Generalfeldmarschall

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Generalfeldmarschall, usually translated simply as General Field Marshal, and sometimes written only as Feldmarschall, was for almost 300 years a rank in the armies of several German kingdoms and states and the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation (Reichsgeneralfeldmarschall); in the Habsburg Monarchy, the rank Feldmarschall was used.

A set of German Army Field Marshal's shoulder boards, c. 1915; Prussian Marschallstäbe (right)

History

The rank Generalfeldmarschall (GFM) of the German Army was the equivalent to a Grand Admiral (German: Großadmiral) in the Imperial German Navy and in the Kriegsmarine. In the German-Prussian Army and later in the Wehrmacht, the rank had several privileges, such as elevation to nobility, equal rank with ministers of the royal cabinet, right of direct report to the monarch, and a constant escort/protection. In 1854, the rank of Colonel-General (German: Generaloberst) was created in order to promote William I, German Emperor to senior rank without breaking the rule that only wartime field commanders could receive the rank of Field Marshal for a victory in a decisive battle or the capture of a fortification or major town. In 1870 Prince Friedrich Karl of Prussia and Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm, who had commanded armies during the Franco-Prussian War, became the first Prussian princes appointed Generalfeldmarschall.

In the Heer and Luftwaffe of Germany's Wehrmacht during World War II, the rank of Generalfeldmarschall was the highest military rank until July 1940, when it was made subordinate to the even higher rank of Reichsmarschall (held solely by Hermann Göring). The rank Reichsführer-SS was situated between Generalfeldmarschall and Reichsmarschall. The rank of Generalfeldmarschall was abolished after the fall of the Third Reich.

General Field Marshals of the Wehrmacht

Heer

  1. 20 April 1936 – Werner von Blomberg (1878–1946)
  2. 19 July 1940 – Walther von Brauchitsch (1881–1948)
  3. 19 July 1940 – Wilhelm Keitel (1882–1946)
  4. 19 July 1940 – Günther von Kluge (1882–1944)
  5. 19 July 1940 – Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb (1876–1956)
  6. 19 July 1940 – Fedor von Bock (1880–1945 )
  7. 19 July 1940 – Wilhelm List (1880–1971)
  8. 19 July 1940 – Erwin von Witzleben (1881–1944),
  9. 19 July 1940 – Walter von Reichenau (1884–1942)
  10. 19 July 1940 – Gerd von Rundstedt (1875–1953)
  11. 31 October 1940 – Eduard Freiherr von Böhm-Ermolli (1856–1941)
  12. 22 June 1942 – Erwin Rommel (1891–1944)
  13. 30 June 1942 – Georg von Küchler (1881–1968)
  14. 30 June 1942 – Erich von Manstein (1887–1973)
  15. 29 January 1943 – Friedrich Paulus (1890–1957)
  16. 1 February 1943 – Ewald von Kleist (1881–1954)
  17. 1 February 1943 – Maximilian Reichsfreiherr von Weichs (1881–1954)
  18. 1 February 1943 – Ernst Bernhard Wilhelm Busch (1885–1945)
  19. 1 March 1944 – Walter Model (1891–1945)
  20. 5 April 1945 – Ferdinand Schörner (1892–1973)

Luftwaffe

  1. 4 February 1938 – Hermann Göring (1893–1946); Reichsmarschall on 19 July 1940
  2. 19 July 1940 – Albert Kesselring (1885–1960)
  3. 19 July 1940 – Erhard Milch (1892–1972)
  4. 19 July 1940 – Hugo Sperrle (1885–1953)
  5. 16 February 1943 – Wolfram Freiherr von Richthofen (1895–1945)
  6. 25 April 1945 – Robert Ritter von Greim (1892–1945)

Kriegsmarine (rank equivalent to Generalfeldmarschall)

  1. 1 April 1939 – Erich Raeder (1876–1960): Großadmiral
  2. 31 January 1943 – Karl Dönitz (1891–1980): Großadmiral

External links