Unteroffiziere mit Portepee

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Fähnrich with Portepee

Unteroffizier(e) mit Portepee, also Portepeeunteroffizier(e) (en: NCO(s) with sword knot" also "Sword knot NCO(s)"), is the designation for German senior NCO in the Armed forces of Germany. The name derives from earlier traditions in which senior enlisted men would carry a sword into battle. The word portepee derives from French port(e)-épée.

Any Portepeeunteroffizier of the former Prussian Army was entitled to wear (in addition to the to dress uniform - to go with a ...) a "sword knot" to its personal sabre, which was originally restricted to officers only.[1]

The sequence of ranks (top-down approach) in that particular group is as follows:


The abbreviation "OR" stands for "Other Ranks / fr: sous-officiers et militaires du rang / ru:другие ранги, кроме офицероф"!

See also

⇒ Article: NCOs without portepee
⇒ Article: Ranks of the German Bundeswehr
⇒ Article: Rank insignia of the German Bundeswehr
⇒ Article: Ranks and insignia of NATO navies enlisted

And equivalents of the Navy—replacing Feldwebel with Bootsmann—and, historically, the Cavalry and Artillery (with Wachtmeister). The latter is not to be confused with the Navy's "Kompaniefeldwebel" of today which are also called Wachtmeister.

German non-commissioned officers were identified by the use of metallic lace (called Tresse) on the collar of the uniform jacket, as well as the edges of the shoulder straps. Senior non-commissioned officers in the Wehrmacht also used silver "stars" on the shoulder strap to differentiate between ranks; one star for a Feldwebel, two for an Oberfeldwebel, and three for a Stabsfeldwebel.

Table of Portepee-ranks

Rank insignia to Portepee-NCOs of Heer, Luftwaffe and Marine
German payment level A9Z A9 A8Z A7mZ A7
Bundeswehr Logo Heer with lettering.svg

Shoulder straps
service uniform/
field uniform

HD H 35 Oberstabsfeldwebel HAufkl.svgHA OS5 35 Oberstabsfeldwebel Pi.svg HD H 34 Stabsfeldwebel Fm.svg50px HD H 33 Hauptfeldwebel ABCAbw.svg50px HD H 32 Oberfeldwebel HFla.svgHA OS5 32 Oberfeldwebel HLog.svg HD H 31 Feldwebel Art.svgHA OS5 31 Feldwebel Pz.svg
Bundeswehr Logo Luftwaffe with lettering.svg
LD B 35 Oberstabsfeldwebel.svgLA OS5 35 Oberstabsfeldwebel.svg LD B 34 Stabsfeldwebel.svgLA OS5 34 Stabsfeldwebel.svg LD B 33 Hauptfeldwebel.svgLA OS5 33 Hauptfeldwebel.svg LD B 32 Oberfeldwebel.svgLA OS5 32 Oberfeldwebel.svg LD B 31 Feldwebel.svgLA OS5 31 Feldwebel.svg
rank Oberstabsfeldwebel Stabsfeldwebel Hauptfeldwebel
Oberfeldwebel Feldwebel
Bundeswehr Logo Marine with lettering.svg

Shoulder straps
cuff insignias
field uniform

MDS 35 Oberstaabsbootsmann 20.svgMDJA 35 Oberstabsbootsmann 30 Lu.svg45px MDS 34 Staabsbootsmann 10.svgMDJA 34 Stabsbootsmann 40 Lu.svg45px MDS 33 Hauptbootsmann 70.svgMDJA 33 Hauptbootsmann 50 Lu.svgMA OG5 33 Hauptbootsmann.svg MDS 32 Oberbootsmann 60.svgMDJA 32 Oberbootsmann 70 Lu.svg45px MDS 31 Bootsmann 30.svgMDJA 31 Bootsmann 60 Lu.svg45px
rank Oberstabsbootsmann Stabsbootsmann Hauptbootsmann
(Oberfähnrich zur See)
Oberbootsmann Bootsmann
(Fähnrich zur See)
NATO-Rangcode OR-9 OR-8 OR-7 OR-6

Sources/ references

  1. BROCKHAUS, Die Enzyklopädie in 24 Bänden (1796–2001), Band 5: 3-7653-3665-3, S. 488