In the German Army, it dates from the early 19th century. Translated as "senior lieutenant", the rank is typically bestowed upon commissioned officers after five to six years of active duty service.
Oberleutnant is used by both the German Army and the German Air Force. In the NATO military comparison system, a German Oberleutnant is the equivalent of a First lieutenant or Poruchik in the Army/Air Forces of Allied nations.
The equivalent naval rank is Oberleutnant zur See.
(German officer rank)
In the GDR National People's Army (NPA) the OF1a-rank «Oberleutnant» was the highest lieutenant rank, comparable to NATO first lieutenant, until 1990. This was in reference to the Soviet military doctrine and in line to other armed forces of the Warsaw pact.
The equivalent rank of the Volksmarine (en: GDR Navy) was the Oberleutnant zur See, later simple Oberleutnant. However, internal the wording Oberleutnant zur See was used continuously. In reference to the Soviet armed forces and to other armed forces of the Warsaw pact Oberleutnant was the second lowest officer rank until 1990.
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