In the Company of Group Leader Sergei Maripuu

We now know something that was kept secret for some time. The German armed forces' attack against the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941 was preventative. The Soviet Union would have attacked Germany in July. The Germans' loss in the Second World War as a two front war was basically determined already on September 1, 1939 when the war began. Germany and its allies were not prepared for this war with the Soviet Union. The Germans had only one chance to win, a blind one, but still a chance – an unexpected blitzkrieg. Conquering successfully France, then Belgium, Holland, Denmark and Norway gave some hope for it and the typically German arrogance followed: we will win the Eastern Campaign by marching in the Parisian style and this way we don't have to increase the number of allies in this war because they can present their demands in case of winning. However, the first months showed that it was not possible to win the war with a blitzkrieg. Although the first German soldiers were in Estonia at the beginning of July, the front got tangled here and in a way that driving the Red Army out of Estonia dragged until the end of 1941. Conquering Russia seemed to be an unrealistic dream.

The leader of the German 18th Army, Feldmarschall von Kückler, gave a permission to form a security unit out of Estonians in August 1941. On August 29 a unit the size of a battalion with 700 men was formed in Tartu. But more than 2,000 men wanted to get to the unit. The newly formed unit was called the Security Unit 181. Five similar battalions were formed, all under the name of a security unit. These were later called the Eastern Battalions. In addition, Estonian coast guard regiment and air force unit were formed. Forming units out of Estonians continued until 1944, when the 20th Estonian SS Grenadier Division was recreated in Neuhammer. Paul Maitla was ready to join one of these units. According to Valdek Raiend, many young men who had returned to their homeland chose the same path as Maitla. The only thing we know about Maitla's service beginning in the German armed forces is that he joined the Police Battalion.

In autumn 1941 police battalions (at the same time with eastern battalions) were formed on the command of the Ostland's highest SS and Police leader General Jeckeln. The battalions were divided into front (F) and guard (W) battalions. But the difference was rarely made. The battalions were first made up of groups of 100 men, later of four companies. Estonian police battalions were numbered 29 to 45, 50, 286 to 293 (there are no data about using the numbers 43, 44, 45, 50, 290 and 293). In several cases the numbers of old eliminated units were used for the new ones, some units were merged and then there were redundant numbers. The battalions were gathered into two Estonian police regiments. At first the units had names Sicherung and Schutzmannschafts instead of "police battalions". We know that the men were recruited voluntarily at first for one year and they were used outside Estonia. Later the contract was automatically lengthened until the end of the war. The battalion had 500 men. The battalions were called Sicherung Abteilung (security units) and Schutzmanns ABT (guard battalion). In 1943 the names were changed into Police Battalions. These battalions had number 37 to 42. The men were used in Russia and were subjected to Wehrmacht. Pilot and Captain Sergei Maripuu's independent company, which was formed in Tartu and in 1941 to 1942 was in Pihkva to secure the German airports and was subjected to the 37th Police Battalion, was also a part of one police battalion. Paul Maitla began his service in this company as the leader of the 1st group. He was there from November 18, 1941 until October 10, 1942. It was possible that Maitla did not like being subjected to the German air force nor be a part of a police battalion. In his heart he was a front officer. That's how Maitla would have wanted to battle against the red regime.