Specialist Officers (Sonderführer)

HISTORY

As of 26 August 1939, NCOs and men with special linguistic or technical skills, but lacking in necessary military training, were permitted to be promoted to NCO or officer supervisory status as Specialist Officers.  They wore standard military uniforms (excepting as detailed below), and did have officer's rank (without an actual commission) and authority (but only within the area covered by their occupation) excepting those graded equivalent to NCOs.

The rank titles and insignia of the Sonderführer changed in March 1940; in a desire to encourage these men to undertake military training and become full-fledged military officers, insignia closer in design to standard Army insignia was introduced.  The rank titles remained the same.  In Dec 1942, new rank titles were introduced, and the insignia reverted back to the pre-1940 styles.

UNIFORMS

In general, the main difference between Army uniforms and those worn by a Sonderführer was the use of grey-blue cloth in place of the dark green badge cloth.  In all cases, whether due to availability or personal preference, standard Army garments and insignia were sometimes worn in place of the grey-blue.

Headdress - The standard pattern of Schirmmütze was worn, but a grey-blue cap band was intended to be worn rather than the dark green.  The soutache on the Feldmütze was also blue grey.  In December 1942, aluminium chinstraps with a blue-grey thread woven into it were introduced for wear by Specialist Officers.

Field Blouse - The dark green collar of the field blouse was in theory substituted by a collar of blue-grey.  As well, breast eagles were to be on a blue-grey backing rather than dark green.  Collar tress was introduced for NCO-equivalent specialists in May 1940.

Collar Patches and Shoulder Straps - the main difference between Army uniforms and those worn by a Sonderführer was the rank insignia.

The collar patch for all ranks was done in matt aluminium, on a grey-blue backing. sondcoll.gif (1440 bytes)

Early pattern shoulder straps were in bright or matt aluminium, plaited, for field grade officers (i.e. Major equivalent or above), Hauptleute and Leutnante equivalent officers wore flat thin thread shoulder boards, and NCO equivalent had dark green flat thread shoulder boards.

Slides on these early shoulder boards were gold artificial silk for officers, and bright aluminium for NCOs.  

Medical personnel wore a gold coloured staff and snake, while veterinary personnel wore a gold coloured snake.

In March 1940, Army style shoulder boards were introduced, with red/white/black stripes added to the standard shoulder strap material, with the waffenfarbe being blue-grey.  Rank stars were in aluminium, as were the staff and snake devices worn by medical personnel and the snake device worn by veterinary personnel.

In 1942, when the earlier shoulder boards were readopted, gold coloured shoulder board devices were also readopted.

Group Branch Rank Titles & Insignia
1 Sep 39 - 20 Mar 40
Rank Titles & Insignia
21 Mar 40 - 6 Dec 42
Rank Titles & Insignia
7 Dec 42 - 8 May 45
R
(Abolished by March 1940)
1A sond5.gif (1776 bytes)
Regimentsführer (?)
- -
B 1A sond6.gif (1613 bytes)
Bataillonsführer
sond3.gif (2520 bytes)
Bataillonsführer
sond6.gif (1613 bytes)
Bataillonsführer
1B sond6.gif (1613 bytes)
Abteilungsführer
sond3.gif (2520 bytes)
Abteilungsführer
sond6.gif (1613 bytes)
Abteilungsführer
2A, 2B, 2C - - sond9.gif (1799 bytes)
Oberkriegsarzt
5 - - sond6.gif (1613 bytes)
Sonderführer (B)
K 1A, 1B sond12.gif (1582 bytes)
Kompanieführer
sond2.gif (2030 bytes)
Kompanieführer
sond12.gif (1582 bytes)
Kompanieführer
2A sond19.gif (1657 bytes)
Bataillonsarzt
Abteilungsarzt
Kolonnenarzt
Abschnittarzt
sond7.gif (2078 bytes)
Bataillonsarzt
Abteilungsarzt
Kolonnenarzt
Abschnittarzt
sond19.gif (1657 bytes)
Kriegsarzt
2B sond19.gif (1657 bytes)
Sanitätszugführer
sond7.gif (2078 bytes)
Sanitätszugführer
sond19.gif (1657 bytes)
Kriegsarzt
2C sond19.gif (1657 bytes)
Chefarzt
Abtilungssarzt
sond7.gif (2078 bytes)
Chefarzt
Abteilungsarzt
sond19.gif (1657 bytes)
Kriegsarzt
3 detn.gif (1654 bytes)
Abteilungsveterinär
Ortsveterinär
Abschnittsveterinär
Stationsveterinär
sond8.gif (2061 bytes)
Abteilungsveterinär
Ortsveterinär
Abschnittsveterinär
Stationsveterinär
-
4 - - sond12.gif (1582 bytes)
Dolmetscher (K)
5 - - sond12.gif (1582 bytes)
Sonderführer (K)
Z 1A, 1B sond13.gif (1322 bytes)
Zugführer
sond1.gif (1745 bytes)
Zugführer
sond13.gif (1322 bytes)
Zugführer
2A sond20.gif (1416 bytes)
Hiflsarzt
sond22.gif (1822 bytes)
Hiflsarzt
sond20.gif (1416 bytes)
Hiflsarzt
3 sond21.gif (1428 bytes)
Hilfsveterinär
- -
4 sond13.gif (1322 bytes)
Dolmetscher (Z)
sond1.gif (1745 bytes)
Dolmetscher (Z)
sond13.gif (1322 bytes)
Dolmetscher (Z)
5 - - sond13.gif (1322 bytes)
Sonderführer (Z)
O

Specialists holding this rank also wore double cuff rings on the sleeves  in the same manner as an Army Hauptfelwebel.
1A, 1B sond15.gif (1583 bytes)
Zugführer
sond15.gif (1583 bytes)
Zugführer
-
2A sond15.gif (1583 bytes)
Sanitätszugführer
sond16.gif (1811 bytes)
(Also wore trades badge on the sleeve)
sond15.gif (1583 bytes)
Sanitätszugführer
sond16.gif (1811 bytes)
(Also wore trades badge on the sleeve)
-
4 sond15.gif (1583 bytes)
Dolmetscher (O)
sond15.gif (1583 bytes)
Dolmetscher (O)
-
G 1A, 1B sond14.gif (1335 bytes)
Gruppenführer
sond14.gif (1335 bytes)
Gruppenführer
-
2A sond14.gif (1335 bytes)
Sanitätsgruppenführer
sond16.gif (1811 bytes)
(Also wore trades badge on the sleeve)
sond14.gif (1335 bytes)
Sanitätsgruppenführer
sond16.gif (1811 bytes)
(Also wore trades badge on the sleeve)
-

 

Branch Description
1A General Service - engineers, construction engineers, railway engineers, technical troops
1B General Service - artillery survey, signals, war reporters
2A Medical personnel - attached to non-medical units
2B Medical personnel - attached to medical units
2C Medical personnel - in reserve field hospitals
3 Veterinary personnel
4 Interpreters service (15 May 1940 to 30 Sep 1943)
5 Other branches (army group, army, corps and divisional staffs, administration, POW camps)

 

sf.jpg (36192 bytes)
Photo courtesy Robert Noss (photosammler.de)

sonco.jpg (59895 bytes)

Above - The early/late style of shoulder strap, as worn by an Air Force Sonderführer.

Right - collar patches as worn by an Army Sonderführer.

 

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