General Grades

Collar patches for General officers were of the highest standard, and consisted of a combination of the oakleaf pattern woven in fine aluminium wire (as worn by the two preceeding field-grade ranks) and aluminium pips. The lowest of the General grade ranks, SS-Brigadeführer, wore three oakleaves on each collar patch, while the three senior ranks SS-Gruppenführer, SS-Obergruppenführer and SS-Oberst-Gruppenführer wore the three oakleaves with one, two and three woven aluminium pips respectively.

The shoulder bars for the General officer grade were made out of intertwined aluminium and gold cord, adorned by a series of 20mm aluminium white metal pips. The plain, unadorned shoulder bar was worn by SS-Brigadeführer, while SS-Gruppenführer wore a single pip, SS-Obergruppenführer two and SS-Oberst-Gruppenführer, the highest rank in the Waffen-SS, three. Unlike the other ranks in the Waffen-SS, the shoulder bars for General grade officers did not have any Waffenfarbe or “LAH” cypher device, and all had a base made of field-grey coloured wool or felt.

Camouflage sleeve patches for General grade officers, unlike those of lower ranks, were made of gold thread oakleaves and bars on a black background. Each patch contained a single oakleaves device, with one bar for SS-Brigadeführer, two for SS-Gruppenführer and three for SS-Obergruppenführer. The rank of SS-Oberst-Gruppenführer had a special sleeve patch, consisting of oakleaves woven in yellow-gold thread surmounting a thick gold bar on which were three silver-grey woven pips.

Waffen-SS RankHeer Equiv.CollarShoulderArm

* The rank of SS-Gruppenführer was given the army-equivalent designation SS-Gruppenführer und Generalleutnant der Waffen-SS in 1939; similarly, the rank of SS-Obergruppenführer was renamed SS-Obergruppenführer und General der Waffen-SS.

** On its inauguration in early 1942, the rank of SS-Oberst-Gruppenführer was given the full title SS-Oberst-Gruppenführer und Generaloberst der Waffen-SS.

The Story of Michael Wittmann