Soldat (rank)

Soldat ([zɔlˈdaːt] short: S, plural Soldaten) refers to the lowest rank of enlisted men in the land-based armed forces of Germany, Austria and Switzerland. It is usually grouped as OR-1 within the NATO ranking system, excluding the Swiss armed services which is not part of NATO.[1]


Heer and Luftwaffe shoulder insignia
Country Germany
Service branch German Army
 German Air Force
RankGerman enlisted rank
NATO rankOR-1
Non-NATO rankE-1
Next higher rankGefreiter
Next lower rankNone
Equivalent ranksMatrose

The German term Soldat (equivalent to Soldier in English) has its roots as far back as the 16th-century, where it was a common designation for a paid or remunerated ordinary-rank member of a military infantry, especially one who was not an officer. In the German language Sold implies "pay", and as such the term Soldat designated a person in pay (being paid) for providing armed service.

In the Federal armed forces of Germany (Bundeswehr) it can be the collective term to any person in uniform, e.g. Officers (de: Offiziere), Non-Commissioned Officers (de: Unteroffiziere), and enlisted men (de: Mannschaften).

In the Bundeswehr it is used to describe conscripts (de: Wehrpflichtiger), short/long term serving volunteers (de: Zeitsoldat, or Soldat auf Zeit), and career or regular servicemen (de: Berufssoldat).[2]

It is grade A3 in the pay rules of the Federal Ministry of Defence.

The sequence of ranks (top-down approach) in that particular group is as follows:

Preceded by
junior rank

(German enlisted rank)
Succeeded by
senior rank


The designation of the particular OR1-rank depens in line to the Zentraler Dienstvorschrift 14/5 on the individual career of the soldier and membership to the service branch Heer, Luftwaffe or Bundeswehr medical service. E.g., the unique OR1-rank designation in the Marine is Matrose, and Sanitätssoldat in the Bundeswehr medical service. Other OR1-designations are descript in the table below.

Abbrev.[3]Carrier grout (e.g.[4])
FunkerFusoldiers of the lowest OR1-rank
  • in the Bundeswehr Signal Corps, not involved to units of tactical combat forces like Bundeswehr Armoured Corps
  • of the Heer (Bundeswehr) in stationary Bundeswehr communications centers
  • in signal units of the Electronic Warfare
  • in units of the Operational Communications
GrenadierGrenany person in uniform of the Heer (Bundeswehr) in the lowest OR1-rank Wachbataillon beim Bundesministerium der Verteidigung since 1991 (until 1991 Jäger)
JägerJgsoldiers of the lowest OR1-rank in the units of Jägertruppe, Fallschirmjägertruppe and Gebirgsjägertruppe
KanonierKansoldier of the lowest OR1-rank
  • of the Bundeswehr unit of the Artillery Corps (exempted Panzerhaubitze)
  • in the Flugabwehrraketengeschwader 1 of the Luftwaffe (Bundewehr)
  • of the Bundeswehr Geo-Information Service belonging to the Heer (Bundeswehr)
MatroseMatrPerson in uniform of the lowest OR1-rank of the German Navy
PanzerfunkerPzFu soldiers of the lowest OR1-rank of signal troops, integrated to units of the Bundeswehr Armoured Corps
PanzergrenadierPzGren, PG
  • soldier of the lowest OR1-rank of units of the Bundeswehr Panzergrenadiertruppe (en: Motorised infantry)
  • Panzergrenadier is also the collective name to all persons in uniform of the Bundeswehr Panzergrenadiertruppe
PanzerjägerPzJg This OR1-rank was deleted in line to the abolishment of the Bundeswehr Panzerjägertruppe (en: Anti-tank troops) until 2006.
  • from 1955 to 2006 it was the lowest OR1-rank of the Panzerjägertruppe
  • Panzergrjäger was also the collective name to all persons in uniform of the Panzerjägertruppe
PanzerkanonierPzKan soldier of the lowest OR1-rank of Bundeswehr artillery corps batteries, equipped with armored self-propelled howitzers (de: Panzerhaubitze)
  • soldier of the lowest OR1-rank of Bundeswehr Panzerpionier units (en: Armored engineer)
  • Panzerpionier is also the collective name to all persons in uniform of the Bundeswehr Panzerpionier companies / Panzerpionier battalions
PanzerschützePzSchtz soldier of the lowest OR1-rank of units of the Bundeswehr Panzertruppe (en: Armoured corps)
  • soldier of the lowest OR1-rank of Bundeswehr Pioniertruppe (en: Combat engineering), with exemption of the armored engineer companies / armored engineer battalions
  • Pionier is also the collective name to all persons in uniform of the Bundeswehr Pioniertruppe
  • soldier of the lowest OR1-rank of Joint Medical Service (Germany) and medical service Heer (Bundeswehr)
  • Sanitätssoldat is also the collective name to all persons in uniform in the Sanitätsdienst der Bundeswehr (en: Bundeswehr Medical Service)
SchützeSchtz Normally any military person in uniform, serving in Heer (Bundeswehr), that do not belong to the above-mentioned OR1-ranks.

See also


  1. Official Website (Bundeswehr): Dienstgrade und Uniformen der Bundeswehr (Service Ranks and Uniforms of the German Federal Defence Forces), in German.
  2. BROCKHAUS, The encyclopedia in 24 volumes (1796–2001), Volume 20: 3-7653-3680-7, page 396; definition «Soldat».
  3. In lists indicated always „S“
  4. The carrier enlisted art to be understood as an example. There are several exemptions. Moreover, the rank designations described may be used in other service branches as well.
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