Multiple realities
(covers information from several alternate timelines)

Hirogen in Nazi SS uniform with swastika flag

Schutzstaffel (abbreviated SS) uniforms and insignia were one type of National Socialist uniform specifically used by the Schutzstaffel of Earth's Nazi Germany from the 1930s to 1945. Their would return with the resurgence organization of the Ekosian-SS, reintroduced three hundred and thirty years later by Federation historian and cultural observer, John Gill.

German SS uniforms

The German SS wore multiple different uniform colors and designs, with the first and most prominent being the intimidating black uniform – consisting of an all black cap, jacket, belt, pants, and high boots, with a brown shirt and black tie, and a red swastika arm band – which was first adopted with the rise of Adolf Hitler. They were often worn, at times without the jacket, when the SS displayed itself at Nazi parades and rallies; two such rallies were seen through the Guardian of Forever in 2267. (TOS: "The City on the Edge of Forever")

Black uniform and its successor, the grey uniform

The black officer uniform fell into general disuse following the start of World War II, when the SS military adopted an earth-grey colored officer uniform. (VOY: "The Killing Game")

In an alternate timeline in which Nazi Germany invaded the United States of America, Vosk and his men joined the SS and wore both grey and black SS uniforms. (ENT: "Zero Hour", "Storm Front", "Storm Front, Part II")

Non-commissioned officers and soldiers wore dark green field uniforms with either a helmet or kepi. (VOY: "The Killing Game", "The Killing Game, Part II"; ENT: "Storm Front", "Storm Front, Part II")

At the end of World War II in 1945, the SS ceased to exist along with its uniforms; however historical data regarding the original SS uniforms was maintained by Earth historians and later maintained in the historical computers of Federation starships.

McCoy dressing in a grey-green "Gestapo colonel" doctor's uniform (with overcoat)

On a mission to Ekos, the library computer of the USS Enterprise was able to patch into its uniform section and create a replica of a 1944 Gestapo colonel's uniform for wear by Leonard McCoy. Although there were differences between the German SS and its reborn Ekos counterpart, McCoy's grey-green dress uniform was convincing enough that he was able to pass for an Ekosian SS officer. (TOS: "Patterns of Force")

While McCoy's uniform and insignia are essentially correct, when McCoy beams down into the Ekosian cloak room, he can be seen wearing a German general's army overcoat.

A century later, the Hirogen were able to capture the USS Voyager and program its holodeck with a World War II scenario set in France. In the scenario, the Hirogen took on the role of German SS personnel and dressed in the appropriate grey SS uniforms. (VOY: "The Killing Game")

Common to all SS officers were service caps and kepis which bore the death's head emblem. These were not typically found on soldier's helmets, which instead bore the "lightning bolt" SS runes. (TOS: "Patterns of Force"; VOY: "The Killing Game", "The Killing Game, Part II"; ENT: "Zero Hour", "Storm Front", "Storm Front, Part II")

Commissioned ranks and insignia

Junior commissioned officers displayed their rank insignia on the right collar tab only, while the left collar bore a patch depicting either the "lightning bolt" SS runes or the death's head emblem. Senior officers displayed their insignia on both the left and right collar tabs.

Rank insignia consisted of a black patch with a combination of a leaf, stripe, or pip. Where the leaf with a combination of pips, was worn by the rank of colonel up through general. Pips and stripes were worn by both commissioned and non-commissioned officers, with the latter wearing an additional thick white piping along the collar. Ordinary SS soldiers, i.e. mann (or private), wore a blank rank patch.

In addition to collar insignia, SS uniforms also used shoulder straps to denote rank (by type of epaulet) and position (by color).

There were generally five distinct epaulets worn with each uniform. They consisted of either a wide silver or gold braid for flag officers, a thin twisted silver cord for senior officers, an epaulet parallel silver cords for junior officers, a black epaulet with thin white cord around the border for SS troopers, and a black epaulet with thick silver embroidered around the border for non-commissioned officers. Various silver or gold pips, as found on collar insignia, were further used to denote level of rank on each epaulet. (TOS: "Patterns of Force"; VOY: "The Killing Game", "The Killing Game, Part II"; ENT: "Zero Hour", "Storm Front", "Storm Front, Part II")

The black officer uniform epaulets worn on the black uniform were thinner and slightly longer than those of the grey field uniforms. Black uniform epaulets were also worn on the right shoulder only whereas the field uniforms had boards on both shoulders.

Officer ranks Collar badge
Shoulder strap
Example
Standartenführer
(Colonel)
SS colonel collar badge.png
SS senior officer silver epaulet.png
Karr.jpg
Obersturmbannführer
(Lieutenant colonel)
SS lieutenant colonel collar badge.png
SS senior officer silver epaulet.png
Vosk.jpg
Hauptsturmführer
(Captain)
SS captain collar badge.png
SS captain shoulder strap.jpg
Kraul.jpg
Obersturmführer
(First lieutenant)
SS first lieutenant collar badge.png
SS first lieutenant shoulder strap.png
Ghrath.jpg
Untersturmführer
(Second lieutenant)
SS second lieutenant collar badge.png
SS second lieutenant shoulder strap.jpg
Turanj.jpg

Non-commissioned ranks and insignia

Non-commissioned officers (NCOs) displayed rank patches with an accompanied with wide silver trim with a strap with white borders and pips. (VOY: "The Killing Game", "The Killing Game, Part II"; ENT: "Storm Front", "Storm Front, Part II")

Non-commissioned officer ranks Collar badge
Shoulder strap
Example
Oberscharführer
(Staff sergeant)
SS staff sergeant collar badge.jpg
SS staff sergeant shoulder strap.jpg
Nazi guard 1.jpg
Unterscharführer
(Sergeant)
SS sergeant collar badge.jpg
SS sergeant shoulder strap.jpg
Nazi SS-sergeant, 1944.jpg

Waffen-SS rottenführer (corporal) rank insignia sleeve patch

Enlisted soldiers had no accompanied thick white piping around their rank badges, and as well, they wore a bare shoulder strap.

The lance corporal grade of the Waffen-SS wore the same strap as a private, but also displayed a sleeve chevron. (VOY: "The Killing Game", "The Killing Game, Part II")

Soldier ranks Collar badge
Shoulder strap
Example
Rottenführer
(Corporal)
SS corporal collar badge.png
SS soldier officer shoulder strap.jpg
SS radio corporal.jpg
Sturmmann
(Lance corporal)
SS lance corporal collar badge.png
SS soldier officer shoulder strap.jpg
Na'kuhl lance corporal.jpg
Mann
(Private)
SS private collar badge.png
SS soldier officer shoulder strap.jpg
Nazi SS-private 3, 1944.jpg

Specialty insignia

The SS armband with swastika were worn around the upper arm, and were generally found worn with only the black style uniform. (ENT: "Storm Front", "Storm Front, Part II") These were later replaced with the eagle-and-swastika patch, which were sewn into the upper sleeve. (TOS: "Patterns of Force"; VOY: "The Killing Game", "The Killing Game, Part II")

SS uniforms also incorporated cuffbands worn at the bottom of the left sleeve with such cuffbands used to indicate membership in special sections of the SS or in specific regiments. Most of the uniforms, including the ones worn by Spock and Kirk on Ekos can be identified as belonging to the Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler, which was, on Earth, the first division of the SS. (TOS: "Patterns of Force"; VOY: "The Killing Game", "The Killing Game, Part II"; ENT: "Storm Front", "Storm Front, Part II")


For specialty branches of the SS, such as the SS Medical Corps or units of a Headquarters Guard Battalion, additional badges were worn either in the form of a sleeve patch insignia or as a shoulder board around the epaulet. (TOS: "Patterns of Force"; VOY: "The Killing Game"; ENT: "Storm Front")

Doctor McCoy wears an SS medical crest in "Patterns of Force" on the left sleeve of his great coat, and several holodeck and Hirogen SS personnel wear the headquarters lapel of the "Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler" in "The Killing Game". The stylized "LAH" acronym, was actually the pre-war unit insignia of Adolf Hitler's personal body guard before it became a Waffen-SS combat unit at the outbreak of war with a replaced unit badge.

In addition to their insignia, SS members were granted the same medals of Nazi Germany as the Heer (German Army). The standard form for the display of SS decorations was to pin large medals on the front of the left uniform pocket immediately below award ribbons. (ENT: "Storm Front")

Ekosian SS uniforms

An example of the black, earth-grey, grey-green, and green Ekosian SS uniforms

In 2268, Federation historian John Gill succeeded in creating a replica of Nazi Germany on the planet Ekos. The Ekosian Nazi Party also formed its own version of the SS with uniforms and insignia very similar to the original SS of 1940s Earth. The similarities were so close that Doctor Leonard McCoy, outfitted in a 1944 era SS colonel's uniform, was able to easily pass as an Ekosian SS officer even under the scrutiny of Eneg, the Chairman of the Party.

The Ekosian SS used at least four different types of uniforms, all of which were worn simultaneously by various branches and sub-branches of the SS. The military SS was outfitted in grey field tunics and helmets with insignia the same as their German SS counterparts. The security branch of the SS (the most commonly encountered branch of the Ekosian SS as a whole) wore grey-green uniforms with similar insignia to the German SS but with some notable differences.

Black SS uniforms were also used by the Ekosians, in particular the Ekosian Gestapo. Additionally, black uniforms were worn by various special branches of the SS. In an attempt to infiltrate the Ekosian Chancellery, Captain James T. Kirk led an Ekosian/Zeon resistance cell disguised as black-uniformed SS soldiers from the "Führer's Special Documentary Corps".

An SS official wearing a brown SS shirt

A fourth and somewhat rare uniform of the Ekosian SS was a brown shirt worn with black tie and insignia. The sole observation of this uniform, during an away mission to Ekos by USS Enterprise personnel, was as seen on a public viewscreen during a news broadcast by an SS newscaster.

The standard branch of the Ekosian SS was outfitted in a grey-green uniform with soldiers wearing helmets and officers issued SS caps. All ranks displayed collar rank with officers wearing silver epaulets and soldiers displaying a bare soldier strap.

The military branch of the Ekosian SS wore uniforms very similar to the standard SS but the tunics were of a heavier darker grey fabric. Military SS members also wore helmets and some members displayed the numbered SS insignia. Officers wore silver epaulets as well as a rank collar patch.

The Ekosian Gestapo, as well as certain other branches of the Ekosian SS, wore black uniforms with insignia displayed much the same as the rest of the SS with the exception that enlisted personnel did not wear shoulder straps. Officers wore silver trimmed epaulets on the right uniform shoulder and all SS personnel wore a red swastika armband with this uniform.

The first such group were SS guards and officers assigned to the Ekosian Chancellery. Chancellery guards wore grey-green uniforms, the same as their regular SS counterparts, but the rank collar patches were trimmed in silver, the same style as SS officers. The SS officers assigned to the Chancellery also wore the standard SS uniform but displayed enlisted collar insignia paired with officer epaulets.

The SS also appeared to have a civilian branch, or at least a branch which wore Nazi Party brown uniforms instead of the standard SS attire. One such example was a national newscaster who was observed giving a news report on a viewscreen.

In addition to the uniforms of the regular SS encountered on Ekos, certain special branches of the SS existed which either did not follow the normal insignia pattern or wore uniforms not common for the rest of the Ekosian SS.

One of the most notable differences between the Ekosian SS and the German SS was the lack of medals and awards displayed by Ekosian SS members. On Earth, SS uniforms were typically heavily adorned with all manner of medals, ribbons, and badges, yet on Ekos most of the SS encountered wore uniforms without any military decorations. The Iron Cross was an exception; however, this award appears to have been awarded more to members of the Nazi Party proper rather than to the SS. (TOS: "Patterns of Force")

Commissioned ranks and insignia

The SS on Ekos wore rank insignia much the same way as the German SS did on Earth. All SS members wore an SS collar tab on the right followed by a service designation collar tab worn on the left.

Individual rank was displayed by epaulets (one on the right shoulder for all black SS uniforms and on both shoulders for all other SS uniforms).

There existed at least one non-commissioned officer rank of corporal as well as commissioned officer ranks including such titles as major.

Although Doctor McCoy was recognized as an SS colonel, his uniform and insignia are not included in the table below since he was technically wearing a German SS uniform created by the Enterprise computer, not a uniform procured from the Ekosian SS, as his insignia was otherwise recognized as a major by the Ekosians. Similarly, the soldier identified on Ekos as a corporal wore the German SS insignia of a staff sergeant.

When the USS Enterprise made contact with the planet Ekos, the only observed Ekosian SS generals were dressed in black uniforms worn with heavy gold epaulets and oak leaf collar patches in various patterns. At a special speech given by John Gill, four SS-Leaders in general's rank were in attendance two of whom were SS wearing patches indicating the positions of Brigadeführer, and Reichsführer-SS. (TOS: "Patterns of Force")

Commissioned Officer ranks
Ekosian rank
German rank
(English equivalent)
Collar badge
Epaulet
Example
Reichsführer-SS
(Reich Leader-SS)
Reichsführer-SS insignia.png
SS Nazi general epaulet.png
Ekosian Reichsführer-SS.jpg
Brigadeführer
(Brigadier)
SS brigadier general collar badge.png
SS Nazi general epaulet.png
Ekosian Gestapo general.jpg
Major Standartenführer
(Colonel)
Ekosian-SS major collar badge.png
SS senior officer silver epaulet.png
Ekosian SS major.jpg
Obersturmbannführer
(Lieutenant colonel)
SS lieutenant colonel collar badge.png
SS senior officer silver epaulet.png
Ekosian SS Gestapo official 1.jpg
Lieutenant Obersturmführer
(First lieutenant)
SS first lieutenant collar badge.png
SS second lieutenant shoulder strap.jpg
Spock SS-first lieutenant.jpg
Lieutenant Untersturmführer
(Second lieutenant)
SS second lieutenant collar badge.png
Ekosian-SS officer silver epaulet.png
Ekosian SS lieutenant 1, headshot.jpg
Lieutenant Untersturmführer
(Second lieutenant)
SS second lieutenant collar badge.png
SS second lieutenant shoulder strap.jpg
Ekosian Gestapo lieutenant, headshot.jpg

After Kirk stole his uniform from its former Ekosian owner, he observed it to be Gestapo, and told Spock, who wore a stolen grey uniform, that "it's a shame yours isn't as attractive as mine." As Kirk put on the former owner's service cap, Spock commented that "You should make a very convincing Nazi."

Once fully dressed, Kirk's collar badge bore an apparently improvised insignia with consisted of three parallel silver pips with the last pip pinned on top of a pair of silver bars. Though stolen from a second lieutenant, his badge was more reminiscent to that of a first lieutenant (three silver pips placed diagonally alongside a pair of silver bars), but went otherwise unnoticed by numerous Ekosian Nazis. He carried the same rank following his third uniform acquisition, this time with the bottom of three pips appearing in gold, again, his uniform went unnoticed, even while in a room full of top Nazi Party leaders and representatives. (TOS: "Patterns of Force")

Non-commissioned ranks and insignia

Unlike their unbeknownst German counterparts, the Esokian master sergeant wore a much more elaborate insignia, with gold pips and an epaulet consisting of a gold braid that was otherwise shared with general officer ranks.

Non-Commissioned Officer ranks
Ekosian rank
German rank
(English equivalent)
Collar badge
Epaulet
Example
Hauptscharführer (Master sergeant) SS master sergeant collar badge.png
SS Nazi general epaulet.png
Ekosian Gestapo official.jpg
Corporal Scharführer
(Staff Sergeant)
Ekosian-SS corporal collar badge.png
Ekosian-SS trooper epaulet.png
Ekosian SS corporal.jpg
Unterscharführer
(Sergeant)
SS sergeant collar badge 2.png Spock SS Sergeant.jpg
Unterscharführer
(Sergeant)
SS sergeant collar badge.png Ekosian newscaster.jpg

The ranks of the SS soldiers also included a recruit type position which wore an SS uniform without any insignia.

Enlisted ranks
Ekosian rank
German rank
(English equivalent)
Collar badge
Epaulet
Example
Sturmmann
(Lance corporal)
SS lance corporal collar badge 2.png
SS second lieutenant shoulder strap.jpg
Ekosian SS trooper 9.jpg
Sturmmann
(Lance corporal)
SS lance corporal collar badge.png
Ekosian-SS trooper epaulet.png
Ekosian SS trooper 15.jpg
Trooper Mann
(Private)
SS private collar badge 2.png
Ekosian-SS officer silver epaulet.png
Ekosian SS trooper 5.jpg
Trooper Mann
(Private)
SS private collar badge 2.png
Ekosian-SS trooper epaulet.png
Ekosian SS trooper 6.jpg
Trooper Mann
(Private)
SS private collar badge 2.png Isak as SS-Trooper.jpg
Trooper Mann
(Private)
SS private collar badge.png
Ekosian-SS trooper epaulet.png
Ekosian SS trooper 11.jpg
Anwärter
(Recruit)
Ekosian-SS trooper epaulet.png Zeon disguised as Ekosian recruit.jpg

Specialty insignia

In addition to the standard SS runes, Mr. Spock wore SS runes with a regiment insignia.

The entire Ekosian SS wore a standardized cuff band reading "Adolf Hitler" in Gothic script.

The numbered SS patch was used in the mid 1930s by military SS units then called the SS-Verfügungstruppe, later to become the Waffen-SS.

Appendices

Appearances

Background information

The first time SS uniforms ever appeared in Star Trek was during the episode "The City on the Edge of Forever", when a large group of SS were seen through the Guardian of Forever. The SS, however, were only seen from the rear and apart from a few epaulets none of the insignia is identifiable.

None of the German language equivalent terms represented here were used on screen, however, the German Army rank of "Hauptmann" was made in reference to an SS-Hauptsturmführer. In all other cases, the English equivalent was otherwise used (i.e. colonel, major, lieutenant, trooper), when referenced.

Insignia inconsistencies

Collar patches all around

While "The Killing Game" and "Storm Front" portray SS uniforms with mostly correct badges and insignia, there were still a few notable costuming inconsistencies.

These included the instance in "Zero Hour" of a second lieutenant wearing the same patches on both his collar, which was correct, as well as his epaulets, which was not correct. There was also a noticeable costuming change between "Zero Hour" and "Storm Front", where the SS officers in the first episode wore standard SS runes on their left collar, but were replaced in the second episode where all SS soldiers wore the insignia of the SS-Totenkopfverbände (Death's Head units), those who were otherwise in charge of concentration camps.

"Patterns of Force", however, was wrought with numerous insignia inconsistencies with regards to the SS uniforms portrayed. Almost ironically, the author of the otherwise critical reference The Nitpicker's Guide for Classic Trekkers (p. 201), indicated that "[t]his episode had to be a continuity nightmare with all the uniform changes. The creators do an excellent job of keeping everything straight." While these errors can easily be explained away as one culture's application of another culture's ranking system, they are clearly a case of costume production errors, mostly due to scenes being filmed out of sequence.

Many of these errors are demonstrated in the charts above, in the many instances of uniforms sporting mismatched collar insignia and epaulets, which did not pair correctly with one another. Where, for example, the military SS lieutenant, encountered by Kirk and Spock at the start of the episode, wore the should straps for a major, but the collar badges of a second lieutenant. Likewise, SS personnel encountered at the Chancellery Detention Center, specifically the SS interrogator and an SS guard outside the weapons lab, wore commissioned officer's epaulets with an enlisted officer's collar badges.

The perhaps most contradictory example, was in the costuming of the SS-major who arrests Kirk and Spock, who was, in fact, wearing a single, modified version of an SS colonel's collar insignia. Based on surviving script and costume notes, this occurred due to the wardrobe department receiving an order for an SS-major's uniform, but basing it the insignia on a United States major (gold oak leaf) instead of an SS major (four pips). The second error was that, not only was he wearing the wrong insignia, but he wore only a single leaf, paired with SS runes, rather than the otherwise accepted matched-pair of oak leaves, as was later correctly displayed on McCoy's uniform SS-colonel insignia.

In addition to insignia inconsistencies, "Patterns of Force" includes several examples of shapeshifting rank insignias.

The first two occur after both Spock and Kirk steal their first set of SS uniforms. In both cases, the rank insignia change from the original wearer's old rank to completely new ranks when Kirk and Spock emerge wearing the same uniform in subsequent scenes. Most evident was the inclusion of stripes, which were previously absent on the original wear's uniform altogether.

Lastly, in the same time frame, Spock undergoes a grade reduction during his second round in Nazi attire, as he initially exited an automobile as part of the "Führer's Special Documentary Corps" as a sergeant, but is demoted to private between scenes after entering the Ekosian Chancellery.

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