All Luftwaffe units with the exception of Jagd and Schlacht Geschwader and Gruppen, employed a four digit/letter code system. The Jagdgeschwader units used a coding system more suited to their style of combat where quick air to air identification was required. Stab aircraft were identified by fairly large symbols, normally being positioned forward of the fuselage cross, or Balkenkreuz. These symbols were usually painted black and outlined in white, although black outline or solid white symbols were sometimes used. These markings were fairly standardized but did have variations and individual adaptations in actual use.


Kommodore Markings

Geschwader Kommodore

Adjudant Markings

Geschwader Adjudant

Ia Markings

Geschwader Ia

Technical Officer Markings

Geschwader Technical Officer

Major Beim Stab Markings

Geschwader Major Beim Stab



The Gruppen Stab symbols were generally similar to the Geschwader Stab symbols but were distinguished by not having the horizontal and vertical bars following the chevron.

Kommandeur Markings

Gruppen Kommandeur

Adjudant Markings

Gruppen Adjudant

Technical Officer Markings

Gruppen Technical Officer

Beim Stab Markings

Gruppen Beim Stab


The individual Gruppen were also identified by a symbol which was positioned directly aft of the fuselage cross, except for the I. Gruppe which did not have a symbol. These Gruppen symbols were painted on both Stab aircraft and the individual Staffel machines. These symbols were very standardized and did not have the variations seen on the individual Kommodore, Kommandeur, Adjudant and other Stab aircraft.


I. Gruppe

I Gruppe Markings (No Symbol)

II. Gruppe

II Gruppe Markings (Hor. Bar)

III. Gruppe

III Gruppe Markings (Triple Wave)

III Gruppe Markings (Ver. Bar)

IV. Gruppe

IV Gruppe Markings (Double Wave)

IV Gruppe Markings (Circle)

IV Gruppe Markings (Cross)

Jabo Gruppe

Jabo Markings


The ordinary Staffel machines were identified by a colored number, the number identifying the individual aircraft, and the color representing which Staffel the aircraft was assigned to. The official directive that authorized this system specified that the code number of the aircraft should be placed forward of the fuselage cross, coupled with the Gruppe identification symbol painted on aft of the fuselage cross.


II Gruppe - Red 7

Red 7 is either 5th or 6th Staffel, depending on the number of Staffels in each Gruppe
(but also 8th!)

The following are listings of the colors assigned to each Staffel, which when used in conjunction with the Gruppe symbol, would identify the Gruppe, Staffel within the Gruppe, and the individual aircraft. However there were many exceptions to the rule. For instance, when a fourth Staffel was added to many of the Jagdgeschwader after August of 1944, various colors were used to identify this Staffel, the most common being blue but also including red and green. The Staffel colors painted on the aircraft would often depend on what paint was available and on the interpretation of color shades by the painter.


Staffel color assignment when there were three Staffeln composing a Gruppe

Staffel Gruppe Color
1. I. White
2. I. Black or Red
3. I. Yellow
- - -
4. II. White
5. II. Black or Red
6. II. Yellow
- - -
7. III. White
8. III. Black or Red
9. III. Yellow
- - -
10. IV. White
11. IV. Black or Red
12. IV. Yellow


Staffel color assignment when there were four Staffeln composing a Gruppe

Staffel Gruppe Color
1. I. White
2. I. Black or Red
3. I. Yellow
4. I. Blue
- - -
5. II. White
6. II. Black or Red
7. II. Yellow
8. II. Blue
- - -
9. III. White
10. III. Black or Red
11. III. Yellow
12. III. Blue
- - -
13. IV. White
14. IV. Black or Red
15. IV. Yellow
16. IV. Blue



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