Military Ranks of the Luftwaffe (1935–45)

The Ranks of the Luftwaffe were similar to other branches of the Wehrmacht.

Rank Insignia

Luftwaffe insignia Luftwaffe rank Approximate US[1]/UK equivalent
during World War II
Shoulder Collar Sleeve,
Flight suit
General officer ranks
1 Reichsmarschall No Equivalent
Generalfeldmarschall General of the Army Marshal of the Air Force
Generaloberst General Air Chief Marshal
General der Flieger (General Aviation),
General der Fallschirmtruppe (Airborne),
General der Luftnachrichtentruppe (Signals),
General der Flakartillerie (Air Defense Artillery),
General der Luftwaffe (Infantry and Armored units, Air Force Staff and educational institutions)
Lieutenant General Air Marshal
Generalleutnant Major General Air Vice-Marshal
Generalmajor Brigadier General Air Commodore
Officer ranks
Oberst Colonel Group Captain
Oberstleutnant Lieutenant Colonel Wing Commander
Major Major Squadron Leader
Hauptmann Captain Flight Lieutenant
Oberleutnant First Lieutenant Flying Officer
Leutnant Second Lieutenant Pilot Officer
Non-Commissioned Officer ranks
Stabsfeldwebel Master Sergeant Warrant Officer
Oberfähnrich Flight cadet Acting pilot officer
Oberfeldwebel Technical Sergeant Flight Sergeant
Feldwebel Staff Sergeant Sergeant
Fähnrich Flight Cadet Officer Cadet
Unterfeldwebel Sergeant Corporal
Fahnenjunker Flight Cadet Officer Cadet
Unteroffizier Corporal Corporal
Enlisted ranks
Stabsgefreiter from 1944 Private First Class Senior Aircraftman
Hauptgefreiter until 1944 Private First Class Senior Aircraftman
Obergefreiter Private First Class Leading Aircraftman
Gefreiter Private First Class Aircraftman 1st Class
Flieger Private Aircraftman 2nd Class

Service colors (Waffenfarbe)

The branch of the Luftwaffe in which personnel served was indicated by the color of the collar tabs (German: Kragenspiegel).
Color Branch
White General Officers and Marshals of the Air Force
Gold Yellow Aircrews (Fliegertruppe)
Airborne Parachute Troops (Fallschirmtruppe)
Ground personnel
Orange Recalled officers
Crimson General Staff of the Air Force
Brown Signals and Communications Command
Purple Legal
Red Anti-aircraft Defense troops (Flak Division)
Pink Air Force Engineers
Black Pioneer
Construction Units
Blue Air Force Medical Corps
Light Green Radar Units
Light Blue Transportation
Dark green Attached Wehrmacht troops under Luftwaffe command


  • Mitcham, Samuel W. (2008). The Rise of the Wehrmacht: The German Armed Forces and World War II, Volume 1. ABC-CLIO. ISBN . 
  • Ruffner, Kevin Conley (1990). Luftwaffe Field Divisions 1941-45. Osprey Publishing. ISBN . 
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