LUFTSCHUTZWARNDIENST (LSW): Germany. World War II. Air raid protection organization that functioned as part of the overall system of air raid protection organizations in the Third Reich. Ground observers of the LSW visually detected aircraft, and reported their location, much as the Ground Observer Corps or the Royal Observer Corps did. Photographic evidence suggests that at least some LSW observer posts used a 12 point directional system painted on the walls of the inside of the post to report aircraft location, and that the primary detection and reporting aid was binoculars.  These posts may have only been staffed during daytime.

Reports from LSW observers, the Police, and the Flugmeldedienst were analyzed at Luftschutz headquarters, and the LSW determined when air raid warnings and all clear notifications should be sounded. Actual authority to sound warnings was restricted to the Chief of the Luftschutz headquarters, and access to the warning siren control box was controlled by a key that only he carried. Times warnings and all clears were sounded were recorded.

Table 29-1.  Known Luftschutzwarndienst Ranks

Male Rank Equivalent Insignia Female Rank Female Insignia
Abteilungsleiter Lieutenant Colonel      
Abteilungsfuhrer Major shoulder knot of two plaited cords    
Bereitschaftfuhrer Captain shoulder strap of two flat cords, each with a central stripe, and 2 gilt pips evenly spaced on the strap    
Oberzugfuhrer 1st Lieutenant shoulder strap of two flat cords, each with a central stripe, and 1 gilt pip centered on the strap LS-Warndienstoberfuhrerin 1 centimeter wide silver-aluminum braid worn around  the cuff with 2 four pointed silver-aluminum embroidered stars above
Zugfuhrer 2nd Lieutenant   LS-Warndienstfuhrerin 1 centimeter wide silver-aluminum braid worn around  the cuff with 1 four pointed silver-aluminum embroidered star above
Stabsgruppenfuhrer senior non-commissioned officer shoulder strap of four narrow cords with two outer cords of a different material with 2 white metal pips evenly spaced on the strap    
Hauptgruppenfuhrer     LS-Warndiensthaupthelferin 7 centimeter long 1 centimeter wide silver-aluminum braid worn above the cuff with 3 four pointed silver-aluminum embroidered stars above
Gruppenfuhrer     LS-Warndienstoberhelferin 7 centimeter long 1 centimeter wide silver-aluminum braid worn above the cuff with 2 four pointed silver-aluminum embroidered stars above
Truppfuhrer     LS-Warndiensthelferin 7 centimeter long 1 centimeter wide silver-aluminum braid worn above the cuff with 1 four pointed silver-aluminum embroidered star above
Mann Private shoulder strap with four flat dark green cords    

Sources: Davis, Brian L., Uniforms and Insignia of the Luftwaffe, Volume 2: 1940-1945, London, United Kingdom, Arms and Armour Press, 1995. Wendel, Marcus, "Third Reich Factbook - Ranks of the Luftschutz," location  http://www.skalman.nu/third-reich/luftschutz-grader.htm, accessed 30 August 2001.

Entry 0129 - updated 9 August 2003