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An SS-Obersturmführer serving in KZ Mauthausen

Obersturmführer ([ˈoːbɐ.ʃtʊʁm.fyːʀɐ], "senior storm leader") 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 was akin in seniority to that of a Oberleutnant in the German Army and also the equivalent of 1st lieutenant in foreign armies.[2]

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.[3]

An SA-Obersturmführer was typically a junior company commander in charge of between 50-100 men. 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.[4]

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.[4]


See also

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


  1. ^ a b McNab (II) 2009, p. 15.
  2. ^ Stein 1984, p. 297.
  3. ^ McNab 2009, pp. 29, 30.
  4. ^ a b Flaherty 2004, p. 148.


  • Flaherty, T. H. (2004) [1988]. The Third Reich: The SS. Time-Life Books, Inc. ISBN 1 84447 073 3. 
  • McNab, Chris (2009). The SS: 1923–1945. Amber Books Ltd. ISBN 978-1-906626-49-5. 
  • McNab (II), Chris (2009). The Third Reich. Amber Books Ltd. ISBN 978-1-906626-51-8. 
  • Stein, George (1984) [1966]. The Waffen-SS: Hitler's Elite Guard at War 1939–1945. Cornell University Press. ISBN 0-8014-9275-0. 
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