Polish Armed Forces rank insignia

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This article presents the ranks of the entire Polish Armed Forces as well as the rank insignia used today. The system of rank insignia is a direct descendant of various systems used throughout history by the Polish Army. Some of the grades trace their name back to Middle Ages, for instance the rank of chorąży literally means a flag bearer or an Ensign.

Names of Polish ranks are often of foreign origin, like the ones introduced by the 17th-century mercenaries serving for the Polish Crown. These include the rank of kapral, which is a derivative of Italian caporale - much like the English equivalent of corporal.

Origins[edit]

Most rank titles are cognates to the ones in English, with some exceptions. Notably colonel's literal meaning is regimental-leader, likewise plutonowy means platoon-leader. Also, the title equivalent to petty officer is identical to the word for boatswain, so a Bosman may or may not be a bosman.

Until World War II, each of the branches of the Land Forces used a set of different names for the same grades. For instance a sergeant was called sierżant in the infantry, ogniomistrz (literally master of fire) in the artillery and wachmistrz (from German Wachtmeister, or Master of the Guards) in the cavalry. This is similar to the German army calling a cavalry officer which is equivalent to Hauptmann a Rittmeister

Modern polish military practices were heavily influenced by Prussian/German and Russian traditions, as most founding officers after 1918 independence were veterans of those respective armies.

Customs[edit]

The Polish language requires the use of a prior honorific before stating the addressee's rank e.g. 'Panie Kapitanie...' (Sir Captain...). This is directly equivalent to French practice where the possessive Mon is pre-pended to the addressee's rank. During the communist period use of the formal 'Pan' (Sir) was frowned upon and 'Obywatel' (Citizen) (as in: Obywatelu Kapitanie!) was used. This has reverted to prior style in the post-communist era.

It is customary to include other titles when referring to an officer in writing. This can lead to some interesting abbreviations. For example, a Lt. Col. in the airforce by the name Nowak who is a pilot and has a MSc in engineering would be written ppłk pil. mgr inż. Nowak. (LtCol plt MEng Nowak)

Uniquely, Polish forces use a two-fingered version of the salute, and the saluting custom does not allow saluting with the fingers to the head without having a headgear on (cap/beret or helmet).

Marshal of Poland[edit]

NATO Code OF-10
Coat of arms of Poland-official3.png
Polish
Armed Forces
Army-POL-OF-10.svg Marszalek m.png
pl: Marszałek Polski
Abbreviation marsz.
English equivalent Field Marshal

Marshal of Poland (Marszałek Polski) is the highest rank in the Polish Armed Forces. It has been granted to only six officers and is not used currently. At present, this rank is equivalent to a Field Marshal or General of the Army (OF-10) in other NATO armies.

The last ever Marshal of Poland nominated by the President in 1963 was the military commander and communist politician Marian Spychalski who passed away in 1980.[1]

Land Forces[edit]

Officers[edit]

NATO Code OF-9 OF-8 OF-7 OF-6 OF-5 OF-4 OF-3 OF-2 OF-1
POL Wojska Lądowe.svg
Land Forces
Army-POL-OF-09.svg Army-POL-OF-08.svg Army-POL-OF-07.svg Army-POL-OF-06.svg Army-POL-OF-05.svg Army-POL-OF-04.svg Army-POL-OF-03.svg Army-POL-OF-02.svg Army-POL-OF-01a.svg Army-POL-OF-01b.svg
style="text-align:center;" Generał1 Generał broni Generał dywizji Generał brygady Pułkownik/Inspektor Podpułkownik/MłodszyInspektor Major/Podinspektor Kapitan/Nadkomisarz Porucznik/Komisarz Podporucznik/Podkomisarz
Abbreviation gen. gen. broni gen. dyw. gen. bryg. płk ppłk mjr kpt. por. ppor.
English equivalent General Junior general Subgeneral
(Divisional general)
Junior Subgeneral
(Brigade general)
Colonel Junior Colonel Subcolonel Captain Lieutenant Sublieutenant
  • 1 Generał armii (general of the army; an army as military unit, not the Polish Army) to 2004

Warrant Officer ranks of the Army[edit]

Podinspektor

Uniform of a Major of the Polish Army
NATO Code OR-9 OR-8 OR-7
POL Wojska Lądowe.svg
Land Forces
Army-POL-OR-09a.svg Army-POL-OR-09b.svg Army-POL-OR-08.svg Army-POL-OR-07.svg
Polish: Starszy chorąży sztabowy|Starszy chorąży
sztabowy
Starszy Chorąży Chorąży Młodszy chorąży
Abbreviation st. chor. szt. st. chor. chor. mł. chor.
English: Senior Staff Warrant Officer Senior Warrant Officer Warrant Officer Junior Warrant Officer

Non Commissioned Officers and Privates[edit]

NATO Code OR-6 OR-5 OR-4 OR-3 OR-2 OR-1
POL Wojska Lądowe.svg
Land Forces
Army-POL-OR-06.svg Army-POL-OR-05.svg Army-POL-OR-04a.svg Army-POL-OR-04b.svg Army-POL-OR-03.svg Army-POL-OR-02.svg Army-POL-OR-01.svg
Polish Starszy sierżant|Starszy
sierżant
Sierżant Plutonowy Starszy kapral|Starszy
kapral
Kapral Starszy szeregowy|Starszy
szeregowy
Szeregowy
English Staff Sergeant Sergeant Master Corporal Senior Corporal Corporal Lance Corporal Private
Abbreviation st. sierż. sierż. plut. st. kpr kpr. st. szer. szer.

Air Forces[edit]

Officers[edit]

NATO Code OF-9 OF-8 OF-7 OF-6 - OF-5 OF-4 OF-3 OF-2 OF-1
POL Wojska Lotnicze.svg
Air Forces
Rank insignia of generał of the Air Force of Poland.svg Rank insignia of generał broni of the Air Force of Poland.svg Rank insignia of generał dywizji of the Air Force of Poland.svg Rank insignia of generał brygady of the Air Force of Poland.svg Rank insignia of pułkownik of the Air Force of Poland.svg Rank insignia of podpułkownik of the Air Force of Poland.svg Rank insignia of major of the Air Force of Poland.svg Rank insignia of kapitan of the Air Force of Poland.svg Rank insignia of porucznik of the Air Force of Poland.svg Rank insignia of podporucznik of the Air Force of Poland.svg
Polish rank Generał Generał
broni
Generał
dywizji
Generał
brygady
Pułkownik Podpułkownik Major Kapitan Porucznik Podporucznik
English equivalent General Lieutenant General Major General,
Divisional General
Brigadier,
Brigade General
Colonel Lieutenant Colonel Major Captain Lieutenant Second Lieutenant
Abbreviation gen. gen. broni gen. dyw. gen. bryg. płk ppłk mjr kpt. por. ppor.

Chorąży rangs Air Force[edit]

NATO Code OR-9 OR-8 OR-7
POL Wojska Lotnicze.svg
Air Forces
Rank insignia of starszy chorąży sztabowy of the Air Force of Poland.svg Rank insignia of starszy chorąży of the Air Force of Poland.svg Rank insignia of chorąży of the Air Force of Poland.svg Rank insignia of młodszy chorąży of the Air Force of Poland.svg
Polish Starszy chorąży
sztabowy
Starszy chorąży Chorąży Młodszy chorąży
Abbreviation st. chor. szt. st. chor. chor. mł. chor.
English: Staff-senior-chorąży Senior-chorąży Chorąży Junior-chorąży

Non-commissioned officers and airmen[edit]

NATO Code OR-6 OR-5 OR-4 OR-3 OR-2 OR-1
POL Wojska Lotnicze.svg
Air Forces
Rank insignia of starszy sierżant of the Air Force of Poland.svg Rank insignia of sierżant of the Air Force of Poland.svg Rank insignia of plutonowy of the Air Force of Poland.svg Rank insignia of starszy kapral of the Air Force of Poland.svg Rank insignia of kapral of the Air Force of Poland.svg Rank insignia of starszy szeregowy of the Air Force of Poland.svg Rank insignia of szeregowy of the Air Force of Poland.svg
Polish rank Starszy
Sierżant
Sierżant Plutonowy Starszy
Kapral
Kapral Starszy
Szeregowy
Szeregowy
Technical Sergeant Flight Sergeant Staff Sergeant Senior Airman,
Corporal
Airman 1st Class,
Lance Corporal
Airman Airman Basic
Abbreviation st. sierż. sierż. plut. st. kpr kpr. st. szer. szer.

Navy[edit]

Officers[edit]

NATO Code OF-9 OF-8 OF-7 OF-6 - OF-5 OF-4 OF-3 OF-2 OF-1
POL Marynarka Wojenna.svg
Chravy
POL PMW pagon1 admirał.svg POL PMW pagon1 admirał floty.svg POL PMW pagon1 wiceadmirał.svg POL PMW pagon1 kontradmirał.svg POL PMW pagon1 komandor.svg POL PMW pagon1 komandor porucznik.svg POL PMW pagon1 komandor podporucznik.svg POL PMW pagon1 kapitan marynarki.svg POL PMW pagon1 porucznik marynarki.svg POL PMW pagon1 podporucznik marynarki.svg
Polish rank Admirał Admirał floty1 Wiceadmirał Kontradmirał Komandor Komandor
porucznik
Komandor
podporucznik
Kapitan
marynarki
Porucznik
marynarki
Podporucznik
marynarki
English rank Admiral Fleet Admiral1 Vice Chradmiral Rear Chadmiral,
Counter Admiral
Captain,
Commodore
Commander,
Lieutenant Commodore
Lieutenant Commander,
Sublieutenant Commodore
Lieutenant,
Ship Chraptain
Lieutenant (junior grade),
Ship Lieutenant
Ensign,
Ship Sublieutenant
Abbreviation adm. adm. fl. wadm. kadm. kmdr kmdr por. kmdr ppor. kpt. mar. por. mar. ppor. mar.
  • 1 introduced in 2002

Warrant officers[edit]

NATO Code OR-9 OR-8 OR-7
POL Marynarka Wojenna.svg
Navy
POL PMW pagon1 starszy chorąży sztabowy marynarki.svg POL PMW pagon1 starszy chorąży marynarki.svg POL PMW pagon1 chorąży marynarki.svg POL PMW pagon1 młodszy chorąży marynarki.svg
Sleeve POL PMW pagon2 starszy chorąży sztabowy marynarki.svg POL PMW pagon2 starszy chorąży marynarki.svg POL PMW pagon2 chorąży marynarki.svg POL PMW pagon2 młodszy chorąży marynarki.svg
Pl: Starszy chorąży sztabowy
marynarki
Starszy chorąży
marynarki
Chorąży
marynarki
Młodszy chorąży
marynarki
Abbreviation st. chor. szt. mar. st. chor. mar. chor. mar. mł. chor. mar.
Pl: Staff Senior Warrant Officer Senior Warrant Officer Warrant Officer First Warrant Officer

Non-commissioned officers and sailors[edit]

NATO Code OR-6 OR-5 OR-4 OR-3 OR-2 OR-1
POL Marynarka Wojenna.svg
Navy
POL PMW pagon1 starszy bosman.svg POL PMW pagon1 bosman.svg POL PMW pagon1 bosmanmat.svg POL PMW pagon1 starszy mat.svg POL PMW pagon1 mat.svg POL PMW pagon1 starszy marynarz.svg POL PMW pagon1 marynarz.svg
Starszy
bosman
Bosman Bosmanmat Starszy
mat
Mat Starszy
marynarz
Marynarz
Senior Chief Petty Officer,
Senior Boatswain
Chief Petty Officer,
Boatswain
Petty Officer 1st Class,
Junior Boatswain
Petty Officer 2nd Class Ordinary Seaman Seaman Apprentice Seaman Recruit
Abbreviation st. bsm. bsm. bsmt st. mat mat st. mar. mar.
  • All naval rank and insignia information is referenced from the Official Website of the Polish Navy [1]

Historical ranks[edit]

Abolished on July 1, 2004[edit]

NATO Code OR-9 OR-7 OR-4
Rank insignia of chorąży sztabowy of the Army of Poland.svg Rank insignia of chorąży sztabowy of the Air Force of Poland.svg POL PMW pagon1 chorąży sztabowy marynarki.svg Rank insignia of młodszy chorąży sztabowy of the Army of Poland.svg Rank insignia of młodszy chorąży sztabowy of the Air Force of Poland.svg POL PMW pagon1 młodszy chorąży sztabowy marynarki.svg Rank insignia of starszy sierżant sztabowy of the Army of Poland.svg Rank insignia of starszy sierżant sztabowy of the Air Force of Poland.svg POL PMW pagon1 starszy bosman sztabowy.svg Rank insignia of sierżant sztabowy of the Army of Poland.svg Rank insignia of sierżant sztabowy of the Air Force of Poland.svg POL PMW pagon1 bosman sztabowy.svg Rank insignia of starszy plutonowy of the Army of Poland.svg Rank insignia of starszy plutonowy of the Air Force of Poland.svg POL PMW pagon1 starszy bosmanmat.svg
Polish rank Chorąży
sztabowy

(Army)
Chorąży
sztabowy

(Air force)
Chorąży
sztabowy
marynarki

(Navy)
Młodszy
chorąży
sztabowy

(Army)
Młodszy
chorąży
sztabowy

(Air force)
Młodszy
chorąży
sztabowy
marynarki

(Navy)
Starszy
sierżant
sztabowy

(Army)
Starszy
sierżant
sztabowy

(Air force)
Starszy
bosman
sztabowy

(Navy)
Sierżant
sztabowy

(Army)
Sierżant
sztabowy

(Air force)
Bosman
sztabowy

(Navy)
Starszy
plutonowy

(Army)
Starszy
plutonowy

(Air Force)
Starszy
bosmanmat

(Navy)
English rank Senior Warrant Officer Senior Warrant Officer Senior Warrant Officer Master Warrant Officer Master Warrant Officer Master Warrant Officer First Sergeant Senior Master Sergeant Command Master Chief Petty Officer Master Sergeant Master Sergeant Master Chief Petty Officer Lance Sergeant Chief technician Chief Petty Officer 2nd class
Abbreviation chor. szt. chor. szt. chor. szt. mar. mł. chor. szt. mł. chor. szt. mł. chor.
szt. mar.
st. sierż. szt. st. sierż. szt. st. bsm. szt. sierż. szt. sierż. szt. bsm. szt. st. plut. st. plut. st. bsmt.

Other changes on July 1, 2004[edit]

Pay Grade changed on July 1, 2004[edit]

  • Młodszy chorąży/Młodszy chorąży marynarki: OR-8 to OR-7
  • Starszy chorąży/Starszy chorąży marynarki: OR-8 to OR-9
  • Starszy Kapral/Starszy mat: OR-3 to OR-4

Other[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Michał Nogaś, Wojciech Włodarczyk. (2011-06-17). "Marszałek Polski Marian Spychalski". Polskie Radio. Retrieved 13 April 2014.