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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Oberstarzt (OTA) is a military rank in German speaking armed forces. It denotes a medical staff officer surgeon or medical staff officer dentist and is comparable to Colonel (de: Oberst) or Captain (naval) (de: Kapitän zur See) NATO-Rangcode OF5 in anglophone armed forces.

Oberstarzt (Joint Medical Service)
Rank insignia German medical service ranks
Rank group Commissioned officers
Army / Air Force Oberstarzt (equivalent Oberst)
Navy Flottenarzt (equivalent KzS)



In the Joint Medical Service of the German Bundeswehr Oberstarzt, Oberstapotheker, and Oberstveterinär are comparable in NATO to the OF-5 rank Oberst; Flottenarzt, and Flottenapotheker are equivalent to Kapitän zur See, OF-5 as well.


The manner of formal addressing of military surgeons/dentists with the rank Oberstarzt is "Herr/Frau Oberstarzt"; with the rank Oberstapotheker, "Herr/Frau Oberstapotheker". Military surgeons/dentists with the rank Flottenarzt are addressed "Herr/Frau Flottenarzt"; with the rank Flottenapotheker, "Herr/Frau Flottenapotheker".

The "Inspector of veterinary medicine of the Bundeswehr" (de: Inspizient Veterinärmedizin der Bundeswehr) holds the rank Oberstveterinär.

Rank insignias

On the shoulder straps (Heer, Luftwaffe) there are three silver stars in silver oak leaves and the career insignia (de: Laufbahnabzeichen) as symbol of the medical standing, or course of studies. The piping on shoulder straps shows the Waffenfarbe (en: corps- or troop-function colour), corresponding to the appropriate military service, branch, or special force. The corps colour of the Bundeswehr Joint Medical Service is dark blue.

In the Marines, the career insignia is in the middle of both sleeves, 3 cm above the cuff strips, and on the shoulder straps between strips and button.

Bundeswehr Logo Heer with lettering.svg
Bundeswehr Logo Luftwaffe with lettering.svg
Bundeswehr Logo Marine with lettering.svg
junior Rank
Bundeswehr Logo Sanitaetsdienst with lettering.svg

German medical officer rank
senior Rank


Oberstarzt of the German Wehrmacht was comparable to the Oberst (OF-5), as well as to the Standartenführer and Oberst of the Waffen-SS. In line to the so-called Reichsbesoldungsordnung (en: Reich's salary order), appendixes to the Salary law of the German Empire (de: Besoldungsgesetz des Deutschen Reiches) of 1927[1] (changes 1937 – 1940), the comparative ranks were as follows: C 4

  • Oberst (Heer and Luftwaffe)
  • Kapitän zur See (Kriegsmarine)
  • Oberstarzt from 1934 (medical service of the Wehrmacht)
  • Flottenarzt, introduced June 26, 1935 (medical service of the Kriegsmarine)
  • Oberstveterinär from 1934 (veterinarian service of the Wehrmacht)

During wartime, regular assignments of Oberstarzt was Division surgeon – IVb (de: Divisionsarzt – IVb).

The corps colour of the military Health Service Support (HSS) in German armed forces was traditional  dark bluedark blue, and of the veterinarian service  carmine red.[2] This tradition was continued by the medical service corps in Heer and Luftwaffe of the Reichswehr and Wehrmacht. However, the corps colour of the Waffen-SS and Kriegsmarine HSS was  cornflower blue.

Rank insignias
description Heer Luftwaffe Kriegsmarine Waffen-SS
Collar tabs of Offiziere of the Heer.svg
Oberstarzt (eq. Oberst) - Medical Corps.png
Luftwaffe collar tabs Oberst 3D.svg
GE-NAVY-OF-5med FlArzt.svg
SS-Standartenfuehrer collar.jpg
WSS Staf-Oberf-Medical v.png
corps colour dark blue dark blue cornflower blue cornflower blue
gorget patch shoulder strap gorget patch
(im Generalstab)
shoulder strap shoulder strap sleeve insigia gorget patches shoulder strap
rank Oberstarzt Oberstarzt Flottenarzt Standartenführer (Oberstarzt Waffen-SS)


The manner of formal addressing of military surgeons/dentists with the rank Oberstarzt was, "Herr Oberstarzt"; with the rank Flottenarz - "Herr Flottenarzt".

Ranks Wehrmacht until 1945[3]
Flag of NATO.svg

Medical service en translation Equivalent Heer en equivalent
Generaloberstabsarzt Senior Staff-Surgeon General General der Waffengattung three star rank OF-8
Generalstabsarzt Staff-Surgeon General Generalleutnant two star rank OF-7
Generalarzt Surgeon General Generalmajor one star rank OF-6
Oberstarzt Colonel (Dr.) Oberst Colonel OF-5
Oberfeldarzt Lieutenant colonel (Dr.) Oberstleutnant Lieutenant colonel OF-4
Oberstabsarzt Major (Dr.)
Stabsarzt Captain (Dr.) Hauptmann Captain (army) OF-2
Oberarzt First lieutenant (Dr.) Oberleutnant First lieutenant OF-1a
Assistenzarzt Second lieutenant (Dr.) Leutnant Second lieutenant OF-1b
Unterarzt Sergeant 1st Class (Dr.) Fahnenjunker-Oberfeldwebel
Officer Aspirant OR-7[4]
Feldunterarzt (since 1940)
Ranks Kriegsmarine (medical service)
Flag of NATO.svg

Medical service en translation Equivalent Kriegsmarine en equivalent
Admiraloberstabsarzt Surgeon general Admiral (Germany) three star rank OF-8
Admiralstabsarzt Rear admiral upper half (Dr.) Vizeadmiral two star rank OF-7
Admiralarzt Rear admiral lower half (Dr.) Konteradmiral one star rank OF-6
Flottenarzt Captain naval (Dr.) Kapitän zur See Captain (naval) OF-5
Geschwaderarzt Commander (Dr.) Fregattenkapitän Commander OF-4
Marineoberstabsarzt Lieutenant commander (Dr.) Korvettenkapitän Lieutenant commander OF-3
Marinestabsarzt Lieutenant naval (Dr.) Kapitänleutnant Lieutenant (naval) OF-2
Marineoberarzt Lieutenant junior grade (Dr.) Oberleutnant zur See Lieutenant (junior grade) OF-1a
Marineassistenzarzt Ensign (Dr.) Leutnant zur See Ensign OF-1b


D.M. Andreas Mollat Roth, here as k. k. Oberstabsarzt, about 1863
D.M. Andreas Mollat Roth, here as k. k. Oberstabsarzt, about 1863

In the Imperial & Royal Common Army of Austria-Hungary (de: Gemeinsame Armee or k.u.k. Armee) there was the rank Oberstabsarzt 1. Klasse (en: Senior staff surgeon 1st class) until 1918, equivalent to Oberstarzt in Germany. That particular rank was comparable to the Oberst OF5-rank (en: colonel) as well. There was also a rank Oberstabsarzt 2. Klasse (or másodosztályú fõtörzsorvos in Hungarian).

Officers with that rank

  • Andreas Mollat (1802-1891) k. k. Oberststabsarzt
Ranks k.u.k. Army until 1918
Flag of NATO.svg

Medical service en Equivalent Heer en
Generalstabsarzt Staff-Surgeon General Generalmajor Major general OF-6
Oberstabsarzt I. Klasse Colonel (Dr. 1st class) Oberst Colonel OF-5
Oberstabsarzt II. Klasse Lieutenant colonel (Dr. 2nd class) Oberstleutnant Lieutenant colonel OF-4
Stabsarzt Major (Dr.)
Regimentsarzt I. Klasse Captain (Dr. 1st class) Hauptmann Captain OF-2
Regimentsarzt II. Klasse Captain (Dr. 2nd class)
Oberarzt First lieutenant (Dr.) Oberleutnant First lieutenant OF-1a
Assistrnzarzt Second lieutenant (Dr.) Leutnant Second lieutenant OF-1b


  1. ^ Besoldungsgesetz vom 16. Dezember 1927 (RGBl. I …, C Soldaten S. 391), changes 1937 to 1940
  2. ^ “War and victory 1870-71”, culture history, published by Julius von Pflugk-Harttung. (Original title: Krieg und Sieg 1870-71, Kulturgeschichte, Herausgeber Julius von Pflugk-Harttung.)
  3. ^ F. Altrichter: “The reserve officer”, fourteenth checked addition, Berlin 1941, pages 158-159. (Original title: F. Altrichter: „Der Reserveoffizier“, vierzehnte durchgesehene Auflage, Berlin 1941, Seiten 158-159.)
  4. ^ The abbreviation "OR" stands for "Other Ranks / fr: sous-officiers et militaires du rang / ru:другие ранги, кроме офицероф"
This page was last edited on 1 September 2019, at 14:57
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