Unteroffiziere mit Portepee

Unteroffizier(e) mit Portepee, also Portepeeunteroffizier(e) (en: NCO(s) with sword knot" also "Sword knot NCO(s)"), is the designation for German senior NCO in the Armed forces of Germany. The name derives from earlier traditions in which senior enlisted men would carry a sword into battle. The word portepee derives from French port(e)-épée.

Any Portepeeunteroffizier of the former Prussian Army was entitled to wear (in addition to the dress uniform - to go with a ...) a "sword knot" to its personal sabre, which was originally restricted to officers only.[1]

The sequence of ranks (top-down approach) in that particular group is as follows:


The abbreviation "OR" stands for "Other Ranks / fr: sous-officiers et militaires du rang / ru:другие ранги, кроме офицероф"!

See also

Article: NCOs without portepee
Article: Ranks of the German Bundeswehr
Article: Rank insignia of the German Bundeswehr
Article: Ranks and insignia of NATO navies enlisted

And equivalents of the Navy—replacing Feldwebel with Bootsmann—and, historically, the Cavalry and Artillery (with Wachtmeister). The latter is not to be confused with the Navy's "Kompaniefeldwebel" of today which are also called Wachtmeister.

German non-commissioned officers were identified by the use of metallic lace (called Tresse) on the collar of the uniform jacket, as well as the edges of the shoulder straps. Senior non-commissioned officers in the Wehrmacht also used silver "stars" on the shoulder strap to differentiate between ranks; one star for a Feldwebel, two for an Oberfeldwebel, and three for a Stabsfeldwebel.

Table of Portepee-ranks

Rank insignia to Portepee-NCOs of Heer, Luftwaffe and Marine
German payment levelA9ZA9A8ZA7mZA7

Shoulder straps
service uniform/
field uniform

rank OberstabsfeldwebelStabsfeldwebelHauptfeldwebel

Shoulder straps
cuff insignias
field uniform

(Oberfähnrich zur See)
(Fähnrich zur See)
NATO rank scale codeOR-9OR-8OR-7OR-6

Sources/ references

  1. BROCKHAUS, Die Enzyklopädie in 24 Bänden (1796–2001), Band 5: 3-7653-3665-3, S. 488
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