Why are there different sergeant ranks

Overview of the ranks of the German Wehrmacht, the Waffen-SS, the German police and the SA as well as the U.S. Army and the Royal Air Force and the Austrian Armed Forces for comparison

Wehrmacht (Army / Air Force)

Wehrmacht (Navy)

Police and gendarmerie

Armed SS

SA

U.S. Army

Royal Air Force

Austria today

Teams:

Sagittarius

sailor

Sergeant

Sagittarius

Sower

Private

Aircraftman

recruit

Upper gunner

Red Sergeant

Upper gunner

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Leading Aircraftman

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Private

Corporal sailor

Constable

Stormman

Stormman

Private first class

Senior Aircraftman

Private

Corporal

Seaman Corporal

Sergeant major

Rottenführer

Rottenführer

Corporal

corporal

Corporal / Hauptgefreiter

Sailor corporal

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---

---

Platoon leader

---

Corporal corporal

---

---

---

---

Corporal Corporal

---

---

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NCOs without portepee:

Sergeant / Oberjäger

Mate / boatswain's mate

Revier Oberwachtmeister

Platoon sergeant

Unterscharführer

Squad leader

sergeant

sergeant

Constable

Unterfeldwebel / Unterwachtmeister

Obermaat / Oberbootsmannsmaat

Chief constable

Squad Leader

Oberscharfuhrer

Staff sergeant

Flight sergeant

Sergeant major

NCOs with portepee:

Sergeant / sergeant

Sergeant /

Boatswain

master

Oberscharfuhrer

Squad leader

Technical sergeant

Staff sergeant

Oberfeldwebel / Oberwachtmeister

Sergeant /

Captain

Obermeister Waffenmeister

Hauptscharführer

High Squad Leader

First sergeant

Chief Staff Sergeant

Staff Sergeant / Staff Sergeant

Sergeant Major /

Chief of Staff

Sturmscharführer

Main troop leader

Master Sergeant

Warrant Officer

Officer deputy

Warrant Officer

Vice lieutenant

Chief Warrant Officer

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Officer applicants and candidates:

Ensign

Ensign at sea

Ensign

Ensign

Senior ensign at sea

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Chief Officers:

lieutenant

Lieutenant at sea

lieutenant

Untersturmführer

Sturmführer

Second lieutenant

Pilot officer

lieutenant

First lieutenant

First lieutenant at sea

First lieutenant

Obersturmführer

Obersturmführer

First lieutenant

Flying officer

First lieutenant

Captain / Rittmeister

Captain lieutenant

Captain

Hauptsturmführer

Sturmhauptführer

Captain

Flight Lieutenant

Captain

Staff officers:

major

Corvette Captain

major

Sturmbannführer

Sturmbannführer

major

Squadron Leader

major

Lieutenant colonel

Frigate captain

Lieutenant colonel

Lieutenant Colonel

Lieutenant Colonel

Lieutenant Colonel

Wing Commander

Lieutenant colonel

Colonel

Sea captain

Colonel

Standartenführer

Standartenführer

Colonel

Group captain

Colonel

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Commodore

Oberführer

Oberführer

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Generality / Admiralty:

Major general

Rear admiral

Brigadefuhrer and Major General of the Waffen SS

Brigade leader

Brigadier General

Air Commodore

Brigadier

Lieutenant General

Vice admiral

Lieutenant General

Group leader and lieutenant general of the Waffen SS

Squad leader

Major General

Air Vice Marshal

Major general

General of infantry, artillery, aviators, etc.

admiral

General of the police

Obergruppenführer and General of the Waffen SS

Obergruppenführer

Lieutenant General

Air Marshal

Lieutenant General

Colonel General

Admiral General

Colonel General

Oberstgruppenführer and Colonel General of the Waffen SS

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general

Air Chief Marshal

general

Field Marshal General

Grand Admiral

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---

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General of the Army

Marshal of the RAF

Note: All equations of this kind are to be understood with reservation, as they concern different systems of rank and different periods. This is especially true for officer applicants and officer candidates. In the German Wehrmacht, the ensigns were ranked as non-commissioned officers without portepee above the sergeant major, the senior midshipmen (with portepee) between sergeant and sergeant major.
This table does not take into account special careers (armorer, harness master, locksmith master, radio master, carrier pigeon master, etc.), which each had their own rank designation, similar to the "specialist" grades in the U.S. Army.

Created by Erwin A. Schmidl and Klaus Eisterer using the tables in the manual Look after! Facts worth knowing from all areas, Leipzig: Bibliographisches Institut 1938, pp. 203, 222-225, 228-232; Andrew Mollo, The Armed Forces of World War II: Uniforms, insignia and organization, London: Orbis 1981, pp. 302-307; Philip Congdon, Per Ardua ad Astra: A Handbook of the Royal Air Force, Shrewsbury: Airlife 1987, pp. 105 ff; and Robert Wistrich, Who was who in the Third Reich. Supporters, followers, opponents from politics, business, military, art and science, Munich: Harnack 1983, p. 305 f; as well as various military rank tables.