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(Heer / Luftwaffe)

DH231-Hauptmann.png LD B 43 Hauptmann.svg
Rank insignia German officer rank
Introduction 19th century
Rank group Commissioned officers
Army / Air Force Hauptmann
Navy Kapitänleutnant
Army Captain
Navy Captain lieutenant

Hauptmann is a German word usually translated as captain when it is used as an officer's rank in the German, Austrian and Swiss armies. While "haupt" in contemporary German means "main", it also has the meaning of "head", i.e. Hauptmann literally translates to "head man", which is also the etymological root of "captain" (from Latin caput head). It equates to Captain in the British and US Armies, and is rated OF-2 in NATO.

More generally, it can be used to denote the head of any hierarchically structured group of people, often as a compound word. For example, a Feuerwehrhauptmann is the captain of a fire brigade, while the word Räuberhauptmann refers to the leader of a gang of robbers.

Official Austrian titles incorporating the word include Landeshauptmann, Bezirkshauptmann, Burghauptmann and Berghauptmann.

In Saxony during the Weimar Republic, the titles of Kreishauptmann and Amtshauptmann were held by senior civil servants.

It might cognates with the Swedish word Hövitsman that have the same root meaning "Head man" or "the man at the head" and that are closely related to the word "hövding" meaning Chieftain. Both titles are since medieval times used for titles within the administration of the state rather than within the military.

junior Rank
Bundeswehr Logo Heer with lettering.svg Bundeswehr Logo Luftwaffe with lettering.svg
German Heer officer rank
senior Rank

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