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We Need Help with Ranks


Jason_Williams
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Jason_Williams

Everyone,

 

We need help identifying all relevant ranks of Soviet and German pilots during the war.

 

We also need to know the general policies or actions or awards that led to advancement in rank. Please give a BRIEF explanation.

 

Also, we know that the Soviet system changed it's ranks in 1943. If anyone has good info on this re-alignment let us know below.

 

We want to get this right so your help is appreciated.

 

Jason, Han and Sneaksie

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I./ZG1_Panzerbar

 

 

Also, we know that the Soviet system changed it's ranks in 1943

Jason - it didnt changed dramatically. In early 1943, only some highest officers/generals ranks were added.

 

Comissars were transferred to army in late 1942 (from 9 october), and their ranks were changed to usual Army ranks.

 

Младший политрук (Mladshiy politruk) - Leytenant (l-t)

Политрук (Politruk) - Starshiy Leytenant (st. l-t.)

Старший политрук (Starshiy politruk)  - Kapitan (k-n)

Батальонный комиссар (Bataljonny komissar) - Podpolkovnik (p/p-k)

Старший батальонный комиссар (Starshiy bataljonny komissar) - Polkovnik (p-k)

 

In general, Old generation (pre-war training) pilots were leitenants, but from 1941 all schools produced only sergeants. So, for first part of a war, novice pilot would be sergant (s-t). Next step - Starshiy sergant (st. s-t).

 

As for promotions - there were not any "general" sistem. Too much were depended on relations with command of regiment, behaviour and charachter of a pilot. For example:

I. Kozhedub, top Allied ace:

 

сержант (февраль 1941),

старший сержант (23.02.1942),

младший лейтенант (15.05.1943), приказом № 0291 по Воронежскому фронту

лейтенант (5.08.1943),

старший лейтенант (10.11.1943),

капитан (24.04.1944),

майор (19.11.1944),

 

Top scorer and brilliant ace was (at the end of war) only a XO of 176 giap.  In Luftwaffe, Major was Gruppenkomandeur or even Geschwaderkommodore!

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First off, one thing that needs to go is having the exact same number of ranks for each nation. In some cases in ROF it results in nations having more ranks available than existed in reality (e.g., enlisted pilots for the US).

 

For the German side, something like this could work:

  • Gefreiter
  • Obergefreiter
  • Unteroffizier
  • Feldwebel
  • Oberfeldwebel
  • Leutnant
  • Oberleutnant
  • Hauptmann
  • Major

Note that Stabsfeldwebel is not there by design. This was mainly a non-flying, staff noncommissioned officer (NCO) position designed for those who had enlisted for a career in the military. Pilots could be and were promoted directly from Oberfeldwebel to Leutnant (such as Alfred Grislawski). 

 

Now, if nine ranks is too much, one could trim out the less-common Gefreiter ranks and still have a representative rank system:

  • Unteroffizier
  • Feldwebel
  • Oberfeldwebel
  • Leutnant
  • Oberleutnant
  • Hauptmann
  • Major

On the Soviet side, I think one could go with this and be alright, based on what I've read in Black Cross / Red Star (using English translations):

  • Sergeant
  • Senior Sergeant
  • Junior Lieutenant
  • Lieutenant
  • Senior Lieutenant
  • Captain
  • Major

A nice side benefit is that, if there must be an exact number of ranks on each side, then this scheme fits that requirement.

Edited by LukeFF
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On the Soviet side, I think one could go with this and be alright, based on what I've read in Black Cross / Red Star (using English translations):

  • Sergeant
  • Senior Sergeant
  • Junior Lieutenant
  • Lieutenant
  • Senior Lieutenant
  • Captain
  • Major

A nice side benefit is that, if there must be an exact number of ranks on each side, then this scheme fits that requirement.

 

Note that if soviet pilot would graduate of Flying School after 6 jan. 1943 - he had first rank "Junior Lieutenant" (in special cases, if pilots finished Flying School with highest grades - they might got rank "Lieutenant")

There was special Stalin's order for that. With same order rank insignia were changed (but no ranks) and shoulder straps get entered in service.

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  • 4 weeks later...
I speak about luftwaffe, after a lot of researches I find there are not regular criteria about ranks, instead they are give by a sort of influence or reccomendations. Strange thing was that in flight it happened leutnant were commanding over hauptman but once landed all returned regular. However these are the ranks, it is important to distinguish between officers and NCOs, these are often confused but these (also in our days) are very different careers 

 

Non commissioned officers

-Unteroffizier

-Unterfeldwebel

-Feldwebel

-Oberfeldwebel

-Stabsfeldwebel

 

Officers - from equivalent accademy ranks

-Fahnenjunker - same level as Unteroffizier

-Fähnrich - same level as Unterfeldwebel

-Oberfähnrich - same level as Oberfeldwebel

-Leutnant

-Oberleutnant

-Hauptmann

-Major

-Oberstleutnant

-Oberst

-Generalmajor

-Generalleutnant - Adolf Galland was a Generalleutnant and was flying until the end of the war (ok political reasons but it was not alone, also Rudel was an active Oberst)

 

Who was a cadet should wear officer ranks (I.E. Hans-Joachim Marseille never be a feldwebel instead was an Oberfähnrich)

Vice versa NCOs very hardly can access to Officer ranks even if it happened.

 

IMHO ranks in career mode should use officer ranks starting from Fähnrich or from Leutnant. Also IMHO some squad mates can be NCOs but they should remain NCOs, it means they never be promoted over Stabsfeldwebel, a sort of "Master Sergeant"

Edited by Ansirial
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Stabsfeldwebel and Unterfeldwebel should not be part of the rank system. The former was mainly a staff administrative position for those who signed up for a military career, and the latter was reserved for those who were deemed not yet ready for promotion to Feldwebel. As such, it was not uncommon for NCOs to promote directly from Unteroffizier to Feldwebel - not to mention, very few pilots of the time ever held the rank of Unterfeldwebel.

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  • 1 month later...

 

 Strange thing was that in flight it happened leutnant were commanding over hauptman but once landed all returned regular.
 

 

That is SOP in many air forces, the flight leader is usually the pilot with the most combat experience and/or experience on that part of the front, who is not necessarily the pilot with the highest rank. The USAF did the same thing in Vietnam and so did, as I recall, the Israeli Air Force.

Edited by Sgt_Joch
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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi guys,

 

 I made some researches through the years, here's what I found :

 

The German rank system was not linear and depends also on the fact that if you 're enlisted for the war or enlisted as a professional (12 years contract).

 

To become NCO (Unteroffizier), as an Flieger or Gefreiter, you should succeed the NCO's exam. If not, you could be only promoted at maximum to Obergefreiter/Stabsgefreiter over time.

If you managed the NCO's exam, you will be promoted to Unteroffizier. After that, it depends on your capabilities and time of service :

 

In the case of "pilots", we could think that most were clever enough to succeed the NCO's exam during flying school or after (That I don't know). I have reports that somes pilots were "only" Gefreiter on the front, but I don't know if they have failed the NCO's exam or been killed before passing it ?

 

ENLISTED :
 

- Stabsgefreiter = For meritious personnal but who cannot succeed the NCO's exam, mostly a "dead-end" rank.



NCO

 

- Unteroffizier = After succeed to the NCO's exam. They served as Wingman in the Luftwaffe.

- Unterfeldwebel = For meritious personnal but who failed becoming a proper Rottenführer (Section leader - 2 aircrafts ) after 4 years as Uffz. Mostly a "dead-end" rank.
 

- Feldwebel = For an Uffz or an Ufw who become a proper Rottenführer.

- Oberfeldwebel = After 3 months as a Feldwebel and Rotteführer.

- Stabsfeldwebel = Reserved rank for senior NCOs who signed for a 12 years contract or WW1 veterans who reenlisted. It was not an administrative job (see Hauptfeldwebel below). ;)

 

- Hauptfeldwebel = During WW2, was not a rank, but a position in the unit (as XO or CO). An Unterfelwebel or a Stabsfeldwebel could be Hauptfeldwebel. It was an administrative job, it's surname was the "Spear".

It could be flying or non-flying personnal, that I don't know.

 

OFFICERS:

 

NCO could become officers depending on the needs of the Luftwaffe and losses during the war. The way you become an officer depends on your initial status :

 

-In the case of a young civilian "Bachelor", an enlisted or an young NCO => You will go to an "Officier School" and also be tested on the front during your formation.

 

-In the case of an senior NCO (Fw / Ofw / Sfw) who desmonstrated his squad leader skills (Schwarmführer / 4 aircrafts section), you can be promoted to Fahnenjunker-"X" rank for some months on the front, before being promoted to Leutnant's rank.

 

- Fahnenjunker / Fahnjunker-Unteroffizier = After 10 months of NCO training for an civilian or former enlisted, then sent to the front during 2/3 months for testing his NCO leader capabilities.

- Fähnrich / Fahnjunker-Feldwebel * = At mid-time Officer training (4 months)
- Oberfähnrich = After succeeding all officer's exams.

 

* Fahnjunker-Oberfeldwebel - Fahnjunker-Oberfeldwebel = if you are already an Ofw or Sfw.

 

- Leutnant = After 2 months on the front as an Oberfähnrich.

 

----------------------------------------------

So a NCO/Officer logical career with 7 ranks would be :

 

01 -Unteroffizier

02 -Feldwebel

03 -Oberfeldwebel

04 -Fahnenjunker-Oberfeldwebel

05 -Leutnant

06 -Oberleutnant

07 -Hauptmann


An Officer "only" logical career with 7 ranks would be :

 

01 - Oberfähnrich

02 - Leutnant

03 - Oberleutnant

04 - Hauptmann

05 - Major

06 - Oberstleutnant

07 - Oberst

 

Hope it helps... :salute:

Edited by F/JG300_Egon
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Good stuff, Egon. :) The only thing I can add is that sometimes (probably in exceptional cases), NCOs could be promoted directly to the officer ranks. That's what happened with Alfred Grislawski (he went straight from Oberfeldwebel to Leutnant due to his success at the front).


 

 

So a NCO/Officer logical career with 7 ranks would be :   01 -Unteroffizier 02 -Feldwebel 03 -Oberfeldwebel 04 -Fahnenjunker-Oberfeldwebel 05 -Leutnant 06 -Oberleutnant 07 -Hauptmann

 

IMO, this would be the best way to go, especially since the game simulates things at the squadron / staffel level. 

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  • 1 month later...

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