Großadmiral was the most senior regular flag officer military rank in the historic naval forces of Germany and Austria-Hungary, comparable to NATO rank codes OF10, and to the five-star rank in anglophone armed forces.
It was equivalent to Generalfeldmarschall or Feldmarschall of the German army and to Grand admiral in other armed forces. As sign of the high rank and honor the Großadmiral bore the "Großadmiral´s baton" (German Großadmiralsstab).
In the Imperial German Navy, the rank Großadmiral was the equivalent of a British admiral of the fleet or a United States fleet admiral. It was created in 1901, and like field marshals its holders were authorised to carry a baton.
World War I
Before and during World War I, the following were made grand admirals of the Imperial German Navy (Kaiserliche Marine):
- Hans von Koester (28 June 1905)
- King Oscar II of Sweden (13 July 1905)
- Prince Henry of Prussia (4 September 1909)
- Alfred von Tirpitz (27 January 1911)
- Henning von Holtzendorff (31 July 1918)
World War II
There were no more grand admirals until 1939. The following were made grand admirals of the German Kriegsmarine ("war navy")
- Erich Raeder, then-Commander-in-Chief of the Kriegsmarine, was made a grand admiral on 1 April 1939
- Karl Dönitz, commander of the U-Boat fleet and was made a grand admiral on 30 January 1943 upon succeeding Raeder as Commander-in-Chief.
Anton Haus, commander of the Austro-Hungarian navy for part of World War I, was given the title of Großadmiral in 1916. No other active-duty officer (except members of the Imperial family) was ever given this rank (although Haus's immediate successor, Maximilian Njegovan, was promoted to grand admiral on the retired list in 1918).
- May 12, 1916 - Anton Haus (1851-1917)
- October 9, 1916 - Prince Henry of Prussia (1862-1929)
- November 1, 1916 - Karl Erzherzog von Österreich (1887-1922)
- February 22, 1917 - Wilhelm II König von Preußen, Deutscher Kaiser (1859-1941)
- See also