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A guide to British army ranks

British army ranks are divided into commissioned and non-commissioned officers, along with ordinary and unranked soldiers. Commissioned officers start from second lieutenant and move up to field Marshall. Non-commissioned ranks start from lance corporal and move up through the special ranks of warrant officer to Warrant officer class one. Each unit has a share of commissioned and non-commissioned officers.

Commissioned officers

Generals The highest rank among army officers is field Marshall, of which there are none at present. A general commands a whole army. A lieutenant general commands an army corps, about thirty thousand men. Major general commands a division, about ten thousand men. Generals have insignia that includes crossed swords and crowns according to rank. Brigadiers used to be known as brigadier generals, but the word general is dropped now. They command about three thousand men, a brigade. Their insignia is crossed swords. Lower ranking commissioned officers Regiments have a colonel. They are divided into battalions, each of which has a lieutenant colonel. A battalion can be about six hundred men, though numbers vary. Colonels and lieutenant colonels wear a crown and pips on their shoulder, a colonel two pips, a lieutenant-colonel one. Army rankings below colonel include major, who commands a company of about a hundred troops. Majors' army badge is a single crown. Captain Below major is captain, who command a platoon of about 20 men plus commissioned officers. Captains have three pips. Below captains are first lieutenants. The lowest commissioned rank is second lieutenant. These two assist captains in commanding a platoon, taking control of sections and squads. They have one or two pips accordingly.

Non-commissioned officers

These do the routine tasks of implementing commissioned officers orders. The lowest of these is lance corporal, who will command a squad of four soldiers.The badge is one stripe. Above lance corporal is corporal, who will command a section of a platoon, the badge being two stripes. Sergeants above them have three stripes and assist a captain in the daily running of the platoon. Staff sergeant has authority at regimental level and is a higher ranking sergeant. A lance sergeant is a rank rarely retained these days and is a corporal acting temporarily as sergeant. In some regiments, staff sergeants are known as colour sergeants. Warrant officers are known as sergeant-majors. Warrant officer second class is a company sergeant major [CSM] who assist a captain. Warrant officer one is a regimental sergeant-major [RSM], who assists a major. In the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, these are known as artificer sergeant-majors and are ASM 2 and 1 respectively. Ordinary soldiers are generally privates, but in cavalry regiments are called troopers and in the artillery bombardiers

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