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Der Stahlhelm Insignia Identification Guide

Der Stahlhelm was founded by Franz Seldte as a parpmilitary organization on December 25, 1918, in Magdeburg, Germany. The league was formed of ex-servicemen as a rallying point for revanchist and nationalistic forces. The organization was oriented toward the Imperial regime and the Hohenzollern monarchy. Financing was provided by the Deutscher Herrenklub, an association of German industrialists and business leaders with elements of the landed gentry (Junker). Women and youth leagues were established in 1923. After the failed Kapp Putsch of 1920, the organization gained further support from dissolved Freikorps units. In 1924, the Landstrum chapters were formed to include both veterans and new recruits. These were expected to provide a standing armed force in support of the 100,000 man Reichswehr. With 500,000 members in 1930, the league was the largest paramilitary organization in the Weimar Republic. Although Der Stahlhelm was officially a non-party entity and above party politics, after 1929 it took on an anti-republican and anti-democratic character. Its goals were a German dictatorship, the preparation of a revanchist program, and the direction of local anti-parliamentarian action. For political reasons its members distinguished themselves from the Nazi Party (NSDAP) as "German Fascists". Among their demands were the establishment of a Greater Germanic People's Reich and repuidation of Social Democracy, the "mercantilism of the Jews" and the general liberal democratic worldview. After the Nazi seizure of power on 30 January 1933, the Nazi authorities urged Der Stahlhelm to merge into the party's Sturmabteilung (SA). Der Stahlhelm still tried to keep its distance from the Nazis. On 27 March 1933, an SA raid with the intention of disarming Stahlhelm members in Braunschweig, who had forged an alliance with scattered Republican Reichsbanner forces. The violent incident, later called Der Stahlhelm Putsch, was characteristic of the pressure applied by the Nazis on Der Stahlhelm. In April, Seldte applied for membership in the NSDAP and officially declared Der Stahlhelm subordinate to the SA. He joined the SA in August 1933 at the rank of Obergruppenführer. Der Stahlhelm was integrated into the party structure in November of 1933 in the course of the "voluntary" Synchronization process of veteran and paramilitary groups. Der Stahlhelm was renamed Nationalsozialistischer Deutscher Frontkämpfer-Bund Stahlhelm. Large parts of the NSDFBSt were merged into the SA as members of the Wehrstahlhelm, Reserve I and Reserve II Standarte. The remaining NSDFBSt local groups were dissolved by decree on 7 November 1935. This is an identification guide for the different badges and patches worn by Der Stahlhelm. To the best of our knowledge, all the examples shown are original pre-1945 manufacture. If anyone has questions or suggestions, please contact Vern@GermanDaggers.com.

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Membership badges and special awards.

Typically worn on the left lapel or left posket.




Der Stahlhelm Pin - Adopted 1919



JungStahlhelm Pin - Adopted 1923



Bund Koningin Luise Type 1 - Adopted 1923



Bund Koningin Luise Tyoe 2 - Adopted 1923



Bund Koningin Luise Type 3 - Adopted 1923



FrauenBund - Adopted 1924



MadchenBund - Adopted 1924



Landstrum Type 1 - Adopted 1924



Landstrum Type 2 - Adopted 1924



WehrSports Cross - Adopted 1930



WehrSports Collar Tab - Adopted 1930



Honor Award for Continuous Service - Adopted 1932
Dated 1918 to 1932



Honor Award for Non-members - Adopted 1932



Membership Pin - Adopted 1934


First style Rank Insignia

Because Der Stahlhelm members continued to wear their military uniforms, a different method of signifing rank was needed. A lether crossbelt with colored edging was adopted to identify the various ranks. Belt width could be 4cm, 3cm, or 2cm with one or two edging colors used to identify the individuals rank. A badge identifying functional assignment could be worn centered on the front of the belt. In 1924, the government forbid the wearing of military collar tabs and shoulder boards, but the crossbelt rank system continued in use until 1932. Ranks were changed and added over time, but the below ranks are as of 1929.




Orange and Gold
4 cm - BundesFuhrer



Carmine and Gold
4 cm - Bundestanzler
3 cm - Abteilungschefs
2 cm - Mitarbeiter



White and Silver
4 cm - Landesfuhrer
2 cm - Mitglieder des Stabs



Carmine and Silver
3 cm - Leiter des Landesamtes



White
4 cm - Gaufuhrer
2 cm - Gau Siellvertreter



Red
4 cm - Kreisfuhrer
2 cm - Kreis Siellvertreter



Green
4 cm - Ortsgruppenfuhrer
2 cm - Orts Siellvertreter



Blue
2 cm - Kameradschaftsfuhrer


Assignment pin examples.




Staff Leader Badge - Adopted 1919



Leader Badge - Adopted 1919



Scharnhorst Bund Jungmennen - Adopted 1922



Jungstahlhelm Leader - Adopted 1923



Konigin Luise Leader - Adopted 1924



Kraftfahr Leader - Adopted 1926



Wehrsports Leader - Adopted 1930



Signals Leader - Adopted 1931



Leader Badge - Adopted 1933



Staff Leader Badge - Adopted 1934



Leader Badge - Adopted 1934






















Second style Rank Insignia

With over 500,000 members, a new rank structure was needed. A rank system based on collar tabs was adopted in 1932. Note that in addition to the collar tab, a Gruppenfuhrer wore three chevrons on the upper left sleeve, a Stabswehrmann wore two chevrons on the upper left sleeve, and an Oberwehrmann wore one chevron on the upper left sleeve. The collar tabs were piped in white for regular members, green for reserve members, and blue for local self defense squad members.




BundesFuhrer



Landesfuhrer



Bataillonsfuhrer



Kompagniefuhrer



Oberzugfuhrer



Zugfuhrer



Oberfeldmeister



Feldmeister



Gruppenfuhrer



Stabswehrmann
Oberwehrmann
Wehrmann











Gruppenfuhrer Chevron



Stabswehrmann Chevron



Oberwehrmann Chevron






In early 1933, two additional ranks were added. The collar tab piping was changed to reflect the member's branch of service. White was used for infantry, yellow for cavalry, pick for motorized units, light brown for signals, light blue for quartermasters and paymasters, red for staff, and twisted red and black for press, welfare, and culture specialties.




Regimentsfuhrer



Stabsfuhrer










In late 1933, four additional ranks were added. This system of collar tabs remained in effect until November 1933 when Der Stahlhelm was absorbed into the SA.




Bundeshauptmann



Obergruppenfuhrer



Divisionsfuhrer



Brigadefuhrer


Cufftitles and District Patches

Der Stahlhelm was originally formed in Madgeberg. As membership spread to other cities and states, a method of local identification was needed. Cuff titles began to appear around 1926 and were worn on the right lower sleeve. By 1929, patches identifying districts appear on the right upper sleeve, but cuff titles could still be worn.




Gau Braunkohle



Gau Magdeburg



Gau Minden Ravensberg West



Gau Neidersachsen



Gau Salle-Thuringen



Landes Verband Gross Hamburg



Landes Verband Niedersachsen



Landes Verband Rheinland



Landes Verband Nordmark



Oldenburg-Ostfriesland













Baden



Bayern



Brandenburg



Braunschweig



Bremen



Danzig



Gross Berlin



Gross hessen



Hamburg



Hannover



Magdeburg



Mecklenburg



Mitte



MittelDeutschland



Niederhein



NordMark



NordSee



OstMark



OstPreussen



Pommern Grenzmark



Saar



Sachen



Schlesien



Thuringen



WestFalen



WestMark



Wurttemberg






Speciality Patches

Occupational Speciality patches were authorized beginning in 1925. They were worn on the left upper sleeve.




Signals Service Personnel - Adopted 1925



Medical Orderlies - Adopted 1925



Stretcher Bearers - Adopted 1925



Medical Orderlies - Adopted 1926



Senior Medical Orderlies - Adopted 1926



Stretcher Bearers - Adopted 1926



Qualified Doctors - Adopted 1926



Consulting Physicians - Adopted 1926



Qualified Drivers - Adopted 1928



Cyclist Unit Personnel - Adopted 1931



Qualified Doctors - Adopted 1931



Mounted Unit Personnel - Adopted 1932



Signals Unit Personnel - Adopted 1932



Motor Unit Personnel - Adopted 1932



Cyclist Unit Personnel - Adopted 1932



Medical Orderlies - Adopted 1932


Branch of Service Badgeses

Adopted in 1932, the Branch of Service badges were worn on the left lower sleeve and identified the frountline soldier's Imperial Army Branch of Service.




Infantry



Cavalry



Field Artillery



Foot Artillery



Machine Gun Detachments



Mortar Units



Jagers



Engineers



Signal Units



Railway Troops



Mobile Train Units



Motor Car Units



Baloon Crews



Aviators



Airship Crews



Flame-thrower Units



Tank Crews



Medical Orderlies



Sailors



U-Boat Crews



Colonial Troops