Paul R

Luftwaffe Fire Fighting Officials

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Luftwaffe Fire Fighting Officials

There were two different fire fighting organizations within the control of the Luftwaffe. This is a confusing topic, as the two organizations work so closely together, it is difficult to say if they are two organizations or one with a definite border in regard to ranking/responsibility.

The first one was the "Air Base Fire Departments" (Fleigerhorstfeuerwehr). These personnel were civilian employees of the Luftwaffe and were paid an hourly wage. Their job was to provide fire protection duties on Luftwaffe air bases and other Luftwaffe assets. Fire Departments were organized into "Extinguishing Groups" which had about 14-18 members.

The designated branch color was Carmine.

These men held a special status. They were not considered to be Soldiers or Officials. They had the title of "Luftwaffe Members". During the war, men who were physically fit were mobilized as soldiers for foreign based Luftwaffe Bases. These men were given LW standard uniforms with their insignia applied in 1940, these men were officially transferred to the Luftwaffe and give the standard yellow flight piped insignia.

There were three ranking titles:

1. Feuerwehrman

2. Obereuerwehrman

3. Loschmeister

In Jun1944, when parts of the Air Base Fire Departments were transfered to the Luftwaffe under a soldiers status, Oberfeuerwehrmen and Loschmeister level personnel needed to possess a military rank. These men were afforded the ranking of Sonderfuhrer-F (Feuerwehr) and given specialist leaders ranks of Sonderfuhrer- G(Unteroffizier) or Sonderfuhrer-O(Oberfeldwebel). The branch color was Golden Yellow.

The second formation were the Officials of the Fire Protection Branch. These officials were placed in leadership postions of the local fire departments as well as administrative postions within the RLM and other major command centers. The officials who provided the leadership in the Fire Departments were at a Medium Grade career level while the Officials filling the Administrative postions held a High Grade Career. The High Grade Career was established in early December 1939 and were under the General Construction and Administrative Branch. These men wore the standard LW Official's uniform with the bright red Nebenfarbe and the gold piping around the collar tabs.

These men used the same insignia configuration as the Luftwaffe Administrative Officials, with a dark green branch color and agolden brown designation color (nebenfarbe)

Most of the initial staffing of these two organizations cme directly from civilian and volunteer fire departments.

* For more details on the career levels, please see the Administrative Officials thread

http://gmic.co.uk/index.php?showtopic=18055

Here is an example of a Sonderfuhrer F Tab, Elevated ranking.

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Uniforms

The basic uniform of both branches were the same they differed only in the insignia. The tunic was referred to as the Rockbluse. The material was dark blue in color. The tunic consisted of eight 2cm silver color metal buttons on the front. The two breast pockets had the center pleats with an upper flap, each secured in the closed postion with a smaller silver metal button. There were also two diagnal slash hip pockets(one on each side). The collar was the stand up/lay down type. Both branches used collar tabs and shoulder straps(Sew in types) to designate rank. I will get into more detail on these later.

Starting in 1940, the Officer level Officials were ordered to wear the standard Blue/Gray Luftwaffe Style uniform.

The visor is of the same cut and pattern as the standard Luftwaffe, but made in the same type of dark blue material as the uniform.

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Insignia

Air Base Fire Departments- Branch color- Carmine

Collar tabs:

The collar insignia are made of black cloth, shaped into a 7.5x4cm Rhomboid. The tabs are piped in crimson, although I have seen an undocumeted tab with a bright red piping. Rank on the collar tabs is reflected by a silver gull(identical to those used on regular Luftwaffe collar tabs) and silver colored pips(as seen on Luftwaffe NCO shoulderstraps).

Shoulder straps:

The straps are made of the same cloth as the tunics. The straps have a pointed tip. They are attached to the jacket by one end being sewn into the shoulder seam of the jacket and the other end being secured with a silver button. Rank was designated by using a silver colored gull and silver colored pips, as described on the collar tabs.

There were three possible rankings:

Feuerwehrman- Tabs- One gull in center of the tab

Shoulder Straps- One gull centered on the strap, bottom of the gull facing the shoulder

Oberfeuerwehrman- Tabs- Same as above with the addition on a pip in the lower front corner of the tab.

Shoulder Straps- Same as above with the addition of one pip under the gull.

Loschmeister- Tabs- Same as Oberfeuerwehrman with the addition of another pip on the upper back corner of the tabs.

Shoulder Straps- Same as Oberfeuerwehrman with the addition of another pip above the gull.

Visor Insignia:

For the Air Base Fire Departments, the visor was piped in carmine. The visor had the State type eagle on the upper front portion and an enlarged badge used by civilian workers of the Luftwaffe on the center capband, where a Cocade would normally go. This badge looks has a center disk of a wreath and swastica with s four feathered wing protruding from the Left and Right sides. These two insignia are normally made of aluminum. The chincord is in a black polished leather(EM style).

National Insignia:

National emblem was worn on the upper left sleeve, embroidered white eagle on a black disk.

Belts:

These men were authorized to wear a black leather belt(with or without cross strap) with the silver police style buckle.

Officials of the Fire Protection Branch(Brandmeister)- Branch color- Dark Green with Golden Brown Nebenfarbe. They were given the right to wear some officer's accessories, but did not possess full officiers privileges and insignia.

Collar tabs:

The Brandmeisters utilized the administrative official style tabs. They were dark green in color and had the half oakleaves pattern(like those seen on standard Luftwaffe Junior Officer collar tabs) and triangular pips that were embroidered in a light gray thread. The tabs were piped in an aluminum blue and gray twist cord.

Shoulder boards:

The shoulderboards were identical to the Meduim Grade Administrative NCO boards. The center braiding had five bends at either side and was made from blueish grey cord with a center cord made from a flat dull aluminum cords. The backing is dark green and a center layer was golden brown. Pips, when used, were the standard silver metal types.

Brandmeister candidates wore the uniform of an Air Base Fire Department Loschmeister, with a 5mm twisted blue/gray cord around the base of each shoulder strap.

There were three possible Brandmaster rankings until the end of 1937:

Unterbrandmeister- EM style Collar Tabs- 1 Pip

NCO Shoulder Board- No pips

Branmeister- EM style Collar Tabs- 2 pips

NCO Shoulder Boards- 1 pip

Hauptbrandmeister- EM style Collar Tabs- 3 pips

NCO Shoulder Boards- 2 pips.

The ranking system from Dec1937- 02Nov1940

Unterbrandmeister- EM style Collar Tabs- 1 Pip

NCO Shoulder Board- No pips

Brandmeister- EM style Collar Tabs- 2 pips

NCO Shoulder Boards- 1 pip

Oberbrandmeister- EM style Collar Tabs- 3 pips

NCO Shoulder Boards- 2 pips.

Hauptbrandmeister- EM style Collar tabs- 4 pips

NCO Shoulder Boards- 2 pips

The ranking system from 02Nov1940. Nebenfarbe for officers was changed to bright red. Both the Oberbrandmeister and Hauptbrandmeister had the same insignia with the only difference in the two rankings being in the pay

Unterbrandmeister- EM style Collar Tabs- 3 pips

NCO Shoulder Board- No pips

Brandmeister- Officer style Collar Tabs- 1 pips

Junior Officer Shoulder Boards- no pips

Oberbrandmeister- Officer style collar tabs- 2 pips

Junior Officer Shoulder Boards- 1 pip

Hauptbrandmeister- Officer style collar tabs- 2 pips

Junior Officer Shoulder Boards- 1 pip

Visors:

The same style of visor worn by the men of the Air Base Fire Departments were worn by the officials. The ranking of Unterbrandmeister was authorized to wear the metallic EM Eagle and cockade. The rankings of Brandmeister and Hauptbrandmeister were authorized to use the Officer style eagle, cockade, and cord.

National Emblem:

The standard Luftwaffe Enlisted chest eagle was authorized for the rank of Unterbrandmeister.

The hand woven wire Luftwaffe Officer's chest eagle was authorized for the ranks of Brandmeister and Hauptbrandmeister.

These insignia were applied above the right breast pocket, as the Luftwaffe does.

Belts:

Underbrandmeister- Luftwaffe EM/NCO belt and buckle was authorized.

Brandmeister/Hauptbrandmeister- Luftwaffe Officer's belt was authorized.

Photos:

1. A single tab for a Feuerwehrman in the Air Base Fire Department

2. A set of tabs for a 1937-Nov1940 Pattern Hauptbrandmeister

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If you have anything to add, I would love to see an relevent items that may exist in your collections.

Paul

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Air Base Fire Departments

the Air Base Fire Department (Fliegerhorstfeuerwehr) performed the fire protection and fire control duties at air bases and airfields, and at technical installations of the Luftwaffe such as depots, firing ranges, POL depots, ammunition depots and plants etc.

At the air bases etc, the Fire Departments were organized into "Extinguisher Groups" (Loschgruppe) made up of 14 - 18 men

Made up of three ranks, the lowest was;

Feuerwehrmann

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Loschmeister;

they were also issued with collar tabs that had the same devices on them, as previously shown by Paul.

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Thank you Larry!! Those boards are amazing!

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These items just came in today.

The tabs are for the rank of a Feuerwehrman.

The basic shoulder boards are for:

1. Feuerwehrman

2. Obereuerwehrman

3. Loschmeister

The strange carmine and silver braid boards, I have no idea what they are for. It is assumed that they are associated with the Luftwaffe because of the gulls and Firefighting because of the Carmine color.

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Larry! Our Oberfeuerwehrmann straps are identical, right down to button hole and strange pip color!! Maybe they were originally a pair?

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I know that there is more stuff out there!! Lets see it!!

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You Luftwaffe enthusiasts have some stuff...and some knowledge!

I'm a 'general' guy but I think I have an example of a Fliegerhorstfeuerwehr visor, and would welcome your opinions.

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