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UniformsandinsigniaoftheSchutzstaffel
FromWikipedia,thefreeencyclopedia

TheuniformsandinsigniaoftheSchutzstaffelwereparamilitaryranks
anduniformsusedbytheSSbetween1925and1945todifferentiatethat
organizationfromtheregularGermanarmedforces,theGermanstate,
andtheNaziParty.

Contents
1 Uniformdesignandfunction
2 Uniformsdesignsandstyles
2.1 EarlySSuniforms(19251928)
2.2 SSBrownshirts(19291932)
2.3 SSblackuniforms(19321934)
2.4 SSprewaruniforms(19341938)
2.5 SSuniformsofWorldWarII(19391945)
3 FinalSSranks19341945
4 Policeranksandinsignia
5 SSforeignlegions
6 GermanicSSuniforms
7 SpecialSSuniforms
8 SStitles
8.1 SecretPoliceranks
9 SSmembershipnumbers
10 Seealso
11 Notes
12 References
13 Bibliography
14 Furtherreading
15 Externallinks

SSGruppenfhrerHansHeinrich
LammersinblackAllgemeineSS
uniform1938

Uniformdesignandfunction
WhileamultitudeofuniformsexistedfortheSS,oftendependingonthetheatreof
warwheretheywerestationed,theallblackSSuniformisthemostwellknown.
Blackwasseenassombreandauthoritative.Theblackwhiteredcolourschemewas
characteristicoftheGermanEmpire,andwaslateradoptedbytheNaziParty.
Further,blackwaspopularwithfascistmovements:ablackuniformwasintroduced
bytheblackshirtsinItalybeforethecreationoftheSS.Therewasatraditional
reason,aswell.JustasthePrussiankings'andemperors'lifeguardcavalry
(Leibhusaren)hadwornblackuniformswithskullandcrossbonesbadges,sowould
2ndpatternSSTotenkopf
theFhrer'sbodyguardunit.[a]Aswithmanymoreformalmilitaryuniforms,these
ordeath'shead,193445
SSuniformsweretailoredtoprojectauthority,andfosterfearandrespect.As
Himmlerputit,"Iknowtherearemanypeoplewhofallillwhentheyseethisblack
uniformweunderstandthatanddon'texpectthatwewillbelovedbymanypeople."[1]
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Duringthewar,theGermanclothingfactorythateventuallybecametheinternationalmenswearpowerhouse
HugoBossproducedthousandsofSSandotheruniforms[2]withtheblackSSuniformhavingbeendesignedby
KarlDiebitschandWalterHeck.
Oncethewarbegan,however,theblackuniformwasseldomworn.ThecombatunitsoftheSSVerfgungstruppe
(SSVT)andthelaterWaffenSSworeavariationofthefieldgrey(greygreen)(feldgrau)army(Heer)uniform
withSSinsignia.ThemajorityofSSpersonnelworevariationsoftheWaffenSSuniformorthegreygreenSS
servicetunic.BrancheswithpersonnelthatnormallywouldwearcivilianattireintheReich(suchastheGestapo
andKripo)wereissuedgreygreenSSuniformsinoccupiedterritorytoavoidbeingmistakenforcivilians.
SSuniformsusedavarietyofinsignia,themoststandardofwhichwerecollarpatchestodenoterankand
shoulderboardstodenoterankandposition,alongwithsleevecuffbandsand"sleevediamond"patchesto
indicatemembershipinspecificbranchesoftheSS.

Uniformsdesignsandstyles
EarlySSuniforms(19251928)
TheSScantraceitsoriginstoseveralearlyFreikorpsandNaziPartyformations,among
themtheErhardtNavalBrigade,Stahlhelm,andmostsignificantlytheSturmabteilung(SA),
ofwhichtheSSwasoriginallyasubordinateorganization.
TheveryfirstSAuniformsandinsigniawereparamilitaryuniformsfashionedbyearlyNazis
whichincorporatedpartsfromWorldWarIuniformstoincludesuchfeaturesusedbyother
Freikorpsformationsuchashighboots,daggers,andthekepihat.The8manStabswache
(staffguard),Hitler'sbodyguard,soonrenamedtheStosstrupp(shocktroop),alsoadoptedin
May1923theskullandoakleafasameansofinsignia,bothofwhichwerealreadydeeply
rootedinEuropeanmilitaryhistory.

Thetraditional
"Danziger"
Totenkopfworn
bytheSS1923
34

In1924,whiletheNaziPartywaslegallybannedfollowingtheBeerHallPutsch,Frontbann
(undergroundSA)leaderGerhardRobachlocatedalargestoreofwarsurplusbrowndenimshirtsinAustria,
originallyintendedfortropicaluniforms.[3]WhentheSA(whichincludedthenascentSS)wasrefoundedin
1925followingHitler'sreleasefromprison,thesebrownshirtswereissuedasuniforms.
In1925,Hitlerorderedtheformationofanewbodyguardunit,the
Schutzkommando(protectioncommand).[4]ItwasformedbyJulius
SchreckandincludedoldStotruppmembers,EmilMauriceandErhard
Heiden.[5]Theonlyinsigniawastheswastikaarmband,usually
homemade,exceptforthehandfulofmenconstitutingtheStosstrupp's
successor,theSchutzkommando,whocontinuedtheuseoftheTotenkopf
pinnedtocaporcollar.Thatsameyear,theSchutzkommandowas
EarlySSarmbandusingtherank
expandedtoanationallevel.ItwasrenamedsuccessivelytheSturmstaffel
stripesystem
(stormsquadron),andfinallytheSchutzstaffel(protectionsquadron),
abbreviatedtoSS(on9November).[6]Inthefollowingyearadoptedits
firstrecognizablerankinsigniasystemwhichwasusedmainlybyseniorSSpersonnelatmajorrallies,withthe
rankandfileoftheSS,liketherestoftheSA,stillwearingavarietyofbrownshirtsorparamilitaryuniforms
withnorecognizableinsignia.
Theearlyranksystemof1926consistedofaswastikaarmbandwornwithwhitestripes,withthenumberof
stripesdeterminingtherankofthebearer.Thus,theveryfirstSSranksystemwasasfollows:
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Reichsfhrer("nationalleader"):threestripes
Gaufhrer("districtleader"):twostripes
Staffelfhrer("squadronleader"):onestripe
Mann("trooper"):nostripes
Undertheabovesystem,basicSStrooperswereorganizedinto10manStaffeln,eachundertheauthorityofa
Staffelfhrer.SSdistricts,knownasSSGaus,wereundertheauthorityofaGaufhrerwhileallSSdistrict
leadersansweredtoanationalleaderoftheSScalledtheReichsfhrer,atthistimeJosefBerchtold.[7]Inlinewith
theFhrerprinzip("leaderprinciple")oftheNaziParty'sideology,thewordFhrerwasincorporatedintoall
ranksexceptthoseforbasicSStroopers.
By1927,theSturmabteilunghadgreatlyincreaseditsnumbersandhadstandardizedthe"brownshirt"uniform
whichwouldthereafterbepermanentlyassociatedwiththatgroup:shirt,tie,breeches,boots,andcylindricalkepi,
allbrown.AstheSSwasatthistimeasmallunitwithintheSA,SSpersonnelduringthisperiodlikewisewore
brownshirtuniformsbutdistinguishedthemselvesasaneliteamongtheSAbywearingblacknecktiesandblack
kepiswithTotenkopfandPartyeaglebadges.
Bythistime,withinfluencesfromtheStahlhelm,theSAleadershipadopteditsfirstcollar
insigniaandalsoaddedanewSArankofStandartenfhrer("standardleader")inchargeof
regimentsizedStandarten(incorporatingthecompanysizedStaffeln)theSSatthistime
adoptedthesamerankaswell.
The1927rankshadnoinsigniaforSA/SStroopers(stillknownbythetitle"Mann")and
thepreviousrankofStaffelfhrerhadbecomeshortenedtosimplyFhrer("leader").The
higherSSranksofStandartenfhrer,Gaufhrer,andReichsfhrerliketheirSA
counterpartsnowusedasystemofoakleavesdisplayedonbothcollarsofthebrownSA
shirt.OneoakleafsignifiedaStandartenfhrer,twoaGaufhrer,andthreeoakleaves
werewornbyReichsfhrerSSBerchtoldandhissuccessorErhardHeiden,whoreporteddirectlytotheOberste
SAFhrer.
1stpatternParty
eagle,wornbythe
SS192736

Overthecourseofthenextyear,theburgeoningSAsawtheemergenceofnewunitsand
ranks,andforthefirsttimeacomprehensivesystemofrankinsignia.Abasicsquadunit,
the10manSchar,wasgroupedintoplatoonsizedTruppen,andtheseintocompany
sizedStrmewhichinturnmadeupbattalionsizedSturmbanne.Newrankswentwith
thenewformations:Scharfhrer,withonepipwornontheleftcollarpatch,Truppfhrer,
twopips,Sturmfhrer,threepips,andSturmbannfhrer,fourpips.Ontherightcollarof
SAuniformswaswornapatchwithtwonumbersindicatingStandarteandSturmbann
affiliation.BecausetheSSnumberedfewerthanathousandmen,itdidnotadoptthe
Sturmbannunitatthistime,andrighthandSScollarpatchesdisplayedthenumberof
theStandarteonly.
Atthehigherendoftheorganization,in1928theSAGauStrmewererestructuredinto
regionalGruppen,eachcommandedbyaleaderwithanewgeneralofficerrank,
Gruppenfhreritsinsigniawasthethreeoakleafcollarpatch.Atthistimetheformer
rankofGaufhrerwasrenamedOberfhrer("seniorleader").
ThecollarpatchesoftheSAwerecolorcoded:eachGruppehaditsowndistinctive
color.TheSSwasconsideredtobeaGruppeuntoitselfitscolor,naturally,wasblack,
andReichsfhrerSSHeidenheldtherankofGruppenfuhrerandworeitsthreeoakleaf
insignia.

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HeinrichHimmler
wearinganearlySS
uniformwith
Oberfhrerinsignia
in1928

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SSBrownshirts(19291932)
In1929,undernewReichsfhrerSSHeinrichHimmler,[8]theSScodifieditsfirstuniformregulations:the
signatureblackcolorwasextendedtobreeches,boots,[b]armbandedges,andbeltandcrossbelttheshirtcollar
wasedgedinblackandwhitetwistcordexceptforthoseofseniorleaders,whichweretrimmedinsilver.
Theabilitytoproduceandissuecompleteuniformscameaboutduebothtothecentralizationofthe
Reichszeugmeisterei(RZMnationalquartermasteroffice)underNSDAPTreasurerFranzXaverSchwarz,andto
Himmler'sexpansionandreorganizationofthefastgrowingSS(from280membersto52,000between1929and
1932)intoseveralbrigadesizedBrigadenthroughoutGermany,eachcomprisingthreetofiveregimentsized
Standarten.WithintheStandartennowexistedtwotothreebattalionsizedSturmbanne("stormunits"),and
beneaththislevelweretheStrme,Truppen,andScharen.
Forthelowerranks,theSSalsospecifiedthata
patchshowingthewearer'sregiment(Standarte)
wouldbewornoppositethebadgeofrankwhile
thehigherSSleaderswouldcontinuetowear
oakleafinsigniaonbothcollars.Collartabsbelow
therankofSturmfhrerwereedgedinblackand
whitetwistcordthoseofSturmandSturmbann
leadersusedblackandsilverwhilethoseof
seniorleaderswereedgedinsolidsilvercord.

TheearliestSSranksystem,usedduringtheyear1929

Inadditiontothecollarunitinsignia,theSSnow
createdacuffbandsystemwhichwaswornonthe
lowerleftsleeve.Thesecuffbandswereblackand
displayedthebearer'sSturmnumbertogetherwith
colorcodededgesindicatingtheSturmbann,
whichinconjunctionwiththecollarinsignia
showedregiment,battalionandcompany
affiliation.Leadersabovethecompanyleveldid

notatthistimeusethecuffbandsystem.
TheholderofthetitleofReichsfhrerwasstillconsideredanSAGruppenfhrer,withReichsfhreritselfnotyet
anactualrank.Inaddition,forabriefperiodin1929,therankofStandartenfhrerwasdividedintotwoseparate
grades,knownasStandartenfhrer(I)andStandartenfhrer(II)theinsigniaofoneoakleafwasusedforboth
positions.ThissituationwasanotherreflectionoftheSS'rapidexpansion:Oberfhrersnowcommandedthe
threenewlycreatedSSOberfhrerbereiche,east,westandsouthandsoaseniorStandartenfhrerwaspromoted
tocommandeachSSBrigade.
Hitler'spersonalguard,knownatthisstagebytheoriginalSSnameofStabswache(latertobeknownasthe
LeibstandarteAdolfHitler),wasalsoexpressingitsindependenceandincreasingitssizeundertheleadershipof
SeppDietrich.
TheStennesRevoltofAugust1930,inwhichmembersoftheSAattackedtheBerlinpartyGauheadquarters
whichwasdefendedbytheSS,hadprofoundconsequencesfortheSAanditsrelationshiptoitssubordinate
organization.InanopenlettertoBerlinSSleaderKurtDaluege,AdolfHitlerproclaimedSSMann,deineEhre
heitTreue!("SSsoldier,yourhonouriscalledloyalty!").Subsequently,MeineEhreheitTreue("Myhonouris
calledloyalty")wasadoptedbytheSSasitsmotto.Moresignificantly,HitlercashieredSAheadFranzPfeffer
vonSalomonandassumedthepositionofObersteSAFhrerpersonally,andsimultaneouslypromotedboth
HimmlerandDaluegetothenewrankofSSObergruppenfhrer.DaluegewastheSSleaderofNorthern
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GermanywhileHimmlercontrolledsouthernSSunitsoutofMunichwhileservingastheNationalLeaderforthe
SSthismovehadtheeffectofrenderingtheloyalSSpracticallyindependentofthesuspectSA,sinceHimmler
andDaluegenowoutrankedallSAcommanders.
AnotherresultoftheStennesRevoltwasHitler'srecallofhisold
PutschcomradeErnstRhmfromSouthAmericatotakeoverthe
daytodayrunningoftheSAwiththetitleofSAStabschef.
WhileHitlerthoughtthatthiswouldbindtheSAmorefirmlyto
ThetransitionalSSranksof1930
him,Rhmhadotherambitions,includingtheconversionofthe
paramilitarySturmabteilungintoanarmy.Withhisexpansions,
promotions,andchangestotheSA,arevisionoftheSAranksystemwasrequiredalthoughtheuniformsand
titlesessentiallystayedthesame.Thefirstmajorchangewastheadditionofnewranksmodeledontheoriginal
titlescreatedin1928butwiththeadditionof"senior"and"head"designators(oberandhaupt):thesewere
Oberscharfhrer,ObertruppfhrerandSturmhauptfhrer.Thenewrankinsigniawerecreatedbyaddingasilver
stripetothecollarpipsofthenextlowerrank.
A1930changetotheSSuniformwastheadditionof
asinglenarrowshoulderstrapwornontherightside.
Therewerefourgradesofshoulderstrap:until1933a
blackandwhitepatternwaswornbySStroopers,an
epauletteofparallelsilvercordsbySturmand
Sturmbannleaders,atwistedpatterninsilvercordby
standarten,oberandGruppenfhrers,andabraided
silvershoulderboardbythetwoObergruppenfhrers.

SSRanks1931
Generals
Officers
Obergruppenfhrer Standartenfhrer
Gruppenfhrer
Sturmbannfhrer
Brigadefhrer
Sturmhauptfhrer
Oberfhrer
Sturmfhrer

Enlisted
Obertruppfhrer
Truppfhrer
Oberscharfhrer
Scharfhrer
Mann

By1931,Himmlerwassecure(orindependent)
enoughtoreorganizetheSS,formerlyoneSAGruppe,intofiveSSGruppendividedintoseveralBrigadenledby
officerswiththenewrankofBrigadefhreritsinsigniawasthetwooakleavesofanOberfhrerwithapip.

SSblackuniforms(19321934)
In1932,[c]theSSintroduceditsmostnotoriousuniform,theblackensembledesignedbyKarlDiebitsch(laterto
becomeanSSOberfhrer)andgraphicdesignerSSSturmhauptfhrerWalterHeck.[9]Theshirtremainedbrown
asanodtotheSA,ofwhichtheSSwasstillnominallyapart,butallelsewasblackfromhighboots[d]tothenew
militarystylepeakedcap,asidefromtheredarmband.SSmenwerealsoissuedblackwoolgreatcoatsfor
inclementweather,whichsimilarlycarriedthearmband,epauletteandcollarpatches.Aroundthistimeabelt
bucklefeaturingthemottoMeineEhreheitTreue("MyHonourIsLoyalty")initsdesignwasproducedbythe
OverhofffirmtoreplacetheSAbuckle.
Furthermore,severalnewranksandinsigniachangeswereintroduced.Theexpandedranksystemof1932still
usedthesamecollarpipmethodtodenotepositionpairedwithacorrespondingshoulderboard,butaddedtwo
newjuniorpositionsknownasSturmmannandRottenfhrer.Bythistime,Himmlerhadalsoincreasedscrutiny
onSSmembershipwithaparticularfocusonproofof"Aryan"ancestry,andcreateda"candidate"position
knownasSSAnwrter,whichprospectiveSSmemberswererequiredtoholdforatleastsixmonthsbefore
formallyjoiningtheSSasanSSMannanAnwrterworenorankinsignia.
Withmembershipcontinuingtoincrease,RhminventedtwonewofficerranksknownasObersturmfhrerand
Obersturmbannfhrer.SS(andSA)officersrankedStandartenfhrer(colonel)andaboveworerankinsigniaon
bothcollarswithouttheuseofunitinsigniaallpersonnelObersturmbannfhrer(lieutenantcolonel)andbelow
woreaunitinsigniapatchoppositethebadgeofrank.
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SSrankinsigniapatternfrom1933

In1933,afterHitlerhadbecome
Chancellor,theSSbegantomakemoreof
adistinctionbetween'officers'and
'enlistedmen'anSSmancouldnowonly
bepromotedtoSturmfhrerwith
Himmler'sapproval,baseduponthe
Reichsfhrerspersonalreviewofthe
candidate'sapplicationincludinghis
careerresumeorlebenslaufand
recommendationsfromcurrentand
formersuperiorofficers.Notehowever
thatthissystempresupposedenlistedSS
membershipHimmleralwaysdetested
thearmy'sclassdistinctions.Itwas
forbiddenforSSmentofollowthearmy
customofaddressingsuperiorofficersby
prefixingHerrtotheirrank,andKamerad
wasanapprovedformofaddressunder
mostcircumstances.

Atthis
time,theSSalsobegantorevampitsunitcollarinsignia,shoulderboards,and
sleevecuffbandsystem.Thesechangeswereintroducedoveraperiodofoneyear
between1933and1934andbeganwiththeintroductionofanewseniorenlisted
rankknownasHaupttruppfhrer.Theblackandwhiteenlistedshoulderboard
becameblackandsilver,andofficerswerebroughtintoparallelwitharmy
practice:thetwisted"cruller"boardwasassignedtothefieldgraderanks
(Sturmbannfhrer,Obersturmbannfhrer,andStandartenfhrer),andthebraided
boardstothegeneralequivalentsofOberfhrerthroughObergruppenfhrer.In
late1934,enlistedcollarpatcheschangedfromblackandwhitetoblackand
silveredgingallofficersnowworesilverpipedcollartabs.

SSHaupttruppfhrer
insignia

Alsoin1933,the runesinsigniawasintroducedwhichwould
eventuallybecomeknownasthesymbolfortheentireSS.Thefirstuseof
theSSruneswasasaunitinsignialimitedonlytomembersofthe
LeibstandarteAdolfHitler[10]whichhadtransferredtheirheadquarters
fromMunichtoBerlinandhadreplacedtheArmyChancelleryGuardto
becomeHitlersmainprotectors.ItwasatthistimethattheLeibstandarte
movedfrombeinga"paramilitary"formationarmedwithpistolsand
truncheonsto"military",equippedwithrifles,bayonets,andsteelhelmets.
TheirSSrunesunitcollarpatchwastobewornontherightsideofthe
tuniccollar.[11]Theadaptationofthisparticularunitinsigniawaslargely
LSSAHguarddetail,Berlin1938
theworkofSeppDietrichwhoon4November1933,declaredtheunitan
notesigrunesinsignia
independentformationand,althoughapartoftheSS,answerabletoHitler
alone.[12]DietrichevenwentsofarastoforbidentranceofHimmlerinto
theBerlinLeibstandartebarracksand,forabrieffewmonthsin1933,orderedhisLeibstandartesoldierstowear
theblackuniformwithoutaswastikaarmbandinordertodifferentatethebodyguardunitfromtherankandfile
oftheAllgemeineSS("GeneralSS")unitsthroughoutGermany.

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AtthesametimeDietrichandhisLeibstandarteadoptedtheSSrunesastheirunitinsignia,thefulltimeSS
headquartersandcommandstaffsbeganusingablankcollarpatch,withoutaunitnumber,todifferentiate
themselvesfromthe"rankandfile"SSunitsinGermanywhichwerestillusingregimentStandartennumbersas
theirunitinsignia.Thus,bytheendof1933,therewerethreeunitcollarinsigniapatchesinexistence:theSS
runesusedbytheLeibstandarte,theblankcollarpatchusedbytheSSheadquartersandcommandstaff,andthe
numberedSSunitinsigniawornbyregularSScompaniesthroughoutGermany.

SSunitinsignia(1934)

In1934,withtheriseoftheSSVerfgungstruppe(SS
VT),theSSrunesunitinsigniawasexpandedtothese
otherformatationsofthethenfledglingmilitaryarmof
theSS(latertobecomeknownastheWaffenSS).To
separatethesenewmilitaryformationsfromthemain
LeibstandarteregimentunderDietrich,theSSrunesworn
bytheVerfgungstruppedisplayedasmallnumber
correspondingtotheparticularSSVTregimentofthe
bearer.Inall,therewerethreepossiblenumbers:
1formembersoftheDeutschlandRegiment,

2for

Germaniapersonnel,and(from1938) 3formembersoftheDerFhrerRegiment.Theseinsigniawould
survivethroughoutWorldWarIIandwerekeptinuseafterthethreeoriginalregimentshadexpandedtobrigade
anddivisionstrength.
Inadditiontotheexpansionofthecollarunitinsigniasystem,the
SSby1934hadalsogreatlyexpandedthesystemofsleeve
cuffbandswhichwerenowastandardpartoftheblackuniform,
wornonthelowerleftsleeve.WithintheAllgemeineSS
companies,cuffbandswereworninconjunctionwithaunitcollar
patchtodenoteregiment,battalion,andcompanyaffiliation.
Whiletheunitcollarpatchdisplayedthewearer'sStandarte
(regiment)number,thenumberdenotedonthecuffbandindicated
theSturm,orcompany,whilecollaredpipingalongthecuffband
furtherdenotedinwhichbattalion(Sturmbann)amemberserved.

AcollectionofSScuffbands

Forthosepersonnelservingabovetheregimentlevel,abarecuffbandwaswornoracuffbandbearingaRoman
numeralcouldbedisplayed.TheRomannumeralcuffbandindicatedmembershiponthestaffoftheSSBrigade
sonumbered,whichbytheendof1934hadbecomeknownasanSSAbschnitt.Fortheevenhigherlevels,such
asHimmlerortheseniorSSGruppeleaders(laterknownbythetitleSSOberabschnittFhrer)asolidsilver
cuffbandwasworn.
WithintheearlymilitarySS,whichincludedtheLeibstandarteandtheformationsoftheSSVerfgungstruppe,a
seriesofcuffbandswereintroducedwhichborethenameoftheregimenttowhichthebearerwasassigned.The
mostcovetedofthesewasthe"AdolfHitler"cuffband,carryingtheFhrersnameinStterlinscript,whichwas
wornsolelybymembersoftheLeibstandarte.

SSprewaruniforms(19341938)
AneventwhichsignificantlyalteredtheSSrankandinsigniastructurewastheNightoftheLongKniveswhich
occurredfrom30Juneto2July1934.AsaresultofSSparticipationinthepurgeandexecutionoftheSA
leadership,theSSwasdeclaredanindependentformationoftheNaziPartythatansweredonlytoHitler.[13]
SeveraloftheranktitleswererenamedtocompletelyseparatetheSSfromitsSAorigins.
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Themostsignificantrankchangewasthecreationofanactualrankof
ReichsfhrerSStodenotethecommanderoftheSS.Thenewrankwasthe
equivalentofafieldmarshalinthearmy.[14]Priorto1934,Himmlerhadbeen
regardedsimplyasanSSObergruppenfhrer.Reichsfhrerwasmerelyatitle
andnotarankpriorto1934,thoughHimmlerpreferredtousehistitlemore
thanhisrank.[14]InadditiontoHimmlersnewrank,severaloftheoriginal
SSranktitleswererenamed(althoughretainedthesameinsignia),bringing
aboutthefinalnomenclatureofSSrankswhichwouldbeuseduntiltheSS
wasdisbandedattheendofWorldWarII.
SSrank(Pre1934)
SSScharfhrer
SSOberscharfhrer
SSTruppfhrer
SSObertruppfhrer
SSHaupttruppfhrer
SSSturmfhrer
SSSturmhauptfhrer

SSrank(Post1934)
SSUnterscharfhrer
SSScharfhrer
SSOberscharfhrer
SSHauptscharfhrer
SSSturmscharfhrer
SSUntersturmfhrer
SSHauptsturmfhrer

HeinrichHimmler'sinsigniafor
ReichsfhrerSS

ThechangeinSSranktitlesappliedmainlytothenoncommissionedofficerranksaswellastheranksof
SturmfhrerandSturmhauptfhrerwhichreceivednewnames.Thetitlesoftheremainingranksremained
unchanged.
Inthewakeofthe"RhmPutsch",theSSofficiallytookovertheconcentrationcampsfromtheSAandpolice.
Soonthereafter,campguardsbeganwearingtheTotenkopf("skull")ontherightcollarpatch,todistinguish
themselvesfromthenumberedAllgemeineSSStandarten.Thiswasinconsistentintheearlydayssomeguards
insteadworetabswiththeinitialoftheircamp(e.g."D"forDachau),andsomeworeblanktabs.About1935,the
blackuniformprovingimpracticalfordailyservicewear,theInspectorateofConcentrationCampsadopteda
workinguniformin"earthbrown"(erdbraun),whichwasidenticalincuttotheblacktunicexceptfor
shoulderboardsonbothsides.InMarch1936,thecamp"service"wasformallyestablishedasthethirdbranchof
theSS,theTotenkopfverbndeorskullunits.
Ataboutthissametime,forsimilarreasons,themilitarySSformations(theLeibstandarteSSAdolfHitlerandthe
SSVerfgungstruppe)adoptedaserviceuniforminwhatwastermed"earthgrey"(erdgrau).[e]Thisalsowas
basedontheblackuniform,butwithouttheredHakenkreuzarmband,itsplaceontheleftsleevebeingtakenby
aneagleandswastikapatch,andwornwithtrousersandshoesorcalfhighjackboots.InJune1938thisuniform
wasauthorizedforfulltimeAllgemeineSScadresaswelltheLSSAHandSSVTthenadoptedarmypattern
shoulderboardstodistinguishthemselvesfromthegeneralSSandemphasizetheirmilitaryrole.
InFebruary1934,theEhrenwinkelfrAlteKmpfer("honorchevronforold
campaigners")wasintroducedforallSSmenwhohadjoinedtheNaziPartyora
PartyaffiliatedorganizationpriortoJanuary30,1933aftertheAnschluss,itwas
alsoauthorizedforAustrianswhohadjoinedtheDNSAPpriorto18February1938.
Ittooktheformofasilverlacechevronwornontherightsleeve.Duringthisperiod,
2ndpatternSSeagle,
theprincipalSSinsigniaalsounderwentdesignchanges.Theancientjawless
193645
DanzigerstyleofTotenkopfwasgraduallyreplacedbythe'classic'SSskull,a
naturalisticdesignwithgrinningjawstheoldformwastakenupbythearmy's
newlyformedPanzerwaffe.Additionally,inMarch1936,Hitlerapprovedanewartdecoeaglewithstaggered
wingtipsfortheSS,whichwaswornthroughtheendofthewarasacapbadgeandonthesleeve.
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Bytheendof1938,theSShadalsoadoptedanewinsigniafeatureofsleevediamondsworn
onthebottomoftheleftsleeve.Between1939and1940,theSSexpandeditscuffbandand
sleevediamondsystemintoavastarrayofover30cuffbandsandmorethan12sleeve
diamonds.

SSuniformsofWorldWarII(19391945)
Sicherheitsdienst

WhenWorldWarII
sleevediamond
beganin1939,the
(raute)
AllgemeineSSgrey
serviceuniformstookon
amoremilitaryappearancewiththe
somewhat"adhoc"adoptionofWehrmacht
styleshoulderboards,exceptforSSgenerals,
who,until1942,continuedtowearthenarrow
braidedsilverSSshoulderboardstodenote
generalrank.Itwasalsoatthistimethatthe
rankofSSOberfhrerlostitsstatusasa
generalofficerrankandwasinsteadnow
regardedasmoreofaseniorcolonelposition.
Theblackuniformwasincreasinglyseldom
seen,eventuallybeingwornonlybyparttime
AllgemeineSSreservists.Thelastceremonial
SSrankinsigniaforenlistedpersonnelandofficers
eventatwhichtheblackuniformswereworn
"enmasse"wastheBerlinvictoryparade
followingthefallofFranceinJune1940.In1942,
Himmlerorderedmostalloftheblackuniforms
recalledandstrippedofinsignia.Theyweresenteast
forusebythenativeauxiliarypoliceunitsandsent
westtobeusedbyGermanicSSunitssuchasthe
onesintheNetherlandsandDenmark.In1937,the
LSSAHandSSVThadadoptedaclosedcollar
feldgrau(greygreen)fielduniformforcombatwear,
whichwiththeoutbreakofwarbecamethestandard
uniformofwhatwouldsoonbetheWaffenSS.This
feldanzugwasverysimilartotheModel1936Army
fielduniformhowever,theSSversionhada
somewhatwidercollarinfeldgrau(greygreen)rather
thanHeerbottlegreen,[f]thelowerpocketswereof
SSseniorandgeneralofficerrankinsignia,before(toprow)
theSSangledslashtype,andthesecondbuttonwas
andafter(bottomrow)April1942
placedlowertopermitthecollaroptionallytobe
wornopenwithanecktieliketheservicedress
uniforms.TheTotenkopfbranch,whichwasdesignatedthereservefortheWaffenSS,alsoadoptedthisuniform.
WaffenSSPanzertroopsworeadoublebreastedblackuniformsimilartotheArmymodelbutsomewhat
differentincuttheSSalsomadeextensiveuseofcamouflageclothingasthewarprogressed.Thefulltime
AllgemeineSScadres,especiallyReichssicherheitshauptamtpersonnel,continuedtoweartheearthgreyservice
dressuniform.

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Auniquesituationdevelopedduring
WorldWarIIwithregardstoSSranks
heldbythosewhohadservedin
AllgemeineSSpositionsfrombefore
theoutbreakofwarandnowwishedto
serveincombatconditionswiththe
WaffenSS.Withsuchpersonsbeing
SSmembersalready,itwasexpected
thattheywouldjointheWaffenSSin
Variousunitinsigniacollarpatchesworn
ordertoserveincombatsome
duringWorldWarII
membersinfacthadnochoiceand
weredraftedforcombatservicedueto
theirAllgemeineSSbilletbeingdone
awaywithor,insituationsinvolvingdisciplinaryactions,transferredintocombatas
theresultofahearingbeforeanSSandpolicecourtWilhelmHttlwasonesuch
example.
AsaresultofAllgemeineSSmemberstransferringintotheWaffenSS,asituation
arosewhereanSSmemberwouldactuallyholdtwoseparateranksoneinthe
AllgemeineSSandanotherintheWaffenSSitwasfurtherpossibletoholdareserve
commissionintheregularGermanmilitary(KlausBarbie,whowasareserve
Feldwebel("sergeant")isonesuchexample).WaffenSSofficerscouldalsoholda
regularorreservecommission,withmostAllgemeineSSmembersbeingappointedto
theWaffenSSreserves(theintentwastoeasilybeabletoplacesuchmemberson
inactivedutyoncethewarhadended).Withthispolicy,itwasverycommonforSS
membersintheWaffenSStoholddrasticallydifferenttitlesfromtheirAllgemeineSS
dutiesaStandartenfhrerintheregularSScould,forinstance,serveasaRottenfhrer
(lancecorporal)inafrontlineWaffenSScompany.

Obersturmbannfhrer
OttoKumminWaffen
SSuniform.Notethe
unauthorizedHeer
(army)styleeagle
togetherwithSS
Totenkopfonthe
peakedcap,the
Sigrunenandranktabs
ontheclosedcollar,
andtheshoulderboards
similartoaWehrmacht
Oberstleutnant

ThesecurityforcesoftheSS,suchasSDtroopswhichwerepartofthe
Einsatzgruppen,werealsoallconsideredpartoftheAllgemeineSS,eventhoughmany
ofthesepersons(especiallyinthefield)woreuniformsnearlyidenticaltotheWaffen
SStofurthertheconfusion,manyagentsofthesecuritypolice(SiPo)insuch"field"
rolesworeWaffenSSuniformeventhoughtheywerenotexofficiomembersofany
branchoftheSS.By1943,theSShadmadeadeterminedeffortthatmostfield
personnel(includingconcentrationcampstaffs)weregrantedWaffenSSranksand,in
1944,anyAllgemeineSSwhoservedinanareathatcommandedSScombattroops,
wasgrantedaWaffenSScommission.
Toaddtotheconfusionofmultipleranktitles,uniformregulationsofthistimecreated
amixtureofpre1939SSshoulderboards,Wehrmachtpatternshoulderboards,and
policeshoulderboardsdependingonthedutiesoftheSSpersoninquestion.Itwasnot
untillate1944thatregulationsspecifiedthatallgreygreenSSuniformsshouldonly
displayWehrmachtstyleshoulderboards,withtheexceptionofSDanduniformed
SiPopersonnelwhoworepolicepatternshoulderboardswithgiftgrn("poisongreen")
underlay.[g]

Aconcentrationcamp
SSScharfhrerwearing
agraygreenfield
uniform.Thesilver
graybraidonthecollar
wasusedbyallSSnon
commissionedofficers

AnotheruniforminsigniachangeoccurredinApril1942withthecreationoftherankSSOberstgruppenfhrer.
ThisnecessitatedaninsigniachangeforSSgeneralsandallSSgeneralsatthistimebeganwearingWehrmacht
stylegoldshoulderboardsOberfhrersworetheshoulderboardsofanarmyOberst("colonel")justas
Standartenfhrersdid.ThesoleexceptionwasHeinrichHimmlerwhocontinuedtowearthesilverbraided
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shoulderboardwithoakleavesofhisrankasReichsfhrerSS.Atthesametimethecollar
patchesforgeneralofficerswererevisedthe1942patternusedthreeoakleaves,rather
straighterthantheoldstyle,withzerotothreepipsindicatingrankfromBrigadefhrer
throughOberstgruppenfhrer.
SSuniformsupplierscouldnotkeepupwithwartimedemandand,asaresult,the
WaffenSSandTotenkopfverbandefrequentlyworeuniformsdrawnfromarmystocks,
withtheadditionofSSinsignia.BythemiddleofWorldWarII,awidevarietyof
uniformscouldbeobserved,evenwithinthesameunit,andstandardizationwasnever
completeaspreviousstockswereissuedorrecycled.Personnelincombatconditions,
awayfromstablesupplylineswouldcombineuniformpartsandinsigniadependingon
whatuniformpartswereavailable.
WaffenSSandSSTVmembersduringthisperiodworearmystyleshoulderboardswith
SScollarpatchesedgingofenlistedcollartabswasdiscontinuedin1940whileSS
officers'collarpatchescontinuedtobetrimmedinsilver.Enlistedshoulderboardswere
madeofblackfabricasopposedtoarmydarkgreenorfieldgrey(greygreen),and
officershadablackunderlayallshoulderboardswerepipedinwaffenfarbe(branch
color).Juniorleaders(SturmmannandRottenfhrer)woresleevechevronscorresponding
toarmyinsignia(GefreiterandObergefreiter),butwithblackbackingSSnon
commissionedofficersworearmystylesilvergreybraidaroundthecollar.

M43fieldtunicof
anSD
Unterscharfhrer.
Notethat,in
contrastto
Wehrmachtpractice,
theSSworethe
eagleandswastika
deviceontheleft
sleeve,nottheright
breast

Thestaffsofconcentrationcampshadbynowstandardizedtheskullcollarpatch,whereasbetween1934and
1938theTotenkopfaswellasvariouscampspecificcollarpatches,displayingGermanicletters,hadbeenusedas
unitinsignia.OtherunitinsigniacollarpatchesincludedaStandartenumberpatchformostoftheAllgemeineSS,
ablankcollarpatchwornbySSmainofficestaffsandSicherheitsdienst(andsomeSiPo)personnel,thesigrunes
WaffenSSpatch(adoptedafter1943asthestandardunitcollarpatchformostoftheSS),andanumberedskull
patchwhichwasusedbypersonnelservinginfieldunitsoftheTotenkopfverbaendethethreesenior
Totenkopfstandarten,formedintotheTotenkopfdivision,wouldretainthesecollarpatchesthroughoutthewar,
buttheremainingTKStandartenwereredesignatedSSRegimenterandswitchedtosigrunesinFebruary1941.
Asthewarwenton,theWaffenSSrecruitedheavilyamongconqueredpopulations,creating'ethnic'brigadesand
divisions.Theseformationswore,inplaceofthesigrunes,distinctiveunitcollarpatchesidentifyingthemas
Freiwilligen(foreignvolunteers).InthelastdaysofWorldWarII,theSSalsocreatedatwinswastikacollar
patchwhichwasusedbythe"auxiliarySS"whichwerenonSSmembersconscriptedtoserveinconcentration
camppositions.
By1943,aspecialstaffnoncommissionedofficerposition,knownasStabsscharfhrerhadbeenadoptedbythe
WaffenSS.Thisposition,equivalenttoanarmyHauptfeldwebel,wasdenotedbyaspecialsleeveinsigniaand
wasnotanactualrank,butratheratitlefortheheadSSnoncommissionedofficerofaparticularcombatunit.
TherankofSturmscharfhrerwasalsouniquetotheWaffenSSasatypeofregimentalsergeantmajor.TheSS
also,bythistime,hadcreatedaprivatefirstclasspositionknownasOberschtze,denotedbyasilverpipworn
onthesleeveoftheSSuniform.TheSScontinuedtousethecandidaterankofAnwrterduringWorldWarII,
butinamuchlessformalwayespeciallyintheWaffenSSwheresoldiersweretypicallyenlisteddirectlyasan
SSSchtze,whichwasthemilitaryequivalentoftheAllgemeineSSrankofSSMann.In1943,theSScreated
stillafurtherentryrankwiththepositionofBewerber("applicant")whichwasthelowestpossiblepositioninthe
SSithadnorankinsignia.
SSgeneralsoftheWaffenSSweretypicallyaddressedbyboththeirSSranktitleandacorrespondinggeneral's
rankassociatedwiththeWehrmacht.AllsuchgeneralrankswerefollowedbythephrasederWaffenSSto
distinguishtheSSGeneralfromtheircounterpartsinotherbranchesoftheGermanmilitary.Thus,atypicaltitle
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wouldbeObergruppenfhrerundGeneralderWaffenSS.Forthosewhohadheldpolicerankpriorto1944,the
SSgeneral'stitlecouldbecomeratherlengthy.ErnstKaltenbrunner,forinstance,waslistedontheSSrollsin
1945asObergruppenfhrerundGeneralderPolizeiundWaffenSS.

FinalSSranks19341945
SSRank

SS
Translation
insignia

US
British
equivalent equivalent

SAequivalent

Heerequivalent

StabschefSA

Generalfeldmarschall

Generalof
thearmy

Field
marshal

(none)

Generaloberst

General

General

Obergruppenfhrer

General

Generalfhrer
ReichsfhrerSS
Oberst
Gruppenfhrer(from
1942)
Obergruppenfhrer

National
leader
Supreme
group
leader[h]
Senior
group
leader

Lieutenant Lieutenant
general
general

Gruppenfhrer

Group
leader

Gruppenfhrer

Generalleutnant

Major
general

Major
general

Brigadefhrer

Brigade
leader

Brigadefhrer

Generalmajor

Brigadier
general

(none)

Oberfhrer

Senior
leader

Oberfhrer

(none)

(none)

Brigadier

Standartenfhrer

Regiment
leader

Standartenfhrer

Oberst

Colonel

Colonel

Stabsfhrer

Obersturmbannfhrer
Sturmbannfhrer

Senior
assaultunit Obersturmbannfhrer
leader
Assaultunit
leader

Sturmbannfhrer

Oberstleutnant
Major

Lieutenant Lieutenant
colonel
colonel
Major

Major

Hauptmann/Rittmeister Captain

Captain

Truppenfhrer
Hauptsturmfhrer

Obersturmfhrer

Untersturmfhrer

Chief
assault
leader
Senior
assault
leader
Junior
assault
leader

Sturmhauptfhrer

Obersturmfhrer

Oberleutnant

First
Lieutenant
lieutenant

Sturmfhrer

Leutnant

Second
Second
lieutenant lieutenant

Haupttruppfhrer

Stabsfeldwebel

Unterfhrer
Sturmscharfhrer
(WaffenSS)

Assault
squad
leader

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Sergeant
major

Regimental
sergeant
major
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Hauptscharfhrer

Chiefsquad
leader

Obertruppfhrer

Oberfeldwebel

Master
sergeant

Sergeant
major

Oberscharfhrer

Senior
squad
leader

Truppfhrer

Feldwebel

Sergeant
FirstClass

Staff
sergeant

Scharfhrer

Squad
leader

Oberscharfhrer

Unterfeldwebel

Staff
sergeant

Sergeant

Unterscharfhrer

Junior
squad
leader

Scharfhrer

Unteroffizier

Sergeant

Corporal

Rottenfhrer

Section
leader

Rottenfhrer

Obergefreiter

Corporal

Lance
corporal

Sturmmann

Storm
Trooper

Sturmmann

Gefreiter

Private
firstclass

Private

Oberschtze(Waffen
SS,from1942)

Senior
rifleman

(none)

Obersoldat(etc.)

(none)

(none)

Mann
Schtze(WaffenSS)

Trooper
Rifleman

Mann

Soldat(etc.)

Private

Private

Candidate

(none)

(none)

(none)

(none)

Applicant

(none)

(none)

(none)

(none)

Mannschaften

Anwrter
Bewerber(from
1943)

Policeranksandinsignia
In1936,theregularGermanpolice,previouslyagenciesoftheLnderorstates,werenationalizedandplaced
underHimmler,whowasnamedChefderDeutschenPolizei.Theordinaryuniformedpolicewerecalledthe
Ordnungspolizei("orderpolice").KnownastheOrpo,theOrdnungspolizeimaintainedaseparateuniform,
systemofinsigniaandOrporanks.ItwasalsopossibleforSSmemberstoholddualstatusinboththeOrpoand
theSS,andSSgeneralswerereferredtosimultaneouslybybothranktitles.Forinstance,anObergruppenfhrer
intheSS,whowasalsoapolicegeneral,wouldbereferredtoasObergruppenfhrerundGeneralderPolizei.In
late1939,Orpopersonnelwereformedintoacombatdivision,recognizablebyitsuseofpoliceinsigniain1942,
thisformationwasabsorbedintotheWaffenSStobecomethe4.SSPolizeiPanzergrenadierdivision.

SSforeignlegions
AswiththeseniorSStitles,volunteersofnonGermaniccountrieshadthetitle"Waffen"prefixedtotheirrank.
Forinstance,anUntersturmfhrerintheforeignlegionswouldbereferredtoasWaffenUntersturmfhrer
whereasaregularSSmemberwouldbeaddressedasSSUntersturmfhrer.Thishelpedtoindicatenonnative
volunteers,ortoseparateGermanicindividualsinthedivisionscomposedprimarilyofnonGermans.

GermanicSSuniforms

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GermanicSSuniformsweremodifiedversionsoftheoriginalblack
AllgemeineSSuniformsandwereusedstrictlybytheGermanicSSin
occupiedcountries.UnliketheforeignlegionsoftheWaffenSS,who
worethestandardfieldgray(greygreen)SSuniformtoconformwiththe
restoftheWaffenSS,theGermanicSSwasconcernedsolelywith
homelanddutiesandthereforewereprovidedwithsurplusblackuniforms
uponwhichweredisplayedcountryspecificinsignia.Thisledtoawide
varietyofinsigniaandranktitlesdependingonthecountryoforigin,
althoughstandardizedthroughouttheentireGermanicSSweretherank
insigniapipsandoakleavesusedbytheSSproper.
TheGermanicSSalsohadauniquemilitaryaward,knownasthe
GermanicProficiencyRunes,awardedforqualifyingundercertain
physicaltests,inmuchthesamemannerastheGermanSportsBadgeand
SASportsBadgewereawardedtotheregularSS.

Areproductionfieldblouseofthe
BritishFreeCorps,consideredaunit
oftheSSforeignlegionsrankof
Untersturmfhrer

TheGermanicSSeffectivelyceasedtoexistinlate1944,afterwhichtime
mostofitsmemberswerefoldedintotheforeignlegionsoftheWaffenSS.DuetomostGermanicSSmembers
beingconsideredtraitorstotheircountries,GermanicSSuniformswereoftendestroyedbytheirownersto
preventidentificationasaGermancollaborator.

SpecialSSuniforms
SSofficershadtheoptionofpurchasingformaldressandmessdressuniforms.
TheformaluniformwasnotunlikeU.S.orUKdinnerdressuniforms,cutlikea
civiliantailcoatwithoutthetails,andwornwithwhiteorblackbowtieand
waistcoat.Thisuniformalsofeaturedsilkfacedlapels,SSshoulderboardsand
collarpatches,aTotenkopfbreastpin,andsilverpiping(broadsilvergreytrouser
stripesforgeneralofficers).Messdressresembledadoublebreastedtuxedo,
withcollartabsandsilverpiping.
Officerscouldalsowearawhitecottonwalkingoutblouse,cutliketheblack
serviceblouse,betweenAprilandSeptember.Memberswerealsopermittedto
wearawhiteSSvisoredservicecapwiththeuniform.

Formaldressuniformjacket
ofSSObergruppenfuhrer
WernerLorenz

Awaistlengthwhite"waiter'sjacket"withcollartabswas
issuedtothoseSSmenwhoservedasHitler'sdomesticstaff.

ForuseinhotweatherclimateslikeSouthernEuropeand
NorthAfrica,atropicaluniformoftancottonwas
developed.ThisconsistedofaSaharianastyletunicwith
shoulderyokesbasedonItaliantropicaluniforms,longsleevedfieldshirt,andtrousers.
Headgearcouldbeapithhelmet,sidecap,oranM40tropicalcapbasedonthatoftheAfrika
Korps.InsigniawassimilartothatofstandardSSuniformsbutintanthreadonblack
backing.Policeunitsdeployedtotropicalclimatesworeanidenticaluniformwithpolice
insignia.

AnSS
camouflage
pattern

WaffenSStroopswerepioneeringamongtheGermanforcesintheuseofcamouflage
clothingandworeitextensivelyduringthewar.WaffenSSusedavarietyoforiginalspringandautumndesigns
inmanypatterns.Usually,camouflagewaswornonoverallparkasorhelmetcovers,andonlylateinthewar
werecamouflagedtunicsintroduced.
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SStitles
InadditiontotheranktitlesusedbytheSS,thefollowingtitleswerefrequentlyinterchangedwhenaddressingSS
personnelincertainpositionsofauthority.
SSMann:AgenerictermforanymemberoftheSS.AlsousedasanactualrankoftheAllgemeineSS.
SSFhrer:OriginallyanearlyrankoftheSS,thetermSSFhrerdesignatedcommissionedofficersofthe
SS,andmeans"SSleader".
SSUnterfhrer:ThistermdesignatednoncommissionedofficersintheSS.AnenlistedSSsoldier,
applyingfornoncommissionedofficerstatus,wasoftenknownasanUnterfhrerAnwrter.
SDLeiter:ThistitlewasusedbyseniorofficersoftheSicherheitsdienst,typicallythoseincommandofa
majorSDofficeorregionalheadquarters.
SSundPolizeifhrer:Translatedas"SSandpoliceleader",theseweresomeofthemostpowerfulmenin
theSS,commandingallSS,Gestapo,KripoandOrpounitsinagivengeographicregion,oftenofthesize
ofamajormilitarydistrict.
ObersteFhrerderSchutzstaffel:Literally,"SupremeLeaderoftheSS",wasaspecialtitleintendedtobe
heldsolelybyAdolfHitler.WhentheSSbecameanindependentorganizationfromtheSA,Hitlerwas
listedonSSofficerrollsasSSmember#1andthegroup'sSupremeCommander.Thistitlewasintendedto
giveHitleratechnicallyhigherSSranktoHimmler(ReichLeaderoftheSS),butthereisnophotographic
recordofHitlerwearinganSSuniform,andtherewasnospecialSSinsigniaforHitlerabovethatwornby
Himmler.[16]From1937to1945,Hitleralsoheldtherankof"HonoraryCorporal"intheItalian
Blackshirts,whichwasaseniorGeneral'srank.

SecretPoliceranks
MainArticle:GestapoRanks
InadditiontothevarioustitlesandranksoftheSS,anySSmemberwhoalsoservedintheGestapoorKripoheld
auniquecriminalinvestigatorrank,oneofthemorecommonofwhichwasKriminalrat,apoliceinvestigator's
rankdenotingprofessionaldetectives.ArthurNebe,acareerpoliceman,wentbythetitleofKriminalratformost
ofthe1930s,onlyusinganSSrankwhenengagedinnonKripoactivities.TheGestapoalsomaintainedanentire
arrayofrankswhichwereusedinterchangeablywithaGestapomember'sSSrank.

SSmembershipnumbers
AdolfHitler,astheFhrerofGermany,wasconsideredSSmember#1EmilMaurice(consideredoneofthe
foundersoftheSS)wasmember#2.BasedonthesenioritysystemofSSmembershipnumbers,thismadeHitler
seniorintheSStoallothermembers.TheSSmembershipnumbersystemwasalsoameanstodenotethe"Old
Guard"oftheSS,andtoholdanumberbelow50,000wasconsideredaspecialplaceofhonorsinceitdenotedSS
membershipbeforetheNaziseizurein1933.Numbersbelow500wereconsideredtheoriginalcadreoftheSS,
whileanynumberbelowfiftydenotedanoriginalfounderand,inmostcases,apersonalassociateofHitler.
Himmler,whoheldmembership#168,wasknowntoresentthosewithlowernumbersthanhisandwasknown
forhisattemptstosabotagesuchSScareersforhisowninterests.EmilMauricewasonesuchexample,who
HimmlerattemptedunsuccessfullytohavedismissedfromtheSSafterrumorssurfacedofJewishheritage.

Seealso
ComparativemilitaryranksofWorldWarII
Degen,theSSSword
GlossaryofNaziGermany
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ListofSSpersonnel
Nazipartyparamilitaryranks
RanksandinsigniaoftheSturmabteilung
RanksandinsigniaoftheNaziParty
RanksandInsigniaoftheGermanArmyinWorldWarII
RunicinsigniaoftheSchutzstaffel

Notes
a.Thissametraditioninits'cavalry'aspectwouldalsomanifestitselfintheblackuniformsandtotenkopfbadgesofthe
army'sPanzertroops.
b.TheregulationbootwasbynowthestandardarmystyleMarschstiefelorjackboot,acalfhighpebbledleatherpullon
bootwithhobnailedleathersoles.ThestandardsizewasaEuro:4142oraUS:9.5
c.Ironically,theiconicblackuniformwasbroughtoutduringashortlivedlegalprohibitiononpoliticalpartyuniforms
d.Incontrasttothearmy,theblackSSuniformincludedridingbootsandbreechesforenlistedmenaswellasofficers.
e.Inpractice,earthgreywaslittleifanydifferentfromarmyfieldgrey(feldgrau)however,Himmlerresentedthearmy
andpreferredadistinctSSterm
f.However,manyWaffenSSofficershadtheirtunicsmadewithgreencollars.
g.ExceptthatSD/SiPoshoulderboardsusedblackwheretheOrpouseddarkbrown
h.Thisrankhasbeenalternativelytranslatedas"colonelgroupleader".[15]

References
1.Himmler,Heinrich(1936),DieSchutzstaffelalsantibolschewisticheKampforganisation,p.29asquotedinTheThird
Reich:ANewHistory,2001,p.192.
2.Givhan,Robin(19970815)."ClothierMadeNaziUniforms".LosAngelesTimes.Retrieved20081108.
3.Toland,John(1976),AdolfHitler,NewYork:Doubleday&Co,ISBN0385037244.
4.Weale2010,p.26.
5.Weale2010,pp.16,26.
6.Weale2010,p.29.
7.Weale2010,p.30.
8.Weale2010,p.47.
9.Laqueur&Baumel2001,p.604.
10.Cook&Bender1994,pp.288,292.
11.Cook&Bender1994,p.292.
12.Cook&Bender1994,p.15.
13.Kershaw2008,pp.308314.
14.Kershaw2008,pp.313,316.
15.Yerger,Mark(1997),AllgemeineSS,Atglen,PA:Schiffer.
16.SchutzstaffelderNSDAP,SSOfficersList,Berlin(1942),ReprintedbySchifferPublishing,Atglen,PA(2000)

Bibliography
Bedurftig,Friedemann,andZenter,Christian(1985).TheEncyclopediaoftheThirdReich.
Cook,StanBender,R.James(1994).LeibstandarteSSAdolfHitler:Uniforms,Organization,&History.
SanJose,CA:R.JamesBender.ISBN9780912138558.
Hayes,A.SSUniforms,InsigniaandAccoutrements
Kershaw,Ian(2008).Hitler:ABiography.W.W.Norton&Company.ISBN9780393067576.
Laqueur,WalterBaumel,JudithTydor(2001).TheHolocaustEncyclopedia.NewHavenLondon:Yale
UniversityPress.ISBN9780300084320.
McNab,Chris(2009).TheSS:19231945.AmberBooksLtd.ISBN9781906626495.
Mollo,Andrew.UniformsoftheSS,CollectedEditionVol.16(ISBN)
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UniformsandinsigniaoftheSchutzstaffelWikipedia,thefreeencyclopedia

NationalSocialistGermanWorkersParty(1938).DeutscheUniformen.
PersonnelServiceRecordsoftheSS,NationalArchivesandRecordsAdministration,CollegePark,MD.
Weale,Adrian(2010).TheSS:ANewHistory.London:Little,Brown.ISBN9781408703045.

Furtherreading
Angolia,John(1989).ClothInsigniaoftheSS.R.JamesBenderPublishing.ISBN9780912138282.

Externallinks
GermanWWIIArmy&SSRank&Insignia(http://www.alanhamby.com/ranks/rank.htm)
GreyuniformofaSSSturmbannfhrerofaselfpropelledguncrewoftheSSTotenkopfDivision
(http://65.160.172.250/repro/rc137.html)
BlackuniformofaSSStandartenfhreroftheSSTotenkopfverbnde
(http://65.160.172.250/repro/r135.html)
UniformofaSSUnterscharfhreroftheearlySSTotenkopfDivision
(http://65.160.172.250/repro/rc124.html)
ExamplesofdifferentcufftitlesoftheSS(http://65.160.172.250/repro/r120.html)
ExamplesofdifferentcufftitlesoftheWaffenSS(http://65.160.172.250/repro/r119.html)
Cufftitleofthe"trainingcampDachau"(carriedbymembersoftheWaffenSSthereduringtheir"platoon
leadertrainingcourse"akaGerman"Zugfhrerlehrgang")(http://65.160.172.250/repro/r098.html)
Cufftitles&PatchesoftheSS(http://ww2militaria.net)
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