Stabsgefreiter (abbr. StGefr, on lits SG) is the second highest rank of enlisted men of the German Bundeswehr,[1] that might be comparable to specialist (OR-4b) in Anglophone armed forces.[2]

rank insignia field- and battle dress
Heer shoulder and Marine sleeve insignia
Country Germany
Service branch German Army
 German Navy
 German Air Force
RankGerman enlisted rank
NATO rankOR-4
Non-NATO rankE-4
Next higher rankOberstabsgefreiter
Next lower rankHauptgefreiter


In the 19th century's German Army (de: Heer) the OR2-rank Gefreiter (plural: Gefreite), always belonged to the rank group of enlisted men (below noncommissioned (NCO) level). However, during training and fatigue duty "Gefreite" were competent, authorized, and tasked to act on behalf of NCOs. So "Gefreite" became the first superior of buck privates. Nevertheless, until 1853 there were no special rank insignia to "Gefreiter". Certainly the Vice-Unteroffizier (= Deputy-Unteroffizier; en: deputy sergeant) wore from 1811–1853 the NCO portepee (en: sword-knot).

In 1846 the rank Obergefreiter (OR3; en: 1st/Senior gefreiter) was newly introduced. This rank was characterised by the so-called sergeant's button on the collar and the NCO portepee on the sword. From 1853–1919 promotion to "Obergefreiter" was suspended with the exception of the "Fussartillerie" (en: foot-artillery).

In the early German Reichswehr the ranks "Gefreiter" as well as "Obergefreiter" were characterised by one identical horizontal 9mm "Tressenstreifen" (en: galloon strip) on both upper arms of the uniform jacket.

Regarding regular 12 years duty time onward 1921 the newly introduced enlisted men ranks Oberschütze (en: 1st/Senior rifle man (OR1a)) and "Stabsgefreiter" (OR3; Staff gefreiter) were characterised by cuff chevrons (angular) on the left upper arm. The sequence of enlisted men ranks was now as follows:

Final ranks to enlisted men until 1945

Heer (Army) Luftwaffe (Air Force) Kriegsmarine (Navy)
OR-1Soldat (private)Flieger (aircraftman)Matrose (seaman)
OR-3 ObergefreiterMatrosenobergefreiter
no equivalentHauptgefreiterMatrosenhauptgefreiter
OR-4 StabsgefreiterMatrosenstabsgefreiter
no equivalentMatrosenoberstabsgefreiter

National People's Army

In the GDR National People's Army the rank Stabsgefreiter was OR-3 as well and used until 1990. The equivalent of the Volksmarine was Stabsmatrose.

See also main articles


A soldier of the German Bundeswehr might be promoted from OR1 Soldat (en: private) to Stabsgefreiter OR4b after a regular service time of 36 months.

junior Rank
Hauptgefreiter (OR3a)

(German enlisted men rank)

senior Rank
Oberstabsgefreiter (OR4a)

See also


  1. BROCKHAUS, The encyclopedia in 24 volumes (1796–2001), Volume 20: 3-7653-3680-7, page 700.
  2. Official Website (Bundeswehr): Dienstgrade und Uniformen der Bundeswehr (Service Ranks and Uniforms of the German Federal Defence Forces), in German.
  3. Word and tradition in the German Army (de: Heer), by Transfeldt – v. Brand – Quenstedt, 6th increased edition, Hamburg 11 H.G. Schulz 1967, p. 48(§68).
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.