Badges of Rank

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The badges of rank as worn by the personnel of all three branches of the service which comprised the land forces of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy were basically identical. Rank was generally indicated by means of stars and lace worn on either a collar patch or affixed directly to the tunic collar. At the outbreak of war stars were manufactured in silver or gold for officers and in white bone or celluloid for Non commissioned officers. Certain Military officials wore rosettes as opposed to stars on the collar patch. As the war progressed, shortages of raw materials resulted in the manufacture of these items in metal or cloth.  The lace that had previously been constructed of metallic thread was replaced by a yellow or white silk version. Similarly, collar patches were increasingly replaced in the later war years by a narrow vertical strip positioned behind the rank badges in regimental or corps coloured cloth. Rank was indicated as follows for the varying grades:

 

Generals: Silver embroidered stars and 3.3 cm wide gold lace on the collar or collar patch. The collar patch for General Officers was 11.2cm long and 4cm high. The main way of differentiating between a General officers' and a Field officers' patch was the extra 2.6cm length of cloth behind the gold lace. On the double breasted service uniform, gold lace with a width of 5.3cm was worn on the cuff. 

 

General Staff Officers: The black patch of the General Staff Officers was placed on a larger scarlet patch so that 5mm of the red patch was visible to the front and upper of the black patch, 1mm was visible beneath and 2.6mm to the rear. See the illustrations of General Staff Oberst Gottlieb Kralowetz von Hohenrecht and Hauptmann Moritz Fleischmann von Theissruck below.

 

Senior Officers: 3.3 cm wide silver or gold lace on the collar or collar patch which corresponded with the regimental or branch button colour. Embroidered stars in the contrasting colour to the lace. i.e. silver lace - gold stars. On the service uniform, gold lace with a width of 3.3cm was worn on the cuff. The size of the collar patch for all ranks below General was 8.6cm long by 4cm high.

 

Captains and Lieutenants: Silver or gold embroidered stars in the regimental or branch button colour.

 

Senior NCOs: White celluloid stars and yellow silk lace. The senior officer cadet (Fähnrich) and the deputy officer (Offiziersstellvertreter) wore a special smooth metal plated star. The rank stars of regiments which had white facings were slightly smaller and had a backing of dark blue cloth. For a detailed discussion on the badges of rank of officer aspirants see here and for those of military academy and cadet school students see here.

 

Junior NCOs: White celluloid stars.

 

The rank distinctions as worn on the headdress are discussed in the uniforms section.

 

 

Infantry: Infanterist

Jäger: Jäger

Cavalry: Dragoner, Husar, Ulan

Artillery: Kanonier

Infantry: Gefreiter

Jäger:  Patrouilleführer

Cavalry: Patrouilleführer

Artillery: Vormeister

Infantry: Korporal

Jäger: Unterjäger

Cavalry: Korporal

Artillery: Korporal

 
Blank collar patch One six pointed white star on the collar or collar patch Two six pointed white stars on the collar or collar patch
 
 Zugsführer

 

Infantry: Feldwebel

Jäger: Oberjäger

Cavalry: Wachtmeister

Artillery: Feuerwerker

Infantry: Stabseldwebel

Jäger: Stabsoberjäger

Cavalry: Stabswachtmeister

Artillery: Stabsfeuerwerker

Three six pointed white stars on the collar or collar patch Yellow silk lace on the leading and lower edges of the collar patch or collar and three white stars One row of 13mm and one row of 6mm wide silk lace on the leading and lower edges of the collar patch or collar and three white stars

Reservekadettaspirant/EF-Feldwebel

Kadett/Reservekadett

Offizierstellvertreter  Fähnrich 
Reservekadettaspirant/EF-Feldwebel: Gold silk lace on the leading and lower edges of the collar patch or collar and three white stars.  In Addition these one year volunteer reserve officer aspirants wore a 1cm wide yellow silk ring with a narrow black stripe in the centre on both cuffs. In March 1915 a button was introduced instead of the cuff rings and worn on the collar patch behind the rank stars.. All other One Year Volunteers  wore the badge of their held rank with the 1cm wide yellow silk ring/button respectively. 

Reservekadett: Gold silk lace on the leading and lower edges of the collar patch or collar and a slightly narrower yellow lace sewn on top of the gold lace and three white stars.

One row of 13mm and one row of 6mm wide silver lace on the leading and lower edges of the collar patch or collar and one metal plated (golden) star

 

Gold lace on the leading and lower edges of the collar patch or collar and one six pointed metal plated (silver) star

 

 

Leutnant:  Oberleutnant: 

Infantry: Hauptmann: 

Cavalry: Rittmeister

One embroidered six pointed silver or gold star Two embroidered six pointed silver or gold stars Three embroidered six pointed silver or gold stars

 

Major:  Oberstleutnant:  Oberst: 
One embroidered six pointed silver or gold star and lace in the opposing colour on the leading edge and bottom of the collar patch or collar Two embroidered six pointed silver or gold stars and lace in the opposing colour on the leading edge and bottom of the collar patch or collar Three embroidered six pointed silver or gold stars and lace in the opposing colour on the leading edge and bottom of the collar patch or collar. 

 

Generalmajor Feldmarschalleutnant

General der Infanterie

General der Kavallerie

Feldzeugmeister

Gold zigzag pattern lace on the leading edge of the collar patch or collar and one embroidered silver star Gold zigzag pattern lace on the leading edge of the collar patch or collar and two embroidered silver stars Gold zigzag pattern lace on the leading edge of the collar patch or collar and three embroidered silver stars

Generaloberst: Rank introduced in 1915.

The first promotions to this rank were made in May 1915 and were conferred on Archduke Eugen and Count Conrad. The actual insignia for the new rank was introduced by the "Zirkularverordnung Abt.13, Nr.55340" of 13 September 1915 and published in the Verordnungsblatt für das k.u.k. Heer on 18 September 1915.

Gold zigzag pattern lace on the leading edge of the collar patch or collar and three embroidered silver stars within a silver laurel leaf wreath.

Feldmarschall:

Gold pattern embroidery on the leading and bottom edges of the collar patch or collar.

 

Generaloberst   Feldmarschall

Created and Copyright © Glenn Jewison. 

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