Stab (Luftwaffe designation)

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During World War II, the suffix Stab (Staff) was used in the German Luftwaffe (air force) to designate a headquarters unit. This applied to subordinate units in each Gruppe or Geschwader — the equivalent units to wings and groups in other air forces.

These command units used the green colour of their aircraft and individual identification letters to distinguish their aircraft from the rest of air units in same sections. These units were divided in the following form:

  • Geschwader Stab = A
  • Stab I Gruppen ("Staff Unit, I Group") = B
  • Stab II Gruppen = C
  • Stab III Gruppen = D
  • Stab IV Gruppen = E
  • Stab V Gruppen = F

On some occasions they also used letters G, Q, I, J, W and others, or numbers, but these were used less commonly. These units used the red-blue or blue-white-blue Reich Defense (German Reich metropolitan defense) sign. Under the cockpit, the rank of the air commander might have been indicated via a rank sign, with or without additional letters as mentioned above.

For example:

  • An airplane codified "A", green in colour, with D/St.III/St.G.77, indicated it was a member of Stab III of Stukageschwader (Dive Bomber Wing) No. 77.
  • An airplane codified "G", green in colour, with a little white tank (Panzer) painting near the cockpit, and S.G. 1, indicated it was a member of Stab of Schlachtgeschwader (Ground Attack Wing) no. 1.

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