WW2 German Reichsarbeitsdienst "ARBEITSFÜHRER" Administration Majors shoulder boards, Pair
The Reichsarbeitsdienst (RAD, "Reich Labour Service") was a major organization established by Nazi Germany as an agency to help mitigate the effects of unemployment on German economy, militarize the workforce and indoctrinate it with Nazi ideology. It was the official state labor service, divided into separate sections for men and women.
From June 1935 onward, men aged between 18 and 25 had to serve six months before their military service. During World War II compulsory service also included young women and the RAD developed to an auxiliary formation which provided support for the Wehrmacht armed forces.
The RAD was classed as Wehrmachtgefolge (lit. Defense Force Following). Auxiliary forces with this status, while not a part of the Armed Forces themselves, provided such vital support that they were given protection by the Geneva Convention. Some, including the RAD, were militarized.
During the early war Norwegian and Western campaigns, hundreds of RAD units were engaged in supplying frontline troops with food and ammunition, repairing damaged roads and constructing and repairing airstrips. Throughout the course of the war, the RAD were involved in many projects. The RAD units constructed coastal fortifications (many RAD men worked on the Atlantic Wall), laid minefields, manned fortifications, and even helped guard vital locations and prisoners.
The role of the RAD was not limited to combat support functions. Hundreds of RAD units received training as anti-aircraft units and were deployed as RAD Flak Batteries. Several RAD units also performed combat on the eastern front as infantry. As the German defences were devastated, more and more RAD men were committed to combat. During the final months of the war RAD men formed 6 major frontline units, which were involved with serious fighting. On the western front RAD troops were used as reinforcements to the 9th SS Engineer Abt (SS-Captain Moeller) in the fighting to retake the northern end of the Arnhem bridge from British Paratroopers under Col. Frost. This action was during Operation Market-Garden in September 1944. It was noted that the RAD troops had no combat experience. SS-Captain Moeller's report concluded: "These men were rather skeptical and reluctant at the beginning, which was hardly surprising. But when they were put in the right place they helped us a lot; and in time they integrated completely, becoming good and reliable comrades." Losses for these troops were in the hundreds.
Some interesting videos of the Reichsarbeitsdienst are linked to, below:
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