Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Military Ranks

I thought it might be useful to go over the ranks in the British military, for people like me who are not familiar with the responsibilities and rights of the various positions.

From lowest to highest, here they are:

Lance Corporal
The lowest rank of a non-commissioned soldier. It refers, simply, to a seasoned soldier. The name comes from the Italian lanzia spezzata, which means literally "broken lance", or in other words, a man who has seen enough battles to have damaged his equipment.

The second-lowest non-commissioned soldier, a corporal's job varies but in infantry he usually commands a section.

The third-lowest non-commissioned rank, sergeants are usually in specialist positions or in command of a platoon.
Case the cook is a sergeant.

Second Lieutenant
The lowest commissioned rank in the British army, this rank was introduced in the late 19th century to replace the rank of "Ensign".

An officer who, as the original French might imply, "holds a position" in the army. Typically a commander of a platoon.
Hotchkiss and Hitchcock are Lieutenants.

A commissioned officer just below a major. The word comes from the old French capitain, which translates to "chief".
Tietjens and MacKenzie are Captains.

A commissioned officer of mid-level command. From the Latin magnus which means "great".
Drake and Cornwallis are Majors.

Lieutenant Colonel
Commands a batallion.

An old military rank for a commissioned officer dating back to the Roman times.
Levin is a Colonal.

Major General
A high ranking officer subordinate to a Brigadier General.

Lieutenant General
A rank that dates back the middle ages. Traditionally, this rank is held by the second-in-command on the battlefield. The commander of a division.

An officer of high military rank, it comes from the Latin genus for "class, race, kind".
Campion is the General.

Field Marshal
The highest rank of the British army, who were originally the keepers of the king's horses. He acts as commander of the army. The position may only be given out during war time, or to retiring Chiefs of the General Staff.

Sources: British Army Website
Dictionary of Ranks, Appointments and Trades

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