General Officer Rank Insignia

WW2 Germany


The German Army (Heer):



The German armed forces in World War Two indicated General Officer rank via insignia located on the shoulder and collar.  The shoulderboards began with a base pattern of intertwined gold and silver cording, this base pattern, un-adorned with rank pips designated the lowest General officer rank of Generalmajor (equivalent to a Brigadier General in the U.S./British forces).  From this base board pips were added consecutively as the rank increased up to a maximum of three pips for the rank of Generaloberst (Colonel General).




Gold bullion cording with silver inner cord, no rank pips on a bright red underlay.






Gold bullion cording with silver inner cord, single rank pip on a bright red underlay.





General der Infanterie, etc.

Gold celleon (nylon) cording with silver inner cord, two rank pips.






Gold celleon cording with silver inner cord, three rank pips positioned in a triangle.





Generalfeldmarschall – 1st Pattern, 1936 - 1939

Standard General officer shoulderboards in gold bullion and silver inner cord with Imperial era style silver crossed batons.





Heer GFM single - resized

Generalfeldmarschall – 2nd Pattern, September 1940

Standard General officer construction of two outer gold bullion cords and silver aluminum inner cord over a red underlay, with crossed baton devices in the 2nd pattern design with highly detailed crossed, silver batons which bore resemblance to the actual Heer Marshal’s baton. 




gfm gold-board

Generalfeldmarschall – 2nd Pattern, April 1941

In April of 1941 a new regulation required the replacement of the inner silver cord with gold cord so that all three braided cords were in Gold (either bullion or celleon) continued use of the highly detailed crossed, silver batons.



Collar Tabs

The collar tabs show marked difference between the German armed forces in the designation of General Officers.  The army had one basic pattern for General Officer until 1941 when a separate pattern was designed exclusively for Generalfeldmarshall. The basic German Army General’s tab is reflected in the design below.




Generalmajor through Generaloberst

Gold bullion or celleon embroidery, no rank pips.

This particular example is a later war example perfectly embroidered in gold bullion wire and is from the uniform of General Hans von Salmuth.





Gold bullion or celleon embroidery,  of a different, elongated design using three center ‘leaf’ patterns rather than the two for other Generals.

This particular example belonged to Generalfeldmarschall Keitel and is embroidered in fine gold wire.


For further study of additional examples of original Army Generals insignia;


Army Collar Tabs


Army Shoulderboards


Exploring the Variations of Army Collar Tabs


I am always looking for good, quality photographs of General officer insignia to use on this site.  If you have some examples you’re willing to share, please see the submitting photos page.