Commandant (rank)

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For more information on commandant when used as a position, see Commandant.

Commandant ( /ˌkɒmənˈdɑːnt/ or /ˌkɒmənˈdænt/ ) is a military or police rank. In the French, Spanish, Irish and Monegasque armed forces it is a rank equivalent to major while in Belgium it is a unique rank. In South Africa for most of the second half of the 20th century, commandant was a rank equivalent to lieutenant-colonel.

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Belgium

Kapitein-Commandant (Capitaine-Commandant) is a military rank in the Belgian Army and Belgian Air Force above captain (Kapitein/Capitaine) and below major (Majoor). As such it is a rank unique to the Belgian armed forces, although it shares NATO code OF-3 with major. Within the Belgian Army 'commandant' is considered to be the highest ranking field officer. For example, during the Second World War, commandants were often entrusted with the command of individual fortresses around the major cities.


Canada

Commandant d'aviation was the Canadian French term for the air force rank of squadron leader (prior to the 2014 amendment of the National Defence Act).[ citation needed ] The rank of squadron leader itself had not been held by active duty personnel in the Canadian Forces since 1968 when it was replaced by major.

Ireland

Commandant (Comdt) (Irish : Ceannfort) is a military rank in both the Irish Army and Irish Air Corps. It is equivalent to major and squadron leader. In the Irish Naval Service, the equivalent rank is lieutenant commander.

France

Commandant (shortened from capitaine-commandant, i.e. a "captain commanding" (a battalion)), is an officer-grade rank of the Military of France, specifically the French Army and the French Air and Space Force, which is equivalent to major.

The commandant is also styled chef de bataillon ("battalion head") in the infantry, chef d'escadrons ("squadrons head") in the armoured cavalry and chef d'escadron ("squadron head") in the artillery and the Gendarmerie .

Commandant is also the style, but not the rank, of the senior officers of the French Navy (capitaine de corvette, capitaine de frégate and capitaine de vaisseau).

Prior to the French Revolution, the major was the officer appointed by the King to keep track of the expenditures and readiness of a regiment. He could have a deputy (an aide-major) and could be either a commoner or a nobleman. A major was graded as a commissar, not an officer. The officer at commandant rank level was the chef de bataillon or chef d'escadron.

Major is now, however, the most senior warrant officer rank, above adjudant-chef.

Spanish Air Force comandante Cte-ea.svg
Spanish Air Force comandante

Spain

In the Spanish Army and Spanish Air Force, the rank of comandante is senior to a captain and junior to a lieutenant colonel, making it equivalent to the rank of major or squadron leader in English-speaking countries.

Latin America

Comandante ("commandant") is a military officer rank used in some Latin American countries.[ citation needed ] The Chilean Air Force uses the rank of comandante de escuadrilla ("squadron commandant") as a rank equivalent to the British rank of squadron leader. The Peruvian Air Force uses the rank of comandante as an equivalent to lieutenant-colonel or wing commander.

Comandante can be translated into English either as "commandant" or as "commander". The rank may also be found in numerous paramilitary organizations, such as the Sandinistas.

South Africa

South African army commandant insignia
1950-1994 COMMANDANT SA ARMY PRE-1994 NUTRIA.jpg
South African army commandant insignia
1950-1994

In South Africa, commandant was the title of the commanding officer of a commando (militia) unit, initially in the Cape Colony and later also in the Boer republics.

From 1950 to 1994 commandant was the official designation of the rank of lieutenant-colonel in the South African Army, South African Air Force, and South African Medical Service.

From 1950 to 1957, the rank insignia for a commandant (Kommandant in Afrikaans) was a crown over a five-pointed star. [1] [2] In 1957 the crown was replaced by a pentagonal castle device based on the floor plan of the Castle of Good Hope in Cape Town, South Africa’s oldest military building. [2] In 1994, the rank of commandant / kommandant reverted to lieutenant colonel. [3]

From 1968 to 1970, a related rank, chief commandant, existed in the Commando Forces [the rural part-time, territorial reserve, roughly equivalent to a National Guard or Home Guard]. [4] This rank of chief commandant existed purely in the army and slotted in between commandant and colonel. The rank was only used by officers commanding commando groups (i.e. a small formation consisting of two or more commando units).

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom the term commandant usually refers to an appointment, not a rank. However, between 1922 and 1928 the rank of brigadier-general was replaced by colonel-commandant. This was not well received, and was replaced by brigadier.

Later, senior commandant and chief commandant were Auxiliary Territorial Service ranks equivalent to major and lieutenant-colonel respectively used between 1939 and May 1941, when they were replaced by senior and chief commander. The Commanding Officers of individual battalions of the Brigade of Gurkhas was designated a Commandant, rather than a commanding officer; and so with the Bermuda Militia Artillery (1895-1965). These ranks were also used in the Women's Auxiliary Air Force until December 1939, when they were replaced by squadron officer and wing officer (equating to squadron leader and wing commander) respectively. The rank was also used for senior commanders of the Ulster Special Constabulary (B Specials).

Related Research Articles

Brigadier is a military rank, the seniority of which depends on the country. In some countries, it is a senior rank above colonel, equivalent to a brigadier general or commodore, typically commanding a brigade of several thousand soldiers. In other countries, it is a non-commissioned rank.

Major is a military rank of commissioned officer status, with corresponding ranks existing in many military forces throughout the world.

Lieutenant commander

Lieutenant commander is a commissioned officer rank in many navies. The rank is superior to a lieutenant and subordinate to a commander. The corresponding rank in most armies and air forces is major, and in the Royal Air Force and other Commonwealth air forces is squadron leader.

Commander is a common naval officer rank. Commander is also used as a rank or title in other formal organizations, including several police forces. In several countries this naval rank is termed frigate captain.

Squadron leader OF-3 rank in the Royal Air Force and other air forces

Squadron leader is a commissioned rank in the Royal Air Force and the air forces of many countries which have historical British influence. It is also sometimes used as the English translation of an equivalent rank in countries which have a non-English air force-specific rank structure.

Wing commander Commissioned rank in the RAF and air forces of other Commonwealth countries

Wing commander is a senior commissioned rank in the British Royal Air Force and air forces of many countries which have historical British influence, including many Commonwealth countries but not including Canada and South Africa. It is sometimes used as the English translation of an equivalent rank in countries which have a non-English air force-specific rank structure. It ranks immediately above squadron leader and immediately below group captain.

Commandant is a title often given to the officer in charge of a military training establishment or academy. This usage is common in English-speaking nations. In some countries it may be a military or police rank. It is also often used to refer to the commander of a military prison or prison camp.

A field officer, field-grade officer, or senior officer is an Army, Marine, or Air Force commissioned officer senior in rank to a company officer but junior to a general officer. In most armies this corresponds to the ranks of major, lieutenant colonel and colonel, or their equivalents. Some countries also include brigadier in the definition.

The South African National Defence Force's rank system is largely based on the British system, with the Air Force sharing the Army rank titles. Rank titles changed over time as did the insignia.

Ranks in the French Army

Rank insignia in the French Army are worn on the sleeve or on shoulder marks of uniforms, and range up to the highest rank of Marshal of France, a state honour denoted with a seven-star insignia that was last conferred posthumously on Marie Pierre Koenig in 1984.

Colonel (Canada)

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.

An army corps general or corps general is a senior rank in several armies, including those of France and Italy. The rank is the equivalent of a lieutenant general in the armies of many other countries. However, in some countries such as Taiwan and of ancient regime France, it corresponds to the Four-star rank.

Commandant-general is a military rank in several countries and is generally equivalent to that of commandant.

Captain (naval) Naval military rank

Captain is the name most often given in English-speaking navies to the rank corresponding to command of the largest ships. The rank is equal to the army rank of colonel.

Captain (armed forces) Army and air force officer rank (OF-2)

The army rank of captain is a commissioned officer rank historically corresponding to the command of a company of soldiers. The rank is also used by some air forces and marine forces. Today, a captain is typically either the commander or second-in-command of a company or artillery battery. In the Chinese People's Liberation Army, a captain may also command a company, or be the second-in-command of a battalion.

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Commander (United States)

In the United States, commander is a military rank that is also sometimes used as a military billet title—the designation of someone who manages living quarters or a base—depending on the branch of service. It is also used as a rank or title in non-military organizations; particularly in law enforcement.

Lieutenant colonel is a rank of commissioned officer in the armies, most marine forces and some air forces of the world, above a major and below a colonel. Several police forces in the United States use the rank of lieutenant colonel. The rank of lieutenant colonel is often shortened to simply "colonel" in conversation and in unofficial correspondence. Sometimes, the term 'half-colonel' is used in casual conversation in the British Army. In the United States Air Force, the term 'light bird' or 'light bird colonel' is an acceptable casual reference to the rank but is never used directly towards the rank holder. A lieutenant colonel is typically in charge of a battalion or regiment in the army.

Rank insignia in the French Air and Space Force are worn on the sleeve or on shoulder marks of uniforms

Major in France, is a senior superior military rank across various military and security institutions with history dating back well beyond the 18th century.

References

  1. Jooste, L. (1996). "Die politieke koerswending van 1948 besorg 'n nuwe identiteit aan die Unieverdedigingsma". Militaria (in Afrikaans). 26 (2): 113–128.
  2. 1 2 Radburn, A. (1990). "South African Army Ranks and Insignia". Militaria, South African Journal of Military Studies. 20 (2).
  3. Salut. 1 (1): 4. May 1994.Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. Retief, J.J. (December 1997). "Die rang van hoofkommandant in die Suid-Afrikaanse Weermag". Military History Journal (in Afrikaans). 10 (6).