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Wehrmacht Ranks

Wehrmacht Ranks

The Wehrmacht rank system is very complicated, so I have only included the more common ranks. The translation is too American equivalent of ranks. If you have any corrections or additions, then please contact me.

Kriegsmarine Ranks
Luftwaffe Ranks
Waffen SS Ranks

German Military Rank

1. In the following table the approximate American equivalent is given for each German rank. It should be noted, however, that the appointments held by officers of any given rank may vary widely in status, and no appointment carries or presupposes specific rank, for example, A Generalmajor' may command an infantry regiment a division or on occasions, ah army corps. An infantry regiment may be commanded by a Generalmajor, an Oberst, an Oberstleutnant or, on occasions, a Major. A "First General Staff Officer" (Ia) (our G-3) may Oberstleutnant or Oberst.


Abbreviation
In full
American Equivalent
Genfeldm., Gen. Feldm. Generalfeldmarschall Field Marshal
Genobst., Gen. Obst. Generaloberst Col Gen
Gen. d. Inf. General der Infanterie General of Infantry
Gen. d.Geb.Tr. General der Gebirgstruppen General of Mountain Troops
Gen. d. Kay. General der Kavallerie General of Cavalry
Gen. d.Pz.Tr. General der Panzer-truppen General of Panzer Troops
Gen. d.Art. General der Artillerie General of Artillery
Gen. d.Pion. General der Pioniere General of Engineers
Gen. d.Na.Tr. General der Nachrichtentruppen General of Signal Troops
Gen. d.Flieg. General der derFlieger General of Air
Gen. d.Flak. General der Flakartillerie General of AAA
Gen. d. Luftna.Tr. General der Luftnachrichtentruppen General of Air Signal Troops
Genlt., Gen. Lt. Generalleutnant Lt General
Genmaj., Gen. Maj. Generalmajor Maj General
None None Brigadier General
Obst. Oberst Colonel
Oberstlt., Obst. Lt. Oberstleutnant Lt Colonel
Maj. Major Major
Hptm. Hauptmann Captain
Rittm. Rittmeister Captain (Cavalry)
Obit., Ob. Lt. Oberleutnant Lieutenant
Lt., Ltn. Leutnant Second Lieutenant
Fhj. Fahnenjunkerbe None

2. In the German Army, acting or temporary rank is not granted hence the variety in rank to be found among officers holding similar commands. But two qualifications of rank may occur,

Ernennung (approximately the equivalent of brevet rank), An Oberstleutnant may be ernannt Oberst, or an Oberst ernannt Generalmajor, in order to obtain the higher rank sooner than his seniority in the lower rank would permit (promotion is normally strictly according to seniority up to the rank of Genlt. inclusive. Such officers receive the pay of the higher rank,, but do not obtain a specific seniority (Rangdenstalter, abbreviated R.D.A.) until their actual promotion.

Charakterisierung (honorary rank), An officer may be charakterisiert to a higher rank (e.g., Major to Oberstleutnant). Such officers do not receive the pay of the higher rank until their actual promotion, but they obtain a specific seniority in a separate charakterisiert list. The qualification is regularly shown in titles of rank, e.g., char. Oberst.

3. Officers are listed separately, according to their status, as follows,

Regular officers on the active list. An aktiv officer is distinguished by the title of his rank without qualification, e.g., Oberst.

Regular officers on the supplementary list. During the period of maximum expansion of the German Army (1934-1939), large numbers of additional officers were required, particularly for administrative appointments. To meet this special demand, an Erganzungs (supplementary) list was formed on which exofficers were recommissioned after under going suitable courses. An Erginzungs officer is distinguished by the addition of (Erg.) or (E) to the title of hisrank, e.g., Oberst (Erg.). Officers on this list take precedence immediately after those holding the same rank on the active list.

Reserve officers. Retired officers from the active or Erganzungs list maybe transferred to the reserve list, to which suitable candidates may also be commissioned directly. Commissions on this list correspond to some extent, in peace time, to commissions in the Organized Reserve Corps. A reserve officer takes precedence immediately after Erganzungs officers of the same rank, and is distinguished by the addition of der Reserve, d.Res. or d.R. to the title of his rank, e.g., Oberst d.R.

Landwehr officers. Reserve officers may be transferred to the Landwehrlist because of age or relative unfitness. Such officers are distinguished by the addition of der Landwehr, d.Landw. or d.L. to the title of rank, e.g., Major d.L.

Over age officers.Officers who have passed the age limit for their rank and classification, but remain fit and willing to serve, are transferred to the zur Verfuigung (i.e., available) list and are distinguished by the addition of z.V. to the title of rank, e.g. Maj. d. R.z.V.

Unemployable retired officers. Retired officers who are no longer fit or suitable for military service of any kind are described as ausser Dienst (out of service) or a.D., e.g., Oberst a.D.

Officers on the emergency list.For the duration of the war, emergency commissions (auf Krlegsdauer, abbreviated a.K.) are granted to suitable candidates. Such commissions rank Immediately below those on the aktiv list.

Officers Of The Army Medical and Veterinary Services

1. The names of officers of the German Army Medical and Veterinary Services are not included in the following lists. The ranks in these services of theGerman Army, with the appointments normally held, are as follows,

Medical Officers
Ranking as
Normal appointment
Generaloberstabsarzt. General Chief Inspector of Army Medical Services or Surgeon General.
Generalstabsarzt Generalleutnant Chief Med O of an army group or army
Generalarzt Generalmajor Chief Med 0 of a corps or Wehrkreis
Oberstarzt Oberst Chief Med 0 of a division
Oberfeldarzt Oberstleutnant Chief Med 0 of a regiment, station, hospital or medical battalion
Oberstabsarzt Major Senior Med 0 of a battalion, or Comdr of a medical company
Stabsarzt
Oberarzt
Assistenzarzt
Feldunterarzt
Hauptmann
Oberleutnant
Leutnant
In a hospital, medical unit, etc., or attached to a combat unit
Veterinary Officers
Ranking as
Normal appointment
Generaloberstabsveterinär General Chief Inspector of ArmyVeterinary Service
Generalstabsveterinär Generalleutnant Chief Vet 0 of an army group or army
Generalveterinär Generalmajor Chief Vet 0 of a corps orWehrkreis
Oberstveterinär
Oberfeldveterinär
Oberstabsveterinär
Stabsveterinär
Oberveterinär
Veterinär
Oberst
Oberstleutnan
Major
Hauptmann
Oberleutnant
Leutnant
Chief Vet 0 of a division, CO of a veterinary hospital Senior Med 0 of a battalion or regt, CO of a veterinary company In a veterinary unit or attached to a veterinary unit

Sources

For a complete list of sources