Not to be confused with the OF6 “Generalstabsarzt” of the Austria-Hungary Common Army equivalen to "Major general", and the more senior “Generalstabsarzt” of the German Bundeswehr (equivalent ”Generalmajor” OF7), or “Generalstabsarzt” of the Wehrmacht (equivalent to ”Generalleutnant”, also OF7).

Generalstabsarzt and Admiralstabsarzt are in German armed forces the rank designations of the second highest grad of the generals rank group.

Rank insignia German medical service ranks
Rank group Commissioned officers
Navy AdmStArzt (ASA)
Army / Air Force GenStArzt (GSA)
US Army/Airn ForceAssistant Surgeon General
US NavyDeputy Surgeon General



Generalstabsarzt and Admiralstabsarzt are the second highest general ranks of the Joint Medical Service or the military medical area of the Bundeswehr.

Normally the Bundeswehr Surgeon General of the medical service (de: Inspekteur des Sanitätsdienstes) might be assigned.

Equivalent to that two-star ranks (NATO-Rangcode OF-7) are Generalmajor (en: Major general) of the German Army or German Air Force, and the Konteradmiral (en: Rear admiral) of the German Navy.


The manner of formal addressing of military surgeons with the rank Generalarzt (OF6, one-star), Generalstabsarzt (OF7, two stars) or Generaloberstabsarzt is, „Herr/Frau Generalarzt“. At the other hand, military surgeons with the rank Admiralarzt (OF6, one-star), Admiralstabsarzt (OF7, two stars) or Admiraloberstabsarzt is, „Herr/Frau Admiralarzt“.

Rank insignias

On the shoulder straps (Heer, Luftwaffe) there are two golden stars in golden oak leaves and the career insignia (de: Laufbahnabzeichen) as symbol of the medical standing, or course of studies. Regarding the Marine, the career insignia is in the middle of both sleeves, tree cm above the cuff strips, and on the shoulder straps between strips and button.

junior Rank

German medical officer rank
senior Rank


Generalstabsarzt D.M. Grimm, here Major general of the Medical Corps, wood-engraving ca. 1885.

Wehrmacht 1933 – 1945

Generalstabsarzt, Generlstabsveterinär, and Admiralstabsarzt were the second highest general ranks (OF7) of the military medical service of the German Wehrmacht from 1933 until 1945. Equivalent to these ranks were Generalmajor of Heer and Luftwaffe, Vizeadmiral of the Kriegsmarine, and SS-Gruppenführer and Generalmajor of the Waffen-SS.

The sequence of ranks was:

Rank insignias Generalstabsarzt Heer/Luftwaffe
Rank insignias (dress and service uniform)
Epaulette GenStArzt
(as GenOStArzt with 1 star)
Epaulette GenStVet
(as GenOStVet with 1 star)
Arabesque Lw
Epaulette Lw

The equivalent to Generalstabsarzt of the Wehrmacht was the Admiralstabsarzt of the Kriegsmarine.

Shoulder strap & cuff stripes like Vizeadmiral,

However, additionally with Caduceus

Ranks Wehrmacht until 1945[1]
Medical service en Equivalent Heer en
Generaloberstabsarzt Senior Staff-Surgeon General General der Waffengattung General ... OF8
Generalstabsarzt Staff-Surgeon General Generalleutnant Lieutenant general OF7
Generalarzt Surgeon General Generalmajor Major general OF6
Oberstarzt Colonel (Dr.) Oberst Colonel OF5
Oberfeldarzt Lieutenant colonel (Dr.) Oberstleutnant Lieutenant colonel OF4
Oberstabsarzt Major (Dr.)
Stabsarzt Captain (Dr.) Hauptmann Captain OF2
Oberarzt First lieutenant (Dr.) Oberleutnant First lieutenant OF1a
Assistenzarzt Second lieutenant (Dr.) Leutnant Second lieutenant OF1b
Unterarzt Oberfähnrich (Dr.) Oberfähnrich Officer Aspirant OR7[2]

Germany before 1933

In Prussia and Bavaria Generalstabsarzt der Armee (en: Surgeon General of the Army) was an appointment and the official title of the Chief of the entire military medical service. Officers, assigned to that particular staff position, could rise in ranks op to Generalleutnant (OF7).

In the first instance the Generalstabsarzt of the Prussian Army could be promoted to the Oberst OF5-rank. Since 1856 he could rise to Generalmajor, and since 1873 to Generalleutnant. At the same time the Generalstabsarzt was Chief of the Medical department of the Prussian Ministry of War, and Chief of the Medical corps. He was also superior to the Generalarzt.

Equivalent authority, mandate and competence was with the Generalstabsarzt of the Imperial German Navy. He was also Chief of the Medical division in the German Imperial Naval Office, and Chief of the Navy´s Medical corps.


k.k. GenStArzt Felix Ritter von Kraus, 1864.

In the Austria-Hungarian Heer there were two regular Generalstabsarzt staff positions established. One Generalstabsarzt was Chie of the Medical division of the Reichskriegsministerium and Chief of the military surgeon officer corps. The second Generalstabsarzt was Praeses of the Military medical committee. That particular rank was comparable to the Generalmajor OF6-rank (Major general).

In some cases a Surgen General of a Generalkommando (en: Army corps or Corps — XXX —) could be promoted to the rank of Generalstabsarzt.

Officers with that rank

Ranks k.u.k. Army until 1918
Medical service en Equivalent Heer en
Generalstabsarzt Staff-Surgeon General Generalmajor Major general OF6
Oberstabsarzt I. Klasse Colonel (Dr. 1st class) Oberst Colonel OF5
Oberstabsarzt II. Klasse Lieutenant colonel (Dr. 2nd class) Oberstleutnant Lieutenant colonel OF4
Stabsarzt Major (Dr.)
Regimentsarzt I. Klasse Captain (Dr. 1st class) Hauptmann Captain OF2
Regimentsarzt II. Klasse Captain (Dr. 2nd class)
Oberarzt First lieutenant (Dr.) Oberleutnant First lieutenant OF1a
Assistenzarzt Secon lieutenant (Dr.) Leutnant Second lieutenant OF1b

Relevant literature


  1. F. Altrichter: “The reserve officer”, fourteenth checked addition, Berlin 1941, pages 158-159. (Original title: F. Altrichter: „Der Reserveoffizier“, vierzehnte durchgesehene Auflage, Berlin 1941, Seiten 158-159.)
  2. The abbreviation "OR" stands for "Other Ranks / fr: sous-officiers et militaires du rang / ru:другие ранги, кроме офицероф"
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