This article is about the German Marine “Kapitänleutnant” OF-2. For the equivalent US naval rank, see Lieutenant (navy). For the equivalent Croatian and Slovenian naval rank, see Linienschiffsleutnant.
shoulder board / cuff title / mounting loop
Rank insignia German officer rank
Introduction 1993
Rank group Commissioned officers
Army / Air Force Hauptmann
NavyLieutenant (navy)

Kapitänleutnant, short: KptLt / in lists: KL, (Lang-en: Captain lieutenant) is an officer grade of the captains military hierarchy group (German: Hauptleute) of German Bundeswehr. The rank is rated OF-2[1] in NATO, and equivalent to Hauptmann in Heer, and Luftwaffe. It is grade A11 or A12 in the pay rules of the Federal Ministry of Defence.


The official manner, in line to ZDv 10/8, of formal addressing of military people with the rank Kapitänleutnant (OF-2) is “Herr/Frau Kapitänleutnant“. However, as to German traditions and in line to seamen´s language the abbreviation of the title to "Herr/Frau Kaleu" (contemporary usage) is used in verbal communication. The commander (line officer) of the Type VIIC U-boat U96 in the film Das Boot was of this rank, and called "Herr Kaleun" (historical usage) by his crew.

Rank and assignmant

The U.S. Navy's rank of Lieutenant (navy) is equal to Kapitänleutnant in NATO's military hierarchy (classed as OF-2). However German Navy Kapitänleutnant might be assigned to the so-called “line officer career” (de: Truppendienstlaufbahn or Truppendienstoffizier) or “officer specialist career” (de: Fachdienstlaufbahn or Fachdienstoffizier, officially: Offizier des militärfachlichen Dienstes).

Its rank insignia, worn on the sleeves and shoulders, are one golden five-pointed star above two golden stripes with one half stripes between them (without the star when rank loops are worn).

See also

Line Officer career

A Kapitänleutnant (line officer) may command smaller ships (e.g. submarines class 206A, minehunter class 332) or serve as principal warfare officer on larger warships, giving the rank responsibilities more along those of a Lieutenant commander in the U.S or Royal navies.

junior Rank
Oberleutnant zur See

German Navy officer rank
(Line officer career)
senior Rank
(Line officer grad)

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

Officer Specialist career

Kapitänleutnant might be a senior officer specialist rank, comparable to US warrant officer, however, junior to Stabskapitänleutnant. Military people of the “line officer career” skip over the rank Stabskapitänleutnant, by regular promotion from Kapitänleutnant (OF-2) to Korvettenkapitän (OF-3).

junior rank
Oberleutnant zur See

German Navy officer rank
(Warrant officer career)'
senior rank

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


  1. STANAG 2116
  2. The abbreviation "OF" stands for de: "Offizier / en: officer / fr: officier / ru: офицер"
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