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Colonel (Col) is a rank of the British Army and Royal Marines, ranking below brigadier, and above lieutenant colonel. British colonels are not usually field commanders; typically they serve as staff officers between field commands at battalion and brigade level. The insignia is two diamond-shaped pips (properly called "Bath Stars") below a crown. The crown has varied in the past with different monarchs; the current Queen's reign has used St Edward's Crown. The rank is equivalent to captain in the Royal Navy and group captain in the Royal Air Force.
The British Army is the principal land warfare force of the United Kingdom, a part of British Armed Forces. As of 2018, the British Army comprises just over 81,500 trained regular (full-time) personnel and just over 27,000 trained reserve (part-time) personnel.
The Corps of Royal Marines (RM) is the amphibious light infantry and one of the five fighting arms of the Royal Navy. The Royal Marines were formed in 1755 as the Royal Navy's infantry troops. However, the marines can trace their origins back to the formation of the English Army's "Duke of York and Albany's maritime regiment of Foot" at the grounds of the Honourable Artillery Company on 28 October 1664.
Brigadier (Brig) is a senior rank in the British Army and the Royal Marines. Brigadier is the superior rank to colonel, but subordinate to major-general. It corresponds to the Rank of brigadier general in many other nations.
The rank of colonel was popularized by the tercios that were employed in the Spanish Army during the 16th and 17th centuries. General Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba divided his troops in to coronelías (meaning "column of soldiers" from the Latin, columnella or "small column"). These units were led by a coronel. This command structure and its titles were soon adopted as colonello in early modern Italian and in Middle French as coronel.
The Spanish Army is the terrestrial army of the Spanish Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is one of the oldest active armies — dating back to the late 15th century.
Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba was a Spanish general and statesman who led successful military campaigns during the Conquest of Granada and the Italian Wars. His military victories and widespread popularity earned him the distinction of being called "El Gran Capitán". He also negotiated the final surrender of Granada and later served as Viceroy of Naples. Córdoba was a masterful military strategist and tactician. He was the first to introduce the successful use of firearms on the battlefield and he reorganized his infantry to include pikes and firearms in effective defensive and offensive formations. The changes implemented by Córdoba were instrumental in making the Spanish army a dominant force in Europe for more than a hundred years.
Latin is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. The Latin alphabet is derived from the Etruscan and Greek alphabets and ultimately from the Phoenician alphabet.
The rank title entered the English language from French in the mid-16th century and so the modern English pronunciation of the word is derived from the French variant.
The use of the rank of colonel pre-dates the establishment of the United Kingdom. In the mid-17th century, the regiments of the New Model Army were commanded by colonels.
The New Model Army of England was formed in 1645 by the Parliamentarians in the English Civil War, and was disbanded in 1660 after the Restoration. It differed from other armies in the series of civil wars referred to as the Wars of the Three Kingdoms in that it was intended as an army liable for service anywhere in the country, rather than being tied to a single area or garrison. Its soldiers became full-time professionals, rather than part-time militia. To establish a professional officer corps, the army's leaders were prohibited from having seats in either the House of Lords or House of Commons. This was to encourage their separation from the political or religious factions among the Parliamentarians.
The British Army has historically been organized around the regiment, with each regiment being raised, uniformed, and equipped either directly by the crown or by a nobleman. The colonels nominally commanding these regiments often had little to do with the regiment's actual activities, either because they contemporaneously served as general officers or because they were essentially mere financiers.
By the end of 17th century in Great Britain, the "colonel of a regiment" was often a titled person who had been given Royal Assent to raise it for service and command it in battle. As such, he was required to cover all costs of the regiment's equipment, uniforms and wages as well select its officers. –1685) or Elliot's Light Horse (1759–66).Until the late 18th century most British regiments were commonly known by the name of the colonelcy, for example Lord Churchill's Dragoons (1683
General John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, 1st Prince of Mindelheim, 1st Count of Nellenburg, Prince of the Holy Roman Empire, was an English soldier and statesman whose career spanned the reigns of five monarchs. From a gentry family, he served first as a page at the court of the House of Stuart under James, Duke of York, through the 1670s and early 1680s, earning military and political advancement through his courage and diplomatic skill.
The Royal Dragoons was a mounted infantry and later a heavy cavalry regiment of the British Army. The regiment was formed in 1661 as the Tangier Horse. It served for three centuries and was in action during the First and the Second World Wars. It was amalgamated with the Royal Horse Guards to form The Blues and Royals in 1969.
George Augustus Eliott, 1st Baron Heathfield, PC, KB was a British Army officer who served in three major wars during the eighteenth century. He rose to distinction during the Seven Years' War when he fought in Germany and participated in the British attacks on Belle Île (France) and Cuba. Eliott is most notable for his command of the Gibraltar garrison during the Great Siege of Gibraltar, which lasted from 1779 and 1783, during the American War of Independence. He was celebrated for his successful defence of the fortress.
By the start of the American Revolutionary War most English and Welsh regiments in the standing army of Great Britain were named numerically, although some independent Highland regiments — such as MacLeod's Highlanders — were raised in the name of their colonel for service in West Africa and India. The change from a colonelcy based on patronage was because the British Army's administration had been reformed into three administrative bodies:
The reforms meant that the British government was now financially responsible for the pay, clothing and equipment of the troops in the service of the British Crown. Colonels were also no longer permitted to profit directly from the sale of officer commissions in their regiments.A lieutenant-colonel commanded the regiment in battle.
By the beginning of the Napoleonic Wars, the title "colonel of the regiment" had become a sinecure appointment for distinguished generals and members of the royal family or British nobility. Despite an individual only being permitted to hold one colonelcy, it was a profitable position as they were in financial charge of their regiment's allowance from the government. This meant they could hope to make a profit on the funds allocated for equipment, supplies and uniforms. As generals were mostly on half-pay, a colonelcy was a method of providing them with extra income. Many colonels spent large sums of their own money on their regiments.
By the end of the 19th century, the reorganisation of the British Army through the Cardwell and Childers Reforms had established a colonel as a professional rank with senior administrative responsibilities in regiment or brigade.
Some of the historic duties associated with the title Colonel of the Regiment (to distinguish it from the military rank of colonel) continue to be used in the modern British Army. The ceremonial position is often conferred on retired general officers, brigadiers or colonels who have a close link to a particular regiment. Non-military personnel, usually for positions within the Army Reserve, may also be appointed to the ceremonial position. When attending functions as "Colonel of the Regiment", the titleholder wears the regimental uniform with rank insignia of (full) colonel, regardless of their official rank. A member of the Royal Family is known as a Royal Colonel. A Colonel of the Regiment is expected to work closely with a regiment and its Regimental Association.
Another title employed by the British Army is "Colonel-in-Chief" which is distinct from the ceremonial title "Colonel of the Regiment". The position is usually held by a member of the Royal Family who acts as a patron to the unit, as Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon did for the Bermuda Regiment. Although they do not have an operational role, they are kept informed of all important activities undertaken by the regiment and pay occasional visits to its operational units. The chief purpose of a Colonel-in-Chief is to maintain a direct link between a given regiment and the British Royal Family.
The Royal Navy once conveyed the honorific title "Colonel of Marines" to post-captains as a reward for highly distinguished service. It was a salaried sinecure position with no additional obligations outside a captain's normal naval duties. He would lose this title and its additional pay upon reaching flag rank. Horatio Nelson was given such a colonelcy in 1795, two years before he reached flag rank.
From 1 April 1918 to 31 July 1919, the Royal Air Force maintained the rank of colonel. During this period, groups were often commanded by RAF colonels. The rank of colonel was superseded by that of group captain on 1 August 1919.
When badges of rank were introduced for field officers in 1810, full colonels were designated with a crown and star worn on shoulder epaulettes. In 1855, after the Crimean War, new dress regulations were published which specified changes where rank would be worn. Thereafter full colonels wore half-inch regimental pattern laces on upper and lower collar, with one crown and one star. In 1880 the insignia was moved to the shoulder boards when in full dress, and full colonels were given an extra star. The pattern of a crown above two stars has remained the identifying insignia from 1880 to the present day although it has variously been worn on the shoulder, cuff and chest.
During World War I, colonels wore the following cuff badges:
The insignia is two diamond-shaped pips (properly called "Bath Stars") below a crown. Gorget patches, colloquially known as red tabs, with crimson lace and a brass button are also worn.
Commodore is a naval rank used in many navies that is superior to a navy captain, but below a rear admiral. Non-English-speaking nations often use the rank of flotilla admiral, counter admiral, or senior captain as an equivalent, although counter admiral may also correspond to rear admiral.
Colonel is a senior military officer rank below the brigadier and general officer ranks. However, in some small military forces, such as those of Monaco or the Vatican, colonel is the highest rank. It is also used in some police forces and paramilitary organizations.
An aide-de-camp is a personal assistant or secretary to a person of high rank, usually a senior military, police or government officer, or to a member of a royal family or a head of state.
Sergeant major is a senior non-commissioned rank or appointment in many militaries around the world. In Commonwealth countries, the various degrees of sergeant major are appointments held by warrant officers. In the United States, there are also various grades of sergeant major, but they are all of the same pay grade of E-9. However, the Sergeant Major of the Army and the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, as their respective service's Senior Enlisted Advisor, receive a special rate of basic pay that is higher than all other sergeants major.
Epaulette is a type of ornamental shoulder piece or decoration used as insignia of rank by armed forces and other organizations. In the French and other armies, epaulettes are also worn by all ranks of elite or ceremonial units when on parade. It may bear rank or other insignia, and should not be confused with a shoulder mark - also called an shoulder board, rank slide, or slip-on - a flat cloth sleeve worn on the shoulder strap of a uniform.
This is a table of the ranks and insignia of the Canadian Armed Forces. As the Canadian Armed Forces is officially bilingual, the French language ranks are presented following the English.
Group captain is a senior commissioned rank in many air forces. Group captain has a NATO rank code of OF-5, meaning that it ranks above wing commander, immediately below air commodore and is the equivalent of the naval rank of captain and the rank of colonel in other services.
Flight Lieutenant is a junior commissioned air force rank that originated in the Royal Naval Air Service and is still used in the Royal Air Force and many other countries, especially in the Commonwealth. It is also sometimes used as the English translation of an equivalent rank in non-English-speaking countries, especially those with an air force-specific rank structure.
A cap badge, also known as head badge or hat badge, is a badge worn on uniform headgear and distinguishes the wearer's nationality and/or organisation. The wearing of cap badges is a convention commonly found among military and police forces, as well as uniformed civilian groups such as the Boy Scouts, civil defence organisations, ambulance services, customs services, fire services etc.
Listed in the table below are the insignia—emblems of authority—of the British Army. Badges for field officers were first introduced in 1810 and the insignia was moved to the epaulettes in 1880. On ceremonial or parade uniforms these ranks continue to be worn on the epaulettes, either as cloth slides or as metal clips, although on the modern 'working dress' they are usually worn as a cloth slide on the chest. Although these insignia apply across the British Army there is variation is the precise design and colours used and it can take some time to become familiar with them all.
The term used to refer to all ranks below officers is "other ranks". It includes warrant officers, non-commissioned officers ("NCOs") and ordinary soldiers with the rank of private or regimental equivalent. Officers may, in speaking, distinguish themselves from those "in the ranks".
A tercio or tercio español was a powerful Spanish infantry division during the time of Habsburg Spain known for its victories on European battlefields in the early modern period.
Colonel commandant is a military title used in the armed forces of some English-speaking countries. The title, not a substantive military rank, could denote a senior colonel with authority over fellow colonels. Today, the holder often has an honorary role outside the executive military structure, such as advocacy for the troops.
In the Canadian Forces, the rank of colonel (Col) is a rank for officers who wear army or air force uniform, equal to a captain for officers who wear navy uniform. A colonel is the highest rank of senior officer. A colonel is senior to a lieutenant-colonel or naval commander, and junior to a brigadier-general or commodore.
In the United States Army, Marine Corps, and Air Force, colonel is the most senior field grade military officer rank, immediately above the rank of lieutenant colonel and immediately below the rank of brigadier general. It is equivalent to the naval rank of captain in the other uniformed services. The pay grade for colonel is O-6.
Australian Army officers receive a commission from the Monarch, currently Queen Elizabeth II, of Australia, signed by the Governor-General of Australia, acting on her behalf. Rank insignia for commissioned officers is identical to that of the British Army, with the addition of a band containing the word "Australia" beneath the insignia.
Major (Maj) is a military rank which is used by both the British Army and Royal Marines. The rank is superior to captain, and subordinate to lieutenant colonel. The insignia for a major is a crown. The equivalent rank in the Royal Navy is lieutenant commander, and squadron leader in the Royal Air Force.
In the United States Army, Marine Corps, and Air Force, major is a field grade military officer rank above the rank of captain and below the rank of lieutenant colonel. It is equivalent to the naval rank of lieutenant commander in the other uniformed services. Although lieutenant commanders are considered junior officers by their respective services, the rank of major is considered field grade in the United States Army and the United States Marine Corps.
Captain (Capt) is a junior officer rank of the British Army and Royal Marines and in both services it ranks above lieutenant and below major with a NATO ranking code of OF-2. The rank is equivalent to a lieutenant in the Royal Navy and to a flight lieutenant in the Royal Air Force. The rank of captain in the Royal Navy is considerably more senior and the two ranks should not be confused.
Lieutenant is a junior officer rank in the British Army and Royal Marines. It ranks above second lieutenant and below captain and has a NATO ranking code of OF-1 and it is the senior subaltern rank. Unlike some armed forces which use first lieutenant, the British rank is simply lieutenant, with no ordinal attached. The rank is equivalent to that of a flying officer in the Royal Air Force (RAF). Although formerly considered senior to a Royal Navy (RN) sub-lieutenant, the British Army and Royal Navy ranks of lieutenant and sub-lieutenant are now considered to be of equivalent status. The Army rank of lieutenant has always been junior to the Navy's rank of lieutenant.
|NATO rank code||Student officer||OF-1||OF-2||OF-3||OF-4||OF-5|| OF-6|
|Royal Navy||O Cdt||Mid||SLt||Lt||Lt Cdr||Cdr||Capt||Cdre|| RAdm |
| VAdm |
| Adm |
|Adm of the Fleet|
|Royal Marines||O Cdt||2Lt||Lt||Capt||Maj||Lt Col||Col||Brig||Maj-Gen||Lt-Gen|| Gen |
|Army||O Cdt||2Lt||Lt||Capt||Maj||Lt Col||Col||Brig|| Maj-Gen |
| Lt-Gen |
| Gen |
|Royal Air Force||Off Cdt / SO||APO / Plt Off||Fg Off||Flt Lt||Sqn Ldr||Wg Cdr||Gp Capt||Air Cdre||AVM||Air Mshl|| Air Chf Mshl |
|Mshl of the RAF|