Großadmiral, or Grossadmiral, was the highest rank in the German Wehrmacht's Kriegsmarine (or Navy). It was equivalent to a Generalfeldmarschall in the Heer (Army) and Luftwaffe (Air Force), as well as an SS-Oberstgruppenführer. A Großadmiral in the United States Navy would be a Fleet Admiral. The shoulder rank insignia was General officer shoulder boards with a crossed baton device. On the naval dress uniforms the rank was represented by sleeve striping of three gold stripes above one bold stripe - the same worn by Admirals in other Navies, such as the United States'.
The rank of Großadmiral was held by the first two Commanders of Kriegsmarine (Oberkommando der Kriegsmarine), Erich Raeder and Karl Dönitz. In May on 1945 when the Reich was falling apart and Dönitz succeeded Hitler as Reichspresident and Führer. However, even Dönitz's replacement in the Kriegsmarine, Hans-Georg von Friedeburg, remained a Generaladmiral, one step down. Thus, the Großadmiral legacy remains with only two men in history: Raeder and Dönitz.
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