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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

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.


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

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Flaherty 2004, p. 148.
  2. McNab (II) 2009, p. 15.
  3. 3.0 3.1 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.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • 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)<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>
  • Yerger, Mark C. (1997). Allgemeine-SS: The Commands, Units and Leaders of the General SS. Schiffer Publishing Ltd. ISBN 0-7643-0145-4.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>