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SS Gorget patches
Rank insignia of SS-Rottenführer of the Waffen-SS.svg
SS sleeve badge and shoulder strap
Country Germany
Service branch Hitler Youth
National Socialist Motor Corps
National Socialist Flyers Corps
NATO rankOR-3
Next higher rankScharführer SA
Unterscharführer SS
Next lower rankSturmmann
Equivalent ranksObergefreiter
An SS-Rottenführer serving at the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp.
An SS-Rottenführer serving at the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp.

Rottenführer (German: [ˈʁɔtn̩fyːʁɐ], "section leader") was a Nazi Party paramilitary rank that was first created in the year 1932. The rank of Rottenführer was used by several Nazi paramilitary groups, among them the Sturmabteilung (SA), the Schutzstaffel (SS) and was senior to the paramilitary rank of Sturmmann.[1]

The insignia for Rottenführer consisted of two double silver stripes on a bare collar patch.[2] On field grey SS uniforms, the sleeve chevrons of an Obergefreiter (senior lance-corporal) were also worn.


Rottenführer was first established in 1932 as an SA rank due to an expansion of the organisation requiring a greater number of enlisted positions. Since early SS ranks were identical to the ranks of the SA, Rottenführer became an SS rank at the same time.

Rottenführer was the first SS and SA position to have command over other paramilitary troops. They commanded a rotte (English: team, equal to a squad or section) usually numbering no more than five to seven persons. A Rottenführer, in turn, answered to a Scharführer.[3]

After 1934, a restructure of SS ranks made Rottenführer junior to the new rank of SS-Unterscharführer, although in the SA the rank continued to rate immediately below that of Scharführer.[1]


Taken during the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. The SS (and also SD) Rottenführer on the right is Josef Blösche.
Taken during the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. The SS (and also SD) Rottenführer on the right is Josef Blösche.

Within the Waffen-SS, Rottenführer was considered equivalent to an Obergefreiter in the German Wehrmacht.[1] While having command over some troops, a Rottenführer in the Waffen-SS was not considered a non-commissioned officer rank.

Those aspiring for promotion above Rottenführer were required to pass a promotion evaluation and combat skills assessment, during which time the Rottenführer was known by the title Unterführer-Anwärter (English: junior leader candidate). Waffen-SS Rottenführer also had the option to pursue an officer's commission through appointment as SS-Junker.

Rottenführer was also a rank of the Hitler Youth where the position was considered a junior squad leader title. A rank of Oberrottenführer also existed in the Hitler Youth.


See also


  1. ^ a b c McNab 2009, p. 30.
  2. ^ Flaherty 2004, p. 148.
  3. ^ McNab 2009b, p. 15.


  • Flaherty, T. H. (2004) [1988]. The Third Reich: The SS. Time-Life Books, Inc. ISBN 1 84447 073 3.
  • McNab, Chris (2009). The SS: 1923–1945. Amber Books Ltd. ISBN 978-1-906626-49-5.
  • McNab, Chris (2009b). The Third Reich. Amber Books Ltd. ISBN 978-1-906626-51-8.
Junior Rank
SS rank
Senior Rank
Junior Rank
SA rank
Senior Rank
Junior rank
Rank Wehrmacht (Heer)
Senior rank
This page was last edited on 7 June 2019, at 12:41
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