The Security Battalions (Greek Τάγματα Ασφαλείας, Tágmata Asfalías) were Greek collaborationist military groups, formed during the Axis occupation of Greece during World War II in order to support the German occupation troops.
The Battalions were founded in 1943 by the puppet government of Ioannis Rallis. They were supported by the extreme right and pro-Nazis, but also by some centrist politicians who were concerned about the dominance of ELAS (the military arm of the communist-dominated National Liberation Front EAM) as the main body of the Greek resistance. Among the members of the Security Battalions one could find ex-army officers, violently conscripted soldiers, ultra-right fanatics and social outcasts, as well as common opportunists who believed the Axis would win the war.
The main role of the Security Battalions was to fight against ELAS. Their aggregate force was at most 22,000 men, divided into 9 'evzonic' and 22 'voluntary' battalions, under the commands of SS Lieutenant-General Walter Schimana. Although the plan was to expand them all over the occupied Greek territories, their main theater of action was in eastern Central Greece and Peloponnese. At that time, ELAS had already gained control over 1/3 of continental Greece. They remained faithful to the Germans even when the occupation was crumbling. Their last mission was to engage in combat against ELAS and keep them away from the main routes, in order to secure the safe exit of the German troops from Greece.
During the war, the Allied-oriented government in exile decried the Security Battalions for treason. After the liberation, the groups were disbanded; many of their members were tried and were convicted of collaborationism. Their creator, Rallis, was sentenced to life imprisonment for treason. He died in prison in 1946.
When the first conflicts of the Greek Civil War broke out in December 1944, however, many of them were recruited into the gendarmerie to fight alongside the British and government forces against the ELAS guerrillas. The Left has accused the governments of the period of utilizing the Security Battalions against the Communists, while others suggest the Security Battalions joined the Anti-Communist forces looking to redeem themselves in the eyes of the public.
Oath of the Security Battalions
Recruits to the Security battalion were under the following oath:
"I swear by God this sacred oath, that I will obey absolutely the orders of the Supreme Commander of the German Army, Adolf Hitler. I will with loyal dedication perform my duties and obey without condition the orders of my superiors. I fully acknowledge that any objection to the obligations hereby accepted will lead to my punishment by the German Military Authorities."
It is reported that Rallis, the PM installed by the occupation forces, in the negotiations for the founding of such militia unit on the side of the Nazi occupation forces, refused to accept this oath as " ...Greek military forces cannot place their legions under a foreign government..". It is unknown whether Rallis' views were taken into account by German officials.
- Mark Mazower: "Inside Hitler's Greece: The Experience of Occupation, 1941-44" Yale University Press, 1995, isbn=0300089236
- Vasileios Stavrogiannopoulos, Η Ζωή της Κατοχής και τα Τάγματα Ασφαλείας
- Nikolaos D. Christodoulou, Pro-Axis Security Battalions in Southern Greece, 1943-1944
- Antonio J. Munoz, Herakles & the Swastika: Greek Volunteers in the German Army, Police & SS, 1943-1945
- Dordanas, Stratos: "Έλληνες εναντίον Ελλήνων" Epikentro, 2005, isbn=9789606647314