Stevie Carroll (stevie_carroll) wrote,
Stevie Carroll
stevie_carroll

Officer Ranks in the British Army

While checking a reference, I came across this wonderful site which gives an insider's view of all sorts of things British and military, including a handy guide to the ranks:

Second Lieutenant -- ...Normally when first released onto a working unit, will demonstrate the exuberance and self-control of a Springer spaniel puppy till the Tp Staffy housebreaks and teaches to walk on a leash. After a suitable period of re-training is taught to do tasks for which he/she is paid wages for. When considered safe to be let off the lead, is promoted, replaced, and the circus starts again...

Subaltern -- ... since we Brits are happy to encourage pompous Junior Officers to think excessively highly of themselves despite their general ignorance of strict military terminology, the word Subaltern is commonly used to refer only to those at the bottom of the commissioned-officer food-chain, meaning the 2nd Lieutenant(or one-pip-wonder) and the Lieutenant...

Captain -- This is the make or break rank for Regular Officers in the British Army . . . consequently there tend to be four types...

Major -- ...Actually one of the most dangerous ranks in the British Army. Let's face it, everyone who stays in long enough becomes Major (1/3 go on to Lt Col) and Major is where you actually get some responsibility. This explains the number of f**kwits at this rank and passed over never-will-bes. Thus you can see the Peter Principle in action...

Lieutenant Colonel -- ...This is the rank where, when the Peter Principle surfaces, the impact further south on the food chain is most visible. It really isn't pretty.

Now one can indulge one's wildest ideas about regimental codpieces, nude swimming with the chaps, enforced baptism, stable belts with pullovers and founding one's own Scout Troop. Fortunately, (see mid-life crisis) the Army in its wisdom issues units with a Padre and a Regimental Medical Officer who can allegedly react to such behaviour...


Colonel -- ...The Rank at which one slides gracefully from Field Officer to General Staff Officer rank, denoted by the wearing of red tabs on the shirt collar, or service dress lapel, a mega pension, and the relaxed attitude that says "I've commanded my Battalion, got the kids through uni, my pension's safe - from here to retirement, I'm on cruise control"...

Brigadier -- ...This is very near the top of the food chain as far as serving soldiers go, as there are no more Field Marshals and Lieutenant-Generals are a rarity in themselves...

Major General -- This is very near the top of the food chain as far as serving soldiers go, as there are no more Field Marshals and Lieutenant-Generals are a rarity in themselves...

Lieutenant General -- ...A Lieutenant General is a three-star general who would in war usually command a Corps sized formation...

General -- ... You may be thinking that a Major is senior to a Lieutenant so surely it should be Lieutenant General before Major General? Wrong...over the years Major General became a shortened version of the original Sergeant Major General. They obviously scrapped the Sergeant because it is a non-commissioned rank...

Field Marshal -- ... The highest rank in the British Army and once reached you are there for life. As the Army is now so small, there is no requirement for any Field Marshals (see serious version above: in 1997 you could almost hear the remaining Generals on the greasy pole muttering, as one "Curse you - you Smug Git!". ...
Tags: for reference, just for fun, on the internet, regional vocab
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