Ranks of the National People's Army

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

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

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

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

General Officer ranks

Equivalent
NATO code
OF-10OF-9OF-8OF-7OF-6OF-5OF-4OF-3OF-2OF-1OF(D) and student officer
East Germany
Marschall der DDR Armeegeneral Generaloberst Generalleutnant Generalmajor Oberst Oberstleutnant Major Hauptmann Oberleutnant Leutnant Unterleutnant Offiziersschüler

Warrant officers

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)
(Staff-senior-Warrant Officer) (Staff-Warrant Officer) (Senior-Warrant Officer) (Warrant Officer) (Warrant Officer-Cadet)

NCO and enlisted ranks

Equivalent
NATO Code
OR-9OR-8OR-7OR-6OR-5OR-4OR-3OR-2OR-1
East Germany No
equivalent
No
equivalent
Stabsfeldwebel Oberfeldwebel Feldwebel Unterfeldwebel Unteroffizier Stabsgefreiter Gefreiter Soldat

Volksmarine

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

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

Equivalent
NATO code
OF-10OF-9OF-8OF-7OF-6OF-5OF-4OF-3OF-2OF-1OF(D) and student officer
East Germany No equivalent
Flottenadmiral Admiral Vizeadmiral Konteradmiral Kapitän zur See Fregattenkapitän Korvettenkapitän Kapitänleutnant Oberleutnant zur See Leutnant zur See Unterleutnant zur See Offiziersschüler

Warrant officers

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)
(Staff-senior-Warrant Officer) (Staff-Warrant Officer) (Senior-Warrant Officer) (Warrant Officer) (Warrant Officer-Cadet)

NCOs and enlisted

Equivalent
NATO Code
OR-9OR-8OR-7OR-6OR-5OR-4OR-3OR-2OR-1
East Germany No
equivalent
No
equivalent
Meister to Stabsobermeister
wore the career insignia on shoulder straps only
Stabsobermeister Obermeister Meister Obermaat Maat Stabsmatrose Obermatrose Matrose

See also

References

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