The Army’s Streifendienst or Patrol Service was created in early 1941. The Wehrmacht had already experienced discipline problems during the Polish campaign and the campaign in the West, not all soldiers behaving in the manner expected of them.
With the build up for Operation Barbarossa and the massive troop movements this would involve it was clear that the Feldgendarmerie would be fully occupied with its principal strategic tasks and that support would be needed to deal with minor disciplinary issues.
The Streifendienst was not an independent branch like the Feldgendarmerie, with its own specific insignia and Waffenfarbe colour. It was a service to which soldiers from any branch could be attached temporarily and very few soldiers would have had a “career” as such in the Streifendienst.
Streifendienst units were created in each military district (Wehrkreis) and Heeresstreifendienst Gruppen were also formed and attached to the Germany Armies in the field.
Streifendienst soldiers wore the uniform of their original unit and their membership of the Streifendienst was indicated by the wear of an Aiguillette on the right shoulder.
A special Ausweis was also issued, identifying its bearer as a member of the Streifendienst and stating the extent of their authority.
In 1944, all Heeresstreifendienst units were redesignated as Wehrmachtstreifendienst.
Sterifendienst units operated from 1941 through to the end of the war in May 1945,
An Army Unteroffizier serving as a member of a Streifendienst unit.
(Courtesy Ian Jewison)
Ausweis for a member of a Streifendienst unit.