General Officer Rank Insignia

WW2 Germany

 

The Luftwaffe:

 

Shoulderboards

The Luftwaffe 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).

 

Generalmajor

Gold bullion cording with silver inner cord over white underlay, no rank pips.  This particular example is from a uniform believed to have belonged to Hans Plocher.

(private collection)

 

Generalleutnant

Gold celleon cording with aluminum inner cord over white underlay, single rank pip.

(private collection)

 

 

General der Flieger

Gold bullion cording with aluminum inner cord over white underlay, two rank pips.

(private collection)

 

Generaloberst

Gold bullion cording with silver inner cord over white underlay, three rank pips arranged in a triangle fashion. 

(private collection)

 

 

Generalfeldmarschall

All three cords in Gold bullion (as per regulation, April, 1941) over white underlay, with crossed, silver batons which bore resemblance to the actual Luftwaffe Marshal’s baton.  This example is from GFM Erhard Milch’s uniform tunic.  (Holzauge Historical) 

 

 

Reichsmarschall

All three cords in Gold bullion over white underlay, with a gold device depicting the Wehrmacht eagle with downturned wings and clutching a swastika, surmounting crossed marshals batons.  This example is from the uniform of Hermann Goring.

(Brian Maederer collection) 

 

 

Collar Tabs

The collar tabs show marked difference between the German armed forces in the designation of General Officers.  The Luftwaffe, unlike the Army or Kriegsmarine, chose to display the individual’s General officer rank on the collar tab in addition to the shoulder board.  The rank was indicated by a base gold wreath and a series of ‘wings’ consecutively added in the middle for each progressive rank upgrade from Generalmajor through General der Flieger.  Generaloberst and Generalfeldmarschall each had a flying eagle, clutching a swastika overlaying the base wreath.  Generalfeldmarschall had the addition of silver, crossed batons.

 

 

Generalmajor

Gold bullion embroidered wreath over white underlay, with a single set of wings.

This particular example is from a uniform believed to have belonged to Hans Plocher.

 

Generalleutnant

Gold bullion embroidered wreath over white underlay, with two set of wings.

 

 

 

General der Flieger

Gold bullion embroidered wreath over white underlay, with three sets of wings.

(private collection)

 

 

Generaloberst

Gold bullion embroidered wreath, detailed with celleon highlights, with Luftwaffe flying eagle clutching swastika superimposed over a white underlay and edge piped in celleon

(private collection)

 

Generalfeldmarschall

Gold bullion embroidered wreath, with Luftwaffe flying eagle clutching swastika over white underlay, adorned by a set of silver, crossed batons.

 (private collection)

 

 

Reichsmarschall

Gold bullion embroidered laurel wreath surrounding highly detailed, gold crossed marshals batons over a silver brocade fabric.

(private collection)

 

Click here for additional examples of Luftwaffe Generals insignia and groupings