In 1921, Berlin’s first Guard Detachment since 1918, tasked with Honour Guard duties at the Neue Wache, or New Guard House, in Germany’s capital city, was created with the Reichswehr’s Kommando der Wachtruppe, together with a Musikkorps der Kommandantur-Berlin led by Friedrich Ahlers. Manpower was drawn on a rotational basis from army battalions across the country and with the coming of the Third Reich in 1933 it was re-named Wachtruppe-Berlin. Nazi Germany then re-armed in 1935 and the Wehrmacht was created and with it, a new three-battalion Wachregiment-Berlin came into being in 1937, with the band re-designated Musikkorps der Wachregiment und Kommandantur-Berlin and whilst peacetime military bands averaged 28-38 musicians, this elite army band now boasted 48 members.
Nazi Germany’s new airforce was also created in 1935 and a Luftwaffe Wachbataillon, tasked with guarding Goering’s Berlin Air Ministry also deputed once a week for the army as the Wehrmacht’s Guard Detachment at the Neue Wache. Meanwhile, Inspector of Music, Prof. Hans-Felix Husadel, appointed Stabsmusikmeister Hans Teichmann to head a new Stabsmusikkorps der Wachbataillon der Luftwaffe which eagerly showed off its prowess at open-air concerts, on the Sunday night Wunschkonzert für die Wehrmacht radio shows and through regular recording sessions at Telefunken’s Berlin studios.
Further changes came in April 1939 with the army’s Wachregiment being renamed Infanterie Regiment ‘Grossdeutschland’ and its band, Stabsmusikkorps der Wachbataillon Infanterie Regiment ‘Grossdeutschland’ und Kommandantur-Berlin still under the direction of Stabsmusikmeister Friedrich Ahlers. However with the Wehrmacht’s custom of army & airforce musicians transferring whenever musical vacancies arose, many Luftwaffe Wachbataillon musicians moved across to the ‘Grossdeutschland’ and vice-versa whereas the Navy, apart from providing an annual Honour Guard & band from the Musikkorps der II Marinelehrabteilung at Berlin’s May 31st Jutland Day celebrations, did not parade a similar Kriegsmarine Wachbataillon.
Whilst, at war’s outbreak in 1939, many Wehrmacht & Waffen-SS bands were disbanded and the musicians transferred to their war-time roles of radio operator & combat-medic, three elite Musikkorps were officially retained right up to war’s end: the SS-Leibstandarte 'Adolf Hitler', 12th SS-Panzerdivision 'Hitlerjugend' and the Infanterie Regiment ‘Grossdeutschland ..and now this CD offers a producer’s introduction and 13 superb tracks from the elite Berlin Guard Detachments, including:
Grossdeutsche Grenadiere - Landser und Panzer - In Treue fest - Weichsel und Warthe - Wir sind des Reichs leibhaftige Adler! - Soldaten Kameraden - Preussens Gloria and Kap Lied...