Vääpeli is a Finnish and former Swedish military rank above Ylikersantti and below Ylivääpeli. The rank is derived from the German rank Feldwebel and was used as a rank in the Landsknecht (15th and 16th century) for the one who was responsible for aligning troops during battle.
1600 - 1700 (Finland and Sweden)
The rank was established as the highest non-commissioned officers rank.
Holders of the rank Fältväbel were promoted to Fanjunkare and the rank was removed.
Vääpelis were traditionally responsible for much of the practical tasks in training conscripts and keeping them in line (often literally), in a manner similar to drill sergeant. They were the lowest rank of permanent salaried NCO and thus to a conscript, they were the first and most often encountered of career personnel. (In regular units, lower ranks were either conscripts or temporarily employed.) Obtaining the rank of vääpeli required completion of a degree from Päällystöopisto, a military junior college. Vääpelis were career NCOs and could be promoted to ylivääpeli and sotilasmestari, but not to commissioned officers; this would require attending the Finnish National Defence University.
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