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NIGEL THOMAS, colour plates by STEPHEN ANDREW
GERMAN ARMY 1939-1945. BLITZKRIEG

TABLE 2. RANKS OF THE GERMAN ARMY. 1 SEPTEMBER 1939 - 9 MAY 1945
(omitting Army Officials; Sonderführer; Bandsmen NCOs and Men; Qfficer Candidates and Osttruppen)

Rank classRank (Staff & Infantry)Command (Infantry)Rank variants (other arms)British Army
OFFIZIERE (officers)
Reichsmarschall--Reichsmarschall des Groβdeutschen Reiches1-
Generate
(General officers)
GeneralfeldmarschallArmy Group-Field-Marshal
Generaloberst2Army, Army Group-General
General der... Infanterie, Gebirgstruppe12Corps, ArmyGeneral der... Kavallerie13 / Panzertruppen17 / Artillerie21 / Pioniere24 / Nachrichtentruppe28 Generaloberstabsarzt32 Generaloberstabsveterinär33 Generaloberstabsrichter34 Generaloberstabsintendant35Lieut. General
GeneralleutnantDivision, CorpsGeneralstabsarzt32 Generalstabsveterinär33 Generalstabsrichter34 Generalstabsintendant35Major General
GeneralmajorBrigade, DivisionGeneralmajor (W)23/(Ing)27 Generalarzt32 Generalveterinär33 Generalrichter34 Generalintendant35Brigadier
Stabsoffiziere (Field officers)OberstRegimentOberst i.G.7/(W)23/(Ing)27 Oberstarzt32 Oberstveterinär33 Oberstrichter34 Oberstintendant35Colonel
OberstleutnantBattalion, Regiment. Oberstleutnant i.G.7/(W)23/(Ing)27 Oberfeldarzt32 Oberfeldveterinär33 Oberfeldrichter34 Oberfeldintendant35 Lieut. Colonel
MajorBattalionMajor i.G.7/(W)23/(Ing)27 Oberstabsarzt32 Oberstabsveterinär33 Oberstabsrichter34 Oberstabsintendant35Major
Hauptleute und Rittmeister (Captains)HauptmannCompany, BattalionHauptmann i.G.7/(W)23/(Ing)27 Rittmeister14 Stabsarzt32 Stabsveterinär33 Stabsrichter34 Stabszahlmeister35Captain
Leutnante (Subalterns)OberleutnantPlatoon, Company.Oberleutnant(W)23/(Ing)27 Oberarzt32 Oberveterinär33 Oberzahlmeister35Lieutenant
LeutnantPlatoonLeutnant(W)23/(Ing)27Assistenzarzt32 Veterinär33 Zahlmeister352nd Lieutenant
MUSIKMEISTER (Bandmaster Officers)3
Musikinspizienten (Music Directors)-Inspector of MusicObermusikinspizient8L/Col, Dir/Mus
-Inspector of MusicMusikinspizient8Maj, Dir/Mus
Stabsmusikmeister (Senior Bandmaster)StabsmusikmeisterRegimental band-Bandm Capt
Musikmeister (Junior Bandmasters)ObermusikmeisterRegimental band-Bandm Lieut
MusikmeisterRegimental band-Bandm 2/Lt
UNTEROFFIZIERE (Non-commissioned Officers)
Festungswerkmeister & Hufbeschlaglehrmeister (Technical NCOs)-InstructorOberhufbeschlaglehrmeister33 Festungsoberwerkmeister24WOI(SSM 1cl)
-InstructorHufbeschlagmeister33 Festungswerkmeister24WOI(SSM 1cl)
Unteroffiziere mit Portepee (Senior NCOs)StabsfeldwebelPlatoon, CQMS (12 years total service)Stabswachtmeister15 Sanitätsstabsfeldwebel32WOII(RQMS)
Hauptfeldwebel4Company Serjeant MajorHauptwachtmeister15 Sanitätshauptfeldwebel32WOII(CSM)
OberfeldwebelPlatoon, CQMSOberwachtmeister15 Sanitätsoberfeldwebel32CQMS
FeldwebelPlatoon, 2icWachtmeister15 Sanitätsfeldwebel32Serjeant
Unteroffiziere ohne Portepee (Junior NCOs)UnterfeldwebelSection (6 years total service)Unterwachtmeister15 Sanitätsunterfeldwebel32Lance-Serjeant
Unteroffizier. Oberjäger11SectionSanitätsunteroffizier32Corporal
MANNSCHAFTEN (Men)
Mannschaften (Men)Stabsgefreiter (neuer Art)5Section member (5 years total service)Sanitätsstabsgefreiter (neuer Art)32Lance-Corpl
Obergefreiter mit mehr als 6 DienstjahrenSection member (6 years total service)Sanitätsobergefreiter mit mehr als 6 Dienstjahren32Lance-Corpl
Obergefreiter mit weniger als 6 DienstjahrenSection member (2 years total service)Sanitätsobergefreiter mit weniger als 6 Dienstjahren32Lance-Corpl
GefreiterSection member (6 months total service)Sanitätsgefreiter32Lance-Corpl
(Obersoldat6) Oberschütze Obergrenadier9 Oberfüsilier10Section member (1 year total service)(Obersoldat6) Oberreiter16 Panzeroberschütze18 Panzerobergrenadier19 Panzeroberfüsilier37 Panzerzug-Oberschütze20 Oberkanonier21 Oberpionier24 Panzeroberpionier39 Bauobersoldat25 /Bauoberpionier26 Oberfunker29 Oberfernsprecher40 Oberkraftfahrer30 Oberfahrer31 Sanitätsobersoldat32 Feldobergendarm36Private
(Soldat6) Schütze Grenadier9 Füsilier10 Jäger11Section member(Soldat6) Reiter16 Panzerschütze18 Panzergrenadier19 Panzerfüsilier37 Panzerzug-Schütze20 Kanonier21 Panzerkanonier38 Pionier24 Bausoldat25/ Baupionier26 Funker29 Fernsprecher40 Kraftfahrer30 Fahrer31 Sanitätssoldat32 Feldgendarm36Private

1A Wehrmacht rank, held exclusively from 19.7.1940 - 9.5.1945 by Hermann Goering as nominally the most senior officer in the German Armed Forces.
2Generaloberst im Range eines Generalfeldmarschalls (Acting Field Marshal) was created in 1935 as the then highest Army rank (with 4 pips) but was never held by any officer.
3 Bandmaster Officers ranked between officers and NCOs. Bandsmen's ranks have been omitted due to pressure of space.
4An appointment, not a rank, usually held by an Oberfeldwebel, but also by a Stabsfeldwebel. A Feldwebel, Unterfeldwebel or Unteroffizier in this appointment was designated Hauptfeldwebeldiensttuer (Acting CSM).
5Stabsgefreiter, introduced 6.1.1928, no further promotions after 1.10.1934, reintroduced 25.4.1942 as Stabsgefreiter (neuer Art), providing an extra pay-grade.
6A generic term, covering all the variations in rank-titles.
7General Staff officers.
8Attached to OKH.
915.10.1942 for infantry regiments.
1012.11.1942 for selected infantry regiments.
11Light and mountain infantry.
12Mountain infantry.
13Mounted cavalry.
14Mounted cavalry, reconnaissance, motor & horsedrawn transport.
15Mounted cavalry, reconnaissance, artillery, smoke troops, signals, war correspondents (until 24.1.1943), motor and horsedrawn transport, veterinary corps.
16Mounted cavalry, cyclist reconnaissance, veterinary corps.
17Armoured troops.
18Armoured troops and armoured reconnaissance.
193.6.1943 for mechanised infantry.
2027.10.1942 for armoured trains.
21Artillery.
22Artillery and Smoke Troops.
23Ordnance officers.
24Engineers.
2527.2.1940 for pioneers.
2611.10.1939 for pioneers.
27Engineer specialist officers.
28Signals.
29Signals and until 24.12.1943 war correspondents.
30Motor transport.
31Horsedrawn transport.
32Medical corps.
33Veterinäry corps.
341.5.1944 for judge-advocate officers.
351.5.1944 for administrative officers.
36Military Police. For ranks Oberst - Gefreiter add '...der Feldgendarmerie'.
37For Groβdeutschland and Feldherrnhalle mechanised infantry.
3812.1941 for artillery regts of Panzer divisions.
3915.4.1940 for engineer regts of Panzer divisions.
40For Signals radio operators.

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