Comparative officer ranks of World War II

Comparative officer ranks of World War II

The following table shows comparative officer ranks of major Allied and Axis powers during World War II. For modern ranks refer to Comparative military ranks.


Air Force[1]
Waffen-SS/Allgemeine SS
Generic ranks not specific to any service
Union Flag Star-spangled Banner Flag of the USSR Flag of the Republic of China Flag of Poland Flag of Greece Swastika flag of the Third Reich Flag of the Kingdom of Italy Flag of Finland Flag of the Empire of Japan Free French Flag Yugoslav Partisan Flag
British Commonwealth[2] United States Soviet Union[3] Republic of China Poland[4] Greece[5] Germany Italy Finland Japan Free French Yugoslav Partisans[6]
- - - Генерали́ссимус Сове́тского Сою́за (Generalissimus of the Soviet Union)[7] 特級上將 T'e-chi Shang-chiang (General Special Class) [8] - - - Primo Maresciallo dell'Impero[9] - Dai-Gensui[10] - -
- - Admiral of the Navy[11]
General of the Armies
Ма́ршал Сове́тского Сою́за (Marshal of the Soviet Union) - Marszałek Polski [12] - Reichsmarschall des Großdeutschen Reiches {"ReichMarshall of the Greater German Reich"}[13]

- Suomen marsalkka[15] - Maréchal de France[16]

Amiral de France[17]

Maršal Jugoslavije (Маршал Југославије)[18]
OF-10 Admiral of the Fleet
Field Marshal
Marshal of the Royal Air Force[19]
Fleet Admiral
General of the Army
Главный маршал (Chief Marshal)[20] 一級上將 I-chi Shang-chiang (General 1st Class) - Αρχιναύαρχος (Admiral of the Fleet)[21]
Στρατάρχης (Field Marshal)[21]
Maresciallo d'Italia
Maresciallo dell'Aria
Sotamarsalkka Gensui[22] Amiral de la flotte General armije (Генерал армије)
Адмирал флота (Admiral of the Fleet)[23]
Генерал армии

(General of the Army)
Маршал (Marshal)

OF-9 Admiral
Air Chief Marshal
Адмира́л (Admiral)
Генера́л-полко́вник (General-Colonel)
二級上將 Ehr-chi Shang-chiang (General 2nd Class) Admirał
Generał broni
Ναύαρχος (Admiral)[24]
Στρατηγός (General)[24]
Πτέραρχος (Air Chief Marshal)[24]
Ammiraglio di Armata
Generale d'Armata
Taishō Général d'armée
Général d'armée aérienne
General-pukovnik (Генерал-пуковник)
OF-8 Vice-Admiral
Air Marshal
Vice Admiral
Lieutenant General
Ви́це-адмира́л (Vice-Admiral)
Генера́л-лейтена́нт (General-Lieutenant)
中將 Chung-chiang (Lieut.-General) Wiceadmirał
Generał dywizji
Αντιναύαρχος (Vice-Admiral)
Αντιστράτηγος (Lieutenant General)
Αντιπτέραρχος (Air Marshal)
Ammiraglio di Squadra
Generale di Corpo d'Armata
Chūjō Général de corps d'armée
Vice-amiral d'escadre
Général de corps d'armée aérienne
General-lajtnant (Генерал-лајтнант)
OF-7 Rear-Admiral
Air Vice-Marshal
Rear Admiral
Major General
Ко́нтр-адмира́л (Counter-Admiral)
Генера́л-майо́р (General-Major)
少將 Shao-chiang (Major-General) Kontradmirał
Generał brygady
Υποναύαρχος (Rear Admiral)
Υποστράτηγος (Major General)
Υποπτέραρχος (Air Vice-Marshal)
Ammiraglio di Divisione
Generale di Divisione
Shōshō Général de division
Général de division aérienne
General-major (Генерал-мајор)
OF-6 Commodore[26]
Air Commodore
Brigadier General
- - - Αρχιπλοίαρχος (Commodore)
Ταξίαρχος (Brigadier)
Ταξίαρχος Αεροπορίας (Air Commodore)
Generale di Brigata
- - Général de brigade
capitaine de vaisseau chef de division[29]
Général de brigade aérienne
OF-5 Captain
Group Captain
Капита́н 1-го ра́нга (Captain 1st rank)
Полко́вник (Polkovnik)
上校 Shang-hsiao (Colonel) Komandor
Πλοίαρχος (Captain)
Συνταγματάρχης (Colonel)
Σμήναρχος (Group Captain)
Kapitän zur See
Capitano di Vascello
Taisa Colonel
capitaine de vaisseau
Pukovnik (Пуковник)
OF-4 Commander
Wing Commander
Lieutenant Colonel
Капита́н 2-го ра́нга (Captain 2nd rank)
Подполко́вник (Podpolkovnik)
中校 Chung-hsiao (Lieutenant-Colonel) Komandor porucznik
Αντιπλοίαρχος (Commander)
Αντισυνταγματάρχης (Lieutenant Colonel)
Αντισμήναρχος (Wing Commander)
Capitano di Fregata
Tenente Colonnello
Chūsa Lieutenant-colonel
capitaine de frégate
Potpukovnik (Потпуковник)
OF-3 Lieutenant-Commander
Squadron Leader
Lieutenant Commander
Капита́н 3-го ра́нга (Captain 3rd rank)
Майо́р (Major)
少校 Shao-hsiao (Major) Komandor podporucznik
Πλωτάρχης (Lieutenant Commander)
Ταγματάρχης (Major)
Επισμηναγός (Squadron Leader)
Capitano di Corvetta
Shōsa Commandant
capitaine de corvette
Major (Maјор)
OF-2 Lieutenant
Flight Lieutenant
Капита́н-лейтена́нт (Captain-Lieutenant)
Капита́н (Captain)
上尉 Shang-wei (Captain) Kapitan marynarki
Υποπλοίαρχος (Lieutenant)
Λοχαγός (Captain)
Σμηναγός (Flight Lieutenant)
Primo Capitano Kapteeniluutnantti
Taii Capitaine
Lieutenant de vaisseau
Kapetan (Капетaн)
Tenente di Vascello
OF-1 Sub-Lieutenant
Flying Officer
Lieutenant Junior Grade
First Lieutenant
Ста́рший лейтена́нт (Senior Lieutenant)
Ста́рший лейтена́нт (Senior Lieutenant)
中尉 Chung-wei (Lieutenant) Porucznik marynarki
Ανθυποπλοίαρχος (Sub-Lieutenant)
Υπολοχαγός (Lieutenant)
Υποσμηναγός (Flying Officer)
Oberleutnant zur See
Sottotenente di Vascello
Primo Tenente[33]
Luutnantti Chūi Lieutenant
Enseigne de vaisseau de 1re classe
Poručnik (Пοручник)
Commissioned Warrant Officer
Second Lieutenant
Pilot Officer
Second Lieutenant
Лейтена́нт (Lieutenant)
Лейтена́нт (Lieutenant)
少尉 Shao-wei (2nd Lieutenant) Podporucznik marynarki
Σημαιοφόρος (Ensign)
Ανθυπολοχαγός (Second Lieutenant)
Ανθυποσμηναγός (Pilot Officer)
Leutnant zur See
Shōi Sous-lieutenant
Enseigne de vaisseau de 2nde classe
Potporučnik (Потпоручник)
Мла́дший лейтена́нт (Junior Lieutenant)
Мла́дший лейтена́нт (Junior Lieutenant)
准尉 Chun-wei (Warrant Officer) Chorąży marynarki
Sottotenente Aspirant

See also


  1. ^ Air Force ranks equal to generic Army ranks are not shown.
  2. ^ The name "British Commonwealth" came into official use in 1926, in place of "British Empire".
  3. ^ Included ranks on WWII period only.
  4. ^ In Polish military tradition the Polish Air Forces form a separate branch of the Polish Army, though the military ranks were exactly the same as in the case of land forces. Sometimes the word pilot was added to distinguish Air officers from the officers of the land forces (cf. podporucznik pilot as opposed to podporucznik). Historically due to absence of full general rank (which was introduced later), Polish General ranks were shifted one position up compared to similar-sounding ranks in other countries.
  5. ^ There is no standard method of transliterating Greek. In this article, traditional Erasmic transliterations are used and do not represent the rank's name's actual pronunciation. See Greek alphabet.
  6. ^ All military ranks shown here date from 1943-46; the Partisans used positional ranks (similar to that used by the Red Army during the Russian Civil War) from their inception in 1941 to 1943, with minor changes.
  7. ^ From June 27, 1945. Stalin appointed this rank by Supreme Council after victory over Germany.
  8. ^ Rank held by the Chinese Leader Chiang Kai-shek.
  9. ^ Highest possible military rank of Italy, created in 1938 and held solely and at the same time by King Victor Emmanuel III and Benito Mussolini
  10. ^ Highest possible military rank of Japan, held solely by the Emperor of Japan
  11. ^ Admiral of the Navy and General of the Armies while not in active service had retroactively become the "six star" ranks within the forces of the U.S. A proposal to elevate Nimitz and MacArthur to these ranks for the invasion of Japan was made but not acted upon prior to Japan's surrender.
  12. ^ See the article on Marszałek Polski
  13. ^ Essentially a "vanity rank" created by Hitler on June 29, 1941, for Hermann Göring. Hitler himself held the title of Führer, which was a political and party title, englobing the supreme command of the armed forces; however Führer wasn't, strictly speaking, a military rank, and Hitler never promoted himself from the rank of Gefreiter he had earned during World War I
  14. ^ On paper Himmler's rank was equivalent to Generalfeldmarschall; in practice he was at least Göring's equal.
  15. ^ Marshal of Finland, an honorary title given to Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim on his 75th birthday in 1942.
  16. ^ Not a rank, but a dignity of the State.
  17. ^ Not a rank, but a dignity of the State. No Amiral de France was alive during the war.
  18. ^ Rank held only by Tito; conferred to him by the AVNOJ on November 29, 1943 at Jajce.
  19. ^ For example, King George VI was "Marshal of the Royal Australian Air Force" during 1939-45.
  20. ^ Marshals and Chief marshals of a specific arm of service (Artillery, Armored Forces, Engineering Service, Air Force etc), were introduced in 1943; though they both are equal to General of the Army, they maintained precedence over each other.
  21. ^ a b Rank held only by King George II
  22. ^ Gensui, although usually translated as Field Marshal/Grand Admiral, was actually an honorary title conferred by the Emperor and not a rank as such.
  23. ^ Introduced in 1940 as an equivalent to General of the Army, but from May 1945 became equal to Marshal of the Soviet Union, with no intermediate rank in between. [1]
  24. ^ a b c No officer was appointed to this rank during the war
  25. ^ Generals of this rank in the German army and airforce generally held the rank of their service branch. In the Heer (army) these were "General der Infanterie" (infantry), "General der Artillerie" (artillery), "General der Kavallerie" (Cavalry), "General der Panzertruppe" (armoured troops), "General der Nachrichtentruppe" (line of communication troops), "General der Pionier" (pioneer troops) and "General der Gebirgstruppe" (mountain troops). In the Luftwaffe (air force) the ranks were "General der Flieger" (air force), "General der Fallschirmtruppe" (parachute troops) and "General der Flakartillerie" (anti-aircraft artillery).
  26. ^ Actually a Captain acting in an admiral's capacity.
  27. ^ Actually an appointment conferred on Colonels rather than a substantive rank
  28. ^ Rank reintroduced in 1943.
  29. ^ Actually a Captain acting in an admiral's capacity.
  30. ^ Actually a Kapitän zur See (Captain) acting in an admiral's capacity. This was a rarely used rank. Best-known holder was Karl Dönitz, who from 28 January 1939 until 1 October 1939 was "Kapitän zur See und Kommodore" and Leader of U-Boats.
  31. ^ Traditionally captains of Polish cavalry held the rank of rotmistrz, a direct equivalent of the rank of kapitan in other branches of the military.
  32. ^ Captains in the cavalry and mounted transport corps were called Rittmeister.
  33. ^ "Primo" ranks were a way for identifying long term or career officers. Primo Capitano and Primo Tenente were officers with 12 years seniority in the rank or a total of 20 years of commissioned service.

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