Vääpeli (Fältväbel in Swedish) is a Finnish and former Swedish Non-commissioned officer military rank above Ylikersantti (Översergeant) and below Ylivääpeli (Överfältväbel). 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.
Vääpeli may also refer to a position of yksikön vääpeli (vääpeli of the unit), commonly komppanian vääpeli or patterin vääpeli (vääpeli of the company, vääpeli of the battery), which is a position similar to First Sergeant in the US Armed Forces or company sergeant major of the British and Commonwealth Armed Forces with the exception that in the Finnish Defence Force this position may be held by either a commissioned or a non-commissioned officer while in the US, UK and Commonwealth militaries the equivalent position is always held by an NCO.
In the chain of command of a company (or an artillery battery) the yksikön vääpeli is second only to the company commander and therefore may be in command of technically higher-ranking officers. Usually the position is held by a lieutenant or an yliluutnantti (senior lieutenant), but it is not unheard of for it to be held by a sergeant.
The tern yksikköupseeri (officer of the unit), although officially discontinued since July 2009, may regardless unofficially be used of the position. In the artillery, the equivalent was patteriupseeri (officer of the battery) which continues to be unofficially used in a similar fashion.
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