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Ranks of the National People's Army

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Ranks of the National People's Army

This article lists the Ranks and rank insignias of the National People's Army (NPA), the Army of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) from 1956 to 1990.



The design of the rank insignias followed the tradition of the German Army (Heer) with some modifications. For example, the cuff titles (chevron insignias) of the Gefreiter were replaced by shoulder straps with cross-strips like the Soviet rank.

Shoulder strap rank insignias

Commissioned officer ranks up to Oberst featured four-pointed golden stars in increasing number according to seniority, and arranged following the Soviet pattern.

Junior officer (lieutenant and captain ranks) shoulder straps were made of silver satin string (German: Silberplattschnur). Unterleutnant had a single golden star, Leutnant two side-by-side stars, and Oberleutnant three stars in a triangle. Hauptmann rank had a fourth star above the triangular formation.

Senior officer shoulder straps were twisted silver cords, with one star for Major had a single star, Oberstleutnant two stars, and Oberst three stars, again arranged following the Soviet example.

Generals wore twisted golden and silver cords with five-pointed stars numbering from one (Generalmajor) to four (Armeegeneral).

Ground forces, Air force, and Border troops

Remark: The different colours represent the appropriate service, branch, branch of service, or special troop.


While the sleeve ranks of the Volksmarine officers were of the style used by the Soviet Navy, all shoulder board insignia used were German in origin, with the star arrangement for officers based on the Soviet rank insignia.

Commissioned officers

Unlike most Warsaw pact navies, the People's Navy also used staff corps insignia on the sleeve.


Ranks of the National People's Army Wikipedia

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