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Fähnrich is an officer candidate rank in the Austrian Bundesheer and German Bundeswehr. However, Fähnrich ranks are often incorrectly compared with the rank of ensign,[citation needed] which shares a similar etymology but is a full-fledged (albeit junior) commissioned officer rank. The word Fähnrich comes from an older German military title, Fahnenträger (flag bearer), and first became a distinct military rank in Germany 1 January 1899. In the German Landsknecht armies, recorded from ca. 1480, the equivalent rank of a Cornet existed. The cornet carried the troop standard, known as a "cornet".

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Fähnrich of the Bundeswehr

A Fähnrich of the Bundeswehr is a soldier who serves in the ranks, first as Fahnenjunker (OR-5, comparable to the junior non-commissioned officer rank Unteroffizier), then in subsequent grades: Fähnrich (OR-6, equivalent to Feldwebel), and Oberfähnrich (OR-7 equivalent to Hauptfeldwebel).

In the German Bundeswehr, an officer candidate (German: Offiziersanwärter) can reach the rank of Fähnrich after 21 months of service. The German Navy equivalent is Ensign at sea" (German: Fähnrich zur See).

An officer candidate's career is indicated by the enlisted rank with a thin silver cord on the shoulder strap.

from
1956
Bundeswehr Logo Heer with lettering.svg Bundeswehr Logo Luftwaffe with lettering.svg German Navy
Flag of Germany.png DH154-Oberfähnrich.png 154-Oberfähnrich.png 134-Fähnrich.png 114-Fahnenjunker.png Luftwaffe-154-Oberfaehnrich.png Luftwaffe-134-Faehnrich.png Luftwaffe-114-Fahnenjunker.png 11 - ofhr zs.GIF 9 - fhr zs.GIF 7 - skad.GIF GE-NAVY-OR-5b SKad Var2.png
Distinction Senior cadet sergeant
(Oberfähnrich)
Cadet sergeant
(Fähnrich)
Officer cadet
(Fahnenjunker)
Senior aviation cadet
(Oberfähnrich)
Aviation cadet
(Fähnrich)
Officer cadet
(Fahnenjunker)
Senior midshipman
(Oberfähnrich zur See)
Midshipman
(Fähnrich zur Zee)
Junior midshipman
(Seekadett)
Rangcode (OR-7) (OR-6) (OR-5) (OR-7) (OR-6) (OR-5) (OR-7) (OR-6) (OR-5)
NATO Cadet sergeant Midshipman
USAF Aviation cadet auch Warrant Officer
RAF Acting pilot officer

Fähnrich in Nazi-Germany until 1945

Until 1945 in the Heer and Luftwaffe of the Wehrmacht there were also three appropriate officer candidate ranks:

The status of an officer candidate's career was indicated by additional two silver strips as on the appropriate rank epaulet.

In the Waffen-SS there were the four ranks of SS-Junker, SS-Oberjunker, SS-Standartenjunker and SS-Oberstandartenjunker for officer candidates and officer cadets.

to
1945
Heer Heer - decal for helmet 1942.svg and Luftwaffe eagle.svg Luftwaffe Kriegsmarine insignia casco.svg Kriegsmarine Waffen-SS
War Ensign of Germany 1938-1945.svg Herr Oberfahnrich.jpg Luftwaffe epaulette Faehnrich.svg Kriegsmarine shoulder Oberfähnrich zur see.svg Kriegsmarine shoulder Fähnrich zur see.svg Nazi Kriegsmarine Oberfahnrich zur See.png SS-Standartenjunker Epaulette.jpg
Distinction Senior cadet sergeant
(Oberfähnrich)
Cadet sergeant
(Fähnrich)
Officer cadet
(Fahnenjunker)
Senior midshipman
(Oberfähnrich zur See)
Midshipman
(Fähnrich zur See)
Junior midshipman
(Seekadett)
SS-Standarten-
oberjunker
SS-Standarten-
junker
SS-Oberjunker SS-Junker

Other countries

The rank also exists in a few other European military organizations, often with historical ties to the German system. Examples are the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, and Finland (see Fänrik). The French Army has a similar position called an Aspirant. In the Finnish landforces and airforce, Vänrikki (Fenrik) is the lowest commissioned officer rank, which is granted to the soldiers in the national service on the day they are released from their 362-day service. Finnish Vänrikki are thus of equal rank to the German lieutenant (also a platoon leader).

The rank name was in use in East Germany NPA as a direct counterpart from the Soviet Praporshchik rank.

See also

References

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