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An SS-Obersturmführer serving in KZ Mauthausen.

Obersturmführer was a Nazi party paramilitary rank that was used in several Nazi organisations, such as the SA, SS, NSKK and the NSFK. Translated as “senior assault (or storm) leader”,[1] the rank of Obersturmführer was first created in 1932 as the result of an expansion of the Sturmabteilung (SA) and the need for an additional rank in the officer corps. Obersturmführer also became an SS rank at that same time.[2]

An SA-Obersturmführer was typically a junior company commander in charge of between 50-100 soldiers. Within the SS, the rank of Obersturmführer carried a wider range of occupations from staff aide, Gestapo officer, concentration camp supervisor, and Waffen-SS platoon commander to name but a few. Within both the SS and SA, the rank of Obersturmführer was considered the equivalent of an Oberleutnant in the German Wehrmacht.[3]

The insignia for Obersturmführer was three silver pips and a silver stripe centered on a uniform collar patch. The rank was senior to an Untersturmführer (or Sturmführer in the SA[1]) and junior to the rank of Hauptsturmführer.[3]

Notable recipients

Some notable personnel of this rank include:

In fiction

  • David Niven's British sapper character wore a captured SS uniform with this insignia in the 1961 movie The Guns of Navarone.
  • In the manga and OVA Hellsing, the characters Rip van Winkle and Zorin Blitz both hold the rank of Obersturmführer in the SS remnant unit Millennium.
  • In the Star Trek episode "Patterns of Force", Spock steals the uniform of an Ekosian Untersturmführer for a disguise, but when he appears later in the episode, the collar tabs have become that of an Obersturmführer.
  • In Star Trek: Enterprise, the Na'kuhl officer Ghrath wears the uniform of an Obersturmführer.
  • In The Strain, Thomas Eichhorst, the main acolyte of the Master, was once an Obersturmführer before being turned into a vampire.


See also

Junior Rank
SS rank
Senior Rank
Junior Rank
SA rank
Senior Rank


  1. 1.0 1.1 McNab (II) 2009, p. 15.
  2. McNab 2009, pp. 29, 30.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Flaherty 2004, p. 148.


  • Flaherty, T. H. (2004) [1988]. The Third Reich: The SS. Time-Life Books, Inc. ISBN 1 84447 073 3.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • McNab, Chris (2009). The SS: 1923–1945. Amber Books Ltd. ISBN 978-1-906626-49-5.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • McNab (II), Chris (2009). The Third Reich. Amber Books Ltd. ISBN 978-1-906626-51-8.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>