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Sturmmann is a German phrase translating as “Stormtrooper”. The word originated during World War I when Sturmmann was a position held by soldiers in German pioneer assault companies, also known as "Shock troops". Following the defeat of Germany in 1918, Sturmmann became a paramilitary rank of the Freikorps, violent groups of military veterans who opposed Germany’s loss of World War I and the subsequent Treaty of Versailles.
In 1921, Sturmmann became a paramilitary title of the Nazi Party's private army, the Sturmabteilung (SA or "Assault Detachment"). Sturmmann would eventually become a basic paramilitary rank of almost every Nazi organization, but is most closely associated as an SA rank and as a rank of the SS.
The rank of Sturmmann was bestowed upon those members of the SA and SS who had served for six months to one year in the organization and had demonstrated basic abilities and competence.
Sturmmann was senior to the rank of Mann, except in the SS where a junior rank of SS-Obermann was created in 1941. In organizations which did not use the rank of Mann (such as the National Socialist Motor Corps), the rank of Sturmmann was the equivalent of a Private and wore a blank collar patch with no insignia.
Within the Waffen-SS, a Sturmmann was senior to an SS-Oberschütze. The rank of Sturmmann was junior, in both the SS and SA, to the rank of Rottenführer. The insignia for Sturmmann consisted of a bare collar patch with a single silver stripe. The field grey SS uniforms also displayed the shoulder insignia of a Gefreiter.
Following the close of World War II, Sturmmann ceased to exist as a Nazi rank but has survived as a phrase used in the modern age. Today, the term Sturmmann may refer to a member of a Neo-Nazi group who participates in paramilitary activities. In rare cases, the German military will use the title of Sturmmann but only in an unofficial capacity to denote a position held in a special operations unit.