TM-E 30-451 Handbook on German Military Forces

[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department Technical Manual, TM-E 30-451: Handbook on German Military Forces published in March 1945. — Figures and illustrations are not reproduced, see source details. — As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. — Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]



1. General

There are a host of puppet and auxiliary forces and semi-military organizations which may take part in combat alongside the Army, Navy, and Air Force. Included among these are the various units raised from former citizens of the Soviet Union. While many of these troops were intended to have insignia peculiar to their organization, it has not been possible in practice to manufacture and issue the necessary uniforms and insignia. The insignia for these forces may be grouped into three sets: those for the Eastern Legions (Ostlegionen), those for the Russian and Ukranian Armies of Liberation (with rank insignia after the Russian style), and those for Cossack units. In practice, German Army uniforms and insignia often are used. Military organizations with uniforms and insignia also were formed from men recruited from the former Baltic states. A Czech puppet Army, with its own uniforms and insignia, also exists. The Italian Republican Army also may use German uniforms and Waffen-SS insignia, although Italian Republican insignia may be worn on German-made uniforms. Women's uniformed auxiliary forces include signal services for the Army, Navy, and Air Force; antiaircraft personnel for the Air Force; and remount units for the Army. Such personnel have uniforms, insignia, and titles of rank peculiar to their organizations. Many uniformed Party organizations of a semi-military nature exist, as well as Frontier (Customs) Guards, Railway Police, State Railway Personnel, the Forestry Service, and other uniformed state organizations. Uniforms and insignia of several of the more important auxiliary organizations serving with the armed forces are briefly described below. These organizations usually wear an arm band inscribed Deutsche Wehrmacht when in forward areas. The Germans state that such arm bands indicate that the wearers are members of the German Armed Forces.

2. Volkssturm Uniforms and Insignia

The German Volkssturm has no authorized uniform or insignia except for an armband variously stenciled Deutscher Wehrmacht or Deutscher Volkssturm with Wehrmacht directly underneath the upper two words. These bands may he in a variety of colors: black letters on red or white cloth, or white letters on yellow cloth. Clothing is issued according to what is available in the area. Volkssturm personnel are reported to be unwilling to fight if furnished only with armbands for fear of being arrested as franc tireurs. Efforts have therefore been made to provide Army issue when possible. This issue is supplemented by captured clothing: Italian, Czech, French, and so on. Uniforms of Nazi party organizations may also be worn. It is reported that personnel with civil and party uniforms such as street car crews, zoo keepers, postmen, SA men, etc. will have such uniforms dyed military field gray. The only known insignia of rank is the following:

German Rank  English Equivalent  Collar Patch Insignia
Volkssturmmann  . . . . .   Private  . . . . .   No pips
Gruppenführer. . . . . Squad Leader. . . . . One pip
Zugführer. . . . . Platoon Leader. . . . . Two pips horizontally
Waffenmeister. . . . . Ordnance Officer. . . . . Same as above
Zahlmeister. . . . . Paymaster. . . . . Same as above
Kompanieführer. . . . . Company Commander. . . . . Three pips diagonally
Ordonnanzoffizier. . . . . Administrative Officer. . . . . Same as above
Adjutant. . . . . Adjutant. . . . . Same as above
Bataillonführer. . . . . Battalion Commander. . . . . Four pips in square

3. Labor Service Uniforms and Insignia

Members of the Labor Service (Reichsarbeitsdienst, or RAD), wear uniforms with chocolate-brown collars. The coats generally are cut in the style of the Army field uniform coat. The rank insignia resemble and roughly follow those of the Army, although distinctive titles are employed. A stylized spade is used for the cap badge, and appears on the belt buckle.

4. Police Uniforms and Insignia

German State Police uniforms may readily be differentiated from Army uniforms by proper identification of the Police coat. This coat has four patch pockets, the lower two being pleatless (Fig. 21). The frontal closure is secured by eight buttons. Both collar and cuffs are brown in color, the latter each bearing two buttons. While the collar insignia for lower ranks resemble those of the Army, the collar patch rectangle is surrounded by a silver cord. However, police officers of general's rank wear SS collar patches (color plates), since they hold ranks in both SS and Police. Field and company grade police officers wear shoulder straps and collar patches similar to equivalent Army ranks, and are addressed by Army titles of rank. A national emblem similar to the sleeve insignia for Army Military police (color plates) is worn on the upper left sleeve, but no other national emblem is worn on the coat. This emblem is repeated on Police caps. The back of the police coat has a decorative double fly embellished with four buttons.


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