by John Mulholland


The following lists the SS-Oberabschnitte, SS-Abschnitte, SS-Standarten, SS-Reiterstandarten, SS-Nachrichten, SS-Pioniere, and SS-Kraftfahr "Home Stations" (Headquarters).
The Allgemeine-SS (German for "General SS", literally "Universal SS") was officially established in the fall of 1934 to distinguish its members from the SS-Verfügungstruppe (which would later become the Waffen-SS) and the SS-Totenkopfverbände (concentration camp guards).

It was the largest Schutzstaffel (SS) paramilitary force of Nazi Germany in terms of members and was made up of ordinary part-time volunteer members of SS regional units, full-time officers and members of the main SS departments (SS-HA etc.), reserve, and honorary (or otherwise non-active) SS members.

The Allgemeine-SS members were considered more or less reservists, and many Allgemeine-SS personnel served in other branches of the German military, the Nazi Party, departments of the RSHA or the Waffen-SS. For those who served in the Waffen-SS, it was a standard practice to hold separate SS ranks for both the Allgemeine-SS and the Waffen-SS. SS ranks were traditionally based upon those of the SA.
The Allgemeine-SS formations were divided  into "Oberabschnitte" (Main Territorially District - similar to the O.K.H. Wehrkreis system), "Abschnitte" (Administrative District), and individual "Standarten" (Regiments), both Infantry and Cavalry and all were under direct command of the SS-Führungshauptamt (SS Leadership Main Office) - Amtsgruppe A (Departmental Group A) - Amt I:  Kommandoamt der Allgemeine-SS (Command Department of the Allgemeine-SS).

In 1933 there were 12 Oberabschnitt. In 1938 the number grew to 14, and in 1941 to 19.
In 1934, after the liquidation of Oberster SA-Führer: Ernst Röhm and his associates, the SS also replaced the SA as the private army of the Nazi party. Most SS members belonged to the General SS (Allgemeine-SS).

Units similar to the SS were formed in neighbouring countries, which were consolidated under the "Leitstelle der germanischen-SS", or "The Directing Center of the Germanic SS", from 1940 onwards.

In 1945 the Allgemeine-SS had a membership of only 48,500 members. This was a far cry from the peak SS membership of 485,000 members attained in 1939.


My thanks to Marcus Wendel (for all the support he's given me over the years), Jason Pipes (Feldgrau CD Collection), Andreas Altenburger (Lexicon der Wehrmacht), Christoph Awender for his help in my English to German translation and his (World War II day by day), Jan Linzmaier (Die Deutsche Wehrmacht), Dr. Leo Niehorster (World War II Armed Forces - Orders of Battle), and to my editor (and friend) on this project, Tomas L. Houlihan - whose book "Kriegssprache" has helped immensely in making this project possible.

And, last but not least, my deepest thanks to Mark C. Yerger. What Mark doesn't know, in regards to the Allgemeine-SS, isn't worth knowing! See Mark's  "Allgemeine-SS: The Commands, Units and Leaders of the General SS." - (1997) Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing Ltd.

All mistakes, typos, errors in fact, etc., are the sole responsibility of this writer.

Enjoy !!

John Mulholland.


SS-Oberabschnitt (Abbreviation: Oa.SS): Main territorial division of the SS. Equal to an O.K.H. Wehrkreis.
Abschnitt-SS (Abbreviation: Abschn.SS): SS Administrative District.
SS-Fußstandarte (Abbreviation: Stand.SS): SS "Foot" (Infantry) Regiment.
SS-Reiterstandarte (Abbreviation: Reiter.SS): SS Cavalry Regiment.
SS-Kraftfahrsturm  (Abbreviation: Kraftf.Stm.): SS Motor Transport Company.
SS-Nachrichtensturm  (Abbreviation: Nachr.Stm.): SS Signals Company.
SS-Pioniersturm  (Abbreviation: SS-Pi.Stm.): SS Pioneer Company.

SS officer's ranks

Allgemeine-SS Waffen-SS Wehrmacht (Heer)
SS-Untersturmführer SS-Untersturmführer Leutnant
SS-Obersturmführer SS-Obersturmführer Oberleutnant
SS-Hauptsturmführer SS-Hauptsturmführer Hauptmann
SS-Sturmbannführer SS-Sturmbannführer Major
SS-Obersturmbannführer SS-Obersturmbannführer Oberstleutnant
SS-Standartenführer SS-Standartenführer Oberst
SS-Oberführer SS-Oberführer ------
SS-Brigadeführer SS-Brigadeführer Generalmajor
SS-Gruppenführer SS-Gruppenführer Generalleutnant
SS-Obergruppenführer SS-Obergruppenführer General der Inf. (etc.)
SS-Oberstgruppenführer SS-Oberstgruppenführer Generaloberst