Corporal - Germany


The German military had no direct equivalent to a corporal in either the Commonwealth or U.S. militaries, in terms of duties and responsibilities. Some sources identify Unteroffizier as the traditional German equivalent to corporal, and this grade has existed as a military rank since at least the 18th century. Other sources identify the lower rank of Gefreiter as being equivalent to a Corporal of other armies, though in the German military this rank conferred a higher rate of pay without any of the duties and responsibilities granted corporals in other armies (hence being more like ranks such as Private First Class).

This and the rank of Stabsgefreiter and Oberstabsgefreiter (highest ranks of Privates) are today classified by NATO as OR-4 ranks, with Unteroffizier (lowest NCO-rank) being classified as OR-5. Given the vastly different status of the rank of Corporal in the British (section commander) and American (section second-in-command) armies, identifying equivalents in the German military is largely fruitless, though the American rank system corresponds better to the overall German NCO rank system. For example: Sergeant (E-5)= Unteroffizier/Stabsunteroffizier, Staff Sergeant (E-6)= Feldwebel/Oberfeldwebel, Sergeant First Class(E-7)= Hauptfeldwebel, Master Sergeant (E-8)= Stabsfeldwebel, First Sergeant (E-8)= is a German NCO duty in Company. Ordinarily Hauptfeldwebel/Stabsfeldwebel, Sergeant Major/Command Sergeant Major (E-9) = Oberstabsfeldwebel

  • Shoulder strap of an Obergefreiter in the Bundeswehr (german army)

  • German Navy rank insignia (sleeve) Obergefreiter

  • Bundeswehr rank insignia "Unteroffizier"

In the years between 1934 and 1945 there were also the Unterscharführer a paramilitary rank as a part of the Nazi Party. (discontinued)

SS equivalent to Unteroffizier was Unterscharführer.

  • Shoulder strap

  • Gorget patches Unterschaführer of the Waffen-SS

  • Military camouflage Unterschaführer of the Waffen-SS

Read more about this topic:  Corporal

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