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A rank , degree or rank denotes the position of a person within a defined hierarchy in the military , but also in authorities such as the police and civil organizations such as the fire brigade or other aid organizations . The rank is indicated by badges or marks on the uniform or headgear . Other uniform features can also provide information about the rank. In Germany, the position of civil servants in terms of status law and the official title are comparable with the rank or rank of a soldier in the Bundeswehr.

The rank is not to be confused with the position .


A higher rank usually requires a higher salary , but not necessarily a higher subordinate relationship . Rather, this can also be justified by the position , seniority , area of ​​responsibility or individual orders. Due to the provisions of the Superiors Ordinance (VorgV), it is possible that a lower rank has authority to command a higher rank. In general, this is unusual; in certain situations, for example in the security service, but everyday.

Typical positions are, for example, company sergeant , company commander or commanding general .

Rank badges can be on the collar ( collar tab ), on the sleeve (sleeve braids), on the shoulder ( epaulettes ) or on the chest. They can be sewn on (fabric badges), buttoned or looped. In addition, career group badges (such as a cap braid), salary group badges ( worn on the sleeve of the US armed forces ) and function badges (such as "OvWa" / officer from the security service , "operations management" or similar as a cord, badge, armband or back label) provide information about rank , official position and task of a uniform wearer.

In Prussia and the German Empire, character was used to describe a military rank of the army that was only awarded on an honorary basis; in the Navy , the corresponding term was charged .

Military ranks

Every combatant , particularly members of regular armed forces, is entitled to military rank . It facilitates the classification of the individual soldier in the military hierarchy. Orders and obedience, the duty of greeting and, in some cases, the area of ​​responsibility are also regulated via the military rank . Each rank is - z. B. in the armed forces - assigned a salary , this can be differentiated depending on the area of ​​responsibility (e.g. for a colonel usually A 16, for a colonel as brigade commander B3 of the federal salary order (BBesO)). The advancement is obtained by the military. Demand (use), qualification (existence of raceway courses) or seniority .

Ranks in the military are usually divided into career groups ( men , NCOs and officers ) and rank groups , e.g. B .:

In contrast to the grade groups, it is not the grade reached, but the desired grade that is decisive in the career groups. Soldiers from different career groups are trained and used differently.

Military ranks of different countries within NATO are compared with the help of the NATO rank codes .

Organizations with ranks

Today's military

Former military


fire Department


National Socialism

German Democratic Republic

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Rank  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations