Major-general (United Kingdom)

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Major-general
British Army OF-7.svg British Royal Marines OF-7.svg
Army and Royal Marines insignia
CountryFlag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom
Service branchFlag of the British Army.svg  British Army
Flag of the Royal Marines.svg  Corps of Royal Marines
AbbreviationMaj Gen
Rank Two-star rank
NATO rank OF-7
Next higher rank Lieutenant general
Next lower rank Brigadier
Equivalent ranks Rear admiral (Royal Navy)
Air vice-marshal (Royal Air Force)

Major general (Maj Gen), is a "two-star" rank in the British Army [1] and Royal Marines. The rank was also briefly used by the Royal Air Force for a year and a half, from its creation to August 1919. In the British Army, a major general is the customary rank for the appointment of division commander. In the Royal Marines, the rank of major general is held by the Commandant General.

Two-star rank military 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, or in the case of those air forces with a separate rank structure, air vice-marshal.

British Army land warfare branch of the British Armed Forces of the United Kingdom

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.

Royal Marines Marine corps and amphibious infantry of the United Kingdom

The Corps of Royal Marines (RM) is the amphibious light infantry and also one of the five fighting arms of the Royal Navy. 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.

Contents

A major general is senior to a brigadier but subordinate to lieutenant general. The rank has a NATO rank code of OF-7, equivalent to a rear admiral in the Royal Navy or an air vice-marshal in the Royal Air Force and the air forces of many Commonwealth countries.

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.

Lieutenant-general (United Kingdom) senior rank in the British Army and the Royal Marines

Lieutenant general, formerly more commonly lieutenant-general, is a senior rank in the British Army and the Royal Marines. It is the equivalent of a multinational three-star rank; some British lieutenant generals sometimes wear three-star insignia, in addition to their standard insignia, when on multinational operations.

Ranks and insignia of NATO are combined military insignia used by the member countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

The rank insignia is the star (or 'pip') of the Order of the Bath, over a crossed sword and baton.

Order of the Bath Series of awards of an order of chivalry of the United Kingdom

The Most Honourable Order of the Bath is a British order of chivalry founded by George I on 18 May 1725. The name derives from the elaborate medieval ceremony for appointing a knight, which involved bathing as one of its elements. The knights so created were known as "Knights of the Bath". George I "erected the Knights of the Bath into a regular Military Order". He did not revive the Order of the Bath, since it had never previously existed as an Order, in the sense of a body of knights who were governed by a set of statutes and whose numbers were replenished when vacancies occurred.

In terms of orthography, compound ranks were invariably hyphenated, prior to about 1980. Nowadays the rank is almost equally invariably non-hyphenated. [lower-alpha 1] When written as a title, especially before a person's name, both words of the rank are always capitalised, whether using the "traditional" hyphenated style of, say, the two World Wars, or the modern un-hyphenated style. When used as common nouns, they might be written in lower-case: "Major-General Montgomery was one of several major-generals to be promoted at this time."

British Army usage

In the British Army, a division is commanded by a major general. However, other appointments may also be held by major generals. For example, the Commandant of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst is a major general.

Division (military) military unit size designation for grouping land forces

A division is a large military unit or formation, usually consisting of between 10,000 and 20,000 soldiers. Infantry divisions during the World Wars ranged between 8,000 and 30,000 in nominal strength.

Until around the 1980s, the heads of each branch of service, such as the Royal Armoured Corps, the Royal Artillery and the Corps of Infantry were major-generals. Other, administrative, commands were also appointments for a major-general. In addition, in wartime, the senior officer of the Royal Army Chaplains Department, the Chaplain-General, and similar appointments, were accorded 'the relative precedence' - that is to say the equivalence rather than the full powers and authority - of the rank of major-general.

Royal Armoured Corps loose association of armoured regiments

The Royal Armoured Corps (RAC) provides the armour capability of the British Army, with vehicles such as the Challenger 2 Tank and the Scimitar Reconnaissance Vehicle. It was created as a loose association of armoured regiments, both the Royal Tank Regiment and those converted from old horse cavalry regiments. Today it comprises fourteen regiments - ten regular and four Yeomanry.

Royal Artillery artillery arm of the British Army

The Royal Regiment of Artillery, commonly referred to as the Royal Artillery (RA) and colloquially known as "The Gunners", is the artillery arm of the British Army. The Royal Regiment of Artillery comprises thirteen Regular Army regiments, King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery and five Army Reserve regiments.

Infantry military service branch that specializes in combat by individuals on foot

Infantry is a military specialization that engages in military combat on foot, distinguished from cavalry, artillery, and tank forces. Also known as foot soldiers or infanteers, infantry traditionally relies on moving by foot between combats as well, but may also use mounts, military vehicles, or other transport. Infantry make up a large portion of all armed forces in most nations, and typically bear the largest brunt in warfare, as measured by casualties, deprivation, or physical and psychological stress.

Royal Marines usage

The Commandant General Royal Marines has held the rank of major general since 1996, when the post was downgraded from lieutenant general. As in the British Army, a Royal Marine major general ranks below lieutenant general and above brigadier.

Royal Air Force usage

From its foundation on 1 April 1918 to 31 July 1919, the Royal Air Force (RAF) briefly maintained the rank of major-general. The service was a wartime amalgamation of the Army's Royal Flying Corps and the Navy's Royal Naval Air Service, so the Third Service ranks were a compromise between these two traditions. The insignia of the rank was derived from that of a Royal Navy rear-admiral and featured a broad gold stripe on the cuff below one narrow gold stripe. The two stripes were surmounted by an eagle (volant and affronty) under a king's crown. The RAF replaced the rank of major-general with the rank of air vice-marshal on 1 August 1919.

Despite the short duration, the significance of the RAF to modern warfare was indicated by the number of senior officers who did wear the rank of major-general in the RAF:

See also

Notes

  1. To see the confusion in a source as definitive as the London Gazette , compare the entries in these two editions from 1979: firstly: "No. 47869". The London Gazette (Supplement). 16 June 1979. p. 2. and then: "No. 48015". The London Gazette (Supplement). 27 November 1979. p. 14929.

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References

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