The Kreigsmarine



Admiral Officer

Rank Insignia





The German armed forces in World War Two indicated Naval Admiral Officer on traditional blue reefer tunics with sleeve stripes much as the rest of the world’s navies do.  However, there also existed a field gray uniform which displayed rank similar to the land based forces via insignia located on the shoulder and collar.  The shoulderboards in similar fashion to the Army, Luftwaffe and Waffen SS began with a base pattern of intertwined gold and silver cording which, un-adorned with rank pips, designated the lowest Admiral officer rank of Konteradmiral (equivalent to Rear Admiral in the U.S./British forces).  From this base board pips were added consecutively as the rank increased up to a maximum of three pips for the rank of Generaladmiral (Admiral equivalent).  Above that was Grossadmiral, which is equivalent to Fleet Admiral, and was indicated by crossed batons in the fashion of the field marshals.  Note: the basic branch color underlay for Admirals was dark blue.  However, a white underlay was also used for shoulderboards used with the summer white uniform, and a light, cornflower blue underlay was used for Admirals of the Coastal Artillery land based units when they wore the field gray uniforms.





Gold bullion cording with silver inner cord over dark blue underlay, no rank pips. 






Gold celleon cording with aluminum inner cord over dark blue underlay, single rank pip. 






Gold bullion cording with silver inner cord over dark blue underlay, two rank pips. 




General Admiral

Gold bullion cording with silver inner cord over dark blue underlay, three rank pips. 

(Bob Hritz collection)





Grand Admiral (Grossadmiral)

Gold bullion cording with silver inner cord over blue underlay, with highly detailed silver crossed Grand Admiral batons.  These were also issued with all three cords in gold, as with the Heer and Luftwaffe Generalfeldmarschall shoulderboards.

(private collection)





Collar Tabs


The Kriegsmarine, much like the Heer, chose to identify Admiral officer rank on the field gray uniform with a standardized collar tab that indicated the wearer was an Admiral.  Unlike the Heer, which eventually had a separate collar tab to identify the rank of field marshal, the Kriegsmarine had no unique tab designated for Grossadmiral.  Typically the rank tabs were on a cornflower blue base cloth, though field gray was also known to have been used as a backing color, and darker shades of blue have been observed.  These collar tabs were worn with the field gray Naval uniforms, which were worn by land based units such as Coastal Artillery.



admiraltab resized

Konteradmiral through Generaladmiral of Coastal Artillery

Gold bullion or celleon embroidered collar tab over blue underlay.




Sleeve Rank Insignia


The Kriegsmarine, as with the navies of many other nations also chose to identify Admiral rank on the blue uniform with a series of sleeve rank stripes that indicated the progressive ranks of Admiral. 




konteradmiral sleeve


A single large, wide basic admiral’s stripe with a single smaller stripe above.


vizeadmiral sleeve


A single large, wide basic admiral’s stripe with two smaller stripes above.


donitz sleeve


A single large, wide basic admiral’s stripe with four smaller stripes above.


I am looking for contributions of original examples of Kriegsmarine Admiral rank insignia for the completion of this page.  In particular I am always looking for examples of Generaladmiral or Grossadmiral shoulderboards and Admiral sleeve rank.  Please visit the submit photography page if you have something you’d like to contribute.