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Luftwaffe Sonderfuhrer auf Kriegsdauer

Article about: Wartime Officials and Sonderfuhrers. The Wartime Official was introduced on 31Oct1938. Many, but not all of these men were selected from within the ranks of the regular Luftwaffe. Applicants

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    Default Luftwaffe Sonderfuhrer auf Kriegsdauer

    Wartime Officials and Sonderfuhrers.

    The Wartime Official was introduced on 31Oct1938. Many, but not all of these men were selected from within the ranks of the regular Luftwaffe. Applicants were NCO's or lower who possessed civilian acquired skills or knowledge needed by the Luftwaffe. Regular Luftwaffe officers were not accepted into this program. Others were brought directly into the Luftwaffe as Officials without any military training at all.

    Upon acceptance as a Specialist Leader, these men were appointed a ranking as either an NCO or officer, based upon their area of expertise and amount of experience. Such duties could be Administrative, Legal, or Technical. Once the member was designated a ranking, there would be no opportunity for promotion. The position as a specialist leader was not a career move. The position was to be held until the end of the war.

    Here are the possible rankings and their Luftwaffe equivalents:

    Officer rank Equivalent
    Post group R (regiment level) Oberst
    Post group B (battalion level) Major
    Post group K (company level) Hauptmann
    Post group Z (platoon level) Leutnant

    NCO rank
    Post group O (company Sgt level) Oberfeldwebel
    Post group G (squad level) Unteroffizier


    As the war ensued, manpower became an issue. As a result, on 05Aug1941, some restrictions were placed upon being accepted as a Specialist Leader...

    1. For non technical branches, the applicant must have been born in 1909 or earlier. Specialist leaders who were already in the organization and born between 1910 and 1927 were retained.
    2. Personnel of the technical branches and in the Reich's Weather Service as well as those with the birth years ranging between 1910 and 1917 were permitted pending the completion of basic military training.
    3. For all other areas of Wartime Specialists, candidates born between 1910 and 1917 were permitted if found to be not fit for full duty.

    On 24Sep1942, an order was passed which stopped all future appointments of the Wartime Officials.

    Here is where it gets a bit confusing. Also on 24Sep1942, members who had certain military training/qualifications were retained as Reserve Officials. Members without the required military training had to complete it by 01October1943 at the latest. All other's had their status as a Wartime official renounced and were returned to their previous rankings and sent back to regular Luftwaffe units, with a few exceptions(based upon the needs of the Luftwaffe), which expired on 31March1944, at the latest.

    The Wartime Officials had the title of their career and branch according to their position within the organization, along with "auf Kriegsdauer" abbreviated ""a.Kr" or "a.K." as a suffix. This was authorized on 24November1944.

    For those who may be interested, the below link will take you to a paychart, which includes the Wartime Officials/Sonderfuhrers.

    Saleries in the Wehrmacht

    Uniform:



    The prescribed uniform was the same as that of the regular Luftwaffe. The main difference being noticed in the collar tabs and shoulder cords.

    Of a special note, Wartime officials assigned to the Reich Air Ministry were required to wear civilian clothes while on the job.

    Here is a uniform from my personal collection. It is a tuchrock for a Feldwebel of the Medium Career Level. I will get into more detail on the insignia shortly.
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    Default Re: Luftwaffe Sonderfuhrer auf Kriegsdauer

    Insignia

    Collar tabs:

    Per my references(Davis, Angolia, and Bender), there were two mentioned Waffenfarben:

    Administrative/Specialists- Dark Green
    Engineering Specialists- Pink
    Fire Fighting Specialists- Golden Yellow

    The collar insignia are very similar to those used by the Luftwaffe proper. The difference being that the gulls denoting rank are omitted. The use of the wreath is the same as with the basic Luftwaffe tabs, for officers.(full and half wreath). The exact ranking of the official was specified by the type of shoulder cord and the number of sliders on the cord.

    As with the Administrative tabs, there were four career levels based upon education and experience. The level was noted by the type of piping around the collar tabs.

    Lower Career Level
    No piping(and no wreath... simply a plain dark green tab)- Feldwebel/Oberfeldwebel- Grade school education without further education/qualification was required.

    Medium Career Level
    Green/Silver Piping(was blue silver until Nov1940)- Oberfeldwebel/Oberleutnant- High School Diploma and an apprenticeship of a trade was required.

    Elevated Career Level
    Silver piping- - Leutnant-Oberstleutnant- Educational level between High School and College, with an addition two-three years of practical training required.

    Highest Grade Career
    Gold piping- Leutnant and above- University degree is required.

    The Corps Engineering Officials started on 15Jan43, the Wartime Members of the Corps of Engineers wore the same uniforms as those used by the Corps of Engineers. The insignia differed as stated below:

    Tabs- Rose pink, as the Corps of Engineer tabs. Ranking consisted of the embroidered wreath only. No propellers or gulls were used. The exact ranking was noted on the shoulder cord.

    As you can see, there is a single present of a yellow Wartime Official tab. This is for a member of the Luftwaffe Fire Service(Established in 1944) member brought into the regular Luftwaffe with a soldier's status(job stayed the same, the status was more of a legality).

    I cannot find the references for these, but I have seen black and wine red sonderfuhrer tabs as well. I assume that they are bau and judicial related(respectively).

    Shoulder Boards


    The shoulder cords were very irregular when compared to the regular Luftwaffe(please see below descriptions). By order, these boards were not to have specialty piping nor any underlay. This rule was frequently broken though.

    Lower Career Level
    Oberfeldwebel- Blueish Dark green with 1 aluminum embroidered slider for the cord.
    Hauptfeldwebel- Blueish Dark green with 2 aluminum embroidered sliders for the cord.

    Middle Career Level
    Oberfeldwebel- Braided dark green cord with 1mm center aluminum cord with 2 aluminum embroidered sliders for the cord.
    Leutnant- Aluminum Flat cord, bent to form a loop. Both ends meet at the base. The ends are sewn into the sleeve seam. No Sliders for the cord.

    Elevated Career Level
    Oberleutnant- Aluminum Flat cord, bent to form a loop. Both ends meet at the base. The ends are sewn into the sleeve seam. 1 Yellow slider for the cord.
    Hauptmann- Aluminum Flat cord, bent to form a loop. Both ends meet at the base. The ends are sewn into the sleeve seam. 2 Yellow sliders for the cord.

    High Grade Career Level
    Hauptmann- Aluminum Flat cord, bent to form a loop. Both ends meet at the base. The ends are sewn into the sleeve seam. 2 Yellow sliders for the cord.
    Major- Braided aluminum cord with 8-11 lateral bends and two bends at the base. No Sliders.
    Oberstleutnant- Braided aluminum cord with 8-11 lateral bends and two bends at the base. 1 yellow slider.
    Oberst- Braided aluminum cord with 8-11 lateral bends and two bends at the base. 2 yellow Sliders.

    Here is my Oberfeldwebel example from the tunic seen above. Notice the twisted cord with the silver center strip, indicative of an NCO in the Middle Career Level.

    Also see the NCO cord for a Lower Career Level Official, which is ranked for an Oberfeldwebel.
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  4. #3
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    Default Re: Luftwaffe Sonderfuhrer auf Kriegsdauer

    I am looking for any additional images for a project I am working on.. Someone must know of more of these tunics!

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Luftwaffe Sonderfuhrer auf Kriegsdauer

    Very useful information, thanks for sharing with us!
    Cheers,
    Dimas
    Regards,
    Dimas

    my Skype: warrelics

  6. #5

    Default Re: Luftwaffe Sonderfuhrer auf Kriegsdauer

    I believe these types of articles are just what the collecting community needs. These are under appreciated and under researched areas of the Luftwaffe. Please post your others here as well. Feel free to use my photos when you do the one on the Ingenieurkorps der Luftwaffe.

    Other collectors must have some of these uniforms and insignias, Please post them!!

    Bill

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Luftwaffe Sonderfuhrer auf Kriegsdauer

    I think this is one of un-researched aspects...
    Regards,
    Dimas

    my Skype: warrelics

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Luftwaffe Sonderfuhrer auf Kriegsdauer

    Thanks for the encouragement. Good to see you, Bill!!

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Luftwaffe Sonderfuhrer auf Kriegsdauer

    Very nice great to see insignia from the Cinderella side of the military.

  10. #9

    Default Re: Luftwaffe Sonderfuhrer auf Kriegsdauer

    "Cinderella side"?

    what is that? I thought that all parts of the military existed to provide for the proper function of the others.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Luftwaffe Sonderfuhrer auf Kriegsdauer

    Cinderella side really just means the support arms like logistics, cooks and pioneers who tend to be forgotten about.
    Donít get the same press hype.
    When you here of a battle the combatants get the headlines but the engineers and pioneers who cleared the way are a byline, the cooks who fed them don't get mentioned [Cinderella in the kitchen].
    That's life as they say.

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