General admiral was a Danish, Dutch, German, Russian, Portuguese,
Spanish and Swedish naval rank. Its historic origin is a title high
military or naval dignitaries of early modern Europe sometimes held,
for example the (nominal) commander-in-chief of the Dutch Republic's
navy (usually the Prince of Orange).
1 Nazi Germany
2 Russian Empire
3 Kingdom of Spain
4 Kingdom of Portugal
5 Kingdom of Sweden
6 In fiction
Main article: Uniforms and insignia of the Kriegsmarine
§ Commissioned Officer ranks
World War II
World War II Kriegsmarine
In the German
Kriegsmarine of the Second World War, Generaladmiral was
a rank senior to an Admiral, but junior to a Großadmiral.
Generaladmiral was a four-star admiral rank, equivalent to a full
admiral in the British and American navies. In the traditional German
ranking system until World War II, an admiral was equivalent to a
British or American vice admiral.
The sleeve insignia for a Generaladmiral was the same as that of a
regular admiral, being a thick rank stripe below three regular stripes
(Kolbenringe in German naval parlance). Generaladmirals wore a third
pip on their shoulder boards to differentiate them from regular
admirals. The German Army and Air Force equivalent of Generaladmiral
was the rank colonel general (Generaloberst).
In 1943, a directive was issued that should the Oberbefehlshaber der
Kriegsmarine ("commander of the navy") hold the rank of
Generaladmiral, he would wear the sleeve insignia of a grand admiral,
but the shoulder boards of a Generaladmiral.
A similar practice was used in the German Army, allowing colonel
generals to wear four pips on the shoulder board when engaged in
duties befitting a field marshal.
⇒ see main article Ranks of the Kriegsmarine
The rank of Generaladmiral was first given to the future grand admiral
Erich Raeder on 20 April 1936.
Other holders of the rank were:
Conrad Albrecht (1 April 1939)
Alfred Saalwächter (1 January 1940)
Rolf Carls (19 July 1940)
Hermann Boehm (1 April 1941)
Karl Witzell (1 April 1941)
Otto Schultze (31 August 1942)
Wilhelm Marschall (1 February 1943)
Otto Schniewind (1 March 1944)
Walter Warzecha (1 March 1944)
Oskar Kummetz (16 September 1944)
Hans-Georg von Friedeburg
Hans-Georg von Friedeburg (1 May 1945)
Karl Dönitz was promoted to grand admiral without becoming a
Rank insignia 1904 -1917
General-admiral (Russian: Генера́л-адмира́л) was the
highest rank of the
Imperial Russian Navy
Imperial Russian Navy as established by the Table
of Ranks and equivalent to field marshal. This was purely an honorific
rank and for much of its existence, it was awarded only to a person on
active duty, usually for the head of the naval department, and
typically a descendant of the
Romanov royal family.
There were only nine holders of this rank:
Franz Lefort (1695)
Count Fedor Golovin (first Russian chancellor) (1700)
Fyodor Matveyevich Apraksin
Fyodor Matveyevich Apraksin (1708)
Andrei Ivanovich Osterman
Andrei Ivanovich Osterman (Heinrich Johann Friedrich Ostermann)
(1740; dismissed 1741)
Prince Mikhail Golitsyn (1756)
Grand Duke (Emperor since 1796 ) Pavel Petrovich (1762)
Ivan Chernyshyov (1796)
Grand Duke Constantine Nikolayevich (1831).
Grand Duke Alexei Alexandrovich (1883).
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (June
The general admiral rank was abolished with the fall of the Empire and
was not revived when rank distinctions were reintroduced during
1935-40. The rank of admiral of the fleet of the Soviet Union can be
considered as a modern equivalent.
Kingdom of Spain
Almirante general is a rank in the
Spanish Navy that is above an
admiral, but subordinate to a captain general.
Kingdom of Portugal
Almirante-general was the highest rank in the Portuguese Navy, from
1808 to 1812 and again, from 1892 to 1910. It was the naval equivalent
to the rank of marechal-general ("general field marshal") of the
The rank was initially introduced in 1808, to be assigned to the
commander-in-chief of the navy. The almirante-general had similar
functions to those of the former capitão-general da armada (captain
general of the navy) which had been extinguished in 1796 and whose
functions passed to the Board of the Admiralty. The rank was only
Infante Pedro Carlos de Bragança, being extinguished when he
died in 1812.
In 1892, the almirante-general rank was reintroduced as a mere
ceremonial rank to be held by the King of Portugal in his
constitutional function of supreme commander of the navy. As supreme
commander of the army, the king also held the ceremonial rank of
marechal-general. The last holder of the rank was King Manuel II.
Kingdom of Sweden
Generalamiral is the highest rank of admiral that has existed in the
Swedish Navy, created by Charles XI in the name of Admiral General
(Amiralgeneral). Gustav III revived the rank in 1780, and the same
year issued instructions for the General Admiral, which alone was the
King in Council's responsible for naval existence and betterment. The
rank has been held by
Henrik af Trolle
Henrik af Trolle (1780–84), Carl August
Ehrensvärd (1792–94), Johan af Puke (1812), Victor von Stedingk
Rudolf Cederström (1823–28).
"Admiral General" Aladeen from The Dictator (2012) is a parody of
leaders who appoint themselves grandiose military ranks.
^ Olsson, B.F.; Rosén, John; Westrin, Theodore, eds. (1882). Nordisk
familjebok: konversationslexikon och realencyklopedi innehållande
upplysningar och förklaringar om märkvärdiga namn, föremål och
begrepp (in Swedish). 5. Stockholm. p. 1012.