- This page relates to the Nazi-era German military appointment (not rank). For information on the present day German Bundeswehr rank, see Hauptfeldwebel (rank).
appointment insignia, ("double piston rings")
|Service branch||German Army|
|Rank||senior NCOs, e.g. Oberfeldwebel or Feldwebel|
In the German Wehrmacht, the appointment of Hauptfeldwebel was the German equivalent of a Commonwealth company sergeant major or U.S. company-level first sergeant. There was one such non-commissioned officer (NCO) in every infantry company, artillery battery, cavalry squadron, etc. He was the senior NCO of his subunit, but his duties were largely administrative and he was not expected to accompany his unit into an assault or a firefight.
The Hauptfeldwebel had many nicknames, including Spieß ("Spear") and Mutter der Kompanie ("company mother"). He wore two rings of NCO braid around the cuff of his sleeves (nicknamed "piston rings") and carried a Meldetasche (reporting pouch) tucked into the tunic front, in which he carried blank report forms, rosters and other papers related to his duties. The German Army had no equivalent of the Commonwealth Regimental Sergeant Major.
The appointment could be held by a senior non-commissioned officer (Unteroffizier mit Portepee), normally Oberfeldwebel of Feldwebel. If the billet was filled out of necessity by an Unteroffizier ohne Portepee, he was termed a Hauptfeldwebeldiensttuer, or "one serving as Hauptfeldwebel." The equivalent appointment in anglophone armed forces might have been company sergeant major or U.S. company-level first sergeant.
Other armed forces
In the Waffen-SS the aquivalent to the appointment Hauptfeldwebel in Heer and Luftwaffe, was the SS-Stabsscharführer until 1945. The traditionell nicknames "spear" and "company mother" were used as well. He wore as well two rings of NCO braid around the cuff of his sleeves similar to the Wehrmacht.
National People's Army
The appointment insignia, the so-called "double piston rings" on both cuffs (of sleeves) on the uniform jacket and the overcoat, were identically to those used in of the Wehrmacht until 1945. The nicknames were analogue to the Wehrmacht "spear" and "company mother".
The equivalent appointment in anglophone armed forces might have been company sergeant major or U.S. company-level first sergeant.
Today, the former billet Hauptfeldwebel as a company's Senior NCO has become a regular rank between Oberfeldwebel and Stabsfeldwebel. The position previously known as Hauptfeldwebel is now called Kompaniefeldwebel, while the nicknames - and, in their general outlines, the duties - have remained. Company sergeants major often have the rank of Hauptfeldwebel now, though.
|service dress||field uniform||service dress||field uniform|
- See also
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