Talk:Field marshal

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Any explanation as to what a "Marshal" is? -- Zoe

A General.

I meant the definition and derivation of the word. -- Zoe

A Marshal is a General. There is no difference between the two. A Field Marshal is a Marshal, and thus also a General. <WTF? HOW CAN HE BE A GENERAL AS WELL? NOT POSSIBLE YOU CANNOT HAVE TWO RANKS AT THE SAME TIME, GET IT RIGHT!!! FROM SPENCER> They are all Generals. Dietary Fiber

Sorry, not true. A Field Marshal is not a General. He was one once, but not after receiving his baton. That's like saying that a Major is a Captain! -- Necrothesp 16:30, 21 Jul 2004 (UTC)

You're not listening to what I'm saying. I was hoping someone could write an article called Marshal, and in that article, or this one, differentiate between a Marhsal and a Field Marshal, just as there are differences between General, Lieutenant General, Brigadier General, and Major General. And in that Marshal article, explain where the word comes from. Being an American, it doesn't register for me. -- Zoe

Well, sometimes a Marshall is a Field Marshall and sometimes he isnt. It all depends on the country. Dietary Fiber

A Marshal is in no way a general, he was once but Marshal does not mean general. In the RAF there is a Marshal of the Air Force, basically Marshal is a very high military rank.

It's somewhat ambigious. A marshal is the officer of the highest military rank, while a General (at least in the US military) is a military officer that ranks above Lieutenant General but below General of the Army/Air Force (only used during wartime). whkoh

As for where it comes from, without even looking it up, I'd think it rather obvious, though I'd factcheck first, of course: Marshal. Martial. Hmm. -- John Owens
And this is why we factcheck. ;) Turns out it's actually from the same root as "mare", and refers to being in charge of the cavalry back in the old days. Learn something new at Wikipedia every day, I do! <g> -- John Owens
P.S. Marshal or marshall? They're both used a lot here. Which is it? Let's see... ah, "marshall" is the Old (American) West law officer kind of marshall, but a high-ranking military type is always "Marshal" with one "l". FYI
Really? The OED says that 'marshal' (unless used as a name) is always spelled with one 'l'. It certainly always is (or always should be - take note BBC, with your occasional Air Chief Marshalls!) when used as a military rank, but the OED also lists the single 'l' as correct for a US law enforcement officer. -- Necrothesp 16:30, 21 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Whether it's "obvious" or not, we ought to include it in the article. -- Zoe

See William Marshal. Deb 21:19 Apr 3, 2003 (UTC)

There's actually lots of interesting stuff about the marshal/general distinction, including Anglo-American friction in WWII believe it or not, but I'm still accumulating authoritative sources before scribbling on this article. Stan 21:37 Apr 3, 2003 (UTC)

Generalissimo Stalin[edit]

The paragraph about Stalin is not correct at all. This type of knowledge is typical for the propaganda-educated Americans. In the Soviet Union, Generalissimo was not a rank, but a different name(title) for MSUs in Soviet Union or field marshals in Imperial Russia. This title was given to a field marshal or MSU, who participated in three different victorious wars. The first Generalissimo was Generalissimo Suvorov in Imperial Russia and the second was Generalissimo Stalin, who won wars with Finland, German, and Japan. It is a sad truth, but not many field marshals won three different wars. Generalissimo was used without addition "of the Soviet Union", so correct entrance in the encyclopedia should be Generalissimo Stalin. The rank of [[Marshal of the Soviet Union]] was actually the highest rank. About self-promoting. The British monarchs get the rank of Field Marshal without even checking the maps of battles, while Generalissimo Stalin planned battles and played a crucial role in the wars. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Stretching it a bit to claim victory against Japan after the entry of the Soviets in the Pacific at the eleventh hour? And surely the Fins were part of the German war? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Dainamo (talkcontribs)
No, the "Finns" were not part of the "German war". The Winter War was before Operation Barbarossa. -- Petri Krohn 13:41, 6 September 2006 (UTC)


Richard Fuller, in Shokan: Hirohito's Samurai, lists Higashikuni as a field marshal and Hata's promotion date as June 1943, not as 1944. This conflicts with what Genstab has written, which I have incidentally removed to here since it messes up the consistency of the list:

this list provided by Japanese scholar Kenji Tsuruhara thru Axis History Forum. Saigo, Higashikuni, Asaka, Arisugawa and Kitasarakawa were never Field Marshals. Note that several were promoted the same year they died- these were posthumous promotions.

Any evidence to back either claim up one way or the other? -- Necrothesp 17:34, 20 Aug 2004 (UTC)


The Duke of Argyll may have been the first British field marshal in the modern sense, but the style dates back at least as far as the English Civil War: according to, Sir Ralph Horton was Field Marshal of the Western Army, and later Field Marshal General (sic) of the West and Sussex, Surrey and Kent; John, Lord Byron was Field Marshal of the forces in Worcester, Salop, Chester and the six Welsh Counties. Franey 14:34, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)


I believe thatn the late middle ages and during the Dutch Republic times, the stadhouder of the Netherlands was also the Captian-General and Admiral-General. After the Dutch rebelled against Spanish rule, this title was held by the scion of the House of Orange-Nassau. I dont know if they had an additional rank of field marshal, and if not, shouldnt this be in the article.

List too big[edit]

Time to factor the list of marshals off somewhere else I think. GraemeLeggett 12:56, 24 May 2005 (UTC)

Is Suharto a Field Marshal?[edit]

I noticed that the page Category:Field_Marshals lists Suharto as a Field Marshal. I have never heard of this and all sources that I can find refer to him as a General, not a Field Marshal. Can somebody provide a source for his use of the title Field Marshal, please? Thanks in advance. Julius.kusuma 16:34, 24 May 2005 (UTC)

Mr. Kusuma, since there is no known evidence so far that he ever acquired that rank, I am going to remove his name from the list. Anglius
Thanks for the note. I've also never heard of Abdul Haris Nasution using the title of Field Marshal. I wonder if somebody can provide a reference to this? Julius.kusuma 03:49, 26 May 2005 (UTC)
You are welcome, sir. I have not read anything as to the present which would indicate that he was one, but it is probable, since he was "Chief of Staff of Armed Forces." I apologise if I am wasting your time. Anglius
If you had added his name because it was "probable" I am going to remove it unless there is a reason to keep it there. There aer many Chiefs of Staff of Armed Forces, but very few are made Field Marshals. Thanks. Julius.kusuma 12:38, 27 May 2005 (UTC)

No, sir, I did not add his name to the list, but you are welcome. Anglius

New Field Marshal Pages[edit]

I saw that a great number of Field Marshal articles were added by an anon user, all of the one liners simply saying that the rank at one point existed in the country in question and that it was held by a particular person. A major cleanup of these articles is needed as they can be merged back into this article. At the very least, stubs and categories should be added. -Husnock 02:55, 4 August 2005 (UTC)

Field Marshals of India, Malaysia, Pakistan, South Africa, Uganda[edit]

All these ranks exist and have been awarded, according to this page: though Idi Amin's self-awarded rank of Field Marshal was one of his more sensible acts of self-aggrandisement (compared with e.g. his title of Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Sea). — Franey 21:31, 5 August 2005 (UTC)

I get it now...former crown colonies of the UK...that makes sense. Those pages need massive expansions and sources. Pics would not hurt either. -Husnock 21:56, 5 August 2005 (UTC)
It might also be a good idea to look at List of Field Marshals, which details holders of the ranks in all these countries and is referenced in this article. -- Necrothesp 01:45, 6 August 2005 (UTC)


Why is the rank of Field Marshal always associated with a baton? I'd like to know. If you know the history behind this, please add a paragraph about it in the article. —Chowbok 17:44, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

I'm curious to know this myself. Bastie 22:30, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

who is the indian field marshall at current?

U.S. field marshals?[edit]

Anyone familiar with the story of why the U.S. doesn't have Field Marshals? I was told it was because General George C. Marshall did not want to be called Field Marshal Marshall. I cannot verify that, but I did find a link, that if accurate, explains in even greater detail what I am saying. Furthermore according to that link, the U.S. has a rank even higher than 5 Star General/Admiral that is reserved for only two people. See: —Preceding unsigned comment added by Shwylde (talkcontribs)

I don't know why the U.S. doesn't have Field Marshals, but I guarantee you that story is a load of crap. —Chowbok 15:19, 6 September 2006 (UTC)
A more likely explanation is that nobody wanted to create a rank that would outrank George Washington. See here for a more reliable history than the Yahoo page. —Chowbok 21:32, 6 September 2006 (UTC)
The Americans felt that "Field Marshal" was too much associated with its monarchial origin, that is the one reason why ranks such as "General of the Armies" and "General of the Army" was created.RicJac 20:09, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
Agreed, the rank of field marshal was felt to be too european for an American to have, so it was replaced.Rugz 20:16, 6 March 2007 (UTC)
Replaced? they never had it. Also why the focus on WWII, wasn't the issue relevant in WWI too? And please, field marshal in lower case unless attached to a person. GrahamBould 20:26, 6 March 2007 (UTC)

I think the "Field Marshal Marshall" story may have been a witticism by the man himself.

Appointment to Field Marshal[edit]

I'm digging this up from memory, but I seem to recall that Field Marshal (at least in Britain) is a wartime-only rank: a general officer (ie General) is appointed to the rank when there is a sufficiently large force to command. Thus a Field Marshal is also a General in that sense. I'll see if I can find a reference as it would make an interesting adition ;-) EyeSerene 18:50, 3 October 2006 (UTC)

There have been plenty of peacetime Field Marshals in Britain. Until the 1990s the Chief of Defence Staff was the only serving British officer to hold what Americans call 5-star rank (the last was Field Marshal Inge), while the chiefs of each of the three services were 4-star, but promoted to the top rank on retirement. This has now been ended.

And of course the monarch holds the highest rank (in practice her husband Prince Philip, who usually wears the uniform of an Admiral of the Fleet). Prince Charles holds 4-star rank.

Which Commonwealth?[edit]

In the preface of the article, there is this statement:

Some nations use the title of marshal instead. The Air Force equivalent in the Commonwealth is Marshal of the Air Force (not to be confused with air marshal).

What Commonwealth is it refering to? It's very unclear. —Preceding unsigned comment added by KickTheDonkey (talkcontribs) 20:12, August 30, 2007 (UTC)

When not otherwise qualified, I think the term always refers to the commonwealth of Nations. I've linked the term to that article. Rojomoke 16:08, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

First or second 5 star rank?[edit]

Something's wrong about either the syntax or the data on George Marshall: it says he was "the first American general to be promoted to a 5 star rank", but also "the second American to be promoted to a 5 star rank". Which one is it? Arisa sama (talk) 03:51, 31 August 2009 (UTC)°

"Which one is it?" - Both.
The first American promoted to 5 star rank was an Admiral.
Marshall was both the first General, and the second American, promoted to 5 star rank. Pdfpdf (talk) 11:53, 24 March 2010 (UTC)

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Why are there 2 articles for Field Marshal one in English and one for Arabic armies named Mushir (latin transliteration of Field Marshal in Arabic language) as long as they are equivalent? I suggest merging both in one article. Amr TarekSay Hello!, 20:13, 27 January 2014 (UTC)


Article currently [1] has a footnote that reads The equivalent of a Generalfeldmarschall in the German navy was Großadmiral (grand admiral). The rank of Generalfeldmarschall was abolished after the fall of Nazi Germany in 1945.

There is no reference given, and there's some doubt in my mind as to whether this is accurate. The corresponding rank to Generalfeldmarschall seems to me to be Generaladmiral, the rank immediately junior to Großadmiral.

But this error, if error it be, is repeated elsewhere in Wikipedia, again without sources AFAIK. See also Talk:Großadmiral. Andrewa (talk) 04:26, 11 September 2014 (UTC)

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