Grand admiral

Summary

Grand admiral is a historic naval rank, the highest rank in the several European navies that used it. It is best known for its use in Germany as Großadmiral. A comparable rank in modern navies is that of admiral of the fleet.

Grand admirals in individual navies

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Austria-Hungary

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Grand admiral
 
Command flag
 
Sleeve insignia
Country  Austria-Hungary
Service branch  Austro-Hungarian Navy
Formation1916
Abolished1918
Next lower rankAdmiral

The Austrian grand admirals were all members of the Imperial family, except for Anton Haus, the commander of the Austro-Hungarian Navy for part of World War I:[citation needed]

Portrait Name
(born–died)
Appointed Ref.
  Anton Haus
(1851–1917)
12 May 1916
  Prince
Henry of Prussia
(1862–1929)
9 October 1916
  Kaiser
Charles I of Austria
(1887–1922)
1 November 1916
  Kaiser
Wilhelm II of Germany
(1859–1941)
22 February 1917

France

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In Bourbon Restoration France, the rank was an honorific one equivalent to that of marshal in the French Army.[citation needed]

Germany

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Grand admiral
Großadmiral
 
Großadmiral rank flag (1939–1945)
   
Shoulder board and sleeve
Country  German Empire
  Nazi Germany
Service branch  Imperial German Navy
  Kriegsmarine
Rank groupFlag officer
Formation1901
Abolished1945
Next lower rankGeneraladmiral
Equivalent ranksGeneralfeldmarschall

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; as a five-star rank (OF-10). No German army equivalent. Its holders were authorised to carry a baton.[1]

The rank was created in 1901 and discontinued in 1945, by which time a total of eight men had been promoted to it. The next most junior rank was Generaladmiral (admiral-general).[citation needed]

Imperial Germany

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Before and during World War I, the following were made grand admirals of the Imperial German Navy (Kaiserliche Marine):

Portrait Name
(born–died)
Appointed Ref.
  King
Edward VII of the United Kingdom
(1841–1910)
26 June 1902 [2]
  Hans von Koester
(1844–1928)
28 June 1905
  King
Oscar II of Sweden
(1829–1907)
13 July 1905
  Prince
Henry of Prussia
(1862–1929)
4 September 1909
  Alfred von Tirpitz
(1849–1930)
27 January 1911
  Henning von Holtzendorff
(1853–1919)
31 July 1918

Nazi Germany

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Großadmiral was the most senior rank of the Kriegsmarine, immediately senior to Generaladmiral. The rank was reintroduced in 1939 and was only awarded to the Commander-in-Chief of the Kriegsmarine.[citation needed]

Portrait Name
(born–died)
Appointed Ref.
  Erich Raeder
(1876–1960)
1 April 1939
  Karl Dönitz
(1891–1980)
30 January 1943

Italy

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The rank of grand admiral (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.[citation needed]

Peru

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In 1967 the rank of Grand Admiral of Peru (Spanish: Gran Almirante del Perú) was awarded posthumously to Miguel Grau Seminario and is equivalent to the army rank of Grand Marshal of Peru.[citation needed]

Sweden

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In Sweden the rank of grand admiral was only ever awarded twice. Once to Prince Charles (XIII), whom was given the title at birth and which was used by him as the commander of the Swedish Royal Navy and once to crown prince Oscar (I) as a courtesy title to honour his adoptive grandfather, the late king Charles XIII.[3]

Turkey

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Grand Admiral (Turkish: Büyük Amiral) is nominally a rank in the Turkish Navy. It is the equivalent of the ranks of field marshal in the Army and Air Force. Since the foundation of the Republic in 1923, no person has held the rank. It is awarded by the Grand National Assembly of Turkey to persons who are holding the rank of admiral and displayed distinguished merit in wartime.[citation needed]

In fiction

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Among the grand admirals appearing in fiction and science fiction, one notable figure is Grand Admiral Thrawn of the Star Wars science fiction franchise.[4]

References

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  1. ^ BROCKHAUS, The encyclopedia in 24 volumes (1796–2001), Volume 9: 3-7653-3660-2, page 164; definition: «Großadmiral»
  2. ^ "Latest intelligence - The German Emperor and the King". The Times. No. 36806. London. 28 June 1902. p. 5.
  3. ^ "127-128 (Nordisk familjebok / Uggleupplagan. 27. Stockholm-Nynäs järnväg - Syrsor)". runeberg.org (in Swedish). 1918. Retrieved 2023-01-23.
  4. ^ Trendacosta, Katharine. "Who Is Grand Admiral Thrawn and Why Is His Appearance in Star Wars Rebels So Exciting?". io9.