The German Feldgendarmerie force had its origins in the 19th century, with most German states forming military units for policing duties. This was continued by the Imperial German Army during World War I when a large force was formed for all policing tasks behind the front lines, although this was disbanded during the interwar period. Reformed in 1939 from experienced army NCOs and civil gendarme, Feldgendarmerie units were attached to armies by battalion but would then be broken down into smaller units for deployment.
They were used for general policing duties but not for discipline inside the units. Feldgendarmen were also responsible for rounding up deserters or other offenders and then handing them over to the military justice system. They wore distinctive badges and cuff titles but were best recognised by their metal gorgets which gave them the nickname of Ketten Hunde (‘chained dogs’).