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Military ranks of the Swiss Armed Forces

The military ranks of the Swiss Armed Forces have changed little over the centuries, except for the introduction, in 2001, of a new set of warrant officers. The rank insignia for all personnel are worn on shoulder boards with the appropriate background colour (see below). The exception is that, in all services, rank insignia is not worn by recruits; it is however worn by privates once they have finished recruit school. Designations are given here in German, French, Italian and Romansh (in this order), with an English translation which is used during overseas missions. In the chart below, NATO codes are used for comparison purposes only; Switzerland is not a member of NATO, and the rank structure in the senior officer region can be seen to diverge significantly from other armies'.

Contents

Enlisted ranksEdit

Enlisted menEdit

Ranks for enlisted personnel (de: Grade der Mannschaften), with NATO equivalent, insignia, and designations in five languages
 
rank
Rank insignia Name Description
Mounting loop Camouflage German French Italian Romansh English equivalent
OR-1b Rekrut (Rek) Recrue (recr) recluta recrut Recruit
OR-1a     Soldat (Sdt) Soldat (Sdt) soldato schuldà Private (PTE)
OR-2     Gefreiter (Gfr) appointé (App) appuntato appuntà appointee
OR-3     Obergefreiter (Obgfr) appointé-chef (App chef) appuntato capo primappuntà Private first class (PFC) Specialists who take over tasks of responsibility or hold the position of a squad commander. If the Obgfr has a commanding role, they count among the NCOs, otherwise they are enlisted men. A soldier may be promoted to Obgfr after attending the NCO course at the Swiss Army's Recruit School, during which time they are also called Anwärter. Upon very good conduct, a Gefreiter may also be promoted to Obergefreiter at a "repetition course". This promotion is not linked to extended duty (service time).

Non-commissioned officers (NCO)Edit

Ranks for NCOs (de: Grade der Unteroffiziere), with NATO equivalent, insignia, and designations in five languages
 
rank
Rank insignia Name Description
Mounting loop Camouflage German French Italian Romansh English equivalent
OR-4     Korporal (Kpl) Caporal (Cpl) Corporale (Cpl) Caporal (Cpl) Corporal Before the reorganization of the Swiss Armed Forces, this was the standard junior NCO rank, while the rank of Wachtmeister (Sergeant) was awarded to NCOs upon good conduct. Currently, the standard junior NCO rank is Wachtmeister (Sergeant), while soldiers in the rank of a Korporal (Corporal) serve as specialist NCOs (e.g. arms specialization, CBRN specialization etc.)
OR-5b     Wachtmeister (Wm) Sergent (Sgt) Sergente (Sgt) Sergent (Sgt) Sergeant
OR-5a     Oberwachtmeister (Obwm) Sergent chef (Sgt chef) Sergente capo (Sgt capo) Caposergent (Csgt) This rank is awarded to future platoon leaders while attending officer school or to sergeants who attend the "platoon leader substitute" program during "repetition courses".

Higher NCOsEdit

Ranks for higher NCOs (de: Grade der höheren Unteroffiziere), with NATO equivalent, insignia, and designations in five languages
 
rank
Rank insignia Name Description
Mounting loop Camouflage German French Italian Romansh English equivalent
OR-6     Feldweibel (Fw) Sergent-major (Sgtm) Sergente maggiore (Sgtm) Primsergent (Psgt) Master sergeant
(SSgt)
Lowest rank of "Higher non-commissioned officers" (NCO); it used to be a higher rank than Feldweibel and to oversee unit-level military service and operations. Changed under the 1995 reform to a specialist rank. Nowadays, Feldweibel are almost only seen in military police and NBC units.
OR-7     Fourier (Four) Fourrier (Four) Furiere (Fur) Furier (Fur) Quartermaster sergeant (QMS) The higher NCO who administers a company's finances, subsistence and lodging.
OR-7     Hauptfeldweibel (Hptfw) Sergent-major chef (Sgtm chef) Sergente maggiore capo (sgtm capo) Capoprimsergent (cpsgt) First sergeant
(SFC)
The Hauptfeldweibel oversees unit-level military service and operations.
OR-8     Adjutant Unteroffizier (Adj Uof) Adjudant sous-officier (Adj Sof) Aiutante sottufficiale (aiut suff) Adjutant sutuffizier (Adj suff) Warrant officer class 2
OR-9     Stabsadjutant (Stabsadj) Adjudant d'état-major (adjut EM) Aiutante di stato maggiore (aiut SM) Adjutant da stab (Adj S) Warrant officer class 1
OR-9     Hauptadjutant (Hptadj) Adjudant-major (Adjm) Aiutante maggiore (Aiut magg) Adjutant principal (Adj prin) Warrant officer class 1
OR-9     Chefadjutant (Chefadj) Adjutant-chef (Adj chef) Aiutante capo (Aiut capo) Chefadjutant (Schefadj)

OfficersEdit

Subaltern officers and Hauptleute (captains)Edit

Ranks for subaltern officers, with NATO equivalent, insignia, and designations in five languages
 
rank
Rank insignia Name Description
Mounting loop Camouflage German French Italian Romansh English equivalent
OF-1b     Leutnant
(Lt)
Lieutenant
(Lt)
Tenente
(Ten)
Litenet
(Lt)
Second lieutenant Platoon's leader
OF-1a     Oberleutnant
(Oblt)
Premier-lieutenant
(Plt)
Primo tenente
(I ten)
Primlitenant
(Plt)
First lieutenant Platoon's leader or future company commander
OF-2     Hauptmann
(Hptm)
Capitaine
(Cap)
Capitano
(Cap)
Chapitani
(Chap)
Captain Company commander

or officer in battalion's staff

Staff officers, specialistEdit

Ranks for staff officers and specialists, with NATO equivalent, insignia, and designations in five languages
 
rank
Rank insignia Name Description
Mounting loop Camouflage German French Italian Romansh English equivalent
OF-3     Major
(Maj)
Major
(Maj)
Maggiore
(Magg)
Maior
(Mai)
Major
(Maj)
Several assignments in a battalion's staff (deputy S1-7), under special circumstances appointment to battalion commander, teacher or staff officer on a military academy, commander of a HQ company, staff officer in major units.
OF-4     Oberstleutnant
(Oberstlt)
Lieutenant-colonel
(Lt col)
Tenente colonnello
(Ten col)
Litinent colonel
(Lt col)
Lieutenant colonel
(Ltc)
Battalion commander, staff officer in major units.
OF-5     Oberst
(Oberst)
Colonel
(Col)
Colonnello
(Col)
Colonel (Col) Colonel (Col) Under special circumstances appointment to battalion commander, deputy commander of a brigade, staff officer in major units.
OF1a-5     Fachoffizier (FachOf) Officier spécialiste
(Of spéc)
Ufficiale specialista (Uff spec) Uffizier spezialist
(Uff spez)
Specialist Officer "Specialist Officer", variable from OF1a to OF5, all officer's rank groups.

Higher staff officersEdit

Higher staff officers wear black lampasses on the outside seam of dress uniform trousers.

Ranks for higher staff officers, with NATO equivalent, insignia, and designations in five languages
 
rank
Rank insignia Name Description
Mounting loop Camouflage Kepi German French Italian Romansh English equivalent
OF-6       Brigadier (Br) Brigadier (Br) Brigadiere Brigadier Brigadier general One-star rank, commander of a brigade, also military attaché
OF-7       Divisionär (Div) Divisionnaire (div) Divisionario Divisionär Major general Two-star rank, commander of territorial region, also in an Army HQ or staff.
OF-8       Korpskommandant (KKdt) Commandant de corps (cdt C) Comandante di corpo Korpskommandant Lieutenant general Three-star rank, also the rank of the Chief of the Armed Forces, highest rank in peace time.

Commander-in-chief of the Armed ForcesEdit

Rank for the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces, with NATO equivalent, insignia, and designations in five languages
 
rank
Rank insignia Name Description
Mounting loop Camouflage Kepi German French Italian Romansh English equivalent
OF-9       General (Gen) Général Generale Generale General The rank is assigned only during time of war, when the Federal Assembly chooses one general to command the entire Swiss military. Otherwise the word "general" is not used.[1]

Generals were appointed during the Neuchâtel Crisis (Guillaume Henri Dufour), Franco-Prussian War (Hans Herzog), First World War (Ulrich Wille) and Second World War (Henri Guisan). The General remains subordinate to the Federal Council.

Shoulder board colour (Waffenfarbe)Edit

Armored Corps Infantry Staff officers, engineers, intelligence, chaplaincy Artillery Air Force Signal and command support corps Medical corps, Red Cross service
Rescue corps Logistic corps Territorial service Military security NBC defence corps Armed Forces Legal Service Peace Support Operation

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ McPhee, John (1983-10-31). "La Place de la Concorde Suisse-I". The New Yorker. p. 50. Retrieved 22 July 2013.

External linksEdit

  Media related to Military rank insignia of Switzerland at Wikimedia Commons