The People's Army (Volkssturm) Sauerland
has its historical roots in the formation of "Freikorps Sauerland" in
the 1920's. The "Free Corps" (Freikorps) was a military force of
World War I veterans who served to quell uprisings in Germany
following the Nation's defeat in 1918. Units were formed
throughout Germany in an effort keep order in a country deprived of
international support and reeling from heavy unemployment. The
beginnings of the Freikorps eventually lead to the militarization of
the National Socialist Party in the early 1920's leading to the
creation of the Storm Troopers (Sturmabteilung-SA) or "brown shirts"
as they were often called.
Freikorps Sauerland was established by
order of the National Socialist Area Leader (Gauleiter) of Gau
Westphalia-South. The unit maintained an elite status by only
accepting volunteers. Freikorps Sauerland continued to serve as a
militia group for the Sauerland region through October 1944.
After official constitution of the Volkssturm on 25 September 1944,
the Freikorps Sauerland was fully established and incorporated into the
Its strength consisted of several
battalions including a regimental staff which was something of an
exception within the Volkssturm structure. For every district
within Sauerland one battalion of Volkssturm was raised. These factors
coupled with the desire to accept only volunteers was a way of
maintaining elite status within the larger Volkssturm structure.
As a unit the Volkssturm Sauerland maintained its former title "Freikorps
Sauerland" in keeping with its historical roots.
Members of Volkssturm Sauerland were issued
field grey or brown uniforms from the Organization Todt or those from
the National Labor Service (Reicharbeitdienst-RAD). A special
insignia was established for the Volkssturm Sauerland units which
consisted of a white cuff title bearing the inscription "Freikorps
A cloth sleeve insignia was also produced
and worn in combination with the uniform. This insignia was also
reproduced as a helmet decal that was sometimes worn on the left side
of steel helmets. Like all Volksstrum units, the leadership and
recruitment of "Freikorps
Sauerland" was directly under the
control of local National Socialist Party leaders as well as members
of the General-SS (Allgemeine-SS).