Kriegsmarine Oberleutnant Sleeve Stripes
Image courtesy of Hermann Historica Auctioneers, Munich
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The headgear, uniforms, and insignia worn by members of the Kriegsmarine were based upon the designs utilized by the Kaiserliche Marine and the Reichsmarine. The official regulations governing the uniforms of the Reichsmarine were issued on April 5, 1921, and they were embraced, with a few alterations, as the Kriegsmarine uniforms in 1935. New guidelines concerning rank insignia were issued in 1936.
These sleeve rank stripes, or sleeve braids, are indicators of the wearer’s ranks, and they are featured on the sleeves ends of Officers’ and Admirals’ blue mess jackets, frock coats, and reefer jackets. Explicit regulations concerning these sleeve stripes were never published.
The rank stripe segments are composed of two alternating stripe patterns, the outer stripes feature a flat checkered design, and the inner stripes, called “Baletten,” are smooth and raised. These stripes were produced from artificial threads resembling silk, which are covered by a thin layer of gold-coloured wire or celleon; the celleon was predominately utilized during the Second World War.
The rank stripe segments were placed at varying distances from the sleeve edge according to the rank of the wearer; these distances were never officially codified and vary slightly. The distances for the ranks are:
Generaladmiral and Großadmiral: 70mm
Konteradmiral and Vizeadmiral: 90mm
Fregattenkapitän and Kapitän zur See: 110mm
Kapitänleutnant and Korvettenkapitän: 120mm
The sleeve rank stripes segments worn by Officer ranks measure approximately 16mm in width, while the sleeve rank stripes segments worn by Admiral ranks measure approximately 52mm in width. The width and number of these stripes differed between ranks.
Each rank stripe segment was spaced 3mm apart on the sleeve. The specific rank of an individual was indicated by the width, number, and pattern of the stripe segments present, with the wider stripe segments featured at the bottom:
Großadmiral: 1 stripe 52mm and 4 stripes 16mm
Generaladmiral: 1 stripe 52mm and 4 stripes 16mm
Admiral: 1 stripe 52mm and 3 stripes 16mm
Vizeadmiral: 1 stripe 52mm and 2 stripes 16mm
Konteradmiral: 1 stripe 52mm and 1 stripes 16mm
Kapitän zur See and Kommodore: 4 stripes 16mm; after March 13, 1939, these ranks only wore 1 52mm stripe
Fregattenkapitän: 4 16mm stipes; after August 1, 1940, 3 16mm stripes; after February 25, 1944, 3 16mm stripes and 1 9mm stripes between the top stripes
Korvettenkapitän: 3 16mm stripes
Kapitänleutnant: 2 16mm stripes and 1 9mm stripe between the 16mm stripes
Oberleutnant: 2 16mm stripes
Leutnant: 1 16mm stripe
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