SS-Standartenführer (short: Staf, [ʃtanˈdaʁtn̩fyːʁɐ], lit. 'standard leader') was a Nazi Party (NSDAP) paramilitary rank that was used in several NSDAP organizations, such as the SA, SS, NSKK and the NSFK. First founded as a title in 1925, in 1928 it became one of the first commissioned NSDAP ranks and was bestowed upon those SA and SS officers who commanded a unit known as a Standarte (plural Standarten), a unit equivalent to an army battalion and comprising 300–500 personnel.
In 1929 the rank of Standartenführer was divided into two separate ranks known as Standartenführer (I) and Standartenführer (II). This concept was abandoned in 1930 when both the SA and SS expanded their rank systems to allow for more officer positions and thus the need for only a single Standartenführer rank. In 1933, when Adolf Hitler came to national power in Germany, the rank of Standartenführer had been established as the highest field officer rank, lower than that of Oberführer of the SS and SA. By the start of World War II, Standartenführer was widely spread as both an SS rank and a rank of the SA. In the Waffen-SS, the rank was considered the equivalent of an Oberst, a full colonel.
The insignia for Standartenführer consisted of a single oak leaf displayed on both collars. Standartenführer was the first of the SS and SA ranks to display rank insignia on both collars, without the display of unit insignia. From 1938, newer SS uniforms featured the shoulder boards of a German Army Oberst (colonel) in addition to the oak leaf collar patches.
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