Around the early 40's, in World War II, groups of German civilians known as "partisans" created problems making guerilla warfare behind the lines of the Wehrmacht (the German Armed Forces).

Partisans believed that the Nazi's philosophy and ideology was wrong, and so they sought to "defend" the people of Germany by attacking the Wehrmacht. They created havoc among the rear areas of the Wehrmacht - attacking logistical and supply points, communication posts, and the like. Partisans were difficult to take care of because they would literally pop out of the woods, do their damage, and disappear back into the woods again. Being civilians, they could easily reassimilate into German civilian populations after committing their guerilla warfare, often without those around them knowing.

Oddly enough, however, the partisans also were known for stealing and pillaging from the same German people they were supposedly protecting. Also ironically, some of the crueler German troops would execute civilian populations when they suspected partisans were hiding amongst them; again defeating the goal of the partisans.

The Wehrmacht had to respond to this problem, and often assigned soldiers to find and take care of partisans. Originally it was considered a duty of the Army (Heer) and Police, but the Luftwaffe and even Kreigsmarine (Coastal patrols only, really) had a part of it, as well as some of the elite Waffen-SS units. In October 1942, the responsiblity for taking care of partisans was completely transferred to the Waffen-SS.

When partisans and German troops actually engaged, it was brutal warfare, especially knowing the partisan groups for their guerrila tactics. Few partisans ever surrendered, and fought to the bitter end - mostly because they knew that hardly any German soldaten would accept their surrender. Captured partisans were almost always executed - usually "unofficially" in the field.

In 1944, the Anti-Partisan Badge was created to honor those soldiers who had participated enough in anti-partisan work, and was created by the order of Hitler, himself.

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