Oberstabsarzt (short: OStArz or OSA) is a military rank in German speaking armed force. It describes a medical staff officer surgeon or medical staff officer dentist comparable to major (de: Major) or lieutenant commander (de: Korvettenkapitän) NATO-Rangcode OF3 in anglophone armed forces.

Rank insignia German medical service ranks
Rank group Commissioned officers
Heer / Luftwaffe *Oberstabsarzt
Marine *Oberstabsarzt
short (in lists) *OStArz (OSA)
*OStApotheker (OSAP)
*OStVeterinär (OSV)



In the Joint Medical Service of the German Bundeswehr Oberstabsarzt, Oberstabsapotheker, and Oberstabsveterinär comparable in NATO to the OF-3 ranks Major, and to Korvettenkapitän.


The manner of formal addressing of military surgeons/dentists with the rank Oberstabsarzt is "Herr/Frau Oberstabsarzt", with the rank Oberstabsapotheker, "Herr/Frau Oberstabsapotheker", and veterinaries with the rank Oberstabsveterinär "Herr/Frau Oberstabsveterinär".

Rank insignias

On the shoulder straps (Heer, Luftwaffe) there is one silver star in silver oak leaves and the career insignia (de: Laufbahnabzeichen) as symbol of the medical standing, or course of studies. The piping on shoulder straps shows the Waffenfarbe (en: corps- or troop-function colour), corresponding to the appropriate military service, branch, or special force. The corps colour of the "Bundeswehr Joint Medical Service" is dark blue.

In the Marines, the career insignia is in the middle of both sleeves, 3 cm above the cuff strips, and on the shoulder straps between strips and button.

junior Rank

German medical officer rank
senior Rank


In the German Wehrmacht from 1933 until 1945 there were the OF3-ranks Oberstabsarzt, Oberstabsapotheker, and Oberstabsveterinär, comparable to the Major OF3-rank as well.

During wartime, regular assignments of Oberstabsarzt were commander of a medical company, or chief of a, field-, evacuation-, or war hospital (de. Feldlazarett / Kreislazarett). However, a field hospital could be managed by an Oberfeldarzt (OF4) as well. An Oberstabsarzt was assisted by first lieutenants (Dr.), second lieutenants (Dr.), and help surgeons (de: Ober-, Assistenz-, and Hilfsärzte).

The corps colour of the military Health Service Support (HSS) in German armed forces was traditional dark blue, and of the veterinarian service carmine red.[1] This tradition was continued by the medical service corps in Heer and Luftwaffe of the Reichswehr and Wehrmacht. However, the corps colour of the Waffen-SS HSS was “cornflower blue”.

Ranks Wehrmacht until 1945[2]
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[3]


In the Austria-Hungarian Common Army (de: Gemeinsame Armee or k.u.k. Armee) there was the OF3-rank Stabsarzt (en: Staff surgeon) until 1918, equivalent to the OF3-rank Oberstabsarzt in Germany. That particular rank was comparable to the Major OF3-rank as well.

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


  1. “War and victory 1870-71”, culture history, published by Julius von Pflugk-Harttung. (Original title: Krieg und Sieg 1870-71, Kulturgeschichte, Herausgeber Julius von Pflugk-Harttung.)
  2. 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.)
  3. The abbreviation "OR" stands for "Other Ranks / fr: sous-officiers et militaires du rang / ru:другие ранги, кроме офицероф"
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