Admiral (Germany)

Admiral, short Adm, (en: Admiral) is the most senior flag officer rank in the German Navy. It is equivalent to General (Germany) in the German Army or German Air Force. In the Central Medical Services there is no equivalent. In the German Navy Admiral is, as in many navies, a four-star rank with a NATO code of OF-9. There is currently one admiral in the German Navy, Admiral Manfred Nielson, serving as Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Transformationin Norfolk, Virginia.

MDS 64 Admiral Trp.svg MA OG5 64 Admiral.svg
Shoulder board and mounting loop
MDJA 64 Admiral Trp Lu.svg
Cuff title
Country Germany
Service branch German Navy
NATO rankOF-9
Non-NATO rankO-10
Next higher rankNone
Next lower rankVizeadmiral
Equivalent ranksGeneral

However, in other German speaking naval forces, e.g. Imperial German Navy, Reichsmarine, Kriegsmarine, Volksmarine, and the Austro-Hungarian K.u.K. Kriegsmarine, Admiral was an OF-8 three-star flag officer rank.


The official manner of formal addressing of military people with the rank Admiral (OF-9) is "Herr/Frau Admiral". However, as to German naval traditions the addressing in seamen´s language of military people with any flag officer rank (OF-6 to OF-9) is "Herr/Frau Admiral". In the Imperial German Navy, an Admiral would be addressed as "Eure Exzellenz" (Your Excellency)[1]

Rank insignia and ratingEdit

Its rank insignia, worn on the sleeves and shoulders, are one five-pointed star above a big gold stripe and three normal stripes (without the star when rank loops are worn).

The rank is rated OF-9[2] in NATO, and equivalent to General in Heer, and Luftwaffe. It is grade B10 in the pay rules of the Federal Ministry of Defence.

German Navy officer rank
junior rank
senior rank

The sequence of ranks (top-down approach) in that particular group is as follows:

History of Admiral ranks in GermanyEdit

German navies until 1945Edit

Admiral as a rank first appeared in Germany in the 19th century and was expanded in the early 20th century as part of a build-up and mobilization in preparation for the First World War. The rank again saw a resurgence during the Second World War. There were many famous German Admirals during these formative years of German naval power, among them Otto von Diederichs, Gustav von Senden-Bibran, Georg Alexander von Müller, August von Heeringen, Alfred von Tirpitz and (later) Karl Dönitz.

The ranks of the German admiralty were based on those from other European Powers, with some modifications in the titles and pronunciation. The German navy also never considered Commodore a rank of the admiralty, as this rank has always been considered more of a senior Captain. However, in the Nazi Wehrmacht Admiral was a three-star flag officer rank, comparable to modern armed forces OF-8 grade, and equivalent to General of the branch in Heer and Luftwaffe.

Junior rank
  Nazi Germany
(Ranks Kriegsmarine)
General of the branch
Senior rank

In 1944, the ranks of the German Kriegsmarine were in order of seniority as follows, US equivalent in brackets:[4]

Admiral ranks of the German Kriegsmarine in 1944
Rank Großadmiral
Sleeve lace
Command flag            
Equivalent Fleet Admiral Admiral Vice Admiral Rear admiral (uh) Rear admiral (lh) Commodore
NATO equivalent OF-10 OF-9 OF-8 OF-7 OF-6 OF-5

The Kaiserliche Marine did not use an admiral rank junior to Konteradmiral. Its successor, the Kriegsmarine, used the rank of Kommodore. However a Kommodore was not a part of the Admiralty but more a senior captain in command of a squadron.

K.u.K. KriegsmarineEdit

In the Austro-Hungarian K.u.K. Kriegsmarine (from 1849 to 1918) there were the flag-officer ranks Konteradmiral (in the 20th century also Konteradmiral), Viceadmiral , and Admiral, as well as Großadmiral.

Admiral ranks of the K.u.K. Kriegsmarine in 1918
Rank K.u.K. Großadmiral K.u.K.Admiral K.u.K. Vizeadmiral K.u.K. Konteradmiral
Sleeve lace
Command flag        
Equivalent Fleet Admiral Vice Admiral Rear admiral (uh) Rear admiral (lh)
NATO equivalent OF-10 OF-8 OF-7 OF-6
Admirals of the K.u.K Kriegsmarine


Rank Name Remark
Admiral Friedrich von Pöck Marinkommandant 1871–1883
Admiral Daublebsky von Sterneck Marinkommandant 1883–1897
Admiral Hermann von Spaun Marinkommandant 1897–1904
Admiral Maximilian Njegovan Marinekommandant, Flottenkommandant

National People´s ArmyEdit

GDR-Admiral Wilhelm Ehm and Vizeadmiral Gustav Hesse (1979)

Admiral was the second highest flag officer grade of the Volksamrine, equivalent to the three-star rank Generaloberst.

In the GDR Volksmarine there have been the three flag officer ranks Konteradmiral, Vizeadmiral, and Admiral. By decision of the GDR State Council from March 25, 1982, the rank Flottenadmiral was introduced.

Flag officers of the Volksmarine
OF-9 to 6 OF-9 OF-8 OF-7 OF-6
Arabesques Lampasse Flottenadmiral Admiral Vizeadmiral Konteradmiral
Cuff title
Command flags
Admirals of the GDR Volksmarine
Rank Name Remark
Admiral Verner, Waldemar 1914-1982
Admiral Ehm, Wilhelm 1918-2009
Admiral Hoffmann, Theodor 1935-2018


  1. ^ Brockhaus (1911) s.v. Titulaturen
  2. ^ STANAG 2116
  3. ^ The abbreviation "OF" stands for de: "Offizier / en: officer / fr: officier / ru: офицер"
  4. ^

See alsoEdit