Rekrut (en: recruit, fr:recrue, it:recluta) is the designation of a military appointment, position or status in German-speaking countries and in the 18th and 19th century Russian Empire (see Conscription in the Russian Empire) that characterizes newly recruited or sought personnel during the initial period of the basic military training. However, in some countries, e.g. Austria and Switzerland, Rekrut might be the lowest rank of enlisted men, comparable to NATO OR-1.[1]

Seeing off a Rekrut (Рекрут Russia, by: Ilya Repin 1879)
German Rekruts (on outpost; de: Alarmposten)

Historical rootsEdit

Rekrut was derived from the French: recruter (to seek new soldiers), an Franch: recrue (rising staff or troops, replacements, than the single man of this replacements, the junior trainee or soldier). The French recroître, on the other hand, is derived from the Latin recrescere (regrow, grow again, or back). The noun was acclimatized to German language in the 17th century.[2]


In the German Bundeswehr Rekrut is the generic term for a military person (de: Soldat, or Soldatin) during the basic training. In most cases it may refer to the lowest rank of enlisted men e.g. Soldat of the German Army, Flieger of the German Air Force, or Matrose of the German Navy.


Rekrut in Austria
Rank insignia Austrian Bundesheer
Introduction 1998
Rank group Personnel without charges
Army / Air Force Rekrut

In the Austrian Bundesheer Rekrut (until 1998 Wehrmann, en: soldier) is the lowest rank in Heer and Luftwaffe. It belongs to the so-called Rekruten rank group (en: recruits rank group / enlisted men) and is comparable to OR-1 in NATO.

During United Nations missions and in NATO's Partnership for Peace the rank Rekrut is designated in English with Private (rank) (Prv) and is equivalent to NATO-Rank code OR-1b.

See also

Ranks of the Austrian Bundesheer

Military of SwitzerlandEdit

Rekrut in Switzerland
No rank insignia
Rank insignia Swiss army
Rank group Enlisted men (de: Mannschaften)
Army / Air Force Rekrut
Salary bracket CHF 4.-/Day
Not established

In the Swiss Armed Forces Rekrut (short: Rek) is the lowest rank in Heer and Luftwaffe comparable to NATO OR-1b. However, it is also the generic term for newly recruited military personnel during basic training.

See also

Military ranks of the Swiss Armed Forces


  1. ^ The abbreviation "OR" stands for "Other Ranks / fr: sous-officiers et militaires du rang / ru:другие ранги, кроме офицероф"
  2. ^ Word and tradition in the German Army (de: Heer), by Transfeldt – v. Brand – Quenstedt, 6th increased edition, Hamburg 11 H.G. Schulz 1967, p. 9/§12, definition: Rekrut
  • BROCKHAUS, The encyclopedia in 24 volumes (1796–2001), Volume 18: 3-7653-3678-5, page 231; definition «Rerkrut».