade October 16 1944)
Oberleutnant der Schultzpolzei Thum (KIA Belgrade October 12 1944)
Staff Artillery Battery
Hauptmann der Schutzpolizei Kasselmann (KIA Belgrade October 16 1944)
1. Artillery Battery
Hauptmann der Schutzpolizei Urbahn (KIA Belgrade October 16 1944)
2. Artillery Battery
Hauptmann der Schutzpolizei Braeunlic (KIA August 1944)
Oberleutnant der Schutzpolizei Schmidt (KIA Osijek November 1944)
3. Artillery Battery
Hauptmann der Schutzpolizei Mitterhuber
Motorized Artillery Battery
Leutnant der Schutzpolizei Rupprecht (in Peloponnese)
Oberleutnant der Schutzpolizei Popp
Dr. Stift (until December 1943)
Dr. Hofmann (MIA Belgrade October 16 1944)
Dr. Hering (KIA Belgrade October 16 1944)
Dr. Reiser (until October 30, 1944)
The German Police published by Axis Europa
Armes Militaria Magazine volumes #171, #173, #176 and #182