Lieutenant general

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Lieutenant general or lieutenant-general (Lt Gen, LTG and similar) is a three-star military rank (NATO code OF-8) used in many countries. The rank traces its origins to the Middle Ages, where the title of lieutenant general was held by the second in command on the battlefield, who was normally subordinate to a captain general.


In modern armies, lieutenant general normally ranks immediately below general and above major general; it is equivalent to the navy rank of vice admiral, and in air forces with a separate rank structure, it is equivalent to air marshal. A lieutenant general commands an army corps, made up of typically three army divisions, and consisting of around 60,000–70,000 soldiers (U.S.).

The seeming incongruity that a lieutenant general outranks a major general (whereas a major outranks a lieutenant) is due to the derivation of the former rank from sergeant major general, which was also subordinate to lieutenant general. In some countries (e.g. France and Italy), the ranks of corps general or lieutenant colonel general are used instead of lieutenant general, in an attempt to solve this apparent anomaly these ranks are often translated into English as lieutenant general.[ citation needed ]

However, some countries of Latin America such as Brazil and Chile use divisional general as the equivalent of lieutenant general. In addition, because no brigadier general rank is used in Japan and Taiwan, lieutenant general is the rank of divisional commander. Therefore, it corresponds to divisional general of these countries. In a number of smaller states which employ NATO and western style military organizational structures, because of the limited number of soldiers in their armies, the rank of lieutenant general is the highest army rank in use. In Latvia, Lithuania and Singapore, the chief of defence is a lieutenant general, and in the Irish Defence Forces and Israel Defense Forces, the Chief of Staff holds this rank.

Lieutenant general ranks by country

Army ranks

Air force ranks

Lieutenant general equivalent ranks

Other Lieutenant general ranks

See also

Related Research Articles

General officer Military rank

A general officer is an officer of high rank in the armies, and in some nations' air forces, space forces, or marines.

A lieutenant is a junior commissioned officer in the armed forces, fire services, police and other organizations of many nations.

Brigadier general or brigade general is a military rank used in many countries. It is the lowest ranking general officer in some countries, usually sitting between the ranks of colonel and major general. When appointed to a field command, a brigadier general is typically in command of a brigade consisting of around 4,000 troops. In some countries a brigadier general is informally designated as a one-star general (OF-6).

First lieutenant is a commissioned officer military rank in many armed forces; in some forces, it is an appointment.

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.

The following table lists the ranks and insignia of officers in NATO air forces.

Captain lieutenant or captain-lieutenant is a military rank, used in a number of navies worldwide and formerly in the British Army. It is generally equivalent to the Commonwealth or US naval rank of lieutenant, and has the NATO rank code of OF-2, though this can vary.

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, Japan and of Ancien Régime France, it corresponds to the four-star rank.

Divisional general is the rank of a general who commands an army division. Thus the Spanish general de división, the French général de division, and the Polish generał dywizji. The rank is often rendered in English as "major-general", the equivalent in most English-speaking countries. The corresponding NATO code is OF-7, or "two-star rank".

Kapitan (rank)

Kapitan is used manifold as rank, grade, or rank designation in the Army, Air Force or Navy of numerous countries and armed forces. In member countries of NATO-alliance Kapitan is a commissioned officer rank, rated OF-2 in line to the NATO officers rank system. The almost equivalent OF-2 officer, e.g. in the US Army, is the Captain rank.

An officer of three-star rank is a senior commander in many of the armed services holding a rank described by the NATO code of OF-8. The term is also used by some armed forces which are not NATO members. Typically, three-star officers hold the rank of vice admiral, lieutenant general, or in the case of those air forces with a separate rank structure, air marshal.

Two-star rank

An officer of two-star rank is a senior commander in many of the armed services holding a rank described by the NATO code of OF-7. The term is also used by some armed forces which are not NATO members. Typically, two-star officers hold the rank of rear admiral, counter admiral, major general, divisional general, or in the case of those air forces with a separate rank structure, air vice-marshal.

To assist in the comparison of different countries' air force officer rank insignia, NATO rank codes have been used. These are established codes for determining the seniority of officer and other ranks in NATO countries for a particular joint task group or command structure, although specific appointments designate a higher level of seniority over other equivalent rank codes in a given situation. Officer ranks go from OF-1 up to OF-10; OF(D) being a special category for trainee officers awaiting a commission. The system should not be confused with the pay grades used in the US military. While countries outside the NATO command structure do not strictly fall into this classification structure and there may be instances of overlap the codes still provide a useful gauge in determining what ranks are broadly equivalent.

Senior lieutenant is a military grade between a lieutenant and a captain, often used by countries from the former Eastern Bloc. It is comparable to first lieutenant.

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.

Major general is a military rank used in many countries. It is derived from the older rank of sergeant major general. The disappearance of the "sergeant" in the title explains the apparent confusion of a lieutenant general outranking a major general, whereas a major outranks a lieutenant.

Colonel general is a three or four-star rank in some armies, usually equivalent to that of a full general in other armies. North Korea and Russia have used the rank in that fashion throughout their histories. The rank is also closely associated with Germany, where Generaloberst has formerly been a higher rank above full General but below Generalfeldmarschall.

Rank comparison chart of all air forces of European states.

Rank comparison chart of air forces non-commissioned officers and other personnel of European states.

Rank comparison chart of enlisted rank for Air Forces of African states.


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