Admiral of the fleet (USSR)

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This article is about the OF9-rank admiral of the fleet (USSR), not to be mixed up to the OF10-rank admiral of the fleet of the Soviet Union. For the equivalent OF9-rank in Anglophone naval forces see admiral of the fleet, and in Russia see admiral of the fleet (Russia).
Flag of the Soviet Union.svg
Admiral of the fleet
(1955 - 1991)
Rank insignia Rank insignia
Marshal's star 1962 – 1991
Rank insignia Soviet Armed Forces
Introduction 1940/44
Rank group Flag officer
Army General of the army
NATO
equivalent
OF-9
Admiral of the fleet
1943-55
1953-1955

The rank of admiral of the fleet (or "fleet admiral"[Note 1]) (Russian: admiral flota, aдмирал флота) was the highest naval rank of the Soviet Union from 1940 to 1955 and second-highest from 1962.

The rank has a rather confusing history. It was first created by a Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet in 1940 as an equivalent to general of the army, but was not used until 1944, when Ivan Isakov and Nikolai Kuznetsov were promoted to the rank.

The 1944 insignia featured four Nakhimov stars, but when the rank was declared equivalent to the marshal of the Soviet Union in 1945, they were replaced with a single, bigger star to look similar to marshal's shoulder boards. The two existing admirals of the fleet were given this new 'big' marshal's star. So from 1945 to 1962, there was no intermediate rank equivalent to general of the army in between admiral and admiral of the fleet.

The rank was abolished in March 1955 with the creation of the rank of admiral of the fleet of the Soviet Union but restored in 1962 as the second-highest navy rank. Holders of the ranks were given a smaller marshal's star since then. As of February 2013 the smaller marshal's star has been instituted on fleet admiral shoulder boards - equivalent of general of the army. As of February 2013 there are no active duty Russian Navy officers holding that rank.

History[edit]

According to Kuznetsov, the rank was conferred on him by Joseph Stalin in May 1944.

"In 1944," Kuznetsov wrote, "Stalin, quite unexpectedly for me, raised in Supreme Headquarters the issue of conferring on me the next military rank. At the moment we had no rank higher than admiral. I reported that foreign navies had a rank of admiral of the fleet. [So] it was decided to institute the rank of fleet admiral, with four stars on the shoulder boards. So I obtained the next rank of fleet admiral."

In 1948 Kuznetsov was demoted two grades to the rank of rear admiral. Soon before Stalin's death, however, Kuznetsov was again restored as a fleet admiral and was among the two admirals to receive the rank of fleet admiral of the Soviet Union upon its official creation in 1955, the other being Ivan Isakov.

Officers promoted to admiral of the fleet[edit]

From 1962 the sequence of ranks was:

  • OF-10 marshal of the Soviet Union (маршал Советского Союза) and admiral of the fleet of the Soviet Union (aдмирал флота Советского Союза)
  • OF-9 general of the army (генерал армии) and admiral of the fleet (адмирал флота)
  • OF-8 general (генерал-полковник) and admiral (адмирал)
  • OF-7 lieutenant general (генерал-лейтенант) and vice-admiral (вице-адмирал)
  • OF-6 major general (генерал-майор) and rear admiral (контр-адмирал)

The rank of admiral of the fleet was awarded to 10 officers:

See also[edit]

Junior rank
Admiral
Naval Ensign of the Soviet Union.svg Naval Jack of the Soviet Union.svg
(Ranks of the Soviet Navy)
Admiral of the fleet

(General of the army)

Senior rank
Admiral of the fleet of the Soviet Union

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ A literal translation of the Russian "aдмирал флота" would be "admiral of the fleet" (aдмирал - "admiral", nominative singular, флота - "of the fleet", genitive singular of флот, "fleet"). This equates in meaning and form with the Commonwealth rank "admiral of the fleet", but equally well to the rank "fleet admiral". Either translation is acceptable.

References[edit]