Ranks of the National People's Army

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Coat of arms of NVA (East Germany).svg

This article lists the Ranks and rank insignias of the National People's Army (NPA), the army of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) from 1956 to 1990.

Design[edit]

The design of the rank insignias followed the tradition of the German Army (Heer) with some modifications. For example, the cuff titles (chevron insignias) of the Gefreiter were replaced by shoulder straps with cross-strips like the Soviet rank.

Shoulder strap rank insignias[edit]

Commissioned officer ranks up to Oberst featured four-pointed golden stars in increasing number according to seniority, and arranged following the Soviet pattern.

Junior officer (lieutenant and captain ranks) shoulder straps were made of silver satin string (German: Silberplattschnur). Unterleutnant had a single golden star, Leutnant two side-by-side stars, and Oberleutnant three stars in a triangle. Hauptmann rank had a fourth star above the triangular formation.

Senior officer shoulder straps were twisted silver cords, Major had a single star, Oberstleutnant two stars, and Oberst three stars, again arranged following the Soviet example.

Generals wore twisted golden and silver cords with five-pointed stars numbering from one (Generalmajor) to four (Armeegeneral).

Ground forces, Air force, and Border troops[edit]

Remark: The different colours represent the appropriate service, branch, branch of service, or special troop.

General Officer ranks[edit]

Equivalent
NATO code
OF-10 OF-9 OF-8 OF-7 OF-6 OF-5 OF-4 OF-3 OF-2 OF-1 OF(D) and student officer
East Germany East Germany OF-11 Marschall der DDR.png OF-10 Armeegeneral.png OF-9 Generaloberst.png OF-8 Generalleutnant.png OF-7 Generalmajor.png OF-5 Oberst Pz.png OF-4 Oberstleutnant Pz.png OF-3 Major Mot.png OF-2 Hauptmann Ari.png OF-1c Oberleutnant Pz.png OF-1b Leutnant Med.png OF-1a Unterleutnant Na.png OF-D1 OS VI Studienjahr Med.png OF-D2 OS V Studienjahr Med.png OF-D3 OS IV Studienjahr Mot.png OF-D4 OS III Studienjahr Pio.png OF-D5 OS II Studienjahr Pz.png OF-D6 OS I Studienjahr Na.png OF-D7 OS Ausb zur Hochschulreife Mot.png
Marschall der DDR Armeegeneral Generaloberst Generalleutnant Generalmajor Oberst Oberstleutnant Major Hauptmann Oberleutnant Leutnant Unterleutnant Offiziersschüler

Warrant officers[edit]

Fähnrichkorps and Fähnrichschüler of the NPA
Sleeve insignia
(not to Fähnrich-student)
Stabsoberfähnrich Stabsfähnrich Oberfähnrich Fähnrich Fähnrichschüler
W-4 W-3 W-2 W-1 W-1 (Student)
WO3 Stabsfähnrich Pz.png WO2 Oberfähnrich Pio.png WO1 Fähnrich Pz.png WO-D2 FS 2. Studienjahr Pz.png WO-D1 FS 1. Studienjahr Pz.png
(Staff-senior-Warrant Officer) (Staff-Warrant Officer) (Senior-Warrant Officer) (Warrant Officer) (Warrant Officer-Cadet)

NCO and enlisted ranks[edit]

Equivalent
NATO Code
OR-9 OR-8 OR-7 OR-6 OR-5 OR-4 OR-3 OR-2 OR-1
East Germany East Germany No
equivalent
OR9 Stabsfeldwebel Pz.png OR8 Oberfeldwebel Pz.png OR7 Feldwebel Pz.png OR6 Unterfeldwebel Pz.png OR5 Unteroffizier Pz.png OR4 Stabs- gefreiter Pz.png No
equivalent
OR2 Gefreiter Pz.png OR1 Soldat Pz.png
Stabsfeldwebel Oberfeldwebel Feldwebel Unterfeldwebel Unteroffizier Stabsgefreiter Gefreiter Soldat

Volksmarine[edit]

While the sleeve ranks of the Volksmarine officers were of the style used by the Soviet Navy, all shoulder board insignia used were German in origin, with the star arrangement for officers based on the Soviet rank insignia.

Flag officer ranks[edit]

Unlike most Warsaw pact navies, the People's Navy also used staff corps insignia on the sleeve.

Equivalent
NATO code
OF-10 OF-9 OF-8 OF-7 OF-6 OF-5 OF-4 OF-3 OF-2 OF-1 OF(D) and student officer
East Germany East Germany No equivalent OF-10 Flottenadmiral.png OF-9 Admiral als Chef der VM.png OF-8 Vizeadmiral.png OF-7 Konteradmiral.png OF-5 Kapitän zur See.png OF-4 Fregattenkapitän.png OF-3 Korvettenkapitän.png OF-2 Kapitänleutnant.png OF-1c Oberleutnant zur See.png OF-1b Leutnant zur See.png OF-1a Unterleutnant zur See.png GDR Navy OF-D-Student V.png OF-D3OS 4. Lehrjahr VM.png OF-D4 OS 3. Lehrjahr VM.png OF-D5 OS 2. Lehrjahr VM.png OF-D6 OS 1. Lehrjahr VM.png OF-D7 OS Ausb zur Hochschulreife VM.png
OF-10 Flottenadmiral VM.png OF-9 Admiral als Chef der VM, Ärmelstreifen.png OF-8 Vizeadmiral VM, Ärmelstreifen.png OF-7 Konteradmiral VM, Ärmelstreifen.png OF-5 Kapitän zur See VM, Ärmelstreifen.png OF-4 Fregattenkapitän VM, Ärmelstreifen.png OF-3 Korvettenkapitän VM, Ärmelstreifen.png OF-2 Kapitänleutnant VM, Ärmelstreifen.png OF-1c Oberleutnant zur See VM, Ärmelstreifen.png OF-1b Leutnant zur See VM, Ärmelstreifen.png OF-1a Unterleutnant zur See VM, Ärmelstreifen.png VM Aermelstreifen 1-1 Meister.svg
Flottenadmiral Admiral Vizeadmiral Konteradmiral Kapitän zur See Fregattenkapitän Korvettenkapitän Kapitänleutnant Oberleutnant zur See Leutnant zur See Unterleutnant zur See Offiziersschüler

Warrant officers[edit]

Fähnrichkorps and Fähnrichschüler of the NPA
Sleeve insignia
(not to Fähnrich-student)
Stabsoberfähnrich Stabsfähnrich Oberfähnrich Fähnrich Fähnrichschüler
W-4 W-3 W-2 W-1 W-1 (Student)
WO4 Stabsoberfähnrich VM.png WO3 Stabsfähnrich VM.png WO2 Oberfähnrich VM.png WO1 Fähnrich VM1.png WO-D1 FS 2. Studienjahr VM.png WO-D1 FS 1. Studienjahr VM.png
WO4 Stabsoberfähnrich VM Ärmelstreifen.png WO3 Stabsfähnrich VM Ärmelstreifen.png WO2 Oberfähnrich VM Ärmelstreifen.png WO1 Fähnrich VM Ärmelstreifen.png None.svg
(Staff-senior-Warrant Officer) (Staff-Warrant Officer) (Senior-Warrant Officer) (Warrant Officer) (Warrant Officer-Cadet)

NCOs and enlisted[edit]

Equivalent
NATO code
OR-9 OR-8 OR-7 OR-6 OR-5 OR-4 OR-3 OR-2 OR-1
East Germany East Germany No
equivalent
OR9 SStabsobermeister Technik.png OR8 Obermeister See.png OR7 Meister See.png OR6 Obermaat See.png OR5 Maat See.png OR4 Stabsmatrose.png No
equivalent
OR2 Obermatrose.png OR1 Matrose.png
Meister to Stabsobermeister
wore the career insignia on shoulder straps only
OR6 Obermaat Ärmel Technik.png OR5 Maat Ärmel See.png OR4 Stabsmatrose VM Ärmel Küste.png OR2 Obermatrose VM Ärmel See.png OR1 Matrose VM See.png
Stabsobermeister Obermeister Meister Obermaat Maat Stabsmatrose Obermatrose Matrose

See also[edit]

References[edit]