For the purpose of supplementing the defense of industrial areas in Germany, and to some
extent in occupied countries, a civilian antiaircraft organization is reported to have
been organized. It is known as Heimatflak (Home Antiaircraft Defense).
These units are organized within the framework of Germany's air defense system. The
Heimatflak commander in each Luftgau (air district) is presumably under
the jurisdiction of the German Air Force Luftgau commander responsible for the
air defense of the whole area.
It appears that Heimatflak consists of fixed batteries (Heimatflakbatterien) each
with its own headquarters (Batteriekommando). No details of any higher
unit organization are known at present.
There are two types of battery; a heavy battery of six 75-mm (2.95-in) guns,
and a light battery of fifteen 20-mm (.79-in) guns. In addition, there
are balloon barrage batteries (Heimatluftsperrbatterien) each with 24 balloons.
The Heimatflak personnel consists of civilians who are trained to man antiaircraft
guns in the neighborhood where the civilians are employed, thus releasing regular
antiaircraft personnel for duty elsewhere. They perform antiaircraft duty in their
spare time, but are presumably also called out from their factories or offices during
working hours in case of alarm. These men may have had no previous military training, or
they may be ex-servicemen discharged from the armed forces and drafted into industrial
employment; on joining the Heimatflak, the latter relinquish their former
service rank, but nevertheless receive the pay appropriate to that rank.
The average age appears to be between 50 and 60, though some reports refer to young
men of 16 and upwards, who in some cases are drawn from the older classes of the
Hitler Youth organization.
Heimatflak personnel wear the red collar-patch of antiaircraft on their uniform
and are provided with steel helmet, gas-mask, boots, overalls and cap.
Personnel are trained under noncommissioned officers from regular antiaircraft units, and
possibly by men of their own detachment who have had previous antiaircraft experience, such
as ex-servicemen. It is believed that training normally takes place at local antiaircraft
sites, though one instance is known of workmen being sent to pursue an antiaircraft
course away from their place of employment. The average period of training is probably
from 2 to 3 months.
e. Sphere of Activity
Heimatflak is presumably intended primarily for supplementing the defense of
industrial areas in Germany. The organization has, however, apparently been adopted
to some extent in occupied countries also, since references have been made
to Heimatflak in Luxembourg and Poland.
The manning of the antiaircraft defenses on the scale now believed to exist throughout
Germany and occupied countries, in addition to provision for the large number of
antiaircraft units operating with the field army, must involve a tremendous strain
on manpower. It is not surprising, therefore, to find that an attempt is being made
to ease this strain by the adoption of the policy of employing factory and office
workers as part-time antiaircraft personnel. It may also mean an increase in the
density of the antiaircraft defenses in areas heretofore considered inadequately defended.