Like those for enlisted men, the collar patches for NCOs in the Waffen-SS consisted of unpiped (after 1940) collar patches, containing the unit insignia (for the Leibstandarte, the standard SS runes) and rank insignia, which was composed of 12mm aluminium pips, woven 6mm aluminium tresse, or both. The first of the two junior NCO grades, SS-Unterscharführer, wore a single aluminium pip, while the rank collar patch of an SS-Scharführer consisted of a single aluminium pip and one length of tresse. The first of the senior grade NCOs, SS-Oberscharführer wore two pips, while the next two ranks, SS-Hauptscharführer and SS-Sturmscharführer, wore two pips and a single and double length of tresse respectively. The collars on the field uniforms of all Waffen-SS NCOs were edged with a length of 8mm tresse.

The shoulder bars for NCOs were made of black material, edged by 8mm aluminium and later field-grey tresse. The sole exception was the shoulder bar for SS-Unterscharführer, where the tresse was left open-ended in order to distinguish it from that worn by SS-Scharführer. The shoulder bars worn by the three senior NCO ranks were identical in design to that of SS-Scharführer, with SS-Oberscharführer, Hauptscharführer and Sturmscharführer wearing one, two and three 20mm aluminium pips repectively.

The camouflage arm patches, introduced in 1942-43, were of a simple design, and consisted of one to five green bars on a black background for the ranks of SS-Unterscharführer through to SS-Sturmscharführer.

Waffen-SS RankHeer Equiv.CollarShoulderArm

As with the enlisted ranks, Leibstandarte NCOs wore the “LAH” cypher on their shoulder insignia, in either a woven form for junior NCOs or a metal version for the senior grades. All shoulder bars were piped in the appropriate Waffenfarbe of the wearer, some of which have been illustrated in the table above.

Shoulder bar for the rank of SS-Hauptscharführer, with white metal 'LAH' cypher
Shoulder bar for the rank of SS-Hauptscharführer, with white metal ‘LAH’ cypher

* Prior to the rank of SS-Unterscharführer being introduced in 1934, the collar patch with single pip was used to identify the rank of SS-Scharführer, the lowest NCO rank at the time. This revision led to a number of other realignments – the rank of SS-Oberscharführer was renamed SS-Scharführer, and the oroginal 1929 rank of SS-Truppführer was removed completely and changed to SS-Oberscharführer.

** The rank of SS-Hauptscharführer replaced the original 1929 rank of SS-Obertruppführer.

The Story of Michael Wittmann