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The SS (Schutzstaffel): Sturmscharführer

Sturmscharführer was a Nazi rank of the Waffen-SS that existed between 1934 and 1945. The rank was the most senior enlisted rank in the Waffen-SS, the equivalent of a Sergeant Major in other military organizations. Sturmscharführer was unique to the Waffen-SS and was not used in the regular SS (the Allgemeine-SS), where the highest enlisted rank was Hauptscharführer.

The rank of Sturmscharführer was first created in June 1934, after the Night of the Long Knives. Due to a reorganization of the SS, Sturmscharführer was created as the most senior enlisted rank of the SS-Verfügungstruppe, replacing the older Sturmabteilung title of Haupttruppführer.

By 1941, the Waffen-SS had become the successor organization to the SS-Verfügungstruppe and Sturmscharführer was established as the most senior enlisted rank. A Sturmscharführer was typically assigned as the head sergeant of an entire regiment or, in some cases, an infantry division.

Sturmscharführer was not the same as Stabsscharführer, which was a positional title given to the head SS-NCO of a company. The rank of Sturmscharführer was also not a prerequisite for promotion to Untersturmführer and was generally considered as a rank for “career” enlisted SS soldiers, rather than a rank on the path to becoming an officer.

The insignia for Sturmscharführer was two silver pips and two silver stripes worn on a collar patch along with the shoulder boards of a Wehrmacht Stabsfeldwebel. As was the case with Waffen-SS enlisted insignia, the collar patch of a Sturmscharführer was worn with silver piping.

Sources: Wikipedia; Picture courtesy of: U.S. National Archives