Gruppenführer

Gruppenführer

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Gruppenführer was an early paramilitary
Paramilitary
A paramilitary is a force whose function and organization are similar to those of a professional military, but which is not considered part of a state's formal armed forces....

 rank
Military rank
Military rank is a system of hierarchical relationships in armed forces or civil institutions organized along military lines. Usually, uniforms denote the bearer's rank by particular insignia affixed to the uniforms...

 of the Nazi Party, first created in 1925 as a senior rank of the SA
Ranks and insignia of the Sturmabteilung
The uniforms and insignia of the Sturmabteilung were Nazi party paramilitary ranks and uniforms used by SA stormtroopers from 1921 until the fall of Nazi Germany in 1945. The titles and phrases used by the SA were the basis for paramilitary titles used by several other Nazi paramilitary groups,...

.

SS rank


In 1930, Gruppenführer became an SS rank and was originally bestowed upon those officers who commanded SS-Gruppen and also upon senior officers of the SS command staff. In 1932, the SS was reorganized and the SS-Gruppen were reformed into SS-Abschnitte. A Gruppenführer commanded an SS-Abschnitt while a new rank, that of Obergruppenführer
Obergruppenführer
Obergruppenführer was a Nazi Party paramilitary rank that was first created in 1932 as a rank of the SA and until 1942 it was the highest SS rank inferior only to Reichsführer-SS...

, oversaw the SS-Oberabschnitte which were the largest SS units in Germany.

As in the SA, the SS rank of Gruppenführer was considered equivalent to a full General
General
A general officer is an officer of high military rank, usually in the army, and in some nations, the air force. The term is widely used by many nations of the world, and when a country uses a different term, there is an equivalent title given....

, but became regarded as equivalent to Generalleutnant after 1934. During the Second World War, when the Waffen-SS
Waffen-SS
The Waffen-SS was a multi-ethnic and multi-national military force of the Third Reich. It constituted the armed wing of the Schutzstaffel or SS, an organ of the Nazi Party. The Waffen-SS saw action throughout World War II and grew from three regiments to over 38 divisions, and served alongside...

began using the rank, an SS-Gruppenführer was considered equal to a Generalleutnant in the Wehrmacht
Wehrmacht
The Wehrmacht – from , to defend and , the might/power) were the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the Heer , the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe .-Origin and use of the term:...

and was typically referred to as SS-Gruppenführer und Generalleutnant der Waffen-SS.

The insignia for SS-Gruppenführer consisted of three oak leaves centered on both collars of an SS uniform. From 1930 to 1942, the SS insignia was the same as the SA badge of rank; however the SS modified the Gruppenführer insignia slightly to include a collar pip (Stern, a star), upon the creation of the rank Oberstgruppenführer
Oberstgruppenführer
Oberst-Gruppenführer was the highest commissioned SS rank with the exception of Reichsführer-SS, which was a special rank held by Heinrich Himmler...

.

Waffen-SS Gruppenführer also displayed the shoulder boards of a Wehrmacht
Wehrmacht
The Wehrmacht – from , to defend and , the might/power) were the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the Heer , the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe .-Origin and use of the term:...

 Generalleutnant. Note that the Wehrmacht and SS rank of Generalleutnant was equivalent to the rank of Major General
Major General
Major general or major-general is a military rank used in many countries. It is derived from the older rank of sergeant major general. A major general is a high-ranking officer, normally subordinate to the rank of lieutenant general and senior to the ranks of brigadier and brigadier general...

 in the U.S. and British Armies, as well as other Western militaries.


SA rank


A Gruppenführer was typically in charge of a number of SA
Sturmabteilung
The Sturmabteilung functioned as a paramilitary organization of the National Socialist German Workers' Party . It played a key role in Adolf Hitler's rise to power in the 1920s and 1930s...

 regiments (known as Standarten) which were formed into SA-Gruppen. Upon its original conception, Gruppenführer was considered equivalent to a full General
General
A general officer is an officer of high military rank, usually in the army, and in some nations, the air force. The term is widely used by many nations of the world, and when a country uses a different term, there is an equivalent title given....

.


Other uses


The rank of Gruppenführer was also used in several other Nazi paramilitary groups, among them the National Socialist Motor Corps
National Socialist Motor Corps
The National Socialist Motor Corps , also known as the National Socialist Drivers Corps, was a paramilitary organization of the Nazi Party that existed from 1931 to 1945. The group was a successor organization to the older National Socialist Automobile Corps, which had existed since the beginning...

 (NSKK) and the National Socialist Flyers Corps
National Socialist Flyers Corps
The National Socialist Flyers Corps was a paramilitary organization of the Nazi Party that was founded in 1937 as a successor to the German Air Sports Association, during the years when a German Air Force was forbidden by the Treaty of Versailles...

 (NSFK). In 1944, the rank of Gruppenführer was adopted by the Volkssturm
Volkssturm
The Volkssturm was a German national militia of the last months of World War II. It was founded on Adolf Hitler's orders on October 18, 1944 and conscripted males between the ages of 16 to 60 years who were not already serving in some military unit as part of a German Home Guard.-Origins and...

as a low level non-commissioned officer
Non-commissioned officer
A non-commissioned officer , called a sub-officer in some countries, is a military officer who has not been given a commission...

 position in charge of squad sized formations (Gruppe) of Volkssturm soldiers.

The term is also a generic term for the function of a leader of a squad of infantry
Infantry
Infantrymen are soldiers who are specifically trained for the role of fighting on foot to engage the enemy face to face and have historically borne the brunt of the casualties of combat in wars. As the oldest branch of combat arms, they are the backbone of armies...

 (9 or 10 men - Gruppe) in the German Army, Waffen SS, or Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe is a generic German term for an air force. It is also the official name for two of the four historic German air forces, the Wehrmacht air arm founded in 1935 and disbanded in 1946; and the current Bundeswehr air arm founded in 1956....

 ground troops.

In the German fire fighting corps, the term Gruppenführer refers to the commander of a group of eight fire fighters. A Gruppe is the smallest tactical unit in the German fire fighting corps. Just as in military use, the term does not refer to a rank but describes a function. The term is still in use today.

Gruppe was also used in a variety on other ways. In the Luftwaffe as a grouping of Staffel (Squadrons) either independent of as the sub-division of a Geschwader—see in Organization of the Luftwaffe. It was also used for ad hoc Army formations.
  • Kampfgruppe—a combat group made up for a particular purpose or in an emergency—size varied.
  • Regimentsgruppe, Divisionsgruppe, Korpsgruppe—ad hoc formations of the size indicated by the title.
  • Panzergruppe—one or more Armeekorps subordinate to an Infantry Army; later became independent as Panzerarmee
  • Armeegruppe—occasionally an Army sized Combat Group usually much like a Korpsgruppe and also a temporary grouping of two Armies usually one German and one allied
    Allies
    In everyday English usage, allies are people, groups, or nations that have joined together in an association for mutual benefit or to achieve some common purpose, whether or not explicit agreement has been worked out between them...

     Army. It is not to be confused with Heeresgruppe, which was the command of several Armies.

Television

  • In Season 3, Episode 17 of Syfy
    Syfy
    Syfy , formerly known as the Sci-Fi Channel and SCI FI, is an American cable television channel featuring science fiction, supernatural, fantasy, reality, paranormal, wrestling, and horror programming. Launched on September 24, 1992, it is part of the entertainment conglomerate NBCUniversal, a...

    's tv series Sanctuary (TV series), the character John Druit (played by Christopher Heyerdahl
    Christopher Heyerdahl
    Christopher Heyerdahl is a Canadian actor who has had roles in many prominent television shows and movies. He is tall.-Biography:Heyerdahl was born in the mountains of British Columbia and is of Norwegian and Scottish descent...

    ) is portrayed as a Gruppenführer.


Junior Rank
Brigadeführer
Brigadeführer
SS-Brigadeführer was an SS rank that was used in Nazi Germany between the years of 1932 and 1945. Brigadeführer was also an SA rank....

SS rank
Ranks and insignia of the Schutzstaffel
The uniforms and insignia of the Schutzstaffel were paramilitary ranks and uniforms used by the SS between 1925 and 1945 to differentiate that organization from the regular German armed forces, the German state, and the Nazi Party....

 and SA rank
Ranks and insignia of the Sturmabteilung
The uniforms and insignia of the Sturmabteilung were Nazi party paramilitary ranks and uniforms used by SA stormtroopers from 1921 until the fall of Nazi Germany in 1945. The titles and phrases used by the SA were the basis for paramilitary titles used by several other Nazi paramilitary groups,...


Gruppenführer
Senior Rank
Obergruppenführer
Obergruppenführer
Obergruppenführer was a Nazi Party paramilitary rank that was first created in 1932 as a rank of the SA and until 1942 it was the highest SS rank inferior only to Reichsführer-SS...