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War Ensign of Germany 1938-1945.svg BtsmMaat Kriegsmarine
Kriegsmarine collar Bootsmannmaat.svg
Kriegsmarine sleeve Bootsmannmaat.svg
collar / cuff title
Rank insignia German NCO rank
Used 1933 – 1845
Rank group Non-commissioned officers
Navy Bootsmannsammat
Army / Air Force Unteroffizier
Army Sergeant
Air Force Staff Sergeant

Bootsmannsmaat, short BtsmMaat/BMT (en Boatswain`s mate),[1] was in the Austro-Hungarian Navy (1786-1918) so-called enlisted rang (OR4) and in the Imperial German Navy a non-commissioned officer (NCO) OR5-rank. The Bootsmannsmaat is equivalent to the Unteroffizier / Unterfeldwebel of the German Bundeswehr. They belong to the rank group “NCOs without portepee”.[2]

Beside Austria and Russia the German Empire introduced the Bootsmannsmaat (in connection with the rank Maat and the assignment – leader of a subunit) as lowest grade of the rank grop “NCOs without portepee of the Imperial German Navy. In the Weimarer Republik and the Kriegsmarine of the Third Reich the rank was retained.

The Bootsmannsmaat was equivalent to the Unteroffizier in Heer und Luftwaffe.

Regarding the particular career or assignment the sequence of ranks (both of them OR5 / second mates) and the grade description was established as follows:

  • for Maate (en: mates)Bootsmannsmaat (en: boatswain`s mate), Feuerwerksmaat (en: firework`s mate), Maschinistenmaat (en: engineman`s mate), or Steuermannsmaat (en: steersman`s mate)
  • for Obermaate (en: senior mates) – Oberbootsmannsmaat (en: senior boatswain`s mate), Oberfeuerwerksmaat (en: senior firework`s mate), Obermaschinistenmaat (en: senior enginemen`s mate), or Obersteuermannsmaat (en: senior steersman`s mate)


Bootsmannsmaat was in the k.u.k. Austro-Hungarian Navy (1786 until 1918) equivalent to the rank Corporal of the k.u.k. Common Army. The sequence of ranks was as follows:

  • Rudergast - OR3 (en: Helmsman)
  • Bootsmannsmaat - OR4 (en: boatswain`s mate)
Bootsmannsmaat k.u.k. Kriegsmarine.png
K.u.k. BtsmMaat rank insignia, collar, sailor suit.

Russian Empire

IRN R6BootsmannMaat 1917.png
Shoulder board BtsmMaat RIN until 1917

Similar to the naming in German speaking naval forces Imperial Russian Navy (IRN) of the Russian Empire the was the rank Bootsmannsmaat (original Russian: Боцманмат / Bozmanmat) as well. However, it was an OR6-rank equivalent to the Senior unteroffizier (ru: «Старший унтерофицер» (ОR6). The sequence of ranks was as follows:

  • Quartiermeister - OR4 (en: Quartermaster / ru:Квартирмейстер)
  • Bootsmannsmaat - OR6 (en: boatswain`s mate /ru: Боцманмат)
  • Bootsmann - OR7 (en: Boatswain / ru: Боцман)
  • Gardemarin - OR8 (en: Guard marine / ru: Гардемарин)


  1. Langenscheidt´s Encyclopaedic Dictionary of the English and German language: „Der Große Muret-Sander“, Part II German-English First Volume A–K, 9th edition 2002, p. 306, … Second Volume L–Z, 8th edition 1999, p. 1041
  2. BROCKHAUS, The encyclopedia in 24 volumes (1796–2001), Volume 13: 3-7653-3673-4, page 699
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