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Dienstsiegel (Service Seals), Dienststempel (Service Stamps), Briefstempel (Letter Stamps)

From “Schrift- und Geschäftsverkehr der Wehrmacht,” H.Dv. 30, from 1. November 1939, Anhang 3, p. 37-39, translated by Chris Pittman

The basic rules for the use of the small Reich seals are laid down by the ordinance of the Führer and Reichskanzler regarding the formation of the national eagle emblem of the Reich from March 17, 1936 (RGBl. I S. 145 and 146) and the release of the Reichsminister of the Interior about the Reich seal from March 16, 1937 (RGBl. I S. 307).

The authorization for the use of service seals and service stamps is given by the high command of the Wehrmacht branches and the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht.

In general the use of service seals and service stamps is authorized for:

  1. All commands and other authorities of the Wehrmacht,
  2. All Regimenter, FL.-Geschwader, Bataillone, Abteilungen, Fl.-Gruppen, Marine units and Wehrbezirkskommandos,
  3. All Kompanien, Schwadronen, Batterien, Fl.-Staffeln, Wehrmeldeämter etc. that have been separated from the location of their Truppen- or Marineteil; the remainder may use only a service stamp, but no service seal,
  4. Schools and facilities of the Heer, Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine with their own F.St.N.
  5. The Reichskriegsgericht, the courts of Wehrmacht units,
  6. The field bishops, Wehrkreispfarrer, etc.
  7. Other duty stations and sole persons who have special functions or who have standing assignments to special services, with permission from the supreme command of the Wehrmacht branch.

Service seals and service stamps are first applied for on the occasion of the creation or redesignation of authorities, Truppen- and Marineteile, etc. with the Generalkommandos (Wehrkreiskommandos), Marinestationskommandos or Luftgaukommandos. These procure the stamps from the pertinent industrial and handiwork companies and see to the no-charge distribution to the duty stations, etc.

For the Kriegsmarine, they are procured by the Stationskommandos by Marinewerft Wilhelmshaven and/or Marinearsenal Kiel. The costs of this requirement (besides stamps for the facilitation of business correspondence) and for replacements (for lost or unusable stamps) is to be paid from the resources for business needs.

The budget dictates which resources pay the procurement costs. Independent procurement of service seals and service stamps, especially for training units, instruction courses, Kommandos, etc., is prohibited. The procurement places cover everything in the area of service seals and service stamps. They regulate all details over the registration, procurement, delivery and submission of an impression for every stamp to be used.

Inscription in clear characters. Abbreviations should be when possible avoided or only used in a way that is generally understandable. Place names may only appear in stamps when they are a necessary part of the designation of a duty station, for example “Kommandantur Truppenübungsplatz Arys.” Additions to the designations of the Dienststellen to distinguish subdivisions such as Stabsquartier, Adjutant, Registratur, Geräteverwaltung, Unterstab, etc. are inadmissible or, in the area of the Kriegsmarine, dependent on the permission of the O.K.M.

Standortälteste may only have a special service stamp if they do not already have a service stamp or seal available as Truppenfuehrer.

Unlawful manufacture and unauthorized delivery of service stamps and seals will be punished.

For larger commands and administration authorities, business transactions can be made easier with “Nebenstempel,” these are exact copies of the service stamps with slight distinguishing characteristics such as crosses, stars, dots, small numbers, etc. For mail correspondence “Briefstempel” are to be used.

For Wehrersatzdienststellen smaller exact copies of the service stamps (rubber) are permitted for entries in Wehrpässe, etc.

When used, service stamps and seals must be printed so that the national eagle and the text are clearly recognizable and legible. Only service stamps made of metal- since 1. October 1936 made of steel (not rubber, only oil-based inks, not aniline inks or copier inks)- may be used. The service stamp alone- without signature- is insufficient to validate a document.

Responsibility for the secure locked storage and for prevention of misuse of service stamps and seals lies with:
The commanders,
The commanders and heads of the authorities and Dienststellen who individually authorize the use of the stamps,
The officers or officials who the commanders make responsible for the safekeeping of the Nebenstempel.

Losses and actions to be taken to procure the stamps again are immediately to be reported to the Oberkommandos of the Wehrmacht branches through official channels with the investigation results.

Unusable and superfluous service stamps and seals should be released to

In the Heer:
Heeres-Zeugamt Spandau,

In the Kriegsmarine:
Werft Wilhelmshaven or Arsenal Kiel,

In the Luftwaffe:
Luftzeugamt Jueterbog

where they will be immediately made unusable, then otherwise utilized or destroyed. The controlling procurement places are to report the release of service stamps and seals.

Deviations from the prescribed form for official considerations require permission in advance from the responsible Oberkommandos.

“Kopfstempel” from rubber with the unabbreviated designation of the duty station can also be used in business transactions with stations and people outside of the Wehrmacht, but never as replacement for service stamps or letter stamps.