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Staff captain the English translation of a number of military ranks:

Estonia[edit | edit source]

A Staff-Captain (staabikapten in Estonian language), was an Estonian military rank in the Naval forces of Estonia, which existed between 1918 in 1922.[1]

Prussia and Russia[edit | edit source]

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staff captain (Stabskapitän, also: Stabshauptmann) is a historic military rank, used in the Prussian and Russian armies.

It ranked between the Premierleutnant (later called Oberleutnant) and Hauptmann/Rittmeister in the Prussian army, and between lieutenant and captain in the Russian army. Its holder represented the actual captain and company commander in his absence, frequently and often for long periods, should his (usually noble) Hauptmann show no interest in leading the company, though the Hauptmann would retain his rank, status and uniform.

In the army of Frederick the Great, a regiment's regimentschef, oberst, staff officers, company commanders and those of nearby rank received a far higher rank than the staff captains who actually led the company. From this difference later developed the salary difference between a first class "Hauptleute first class" and "Hauptleute second class".

In Russian military the rank counted as a lieutenant captain ("light" captain) or Senior Lieutenant who was in charge of a company-size element.

A similar rank, yliluutnantti, is in use in Finnish military ranks.

Germany[edit | edit source]

Stabshauptmann (Luftwaffe, Feldausführung)

Stabshauptmann (StHptm) meaning "Staff Captain", is the highest military rank in the Bundeswehr for specialist officers (Offiziere des Militärfachlichen Dienstes (OffzMilFD)).

Bundeswehr[edit | edit source]

Instead of being promoted to the rank of major, specialist officers that were holding the rank of Hauptmann (Captain) for a specific time are promoted to the rank of Stabshauptmann and given the salary of a Major. Sometimes regular officers are promoted to a post that is intended for a Stabshauptmann if there is no free post for a Major.[citation needed]

The badge of rank is four silver stars. It is one of the rarest ranks in the German military. The rank has no history outside the Bundeswehr[citation needed] and has been created especially for the MilFD officers.[citation needed] Those are former NCOs who have accomplished a special training programme through which they are given the opportunity to become officers. Their duties are, however, specific, similar to that of a Warrant officer in the English-speaking armies.

Junior Rank
German officer rank
Senior Rank

There is no corresponding rank for officers in Bundeswehr Joint Medical Service.[citation needed]

Deutsche Marine (Navy)[edit | edit source]


The navy equivalent is Stabskapitänleutnant (Staff Lieutenant Captain (Navy)). Its rank insignia are two medium stripes with two narrow stripes between the medium ones.

Junior Rank
German Navy officer rank
Senior Rank

Historical background outside of Bundeswehr[edit | edit source]

Historically, a rank named "Stabshauptmann" (also: "Stabskapitän") existed in several German armies in the 18th century. However, while the modern Stabshauptman is a Senior Captain senior to a regular Hauptmann, the historical Stabshauptmann was a Junior captain, ranking below Hauptmann rank. In 18th century armies companies often were "owned" by a noble man, who formally was the company's captain, but did not actually command the unit. Instead, the owner of the company appointed an officer from the company his "Stabshauptmann", who technically served as the Hauptmann's mere staff assistant, but actually led the unit in his place.[citation needed]

The reversing in ranking of "Hauptmann" and "Stabshauptmann" in modern times is consequence of the practice in modern German military organisations (Reichswehr, Wehrmacht) to name the highes rank of a rank group beginning with the prefix "Stabs-", indicating that the holder serves in staff position to officers of the next higher rank group, e.g. during World War II, the highest NCO rank in the German army was Stabsfeldwebel, who served as direct assistant to company-grade officers or in staff function. However, this is no longer represented in the Bundeswehr's post-WWII rank structure since the creation of rank levels senior to the "Stabs-" level of ranks, denoted by the prefix "Oberstabs-" ("Senior Staff-", e.g. Oberstabsfeldwebel). There are no plans to creat the rank of "Oberstabshauptmann".[citation needed]

International comparison[edit | edit source]

German pay grade of Stabshauptmann is A13, same as of Major (Hauptmann: A12). According to NATO's STANAG 2116, the NATO rank code of Stabshauptmann is OF-2, same as for regular Hauptmann and therefore equal to Captain rank in other NATO armies. To express the seniority of Stabshauptmann, "OF-2a" or other modifications of the official NATO rank code are in use unofficially.

A similar rank outside the German Bundeswehr is the primo capitano (First Captain) in the Italian military.[citation needed]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. http://www.raamatukoi.ee/cgi-bin/raamat?7619
    Estonian Naval Fortresses. Mati Õun. Page 6.

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