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.
Heer and Luftwaffe shoulder insignia
|Rank||German enlisted rank|
|Next higher rank||Gefreiter|
|Next lower rank||None|
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).
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:
- OR-4a: Oberstabsgefreiter
- OR-4b: Stabsgefreiter
- OR-3a: Hauptgefreiter
- OR-3b: Obergefreiter
- OR-2: Gefreiter
- OR-1: Soldat (Army, Air Force, Navy)
(German enlisted 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.||Carrier grout (e.g.)|
|Funker||Fu||soldiers of the lowest OR1-rank
|Grenadier||Gren||any person in uniform of the Heer (Bundeswehr) in the lowest OR1-rank Wachbataillon beim Bundesministerium der Verteidigung since 1991 (until 1991 Jäger)|
|Jäger||Jg||soldiers of the lowest OR1-rank in the units of Jägertruppe, Fallschirmjägertruppe and Gebirgsjägertruppe|
|Kanonier||Kan||soldier of the lowest OR1-rank
|Matrose||Matr||Person in uniform of the lowest OR1-rank of the German Navy|
|Panzerfunker||PzFu||soldiers of the lowest OR1-rank of signal troops, integrated to units of the Bundeswehr Armoured Corps|
|Panzerjäger||PzJg||This OR1-rank was deleted in line to the abolishment of the Bundeswehr Panzerjägertruppe (en: Anti-tank troops) until 2006.
|Panzerkanonier||PzKan||soldier of the lowest OR1-rank of Bundeswehr artillery corps batteries, equipped with armored self-propelled howitzers (de: Panzerhaubitze)|
|Panzerschütze||PzSchtz||soldier of the lowest OR1-rank of units of the Bundeswehr Panzertruppe (en: Armoured corps)|
|Schütze||Schtz||Normally any military person in uniform, serving in Heer (Bundeswehr), that do not belong to the above-mentioned OR1-ranks.|
- Official Website (Bundeswehr): Dienstgrade und Uniformen der Bundeswehr (Service Ranks and Uniforms of the German Federal Defence Forces), in German.
- BROCKHAUS, The encyclopedia in 24 volumes (1796–2001), Volume 20: 3-7653-3680-7, page 396; definition «Soldat».
- In lists indicated always „S“
- 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.