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The second lieutenant (NVA original abbreviation . Ultn ) is a soldier in the lowest officer - rank . He belongs to the rank group of lieutenants or subaltern officers .


Empire, Weimar Republic, Third Reich, Federal Republic

In some German armies of the 19th century before 1871 there was the grading Oberleutnant ( Premier Lieutnant ) - Leutnant ( Second Lieutenant ) without the grade "Unterleutnant". There was a sub-lieutenant at sea in the Imperial Navy until 1898 ; he corresponded to the second lieutenant of the German army .

In the Reichswehr , the Wehrmacht and the Bundeswehr there was never the rank of subordinate .



Unterleutnant (NVA)
GDR Army OF1с Unterleutnant.gif
Pioneer troop

Distinction badge 1956–1990

In the style of the Soviet armed forces, the sub-lieutenant was the lowest-ranking officer in the armed organs of the GDR ; comparable according to NATO rank code OF-1c .

In the NVA and the border troops of the GDR, the sub-group of the lieutenants consisted of the sub-lieutenant , the lieutenant and the first lieutenant . Depending on the position, the assignment could take place as an officer of the operational service, political officer, officer of the technical and rear services as well as the military judicial organs. The appointment to the first officer rank was made depending on the training course and previous education, promotion to the next higher lieutenant rank usually after two years of service and to captain usually after a further three years of service.

After a one-year officer's course for temporary officers (OaZ) at an officers' college of the NVA of the People's Navy or the border troops, student officers were appointed lieutenant . With the diploma of the graduates of the officers' college after four years of training, the appointment as lieutenant followed .

The official rank of the People's Navy was initially sub-lieutenant at sea , but was later changed to sub-lieutenant . In individual linguistic usage, however, the traditional designation Unterleutnant zur See was retained.

Chief Ensign (no officer)

German Democratic RepublicGerman Democratic Republic (land of war flag)


Since then, sub-lieutenants of the NVA have generally not been professional officers, but rather regular soldiers or "temporary officers" (OaZ) who, after obtaining their university entrance qualification (Abitur), committed themselves to active military service of at least three, from 1982 at least four years in the NVA. Their military training was usually carried out by studying for a year at an officers' college, which ended with the appointment of a sub-lieutenant. Immediately afterwards, he was transferred to military service in the various branches of the NVA. There sub-lieutenants were regularly used in the duty of the platoon leader , unless they could be used in special assignments - for example due to special abilities, skills or knowledge.

If necessary and if certain prerequisites are met, for example a reserve officer course during the studies, suitable reservists with successfully completed civilian university studies were appointed to the reserve after being called up for reserve military service . Graduates from technical schools could also be appointed second lieutenant in the reserve . In some cases, particularly capable long-serving staff sergeants were appointed sub-lieutenant.

Takeover in the Bundeswehr

After the dissolution of the NVA in 1990, sub-lieutenants were only accepted into the Bundeswehr in exceptional cases. Upon application, if necessary, suitability and successful individual examination before an independent examination board, the MAD survey, the first security check and a preliminary assessment, a takeover as a contract or professional soldier could take place. As a rule, a takeover in the Bundeswehr was associated with a reduction in rank. The training certificates customary in the armed forces had to be provided or made up in any case. If the subsequent security checks or security investigations, which were generally combined with a case-by-case examination of previous Stasi work, revealed circumstances that represented a security risk for further work in the Bundeswehr, he was immediately released without notice. Of the 39,000 former NVA officers, around 3,600, mostly younger, very well-trained and well-assessed soldiers were taken on. The female former NVA officers were all dismissed. Here, a takeover as a civilian employee was possible in accordance with the usual federal regulations, regulations and procedures.

People's Police

The sub-lieutenant was also listed as the lowest officer rank in the East German People's Police . As a rule, graduates were appointed sub-lieutenant of the VP after successfully completing an officer course . However, the best graduates of each year could immediately advance to lieutenant in the VP .

Members of the MdI who successfully completed a degree at the OHS of the MdI , another OHS or a civil college or university, skipped this rank and were usually appointed lieutenant of the VP . Depending on the course, duration and degree, immediate instruction was also possible in higher ranks.


The term Unterleutnant does not exist in the Austrian armed forces . The rank of vice lieutenant denotes the highest possible rank of a non-commissioned officer.

The sub-lieutenant roughly corresponds to the ensign as the lowest officer grade for people who are in training at the military academy. Promotion to lieutenant takes place upon successful completion of training.

According to the NATO scheme, in Austria the NATO lieutenant is a lieutenant (one gold star), the NATO lieutenant is a first lieutenant (two gold stars).

Other countries in the Warsaw Pact

The lower lieutenant (OF-1c) was the lowest rank in the rank group of officers in other armed forces of the Warsaw Pact .

  • BulgariaBulgaria Bulgaria , ⇒ младши лейтенант (mladschi leitenant) until 2010
  • Soviet UnionSoviet Union Soviet Unionмладший лейтенант (mladschi leitenant)
  • RomaniaRomania Romaniasublocotenent
  • CzechoslovakiaCzechoslovakia Czechoslovakiapodporučík
  • HungaryHungary Hungaryalhadnagy 1951–1990

This rank did not exist in Poland, the Polish Podporucznik - although the West Slavic meaning literally "subordinate" - corresponded to a lieutenant from the other Warsaw Pact states. In today belonging to the NATO Czech Republic is the rank of second lieutenant, with the exception of Podporučík the Czech armed forces by 2011, not OF1c with the OF1b ranking Unterporutschik to be confused.


The officer rank of sub-lieutenant according to the NATO rank code OF1c is also currently available in some countries (e.g. Italy, Russia, and others). Examples of this are the rank designations, subleeuto , subteniente , sottotenente , mladschi lejtenant , podporucik etc. which are comparable to the German term Unterleutnant. Sometimes different designations are used for OF-D ranks, such as officer candidate in the US Navy.

The sub-lieutenant OF-D is also an officer rank in the current armed forces, even if this is translated from some languages ​​as ensign (Ensign, Alferez). In Spain, the Alferez corresponds to the sub-lieutenant (also in Portugal), but the subtenente corresponds to the ensign. In the Spanish-speaking countries of South America, of all places, it is exactly the opposite. In Norway, Sweden and Finland, ensign is the lowest officer grade and thus corresponds to the Danish Sekondeløjtnant or the sub-lieutenant.

For the most part, including in the Bundeswehr , the OF-1 rank is the lowest officer rank that can be compared to a lieutenant , second lieutenant or pilot officer.

Web link

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

Individual evidence

  1. MEYERS UNIVERSALLEXIKON, 3rd edition 1980, order no .: 576 970 2, license no. 433 130/198/80, Volume III, pages 217–218 «National People's Army and Border Troops of the GDR - Rank, Number 14 Second Lieutenant.»
  2. ^ Dictionary of German military history, 1st edition (Liz. 5, P189 / 84, LSV: 0547, B-Nr. 746 635 0), Military Publishing House of the GDR (VEB) - Berlin, 1985, Volume 1, p. 476.