The Third Reich Heer(army) and Luftwaffe(airforce) NCO rank of Unteroffizier is equivalent to that of Sergeant in the current day US Army and USAF. The Kriegsmarine equivalent of the Unteroffizier was called Maat(etymologically related to the English "mate") whereas the Waffen-SS equivalent was the SS-Unterscharf├╝hrer.

For a more complete overview of which ranks existed, see Wehrmacht ranks.

This rank is not only of historic interest, as it still exists in the modern Bundeswehr, the modern German army. Thanks to Datajunkie for pointing that out.

The page that helped me with this writeup is no longer on the internet, but it used to live at

The Unteroffizier is also a player class in the Half-Life World War II modification “Day of Defeat”. In the game (as of Beta 3.1), he is armed with the MP40 machinegun, a grenade, Luger pistol and shovel (for humilation kills/moments of sheer desperation).

The following is reproduced from the Day of Defeat classes documentation:

Like the Allied Sargeant, the Unteroffizier is a class designed for assaults, as well as close-in engagements. This class is very similar to the Scharführer class, although the MP40 trades damage for reduced recoil.

As it says, the Unteroffizier is great for close-range combat, but the MP40 is pretty much useless over long distances due to its hopeless accuracy and low damage. On Day of Defeat maps such as Avalanche and Ramelle a good Unteroffizier can (literally) make a killing in the narrow passageways, whereas on maps like Overlord he is far less effective.

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