The ranking system of the SS (and the later Waffen-SS) changed significantly from its initial formation in 1929; from this time through to its dissolution in 1945, new ranks were added to the original scheme, and a number of changes were made.
The purpose of these pages is to provide a brief overview of the SS ranking system, and as such is not intended to be an in-depth analysis of all the changes that took place during the period 1929-1945. Similarly, all of the illustrations used in this section are of ranking insignia issued during the latter stages of the war when the strength of the Waffen-SS as a fighting organisation was at its peak. The year included with each rank was when it introduced.
This illustrated section is divided into five parts, covering:
For a more thorough analysis of the insignia of the SS and Waffen-SS, I would recommend Volume I of Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler Volume 1: Uniforms Organization and History, by Stan Cook and R. James Bender, which covers the subject in greater depth.