|Naval officer ranks|
Admiral of the fleet • Fleet admiral • Grand admiral
Germany & Austria-Hungary
In the Imperial German Navy, and later in the Kriegsmarine, the rank Großadmiral was the equivalent of a British admiral of the fleet or a United States fleet admiral. Like field marshals its holders were authorised to carry a baton. It was created in 1901 and finally discontinued in 1945; having 7 men promoted to the rank.
In Austria-Hungary 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 officers, except members of the Imperial family, were ever given this rank:; alhough Haus's immediate successor, Maximilian Njegovan, was promoted to grand admiral on the retired list in 1918.
The rank of grand admiral (in Italian, grand' ammiraglio) was created by Benito Mussolini in 1924. It was established primarily to honour Paolo Thaon di Revel, who had been head of the Italian Regia Marina during World War I — he was the only person to be awarded the rank. It was equivalent to marshal of Italy in the army and also marshal of the Air Force.
In popular culture
The rank of grand admiral also has appeared in science fiction literature, most significant of which is the literature of Star Wars. The Galactic Empire's Navy ultimately had 14 Grand Admirals. Grand Admiral Thrawn, of Timothy Zahn's Thrawn trilogy and other novels, is one such science fiction character who held this highest of naval ranks. The last appointed grand admiral is Gilad Pellaeon, who had served under Thrawn, as supreme commander and head of state of the Imperial Remnant.