General admiral

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Maurits van Oranje, first Generaladmiral in history

General admiral or Admiral general was a Danish, Dutch,[further explanation needed] German, Russian, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish naval rank. Its historic origin is a title high military or naval dignitaries of early modern Europe sometimes held, for example the (nominal) commander-in-chief of the Dutch Republic's navy (usually the Prince of Orange).


Generaladmiral rank flag

In Denmark, the General Admiral (Danish: Generaladmiral) was the term for the commander-in-chief of the Dano-Norwegian navy. The rank below the General Admiral was Lieutenant General Admiral (Danish: Generaladmiralløjtnant).[1]

Portrait Name
Term of office Ref.
Appointed Dismissed Time in office
Cort Adeler
1665 5 November 1675 † 9–10 years [2]
Cornelis Tromp
8 May 1676 1678 1–2 years [3]
Jens Juel
21 October 1699 17 April 1700 178 days [4]
Ulrik Christian Gyldenløve, Count of Samsø
4 May 1700 8 December 1719 † 19 years, 235 days [5]

Nazi Germany[edit]

General admiral
Generaladmiral rank flag
Shoulder board and sleeve
Country Nazi Germany
Service branch Kriegsmarine
Rank groupFlag officer
Next higher rankGroßadmiral
Next lower rankAdmiral
Equivalent ranksGeneraloberst

In the German Kriegsmarine of the Second World War, Generaladmiral was a rank senior to an Admiral, but junior to a Großadmiral. Generaladmiral was a four-star admiral rank, equivalent to a full admiral in the British and American navies. In the traditional German ranking system until World War II, an admiral was equivalent to a British or American vice admiral.

The sleeve insignia for a Generaladmiral was the same as that of a regular admiral, being a thick rank stripe below three regular stripes (Kolbenringe in German naval parlance). Generaladmirals wore a third pip on their shoulder boards to differentiate them from regular admirals. The German Army and Air Force equivalent of Generaladmiral was the rank colonel general (Generaloberst).

In 1943, a directive was issued that should the Oberbefehlshaber der Kriegsmarine ("commander of the navy") hold the rank of Generaladmiral, he would wear the sleeve insignia of a grand admiral, but the shoulder boards of a Generaladmiral.

A similar practice was used in the German Army, allowing colonel generals to wear four pips on the shoulder board when engaged in duties befitting a field marshal.

The rank of Generaladmiral was first given to the future grand admiral Erich Raeder on 20 April 1936.


Other holders of the rank were:

Notably, Karl Dönitz was promoted to grand admiral without becoming a Generaladmiral first.

junior rank

(Ranks Kriegsmarine)
senior rank

Russian Empire[edit]

Rank insignia 1904–1917

General-admiral (Russian: генера́л-адмира́л) was the highest rank of the Imperial Russian Navy as established by the Table of Ranks and equivalent to field marshal. This was purely an honorific rank and for much of its existence, it was awarded only to a person on active duty, usually for the head of the naval department, and typically a descendant of the Romanov royal family.

There were only ten holders of this rank:

The general admiral rank was abolished with the fall of the Empire and was not revived when rank distinctions were reintroduced during 1935–40. The rank of admiral of the fleet of the Soviet Union can be considered as a modern equivalent.

Kingdom of Spain[edit]

Almirante general is a rank in the Spanish Navy that is above an admiral, but subordinate to a captain general.

Kingdom of Portugal[edit]

Almirante-general was the highest rank in the Portuguese Navy, from 1808 to 1812 and again, from 1892 to 1910. It was the naval equivalent to the rank of marechal-general ("general field marshal") of the Portuguese Army.

The rank was initially introduced in 1808, to be assigned to the commander-in-chief of the navy. The almirante-general had similar functions to those of the former capitão-general da armada (captain general of the navy) which had been extinguished in 1796 and whose functions passed to the Board of the Admiralty. The rank was only given to Infante Pedro Carlos de Bragança, being extinguished when he died in 1812.

In 1892, the almirante-general rank was reintroduced as a mere ceremonial rank to be held by the King of Portugal in his constitutional function of supreme commander of the navy. As supreme commander of the army, the king also held the ceremonial rank of marechal-general. The last holder of the rank was King Manuel II.

Kingdom of Sweden[edit]

Generalamiral is the highest rank of admiral that has existed in the Swedish Navy, created by Charles XI in the name of Admiral General (Amiralgeneral). Gustav III revived the rank in 1780, and the same year issued instructions for the General Admiral, which alone was the King in Council's responsible for naval existence and betterment. The rank has been held by Henrik af Trolle (1780–84), Carl August Ehrensvärd (1792–94), Johan af Puke (1812), Victor von Stedingk (1818) and Rudolf Cederström (1823–28).[6]

In fiction[edit]

"Admiral General" Aladeen from The Dictator (2012) is a parody of leaders who appoint themselves grandiose military ranks.


  1. ^ Blangstrup, Chr., ed. (1919). Salmonsens konverssationsleksikon: Bind IX: Friele—Gradient (in Danish) (2nd ed.). Copenhagen: J. H. Schultz A/S. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  2. ^ Topsøe-Jensen & Marquard 1935a, p. 8.
  3. ^ Garde 1861, p. 265.
  4. ^ Topsøe-Jensen & Marquard 1935a, p. 681.
  5. ^ Topsøe-Jensen & Marquard 1935a, pp. 505–506.
  6. ^ Olsson, B.F.; Rosén, John; Westrin, Theodore, eds. (1882). Nordisk familjebok: konversationslexikon och realencyklopedi innehållande upplysningar och förklaringar om märkvärdiga namn, föremål och begrepp (in Swedish). Vol. 5. Stockholm. p. 1012. SELIBR 78095.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  • Garde, Hans Georg (1861). Den dansk-norske sømagts historie 1535-1700 (in Danish). Copenhagen: B. Lunos bogtrykkeri.
  • Topsøe-Jensen, T.A.; Marquard, Emil, eds. (1935a). Officerer i Den dansk-norske Søetat 1660-1814 og Den danske Søetat 1814-1932 (in Danish). Vol. I. Copenhagen: Pedersen & Lefevre.