Hitler’s Stormtroopers, The SA, The NAZI’s Brownshirts 1922-1945

Reviewed for Military Modelling by Paul Carter

With roots going back to the Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, the Sturmabteilung, (SA), literally Storm Detachment, functioned as the original paramilitary wing of the Nazi Party (NSDAP). Known as the Brownshirts, their primary purpose was for providing protection for NAZI rallies and meetings, disrupting the meetings of opposing parties, fighting the ‘Opposition’ in street battles while being the driving force behind initiatives such as the boycotting of Jewish businesses.  

  However, the SA, led by Ernest Rohm, was a beast with its own mind, and whilst it ran alongside the NAZI party, saw itself as its own master. Organised on a Military basis, they certainly enjoyed the brutality and confrontation, and believe that change could only be brought around by direct action, to the degree and they were prepared to fight for any right wing party if needed, not just the NAZI.   With hindsight, it is somewhat ironic that in the early 1930’s as the SA started to run out of control, the SS, formed by Hitler to be directly supportive to him and the NAZI’s, were seen as the responsible and decent face of the Party.

  By 1934, the SA were feared by the German population, a threat to Civil disorder, a rival to the Army and an embarrassment to the Party. Hitler struck, arresting and then executing a large number of the leadership in an overnight coup before installing his own man as leader. 

The power of the SA was clipped forever, and while the organisation continued through until 1945 it was increasingly eclipsed by the growing strength and influence of the SS.

  In this 276 page book, Jean-Denis Lepage really has written a comprehensive study of the SA including the history of both the organisation and their rivals the SS, uniforms, flags, the rank structure and their funding.  He writes in a totally honest and neutral manner, he does not come across as a NAZI fan-boy or apologist, giving you the facts in a straight forward manner. Having said that, the book really is a surprisingly easy read and is in-depth enough to give you a broad understanding of the subject, but not to fact heavy. Illustrated with more than 100 line drawings, Jean-Denis has produced an excellent history of an organisation that was central in the early years of the NAZI party.  Certainly a worthwhile purchase if this is your area of interest.


Thanks to Charlie at Pen & Sword for supply Military Modelling with this review copy.


ISBN: 978-1473872752

Price: £25.00

Pages: 276

Format: hardback - 236mm x 157mm

Publisher: Frontline Books

Website: www.frontline-books.com