(Heer / Luftwaffe)
|Rank insignia||German officer rank|
|Rank group||Commissioned officers|
|Army / Air Force||Hauptmann|
Hauptmann is a German word usually translated as captain when it is used as an officer's rank in the German, Austrian and Swiss armies. While "haupt" in contemporary German means "main", it also has the meaning of "head", i.e. Hauptmann literally translates to "head man", which is also the etymological root of "captain" (from Latin caput head). It equates to Captain in the British and US Armies, and is rated OF-2 in NATO. (For the maritime counterpart to "Captain", see Kapitän.)
More generally, it can be used to denote the head of any hierarchically structured group of people, often as a compound word. For example, a Feuerwehrhauptmann is the captain of a fire brigade, while the word Räuberhauptmann refers to the leader of a gang of robbers.
The word may cognate with the Swedish Hövitsman, which has the root meaning "Head man" or "the man at the head" and is closely related to the word "hövding," meaning Chieftain. Since medieval times, both titles have been used for state administrators rather than military personnel.
On the shoulder straps (Heer, Luftwaffe) there are three silver pips (stars).
German Bundeswehr officer rank