Generaloberst

Summary

A Generaloberst ("colonel general") was the second-highest general officer rank in the German Reichswehr and Wehrmacht, the Austro-Hungarian Common Army, the East German National People's Army and in their respective police services. The rank was equal to a four-star full general but below a general field marshal. The rank was equivalent to a Generaladmiral in the Kriegsmarine until 1945 or to a Flottenadmiral in the Volksmarine until 1990. It was the highest ordinary military rank and the highest military rank awarded in peacetime; the higher rank of general field marshal was awarded only in wartime by the head of state. In general, a Generaloberst had the same privileges as a general field marshal.

A literal translation of Generaloberst would be "uppermost general", but it is often translated as "colonel-general" by analogy to Oberst, "colonel", such as in countries in which the rank was adopted like Russia (Russian: генерал-полковник, general-polkovnik). "Oberst" derives from the superlative form of Germanic ober (upper), cognate to English over and so "superior general" might be a more idiomatic rendering.

The rank was created in 1854, originally for Emperor William I, the Prince of Prussia, because members of the royal family were traditionally not promoted to the rank of field marshal and it was limited to wartime. In the 19th century, the rank was largely honorary and usually held only by members of the princely families or the Governor of Berlin. The regular promotion of professional officers to the grade did not begin until 1911.

Since the rank of Generalfeldmarschall was reserved for wartime promotions the additional distinction of a "Colonel general with the rank of field marshal" (Generaloberst im Range eines Generalfeldmarschalls) was created. Such generals were entitled to wear three pips and a marshal's crossed batons on their shoulder boards, compared to the three pips of a Colonel General, however this was changed to four pips in 1911.[1]

Generaloberst was the second, highest general officer rank—below field marshal, in the Prussian Army as well as in the German Empire (1871–1918), the Weimar Republic (1921–1933), the Wehrmacht (which included the Luftwaffe, established in 1935) of Nazi Germany (1933–45) and the East German Nationale Volksarmee (1949–1991). As military ranks were often used for other uniformed services, the rank was also used by the Waffen-SS and the Ordnungspolizei of Nazi Germany and the Volkspolizei and Stasi of East Germany. In East Germany, the rank was junior to the general of the army (Armeegeneral), as well as to the briefly-extant and never-awarded rank of Marschall der DDR.

Austro-Hungarian ArmyEdit

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

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

See also
  1. 1916 Erzherzog Joseph Ferdinand von Österreich-Toskana (1872–1942)
  2. Friedrich Graf von Beck-Rzikowsky (1830–1920)
  3. Eduard Graf Paar (1837–1919)
  4. Arthur Freiherr von Bolfras (1838–1922)
  5. Friedrich Freiherr von Georgi (1852–1926)
  6. Karl Freiherr von Pflanzer-Baltin (1855–1925)
  7. Viktor Graf Dankl von Krasnik (1854–1941)
  8. Karl Tersztyánszky von Nádas (1854–1921)
  9. Adolf Freiherr von Rhemen zu Barensfeld (1855–1932)
  10. Paul Freiherr Puhallo von Brlog (1856–1926)
  11. Erzherzog Leopold Salvator von Österreich-Toskana (1863–1931)
  12. Karl Graf von Kirchbach auf Lauterbach (1856–1939)
  13. Karl Georg Graf Huyn (1857–1938)
  14. Hermann Kusmanek von Burgneustädten (1860–1934)
  15. Karl Křitek (1861–1928)
  16. Wenzel Freiherr von Wurm (1859–1921)
  17. Samuel Freiherr von Hazai (1851–1942)
  18. Leopold Freiherr von Hauer (1854–1933)
  19. Viktor Graf von Scheuchenstuel (1857–1938)
  20. Stephan Freiherr Sarkotić von Lovčen (1858–1939)
  21. Josef Freiherr Roth von Limanowa-Łapanów (1859–1927)
  22. Arthur Freiherr Arz von Straußenburg (1857–1935)
  23. Hugo Martiny von Malastów (1860–1940)
  24. Rudolf Freiherr Stöger-Steiner von Steinstätten (1861–1921)
  25. Alois Fürst Schönburg-Hartenstein (1858–1944)

German EmpireEdit

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 four-star rank, today: OF-9).

 
Generaloberst (1871–1918)
 
Colonel General with the rank of Field Marshal

Bavarian ArmyEdit

Prussian ArmyEdit

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

Royal Saxon ArmyEdit

Army of WürttembergEdit

Weimar RepublicEdit

ReichswehrEdit

Nazi GermanyEdit

WehrmachtEdit

Colonel General
Generaloberst
 
   
Army shoulder board and flecktarn suit insignia
Country  Nazi Germany
Service branch  German Army
  Luftwaffe
Formation20 April 1936
Abolished1945
Next higher rankGeneralfeldmarschall
Next lower rankGeneral der Waffengattung
Equivalent ranksSee list

The equivalent ranks of a colonel general were in the:

HeerEdit

  1. April 20, 1936 – Werner von Fritsch (1880–1939)
  2. November 1, 1938 – Ludwig Beck (1880–1944)
  3. December 31, 1938 – Wilhelm Adam (1877–1949)
  4. October 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. June 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)

LuftwaffeEdit

Luftwaffe 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-SSEdit

Rank insignia Waffen-SS
Uniform colour Feldgrau (Waffen-SS)

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

German PoliceEdit

Rank insignia police 1936–1945
 
Gorget patche 1936–42
 
Gorget patche 1942–45
 
Shoulder strap
Generaloberst of the Police

SS-Oberst-Gruppenführer and Generaloberst of the Police:

German Democratic Republic (East Germany)Edit

Rank insignia
Generaloberst Land forces

National People's ArmyEdit

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 general'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
 
(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 (1925–2016)
  4. October 7, 1977 Werner Fleißner (1922–1985)
  5. July 14, 1979 Erich Peter (1919–1987)
  6. October 7, 1979 Wolfgang Reinhold (1923–2012)
  7. October 7, 1979 Fritz Streletz (born 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 (born 1927)

Ministry of State SecurityEdit

  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 (1929-2022)

Deutsche Volkspolizei (DVP)Edit

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

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Stumpf, Reinhard (2017). Die Wehrmacht-Elite: Rang- und Herkunftsstruktur der deutschen Generale und Admirale 1933–1945 (in German). De Gruyter. p. 139. ISBN 9783486817683.
  2. ^ Kurt von Priesdorff. Soldatisches Führertum. Vol. 6, Hamburg: Hanseatische Verlagsanstalt, n. d., p. 417.