Ranks of the National People's Army

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Coat of arms of NVA (East Germany).svg

The Ranks of the National People's Army were the military insignia used by the National People's Army, the army of the German Democratic Republic, 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 Soviet-styled shoulder straps with cross-stripes.

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 and 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
Army
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 See below
Marschall der DDR Armeegeneral Generaloberst Generalleutnant Generalmajor Oberst Oberstleutnant Major Hauptmann Oberleutnant Leutnant Unterleutnant

Officer candidate or officer aspirant (OA)[edit]

The table below contains the Ofiziersschüler ranks (en: student officers; equivalent to officer candidate or officer aspirant (OA)).

Offiziersschüler (OF(D))
Academic year 6th 5th 4th 3rd 2nd 1st Preparation course
Shoulder boards 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
Corps colour/ Troops Air Force
(Luftstreitkräfter)
Motorized infantry
(Mot.-Schützen)
Engineers
(Pioniere)
Armourde troops
(Panzertruppen)
Communications
(Nachrichten)
Motorized infantry

Warrant officers[edit]

Fähnrichkorps and Fähnrichschüler of the NPA
Sleeve insignia
(1979-1990)
WO1 Fähnrich V unter 5Jahre.png
(not to Fähnrich-student)
Stabsoberfähnrich Stabsfähnrich Oberfähnrich Fähnrich Fähnrichschüler
W-4 W-3 W-2 W-1 W (Student)
GDR Army W4 Stabsoberfähnrich.gif WO3 Stabsfähnrich Pz.png WO2 Oberfähnrich Pio.png GDR Army W1 Fähnrich.gif 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)
Sleeve insignia as to 1973-1979
20 years of service 15 years of service 10 years of service
WO4 Fähnrich II 15Jahre.png
WO3 Fähnrich III 10Jahre.png
WO2 Fähnrich IV 5Jahre.png

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 OR-D1 Gefr UA Na 1Jahr.png OR-D1 Gefr UA Pz ½Jahr.png OR2 Gefreiter Pz.png OR1 Soldat Pz.png
Stabsfeldwebel Oberfeldwebel Feldwebel Unterfeldwebel Unteroffizier Stabsgefreiter Unteroffiziersshüler 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.

Officer ranks and insignia[edit]

Unlike most Warsaw pact navies, the People's Navy also used staff corps insignia on the sleeve following traditional German practice. The sleeve rank insignia shown are those of the line officer corps.

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
(as to 1979-1990)
WO1 Fähnrich VM Ärmel.png

(not to Fähnrich-student)

Stabsoberfähnrich Stabsfähnrich Oberfähnrich Fähnrich Fähnrichschüler
W-4 W-3 W-2 W-1 W (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
(Staff-senior-Warrant Officer) (Staff-Warrant Officer) (Senior-Warrant Officer) (Warrant Officer) (Warrant Officer-Cadet)
Sleeve insignia as to 1973-1979
20 years of service 15 years of service 10 years of service
WO4 Fähnrich Ärmel VM 15Jahre.png
WO3 Fähnrich Ärmel VM 10Jahre.png
WO2 Fähnrich Ärmel VM 5Jahre.png

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]

External links[edit]

  • "Germany 1949-1990 (Democratic Republic)". uniforminsignia.org. The International Encyclopedia of Uniform Insignia. Retrieved 20 November 2018.