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    Reichluftausichtdienst- Air Traffic Contoller Service

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    Reich Air Traffic Control(Reichluftausichtdienst):

    This unique branch of the Luftwaffe was comprised of Regular Active Duty Luftwaffe Soldiers of all rankings, the bulk of it's man power consisted of Officials. The role of the Reich Air Traffic Controllers was the control of air traffic of both military and civilian airports.

    I will cover the Regular Luftwaffe and Luftwaffe Official air traffic controllers separately, to help prevent confusion.

    The Luftwaffe Air Traffic Control was initially called the Luftaufsicht Luftpolizei, which was under control of the German states. In mid 1934, the Luftpolizei was then taken over by the Reich and became a separate authority within the Reich Air Ministry(RLM). The organization was renamed the Traffic Air Control Service.

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    Regular Luftwaffe Air Traffic Controller

    The Luftwaffe Air Traffic Controller was established in March 1935, after it's de camouflage.

    The waffenfarbe prescribed was to be Light Green.

    Collar tabs:

    The use of Gulls and wreath to determine ranking. Initially, NCOs used collar tabs with tress along the outer and lower edges on both the tunic and overcoat. The use of these tabs on the tunic was quickly abolished with the introduction of collar tress for use on the tunics and blouses, although the use of these tabs continued on the overcoats until abolished in 1942. The Officers used the standard style of Luftwaffe collar tabs, in the light green waffenfarbe.

    Here are some images of collar tabs as described above. The first set is for an Oberleutnant and the single is for a Grefeiter.

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    Air Traffic Controller, Officials

    On 1Sep1934 a special uniform was created and revealed for the officials of the Reich Air Traffic Control, which resembled that being used by the DLV in design, but with the difference being the light green collar tabs. The tabs used the metallic gulls to designate rank. Most officials were either in the middle or elevated levels.

    On 01March1935, regulations further changed the appearance of the uniform by:

    1. Using the Light Green branch color for the ATC Officials

    2. The tabs went from using the "gulls" to designate rankings, to using the three pointed triangles associated with the LW Officials.

    By order dated 23Jul1935, the light green branch color(lower layer on shoulder boards and color of collar tabs) and red nebenfarbe(center layer on boards) were introduced for all officials of the Reich Air Traffic Control.

    By yet another order on 10May1940, the branch color was changed to dark green, same as seen with the Administrative Officials. That means that insignia were replaced with dark green tabs. The new boards had the dark green waffenfarbe(lower layer) and light green nebenfarbe(center layer).

    On 02November1940, the Meister and Obermeister were renamed Leutnant and Oberleutnant, with full officer's uniform. The collar patches were changed as noted below in the collar tab section.

    Officials of the Elevated and High Grade Careers had titles of Officials of the General Administrative Branch with the suffix "im Reichluftausichtdienst" and wore the standard uniform of the air traffic controller officials. The only difference in the uniforms being the tab piping.

    There were three rankings:

    Untermeister- Ranked higher than an Oberfeldwebel

    Meister- Equal to a Leutnant

    Obermiester- Equal to an Oberleutnant

    Oddly enough, the Meister and Obermeister did possess an officer's ranking, however they were not granted all of the extras normally afforded to officers.

    Collar tabs:

    The collar tabs started off with the light green waffenfarbe that used the wreath and triangular pips above. The wreath and pips were initially made of stamped aluminum colored metal. The practice of using the aluminum devices was abolished on 28Dec1936. The wreath and pips were then embroidered onto the tab with a matte/dull blue gray thread. Since the Air Traffic Control officials were all in the Middle Career level at that time, they used the silver/blue collar tab piping. 10May1940, the branch color was changed from light green to the dark green used by the administrative officials. On 02Nov1940 The cord piping of the Untermeister, Meister, and Obermeister was outlined to be the dark green and silver twist cord used by officials of the Middle Career Layer.

    Shoulder Boards:

    Initially, the shoulder boards are identical to those used by the other officials with the Oberfeldwebel ranking. The base color was that of the branch color and the center color was that of the nebenfarbe. The Meister(later Leutnant) and Obermeister(later Oberleutnant) used the multi layered shoulder boards used by other Officials of similar rankings. The base color and the nebenfarbe were as described above.


    The Air Traffic Controller Official wore the standard Luftwaffe uniforms. The tunic had the 3mm collar piping which consisted of twist cord with the branch color for all rankings. The NCO flyer's cap was also worn by the Meister and Obermeister(Officer rankings) rankings, with the officer's cords being worn by all rankings(even NCO). Here are some unique uniform requirements particular to the Air Traffic Control Officials:

    1. Visor caps- Officer's Chin cord on EM visor with branch color piping. Embroidered insignia was permitted.

    2. National emblems of hand embroidery on tunics and blouses.

    3. Leather Officer's style belt and shoulder strap(shoulder strap abolished early into the war)

    4. Officer's Cape(only for Obermeister)

    5. Duty Gorget.

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    Here are some examples of Air Traffic Controller Official's Tabs(Both second pattern).

    1. Post 28Dec1936 and Pre 10May1940 Elevated level Meister(Leutnant)

    2. Post 28Dec1936 Embroidered Untermeister with the early blue/silver piping indicative of the Middle Career Level.

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    Here is a tunic for a Luftwaffe Air Traffic Controller Official. Notice that this uniform is of the post 02Nov1940 regulations changes. Notice the silver collar piping instead of the green as well as the middle level collar tabs(dark green/silver piping).

    The second photo reveals the details of the shoulder board.

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    Any data or militaria related to Luftwaffe Air Traffic Controllers will be greatly appreciated. As usual, anything pertinent to the topic is welcome... period photos, insignia, uniforms, documents... anything pertinent to the topic!


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    Here are some more insignia-

    23Jul1935 Air Traffic Control NCO Official Board(second pattern). This red over light green insignia was used until May of 1940.

    The Uffz board was to an Air Traffic Control Uffz(regular Luftwaffe). This waffenfarbe was used throughout the war.

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