Field Grades

The first two of the four field grade officer ranks in the Waffen-SS, SS-Sturmbannführer and SS-Obersturmbannführer, wore collar patches in the same style as company-grade officers, but with four 12mm aluminium pips instead of the three. The left collar patch for the rank of SS–Sturmbannführer consisted of four pips, while that for SS-Obersturmbannführer a single length of aluminium tresse was added. For ranks of Standartenführer and above, collar patches were in matching pairs, and contained an oakleaf device. The collar patches for SS-Standartenführer consisted of a single oakleaf, while those for SS-Oberführer contained two.

For all field grade officers, the shoulder bar was constructed from finely-intertwined silver cord and on a black cloth backing, with the Waffenfarbe of the wearer indicated not by piping but by the colour of the underlay, which was often made of a fine wool or felt. The shoulder bars for the rank of SS-Sturmbannführer was unadorned, while for SS-Obersturmbannführer a single 20mm pip was added. Two pips were added to the shoulder bars of SS-Standartenführer and SS-Oberführer.

The camouflage sleeve patches for field grade officers all contained two oakleaves in green, to which one to four green bars were added.

Waffen-SS RankHeer Equiv.CollarShoulderArm

Like company grade officers, field grade officers of the Leibstandarte all wore a metal “LAH” cypher device on the shoulder bars, with a number of variations. Both silver gilt and bronze designs were produced, with later examples made of white metal. Many officers preferred the silver gilt finish or the more burnished bronze examples for their formal parade uniform, as they had a more classic look that contrasted with the silver cord.

Shoulder bar for the rank of SS-Sturmbannführer, with silver gilt metal ‘LAH’ cypher
Shoulder bar for the rank of SS-Sturmbannführer, with silver gilt metal ‘LAH’ cypher

* In addition to having the additional oakleaf on the collar patch to differientiate them from SS-Standartenführer, SS-Oberführer were entitled to wear aluminium piping on the cap and silver lapels on the greatcoat, as worn by General grade officers. The rank of SS-Oberführer, equivalent to a senior colonel, had no equivalent in the regular Heer.

The Story of Michael Wittmann