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RAD Reich Labour Service

RAD German ww2 logo THE REICHSARBEITSDIENST

THE REICHSARBEITSDIENST (RAD – REICH LABOUR SERVICE)

The RAD was initially formed during July 1934 as the official state labour service. The RAD brought together all the different  labour organisations formed in Germany during the Weimar Republic.

RAD members provided essential manpower for various civil (autobahns), military (Atlantic Wall defences), and agricultural construction projects (flood prevention).

Konstantin Hierl was its director during the organization’s entire lifetime, and his initial plan was to have a 2 year service structure for all men between 17 and 23. He was presented with an Officers Dagger that had a unique Damascus blade, this was sold in a UK auction house many years ago.

By 1935 a six month compulsory service for males and females was made law. Every facet of the RAD was modelled upon a military theme, and therefore the transfer to the Whermacht was a smooth transition. Eventually due to severe strains on replacement military manpower the entrance age was lowered and actual service time reduced.

While the RAD was divided into two major sections for men and women, it was only the men that were allowed to wear the RAD man and RAD officer daggers respectively.

Even as early as the campaign in Norway, RAD units were utilised to free up frontline troops by repairing roads and distributing ammunition and food.

RAD troops often found themselves fighting alongside regular infantry on the Russian Front as well as manning anti-aircraft guns.

Right at the end of WW2, RAD troops were taught mainly anti-tank and infantry tactics to defend what was left of the Third Reich. Limited accounts of their actions exist that provide evidence that although large combat actions were limited, they were fierce.

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