Gefreiter

Gefreiter

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Gefreiter is the German
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, Swiss
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

 and Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

n equivalent for the military rank Private (NATO Rank Code OR-2)
Ranks and insignia of NATO Armies Enlisted
The following lists the enlisted ranks and insignia of NATO member armies:-Other/Enlisted ranks :-See also:* NATO* Ranks and insignia of NATO* Ranks and insignia of NATO Armies Officers* Ranks and insignia of NATO Armies Enlisted...

. Gefreiter was the lowest rank to which an ordinary soldier could be promoted. As a military rank it has existed since at least the 16th century. From the 1920s on Gefreiter has expanded into several additional ranks, those being Obergefreiter
Obergefreiter
Obergefreiter is a rank of the German and Swiss militaries which dates from the 19th century.The rank was only used in the German army's heavy artillery branch before 1919 and commonly established with the founding of the Reichswehr...

, Hauptgefreiter, Stabsgefreiter and Oberstabsgefreiter (NATO Rank Code OR-3 and OR-4).

Gefreiter means "the exempted". It emerged in the 2nd half of the 16th century and denotes the older soldiers who were exempted from sentry duty.

Efreitor ' onMouseout='HidePop("84231")' href="http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Romanization_of_Russian">transliterated
Romanization of Russian
Romanization of the Russian alphabet is the process of transliterating the Russian language from the Cyrillic alphabet into the Latin alphabet...

: ) is a German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

 loanword
Loanword
A loanword is a word borrowed from a donor language and incorporated into a recipient language. By contrast, a calque or loan translation is a related concept where the meaning or idiom is borrowed rather than the lexical item itself. The word loanword is itself a calque of the German Lehnwort,...

 in Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

 and denotes a similar rank in the Russian army
Armed Forces of the Russian Federation
The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation are the military services of Russia, established after the break-up of the Soviet Union. On 7 May 1992 Boris Yeltsin signed a decree establishing the Russian Ministry of Defence and placing all Soviet Armed Forces troops on the territory of the RSFSR...

.

Germany


In today's German Federal Defence Forces , almost every soldier or sailor (military recruit/cadet) successfully passing the 12 weeks basic military training is promoted to the military rank of Gefreiter. Following the NATO ranking system, Gefreiter ranks as Private (OR-2), Obergefreiter as PFC (OR-3 lower half), Hauptgefreiter as Lance-Corporal (OR-3 upper half), Stabsgefreiter and Oberstabsgefreiter as Corporal (OR-4). The German equivalent of Private (OR-1) is Schütze
Schütze
Schütze in German means "shooter" or "rifleman". It also occasionally occurs as a surname, as Schütz, as in the opera Der Freischütz. The word itself is derived from the German word schützen, meaning to protect, or to guard...

(Rifleman) or another unit type-specific term (like Kanonier, "gunner") in the Heer (German Army
German Army
The German Army is the land component of the armed forces of the Federal Republic of Germany. Following the disbanding of the Wehrmacht after World War II, it was re-established in 1955 as the Bundesheer, part of the newly formed West German Bundeswehr along with the Navy and the Air Force...

), Matrose (sailor/seaman) in the German Navy
German Navy
The German Navy is the navy of Germany and is part of the unified Bundeswehr .The German Navy traces its roots back to the Imperial Fleet of the revolutionary era of 1848 – 52 and more directly to the Prussian Navy, which later evolved into the Northern German Federal Navy...

, Flieger (aviator/airman) in the Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe is a generic German term for an air force. It is also the official name for two of the four historic German air forces, the Wehrmacht air arm founded in 1935 and disbanded in 1946; and the current Bundeswehr air arm founded in 1956....

 (Airforce), or simply Soldat ("[ordinary] soldier").

During World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 and World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, Gefreiter was considered more to be a lance corporal
Lance Corporal
Lance corporal is a military rank, used by many armed forces worldwide, and also by some police forces and other uniformed organizations. It is below the rank of corporal, and is typically the lowest non-commissioned officer, usually equivalent to the NATO Rank Grade OR-3.- Etymology :The presumed...

, with the rank of full corporal known as Unteroffizier
Unteroffizier
Unteroffizier is both a specific military rank as well as a collective term for non-commissioned officers of the German military that has existed since the 19th century. The rank existed as a title as early as the 17th century with the first widespread usage occurring in the Bavarian Army of the...

(lowest grading Junior Non-Commissioned Officer
Non-commissioned officer
A non-commissioned officer , called a sub-officer in some countries, is a military officer who has not been given a commission...

), which ranked between an American sergeant and corporal and approximately equivalent to a British corporal in responsibility.

The German Navy, Marine, has also periodically maintained a rank known as Matrosengefreiter, translated as "Seaman Corporal", and equivalent to an Able Seaman
Able Seaman (rank)
In the British Royal Navy in the middle of the 18th century, the term able seaman referred to a seaman with at least two years' experience at sea...

 or Leading Seaman
Leading Seaman
Leading seaman is a junior non-commissioned rank or rate in navies, particularly those of the Commonwealth. When it is used by NATO nations, leading seaman has the rank code of OR-4. It is often equivalent to the army and air force rank of corporal and some navies use corporal rather than...

.

One of the best known holders of the rank of Gefreiter was Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

, who held the rank in the Bavaria
Bavaria
Bavaria, formally the Free State of Bavaria is a state of Germany, located in the southeast of Germany. With an area of , it is the largest state by area, forming almost 20% of the total land area of Germany...

n Infantry during World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. (Note: The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich
The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich
The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich is a 1960 non-fiction book by William L. Shirer chronicling the general history of Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945...

, a book written by William L. Shirer
William L. Shirer
William Lawrence Shirer was an American journalist, war correspondent, and historian, who wrote The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, a history of Nazi Germany read and cited in scholarly works for more than 50 years...

, a U.S. journalist and correspondent who reported from Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

 during the World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, states that Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 was examined for military service on February 5, 1914, and found unfit to serve by cause and or reason of poor health. When World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 started, he petitioned King Ludwig III of Bavaria
Bavaria
Bavaria, formally the Free State of Bavaria is a state of Germany, located in the southeast of Germany. With an area of , it is the largest state by area, forming almost 20% of the total land area of Germany...

 for permission to enter military service in a Bavaria
Bavaria
Bavaria, formally the Free State of Bavaria is a state of Germany, located in the southeast of Germany. With an area of , it is the largest state by area, forming almost 20% of the total land area of Germany...

n regiment and was accepted.)

Switzerland



See Swiss army ranks
Swiss army ranks
The military ranks of the Swiss Army have changed little over the centuries, except for the introduction, in 2001, of a new set of warrant officers. The rank insignia for all personnel are worn on shoulder boards with the appropriate background colour . Recruits of all services do not wear any rank...

.

Austria




Efreitor in Russia and the post-Soviet states


In Russia, the rank of Efreitor was introduced by Peter I
Peter I of Russia
Peter the Great, Peter I or Pyotr Alexeyevich Romanov Dates indicated by the letters "O.S." are Old Style. All other dates in this article are New Style. ruled the Tsardom of Russia and later the Russian Empire from until his death, jointly ruling before 1696 with his half-brother, Ivan V...

 in 1716 in infantry, cavalry and engineer forces. However, the rank wasn't used after 1722. During the reign of Paul I
Paul I of Russia
Paul I was the Emperor of Russia between 1796 and 1801. He also was the 72nd Prince and Grand Master of the Order of Malta .-Childhood:...

 it was made an equivalent rank to Private
Private (rank)
A Private is a soldier of the lowest military rank .In modern military parlance, 'Private' is shortened to 'Pte' in the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth countries and to 'Pvt.' in the United States.Notably both Sir Fitzroy MacLean and Enoch Powell are examples of, rare, rapid career...

 senior salary, which after the reign of Alexander I
Alexander I of Russia
Alexander I of Russia , served as Emperor of Russia from 23 March 1801 to 1 December 1825 and the first Russian King of Poland from 1815 to 1825. He was also the first Russian Grand Duke of Finland and Lithuania....

 was used only for the Imperial Guard. Efreitor was re-introduced in the course of the military reform of 1826.

In the armed forces of the USSR (and later the Russian Federation) Efreitor is higher than the Private rank and less than the Junior Sergeant
Sergeant
Sergeant is a rank used in some form by most militaries, police forces, and other uniformed organizations around the world. Its origins are the Latin serviens, "one who serves", through the French term Sergent....

rank.

In independent Ukraine this rank was changed to "Senior soldier".