Corps colours of the Luftwaffe (1935–1945)

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Colonel in the General Staff of the 1941/1942. The photo shows the later Generalinspekteur of the Bundeswehr Heinz Trettner
Lw-General with lampasses in corps colour "white" 1934.

Corps colours, or troop-function colours (ge: Waffenfarben) were traditionally worn in the German armed forces, the Wehrmacht, from 1935 until 1945, to distinguish between several branches, special services, corps, rank groups and appointments of the ministerial area, general staff, Oberkommando der Wehrmacht, down to the military branches Heer, Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine. The corps colour was part of the uniform piping, gorget patches, shoulder straps, arabesque and lampasse ornaments of general and flag officers. It was also part of the heraldic flags, colours, standards and guidons.

In the Luftwaffe, there was a strictly defined system of corps colours for collar patches, piping and coloured edging around the shoulder boards or straps. The chevrons on special clothes for Luftwaffe soldiers, e.g. flight suits and jumpsuits, also showed corps colours.

Synoptic table and examples to military persons in uniform[edit]

The table below contains some corps colours and examples used by the Heer from 1935-45.

Troops, unit, appointment Corps colour Example Remark
white (weiß)         Luftwaffe epaulette Generaloberst.svg Luftwaffe collar tabs Generaloberst 3D.svg Luftwaffe paraman Generaloberst 3D.svg Generaloberst
Spod 2pszw.png lampasses (uniform trousers, breeches)
white
(close patch)
Luftwaffe collar tabs Unterfeldwebel 3D.svg deep-red
(piping)
Unterwachtmeister
  • Anti-aircraft troops
  • Air Force artillery
deep-red (tiefrot) Luftwaffe collar tabs Feldwebel 3D.svg Luftwaffe paraman Feldwebel 3D.svg Flak-Abteilung Luftwaffe.svg
officers in general staff service (Generalstabsoffiziere) carmine (karmesin) Luftwaffe collar tabs Oberst 3D.svg Luftwaffe paraman Oberst 3D.svg Oberst i.G. (colonel in general staff service)
gold-yellow (goldgelb) lampasses (uniform trousers, breeches)
Military judicial service (Militärgerichtsbarkeit) purple (purpur) Luftwaffe collar tabs Hauptmann 3D.svg Luftwaffe paraman Hauptmann 3D.svg Stabsrichter
Field chaplains purple
(#C154C1)
Wehrmacht Lw Militärgeistlicher 1945collar.jpg
Aviator engineer(ing) service (Fliegeringenieurdienst) pink (rosa) from Generalleutnant (engineer) OF7 to Leutnant (engineer) OF1a
  • Aviator troops: pilots and ground personnel
  • Parachute troops
gold-yellow (goldgelb) Luftwaffe collar tabs Oberfeldwebel 3D.svg Luftwaffe paraman Oberfeldwebel 3D.svg Fliegende Einheiten Abteilung Luftwaffe.svg
  • Radar units
  • Air traffic control
bright-green (hellgrün) Luftwaffe collar tabs Hauptgefreiter 3D.svg Luftwaffe paraman Hauptgefreiter 3D.svg Hauptgefreiter
Fallschirmjäger hunter-green (Jägergrün) Lw Fahne Fallschirmjäger VR.svg troops standard
universally to the Militärverwaltung of the Luftwaffe dark-green
(#00703E)
main color of the
  • uniform gorget
  • collar patches´backgraund
  • Transport units (Transporteinheiten)
  • AF reserve (Luftwaffenreserve)
light-blue (hellblau)
AF medical corps (Sanitätstruppe) blue (blau) Luftwaffe collar tabs Stabsgefreiter 3D.svg Luftwaffe paraman Stabsgefreiter 3D.svg Stabsgefreiter
Air communications corps (Lufnachrichtentruppe) saddle brown (braun) Luftwaffe collar tabs Major 3D.svg Luftwaffe paraman Major 3D.svg Lw Fahne Nachrichteneinheiten VR.svg
  • Major
  • corps standard communications battalion
black (schwarz) None.svg Luftwaffe paraman Stabsfeldwebel 3D.svg Stabsfeldwebel

Exceptions & special cases[edit]

Special regulations applied to corps colours of units, services, and special troops, attached permanently to the ground services of the Heer.

  • Division Hermann Göring: Kragenspiegel and shoulder strap piping ( Schulterklappenvorstoß) "white", collar patches´ piping (Kragenspiegelvotstoß) in corps colours:
    • white (with black border line): infantry,
    • scarlet: artillery and anti aircraft defence (Flugabwehr)
    • golden-brown: communications
    • black: engineer
    • rose-pink: armor, antitank (Panzer jäger) and armored reconnaissance (Panzeraufklärer).
  • Air Force divisions: Collar patch main colour: green piping to collar patches and shoulder straps in corps colours:
    • yellow: cyclists (Radfahrer) and reconnaissance (Aufklärer),
    • rose-pink: antitank troops (Panzerjäger)
    • scarlet: artillery and anti aircraft defence (Flugabwehr)
    • bright-blue: Supply (Nachschubtruppe) and Administration (Verwaltungstruppe)
    • golden-brown: communications

See also main articles[edit]

References[edit]

  • Glossary of German military terms
  • Adolf Schlicht, John R. Angolia: Die deutsche Wehrmacht, Uniformierung und Ausrüstung 1933-1945
    Vol. 1: Das Heer (ISBN 3613013908), Motorbuch Verlag, Stuttgart 1992
    Vol. 3: Die Luftwaffe (ISBN 3-613-02001-7), Motorbuch Verlag, Stuttgart 1999
    (very detailed information and discussion but no coloured images)
  • Corps colours of the Wehrmacht according to the order of the Oberkommandos der Wehrmacht from October 14, 1942, here a selection only.