Colonel general

Colonel general is a three or four-star rank in some armies, usually equivalent to that of a full general in other armies. North Korea and Russian Federation have used the rank in that fashion throughout their histories. The rank is also closely associated with Germany, where Generaloberst has formerly been a higher rank above full General but below Generalfeldmarschall.


Colonel general (Generaloberst) was the second-highest rank in the Austro-Hungarian Army, introduced following the German model in 1915. The rank was not used after World War I in the Austrian Army of the Republic.

People's Republic of China

The People's Liberation Army had a rank of Da Jiang (Chinese: 大将; literally: "grand general") from 1955 to 1965. Da Jiang corresponded to the Soviet rank of colonel general. The rank system of the People's Liberation Army was abolished in 1965 and restored in 1988. The 1988 system introduced a rank of Yi Ji Shang Jiang (Chinese: 一级上将; literally: "first class senior general"). No one had held such rank and it was abolished in 1994.


CzArmy 2011 OF8-Generalporucik shoulder.svg

The rank of colonel general (generálplukovník) was created in the Czechoslovak army in 1950; it was dropped after the 1993 dissolution of the state.


The Egyptian Army uses a rank that translates as "colonel general". It is equal to the rank of 4-star or "full" general. Colonel general is, however, junior to the rank of field marshal and is an honorary distinction usually held only by defense ministers.


In the French Army, under the Ancien régime, the officer in nominal command of all the regiments of a particular branch of service (i. e. infantry, cavalry, dragoons, Swiss troops, etc.) was known as the colonel general. This was not a rank, but an office of the Crown.


The Republic of Georgia adopted Soviet designations after its independence in 1991 so that the rank of colonel-general (გენერალ-პოლკოვნიკი general-polkovniki) exists, yet it is only used as highest possible rank in the Ministry of Internal Affairs.


The equivalent German four-star ranks (OF-9) of the Wehrmacht were as follows:

This is not to be confused with Generaloberst, the three-star rank (OF-8) of the National People's Army until 1990. However, the Bundeswehr (first in West Germany and since 1990 in a unified Germany) does not use the rank.

Rank insignia Generaloberst
German Imperial Army (OF-9) until 1918
Generaloberst (Wehrmacht) 7
Wehrmacht, Heer (OF-9) until 1945
... Luftwaffwe
until 1945
Luftwaffe collar tabs Generaloberst 3D
... collar patch
GDR Army OF8 Generaloberst
National People's Army (OF-8) until 1990


In Hungary, the rank of colonel general (vezérezredes) was introduced to the Imperial and Royal Army (the common ground force of the Dual Monarchy) in 1915. The rank replaced the ranks of gyalogsági tábornok (general of infantry), lovassági tábornok (general of cavalry), and táborszernagy (general of artillery) in the early 1940s.

The rank title vezérezredes is still in use for the highest ranking (four-star) general officers of the Magyar Honvédség (Hungarian Defence Forces) and foreign four-star general officers' rank titles are usually translated as vezérezredes in Hungarian including Commonwealth air forces' Air Chief Marshals.


The equivalent rank for Colonel general in Iraq is called "Ferik Awwal", in Arabic "فريق أول", which is considered the highest rank in Iraqi Army nowadays.

North Korea

Colonel General rank insignia (North Korea)
NKPA Colonel General rank insignia

The North Korean rank of sangjang translates as "colonel general". Sangjang is senior to that of jungjang (usually translated as "lieutenant general") and junior to that of daejang (usually translated as "general").

This rank is typically held by the commanding officer of units along the Korean DMZ and the North Korean security zone at Panmunjom. It is also the rank held by the KPA Pyongyang Defense Command's commanding general.


RAF A F8ColGen since 2010par
RAF AF F8ColGen since 2010par
Air Force

The rank of colonel general (Russian: генерал-полковник, translit. general-polkovnik) did not exist in Imperial Russia and was first established in the Red Army on 7 May 1940, as a replacement for the previously existing командарм второго ранга (kommandarm vtorovo ranga, "army commander of the second rank").[1] During World War II, about 199 officers were promoted to colonel general. Before 1943, Soviet colonel generals wore four stars on their collar patches (petlitsy). Since 1943, they have worn three stars on their shoulder straps, so Charles Pettibone compares the rank to the US lieutenant general.[1]

The rank still exists in the contemporary Russian Army and Air Force. Unlike the German Generaloberst (which it most probably calqued), the Soviet and Russian colonel general rank is neither an exceptional nor a rare one, as it is a normal step in the "ladder" between a two-star lieutenant general and a four-star army general.

Other than that, the Soviet and Russian rank systems sometimes cause confusion in regard to equivalence of ranks, because the normal Western title for brigadier or brigadier general ceased to exist for the Russian Army in 1798. The combrig rank that corresponded to one-star general only existed in the Soviet Union during 1935–1940. Positions typically reserved for these ranks, such as brigade commanders, have always been occupied by colonels (polkovnik) or, very rarely, major generals (see History of Russian military ranks).

The rank has usually been given to district, front and army commanders, and also to deputy ministers of defense, deputy heads of the general staff and so on.

In some post-Soviet Commonwealth of Independent States armies (for example in Belarus), there are no generals of the army or marshals, and so colonel general is the highest rank, usually held by the minister of the defense.

The corresponding naval rank is admiral, which is also denoted by three stars.


Colonel general (generalöverste) has also been a senior military rank in Sweden, used principally before the 19th century.


The Syrian Arab Army uses the rank of colonel general ( "Imad-awwalعماد أول) only for the senior-most rank of the army beneath that of field marshal. Usually, only defence ministers have held this rank – only six officers have held this rank till now – Hafez al-Assad, Mustafa Tlass, Hikmat al-Shihabi, Ali Habib Mahmud, Dawoud Rajiha and Fahd Jassem al-Freij.

United Kingdom

The title of colonel general was used before and during the English Civil War in both Royalist and Parliamentarian armies. In these cases, it often appears to have meant a senior colonel as opposed to a senior general.

United States

In the United States, as commander of an army, the equivalent rank was general (four-star general, grade O-10).


In Vietnam, the rank of colonel general is known as thượng tướng (literally "upper general"), equivalent to a three-star general and admiral. Thượng tướng is senior to trung tướng (usually translated as "lieutenant general") and junior to đại tướng (usually translated as "general"). It is used in the army and the air force. It is the equivalent to đô đốc (admiral) in the Navy.

See also


  1. ^ a b Charles D. Pettibone (2009). Organization and Order of Battle of Militaries in World War II : Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Trafford On Demand Pub. p. 905. ISBN 1-4269-2251-5.
  • Data about Germany and Austria are based, in part, on the German-language Wikipedia article: "generaloberst"

External links

10th Guards Army (Soviet Union)

The 10th Guards Army was a Soviet Guards formation which fought against Germany during World War II under the command of several generals. Formed in 1943, the army fought under various headquarters and ended the war besieging cut-off German forces in Latvia. The 10th Guards Army was disbanded in 1948.

The 10th Guards Army was formed on 16 April 1943 from the 30th Army. When formed, the army was located southwest of Vyazma. As of 1 June its main order of battle was as follows:

7th Guards Rifle Corps (3rd Guards Motorized Rifle Division; 29th Guards Rifle Division)

15th Guards Rifle Corps (30th Guards Rifle Division; 85th Guards Rifle Division)

19th Guards Rifle Corps (22nd Guards Rifle Division; 56th Guards Rifle Division; 65th Guards Rifle Division)It fought under command of the Western, Kalinin, 2nd Baltic, and Leningrad Fronts from then until the end of the war.

The 10th Guards Army had four commanders during the war against Germany:

Apr–May 1943 Vladimir Kolpakchi

May–Sep 1943 Kuzma Petrovich Trubnikov

Sep 1943 – Jan 1944 Aleksandr Vasilevich Sukhomlin

Jan 1944 – August 1946 Mikhail Ilyich KazakovPostwar commanders included:

August 1946 – 12 May 1947: Colonel General Vasiliy Stepanovich Popov

May 1947 – April 1948: Colonel General Ivan Ilich LyudnikovNotable battles and operations in which the 10th Guards Army participated include:

Smolensk Offensive Operation

Leningrad–Novgorod Strategic Offensive

Riga OffensiveFrom October 1944, the 10th Guards Army was one of the Soviet formations committed to besieging German Army Group Kurland in the Courland Peninsula. This was a lengthy operation that continued until the Germans in Courland surrendered on May 12, 1945.

At the end of the war in Europe, the 10th Guards Army consisted of the 7th, 15th, and 19th Guards Rifle Corps. The army was disbanded on 30 March 1948 by being renamed 4th Guards Rifle Corps.

Comparative air force officer ranks of Asia

Rank comparison chart of air forces of Asian states.

Comparative air force officer ranks of Post-Soviet states

Rank comparison chart of all air forces of Post-Soviet states.

Comparative army officer ranks of Post-Soviet states

Rank comparison chart of all armies of Post-Soviet states.

General officer

A General Officer is an officer of high rank in the army, and in some nations' air forces or marines.The term "general" is used in two ways: as the generic title for all grades of general officer and as a specific rank.

It originates in the 16th century, as a shortening of captain general, which rank was taken from Middle French capitaine général.

The adjective general had been affixed to officer designations since the late medieval period to indicate relative superiority or an extended jurisdiction.

Today, the title of "General" is known in some countries as a four-star rank. However different countries use different systems of stars or other insignia for senior ranks. It has a NATO code of OF-9 and is the highest rank currently in use in a number of armies, air forces and marine organizations.


Generaloberst, in English Colonel General, was, in Germany and Austria-Hungary—the German Reichswehr and Wehrmacht, the Austro-Hungarian Common Army, and the East German National People's Army, as well as the respective police services—the second highest general officer rank, ranking above full general but below general field marshal. It was equivalent to Generaladmiral in the Kriegsmarine until 1945, or to Flottenadmiral in the Volksmarine until 1990. The rank was the highest ordinary military rank and the highest military rank awarded in peacetime; the higher rank of general field marshal was only awarded in wartime by the head of state. In general, a Generaloberst had the same privileges as a general field marshal.

A literal translation of Generaloberst would be "uppermost general", but it is often translated as "colonel-general" by analogy to Oberst, "colonel", including in countries where the rank was adopted, e.g. in Russia (генерал-полковник, general-polkovnik). "Oberst" derives from the superlative form of Germanic ober (upper), cognate to English over, thus "Superior General" might be a more idiomatic rendering. The rank was created in 1854, originally for Emperor William I—then Prince of Prussia—because traditionally members of the royal family were not promoted to the rank of field marshal. During the 19th century the rank was largely honorary and usually only held by members of the princely families or the Governor of Berlin. Regular promotion of professional officers to the grade did not begin until 1911. Since the rank of Generalfeldmarschall was also reserved for wartime promotions, the additional rank of a "supreme general in the capacity of a field marshal" — the Generaloberst im Range eines Generalfeldmarschalls — was created for promotions during peacetime. Such generals were entitled to wear four pips on their shoulder boards, compared to the normal three. As such, Generaloberst could be a peacetime equivalent of the general field marshal rank.

Generaloberst was the second highest general officer rank—below field marshal—in the Prussian Army as well as in the German Empire (1871–1918), the Weimar Republic (1921–33), the Wehrmacht (which included the Luftwaffe, established in 1935) of Nazi Germany (1933–45), and the East German Nationale Volksarmee (1949–1991). As military ranks were often used for other uniformed services, the rank was also used by the Waffen-SS and the Ordnungspolizei of Nazi Germany, and the Volkspolizei and Stasi of East Germany. In East Germany, the rank was junior to the general of the army (Armeegeneral), as well as to the briefly extant, and never awarded, rank of Marschall der DDR.

Heinrich von Vietinghoff

Heinrich von Vietinghoff (6 December 1887 – 23 February 1952) was a German general (Generaloberst) of the Wehrmacht during World War II. He was a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves. Vietinghoff commanded the German troops in German-occupied Italy in 1945.

House Order of Hohenzollern

The House Order of Hohenzollern (German: Hausorden von Hohenzollern or Hohenzollernscher Hausorden) was a dynastic order of knighthood of the House of Hohenzollern awarded to military commissioned officers and civilians of comparable status. Associated with the various versions of the order were crosses and medals which could be awarded to lower-ranking soldiers and civilians.

Kiev Military District

The Kiev Military District (Russian: Киевский вое́нный о́круг (КВО), translit. Kiyevskiy voyénnyy ókrug (KVO)) was a military district of the Imperial Russian Army and subsequently of the Red Army and Soviet Armed Forces. It was first formed in 1862, and was headquartered in Kiev for most of its existence.

Lieutenant general

Lieutenant general, lieutenant-general and similar (abbrev Lt Gen, LTG and similar) is a three-star military rank (NATO code OF-8) used in many countries. The rank traces its origins to the Middle Ages, where the title of lieutenant general was held by the second in command on the battlefield, who was normally subordinate to a captain general.

In modern armies, lieutenant general normally ranks immediately below general and above major general; it is equivalent to the navy rank of vice admiral, and in air forces with a separate rank structure, it is equivalent to air marshal. A lieutenant general commands an army corps, made up of typically three army divisions, and consisting of around 60,000–70,000 soldiers (U.S.).

The seeming incongruity that a lieutenant general outranks a major general (whereas a major outranks a lieutenant) is due to the derivation of the latter rank from sergeant major general, which was also subordinate to lieutenant general. In some countries (e.g. France and Italy), the ranks of corps general or lieutenant colonel general are used instead of lieutenant general, in an attempt to solve this apparent anomaly – these ranks are often translated into English as lieutenant general.However, some countries of Latin America such as Brazil and Chile use divisional general as the equivalent of lieutenant general. In addition, because no brigadier general rank is used in Japan, lieutenant general is the rank of divisional commander. Therefore, it corresponds to divisional general of these countries. In a number of smaller states which employ NATO and western style military organizational structures, because of the limited number of soldiers in their armies, the rank of lieutenant general is the highest army rank in use. In Latvia, Lithuania and Singapore, the chief of defence is a lieutenant general, and in the Irish Defence Forces and Israel Defense Forces, the Chief of Staff holds this rank.

List of James Bond villains

The following is a list of primary antagonists in the James Bond novels and film series.

Moscow Military District

The Moscow Military District was a military district of the Soviet Armed Forces and the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. In 2010 it was merged with the Leningrad Military District, the Northern Fleet and the Baltic Fleet to form the new Western Military District.

North Caucasian Front

The North Caucasian Front or North Caucasus Front was a major formation of the Red Army during the Second World War.

The North Caucasus Front describes either of two distinct organizations during the war. The first formation was created on May 20, 1942 and was commanded by Marshal Semyon M. Budenny throughout its existence. 1st Rifle Corps reappeared in the Soviet OOB on 1 June 1942 directly subordinated to the North Caucausus Front, and made up of four rifle brigades.

The Front incorporated forces from the (disbanded) Crimean Front and received additional forces from the (disbanded) Southern Front on July 28, 1942.

On September 1, 1942 the Front was reorganized as the Black Sea Group of Forces and assigned to the Transcaucasian Front during the German occupation of the Krasnodar Krai.

The second formation of this Front was created on January 24, 1943 from the Northern Group of Forces in the Transcaucasian Front (located in the eastern Caucasus), and reintegrated the Black Sea Group of Forces on February 5, 1943. Lieutenant General Ivan Maslennikov, who was promoted to Colonel General in January 1943, initially took command. He handed over to Lieutenant General Ivan E. Petrov (Russian: Иван Ефремович Петров), in May 1943, and Petrov was then promoted to Colonel General in August.

At the time of the Battle of Kursk in August 1943, during the long series of engagements known as the Battle of the Caucasus, the Transcaucasian Front included the Black Sea Group of Forces consisting of the 46th, 18th Desant, 47th, 56th Armies, and the 5th Air Army as well as the 13th and 16th Separate Rifle Corps. The Northern Group of Forces commanded the 37th, 9th, 58th Army, 44th Armies, as well as a Cavalry Mechanized Group and the 10th Separate Rifle Corps. Additionally it commanded the Black Sea Fleet and the Baku Army of PVO.

The Front was reorganized into the Separate Coastal Army on November 20, 1943 during the Kerch-Eltigen Operation, the Soviet amphibious crossing of the Sea of Azov.

North Caucasus Military District

The North Caucasus Military District was a military district of the Russian Armed Forces, which became in 2010 the Southern Military District and lately also included the Black Sea Fleet and Caspian Flotilla.

It comprised the Republic of Adygeya, the Republic of Dagestan, the Republic of Ingushetia, the Kabardino-Balkar Republic, the Republic of Kalmykia, the Karachay–Cherkess Republic, the Republic of North Osetia-Alaniya, the Chechen Republic, Krasnodar Krai, Stavropol Krai, and Astrakhan, Volgograd, and Rostov oblasts. It has the same borders as the Southern Federal District. Its last commander was Lieutenant General Alexander Galkin, appointed from January 2010.

Operation Bagration

Operation Bagration (; Russian: Операция Багратио́н, Operatsiya Bagration) was the codename for the Soviet 1944 Belorussian Strategic Offensive Operation, (Russian: Белорусская наступательная операция «Багратион», Belorusskaya nastupatelnaya Operatsiya Bagration) a military campaign fought between 22 June and 19 August 1944 in Soviet Byelorussia in the Eastern Front of World War II. The Soviet Union achieved a major victory by destroying the German Army Group Centre and completely rupturing the German front line.

On 23 June 1944, the Red Army attacked Army Group Centre in Byelorussia, with the objective of encircling and destroying its main component armies. By 28 June, the German Fourth Army had been destroyed, along with most of the Third Panzer and Ninth Armies. The Red Army exploited the collapse of the German front line to encircle German formations in the vicinity of Minsk in the Minsk Offensive and destroy them, with Minsk liberated on 4 July. With the end of effective German resistance in Byelorussia, the Soviet offensive continued further to Lithuania, Poland and Romania over the course of July and August.

The Red Army successfully used the Soviet deep battle and maskirovka (deception) strategies for the first time to full extent, albeit with continuing heavy losses. Operation Bagration diverted German mobile reserves to the central sectors, removing them from the Lublin-Brest and Lvov–Sandomierz areas, enabling the Soviets to undertake the Lvov–Sandomierz Offensive and Lublin–Brest Offensive. This allowed the Red Army to reach the Vistula river and Warsaw, which in turn put Soviet forces within striking distance of Berlin, conforming to the concept of Soviet deep operations—striking deep into the enemy's strategic depths.

Ranks and insignia of the Red Army and Navy 1940–1943

The ranks and rank insignia of the Red Army and Red Navy between 1940 and 1943 were characterised by continuing reforms to the Soviet armed forces in the period immediately before Operation Barbarossa and the war of national survival following it. The Soviet suspicion of rank and rank badges as a bourgeois institution remained, but the increasing experience of Soviet forces, and the massive increase in manpower all played their part, including the creation of a number of new general officer ranks and the reintroduction of permanent enlisted ranks and ratings.

Transcaucasian Military District

The Transcaucasian Military District, a military district of the Soviet Armed Forces, traces its history to May 1921 and the incorporation of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia into the Soviet Union. It was disbanded by being redesignated as a Group of Forces in the early 1990s after the Soviet Union collapse. The military district formed as a basis of the modern day armed forces of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.

Vistula–Oder Offensive

The Vistula–Oder Offensive was a successful Red Army operation on the Eastern Front in the European Theatre of World War II in January 1945. It saw the fall of Kraków, Warsaw and Poznań.

The Red Army had built up their strength around a number of key bridgeheads, with two fronts commanded by Marshal Georgy Zhukov and Marshal Ivan Konev. Against them, the German Army Group A, led by Colonel-General Josef Harpe (soon replaced by Colonel-General Ferdinand Schörner), was outnumbered 5:1. Within days, German commandants evacuated the concentration camps, sending the prisoners on their death marches to the west, where ethnic Germans also started fleeing. In a little over two weeks, the Red Army had advanced 300 miles (483 km) from the Vistula to the Oder, only 43 miles (69 km) from Berlin, which was undefended. But Zhukov called a halt, owing to continued German resistance on his northern flank (Pomerania), and the advance on Berlin had to be delayed until April.

Western Military District

The Western Military District (Russian: Западный военный округ) is a military district of Russia.

It is one of the five military districts of the Russian Armed Forces, with its jurisdiction primarily within the western central region of

European Russia. The Western Military District was created as part of the 2008 military reforms, and founded by Presidential Decree №1144 signed on September 20, 2010, as an amalgamation of the Moscow Military District, Leningrad Military District and Kaliningrad Special Region. The district began operation on October 20, 2010, under the command of Colonel-General Valery Gerasimov.

The Western Military District is the smallest military district in Russia by geographic size. The district contains 26 federal subjects of Russia: Belgorod Oblast, Bryansk Oblast, Ivanovo Oblast, Kaliningrad Oblast, Kaluga Oblast, Karelia, Kostroma Oblast, Kursk Oblast, Leningrad Oblast, Lipetsk Oblast, Moscow, Moscow Oblast, Nizhny Novgorod Oblast, Novgorod Oblast, Oryol Oblast, Pskov Oblast, Ryazan Oblast, Saint Petersburg, Smolensk Oblast, Tambov Oblast, Tver Oblast, Tula Oblast, Vladimir Oblast, Vologda Oblast, Voronezh Oblast, Yaroslavl Oblast. On 1 December 2014, the Arctic Joint Strategic Command was split off from the Western Military District, removing Arkhangelsk Oblast, Murmansk Oblast, Komi Republic, and the Nenets Autonomous Okrug, as well as the Russian Navy's Baltic Fleet and Northern Fleet, from the district's command.The Western Military District is headquartered in the General Staff Building in Saint Petersburg, and its current district commander is Colonel-General Andrey Kartapolov, who has held the position since April 2017.

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