Major general

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For the 17th century Cromwellian regime, see Rule of the Major-Generals. For the song in Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance, see Major-General's Song.
Navies Armies Air forces
Officers
Admiral of
the fleet
Marshal or
Field marshal
Marshal of
the air force
Admiral General Air chief marshal
Vice admiral Lieutenant general Air marshal
Rear admiral Major general Air vice-marshal
Commodore Brigadier Air commodore
Captain Colonel Group captain
Commander Lieutenant colonel Wing commander
Lieutenant
commander
Major or
Commandant
Squadron leader
Lieutenant Captain Flight lieutenant
Sub-lieutenant Lieutenant Flying officer
Ensign Second
lieutenant
Pilot officer
Midshipman Officer cadet Officer cadet
Seamen, soldiers and airmen
Warrant officer Sergeant major or
Warrant officer
Warrant officer
Petty officer Sergeant Sergeant
Leading seaman Corporal or
Specialist
Corporal
Seaman Private Aircraftman

Major general, major-general and similar are the names of a military rank used in many countries. It is derived from the older rank of sergeant major general. A major general is a high-ranking officer; normally the rank is subordinate to the rank of lieutenant general and senior to the ranks of brigadier and brigadier general. Where relevant, the rank has a NATO code of OF-7, and is considered to be a two-star rank.[1] A major general in most armies commands a division, however in some countries he commands a brigade.

In a number of countries, major general is the highest active rank used; for example, the Commander-in-Chief of the Estonian Defence Forces holds the rank of major general.[2]

Countries[edit]

Australia[edit]

Austria[edit]

In the old Austro-Hungarian Army, the major general was called a generalmajor.[3] Today's Austrian Federal Army still uses the same term.

Canada[edit]

In the Canadian Armed Forces, the rank of major-general (MGen) (major-général and Mgén in French) is both an Army and Air Force rank equivalent to the Navy's rank of rear-admiral. A major-general is a general officer, the equivalent of a naval flag officer. The major-general rank is senior to the ranks of brigadier-general and commodore, and junior to lieutenant-general and vice-admiral. Prior to 1968, the Air Force used the rank of air vice-marshal instead.

The rank insignia for a major-general is two gold maple leaves beneath crossed sword and baton, all surmounted by St. Edward's Crown. It is worn on the shoulder straps of the service dress tunic, and on slip-ons on other uniforms. The service dress tunic also features a wide strip of gold braid around the cuff. On the visor of the service cap are two rows of gold oak leaves.

Major-generals are initially addressed as "general" and name, as are all general officers; thereafter by subordinates as "sir" or "ma'am" as applicable in English or "mon général" in French. Major-generals are normally entitled to staff cars.

Estonia[edit]

In the Estonian military, the major general rank is called kindralmajor.

Finland[edit]

The Finnish military equivalent is kenraalimajuri in Finnish, and generalmajor in Swedish.

France[edit]

The French equivalent to the rank of major general is général de division.

In the French military, major général is not a rank but an appointment conferred on some generals, usually of général de corps d'armée rank, acting as head of staff of a branch of service. This should not be confused with the chief of staff, who is usually a général d'armée, and the true commander of each service. The position of major général can be considered the equivalent of a deputy chief of Staff. There are five major generals: the Major General of the Armies, head of the General Staff, the Major General of the Army, the Major General of the Navy, the Major General of the Gendarmerie and the Major General of the Air Force.Major-General(General en Chef d'Armee)the Marquis de la Lafayette, is a prominent example of a Major-General holding the same equivalent rank in both the newly created United States and in Ancien-Regime France.

Historically, the French army had some sergent-majors généraux, also called sergents de bataille, whose task was to prepare the disposition of the army on the field before a battle. These sergents-majors généraux became a new rank, the maréchal de camp (not the same as a field marshal, in the French Army from antiquity called a Maréchal de France), which was the equivalent of the rank of major general. However, the term of major général was not forgotten and used to describe the appointment of armies chiefs of staff. One well-known French major général was Marshal Louis Alexandre Berthier; Major General of Napoléon's Grande armée.

Georgia[edit]

In Georgia the rank major-general (გენერალ მაიორი) has one star as for security forces. The army however doesn't follow the traditional soviet model and uses the nowadays more common two-star insignia.

Germany[edit]

The German Army and Luftwaffe referred to the rank as Generalmajor (OF-7) until 1945. Prior to 1955, the rank of Generalleutnant (OF-8) was used to define a division commander, whereas Generalmajor was a brigade commander.

West Germany[edit]

With the remilitarization of Germany in 1955 on West Germany's admission to NATO, (West) Germany adopted the rank structure of the U.S., with the authority of the three lower ranks being moved up one level, and the rank of Brigadegeneral (brigadier general, OF-6) added below them. The rank of Generaloberst (OF-9, Colonel general) was no longer used.

National People's Army[edit]

The Nationale Volksarmee of the German Democratic Republic continued the use Generalmajor (OF-6), short GenMaj, as the lowest general officer rank (one-star rank), (followed by Generalleutnant (OF-7), Generaloberst (OF-8), Armeegeneral (OF-9), and Marshal of the German Democratic Republic), until reunification 1990. The Konteradmiral (OF-6), short KAdm (en: Rear admiral) was equivalent to the Generalmajor.

Hungary[edit]

The Hungarian Defence Force (Hungarian: Magyar Honvédség) refer to the rank as vezérőrnagy.

Iran[edit]

In the Iranian Army and Air Force, the ranks above colonel are respectively sartip dovom (second brigadier general with no equivalent in other countries), sartip (brigadier general), sarlashkar (major general), sepahbod (lieutenant general), and arteshbod (general)

Ireland[edit]

In the Irish Defence Forces, there are two major generals. They are Deputy Chiefs of Staff with separate responsibility for operations (DCOS Ops) and support (DCOS Sp).

India[edit]

Major general in the Indian Army is equivalent to rear admiral in the Indian Navy and air vice marshal in the Indian Air Force and is the lowest of the general officer ranks, ranking higher than a brigadier and lower than a lieutenant general.

Israel[edit]

In the Israel Defence Forces, a major general is called an aluf and is the second highest rank, subordinate to rav aluf (lieutenant general or general), the rank held by the Chief of Staff.

Italy[edit]

In Italy, the equivalent of major general is the army rank of generale di divisione. In the army the generale di divisione is the commander of a division.

Kenya[edit]

In Kenya, major general is the third highest rank. It is subordinate to General and Lieutenant General, and superior to Brigadier and Colonel.

North Korea[edit]

The rank of sojang is also used in North Korea, where it is the lowest general officer and flag officer rank, equivalent to a one-star general. The North Korean equivalent to a two-star General is jungjang, which roughly translates as lieutenant general.

South Korea[edit]

In South Korea, the rank of major general is known as sojang (Korean: 소장; Hanja: 少將).

New Zealand[edit]

In the New Zealand Army, major-general is the rank held by the Chief of Army (formerly the Chief of General Staff). The more senior rank of lieutenant-general is reserved for when an army officer holds the position of Chief of Defence Force, who commands all New Zealand's armed forces. This position is subject to rotation between the heads of the air force, army, and navy.

Norway[edit]

In the Norwegian Army, the Air Force and the Home Guard, generalmajor is the lowest general officer rank, equivalent to kontreadmiral in the Navy.

Pakistan[edit]

Major general in the Pakistan Army is equivalent to rear admiral in the Navy and air vice marshal in the Air Force. It is the lowest of the general officer ranks, ranking between brigadier and lieutenant general. The Pakistan Army has two female major generals.[citation needed]

Poland[edit]

Main article: Generał brygady

Generał brygady (Polish pronunciation: [ɡɛˈnɛraw brɨˈɡadɨ], literally General of a brigade, abbreviated gen. bryg.) is the lowest rank for generals in the Polish Army (both in the Land Forces and in the Polish Air Force). Depending on the context, it is equivalent to either the modern rank of major general, or the rank of brigadier general (mostly in historical context).

Portugal[edit]

The rank of major-general was reintroduced in the Portuguese Army, Air Force and National Republican Guard in 1999 in place of the former rank of brigadier. It was previously used in the Army, from 1862 to 1864. It is equivalent to the rank of contra-almirante (rear-admiral) in the Portuguese Navy.

In the first half of the 20th century, major-general was not used as a rank in the Portuguese military, but as an appointment title conferred to the general officers that acted as the service branch military heads of the Navy and of the Army. The roles of Major-General of the Navy (Major-General da Armada) and Major-General of the Army (Major-General do Exército) were extinct in 1950, with their functions being transferred to the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces.

Somalia[edit]

In Somalia, major general is used within the Somali Armed Forces (SAF) for the highest-ranking military official.[4]

Sweden[edit]

In Sweden, the rank of generalmajor (Genmj) is used in the Army, the Amphibious Corps and the Air Force. It is the equivalent to konteramiral in the navy. It is typically held by the Inspector Generals of the three service branches, and the head of the Swedish Military Intelligence and Security Service.

Thailand[edit]

In Thailand, the rank of major general is called Pon-tree "พลตรี" for the Royal Thai Army, which is equivalent to rear admiral (Pon-reu-tree "พลเรือตรี") for the Navy, and air vice marshal (Pon-akat-tree "พลอากาศตรี") for the Air Force.

Turkey[edit]

The Turkish Army and Air Force refer to the rank as tümgeneral. The Turkish Navy equivalent is tümamiral. The name is derived from tümen, the Turkish word for a military division (tümen itself is an older Turkish word meaning "10,000"). Thus, linguistically, it is similar to the French equivalent for a major general, général de division.

United Kingdom[edit]

In the British Army and Royal Marines, major-general ranks below lieutenant-general and above brigadier, and is thus the lowest of the general officer ranks, although always considered equivalent to major-general in other countries. Divisions are usually commanded by major-generals, and they also hold a variety of staff positions. The professional head of the Royal Marines currently holds the rank of major-general.

From 1 April 1918 to 31 July 1919, the Royal Air Force maintained the rank of major-general. It was superseded by the rank of air vice-marshal on the following day.

Major-general is equivalent to rear admiral in the Royal Navy and air vice-marshal in the Royal Air Force.

United States[edit]

In the United States Army, a major general commands a division of 10,000–20,000 soldiers and is capable of fully independent field operation.

Vietnam[edit]

In Vietnam, the rank of major general is known as thiếu tướng. It is used in the army and the air force. It is the equivalent to chuẩn Đô đốc in the Navy.

The rank of thiếu tướng is the lowest general officer and flag officer rank, equivalent to a one-star general and admiral. In the Vietnamese People's Army, a major general commands a corps of 30,000–40,000 soldiers and is capable of fully independent field operation.

Insignia[edit]

Army[edit]

Air Force[edit]

Fictional references[edit]

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ In countries that do not maintain the rank of brigadier general, including much of Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth, major general is the lowest of the general-officer ranks. Note, however, if the rank of brigadier is used, although brigadiers are not classed as "generals", they are of equal rank to brigadier generals, and are still considered to be a one-star rank. If neither of the ranks of brigadier or brigadier general (or an equivalent rank) are used, the major general is still considered a two-star rank (independent of how many stars there actually are in the insignia), and that armed force simply has no one-star rank.
  2. ^ "Commander of the Defence Forces - Estonia". Headquarters of the Estonian Defence Forces. Retrieved 15 May 2014. 
  3. ^ Bowden & Tarbox, p 24. The authors write that FML (field-marshal-lieutenant) is the same as lieutenant-general and general-feldwachtmeister the same as major-general. But they list no equivalent rank to brigadier-general. Nevertheless, the page cited is an excellent source of Austro-Hungarian ranks.
  4. ^ Somalia: A Country Study – Army Ranks and Insignia, www.marines.mil

References[edit]

  • Boatner, Mark M., III. The Civil War Dictionary. New York: David McKay, 1959. ISBN 0-679-50013-8.
  • Bowden, Scotty & Tarbox, Charlie. Armies on the Danube 1809. Arlington, TX: Empire Games Press, 1980. OCLC 6649795.
  • Foote, Shelby. The Civil War: A Narrative. Vol. 2. New York: Random House, 1986. ISBN 0-394-74621-X.