Fänrik (Swedish: [ˈfɛnrɪk]) and vänrikki (Finnish: [ˈʋænrikːi]), both from the German Fähnrich, are a Swedish and Finnish military rank. A typical assignment for a professional Fänrik is as junior instructor of recruits. In Finland, the rank vänrikki is used in active service by reserve officers who remain in service as for 6-to-12-months-long additional term to serve as sopimussotilas. In addition, it is the lowest reserve officer rank. Finnish Defence Forces rank of Vänrikki is comparable to Ranks of NATO armies officers as OF-1.
Swedish Army, Airforce
Obtaining the rank in SwedenEdit
A minimum of 11 months of basic military training or 6 months as an aspirant followed by a three-year programme at the Swedish National Defence College or Försvarshögskolan (FHS). (See Kadett for details)
Prior 2007 it was possible to obtain the rank through 15 months of compulsory military service training at level 6. Level 6 means that the holder has received basic training to act in platoon leader roles except in the cavalry where Fänrik is a squad leader rank (team = 5-8 men).
Obtaining the rank in FinlandEdit
The rank has been mainly a reserve rank. The future conscript officers are selected from the whole pool of conscripts. After a basic training of two months, a portion of the conscripts are selected for NCO training. After 2 months of NCO training, the most suitable are selected for reserve officer training and promoted to officer students. The 3½-month-long reserve officers training usually takes place in the Reserve Officer School, and afterwards, the candidates are promoted to officer cadets (Finnish: upseerikokelas). They serve the remaining 5½ months of their conscription practicing as platoon commanders as well as training other conscripts. Finally, successful officer cadets are discharged with the rank of vänrikki. In the reserve, reserve officers may be promoted up to majuri (Major), although there have been extraordinarily promotions to everstiluutnantti (Lieutenant Colonel). The Navy equivalent rank is aliluutnantti (Sub-Lieutenant).
If mobilization is effected, officers in the reserve fill most junior officer duties of the war-time Finnish army. Especially, most platoon and company commander positions and junior staff officer duties are filled with reservists.
The National Defence College accepts both reserve officers and reserve NCOs. Those cadets who did not receive reserve officer training during their conscription are usually promoted to the personal rank of vänrikki during their studies. However, upon graduation, professional officers are promoted to luutnantti.
During the early 21st century, the National Defence College also had a one-year program to commission professional officers with the rank of vänrikki and a fixed service term of five years. The rank is the lowest commissioned officer rank.
Formerly a school called Maanpuolustusopisto (MpO) had vänrikki as the rank given to new graduates. These officers were known as opistoupseeri (usually translated "Warrant Officer"), and could be promoted up to yliluutnantti, senior lieutenant, (company vice-commander), and later, to kapteeni (company commander). The opisto level ceased to exist in Finland (other schools were redefined as ammattikorkeakoulu) in the end of 1990's. However, in the military, the MpO was decommissioned. All officers are now trained by the National Defence College. Any existing MpO graduates may obtain further education to upgrade their degree to a university degree.
The name of the rank means "company flag bearer". The flag was usually maintained by a soldier förare and handed over to the fänrik just before the inception of a battle. His role was to align the company and the flag was an important tool in achieving that. This duty was highly prestigious, and as such, could not be trusted to other than an officer, but required no particular officer training. The fänrik together with his assistant the förare were responsible for the medical care within the company. The term fänika was used as a battalion sized military unit during the Middle Ages and Renaissance.
The corresponding rank in the cavalry was Kornett. In 1835 both Fänrik and Kornett were replaced with the rank Underlöjtnant, but in 1914 the rank was reintroduction with the same status as Underlöjtnant. By 1926 the rank was set to be junior in status to Underlöjtnant. In 1937 the rank Underlöjtnant was removed.
Holders of the rank of Fänrik were elevated to Löjtnant in the Regimental Officers Corps.
Holders of the following ranks were elevated to Fänrik, in the separate Company Officers Corps.
The meaning of the term officer broadened to include all professional and reserve military personnel. Fänrik was subsequently set to be the lowest rank for professional and reserve military personnel. To be employed as an officer in the Armed Forces, the candidate was required to complete two years of officers school (OHS) and successfully graduate as Fänrik.
Reform 2008 two career path systemEdit
The objective of the reform is to produce officers who are specialized at commanding troops at platoon, company and higher level as well as providing officers academic status. See officer training how to obtain the rank through the new system.
- The Swedish Armed Forces official website - military ranks Archived 2007-06-08 at the Wayback Machine (accessed on July 13, 2007) (in Swedish)
- http://www.goarmy.com/about/ranks_and_insignia.jsp USA enlisted ranks
- http://www.goarmy.com/about/ranks_insignia_officer.jsp USA commissioned officers ranks