License Plates

Almost all license plates were done by free hand by German soldiers or Civilians. The license plates all had numbers and city identifiers on them so you would know what city they belong to. The German Wehrmacht also had a way to ID and keep track of plates for the SS, Heer, Luftwaffe, Police, Wehrmacht Marine. License plates came in different sizes and shapes and change from the 1920’s-1945.

 

This document from Jan 1942 states the correct side of the letters to be painted on the license plates. With so many variations in hand painting of plates this was not always followed but it was a good rule of thumb.

 

This document shows you the different shapes from the 1920’s –1945.

Here is an original stencil set that was for making plates the easy way back in the 1930’s. You were to layout the plate on the ground and lay the stencils on top. Than apply the ink to the roller and roll the numbers on the plate. Some plates I have seen look just like this. So it was not necessary always hand painted but a lot of them were. I have measured these stencils and they are exact to the 1942 spec sheet. The stencils are also DRGM marked.

Original Examples of License Plates

Here is an original Dresden Police license plate pre 1945.

 

Notice the red stamp of Dresden police.
Here is another Original license plate example. This was done with a hand rolling device like seen above.
 Below you can see an SS Kradfahrer hand painting the license plate to his crews BMW R12.
 
This bike has the emblem of the 1. SS LAH painted on the front of the sidecar. This is an early war photo, noted by the early sidecap the SS man is wearing.
Below is a listing of city identifiers by letter or numeral. Also to note “Kreishauptmannschaft Dresden” in the state of Saxony has several different introductory codes of Roman numbers spread over five ( I,II,III,IV, V) rubrics.
Here are the pre-1945 letter combinations for German license plates:

 

 

And here you will find the numbers assigned to the German armed forces and the Waffen-SS. These numbers were assigned to the regional commands and then given to the units to hand out number plates for their vehicles. So you can find a close relationship between units and their region, in case of the Waffen-SS it is even possible to find the exact unit.

Heer

Wehrkreis I Königsberg = WH 10.000-19.999

Wehrkreis II Stettin=WH 20.000-29.999

Wehrkreis III Berlin=WH 30.000-39.999

Wehrkreis IV Dresden=WH 40.000-49.999

Wehrkreis V Stuttgart=WH 50.000-59.999

Wehrkreis VI Münster (Westfalen)=WH 60.000-69.999

Wehrkreis VII München=WH70.000-79.999

Wehrkreis VIII Breslau=WH80.000-89.999

Wehrkreis IX Kassel=WH 90.000-99.999

Wehrkreis X Hamburg=WH 100.000-109.999

Wehrkreis XI Hannover=WH 110.000-119.999

Wehrkreis XII Wiesbaden=WH 120.000-129.999

Wehrkreis XIII Nürnberg=WH 130.000-139.999

Wehrkreis XIV Magdeburg=WH 140.000-149.999 and WH 240.000-249.999

Wehrkreis XV Jena=WH 150.000-159.999 and WH 250.000-259.999

Wehrkreis XVI Berlin=WH 160.000-169.999 and WH 260.000-269.999

Wehrkreis XVII Linz (Donau)=WH 170.000-179.999

Wehrkreis XVIII Salzburg=WH 180.000-189.999

Kriegsmarine

Oberkommando der Kriegsmarine in Berlin=WM 1-999

Kommando der Marinestation Ostsee, Kiel= WM 1.000-29.999

Kommando der Marinestation Nordsee, Wilhelmshaven= WM 30.000-59.999

Kommandierender Admiral Frankreich, Paris= WM 60.000-79.999

Kommandierender Admiral Norwegen, Oslo=WM 80.000-99.999

Luftwaffe

Luftgaukommando I Königsberg=WL 10.000-19.999

Luftgaukommando – See, Kiel= WL 20.000-29.999

Luftgaukommando III Berlin=WL 300.000-319.999

Luftgaukommando IV Dresden=WL 400.000-409.999

Luftgaukommando VI Münster=WL 600.000-609.999

Luftgaukommando VII München=WL 700.000-709.999

Luftgaukommando VIII Breslau=WL 800.000-809.999

Luftgaukommando XI Hannover=WL 110.000-119.999

Luftgaukommando XIII Nürnberg=WL 130.000-139.999

Luftgaukommando XVII Wien=WL 170.000-179.999

Waffen-SS

151 – 200 SS-Zentralzeugamt f. SS-Hauptzeugämter

201 – 275 SS-Junkerschule Tölz

401 – 446 SS-Hauptfürsorge- und Versorgungsamt

450 – 500 Kommando der Waffen-SS

501 – 2000 Leibstandarte-SS “Adolf Hitler”

2001 – 3500 SS-Div. “Reich” (f.Regiment SS-“Deutschland”)

4801 – 5300 SS-Div. “Reich” (f.Fla.-M.G. – Bataillon)

5301 – 5800 SS-Div. “Reich” (f.Panzerjäger-Abteilung)

5801 – 6300 SS-Div. “Reich” (f.Aufklärungs-Abteilung)

6301 – 6800 SS-Div. “Reich” (f.Nachrichten-Abteilung)

6801 – 7300 SS-Div. “Reich” (f.Pionier-Bataillon)

7301 – 8800 SS-Div. “Reich” (f.Regiment SS-“Der Führer)

8801 – 9600 SS-Div. “Reich” (f.Artillerie-Regiment)

9601 – 9675 San.Inspektion d. Waffen-SS

9676 – 9700 Kommando der Waffen-SS

9996 – 9999 SS-Standortkommandantur Prag

10000 – 10200 Inspektion Kraftfahrwesen

10201 – 11000 SS-Div. “Reich”

16000 – 16500 Inspektion der Konzentrationslager

20021 – 20100 Hauptamt Haushalt und Bauten

20451 – 20600 Hauptamt Haushalt und Bauten

20801 – 20900 Hauptamt Haushalt und Bauten

20901 – 21000 Ergänzungsamt der Waffen-SS

40621 – 40550 SS-Junkerschule Tölz

40751 – 41000 SS-Junkerschule Braunschweig

46001 – 46500 SS-Div. “Reich”

48001 – 48050 SS-T. Inf.Ers.Btl. I

48051 – 48150 SS-T. Inf.Ers.Btl. II

48151 – 48200 SS-T. Inf.Ers.Btl. III

48201 – 48300 SS-T. Art.Ers.Abt. I und II

48301 – 48350 SS-T. Inf.Gesch.Ers.Kp.

48351 – 48400 SS-T. Panzer-Jäger E.Btl. I

48501 – 48550 SS-T. Pi.Ers.Kp. 1 und 2

48551 – 48650 SS-T. Nachr.Ers.Abt. Oranienburg

48651 – 48750 SS-T. Nachr.Ers.Abt. Nürnberg

48801 – 48900 SS-T. Ers.Btl. (A)

48901 – 49000 SS-T. Wachbataillon Prag

49501 – 49550 SS-Hauptfürsorge- und Versorgungsamt

49701 – 49900 Leibstandarte-SS “Adolf Hitler”

50001 – 70000 SS-Totenkopf-Division

70001 – 70500 Ers.Btl. SS-“Adolf Hitler”

70501 – 70700 SS-Panzer-Späh Ers. Kp.

70701 – 71700 SS-Art.Ers.Rgt.

71701 – 71800 SS-Sanitäts Ers. Btl.

71801 – 72300 Ers.Btl.SS-“Deutschland”

72301 – 72500 SS-Panzer-Jäger Ers. Abt.

72501 – 73000 Ers.Btl. SS-“Germania”

73101- 73600 Ers.Btl. SS-“Der Führer”

73601- 73800 SS-Pionier Ers. Btl.

73801- 74300 SS-Kradshützen E.Btl.

74301 – 74500 SS-Panzer-Jäger Ers.Abt.

74501 – 74700 SS-Fla.MG.Ers.Kp.

74701 – 74900 SS-Nachr.Ers.Abt.

75951 – 75980 SS-Hauptamt SS-Gericht

76000 – 76019 SS-Hauptamt SS-Gericht

76020 – 76023 SS-Standortkommandantur Prag

76066 – 76200 SS-Kriegberichter-Kp.

76201 – 76250 SS-Truppenübungsplatz Debica

76251 – 76280 SS-Wachbataillon “Böhmen-Mähren”

76381 – 76600 San.Inspektion d. Waffen-SS

76651 – 76675 SS-Standortkommandantur Prag

76676 – 76970 Hauptamt Haushalt und Bauten

76980 – 76999 SS-Gruppenführerlehrgang Radolfzell

77000 – 78000 IV./L.SS-“Adolf Hitler”

78001 – 78500 SS-Kraftfahr Ers.Abt.

78501 – 80000 Leibstandarte-SS “Adolf Hitler”

80001 – 81000 SS-Polizei-Division

81001 – 82000 4. SS-T. Standarte

82001 – 83000 5. SS-T. Standarte

83001 – 84000 8. SS-T. Standarte

85001 – 86000 10. SS-T. Standarte

86001 – 87000 SS-Div. “Reich” (f.SS-Regiment 11)

87001 – 88000 14. SS-T. Standarte

89001 – 90000 SS-T.Reiterstandarte

90001 – 93000 SS-Div. “Reich”

94501 – 94600 Leibstandarte-SS “Adolf Hitler”

94601 – 94700 Kommando der Waffen-SS

96201 – 96300 SS-Unterführerschule Lauenburg

96301 – 96400 SS-Zentralzeugamt f. SS-Hauptzeugämter

96401 – 96500 1. SS-Art. Messbatterie

96801 – 96900 5. SS-Art. Messbatterie

97001 – 99999 Befehlshaber der Waffen-SS in Norwegen

102001 – 112000 SS-Division “Wiking”

112001 – 112500 Ers.Btl. SS-“Westland”

112501 – 113000 Ers. Btl. SS-“Nordland”

Additional information

On June 19th, 1939 all number plates were new issued from WH – 1 and WL – 1 on with no sense or meaning and not belonging to any Wehrkreis to protect against foreign intelligence. All party organizations did the same. Tanks had no number plates. The latest numbers known of end with WH – 1893000 and WL – 628000 in winter 1944/early 1945. Lists are available at the german military archive, listing lots of vehicles, so it is possible that you can define the unit of your specific bike if you are lucky and it is listed. (You need the number plate combination, they keep no frame-numbers on file)

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