NSKK-Gruppenführer Collar Tabs
Image courtesy of Angolia, Littlejohn, "NSKK - NSFK. Uniforms, Organisation & History"
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The NSKK (Nationalsozialistisches Kraftfahr-Korps = National Socialist Motor Corps) was a paramilitary organisation affiliated with the NSDAP, specialising in anything related to the driving of motorised vehicles. NSDAP officials recognised the need for access to cars and trucks for both transportation and propaganda purposes as early as 1922, and certain steps were taken to ensure this need was met. However, it took until April of 1930 for a specialised motor organisation to be officially founded. This organisation was named NSAK (Nationalsozialistisches Automobil-Korps = National Socialist Automobile Corps), but was renamed to NSKK less than 13 months later.
Initially, the NSAK/NSKK was under the control of the SA and existed next to its parent organisation’s own driving-related sub-organisation, the Motor-SA. This changed after the “Night of the Long Knives”, in which many SA leaders were purged and the organisation was substantially disempowered. After July of 1934, the NSKK became an independent organisation whose leader, NSKK-Korpsführer Adolf Hühnlein, answered directly to Adolf Hitler.
The main tasks of the NSKK were to provide transportation for all organisations of the Third Reich, to train and instruct boys and men (and a number of women) in mechanics and driving, and to assist police in regulating traffic. During the mid 1930s, the organisation also provided roadside assistance.
With the onset of the war, the NSKK’s tasks underwent certain changes. Instructing both civilians and soldiers in the driving and maintenance of armored vehicles became a higher priority. The NSKK also began working closely with other organisations, for example Organisation Todt (OT), by providing transportation of workers and supplies for the colossal building project that was the fortification of Germany’s Western border, the Siegfried Line (or Westwall). During the war, the NSKK provided much of the transportation needs for the German Army and the Luftwaffe, including the transport of troops, weapons and ammunition, and building materials, for example for the construction of air bases in the newly conquered territories in Eastern Europe after the attack on Soviet Russia in the summer of 1941.
Parts of the NSKK would come under the control of architect Albert Speer who took over OT after the death of Fritz Todt in 1942, leading to the creation of Transport Brigade Speer (later Transport Corps Speer), which would eventually completely sever its ties to the NSKK.
The NSKK used the same pattern of rank collar tabs as the SA.
NSKK collar tabs are generally black in colour, although there are a few exceptions. Corps and group leaders wore carmine collar tabs and the staff members of certain motor groups wore vermilion collar tabs.
The higher leader ranks above Staffelführer were issued collar tabs that were piped with 1.5-2mm of twisted aluminium cord. The ranks below Staffelführer were issued collar tabs that were not piped. Rank was denoted on collar tabs with 5mm wide aluminium stripes and pips in the shape of a four-sided star. The pips were made of silver-plated metal or aluminium. During the war years, the pips for the higher ranks of Bridageführer and Obergruppenführer were more likely to be embroidered in aluminum wire. High-ranking NSKK Officers wore collar tabs that featured silver metal or aluminium oak leaves, but during the war years these were more and more replaced with hand-embroidered aluminum wire leaves.
The ranks of Standartenführer and above wore rank collar tabs on the left and right side of the collar. Ranks below Standartenführer wore a rank collar tab on the left side and a unit collar tab on the right side.
An exception were commanders of a Motorstandarte ranked Standartenführer. They wore a metal cypher “M” followed by the number of their Standarte on their right collar tab, below the rank denoting oak leaf cypher.
Staff members of a Motorbrigade or Motorgruppe ranked Standartenführer and above wore a similar mixture of the regular unit collar tab cyphers and their rank oak leaves on their right collar tab.
The appearance of the carmine NSKK-Korpführer collar tab was slightly altered four times. The first pattern collar tab features two oak leaves that are tied at the stems, enclosing a smaller bundle of three oak leaves. The oak leaves are at an angle and the joined stems point towards the lower right corner. The second pattern is similar to the first pattern, except the oak leaves are positioned vertically. The third pattern collar tab features three oak leaves that are surrounded by a laurel wreath that is slightly open at the top. The fourth pattern is similar to the third pattern, except it features a bow at the bottom of the laurel wreath.
The NSKK-Obergruppenführer collar tab features three oak leaves with three acorns and a single pip. The collar tabs for this rank are carmine.
The NSKK-Gruppenführer collar tab features three oak leaves and three acorns.
The NSKK-Brigadeführer collar tab features two oak leaves, three acorns, and a pip.
The NSKK-Oberführer collar tab features two oak leaves and three acorns.
The NSKK-Standartenführer collar tab features an oak leaf and two acorns.
The NSKK-Oberstaffelführer collar tab features four pips and one stripe.
The NSKK-Staffelführer collar tab features four pips.
The NSKK-Sturmhauptführer collar tab features three diagonally-placed pips and two stripes. The name of the rank was later changed to NSKK-Hauptsturmführer.
The NSKK-Obersturmführer collar tab features three diagonally-placed pips and a single stripe.
The NSKK-Sturmführer collar tab features three diagonally-placed pips.
The rank of NSKK-Haupttruppführer was created on August 1, 1939. The collar tab for the rank features two diagonally-positioned pips and two stripes.
The NSKK-Obertruppführer collar tab features two diagonally-placed pips and one stripe.
The NSKK-Truppführer collar tab features two diagonally-placed pips.
The NSKK-Oberscharführer collar tab features a single pip and a stripe.
The NSKK-Scharführer collar tab features a single pip.
The NSKK-Rottenführer collar tab features two stripes.
The NSKK-Sturmmann collar tab features a single stripe. The name of the rank was changed to NSKK-Obersturmmann in 1939.
The NSKK-Mann collar tab is blank. The name of the rank was changed to NSSK-Sturmmann in 1939.
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