Grand admiral is a historic naval rank, the highest rank in the several European navies that used it. It is best known for its use in Germany as Großadmiral. A comparable rank in modern navies is that of admiral of the fleet.

Grand admirals in individual navies


Insignia of an Austrian Großadmiral
sleeve insignia
command post flag
Corps colour (Navy blue)

The Austrian grand admirals were all members of the Imperial family, except for Anton Haus, the commander of the Austro-Hungarian Navy for part of World War I:


In Bourbon Restoration France, the rank was an honorific one equivalent to that of marshal in the French Army.


Grand admiral
Generaladmiral rank flag (1939–1945)
Shoulder board and sleeve
Country German Empire
 Nazi Germany
Service branch Imperial German Navy
Rank groupFlag officer
Next lower rankGeneraladmiral
Equivalent ranksGeneralfeldmarschall

In the Imperial German Navy, and later in the Kriegsmarine, the rank Großadmiral was the equivalent of a British admiral of the fleet or a United States fleet admiral; as a five-star rank (OF-10). No German army equivalent. Its holders were authorised to carry a baton.[1]

The rank was created in 1901 and discontinued in 1945, by which time a total of eight men had been promoted to it. The next most junior rank was Generaladmiral (admiral-general).

Imperial Germany

Before and during World War I, the following were made grand admirals of the Imperial German Navy (Kaiserliche Marine):

Nazi Germany

See also: Uniforms and insignia of the Kriegsmarine § Commissioned Officer ranks

Großadmiral was the most senior rank of the Kriegsmarine, immediately senior to Generaladmiral. There were no more grand admirals until 1939. The following men were made grand admirals during the Nazi regime:


The rank of grand admiral (Italian: grand'ammiraglio) was created by Benito Mussolini in 1924. It was established primarily to honour Paolo Thaon di Revel, who had been head of the Italian Regia Marina during World War I — he was the only person to be awarded the rank. It was equivalent to marshal of Italy in the army and also marshal of the Air Force.


In 1967 the rank of Grand Admiral of Peru (Spanish: Gran Almirante del Perú) was awarded posthumously to Miguel Grau Seminario and is equivalent to the army rank of Grand Marshal of Peru.


In Sweden the rank of grand admiral was only ever awarded twice. Once to Prince Charles (XIII), whom was given the title at birth and which was used by him as the commander of the Swedish Royal Navy and once to crown prince Oscar I as a courtesy title to honour his adoptive grandfather, the late king Charles XIII.[3]


Grand Admiral (Turkish: Büyük Amiral) is nominally a rank in the Turkish Navy. It is the equivalent of the ranks of field marshal in the Army and Air Force. Since the foundation of the Republic in 1923, no person has held the rank. It is awarded by the Grand National Assembly of Turkey to persons who are holding the rank of admiral and displayed distinguished merit in wartime.

In fiction

Among the grand admirals appearing in fiction and science fiction, one notable figure is Grand Admiral Thrawn of the Star Wars science fiction franchise.[4]


  1. ^ BROCKHAUS, The encyclopedia in 24 volumes (1796–2001), Volume 9: 3-7653-3660-2, page 164; definition: «Großadmiral»
  2. ^ "Latest intelligence - The German Emperor and the King". The Times. No. 36806. London. 28 June 1902. p. 5.
  3. ^ "127-128 (Nordisk familjebok / Uggleupplagan. 27. Stockholm-Nynäs järnväg - Syrsor)". (in Swedish). 1918. Retrieved 2023-01-23.
  4. ^ Trendacosta, Katharine. "Who Is Grand Admiral Thrawn and Why Is His Appearance in Star Wars Rebels So Exciting?". io9.