Administrative Officials

The following article is taken largely verbatim from "Officials", an article appearing in Kettenhunde: The Newsletter of Feldgendarmerie-Trupp (Mot.) 200, Volume IV, Number 1 (Jan/Feb 1994).  The article was authored by LTC Louis H. Brown; minor changes in grammar and organization have been made.

The concept of uniformed civilian personnel in the military is somewhat difficult to understand.  A particularly European idea, the German Army probably took the idea to its limits in institutionalization.


In early European armies, soldiers fought while civilians were hired on to provide certain services.  A prime consideration in this was money; armies in the 17th and 18th centuries represented a significant chunk of a state's budget.  Services and items needed only for war were an unnecessary expenditure in peacetime, and armies grew to depend on hired civilians for certain items and services.  It was usual, for example, to hire civilian drivers and their oxen teams to move artillery during campaigns, sparing the expense of maintaining the animals and drivers at all times.  It was not long before an interface between the soldier-commander and these providers became necessary in order to ensure that the commander got what he wanted.  In both the French and German armies (and no doubt others as well), the go-between was usually a civilian appointed on a royal patent of authority to provide the army with supply and services.  This individual, who gradually assumed the duties associated with what we would call a chief of supply and logistics, was generally afforded a title and a "pecking order" ranking which placed him in a relative relationship with serving soldiers.  Comte de Rochambeau (comander of the French forces sent to North America during the War for Independence) had assigned to his suite a Maréchal de camp who was the equivalent of a brigadier general; his uniform, of a distinct pattern and color, nevertheless bore the same rank distinctions as a general officer of equivalent rank.

roch.gif (11111 bytes)
Comte de Rochambeau

This system, well-entrenched in the German Armed Forces, survived to the end of the Great War.  Well-developed in terms of uniforms, insignia, and authority, the officials provided the German Army many of its personnel and logistics services as well as being responsible for most supply and victualling.


Most officials (called Beamten) ranked equivalent to officers; there were some with equivalent Unteroffiziere mit Portepee (Senior NCO) ranks.  They were members of the Armed Forces according to the Law of Land Warfare, but were not "soldiers" by the German definition.  As officials, their authority extended only to their specialty field -- unlike soldiers, whose authority extends to anyone whom the individual outranks.  Beamten could not hold command.  They were entitled to all the customs and courtesies associated with their rank/status, however.  In the social order of the day, being an officer was the peak of the pyramid, if you couldn't be a regular officer, being a reserve officer was next best, and a very close approximation of that would have been appointment as an official.  In addition to those performing personnel, supply, and logistics functions, army chaplains, doctors, bandmasters and veterinarians were also officials, although their uniforms differed significantly from those of the other officials in being basically those of active officers with distinguishing insignia.

The main difference between officer and official status depended much on education.  Officials were by no means lesser-educated officers -- many had university degrees (which few officers did) -- but they did not meet the professional education/training requirements for appointment as officers or soldiers.  Most officials tended to remain such although if the military education qualifications were met, appointment as an officer or soldier could be made.  In 1944 the Germans began to laterally appoint all officials to regular officer ranks; how far this program went is conjectural since it was begun so late.  Those taken over wore regular officer uniforms.  Several new "branches", with corresponding branch colours and insignia, were created to accommodate these individuals.   Many officials, by the way, were Zwoelfender ("Twelvers" -- from the 12-year service requirement), retirees out of the Reichsheer (1919-1935).  One of the Reichsheer's  member benefits had been retraining during the 12th year of service in a civilian career -- one of the more attractive options was appointment to the Beamtenschule, a training school for government officials which allowed many to come back into the army as civilian administrators. 

It is important to point out that not all German Army civilians were Beamten; many (including women) were hired on the Civil Service scale and served in administrative and clerical positions; basically, they were civilian employees.   Women could not serve as officials.)


Waffenfarbe - the branch colour for officials was dark green, with specialties further specified by a secondary colour (Nebenfarbe). 

All permanent officials of the High Command Carmine
All education officials
Army suveyors
Army librarians
Army archivists
Army officials of the War Research institute
Army museum officials
Army meteorologists
Army sports instructor officials
Record officials attached to various commands
Army psychiatrists
District Administration officials Red
Army paymaster officials, other than those serving a Wehrkreis administration White
Other garrison and victualling officials
Remount officials Golden Yellow
Non-technical instruction personnel in army schools Light Brown
Army clothing officials Rose Pink
Pharmaceutical officials Light Green
Military Supreme Court officials Bordeaux Red
Hospital officials Cornflower Blue
(Kornblumen Blau)
Military law officials Light Blue
Technical officials (building, engineering, armoury) Black
Regimental saddle and harness officials
Fortress pioneer officials
Recruiting office officials Orange
Field clergy
(No shoulder straps were worn by Army clergy, nor was the dark green primary waffenfarbe used))
Shoulder straps and titles -  the shoulder straps worn by Beamten officials were similar to those worn by the Army, with the exceptions of:

For General-equivalents, green "flecks" were added to the silver portions of the braid at 1 cm intervals.

For Field Grade Officer-equivalents, the silver braid of the shoulder strap had a green line down the middle.

For Company Grade Officer-equivalents, a thin green stripe ran between the two rows of silver braid.

For NCO-equivalents, a distinctive green and silver braided strap was worn.

In all cases, a distinctive "HV" monogram was worn.   Rank stars were also added to these shoulder straps.  Both the monogram and stars were in white metal for NCO and General equivalents, and in gilt for Company and Field grade officer equivalents.The "HV" stood for Heeresverwaltung (Army Administration).

As mentioned under waffenfarbe, the shoulder straps worn by Beamten were underlain in dark green waffenfarbe, with a secondary colour in between this underlay and the actual rank insignia.

Field clergy did not wear shoulder straps.

beamnco.gif (2030 bytes)
beamnco.jpg (10296 bytes)
hvboard.jpg (8742 bytes)

beamlt.gif (2516 bytes)

beammaj.gif (2299 bytes)

beamgen.gif (2634 bytes)

Beamten were not addressed by the same titles as regular officers.  A paymaster Hauptmann-equivalent, for instance, was a Stabzahlmeister; a Major assigned to the Supreme Court Martial was an Amtsrat beim Reichskriegsgericht.   Whether the average landser walking down the street would have known the titles is doubtful, but those who worked with these individuals certainly did.  Most any soldier would have recognized a paymaster - - he was an important man in the battalion since he doled out food and money.  The titles among officials of equal rank also varied by specialty, so knowing the specific title for one Beamter did not necessarily give any indication at all of another's title.

Note: graphics on the following table are for illustrative purposes either; each branch had its own secondary colour, and some branches such as Field Post Office had their own insignia in place of the HV symbol.  Reich Courts Martial officials wore no devices at all, and army clergy wore no shoulder straps at all!

Army Equivalent Category Title


Unteroffiziere ohne Portepee
(Junior Non-Commissioned Officers)
Unterfeldwebel-Equivalent beamnco.gif (2102 bytes)
Unteroffiziere mit Portepee
(Senior Non-Commissioned Officers)
Feldwebel-Equivalent beamt1.gif (4155 bytes)
Heeresjustizwachtmeister Army court martial orderly NCO
 Futtermeister Fodder NCO 
 Magazinmeister NCO in charge of a depot 
Reichskreigsgerichtswachtmeister State judicial service orderly NCO
Lagermeister NCO in a store
Amtsgehilfe Administration clerical official in a department
Oberfeldwebel-Equivalent beam2.gif (4563 bytes)
Heereswerkmeister NCO in charge of an Army workshop
Oberfuttermeister Senior fodder NCO
Oberlagermeister Senior NCO in a store
Amtsobergehilfe Senior administration clerical official in a department
Präparator Candidate

(Non-Commissioned Officers)

Specific Rank Not Known

 Werkführer Foreman 
Mühlenmeister Master miller
Bäckermeister Master baker
Regimentssattlermeister Regimental master saddler
Festungsoberwerkmeister Fortifications NCO in charge of a workshop
Festungswerkmeister Fortifications NCO in a workshop
Oberbotenmeister Senior messenger
Botenmeister Messenger
 Ministerialoberamtsgehilfe Senior administration clerical official in a ministry 
Ministerialamtsgehilfe Administration clerical official in a ministry
Heeresunterförster Army forester


Senior fitter 
Drucker Printer
Laborant Laboratory technician
 Heizer Fireman 
Hauswarte Caretaker
Lagerwarte Storeman
Wächter Watchman
Arbeiter Labourer
(Company Grade Officers)
Specific Rank Not Known
Ministerialregistrator Ministry registrar 
Betriebmeister Managerial works supervisor
 Betriebsleiter Works managerial leader 
 Oberwerkmeister Senior workshop supervisor 
 Heeresoberförster Army forester 
 Heeresrevierförster  Army forestry official
Fachschulrektor Headmaster of a technical school
Oberfachschullehrer Teacher in an advanced technical school
Gewerbeoberlehrer Senior teacher in trade subjects
Handelsoberlehrer Senior teacher in commercial subjects
Lehrer Teacher
Obersekretär der verschiedenen Laufbahnen (technisches und nichttechnisches) Senior secretary of various grades, both technical and non-technical
Sekretär der verschiedenen Laufbahnen (technisches und nichttechnisches) Secretary of various grades, both technical and non-technical
Heeresschneidermeister Army master tailor
Heeresschuhmachermeister Army master shoemaker/cobbler
Heeresmachinenmeister Army master machinist/mechanic
Heeressattlermeister Army master saddler
Korpssattlermeister Army corps master saddler
Werkstättenvorsteher Official in charge of workshop
Leutnant-Equivalent beamlt.gif (1667 bytes)
 Zahlmeister Paymaster
 Inspektor der verschiedenen Laufbahnen (technische and nichttechnische) Official in tecnhical trade or non-technical trade
Trigonometer Trigonometric official 
 Waffenrevisor Armament official 
 Waffenmeister Armourer 
Wallmeister Fortification official
Oberleutnant-Equivalent beamoblt.gif (1867 bytes)
Oberzahlmeister Paymaster
Oberinspektorr der verschiedenen Laufbahnen (technische and nichttechnische) Official in tecnhical trade or non-technical trade
Kanzleivorsteher Orderly room - head clerk 
  Obertrigonometer Trigonometric official 
 Waffenoberrevisor Armament official 
 Oberwaffenmeister Armourer
Heeresoberwerkmeister Army workshop superintendent
Kartograph Cartographer
Lithograph Lithographer
Photograph Photographer
Hauptmann-Equivalent beamhaup.gif (1998 bytes)
Studienrat Army education official
Fachschulrektor Assistant principal in a technical school
Wehrmachtkriegspfarrer Chaplain
Kriegsgerichter  Judge Advocate General branch
 Stabsapotheker Chemist
 Intendanturassessor Officer in the commissary department 
 Assessor (technische und nichtteknische) Official on probation 
Stabzahlmeister Paymaster
Ministerialkanzleivorsteher Administration official - head clerk
Heereshauptwerkmeister Army workshop superintendent
Oberkartograph Senior Cartographer
(Field Grade Officers)
Specific Rank Not Known
Abteilungschef im Reichskriegs-Ministerium Departmental head in the War Office
Ministerialrat Ministry Advisor
Direktor Director
Obermusikinspizient Director of Army music
Heeresmusikinspizient Director of Army music
Intendanturamtmann Member of an army commisary department


Direktor bei der Heeresplan-kammer

Director of the Army Chamber of Planning

Direktor des Heerestechnischen Buros Director of the Army Technical Bureau
Direktor bei der Heeresfeuerwerker und Panzertruppenschule Director of the Army Ordnance and Panzer Troop Schools
Direktor beim Heeresarchiv Wien Director of Army Archives at Vienna
Direktor beim Heeresmuseum Berlin-Zeughaus Director of the Army Museum at Berlin-Zeughaus
Regierungsdirektor (Museum Wien) Administration Director of the Vienna Museum
Heeresoberpfarrer Senior Army chaplain
Heerespfarrer Army chaplain
Heeresoberforstmeister Senior army forestry commissioner
Heeresforstmeister Army forestry commissioner
Heeresforstamtsmann Administration official in the Army Forestry Commission
Heereslandwirtschaftrat Councillor in the Army Agricultural Department
Heeressportlehrer Army sports instructor
Major-Equivalent beammaj.gif (2676 bytes)
Intendanturrat Commisariat
Amtsrat Senior administration official
Wehrmachtpfarrer Chaplain to the forces
Oberstabzahlmeister Senior paymaster (also ranked as Oberstleutnant)
Heeresjustizamtmann Army judicial service
Kriegsgerichtsrat Member of court martial committee
Regierungsrat Administration official
Vermessungsamtmann Survey official
Regierungsbaurat Construction or building administration official
Technischer Oberamtsmann Technical administration official
Verwaltungsamtmann Administration official
Regierungschemiker Chemistry administration official
Oberstabsapotheker Apothecary
Fachstudienrat Instructor in Technical Studies
Heeresarchivrat Army archival advisor
Oberstleutnant-Equivalent beamobstl.gif (2802 bytes)
Oberintendanturrat Commisariat
Oberfeldzahlmeister Senor Paymaster
Wehrmachtoberpfarrer Senior chaplain to the forces
Ministerialbürodirektor Ministerial administration official
Oberstabzahlmeister Senior administration official (also ranked as Major)
Oberkriegsgerichtsrat Member of court martial committee
Oberregierungsrat Senior administration official
Oberregierungsbaurat Construction or building administration official
Oberregierungschemiker Chemistry administration official
Oberfeldapotheker Apothecary
Studiendirektor Army education official
Oberfachschulrat Principal in a technical school
Fachstudiendirektor Deputy Director of Technical Studies
Oberlandwirtschaftsrat Agricultural advisor
Oberheeresarchivrat Army archival advisor


beamobs.gif (2571 bytes)


Member of court martial committee




Director of Army Building or Construction
Heeresmaschinenbaudirektor Director of Army Construction Machinery
Heeresarchivdirektor Army Archive Director


From 1941


Senior chaplain to the forces, Army dean
Oberstapotheker Apothecary
Oberstudiendirektor Army education official
Oberfachstudiendirektor Director of Technical Studies

Specific Rank Not Known

Generalintendant General commisariat commander
Senatspräsident President of a court martial
Ministerialdirigent Administrative official
(usually of Generalleutnant rank)
Gruppenintendant Army Group commisariat commander
Korpsintendant Army Corps commissariat commander
Ministerialrat (mit den Dienstgradabzeichen des Generales) Ministerial advisor with the rank of general
Senatspräsident beim Reichskriegsgericht President of a court martial
Präsident des Heeresarchives Wien President of the Army Archives at Vienna
Präsident President
Vorstand der Heeres-Plankammer Head of the Army Chamber of Planning
Generalmajor-Equivalent courtgen1.gif (2908 bytes)
Feldbischof Chaplain-General to the Forces
Reichskriegsgerichtsrat Army court martial councillor
Oberreichskrieganwalt Judge Advocate General
Heeresintendant Army commisary
Generalstabintendant General Staff commisariat commander
Ministerial Direktor A minister, head of a ministry
Oberreichskriegsanwalt Senior attorney in the War Office
Collar Patches - collar patches varied according to the four categories of career field (See the illustrations below).  All types of collar patches were rendered on a dark green background, with a border of the Nebenfarbe (secondary colour) on three sides of the patch - top, back, and bottom (ie not along the front of the patch).

The four grades were based upon the degree of civil education/trade experience required for the position.  For example, the einfacher Dienst required only the completion of grammar school while the hoeherer Dienst generally required a university education.  

Membership in one of the career fields did not necessarily carry with it a specific rank.  Those in the einfacher Dienst bore a rank equivalent to NCOs, those in the upper three categories of career field generally ranked equivalent to company grade officers.  Higher grades (ie Stabsoffiziere and above) often were awarded upon the individual's 35th birthday.  In some of the specialties of the gehobenen and mittleren Dienste, ranks above Hauptmann-equivalent did not exist. 

At right, a Beamten showing the collar patches for the Middle and Elevated Services.  Note also the officer's pattern field cap (with silver crown and flap piping) and the dark green waffenfarbe soutache above the cockade.

beam1.jpg (29753 bytes)

Career Field English Translation Collar Patch Description
Hoeherer Dienst Higher Services hoe.gif (3104 bytes)

beamgencoll.gif (2385 bytes)

Officer equivalents wore gold embroided collar patches.

General equivalents wore a patch identical to Army Generals with two exceptions; the field was dark green, not red, and the patch was piped, like all other Beamten patches, in Nebenrfarbe.

Gehobener Dienst Elevated Services beamoff.gif (1969 bytes)

A patch similar to Army officers, but with dark green waffenfarbe stripes, and nebenfarbe piping, was worn by both these services.

While a movment was made to differentiate the insignia of these two categories, it never came to fruition, and both services wore the same type of collar patch, as well as retaining the right to wear the collar patches of the einfacher Dienst on the Feldbluse.

Mitteler Dienst Middle Services
Einfacher Dienst Simple Services beamco1.gif (1331 bytes)

beamco.gif (1295 bytes)

Collar patches were of the same size and shape as those worn by Enlisted Men in the Army, though the insignia was generally embroidered in grey artificial silk by hand or machine.  The three bars were also grey, and the patch itself was piped on three sides in Nebenfarbe.   Sometimes universal pattern Enlisted Men's collar patches with dark green stripes were substituted, but these were piped in Nebenfarbe also.

beamcoll.jpg (34283 bytes) beamco.jpg (31074 bytes)

Other uniform details - Beamten generally wore the Army officer's uniform with appropriate insignia.  Because they were repsonsible for purchasing their own clothing, enlisted-equivalent Beamten were also permitted to wear the officer's quality uniform -- this would have included boots and breeches.  General officer officials wore general's breeches with the broad red "Besatzstreifen."  Officer-equivalent officials wore the breast eagle of aluminum thread/bullion embroidery (gold for generals) while those of the einfacher Dienst wore the enlisted eagle.

Headgear conformed to the respective officer versus enlisted patterns with corresponding insignia except that, before its discontinuation in 1942, enlisted-equivalent officials had been permitted to wear the cap knowns as the "officer's old style field cap" (often called a "crusher" among collectors) with white woven insignia in place of the silver worn by officer-equivalent ranks (those who owned this cap could continue to wear it for the life of the cap even after official discontinuation).  Piping on the old style and peaked caps was in dark green, as was the soutache chevron on the M-38.  General officer official's caps were piped in gold around the top of the crown and the bottom of the cap band in gold while the upper cap band was in the secondary colour.  General's M-38 caps bore gold piping with a dark green soutache.

Belts conformed to the same officer/enlisted divisions with generals showing gold-coloured buckles. 

Officials were not to wear unit insignia (number, cyphers, etc.) on their shoulder boards, nor were they permitted to wear cuff titles other than those that were considered campaign awards (e.g., AFRIKA or KRETA) in "elite" units.  Beamten had been permitted the Waffenrock prior to the war's outbreak -- officer-equivalent personnel could also wear the officer's (or general's) brocade belt, dagger, and augillette although at one point there was a plan to provide at least a specially-designed dress belt for officials; this never came to fruition.

WARTIME CHANGES - Officials for the Duration of the War

Another category of offical was introduced after the outbreak of war; those who lacked the qualifications to be full-fledged officials but who possessed critically-needed skills were appointed as "Beamter auf Kriegsdauer" (Officials for the Duration of the War).  Their secondary colour (Nebenfarbe) was light grey for all specialties (to add more confusion, the career fields were the same as the active officials), shoulder board devices were silver coloured, and special collar patches on a light grey background piped in dark green were worn.

Career Field English Translation Collar Patch Description
Hoeherer Dienst Higher Services nbeam3.gif (1532 bytes) The special patch in gold on a light grey background piped in dark green with gold stripe.
Gehobener Dienst Elevated Services nbeam1.gif (1535 bytes) The special patch in silver on a light grey background piped in dark green with dark green stripe.
Mitteler Dienst Middle Services
Einfacher Dienst Simple Services nbeam2.gif (1487 bytes) The special patch in grey on a light grey background piped in dark green with dark green stripe.

beampat1.jpg (16661 bytes)

 beamt.jpg (20616 bytes)

beampat.jpg (50134 bytes)

Cap bands for officer's caps (both the dress cap and the "crusher"), as well as field blouse and greatcoat collars, and the soutache on the new style field cap, all were to be rendered in blue-grey.  This was the same uniform colour worn by the Luftwaffe, and in fact, Luftwaffe basic cloth was supposed to be utilized.

Example - the following examples come from the books Uniformen der deutschen Wehrmacht published in April 1939, and The German Army - Men at Arms 320 and give an idea of the complexity of Beamten ranks, titles, and career fields. 

Armed Forces Officials with the Reich Court Martial
(on 1 May 1944 this became the TSD Legal Service)
Nebenfarbe - Bordeaux Red, no letters worn on shoulder board
Officials of the hoeherer Dienst appear in yellow

(einfacher Dienst)

(mittleren Dienst)
(gehoberen Dienst)
(hoeherer Dienst)
courtnco.gif (1739 bytes)
courtnco2.gif (1841 bytes)
Oberbotenmeister beim
courtolt.gif (1891 bytes)


courtober.gif (2656 bytes)
beim Reichskriegsgericht
courtoberst.gif (2675 bytes)
  courtlt.gif (1693 bytes)
courtmaj.gif (2190 bytes)
courtgen.gif (2840 bytes)


  courthap.gif (2019 bytes)
courtober.gif (2656 bytes)
beim Reichskriegsgericht

Bürodirektor beim Reichskriegsgericht
courtgen1.gif (2908 bytes)
Senatspräsident beim


courtmaj.gif (2190 bytes)
Amtsrat beim

The following tables are of interest; note that all grades of apothecaries (pharmacists) were part of the hoeherer Dienst, even a Leutnant-equivalent, while a Major-equivalent paymaster (for example) was not.  The reason for this is that all pharmacists were university graduates.  In general, the Senior Career field had university education as a prerequisite; Advanced and Intermediate were for former Unteroffiziere mit Portepee (senior NCOs) with two years training at service colleges, and the Junior career field was for junior NCOs or men with little training.

Armed Forces Officials (Apothecaries)
Nebenfarbe - Light Green, HV appears on the shoulder boards

All belonged to hoeherer Dienst (Senior Career)

aptolt.gif (2075 bytes)

aptomaj.gif (2523 bytes)

aptoob.gif (2241 bytes)

aptocol.gif (2583 bytes)

aptoha.gif (2286 bytes)

Armed Forces Officials (Paymasters)
Nebenfarbe - white, HV worn on shoulder board

All belonged to gehoberen Dienst (Advanced Career)

beamlt.gif (1667 bytes)
beammaj.gif (2676 bytes)
beamoblt.gif (1867 bytes)
beamobstl.gif (2802 bytes)
beamhaup.gif (2759 bytes)

Armed Forces Officials (Field Post Office)
Nebenfarbe - Light Yellow, FP appears on the shoulder boards
Shoulder boards have yellow line running through the braid in place of dark green.
Officials of the hoeherer Dienst appear in yellow

(einfacher Dienst)

(mittleren Dienst)
(gehoberen Dienst)
(hoeherer Dienst)

fpsgt.gif (2102 bytes)

fplt.gif (2362 bytes)

fphap.gif (2480 bytes)
fphapt.gif (2582 bytes)
(unter 35 jahren)
fpmaj.gif (2541 bytes)

fp1sgt.gif (2285 bytes)

fphap.gif (2480 bytes)
Feldpostobersekretär (1942)
fphapt.gif (2582 bytes)
Feldpostoberinspektor (1942)

fplcol.gif (2641 bytes)
Feldpostoberrat (1942)
fpcol.gif (2552 bytes)

fp2sgt.gif (2425 bytes)

  fpmaj.gif (2541 bytes)

fpgen.gif (2678 bytes)
fpgen1.gif (2712 bytes)

Armed Forces Officials (Remount)
Nebenfarbe - Goldgelb (Golden Yellow)

horsfew.gif (2352 bytes)
horslt.gif (2233 bytes)

Betreibsleiter beim Remonteamt

horsmaj.gif (2501 bytes)
mit Rang als Major
  horscap.gif (2282 bytes)

Armed Forces Officials (Military Administration)
Formed 22 Dec 1939
Renamed Militärverwaltung 15 Aug 1941
Nebenfarbe - Light Grey, eagle clutching swastika appears on the shoulder boards

(einfacher Dienst)

(mittleren Dienst)
(gehoberen Dienst)
(hoeherer Dienst)
admin.gif (2439 bytes)
admin5.gif (2295 bytes)
Kriegsverwaltungssekretär (6 Apr 1940)
admin3.gif (2453 bytes)
admin2.gif (2436 bytes)
Kriegsverwaltungsassistent (6 Apr 1940)
  admin4.gif (2708 bytes)