In 1945, after the end of WW II, the U.S. Forces in Germany had to face serious problems. On the one hand, the U.S war participants had to be returned to their civilian lives at home, on the other hand, an immense number of military installations had to be guarded. All of these were confiscated real property that deemed to be required for the further occupation of Germany. To guard all of these objects would have been too demanding for the remaining U.S. Forces, especially as the prevailing situation compelled a strict guard. The British and the French Forces had to face the same problems.
Already during 1944, Headquarters U.S. Forces European Theater (USFET) had negotiated a contract with the exile headquarters of the Polish Army, in order to hire Polish POWs and Forced Labor personnel as Military Labor Service after their liberation in order to relief the regular troops. Starting in May 1945, the first guard companies of Military Labor Service (Polish) were used to guard the huge POW camps and the NS prisoner camp centers. However, not even the up to 30.000 guards from different European countries were sufficient for the guard requirements of the U.S. Forces in Germany. Additional duties were therefore delegated to the recently drawn up Town Police units. Yet, the number of their personnel was still not sufficient. Besides, in the autumn of 1945, they were still not allowed to carry firearms. So local Military Governments permitted former Wehrmacht soldiers and German civilians as additional guards. These were allocated to the Augsburg police districts that utilized and supervised them - a system that did not work, however.
Because of these problems and the reduction of the number of East European guards due to their return to their homelands resp. their emigration to the USA, it was intended to improve the covering of the guard requirements with the establishment of an Industrial Police in 1946. That was, in the beginning, supervised by the directorates of the police and, starting in 1947, by the U.S. Military Police (MP). The guards (local nationals) wore white helmets with the initials IP, dark blue U.S. uniforms and carried carbines type 30 M 1. The Industrial Police Augsburg headquarters were located in Holbeinstraße 12. But by May 1947, the Industrial Police was taken out of the custody of the MP and, in Schwaben (Swabia), put under the supervision of the 53rd Labor Supervision Company, a U.S. unit in charge of Augsburg, Kaufbeuren and Sonthofen.
The training program of the Industrial Police included carbine 30 M 1 drill, care of clothing and equipment, English language, transmitting of news and reporting of incidents, post regulations, guard and security duties, command and restrictions, fight against outbursts of riots, fire fighting and prevention, First Aid, personal hygiene, health care, personal behavior and courtesy.
In the beginning of the Soviet Berlin Blockade in 1948, breaking up of the Industrial Police began and some units were transferred to the new Labor Service organization, which distinguished itself by unloading the planes in Berlin and thus gained a very high reputation in the U.S. Army. In autumn 1950, the merger of Industrial Police and Labor Service was completed.
So, in 1950, reorganization and conversion to Labor Service with the units 6930th Labor Service Center as well as 4008th and 4079th Labor Service Company took place in Augsburg. Personnel of these units amounted to approximately 400. Guarded were all military installations in and around Augsburg, but also supply and centers, recreation areas, e.g. the “Apollo Club” at Zeugplatz, and the private quarters of U.S. officers. Gablingen Airfield was considered to be a Vacant Camp und guarded by a dog detachment. U.S. vehicles with LS marks on the bumpers were at their disposal. The salary of a Labor Service member amounted from DM 186 (recruit) to DM 325 (sergeant), while a GI cost the forces DM 2.000. Payment of Labor Service was funded via occupation and defense cost accounts.
Inspection at Sommestraße
Civilian Guards (CGs) at Reese Barracks. In the background the Gaskessel (gas reservoir) at Oberhausen (middle) and Saint Thaddäus church at Kriegshaber (right)
Cook Britzelmeier at Reese Barracks (left). The same location 50 years later (right).
The first two LS companies were drawn up at Flak Kaserne. In 1951, a camp of 18 shacks was constructed at Reese Barracks, Sommestraße, to be finally demolished as late as in the summer of 1990. In Gablingen, east of the railroad track, a camp including a dog kennel, was put up.
These inexpensive structures had, at that time, a moderate but in comparison considerable comfort and featured even a clubroom for leisure. There was also a medical support unit consisting of 20 personnel.
All Labor Service personnel – now in grey-blue uniforms with CG (Civilian Guard) lettering on their helmets – had to be trained at the U.S. rifle ranges and to participate in maneuvers regularly. The German public sometimes boycotted the CG and there were even nightly trespasses because people considered the service of IP and LS personnel as untimely remilitarization under a foreign flag – they were even considered as U.S. mercenaries. Their labor contracts identified them, however, plainly, as a “civilian support organization”, their periods of notice were accordingly – for both sides.
Camp Gablingen next to the Augsburg-Donauwörth railroad track
LS guard unit forms up in ranks (left) 16 dog boxes and a training area for the four-legged personnel of the Gablingen dog detachment (right).
Mess (left) Clubroom (right)
Because of the relocation of the 4079th LS Co to Ulm, Augsburg’s Labor Service personnel had to guard also objects outside of Augsburg. The 6930th LS Center and the 4008th LS Company remained in Augsburg. With the new formation in1957, the name of the unit was changed to Civilian Supports Unit. It can not exactly be comprehended when Augsburg’s Labor Service was disbanded. Due to strict economy measures in the mid 60s, a lot of LS units were eliminated. However, smaller units of the 8904th Civilian Labor Group (CLG Lt Maint DS), relocated from Ludwigsburg in 1972, still provided technical services at Augsburg’s Reese Barracks in the 80s.
(Further duties were assigned to Labor Service depending on the garrison, e.g. engineer type construction work, building repair work, maintenance and repair of bridges, vehicle maintenance, ammo and other transportation, communication services, medical support, admin services and depot managing).