Captain of the Fleet

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Naval officer ranks
Flag officers:

Admiral of the fleetFleet admiralGrand admiral
AdmiralGeneral admiral
Vice admiralSquadron vice-admiralLieutenant admiral
Rear admiralCounter admiralDivisional admiral
CommodoreFlotilla admiral

Senior officers:

CaptainCapt at seaCapt of sea and warShip-of-the-line Capt
CommanderFrigate captain
Lieutenant commanderCorvette captain

Junior officers:

Captain lieutenantLieutenantShip-of-the-line lieutenant
Frigate lieutenantLieutenant (junior grade)Sub-lieutenant
Corvette lieutenantEnsign
Midshipman

In the Royal Navy of the 18th and 19th centuries a captain of the fleet could be appointed to assist an admiral when the admiral had ten or more ships to command.[citation needed] The equivalent post was called fleet captain in the U.S. Navy of the 18th and 19th century.

This was a post rather than a rank in itself, and if its holder's permanent rank was below that of an admiral then he ranked just below the most junior rear-admiral and was entitled to the pay and allowance of a rear-admiral whilst he held the post.[citation needed]

The admiral's commands would be issued through his captain of the fleet, and the fleet's responses would be passed back to him.[citation needed] This role of intermediary between the overall commander and the commanded was analogous to that of a commander on a large warship, through whom orders were relayed to the crew and responses received. He would also act in some senses and instances as the admiral's chief of staff.[citation needed]

A captain of the fleet would usually be stationed on the admiral's flagship as its "first captain", and so that ship would also have a flag captain or "second captain" for everyday command of the ship itself.[citation needed]

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