Fähnrich (German pronunciation: [ˈfɛːnʁɪç]) is an officer candidate rank in the Austrian Bundesheer and German Bundeswehr. The word Fähnrich comes from an older German military title, Fahnenträger (flag bearer), and first became a distinct military rank in Germany on 1 January 1899. However, Fähnrich ranks are often incorrectly compared with the rank of ensign, which shares a similar etymology but is a full-fledged (albeit junior) commissioned officer rank.
Heer and Luftwaffe shoulder insignia
|Service branch|| German Army|
German Air Force
|Rank||German NCO rank|
|Next higher rank||Oberfähnrich|
|Next lower rank||Fahnenjunker|
|Equivalent ranks||Fähnrich zur See|
The rank also exists in a few other European military organizations, often with historical ties to the German system. Examples are the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland (see Fänrik). The French Army has a similar position called an Aspirant.
In the Finnish landforces and airforce, Vänrikki (Fänrik) is the lowest commissioned officer rank, which is granted to the soldiers in the national service on the day they are released from their 347-day service. Finnish Vänrikki are thus of equal rank to the German lieutenant (also a platoon leader).
A Fähnrich of the Bundeswehr is a soldier who serves in the ranks, first as Fahnenjunker (OR-5, comparable to the junior non-commissioned officer rank Unteroffizier), then in subsequent grades: Fähnrich (OR-6, equivalent to Feldwebel), and Oberfähnrich (OR-7 equivalent to Hauptfeldwebel).
In the German Bundeswehr, an officer candidate (German: Offiziersanwärter) can reach the rank of Fähnrich after 21 months of service. The German Navy equivalent is Ensign at sea" (German: Fähnrich zur See).
An officer candidate's career is indicated by the enlisted rank with a thin silver cord on the shoulder strap.
(Senior cadet sergeant)
(Senior aviation cadet)
|Oberfähnrich zur See
|Fähnrich zur See
|USAF||Aviation cadet auch Warrant Officer|
|RAF||Acting pilot officer|
National People's ArmyEdit
Fähnrich until 1945Edit
Until 1945 in Heer and Luftwaffe of the Wehrmacht there were also three appropriate officer dedicated ranks:
- Fahnenjunker, equivalent to Unteroffizier, additionally with two parallel braids
- Fähnrich, equivalent to Unterfeldwebel, additionally with two parallel braids
- Oberfähnrich, equivalent to Oberfeldwebel, additionally with two parallel braids
The status of an officer aspirant career (de: Offizier-Anwärter - OA) was indicated by additional two parallel silver braids as on the appropriate rank epaulet.
|Heer and Luftwaffe||Kriegsmarine||Waffen-SS|
(Senior cadet sergeant)
|Rank insignia||Austrian Bundesheer|
|Army / Air Force||Fähnrich|
Austria-Hungaria (until 1918)Edit
Fähnrich was the lowest officer rank in the k.u.k. Common Army. In 1838 it was renamed to Unterleutnant 2. Gebürnisklasse, from 1849 to Unterleutnant 2. Klasse, since 1868 to Unterleutnant, and finally approximately from 1868 to Leutnant. In 1908 Fähnrich was re-introduced as lowest cadet-officer rank in order to replace the 1869 rank designation Kadett-Offiziersstellvertreter. Fähnrich, Kadett-Offiziersstellvertreter respectively completed training and education on the less famous so-called k.u.k. Kadettenschule. As the Kadett-Offiziersstellvertreter was the highest NCO-rank, became Fähnrich a separate rank-class. However, graduates from the much more famous Militärakademie became the officer patent for Leutnant.
In the k.u. Royal Hungarian Honvéd army Zászlós was the equivalent to the Fähnrich rank. It accounted immediately to the officer corps.
|Designation||Cadet officer-deputy until 1908||Fähnrich 1908-1918|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to SVG military rank insignia of the Bundeswehr (Fähnrich).|
- Langenscheidt´s Encyclopaedic Dictionary of the English and German language: „Der Große Muret-Sander“, Part II German-English, Second Volume L–Z, 8th edition 1999, ISBN 3-468-01126-1; p. 1.381
- On the lower end of both sleeves of the uniform jacket: One golden surrounding braid (de: Tresse), below the golden five-pointed naval star, typically to navy officers.
- The abbreviation "OF" stands for de: "Offizier / en: officer / fr: officier / ru: офицер"