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Luftwaffe General Staff Officers:

The General Staff has been considered the best instruments of Germany's ability to wage war since about 1806. Germany's General Staff was officially established in 1814. Since it's inception, this body of officers was responsible for the study and development of all aspects of warfare as well as creating plans for deployment or even an entire campaign.

The German General Staff selected it's members by means of a formal board based upon proven merit on the field. This position was one that was earned... not bought. Officers selected for the General Staff underwent intensive training to produce a pool of strategic and tactical experts as well as weed out the weaker and less motivated officers. The duties of the General Staff Officer would most likely alternate between line and staff duties, however, once an officer passed the initiation, he was a member of the organization for life.

The Chief of Staff of a military formation in the battlefield had the right to disagree, in writing, with the plans or orders of the commander of the unit, as well as to appeal to the commander at the next highest level. In the old days, they used to credit victories to the General Staff versus the unit commander.

The Luftwaffe established its general staff academy in 1935. It's purpose was to focus on the operational side of aerial warfare. Oddly enough, Hermann Goering was not a fan of the General Staff, as he saw them as a threat for the direction he wanted to take the Luftwaffe. As a result, the power once alloted to the General Staff before the Third Reich took power was whittled down to a small personal staff for Hitler and his top generals.

There were only about 360 positions for Luftwaffe General Staff Officers, with the ranks of Major through Oberst.

The Luftwaffe General Staff was given the waffenfarbe of Carmine on 07Jul1943

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Uniforms

Members of the Luftwaffe General Staff wore the blue-gray uniforms of the Luftwaffe Officer.

The trousers of Luftwaffe General Staff Officers featured the distinctive double-wide crimson trouser stripes. The stripes were identical to the design worn by Generals, except for the color. Toward the end of the war, many General Staff Officers removed their trouser stripes to avoid unwanted enemy attention.

Below is an example from my collection. It is ranked for an Oberst.

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Shoulder Boards:

On the left, a closeup of the Oberst board from the tunic above. On the right are two General Staff boards. One for a Leutnant and the other is for an Oberst.

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Any data or militaria related to Luftwaffe General Staff will be greatly appreciated.

This could include: period photos, insignia, uniforms, documents, and stories from actual veterans.

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Hi Paul,

I did not realize there were only 360 positions for the Gen Staff...if I had known that I would have bought a certain Oberst uniform!

Question.....in the article you wrote you mention that the Luft Gen staff was manned for only 360 positions and was slotted for the rank of MAJ to Oberst; yet you show collar tabs/boards for Oberleutant. I have also seen tabs for Hauptmann....is there an explanation?

Gary B

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To be quite honest, I had no idea of that number before I started researching this article last week.

The ranking range made me scratch my head as well... perhaps the 360 was simply the count of members above the rank of Hauptmann? I have not been able to find any in-depth data on that. I am assuming that the junior roles could assistants to the General Staff Officers... or simply junior interns? Maybe someone else out there will have more information?

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  • 1 month later...
  • 7 months later...

Hi

I have a question?. If you as a soldier was attached to the General Staff. Were you allowed to wear General Staff waffenfarbe? I thinkt hat would make sense that the General Staff would need specialist to effectivery plan the war effort,

thanks

Juan

Edited by jcsanche
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Hi

I have a question?. If you as a soldier was attached to the General Staff. Were you allowed to wear General Staff waffenfarbe? I thinkt hat would make sense that the General Staff would need specialist to effectivery plan the war effort,

thanks

Juan

As Rick informed me, personnel working UNDER the General Staff most likely wore their original waffenfarbe. Although(I will make a scan of what I am referencing), the book I am reading states that there were officials that were made bona-fide members of the General Staff.

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Hi

I have a question?. If you as a soldier was attached to the General Staff. Were you allowed to wear General Staff waffenfarbe? I thinkt hat would make sense that the General Staff would need specialist to effectivery plan the war effort,

thanks

Juan

Only if he has attended and succefully completed a "General Staff Officer's" course. Just because you are attached to the General Staff does not mean you are a qualified General Staff Officer.

Hope this helps

Edited by Laurence Strong
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Hi Paul,

I did not realize there were only 360 positions for the Gen Staff...if I had known that I would have bought a certain Oberst uniform!

Question.....in the article you wrote you mention that the Luft Gen staff was manned for only 360 positions and was slotted for the rank of MAJ to Oberst; yet you show collar tabs/boards for Oberleutant. I have also seen tabs for Hauptmann....is there an explanation?

Gary B

According to Angolia's Uni's and Trad of the Lutfwaffe Vol 1 Ch 20 pg 568; Staff officers held the rankof Hauptmann to Obrest Leutnant. This would make sense, considering the nature of the duties, a Leutnant would probably not have the general or command experience to fill the postions. I also have a hard time seeing a Leutnant or and Oberleutnat getting a position on a relatively senior course, and certainly a prestigious course, = considering most candidates go on to achieve the rank of General = like the "General Staff" course.

Edited by Laurence Strong
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  • 3 months later...

I just completed reading the book that Nieson wrote on the Luftwaffe General Staff. It was translated by the US Air Force and published as some sort of training aid. It actually has the word "Declassified" stamped onto each page.

There are many very interesting tidbits of information in the book.

It was very interesting to see that it was specifically noted that Goring felt that the General Staff members were little more than errand boys and intentionally avoided awarding them decorations. HG felt that decorations should go to people who actually fought and purposefully declined award recommendations for General Staff members. That is why the seperate carmine waffenfarbe(and striped trousers) were so important to many members.

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Hey,

To add to this discussion. From recollection the Kriegs Akademie was a very old and honored institution in the German Army. Selection criteria was very stringent and upon graduation officers were entitled to wear the crimson stripes of the General Staff. Assignments would typically alter between staff and command assignments.

Gary B

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For the Luftwaffe, Goring had to pretty much force people into the senior positions. These men were not treated well by Goring or the "party". They were asked to provide miracles with no support. If the succeeded, they were "doing their jobs", if they failed, they were treated very poorly. Goring often surrounded himself by the younger officers who distinguished themselves in the earlier campaigns of the war, taking their advice over that of the more experienced and disciplined GS officers. This caused a lot of problems for the Luftwaffe later in the war.

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  • 5 months later...

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