Großadmiral was the most senor regular flag officer rank in the historic naval forces of Germany and Austria-Hungary, comparable to NATO rank codes OF10, and to the five-star rank in anglophone armed forces.
In the Imperial German Navy, the rank Großadmiral was the equivalent of a British admiral of the fleet or a United States fleet admiral. It was created in 1901, and like field marshals its holders were authorised to carry a baton.
World War I
Before and during World War I, the following were made grand admirals of the Imperial German Navy (Kaiserliche Marine):
- Emperor Wilhelm II (1901)
- King Oscar II of Sweden (1901)
- Hans von Koester (28 June 1905)
- Prince Henry of Prussia (4 September 1909)
- Alfred von Tirpitz (27 January 1911)
- Henning von Holtzendorff (31 May 1918)
World War II
There were no more grand admirals until 1939. The following were made grand admirals of the German Kriegsmarine ("war navy")
- Erich Raeder, then-Commander-in-Chief of the Kriegsmarine, was made a grand admiral on 1 April 1939
- Karl Dönitz, commander of the U-Boat fleet and was made a grand admiral on 30 January 1943 upon succeeding Raeder as Commander-in-Chief.
(German flag officer rank)
Anton Haus, commander of the Austro-Hungarian navy for part of World War I, was given the title of Großadmiral in 1916. No other active-duty officer (except members of the Imperial family) was ever given this rank (although Haus's immediate successor, Maximilian Njegovan, was promoted to grand admiral on the retired list in 1918).