Rear admiral

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Rear Admiral is a military grade in the Navy .

Name meaning

The designation Rear Admiral is the German equivalent of the French Contre-amiral . Originally the French contre was used, which was officially Germanized as a counterattack on January 1, 1899 .

The admiral, as the commander of a fleet , usually drove in the middle of the unit . His first deputy , the vice admiral , supported him at the head of the association, while at the end a rear admiral stood by his side. If the unit operated against ( French : contre ) the original direction, the rear admiral was at the head. In the Anglo-American naval forces the rank is prepared analogously as rear admiral referred derived from its rear position at the end ( English : rear ) of the fleet.

In Dutch , the rear admiral initially had the name Schout-bij-Nacht , this name was also used as a loan word in the Danish-Norwegian and Swedish navies , before it was replaced there from 1771 by names similar to the rear admiral .

Historical use

Imperial Fleet

In the imperial fleet of the emerging German Empire from 1848/1849 there was a rear admiral: On November 23, 1849, the imperial administrator promoted the commander Karl Rudolf Brommy to rear admiral.

K. uk Kriegsmarine (Austria-Hungary)

In the Austro-Hungarian Navy , the name was derived from the French, "Kontreadmiral".

Navy (1935–1945)

In the Navy of the Wehrmacht , the rear admiral was the lowest admiral rank.


German EmpireGerman Empire (Reichskriegsflagge)
Rear admiral
Vice Admiral

Volksmarine (GDR)

Rank insignia000
(1) (2) (3) (4) (5)
Admiral arabesques Shoulder piece Sleeve stripes Lampassen Command flag

The rear admiral was the lowest admiral rank in the People's Navy of the GDR and was comparable to the one- star general rank ( NATO rank code OF-6). He corresponded to the major general of the NVA. The rank badge consisted of shoulder pieces with a navy blue background and a plaited gold-silver cord on which a pentagonal silver-colored general star was attached.

The sleeve badge consisted of a wide yellow stripe and another simple stripe. Above it was a five-pointed star, inside of which was the coat of arms of the GDR . In contrast to all other German naval forces, the sleeve badges only covered about 40% of the sleeve circumference.

The admiral's collar tabs showed a gold-colored tendril that had an angle of 90 ° at the lower end. The hat badge corresponded to that of the rear admiral of the German Navy.

sea ​​captain

Flag of warships of VM (East Germany) .svg
Rear admiral
Vice Admiral

Current usage

armed forces

Rear admiral
Rear admiral epaulette Sleeve badge of the jacket (service suit) of a rear admiral (troop service)

Rank badge

Rank group Generals
NATO rank code OF-7
Rank Army / Air Force Major general
Marine rank Rear admiral
Abbreviation (in lists) KAdm (KADM)
Grade B 7 according to BBesO

The rear admiral is one of the ranks of the German armed forces for naval uniform wearers . The legal basis is the order of the Federal President on the rank designations and uniforms of soldiers and the Soldiers Act .


The rear admiral is mostly used as deputy commander or deputy head of department in the Federal Ministry of Defense, but also in many other admiral assignments.


In the central guideline A2-2630 / 0-0-3 "Military forms and celebrations of the Bundeswehr" (formerly ZDv 10/8), the salutation of all naval uniform wearers (except the corresponding medical officers ) from the rank group of the generals is set as "Mr. Admiral".

Rank badge

The rank badges of the rear admiral show a hand-width, above a medium- width sleeve stripe on both lower sleeves .


The rank designation of equivalent air force and army uniform wearers is major general . With regard to the authority to command, appointment , pay , and the subordinate and higher ranks , rear admirals and major generals are treated equally.

Bundeswehr Cross Black.svg Officer rank
Lower rank   Higher rank
Brigadier General
General Doctor General Pharmacist
Admiral Doctor
Major General
Rear Admiral
General Staff Doctor Admiral Staff
Lieutenant General
Vice Admiral Chief Medical
Officer Admiral Chief Medical Officer

Rank group : Teams-NCOs-NCO-NCOs-Lieutenant-Captains-Staff officers-Generals

United States Armed Forces and Other Organizations

Rear admiral (lh)
Rear Admiral (uh)

The US Navy , the US Coast Guard , and the uniformed corps of the United States Public Health Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration distinguish between two comparable ranks. On the one hand the Rear Admiral (lower half) (corresponds to the German Flotilla Admiral ) and on the other hand the Rear Admiral (upper half) , which corresponds to the German Rear Admiral . The salutation is Rear Admiral for both ranks . In correspondence, the list abbreviation for the Rear Admiral (lh) is "RDML" and for the Rear Admiral (uh) "RADM" . The Rear Admiral is written out with a (lh) or (uh) after each to prove their seniority .

This practice was established in the late 19th century, when Rear Admiral of the US Navy and the US Coast Guard on the promotion list a seniority got. Although all had the same rank that were Rear Admiral on the top half of the promotion list ( upperhalf higher) remunerated . In 1943 the rank of the Commodore was reintroduced for the duration of the Second World War and formally abolished in 1952. With the Defense Officer Personnel Management Act of 1982, the rank was revived under the new name of Commodore Admiral . As early as 1983 the rank was changed back to Commodore , only to be changed again in 1986. Since then he has been Rear Admiral (lower half) .


  1. Compare also the etymology of the word rear guard , for which the French foreign word Arrièregarde was initially popular in the German-speaking area.
  2. Left: Rank badge on an epaulette for naval uniform wearers of the troop service . Right: sleeve badge of the jacket of the service suit of a naval uniform wearer of the troop service. In both versions, the star is the career badge for troop service officers. Other careers have different career badges.
  3. if necessary instead woman, cf. here
  4. In the ZDv 37/10, in addition to the form of sleeve badges described in the order of the Federal President on the rank designations and the uniform of the soldiers , corresponding (i.e. similarly designed) shoulder badges for naval uniform wearers are described. It is noticeable that in the case of admirals, the hand-width sleeve stripes (5.2 cm) of the sleeve badges on the epaulets are only half as wide (2.6 cm). All other weft widths for all other ranks are otherwise always the same width for sleeve and shoulder badges.

Web links

Wiktionary: Rear Admiral  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. a b Hartmut Bagger , Command Staff of the Armed Forces I 3, Federal Ministry of Defense (Ed.): ZDv 37/10. Suit regulations for soldiers in the Bundeswehr . July 1996. Reprint from October 2008. Bonn July 16, 2008, 4 labels, p. 539 ( digitized version [PDF; 3.5 MB ] Reprint October 2008 replaces first edition from July 1996). Digitized version ( memento from September 19, 2014 in the Internet Archive )
  2. The Federal Minister of Defense (ed.): ZDv 14/5. Soldiers Act . DSK AV110100174, change status July 17, 2008. Bonn August 21, 1978, rank designations in the Bundeswehr, p. B 185 (Not to be confused with the Law on the Legal Status of Soldiers (Soldiers Law) ).
  3. ^ Agreed English texts. STANAG 2116 . NATO standardization agreement (STANAG) . NATO codes for grades of military personnel. 5th edition. 1992 (English, NATO Rank Codes - 1992 [accessed March 25, 2014]).
  4. a b c d The Federal President (Ed.): Order of the Federal President on the rank designations and the uniform of the soldiers . BPresUnifAnO. July 14, 1978 ( [PDF] Order of the Federal President on the rank designations and uniforms of soldiers from July 14, 1978 ( Federal Law Gazette I p. 1067 ), last amended by Article 1 of the order of 31. May 1996 ( BGBl. I p. 746 ) has been changed).
  5. ^ Federal Minister of Defense ; Command Staff of the Armed Forces IV 1 (Ed.): Abbreviations for use in the Bundeswehr - German Abbreviations - ZDv 64/10 . Bonn January 19, 1979 ( [PDF] as of September 17, 1999).
  6. Appendix I (to § 20, paragraph 2, sentence 1) Bundesbesoldungsgesetz orders of A and B . ( Online [accessed on March 25, 2014] Federal salary regulations (BBesO) only apply to professional and temporary soldiers and are an annex to the Federal Salary Act (BBesG)).
  7. The Federal Minister of Defense (ed.): Law on the legal status of soldiers (Soldiers Act - SG) . Bonn March 19, 1956, § 4 para. 3 (2) - ( [PDF; accessed on March 25, 2014] Newly drafted by notice of May 30, 2005 I 1482. Last amended by Art . 1 G of April 8, 2013 I 730).
  8. The Federal Minister of Defense (ed.): ZDv 10/8 Military Forms and Celebrations of the Bundeswehr . Cape. 6 Greeting and salutation.
  9. cf. also Werner Besch : Duzen , Siezen , titulating . To address in German today and yesterday (=  Kleine Reihe V&R 4009 ). 2nd Edition. Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht , Göttingen 1998, ISBN 3-525-34009-5 , p. 58 ff . ( limited preview in the Google book search - note in particular the quote from No. 262 from ZDv 10/8).
  10. a b The equivalent, higher and lower ranks are given in accordance with ZDv 14/5 B 185, cf. The Federal Minister of Defense (ed.): ZDv 14/5. Soldiers Act . DSK AV110100174, change status July 17, 2008. Bonn August 21, 1978, rank designations in the Bundeswehr, p. B 185 (Not to be confused with the Law on the Legal Status of Soldiers (Soldiers Act) . The order of the ranks shown in the info box does not necessarily correspond to one of the regular rank sequences provided for in the Soldiers' Career Ordinance , nor does it necessarily correspond to the rank hierarchy described in the Superiors Ordinance a managerial relationship ).