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Disambig-icon.png Elite Guard has other meanings. See Elite Guard (disambiguation) for other uses. Disambig-icon.png

Animated SS.gif
Animated Mac SS.gif
HP 100
Points 500
Weapon Machine Gun (hitscan)

Post-Jaguar sprite.

The SS (short for Schutzstaffel, also known as the Elite Guard[1]) are Machine Gun-wielding men in blue uniforms. These burly men are noticeably taller and larger than other human enemies. They have the highest HP in Wolfenstein 3D for regular enemies, requiring on average 5-7 bullets each to kill, and also move faster than regular guards. Although their reaction before they unload on you is no faster than the guard, they fire in bursts and can inflict major damage with their weaponry. In terms of power, they will be the toughest enemies you will face, but in a more "strategical" term, the mutants can be more dangerous in some situations (caught by surprise in close range for example, as their reaction time before starting to shoot is far shorter comparing to the one of the SS). In most cases, they are the highest priority target in a group of enemies.

They first appear in E1M02, or E1M10 if you take the secret elevator in E1M01.

Upon death, they'll drop a Machine Gun containing 6 bullets; if the player has already has one, the drop will just be an ammo clip containing 4 bullets.

In the original sprite they are shown wearing bright blue uniforms. In the mission packs they have a new sprite with black uniforms, similar to the real-world SS of World War II.

The SS are also featured in Doom II, another game by id Software, as part of the secret levels MAP31 and MAP32. id Software's artists did not bother to make new attacking graphics when they converted the graphics to Doom II, therefore, they always appears to face the player when firing, no matter where their actual target is, which can be confusing because they are just as likely to engage in infighting and killing each other as some of the other enemies.

Tactical analysis[]

The SS will interrupt his shooting state, if shot at. Use this to your advantage. This way, by tapping, you can handle up to two SS with a Pistol and up to three with Machine Gun, provided they are not behind each other and not spread very far. An SS guard has as much health as you, moves at around 70% of your speed, and can take massive chunks out of your health with his Machine Gun. In many ways, he is your equal, and you must utilize your faster reaction speed and intelligence to defeat him.

If there are several SS, one can hide just behind a corner, hoping to dispatch them fast enough so that the next ones do not run around. This allows you to handle up to 4 SS in a row. Be very careful of your flanks if you aren't just in a straight corridor; depending on the map and situation, one SS can easily find its way to get behind you (though this does not always occur, as it is not explicitly programmed), silently aim his weapon, and kill you practically instantly at point blank.

Another trick is to hide behind a wall and then side-step, fire, and immediately side-step back. Using the Chaingun, one can handle unlimited array of enemies, provided ammo is near to you. For more effect, start firing the moment you start side stepping. Correctly timed - enemy will receive immediate damage, before they can react. This allows to handle unlimited number of enemies, but the risk is that all the ammo clips will land inside the hot zone, so time correctly.

Finally, one can place themselves just behind the door or one tile passage, facing it at 15 - 45 degrees, then shoot at first enemy coming out. Because of the pain animation, the enemy will stop and, at same time, prevent others from running out. This is more advantageous, than previous tactic as the player can immediately rush forward, then backward to pick up a clip. However, beware of fast enemies - if you don't manage to shoot quickly at them as they are running out, it might become a lost cause quickly.

Note that in Wolfenstein 3D, enemies can shoot through each other without damaging themselves. Combine that with the fact that only enemies in front of you take damage from you, and you will quickly understand that standing in front of many enemies in a tight corridor (like in Floor 17 of Spear of Destiny) is a very bad idea even with the Chaingun. Trying to put a distance between SS and you is also a bad idea - as he will fire a volley of bullets, damaging or killing you - both cause unpleasant effects, especially at higher difficulties.[2]

Overall, the SS is an extremely dangerous enemy. While he lacks the annoying but rapid single shots of Officers and Mutants, if he gets the chance to aim his Machine Gun, and you aren't in cover, you will most likely die or be reduced to extremely low health. His high defense means that you must keep him locked for a few seconds under Machine Gun or Pistol fire, and multiple SS can overwhelm you. It is best to retreat in this case, firing on them as they pursue you through a door.


The poor quality of sound in the game often makes it difficult to ascertain what is being said. Sources are given for what Id claims is the language, but this is sometimes open to criticism.

"Elite Guard!"[3][4] File:SCHUTZADSND. Spoken on seeing the player.
"Mein Leben!"[3][4]
"My life!"[3][4] File:LEBENSND. Spoken on death.
Jaguar port.
"Wer da?"[5]
"Who's there?"[5] Spoken on seeing the player, mission packs.
"Tod fürs Vaterland!"[5]
"Death for the Father country!"[5] Spoken on death, mission packs. This one is easily misunderstood, due to both the poor audio quality and a noticeable pause after the first word.

"Id Software apologizes to German speaking people everywhere."[3]


Hit points 100
Speed 512 (patrol),
Pain Yes
Score 500
Sprites & sounds
Sprite number 138-186
142-190 (SoD)
Death sound LEBENSND
Ranged attack
Type Hitscan
Damage 1-64, 1-32 or 1-16
Shots per minute


  • The SS' death cry, "Mein Leben!" would subsequently be referenced by later games in the following ways.


  1. Wolfenstein 3D instruction booklet (for SNES). Imagineer America, 1992. Page 19. Web. (Third-party scan)Google Docs Mirror
  2. WOLFSRC/WL_ACT2.C from the Wolfenstein 3D source code on github.com, line 3461
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Cloud, Kevin. Spear of Destiny Hint Book. FormGen Corporation, 1992. Page 36. Web. (Third-party scan)Google Docs Mirror
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Cloud, Kevin. The Official Hint Manual for Wolfenstein 3D. Apogee Software, 1992. Page 72. Web. (Third-party scan)Google Docs Mirror
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Hemphill, Alan. Instruction and Hint Book for Mission 2: Return to Danger. FormGen Corporation, 1994. Page 37. Web. (Third-party scan)Google Docs Mirror