Talk:Five-star rank

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Generalfeldmarschall[edit]

The article currently [1] seems to have a bet both ways on whether the Wehrmacht rank of Generalfeldmarschall was a five-star rank.

I think that, for example, Erwin Rommel, Wolfram von Richthofen and Friedrich Paulus all held five-star ranks, and that this rank should be covered by this article. There seem to be many examples in the literature referring to this rank as five-star, and I'm even a bit surprised that there is any discussion of it.

But discussion there has been, for example at Talk:Six-star rank#Did Rommel have a 5* rank?, Talk:Six-star rank#On the related 5* question and Talk:Six-star rank#Is this getting us nearer the issue?, and there seems to be consensus towards the end of that last (long) section there that it should continue here rather than there. Andrewa (talk) 22:01, 5 September 2014 (UTC)

Hi dear Andrewa, my expert answer is as follows:

The sequence of ranks is as follows:
*1 Generalfeldmarschall (OF10, five-star rank, shoulder strap since 1942)
*2 Generalfeldmarschall (OF10, five-star rank, shoulder strap until 1942)
*3 Colonel general (OF9, four-star rank)
*4 General of the branch (OF8, three-star rank)
*5 Lieutenant general (OF7, two-star rank); and
*6 Major general (OF6, one-star rank).


V.r.-- HHubi (talk) 16:40, 6 September 2014 (UTC)

Thank you! Andrewa (talk) 21:02, 6 September 2014 (UTC)
What is the source for any Wehrmacht rank being correctly styled as if NATO "OF" system applied, as distinct from Bundeswehr? Cannot see any credible expert proposing such a conjecture as fact, and rewriting history. Qexigator (talk) 18:01, 7 September 2014 (UTC)
We two may need to agree to disagree on this. There are many instances in the literature of Generalfeldmarschall being described as five star. One has been provided to you, and you have rejected it with dubious arguments that could equally be applied to many other reliable sources as well, [2] so there's not a lot of point in producing others, but Google will do it for you. And you have been invited to produce evidence that this is not correct, and you have ignored the invitation. You have not produced a shred of evidence supporting your view, so it is strange to ask for yet more evidence against it. Andrewa (talk) 07:21, 8 September 2014 (UTC)
Noted that Andrewa's above comment (07:21, 8 September) does not give a straight or other answer to What is the source for any Wehrmacht rank being correctly styled as if NATO "OF" system applied, as distinct from Bundeswehr? Qexigator (talk) 10:24, 8 September 2014 (UTC)
Happy to have that noted. Please note also that I didn't think it necessary to spell it out, but here's the straight answer... No source has been cited AFAIK. Not by me, certainly, as I think the question is irrelevant, and that this should be obvious. We cite authorities. We don't reject them on the basis of our own apparently unsupported ideas (or, if you like, preconceptions) as to what terminology they should use, instead we accept their terminology. I was wrong in thinking that it was obvious, obviously. (;->
A reliable source has been cited which uses the phrase five star to describe Rommel's rank, and it was very easy to find. I'm guessing from the many ghits (the search URL was also supplied) that it won't be hard to find many others, or sources for the many other German Field Marshals of the time. I admit this is a guess at this stage. Doesn't seem a lot of point finding other sources unless you can provide some valid reason for rejecting the first one, as it's a reasonable guess that we'll just get the same response for them as I got for the first one.
May I ask in return for two straight answers.
Firstly, what authority, if any, supports the view that the question of any Wehrmacht rank being correctly styled as if NATO "OF" system applied, as distinct from Bundeswehr? has relevance here?
Secondly, what attempts, if any, have you made to find other sources that might use the term five star to describe Wehrmacht ranks? Andrewa (talk) 17:14, 8 September 2014 (UTC)
Straight answer to Andrewa 17:14, 8 September: Given that this page is for discussing improving the article, there is little point in replying to pointless questions. But, for the sake of elucidation, an answer is awaited to "What is the source for any Wehrmacht rank being correctly styled as if NATO "OF" system applied, as distinct from Bundeswehr?" Qexigator (talk) 19:34, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
I honestly thought that No source has been cited AFAIK was a straight answer to that. Not quite sure how to proceed from there... Andrewa (talk) 03:37, 10 September 2014 (UTC)
Reply to Andrewa (03:37, 10 September) No source has been cited AFAIK. Not by me (sc. Andrewa), certainly, as I think the question is irrelevant, and that this should be obvious. Yes, accept as "straight answer": in effect, you do not see the point of the question as asked, which in my view is the point at issue. As to Not quite sure how to proceed from there... , perhaps it would be a good thing to let it drop and attend to something more likely to improve any article of your choice. Qexigator (talk) 05:24, 10 September 2014 (UTC)
The problem is that this is looking more and more like a classic can of worms and affects many other articles.
For example our field marshal article currently contains a footnote The equivalent of a Generalfeldmarschall in the German navy was Großadmiral (grand admiral). The rank of Generalfeldmarschall was abolished after the fall of Nazi Germany in 1945. [3] The claim that Großadmiral rather than Generaladmiral was the corresponding rank to Generalfeldmarschall is unsourced there and so far as I can see everywhere it appears in Wikipedia.
In fact we seem to regard all ranks of the Kriegsmarine as corresponding to the rank one grade junior of the similarly-named rank in the Royal Navy where one exists. If Uniforms and insignia of the Kriegsmarine is correct in saying Kriegsmarine styles of uniform and insignia had many features in common with those of other European navies, all derived from the British Royal Navy of the 19th century, this seems rather peculiar. A can of worms indeed (and I'm not the first to say that), with sources urgently required. Andrewa (talk) 20:53, 10 September 2014 (UTC)
Andrewa's comment at 20:53, 10 September shows (subject to comments from others) that there is good reason for those editing those articles to make the necessary corrections. Qexigator (talk) 22:41, 10 September 2014 (UTC)

The necessary corrections[edit]

Qexigator states above Andrewa's comment at 20:53, 10 September shows (subject to comments from others) that there is good reason for those editing those articles to make the necessary corrections.

Two questions arise: What corrections are necessary, and how to most efficiently move towards making them? Andrewa (talk) 03:10, 11 September 2014 od(UTC)

Will you (Andrewa, 03:10) be letting us know your proposals for that? Qexigator (talk) 06:34, 11 September 2014 (UTC)
I'll try to give appropriate notification of course. Andrewa (talk) 07:57, 11 September 2014 (UTC)

reichsmarschall etc[edit]

The lead includes a sentence implying that a rank in the Wehrmacht (uniquely held by Hermann Göring) and some other ranks created before or outside the US 5* ranking and the allied or NATO countries OF equivalents (OF-10) are superior to "5*":

Despite the rarity and seniority of five-star officers, the leadership of some countries have felt the requirement to propose, and in some cases to adopt, even more senior ranks such as admiral of the Navy (United States), General of the Armies (United States), generalissimo, generalissimus, reichsmarschall, first marshal of the empire, etc.

This is anomalous. If there is a source in respect of all or any of generalissimo, generalissimus, reichsmarschall, first marshal of the empire, it can only be dubious, and not sufficient to include in the lead, and not in this article at all without comment. Qexigator (talk) 20:21, 22 September 2014 (UTC)

If there is a source in respect of all or any of generalissimo, generalissimus, reichsmarschall, first marshal of the empire, it can only be dubious... Why? This appears to be the same circular argument you have used previously. Just because a source does not confirm your personal opinion does not make it dubious. Andrewa (talk) 10:47, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
Reply to Andrewa's comment (10:47, 23 September). Noted that it fails to address the point If there is a source ...[it can not be]... sufficient to include in the lead, and not in this article at all without comment . My comment above (as previous comments), pointing to the known facts is not properly described as "personal opinion" or "circular argument". Noting the failure to rebut my comment above confirms that the opposite contention is indeed dubious. If there is a citable external source in actual rebuttal, where is it? If such a source is produced it will, of course, be given the attention it deserves by...Qexigator (talk) 14:11, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
Noted. Also noted that this reply completely fails to address the specific issue I raised, that your particular argument If there is a source in respect of all or any of generalissimo, generalissimus, reichsmarschall, first marshal of the empire, it can only be dubious is circular. You state (again) that it is not circular, but any inspection of it will reveal otherwise. Andrewa (talk) 18:46, 23 September 2014 (UTC)

Not before 1944[edit]

Given that the article section "US five-star ranks" mentions only the ranks established in the 1940s, and that before then there were no such US ranks with 5* insignia authorised by Congress, what sense does it make to write: Even within the United States, the insignia of this rank has not always included five stars? The article will be improved by removing from the lead the misinformation those words imply. Qexigator (talk) 16:34, 23 September 2014 (UTC)

The problem is that the US military has been evasive as to the relationships of ranks from different periods. These hypothetical relationships are of no military significance anyway, but of great political importance, so you can see their point of view. They don't want to offend the political types who hold a great deal of power over them if they can avoid it, better to say nothing unless compelled. But when on occasions they are forced to acknowledge some of these relationships, the results end up in a rather convoluted mess.
And it becomes even messier because it seems possible that the US has used the same rank name to mean different ranks over time (as have other countries).
But it seems clear that there were US officers senior to four-star rank before the 1940s, some of them equivalent in rank to the five-star ranks that already existed in other countries, and it's well documented that none of them used five star insignia (or six, seven... etc). At least two used a modified four star insignia, but are clearly superior to four star in rank. How would you express this? Andrewa (talk) 13:22, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
Does that amount to more than a heap of outlawed conjectural OR+SYN, as in personal speculation doesn't qualify as encyclopedic? Qexigator (talk) 15:02, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
Well it's a fact that Pershing's rank of General of the Armies was senior to later four-star rank, so no. ミーラー強斗武 (StG88ぬ会話) 18:24, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
...and the special positions of Pershing and Dewey are explicitly stated in the article, with full explanation in footnote 3. There is no need to say more. Qexigator (talk) 19:11, 30 October 2014 (UTC)

"ceremonial rank"[edit]

The article will be improved by removing "ceremonial". It is supported in neither of the two places where it is mentioned.

  • The lead states In times of peace, [five-star rank] is usually held only as a ceremonial rank. But the link redirects to Military rank which contains no mention of it, this should be de-linked.
  • The article mentions "ceremonial" only in Footnote 2: With the exception of Thomas Blamey and the Englishman William Birdwood, who both held the rank of field marshal, all other holders of Australian five-star ranks have been ceremonial, but no external source is given. If none can be found, it should be deleted. According to Footnote 1 Prince Philip is the only holder of these Australian ranks. Admiral of the fleet (Australia) states that the current and so far only holder of this rank is Prince Philip, who holds it as an "honorary appointment". Similarly, Prince Philip's honorary appointment as FM in the Australian Army is mentioned in Field marshal (Australia), but without citation.

Qexigator (talk) 21:11, 23 September 2014 (UTC)

The whole idea of a ceremonial rank needs to be either sourced or removed. There is some attestation to the term outside of Wikipedia, [4] but the concept of an honorary rank is better attested [5] and seems to me a far better term for us to use. Andrewa (talk) 16:22, 27 October 2014 (UTC)

Scope[edit]

This article covers all five-star ranks, not just US five-star ranks. It is not agreed whether these ranks existed before 1944 in other countries.

It seems to me that they did exist, but just weren't called five star until 1944 or later. In fact the US five-star ranks of 1944 were explicitly created to be equivalent to existing ranks such as the UK rank of field marshal. Accordingly, I have reverted this edit which scoped the article to 1944 and later ranks only. Andrewa (talk) 16:02, 27 October 2014 (UTC)


British Five Star ranks[edit]

With the recent post retirement promotion of Guthrie, Boyce, Walker and Stirrup to [honorary] five star rank, is this now a given for all retiring Chiefs of the Defence Staff? Should Richards and Houghton expect the nod in a couple of years? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 82.196.43.45 (talk) 10:13, 29 October 2014 (UTC)

Charles Guthrie, Baron Guthrie of Craigiebank (2012), Michael Boyce, Baron Boyce (2014), Michael Walker, Baron Walker of Aldringham (2014) and Charles Guthrie, Baron Guthrie of Craigiebank (2014)... It does seem possible and even likely that David Richards, Baron Richards of Herstmonceux and Nick Houghton will be similarly honoured in time, and if we can find a reliable source that says so we can add it to the article. But our personal speculations on it don't qualify as encyclopedic I'm afraid. Andrewa (talk) 06:58, 31 October 2014 (UTC)

Oh I know there's no reliable source - hence the question on this page. It does seem to be a recent change of tack though (and you've put Guthrie twice, instead of Stirrup...) — Preceding unsigned comment added by 82.196.43.45 (talk) 09:10, 3 November 2014 (UTC)