Kriegsmarine Female Auxiliary Oberhelferin Sleeve Stripes
Image courtesy of Angolia, Schlicht, "Die Kriegsmarine - Uniforms & Traditions, Volume 2"
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Within the Kriegsmarine, women were only permitted to serve as civilian employees. After the Second World War began men in clerical roles were moved to the front line and women were moved into clerical and office duties, as well as non-combative roles. Even within these new roles, the women were still considered civilian employees.
When the initial mobilization order was issued on November 1, 1938, there was no consideration for female auxiliaries. This lack of concrete provisions for female auxiliaries resulted in a marked lack of standardization in the uniforms worn by Kriegsmarine female auxiliaries until 1943.
To start, in 1940, there were members of the Luftwaffe’s Female Aircraft Reporting Service Personnel (Weibliches Flugmeldedienst Personal) who served within the Kriegsmarine. In 1941, these auxiliaries were given their own division, which was renamed the Aircraft Reporting Service Auxiliaries of the Navy (Flugmeldehelferinnen der Kriegsmarine). The Aircraft Reporting Service Auxiliaries of the Navy wore the Luftwaffe female auxiliary’s service uniform. From that point forward several focused divisions of Kriegsmarine female auxiliaries were established, inducing the Air-Warning Service Auxiliaries (Luftschutzwarndienst-Helferinnen) in 1941, the Navy Auxiliaries (Marinehelferinnen) in 1942, and the Anti-Aircraft Artillery Auxiliaries of the Navy (Marine-Flakhelferinnen) in 1943.
A general service uniform was introduced in January 1943, it included a blue-coloured jacket, skirt, long trousers, overcoat, and overseas cap. The design of these garments was slightly altered in September 1943, wherein the garments adopted the standard grey uniform design and colour utilized by female auxiliaries in the Army Corps. These uniforms were worn by the majority of Kriegsmarine female auxiliary divisions. It was mandated that female auxiliaries outside the Reich’s borders had to wear the uniform, while those operating within its borders were only permitted to wear the service uniform when it was considered absolutely necessary.
These sleeve rank stripes, or sleeve braids, are indicators of the wearer’s rank, and they are featured above the elbow on the jacket, blouse, and greatcoat worn by Kriegsmarine female auxiliaries.
The rank stripes are composed of gold-coloured (gilt) tress.
The Oberhelferin sleeve stripes feature one very thin stripe.
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