Talk:Ranks in the French Army

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Highest French Army Rank????[edit]

Can someone please tell me what is currently the highest rank in the French Army as of the new millenium???(LonerXL (talk) 03:19, 13 January 2009 (UTC))

Contradiction with French Gendarmerie[edit]

The information on the rank system given here differs from that given on the French Gendarmerie article. See Talk:French Gendarmerie for the details. Shinobu 19:46, 4 December 2005 (UTC)

This is normal, the terminology varies according to the arm. Both are corect. Rama 21:26, 4 December 2005 (UTC)

So which arms use this terminology and which the terminology on the other page? Shinobu 08:30, 5 December 2005 (UTC)

The Gendarmerie uses terms like "légion", "groupement", etc., and the Army uses "corps d'armée, régiment", etc. Rama 09:09, 5 December 2005 (UTC)

In that case I think my question still stands, because the contradiction between the articles was about ranks in the Gendarmerie. I'll quote from the other talk page since we're apparently discussing this here.

French Gendarmerie:

  • regions - general
  • legions - colonel
  • groupements
  • compagnies

Ranks in the French Army:

  • légions - général de brigade
  • groupement - colonel
  • brigade - lieutenant

Note that according to both articles these are ranks and divisions in the Gendarmerie. So a colonel, is he the head of a legion or a groupement? What is a larger unit, a compagnie or a brigade? Or are they identical? Is a général de brigade the head of a legion or a region, or is that a different kind of general? Who is the head of a compagnie? Shinobu 23:11, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

I'll try to answer that with a BIG "it depends"!

  • Usually a legion/region is commanded by a general (a general de brigade to be more precise). Usually (again), a groupement (a groupement is the "head-office for all the compagnies of a departement), is commanded by a colonel (or a lieutenant-colonel). However, due to staffing issues sometimes a colonel will command a legion. And sometimes a commandant will command a groupement. And sometimes a lieutenant-colonel will command a compagnie. Confusing, I know.
  • Oh, and within the Gendarmerie, a legion is the same as a region. So for example, the french region of Auvergne will be the same as the Gendarmerie legion of Auvergne.
  • The compagnie encompasses many brigades. A compagnie is basically the head office for several brigades. This can go from 2 brigades to 10 or more. Within a compagnie you'll have the gendarmerie officers commanding the compagnie and any number of clerical staff to assist them. The head of a compagnie is usually a capitaine, or a commandant, or in some smaller compagnies a lieutenant and so on.

To simplify, by order of adminstrative size:

  • Legion
  • Groupement
  • Compagnie
  • Communaute de Brigade
  • Brigade

-- Mille sabord 23:25, 3 June 2006 (UTC)


Today, the word poilu only refers to the veteran of WWI, it is used to speak about the german and french soldiers " les poilus ", because at some fights, they didn't have any time to shave themselves.

The "poilu", which is a french word, refers only to french soldiers of WW1.

command authority[edit]

I think it must be explained what the terms section, group and team mean in the article. When it says that a Lieutenant is "in command of a section (infantry)" is that the same as a section in the US/UK army? When it says that a sergent is "in command of a group", what is this group how many men? Likewise there should be a definition of a team, so that readers can understand the difference between a caporal and say a British corporal. --Stulfsten (talk) 13:17, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

French Army uniforms?[edit]

Did the style of French Army battle dress change between WW I and WW II?

The main article could be improved if there were some pictures of what their uniforms looked like. (talk) 22:50, 19 October 2009 (UTC)