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Rank conversion: SS -Wehrmacht- U.S. Army

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Rank conversion: SS -Wehrmacht- U.S. Army

Postby Dan W. on 19 Mar 2003 04:33

Waffen SS-- Wehrmacht-- US Army
Schütze Schütze/Grenadier/ Private
Oberschütze Oberschütze/Obergrenadier Private First Class
Sturmann /Gefreiter -- *
Rottenführer/ Obergefreiter /Corporal
Unterscharführer /Unteroffizier/ Sergeant
Scharführer Unterfeldwebel Staff Sergeant
Standartenjunker Fähnrich -- *
Oberscharführer /Feldwebel/ Technical Sergeant
Hauptscharführer/ Oberfeldwebel/ Master Sergeant
Standarten-Oberjunker/ Oberfähnrich -- *
Sturmscharführer -Stabsfeldwebel/ Sergeant Major
Untersturmführer/ Leutnant/ Second Lieutenant
Obersturmführer/ Oberleutnant/ First Lieutenant
Hauptsturmführer/ Hauptmann/ Captain
Sturmbannführer/ Major/ Major
Obersturmbannführer/ Oberstleutnant/ Lieutenant Colonel
Standartenführer/ Oberst/ Colonel
Oberführer -- --
Brigadeführer/ Generalmajor/ Brigadier General
Gruppenführer /Generalleutnant/ Major General
Obergruppenführer/ General der... (Infanterie, etc.) /Lieutenant General
Oberstgruppenführer/ Generaloberst/ General
Reichsführer/ Generalfeldmarschall/ General of the Army


http://www.angelfire.com/ct/ww2europe/stats.html
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Postby Scott Smith on 19 Mar 2003 08:56

The only differences that I can see is that in the U.S. Army there are three grades of Private: E-1, E-2 and PFC (E-3). Corporal is E-4. Also, a Fähnrich would simply be a Cadet.

In the Marines you have Private (E-1) , PFC (E-2), Lance Corporal (E-3), and Corporal (E-4). The British Army is similar to that, I think.
:)
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Postby Max on 19 Mar 2003 11:34

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Postby Scott Smith on 22 Mar 2003 13:59


It looks like Dan's table is correct for WWII U.S. Army ranks but in the above table an Oberführer is actually a Senior Colonel (no U.S. equivalent) not a Brigadier General; therefore, Generaloberst or Oberstgruppenführer is equivalent to a U.S. full General (4 stars).

Also, an SS-Reichsführer is equivalent to a Generalfeldmarschall or a U.S. General of the Army (5 stars).

And again, a Fähnrich is simply an officer cadet.
:)

Here is a WWII table of U.S. ranks:

http://history.acusd.edu/cdr2/WW2Pics2/82402bg.jpg
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Postby Shake-Speer on 22 Mar 2003 23:02

Wouldn't Fähnrich be Ensign in the US?
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Postby Christian Ankerstjerne on 23 Mar 2003 01:16

Scott, I don't think there are any equalant to an SS-Reichsführer, since there were only one...

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Postby Wolfkin on 26 Mar 2003 01:10

Hey guys!

That is a pretty accurate table. I would just like to point out that sometimes direct equivalents are difficult because of the different systems used. For example during WWII, an Unteroffizier/Unterscharfuhrer was a section commander in the German Army/Waffen SS, a Corporal was a section commander in the British/Canadian Army and a Sergeant was a section commander in the U.S. Army. So, right off the bat we have a conflict between the different nations. This table would work for the U.S. Army but possibly not for other nations.

It might be better to use what the ranks did as a way to do equivalents. It might look sort of like this:

Section leader:

German- Unteroffizier
British/Canadian- Corporal
U.S. Army- Sergeant

This would only be part of it. I had some problems over the years finding equivalents myself. Here is a "Copy and Paste" job of a "Copy and Paste" of a post I did a little while ago on the Feldgrau Forum :D :

I have, too often, seen things like Gefreiter being tranlated as Corporal and such. I would just like to correct people because like it says on the Feldgrau Home Page..."Information not shared is lost".

I have researched for a very long time and have been able to paint a balanced picture on what the closest equivalents would be. Thanks go to some guys who have helped me out over the years. Michael Dorosh and Stefan. These two have posted valuable information to me in reply to questions that I have made. Not too sure which Stefan this is, as there are a couple around here.

Anyways, this is a "Copy and Paste" job of a post I made in reply to another thread and I just thought that I would share it.

Here it is:

No, a Gefreiter is not a Corporal. Much confusion abounds because of the different systems used by the combatant nations of WWII. Much incorrect information is found in many books and many websites.

During WWII, in the German Army, an Unteroffizier was a section/squad leader. In the British/Canadian Army a Corporal was a section/squad leader. In the U.S. Army a Sergeant was a section/squad leader.

In the British/Canadian Army a Lance-Corporal was the 2 i/c of the section/squad. In the U.S. Army a Corporal would act as 2 i/c. The German Army did not really have a 2 i/c but the most senior Mannschaften would usually be picked, usually an Obergefreiter.

These 2 i/c positions are all unofficial and only the British/Canadian Army has an official position for this.

The confusion comes from the different systems. The German Army divides all the ranks into categories. There is much more emphasis placed on the Enlisted Ranks than in most armies.

Mannschaften:

Schutze= ordinary soldier, recruit
Oberschutze= ordinary soldier after 6 months
Gefreiter= ordinary soldier after 6 months

NOTE= after 6 months, a recruit can be promoted to either Oberschutze or Gefreiter. Gefreiter if he showed prowess, Oberschutze if he needed some more work. This is sort of like your "3 month evaluation" at a new job.

Obergefreiter= veteran ordinary soldier, after 2 years
Stabsgefreiter= veteran ordinary soldier, after 5 years

NOTE= Gefreiter, Obergefreiter and Stabsgefreiter are Mannschaften and not NCO's. The NCO's are the Unteroffiziere.

Unteroffizier ohne Portpee

Unteroffizier= section/squad leader
Unterfeldwbel= section/squad leader, 4 years as an Unteroffizier

Unteroffizier mit Portpee

Feldwebel= Platoon leader, 1 year as Unteroffizier
Oberfeldwebel= Platoon leader, 3 months as Feldwebel
Stabsfeldwebel= Senior NCO with 12 years service

NOTE= The times for all of the above are the minimum required times and a soldier may be promoted after the minimum time.

NOTE= The curious ranks are Oberschutze, Stabsgefreiter, Unterfeldwebel and Stabsfeldwebel. These ranks seem to be reserved for those soldiers in these positions that are not being promoted for one reason or another. The usual way of promotion would be, Schutze, Gefreiter, Obergefreiter, Unteroffizier, Feldwebel, Oberfeldwebel then possibly Leutnant.

A Hauptfeldwebel acted as the Company Sergeant/CSM and could be a Feldwebel, Oberfeldwebel or Stabsfeldwebel. The German Army had NCO Platoon leaders, the British/Canadian and U.S. Armies did not.

So, to do the closest equivalent, an Unteroffizier would be equivalent to a Corporal in the British/Canadian Army and a Sergeant in the U.S. Army.

A Gefreiter is not a Corporal and to do the closest equivalent he would be a Private First Class in the U.S. Army or a fully-trained Private in the British/Canadian Army.

My guess is that the German Army had all these Mannschaften ranks to distinguish between the trained or experienced soldiers from the raw recruits. For example, you would know that Gefreiter A is more capable than Schutze B. Yet, Oberschutze C might be almost as capable as Gefreiter A. But, Obergefreiter D is much more capable than all of these men in this section. This goes with the high emphasis that the German Army placed on the small units.

I hope this helps!!!

Cheers,

Wolfkin
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Postby Karl da Kraut on 26 Mar 2003 19:04

Wolfkin wrote:

Unteroffizier ohne Portpee

Unteroffizier= section/squad leader
Unterfeldwbel= section/squad leader, 4 years as an Unteroffizier


I've only experiences with the modern German army (Bundeswehr), but still I wonder about "Unterfeldwebel". Never heard of it. I guess it should be "Stabsunteroffizier"

Unteroffizier mit Portpee

Feldwebel= Platoon leader, 1 year as Unteroffizier
Oberfeldwebel= Platoon leader, 3 months as Feldwebel
Stabsfeldwebel= Senior NCO with 12 years service
[...]
A Hauptfeldwebel acted as the Company Sergeant/CSM and could be a Feldwebel, Oberfeldwebel or Stabsfeldwebel. The German Army had NCO Platoon leaders, the British/Canadian and U.S. Armies did not.


At least in the Bundeswehr Hauptfeldwebel is a regular rank between Oberfeldwebel and Stabsfeldwebel.

A Hauptfeldwebel acted as the Company Sergeant/CSM and could be a Feldwebel, Oberfeldwebel or Stabsfeldwebel. The German Army had NCO Platoon leaders, the British/Canadian and U.S. Armies did not.

Shake-Speer wrote:

[/quote] Wouldn't Fähnrich be Ensign in the US?

There are three special ranks for cadets: Fahnenjunker (equals Unteroffizier), Fähnrich (=Feldwebel) and Oberfähnrich (=Hauptfeldwebel).

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Postby Wolfkin on 27 Mar 2003 01:01

Hey Karl!

Yes, I guess things have changed quite a bit since WWII. This is very interesting! In the Canadian Army we do not have the Lance-Corporal position anymore, we have Corporal then Master-Corporal then Sergeant.

I believe you are correct, the former Unterfeldwebel rank is now Stabsunteroffizier. Another fellow in the modern German Army has responded. Here is my thread from the Feldgrau Forum, Baltasar shows the modern German Army ranks:

http://www.feldgrau.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=3888

The Hauptfeldwebel is now a normal rank? There is no more "Spiess"? Very interesting! Maybe it is called something different now? We still have the CSM in the Canadian Army. Here is a good site about the Landser:

http://members.shaw.ca/deutschesoldaten/

The German Army ranks during WWII, from the same site:

http://members.shaw.ca/deutschesoldaten/ranks.htm

About the Hauptfeldwebel, also from the same site:

http://members.shaw.ca/deutschesoldaten/haupt.htm

Thank you Karl! It is interesting to see how the rank system will change over time. Some things are still the same and some ranks have been added and some taken away.

Cheers,

Wolfkin
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Postby Aufklarung on 27 Mar 2003 03:44

Hi Wolfkin
Where ya bin? :D
Good post clearing up the rank question. I agree one can only compare Heer and other Wehrmacht ranks with one other militarys rank at a time. Of course, as stated, there are a number of ranks that do not have an equivalent in another force. This is where rank vs appointment come in to play. As seen with one of our lads being promoted to Cpl but appointed to MCpl.
BTW do not forget SSM in our Army. :lol:
Regards
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Postby Wolfkin on 28 Mar 2003 01:00

Hey Aufklarung!

I've been around, not online too much. I am also on some other forums as well...oops...better not say that too loud! :D I go on Feldgrau, Panzerworld, Missing Links.

Thanks for the comment! Ranks are something that have always interested and confused me. Now, I know much about WWII ranks but not much about modern. :D

When I was in the Canadian Army Reserve I can remember some classroom sessions where they explained all the ranks and I can remember all the stuff about RSM, CSM and appointments not being ranks. It took me a bit to realize that a German WWII Hauptfeldwebel/British/Canadian/CSM was an appointment and not a rank. I was more interested in the C7 than anything else! :D :wink: 8)

SSM...Squadron Sergeant Major right? This would be equivalent to a Company Sergeant Major. Master Corporal is an appointment not a rank? Jeez, y'all can tell why I am not in the Army anymore, eh? :D This escaped me, all I remember is that there were sections that were commanded by Corporals and Master Corporals. Heehee, maybe it is a good thing that I have made Military things a hobby instead of a career! :D

Well, I know way more about the WWII ranks than the modern ones. I find it interesting that there is no more Lance-Corporal appointment. Is there still one in the British Army? Why so many Sergeant ranks in the U.S. Army?

Cheers,

Wolfkin
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Postby Karl da Kraut on 28 Mar 2003 16:02

Thanks for thelinks, Wolfkin.

Your last link reads:

During the Reichsheer period, this position was known as Oberfeldwebel or Oberwachtmeister, but these titles became rank titles and the position was renamed Hauptfeldwebel/Hauptwachtmeister.


I guess this implies that the rank of a Hauptfeldwebel was already officially intoduced in to the Wehrmacht - in contrast to the Reichswehr.
Unfortunately no exact date is mentioned. You should probably add this rank title to yor list.

Wolfkin wrote:

The Hauptfeldwebel is now a normal rank? There is no more "Spiess"? Very interesting! Maybe it is called something different now?


"Spieß" is still the "nick name" for the senior NCO of a Kompanie/Batterie. This senior NCO is, at least nowadays, normally a Hauptfeldwebel.
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Postby Wolfkin on 29 Mar 2003 01:03

Hey Karl!

I discuss the Hauptfeldwebel in my post but it is not on the list because it is an appointment, not an official rank. It is my understanding that soldiers of the Oberfeldwebel or Stabsfeldwebel rank can receive the appointment of Hauptfeldwebel.

From the link:

"During the Reichsheer period, this position was known as Oberfeldwebel or Oberwachtmeister, but these titles became rank titles and the position was renamed Hauptfeldwebel/Hauptwachtmeister. The Hauptfeldwebel was also known, more informally, as "die Mutter die Kompanie" (Company Mother)."

What I get from this is this: The position of Company Sergeant Major/Company First Sergeant was, during the Reichsheer period, known as the Oberfeldwebel. In the Wehrmacht, the Oberfeldwebel became a rank and the position of Company Sergeant Major/Company First Sergeant was now known as the Hauptfeldwebel. So, Hauptfeldwebel is an appointment, not a rank.

I believe that people might misunderstand the difference between a rank and an appointment. A rank is a title that you will normally have to pass through to progress through to another. An appointment is a position that a ranking soldier can hold for a period of time, but not every soldier will pass through this title.

From my above post:

"A Hauptfeldwebel acted as the Company Sergeant/CSM and could be a Feldwebel, Oberfeldwebel or Stabsfeldwebel. The German Army had NCO Platoon leaders, the British/Canadian and U.S. Armies did not."

So, a correct rank table does not need all the appointments one can hold but I agree, it does help to clarify things. But, as you can see...

Mannschaften

Schutze- ordinary soldier, recruit
Oberschutze- ordinary soldier after six months
Gefreiter- ordinary soldier after six months
Obergefreiter- veteran ordinary soldier, after two years
Stabsgefreiter- veteran ordinary soldier, after five years

Unteroffizier ohne portpee

Unteroffizier- section/squad leader
Unterfeldwebel- section/squad leader, four years as Unteroffizer

Unteroffizier mit portpee

Feldwebel- Platoon leader, one year as Unteroffizier
Oberfeldwebel- Platoon leader, three months as Feldwebel
Stabsfeldwebel- Senior NCO with 12 years service

Hauptfeldwebel- Appointment of Company Sergeant Major/Company First Sergeant, usually an Oberfeldwebel

It is difficult to place where the Hauptfeldwebel should be. Also from the link:

"The Hauptfeldwebel was not necessarily the highest ranking soldier in the company. While Oberfeldwebel (or those career NCOs who made it to Stabsfeldwebel) was the standard rank, it was not a prerequisite and there is photographic evidence of soldiers ranked as low as Unteroffizier performing the duties of Hauptfeldwebel."

So, the appointment of Hauptfeldwebel can be held by a soldier of the rank of Unteroffizier, Unterfeldwebel, Feldwebel, Oberfeldwebel or Stabsfeldwebel. But, usually it was an Oberfeldwebel.


Cheers,

Wolfkin
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Re: Rank conversion: SS -Wehrmacht- U.S. Army

Postby Leo Niehorster on 05 Apr 2009 23:38

Anybody know where the "deutschesoldaten.com" moved to?
If not, email of author would be appreciated.

TIA
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Re: Rank conversion: SS -Wehrmacht- U.S. Army

Postby Max Williams on 06 Apr 2009 10:32

The common mistake with SS senior ranks is also made here and is perpetuated throughout many studies.
From Standartenführer the correct equivalents are:

SS-Standartenführer; Oberst; Colonel;
SS-Oberführer; No equivalent; No equivalent;
No equivalent; No equivalent; Brigadier General (Brigadier British Army);
SS-Brigadeführer; Generalmajor; Major General;
SS-Gruppenführer; Generalleutnant; Lieutenant General;
SS-Obergruppenführer; General; General;
SS-Oberst-Gruppenführer; Generaloberst; No equivalent;
No equivalent; Generalfeldmarschall; General of the Army (Field Marshal British Army);
Reichsführer-SS; No equivalent; No equivalent;

The rank of Reichsführer-SS was a political appointment, not a military one, but it was accorded the same status and priveledges as Generalfeldmarschall. There was also the most senior German military rank of Reichsmarschall, uniquely created by Hitler for Hermann Göring.
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