Sturmbannführer ([ˈʃtʊʁm.ban.fyːʀɐ], lit. 'assault unit leader'[1]) was a Nazi Party paramilitary rank equivalent to major[2] that was used in several Nazi organizations, such as the SA, SS, and the NSFK. The rank originated from German shock troop units of the First World War.

SS-Sturmbannfuehrer collar.svg
SS Gorget patches
Country Nazi Germany
Service branch Schutzstaffel
National Socialist Motor Corps
National Socialist Flyers Corps
NATO rankOF-3
Next higher rankObersturmbannführer
Next lower rankHauptsturmführer
Equivalent ranksMajor
Max Hansen, Sturmbannführer of the Waffen-SS

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.[2] 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]

The rank was held by Wernher von Braun, who developed the V-2 rocket, and later designed the Saturn V rocket for the U.S. space program. Other rank holders included Eberhard Heder, Otto Günsche,[5] and war criminals, such as Otto Förschner, who was the commandant of Dora-Mittelbau concentration camp.

Rank insigniaEdit

Sturmbannführer SS, SA, NSKK, and NSFK
Rank insignia
Schutzstaffel (SS)
Sturmabteilung (SA)
NS Motor Corps (NSKK)
NS Flyers Corps (NSFK)
only Waffen-SS collar insignia
Junior rank
SS rank
Senior rank
Junior rank
SA rank
Senior rank

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ McNab 2009b, p. 15.
  2. ^ a b Flaherty 2004, p. 148.
  3. ^ a b McNab 2009, pp. 29, 30.
  4. ^ Stein 1984, p. 297.
  5. ^ Joachimsthaler 1999, p. 281.


  • Flaherty, T. H. (2004) [1988]. The Third Reich: The SS. Time-Life Books, Inc. ISBN 1-84447-073-3.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • 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.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • McNab, Chris (2009). The SS: 1923–1945. Amber Books Ltd. ISBN 978-1-906626-49-5.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • McNab, Chris (2009b). The Third Reich. Amber Books Ltd. ISBN 978-1-906626-51-8.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Stein, George (1984) [1966]. The Waffen-SS: Hitler's Elite Guard at War 1939–1945. Cornell University Press. ISBN 0-8014-9275-0.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)