October 1932: First use of SS runic collar tab shown in this photo?

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mty
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October 1932: First use of SS runic collar tab shown in this photo?

Post by mty » 12 Oct 2020 19:07

This photograph from 23rd October 1932 (given that image dates are correct on Hitler Archives site) seems to show runic "SS" right collar tab.

I am not aware when exactly this pattern came into use but my educated understanding has been that it was only introduced around Spring 1933 when armed full-time SS units were raised in various Oberabschnitte (titled Stabswache / Sonderkommando / Politische Bereitschaft depending on unit size and timeline). Thus the Sigrunen tab was to indicate "militarized", standing-army type formations of the SS in comparison to part-time formations and various special units (numerical tab / blank tab). For example Sonderkommando Berlin, later Leibstandarte only appears to have carried runic tabs since April/May 1933 if I remember correctly.

The question is: What such a tab could indicate in October 1932 then? Were there already some paid, full-time SS units (which I regard as possibility, as SA had their Stabswache at this point) or could it have had some other meaning at this point, before Hitler's rise to power? One more candidate for the tab is SS-Begleitkommando which was founded in February 1932 and later carried LAH insignia but in October 1932 would it make sense that members o the SSBK as a small, full-time armed unit would have worn Sigrunen?

Of course another possibility is simply erroneous date on photo.

Photo source: hitler-archive.com

Any thoughts on this?

Greetings,
Mikko
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mty
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Re: October 1932: First use of SS runic collar tab shown in this photo?

Post by mty » 12 Oct 2020 21:20

Also in a photo dated November 1932, runic collar tabs can be seen on SS men close to Hitler which might indicate that they are either SS-Begleitkommando or local Stabswache/Sonderkommando (if these existed prior to Hilfspolizei programme of February 1933):

This hypothesis is supported by the fact that SS-Begleitkommando members were using runic tabs already on March 21st 1933 (Day of Potsdam) when Stabswache Berlin, predecessor of Leibstandarte, was just set up on March 17th and it's men wore blank collar tabs as shown in multiple period photos of early LAH (i.e. Lehmann books). I suppose the SS-Hauptsturmführer in this photo is commander of the Begleitkommando, Willy Herzberger. Unfortunately I couldn't find any photos of him to compare with.

Source for both photos: Hitler-archive.com
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Re: October 1932: First use of SS runic collar tab shown in this photo?

Post by HPL2008 » 14 Oct 2020 11:04

The date is wrong. The SS men are wearing shoulder boards, and these were only introduced in 1933.

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mty
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Re: October 1932: First use of SS runic collar tab shown in this photo?

Post by mty » 15 Oct 2020 11:17

HPL2008 wrote:
14 Oct 2020 11:04
The date is wrong. The SS men are wearing shoulder boards, and these were only introduced in 1933.
HPL 2008: Thank you for pointing out that!

Do you happen to have some insight on introduction date and scope of Sigrunen collar tabs? My assumption is that their use for limited to full-time SS units and thus Begleitkommando would be included from the beginning.

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Re: October 1932: First use of SS runic collar tab shown in this photo?

Post by HPL2008 » 15 Oct 2020 13:41

mty wrote:
15 Oct 2020 11:17
HPL2008 wrote:
14 Oct 2020 11:04
The date is wrong. The SS men are wearing shoulder boards, and these were only introduced in 1933.
HPL 2008: Thank you for pointing out that!

Do you happen to have some insight on introduction date and scope of Sigrunen collar tabs? My assumption is that their use for limited to full-time SS units and thus Begleitkommando would be included from the beginning.
Sorry, I can't add much to that subject.

It is generally believed that the first full-time armed SS formations after the seizure of power in 1933 initally wore the insignia of their respective Abschnitt (collar patch with a Roman numeral) or Oberabschnitt (blank collar patch), before the runic tabs were introduced, with only the Leibstandarte wearing a runes-only collar patch and the other PBs a collar patch with runes and an additional Arabic numeral.

However, there are photographs showing officers of PB Württemberg wearing a "runes only" patch. Here's a thread in which the matter was discussed 16 years ago (how time flies...):

viewtopic.php?f=50&t=61502

Also, even Andrew Mollo mentions that runic collar patches were probably already introduced in 1932.

It's all a bit puzzling.

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Re: October 1932: First use of SS runic collar tab shown in this photo?

Post by Mark Costa » 21 Oct 2020 01:38

mty wrote:
12 Oct 2020 21:20
Also in a photo dated November 1932, runic collar tabs can be seen on SS men close to Hitler which might indicate that they are either SS-Begleitkommando or local Stabswache/Sonderkommando (if these existed prior to Hilfspolizei programme of February 1933):

This hypothesis is supported by the fact that SS-Begleitkommando members were using runic tabs already on March 21st 1933 (Day of Potsdam) when Stabswache Berlin, predecessor of Leibstandarte, was just set up on March 17th and it's men wore blank collar tabs as shown in multiple period photos of early LAH (i.e. Lehmann books). I suppose the SS-Hauptsturmführer in this photo is commander of the Begleitkommando, Willy Herzberger. Unfortunately I couldn't find any photos of him to compare with.

Source for both photos: Hitler-archive.com
The SS Officer is actually Kurt Gildisch and not Herzberger.

Mark Costa

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mty
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Re: October 1932: First use of SS runic collar tab shown in this photo?

Post by mty » 21 Oct 2020 11:34

Mark Costa wrote:
21 Oct 2020 01:38
mty wrote:
12 Oct 2020 21:20
Also in a photo dated November 1932, runic collar tabs can be seen on SS men close to Hitler which might indicate that they are either SS-Begleitkommando or local Stabswache/Sonderkommando (if these existed prior to Hilfspolizei programme of February 1933):

This hypothesis is supported by the fact that SS-Begleitkommando members were using runic tabs already on March 21st 1933 (Day of Potsdam) when Stabswache Berlin, predecessor of Leibstandarte, was just set up on March 17th and it's men wore blank collar tabs as shown in multiple period photos of early LAH (i.e. Lehmann books). I suppose the SS-Hauptsturmführer in this photo is commander of the Begleitkommando, Willy Herzberger. Unfortunately I couldn't find any photos of him to compare with.

Source for both photos: Hitler-archive.com
The SS Officer is actually Kurt Gildisch and not Herzberger.

Mark Costa
Thanks for correction, Mark!

To me it appears that the photo was indeed taken on "Day of Potsdam", 21st of March 1933 as the caption says. However, Gildisch did not hold officer rank on that date and was promoted to Sturmhauptführer only on November 9th 1933. This SS officer appears to be SS-Sturmhauptführer (three pips and two bars), thus my assumption that man could be Herzberger as according to Peter Hoffmann he was still in charge of the Begleitkommando and had SS-Hstuf rank at that time.

I agree that the man remarkably looks like Gildisch.

This leaves basically two options:
1) The photo is not from Potsdam on 21.03.1933 but from some other event in 1933, probably after November 1933
2) Gildisch instead of Herzberger was already in charge of Begleitkommando at this point (at least for the guard detail used on that day) and wore SS-Hstuf badges as sign of seniority/command position within the group but was promoted to that rank only on later date. I have 09.11.1933 as his SS-Hstuf promotion date. On 21.03.1933 Gildisch was supposed to be NCO (SS-Stuf 01.07.33, SS-Ostuf 01.09.33)

Kind regards,
Mikko

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Re: October 1932: First use of SS runic collar tab shown in this photo?

Post by GregSingh » 23 Oct 2020 03:49

I don't know how photo nr.4 relates to other ones uploaded here, but just by looking at tree's foliage, it's neither March nor November, at least not in Germany. :D
If we become increasingly humble about how little we know, we may be more eager to search.

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