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Admiral is a rank of the German Navy that first appeared in the 19th century and was expanded in the early 20th century as part of a build-up and mobilization in preparation for the First World War. The rank again saw a resurgence during the Second World War. There were many famous German Admirals during these formative years of German naval power, among them Otto von Diederichs, Gustav von Senden-Bibran, Georg Alexander von Müller, August von Heeringen, Alfred von Tirpitz and (later) Karl Dönitz.

The ranks of the German Admiralty were based on those from other European Powers, with some modifications in the titles and pronunciation. The German Navy also never considered Commodore a rank of the Admiralty, as this rank has always been considered more of a senior Captain.

In 1944, the ranks of the German Kriegsmarine were in order of seniority as follows, US equivalent in brackets:[1]

  1. Großadmiral (Admiral of the Navy)
  2. Generaladmiral (Admiral)
  3. Admiral (Vice Admiral)
  4. Vizeadmiral (Rear Admiral, upper half)
  5. Konteradmiral (Rear Admiral, lower half)

In the modern age, the German Navy no longer uses the ranks of General Admiral and Grand Admiral. A junior admiral rank, known as Flottillenadmiral rates below Konteradmiral and is generally considered the equivalent of a Rear Admiral (Lower Half).


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