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Max Hansen, here as an SS-Sturmbannführer of the Waffen-SS
Otto Förschner, SS-Sturmbannführer and camp commandant of Mittelbau-Dora concentration camp

Sturmbannführer was a Nazi Party paramilitary rank equivalent to major[1] that was used in several Nazi organizations, such as the SA, SS, and the NSFK. Translated as “assault (or storm) unit leader”[2] (Sturmbann being the SA and early SS equivalent to a battalion), the rank originated from German shock troop units of the First World War where the title of Sturmbannführer would occasionally be held by the battalion commander.[citation needed]


The SA title of Sturmbannführer was first established in 1921. In 1928, the title became an actual rank and was also one of the first established SS ranks.[3] The insignia of a Sturmbannführer was four silver pips centered on a collar patch.[1]

The rank rated below Standartenführer until 1932, when Sturmbannführer became subordinate to the new rank of Obersturmbannführer.[3] In the Waffen-SS, Sturmbannführer was considered equivalent to a major in the German Wehrmacht.[4]

Notable recipients[edit]

One of the most notable recipients was Wernher von Braun, who developed the V-2 rocket, and later designed the Saturn V rocket for the U.S. space program. Also, Eberhard Heder, Otto Günsche[5] and war criminals, such as Otto Förschner.

Insignia of rank of Sturmbannführer of the Waffen-SS[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Flaherty 2004, p. 148.
  2. ^ McNab (II) 2009, p. 15.
  3. ^ a b McNab 2009, pp. 29, 30.
  4. ^ Yerger 1997, p. 237.
  5. ^ Joachimsthaler 1999, p. 281.


  • Flaherty, T. H. (2004) [1988]. The Third Reich: The SS. Time-Life Books, Inc. ISBN 1-84447-073-3. 
  • Joachimsthaler, Anton (1999) [1995]. The Last Days of Hitler: The Legends, the Evidence, the Truth. Trans. Helmut Bögler. London: Brockhampton Press. ISBN 978-1-86019-902-8. 
  • McNab, Chris (2009). The SS: 1923–1945. Amber Books Ltd. ISBN 978-1-906626-49-5. 
  • McNab (II), Chris (2009). The Third Reich. Amber Books Ltd. ISBN 978-1-906626-51-8. 
  • Yerger, Mark C. (1997). Allgemeine-SS: The Commands, Units and Leaders of the General SS. Schiffer Publishing Ltd. ISBN 0-7643-0145-4. 
Junior rank
SS rank
Senior rank
Junior rank
SA rank
Senior rank