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German Army Enlisted Rank Insignia


Senior NCOs


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 Offizierstellvertreter (1)   Deputy Officer

  Feldwebel   Sergeant-Major
admin post at company HQ

  Wachtmeister (2)   Sergeant-Major
admin post at company HQ

  Vizefeldwebel   Vice Sergeant-Major
* Staff Sergeant

  Vizewachtmeister (2)   Vice Sergeant-Major
  * Staff Sergeant

  Fähnrich (3)   Officer Candidate 




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  Sergeant   Sergeant

  Unteroffizier   Corporal

  Oberjäger   Senior Chasseur
  * Jaeger battalion only


Enlisted Men


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  Obergefreiter   Senior Private
  * Foot Artillery only

  Gefreiter   Senior Private
  *  Lance Corporal  

  Soldat (4)   Private



1  Offizierstellvertreter:  This NCO in an officer's appointment served as a front-line officer during the war, usually in command of a company or platoon, then he reverted back to NCO status at war's end. Feeling pressure to fill gaps in the officer ranks with worthy NCOs, but determined to retain the high social status of the commissioned officer, the German Military Cabinet created this much resented rank in September of 1887.  It was mercifully abolished in September 1919.

2  Wachtmeister (Vizewachtmeister):  The same rank as Feldwebel (Vizefeldwebel) serving in cavalry, field  artillery or supply units.

3  Fähnrich:  The officer candidate wore the uniform of an Unteroffizier (corporal) but ranked senior to Vizefeldwebel upon passing candidate's exam.

4  Soldat:  The Soldat (private) was also referred to by several other names depending on the type of unit:

       infantry regiments:  Infanterist (infantryman), J
äger (chasseur, light infantryman),
                                   Gemeiner (foot soldier), Sch
ütze (rifleman), Grenadier (grenadier),
üsilier (fusilier, rifleman), Musketier (rifleman, musketeer)

       cavalry regiments:   K
ürassier (cuirassier), Dragoner (dragoon), Husar (hussar),
                                    Ulan (uhlan, lancer)

       artillery regiments:   Kanonier (gunner)
       air support:              Flieger (airman)