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"German Heimatflak Units" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following intelligence report on German Heimatflak units originally appeared in Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 20, March 11, 1943.

[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department publication Tactical and Technical Trends. As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]


a. General

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).

b. Organization

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.

c. Personnel

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.

d. Training

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.

f. Conclusion

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.


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