Generaloberst

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For the use of this Four-star rank in other countries, see Colonel general.

Generaloberst (en: colonel general) was, in Germany and Austria-Hungary—the German Reichswehr and Wehrmacht and the Austro-Hungarian Common Army—the second highest general officer rank, ranking above full general but below general field marshal. It was equivalent to Generaladmiral in the Kriegsmarine until 1945, or to Flottenadmiral in the Volksmarine until 1990. The rank was the highest ordinary military rank and the highest military rank awarded in peacetime; the higher rank of general field marshal was only awarded in war-time by the head of state. In general, a Generaloberst had the same privileges as a general field marshal.

A supreme general or senior general (Generaloberst,[1] often translated as "colonel-general" by analogy to Oberst, "colonel," although, because "Oberst" derives from the superlative form of Germanic ober (upper), cognate to English over, then "Superior General" might be a more idiomatic rendering) was the second highest general officer rank—below field marshal (Generalfeldmarschall)—in the Prussian army as well as in the Deutsches Heer of the German Empire (1871–1918), the Reichswehr of the Weimar Republic (1921–33), and the Wehrmacht (which included the Luftwaffe, established in 1935) of Nazi Germany (1933–45). Together with the higher rank of general field marshal, Generaloberst was generally reckoned as the equivalent of a five-star general in the American and British armies.

The rank was created originally for Emperor William I—then Prince of Prussia—because traditionally members of the royal family were not promoted to the rank of a field marshal.

Since the rank of Generalfeldmarschall was also reserved for wartime promotions, the additional rank of a "supreme general in the capacity of a field marshal" — the Generaloberst im Range eines Generalfeldmarschalls — was created for promotions during peacetime. Such generals were entitled to wear four pips on their shoulder boards, compared to the normal three. As such, Generaloberst could be a peacetime equivalent of the general field marshal rank.

Austro-Hungarian Army[edit]

gorget patch Generaloberst of the k.u.k. Common Army

In 1915 the Generaloberst rank was introduced to the Austro-Hungarian Common Army. It was the second highest behind the Generalfeldmaschall rank.

See also

Bavarian Army[edit]

Prussian Army[edit]

Frederick I, Grand Duke of Baden as Prussian Generaloberst (with the special rank GFM)

Royal Saxon Army[edit]

Army of Württemberg[edit]

German Empire[edit]

Rank insignia of the German Empire 1871 until 1918, here shoulder strap of the German Imperial Army: twisted of silver- and golden-braids with three stars to "Colonel general" (equivalent to OF-9).

Generaloberst
(1871-1918)

Reichswehr[edit]

Wehrmacht[edit]

The equivalent ranks of a colonel general were in the:

junior rank
General ...
Balkenkreuz.svg
(Ranks Heer / Luftwaffe)

Generaloberst
Generaladmiral

senior rank
Generalfeldmarschall

⇒ see also main articles Ranks: Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, and Waffen-SS

Heer[edit]

Rank insignia
Generaloberst Heer
  1. April 20, 1936 – Werner von Fritsch (1880–1939)
  2. November 1, 1938 – Ludwig Beck (1880–1944)
  3. Dezember 31, 1938 – Wilhelm Adam (1877–1949)
  4. Oktober 1, 1939 – Johannes Blaskowitz (1883–1948)
  5. July 19, 1940 – Friedrich Dollmann (1882–1944)
  6. July 19, 1940 – Heinz Guderian (1888–1954)
  7. July 19, 1940 – Franz Halder (1884–1972)
  8. July 19, 1940 – Hermann Hoth (1885–1971)
  9. July 19, 1940 – Adolf Strauß (1879–1973)
  10. July 19, 1940 – Nikolaus von Falkenhorst (1885–1968)
  11. July 19, 1940 – Friedrich Fromm (1888–1945)
  12. July 19, 1940 – Curt Haase (1881–1943)
  13. July 19, 1940 – Erich Hoepner (1886–1944)
  14. July 19, 1940 – Eugen Ritter von Schobert (1883–1941)
  15. January 1, 1942 – Georg-Hans Reinhardt (1887–1963)
  16. January 1, 1942 – Rudolf Schmidt (1886–1957)
  17. April 1, 1942 – Richard Ruoff (1883–1967)
  18. Jun 1, 1942 – Eduard Dietl (1890–1944)
  19. July 3, 1942 – Georg Lindemann (1884–1963)
  20. December 3, 1942 – Hans-Jürgen von Arnim (1889–1962)
  21. January 1, 1943 – Gotthard Heinrici (1886–1971)
  22. January 1, 1943 – Hans von Salmuth (1888–1962)
  23. Januar 30, 1943 – Walter Heitz (1878–1944)
  24. July 6, 1943 – Eberhard von Mackensen (1889–1969)
  25. September 1, 1943 – Heinrich Gottfried von Vietinghoff-Scheel (1887–1952)
  26. September 1, 1943 – Karl-Adolf Hollidt (1891–1985)
  27. February 1, 1944 – Alfred Jodl (1890–1946)
  28. February 1, 1944 – Erwin Jaenecke (1890–1960)
  29. February 1, 1944 – Walter Weiß (1890–1967)
  30. February 1, 1944 – Kurt Zeitzler (1895–1963)
  31. April 1, 1944 – Josef Harpe (1887–1968)
  32. April 1, 1944 – Lothar Rendulic (1887–1971)
  33. April 20, 1944 – Hans-Valentin Hube (1890–1944)
  34. July 23, 1944 – Johannes Frießner (1892–1971)
  35. August 15, 1944 – Erhard Raus (1889–1956)
  36. May 1, 1945 – Carl Hilpert (1888–1947)

Luftwaffe[edit]

Rank insignia
Generaloberst Luftwaffe
  1. July 19, 1940 – Alfred Keller (1882–1974)
  2. July 19, 1940 – Hans-Jürgen Stumpff (1889–1968)
  3. July 19, 1940 – Ernst Udet (1896–1941)
  4. July 19, 1940 – Ulrich Grauert (1889–1941)
  5. July 19, 1940 – Hubert Weise (1884–1950)
  6. May 3, 1941 – Alexander Löhr (1885–1947)
  7. April 1, 1942 – Hans Jeschonnek (1899–1943)
  8. November 1, 1942 – Günther Rüdel (1883–1950)
  9. February 16, 1943 – Bruno Loerzer (1891–1960)
  10. Jun 11, 1943 – Otto Deßloch (1889–1977)
  11. July 13, 1944 – Kurt Student (1890–1978)
  12. July 22, 1944 (posthum) – Günther Korten (1898–1944)

Waffen-SS[edit]

Rank insignia
Uniform colour "Feldgrau"

SS-Oberst-Gruppenführer and Generaloberst of the Waffen-SS:

German Police[edit]

Generaloberst of the police.

SS-Oberst-Gruppenführer und Generaloberst der Polizei:

German Democratic Republic (East Germany)[edit]

Rank insignia
Generaloberst Land forces

National People's Army[edit]

In the Land Forces and Air Forces of the National People's Army, as well as the Border Troops of the German Democratic Republic Generaloberst was in line to Soviet military doctrine third general officer rank in that particular genera´s rank group. Pertaining to the NATO-Rangcode it might have been comparable to the three-star rank (OF-8). The equivalent to the Generaloberst was Admiral of the Volksmarine .

See also


Preceded by
Junior Rank
Generalleutnant
Coat of arms of NVA (East Germany).svg
(NPA rank)
Generaloberst
Succeeded by
Senior Rank
Armeegeneral
  1. March 1, 1966 Kurt Wagner (1904–1989)
  2. March 1, 1972 Herbert Scheibe (1914–1991)
  3. March 1, 1976 Horst Stechbarth (* 1925)
  4. October 7, 1977 Werner Fleißner (1922–1985)
  5. July 14, 1979 Erich Peter (1919–1979)
  6. October 7, 1979 Wolfgang Reinhold (1923-2012)
  7. October 7, 1979 Fritz Streletz (* 1926)
  8. March 1, 1986 Joachim Goldbach (1929-2008)
  9. March 1, 1987 Horst Brünner (1929–2008)
  10. October 7, 1988 Klaus-Dieter Baumgarten (1931–2008)
  11. October 7, 1989 Fritz Peter (* 1989–.... )

Ministry of State Security[edit]

  1. February 1980 Bruno Beater (1914–1982)
  2. May 1986 Markus Wolf (1923–2006)
  3. February 1987 Rudi Mittig (1925–1994)
  4. 1989 Werner Großmann (* 1929– ....)

Deutsche Volkspolizei (DVP)[edit]

  1. 1962 Karl Maron (1903–1975)
  2. 1987 Karl-Heinz Wagner (1928–2011)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

This article incorporates information from the equivalent article on the German Wikipedia.
  1. ^ A literal translation of Generaloberst would be "uppermost general".
  2. ^ Kurt von Priesdorff: Soldatisches Führertum. Band 6, Hanseatische Verlagsanstalt Hamburg, ohne Jahr, S. 417.