Wehrmacht Ranks (Comparison)

Discussion in 'General' started by Kuno, Jun 23, 2010.

  1. steelers708

    steelers708 Junior Member


    I too have Brian Davis' book that Za Rodinu has scanned in his post, but chose not to use it as:

    1: Printed in 1972, the information has been superceded by more modern works and information.

    2: As it's own Note 1 says "There is no such rank in the British Army — but if there were this would be the nearest possible translation" It is trying too hard to translate the wording of the rank and not the actual function of the rank e.g. Stabsfeldwebel .... Staff sergeant-major, Oberfahnrich .... Senior ensign, Fahnenjunker-Gefreiter .... Cadet lance-corporal and Unterfeldwebel .... Sergeant, in the infantry.

    Yes Stab/s means staff, but the actual function of the rank was Regimental Sergeant-Major(see original posting).

    Oberfanhrich, well the rank of Ensign has not existed since 1871 when it was replaced by 2nd lieutenant, but even that was not the actual rank/function of the Oberfahnrich. The Oberfahnrich carried the rank insignia of Oberfeldwebel, but wore officers uniform, he had passed the Officer Candidates course and was serving a 2 month period with a field unit as a probationery 2nd Lieutenant prior to actually receiving his commission. This rank was restored for combat arms on the 1st July 1943.

    With some exceptions for branch of service,(e.g. ordnance, veterinary) the infantry ranks of Fahnenjunker, Fahnenjunker-Gefreiter, Fahnen-Unteroffizier and Fahnrich all ceased to exist after 29th January 1940, these ranks were for soldiers applying for training as Regular Officers. After this date they kept their regular rank e.g. Schutze, Gefreiter, Unteroffizier and Feldwebel, but after 20th October 1942 were distinguished by double loop braid on the shoulder boards.

    3: In some instances it is just plain wrong, e.g. Gefreiter, Obergefreiter, Unteroffizier and hauptfeldwebel ranks.

    As I mentioned in my earlier post all of the Gefreiter ranks are equivalent to Lance-corporal, but with varying lengths of service(see attached picture) and Unteroffizier is Corporal. Hauptfeldwebel was not a rank but an appointment, see my original post.

    Attached Files:

  2. Kuno

    Kuno Very Senior Member

    Since in the Swiss army, a 'Corporal' is an 'Unteroffizier', I tend to say that it should be about the same in the British army (without thinking that th British were copying the Swiss. Just to be understood.)
  3. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    Kuno, go with what Steelers is saying. I know the book is old (1971 corrected 1992), and my knowledge on WH is superficial only. I presented this on a FWIW basis ;)
  4. Kuno

    Kuno Very Senior Member

    Ok. Will do like this. Many thanks to all of you!
  5. Kuno

    Kuno Very Senior Member

    Many thanks to all who helped and in particular to Steelers708.

    Another question - is this correct:

    Faehnrich (Warrant Officer 1st. Class)
  6. steelers708

    steelers708 Junior Member

    Hi Kuno,

    A Fahnrich was an officer candidate, they wore the rank insignia of an Unterfeldwebel, plus senior NCO's white metal unit insignia.

    They had passed out from military school and were attending a 4 month course at either Arm of Services School, Medical, Veterinary or Engineering Academy.

    The rank was abolished on January 29th 1940, and unfortunately has no equivalent in the British army.
  7. Kuno

    Kuno Very Senior Member

    Thanks again for this clarification.
  8. hard to compare the different ranks as the german rank promotion system is different in many points and often there is NO equvivalent. the ranks ARE DIFFERENT.

    also see for luftwaffe:


    ("Mannschaften" are missing)

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