Chorąży or khorunzhyi (Polish pronunciation: [xɔˈrɔ̃ʐɨ]; means "Standard bearer"; Ukrainian: хорунжий, translit. khorunzhyi) is a military rank in Poland, Ukraine and some neighboring countries. A chorąży was once a knight who bore an ensign — the emblem of an armed troop, a province (województwo), a land (ziemia), a duchy, or the kingdom. This function later evolved into a non-hereditary noble title.

From the end of the 14th century in the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and later in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, there were four "central" chorąży positions:

  • Grand Standard-Bearer of the Crown;
  • Grand Standard-Bearer of Lithuania;
  • Court Standard-Bearer of the Crown;
  • Court Standard-Bearer of Lithuania.

At the same time, chorąży was also an honorary office in a land.

From the 16th century, Chorąży was the title of the military leader of a Cossack community, and later a rank in the Cossack Hosts. The rank, written "хорунжий" (khorunzhiy) in Russian, was officially recognized in the 1792 Table of Ranks. This Cossack junior officer rank corresponded to the rank of second lieutenant (подпоручик, or podporuchik) of infantry or cornet of cavalry.

In the Republic of Poland in 1919-1922 and from 1963 in the People's Republic of Poland (from 1989, in contemporary Poland), it has been an officer's rank, above sergeant and below second lieutenant. Warrant Officer OR-7, OR-8, OR-9. Between 1944 and 1957, it was the lowest officer's rank.

Great Chorąży of the Polish Crown
Great Chorąży of the Polish Crown, 1605



NATO Code OR-9 OR-8 OR-7
POL Wojska Lądowe.svg
Land Forces
Army-POL-OR-09a.svg Army-POL-OR-09b.svg Army-POL-OR-08.svg Army-POL-OR-07.svg
POL military rank patch - starszy chorazy sztabowy.svg POL military rank patch - starszy chorazy.svg POL military rank patch - chorazy.svg POL military rank patch - mlodszy chorazy.svg
Polish: Starszy chorąży sztabowy Starszy chorąży Chorąży Młodszy chorąży
Abbreviation st. chor. szt. st. chor. chor. mł. chor.
English: Senior-staff-chorąży Senior-chorąży Chorąży Junior-chorąży

Air Force

NATO Code OR-9 OR-8 OR-7
POL Wojska Lotnicze.svg
Air Forces
Rank insignia of starszy chorąży sztabowy of the Air Force of Poland.svg Rank insignia of starszy chorąży of the Air Force of Poland.svg Rank insignia of chorąży of the Air Force of Poland.svg Rank insignia of młodszy chorąży of the Air Force of Poland.svg
Pl: Starszy chorąży sztabowy Starszy chorąży Chorąży Młodszy chorąży
Abbreviation st. chor. szt. st. chor. chor. mł.chor.
En: Senior-staff-chorąży Senior-chorąży Chorąży Junior-chorąży


NATO Code OR-9 OR-8 OR-7
POL Marynarka Wojenna.svg
POL PMW pagon1 starszy chorąży sztabowy marynarki.svg POL PMW pagon1 starszy chorąży marynarki.svg POL PMW pagon1 chorąży marynarki.svg POL PMW pagon1 młodszy chorąży marynarki.svg
Sleeve POL PMW pagon2 starszy chorąży sztabowy marynarki.svg POL PMW pagon2 starszy chorąży marynarki.svg POL PMW pagon2 chorąży marynarki.svg POL PMW pagon2 młodszy chorąży marynarki.svg
Pl: Starszy chorąży sztabowy
Starszy chorąży
Młodszy chorąży
Abbreviation st. chor. szt. mar. chor. mar. mł. chor. mar.
En: Senior-staff-chorąży

History of the ``Warrant Officers`` Corps

Corps warrant officers is the name of the personal body of soldiers in the Polish Army, which existed between 1963–2004, higher than the NCO corps, and lower than the officer. The body was introduced in 1963, expanded in terms of the hierarchy in 1967 and 1996 and again in July 2004 it was abolished as a separate rank, while the ranks of soldiers wearing standard-bearers included senior NCOs. At the time of the introduction of this corps, professional soldiers who are its members should hold a secondary education matriculation. Virtually warrant were highly skilled technicians.

The decision of the politicians who are motivated in their conduct by a lack of warrant officers in the armies of both NATO and others, the warrant officers corps was liquidated, dropping them to the NCO corps. Result was a marked change in the ratio between officers and NCOs standard-bearers. This decision is criticized, among others for the fact that according to some stakeholders the possibility of multiple standard-bearer was closed and education skills, because that decision is thought to be the officers responsible for planning and decision-making process, and non-commissioned officers for carrying out orders.

See also

Aleksander Dzierzbicki

Aleksander Dzierzbicki was a Polish szlachcic (nobleman), a chorąży of Inowłódz (chorąży inowłodzki) (1752-1759), a chorąży mniejszy łęczycki (1759), a chorąży większy łęczycki (1759-1763) and a castellan of Brzeziny (kasztelan brzeziński) (1763-1767).He was son of Marcin Dzierzbicki, a podczaszy of Łęczyca (podczaszy łęczycki).

Chorąży of Inowłódz

Chorąży of Inowłódz (Polish: chorąży inowłodzki) was an honorary office in a land in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. It was created in 1726.Clerical hierarchy for a powiat of Inowłódz was created in 1726. Scholars considers that in a reality it was an addition for a relict castellany of Inowłódz.In 1793 the voivodoship of Łęczyca with the powiat of Inowłódz was annexed by Prussia. With this fact a clerical hierarchy, including a chorąży of Inowłódz, in the powiat of Inowłódz disappeared.

Comparative air force enlisted ranks of Europe

Rank comparison chart of air forces enlisted personnel of European states.

Comparative army enlisted ranks of Europe

Rank comparison chart of all armies and land forces of European states.

Comparative navy enlisted ranks of Europe

Rank comparison chart of all navies of European states.

Some European countries do not have naval forces, either because they are landlocked Austria, Belarus, the Czech Republic, Moldova, Luxembourg, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kosovo, Slovakia, San Marino and the Vatican (enclaves with Italy), or naval duties provided by another state such as Monaco (provided by France), .

The Cyprus Navy is the naval branch of the Cypriot National Guard.

NATO has a scheme for comparative ranks for member countries, non-NATO countries equivalence is determined against this system.

Ensign (rank)

Ensign (, Late Middle English, from Old French enseigne (12c.) "mark, symbol, signal; flag, standard, pennant", from Latin insignia (plural)) is a junior rank of a commissioned officer in the armed forces of some countries, normally in the infantry or navy. As the junior officer in an infantry regiment was traditionally the carrier of the ensign flag, the rank acquired the name. This rank has generally been replaced in army ranks by second lieutenant. Ensigns were generally the lowest ranking commissioned officer, except where the rank of subaltern existed. In contrast, the Arab rank of ensign, لواء, liwa', derives from the command of units with an ensign, not the carrier of such a unit's ensign, and is today the equivalent of a major general.

In Thomas Venn's 1672 Military and Maritime Discipline in Three Books, the duties of ensigns are to include not only carrying the colour but assisting the captain and lieutenant of a company and in their absence, have their authority."Ensign" is enseigne in French, and chorąży in Polish, each of which derives from a term for a flag. The Spanish alférez and Portuguese alferes is a junior officer rank below lieutenant associated with carrying the flag, and so is often translated as "ensign". Unlike the rank in other languages, its etymology has nothing to do with flags, but instead comes from the Arabic for "cavalier" or "knight". Fähnrich in German comes from an older German military title, Fahnenträger (flag bearer); however, it is an officer cadet rank, not a junior officer - the same applies to the Dutch vaandrig, which has a parallel etymology. In the German Landsknecht armies (c. 1480), the equivalent rank of a Cornet existed for those men who carried the troop standard (known as a "cornet"). It is still used in the artillery and cavalry units of the Netherlands (kornet).

The NATO rank code is OF-1 (junior).

Franciszek Maksymilian Ossoliński

Count Franciszek Maksymilian Ossoliński (April 2, 1676 – July 1, 1756) was a Polish nobleman, politician, diplomat and a patron of arts.

Son of Łowczy and Chorąży Maksymilian Ossoliński and Teodora Krassowska. He was married in 1706 to Katarzyna Miączyńska and in 1732, in Lwów, married Katarzyna Jabłonowska, the daughter of Grand Chancellor Stanisław Jan Jabłonowski.

He was Chorąży of Drohiczyn from 1703 to 1710, Court Treasurer in 1713, Grand Treasurer of the Crown from 1729 to 1736, Wielkorządca of Kraków, Żupnik of salt-pits in Bochnia and Wieliczka in 1727.

Governor of Sandomierz, Nur, Ostrów, Drohiczyn, Chmielnik and Niepołomice.

His political and military career began at the end of the 17th century under patronage of Stanisław Antoni Szczuka. He was private secretary to Augustus II and one of his closest co-workers. He was a strong supporter of giving more power to the King. His policy as Grand Treasurer, induced an increase in income from customs duties.

He was a frequent deputy to the Sejm from 1718. As Sejm Marshal of the ordinary Sejm in Warsaw, May 5 November 16, 1722, he warned that broken sessions of the Sejm, could lead to the downfall and the end of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

In 1733 he signed the election of Stanisław I as King of Poland and commanded armed forces in the defence of the monarch. After the capitulation of Gdańsk in 1734 he was captured by the Russian army.

He refused to submit to King Augustus III and after 1736 he stayed at the court of Stanisław I Leszczyński in Lunéville, Lorraine.

His later years were spent in support of various cultural and social activities and he began to collect art. His famous library which he founded in Lwów, the so-called Ossolineum, initiated the beginning of the Ossoliński Institute.


Gruszecki (Russian: Грушецкий, sometimes anglicized as Grushetsky) is a Polish and Russian surname. The name originates from the knight Maciej – Chorąży of the King of Poland Jogaila. The King had given to him village Gruszka Duża, in eastern Poland, in favor of knightly merit, in 1411.

The Gruszecki family name was derived from the village of Gruszka Duża.

Hieronim Augustyn Lubomirski

Prince Hieronim Augustyn Lubomirski (1648–1706) was a Polish noble (szlachcic), magnate, politician and famed military commander. He was a Prince of the Holy Roman Empire SRI.

Son of Grand Marshal and Hetman Jerzy Sebastian Lubomirski and Konstancja Ligęza. He married Konstancja Bokum c. 1694.

He was owner of Wiśnicz, Jarosław and Rzeszów. Commendatory abbot of Płock, Knight of Malta, Great Chorąży of the Crown since 1676, Court Marshal of the Crown since 1683, Grand Podskarbi of the Crown since 1692, voivode of Kraków Voivodeship, Field Crown Hetman, castellan of Kraków and Great Crown Hetman since 1702.

Under the command of Jan Sobieski he fought against Tatars and Turks and participated in the expedition and siege of Chocim in 1673. He refused to join the "Lubomirski Rokosz" of his father in 1665–1666.

As Marshal he led the ordinary Sejm on January 10 – May 21, 1681.

He took part in the Vienna expedition in 1683 and become famous for his courage at the Battle of Vienna. He also participated in following campaigns in Hungary.

In the Kings election of 1697, he backed up the candidature of Prince Conti for the Polish throne.

He supported the Warsaw Confederation in 1704 against August II and the proclamation of interregnum, in the hope that he would gain the Polish crown, with the help of Sweden. He went into retirement from political activity, after the election of Stanisław Leszczyński.

Marek Sobieski

Marek Sobieski (1549/1550 – 1605) was a Polish–Lithuanian noble (szlachcic).

He was a courtier from 1577, a Royal Court Chorąży (chorąży nadworny królewski) from 1581, a castellan of Lublin from 1597, and a voivode of Lublin Voivodeship from c. 1597/98.

He was the grandfather of Jan III Sobieski, the elected King of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.

Military ranks of the Polish People's Republic

The Military ranks of the Polish People's Republic were the military insignia used by the Polish Armed Forces.


Podchorąży - a Polish military title for officer cadets, not to be confused with chorąży.

Polish Armed Forces rank insignia

This article presents the military ranks of the entire Polish Armed Forces as well as the rank insignia used today. The system of rank insignia is a direct descendant of various systems used throughout history by the Polish Army. Some of the grades trace their name back to the Middle Ages, for instance the rank of chorąży literally means a flag bearer or an Ensign.

Names of Polish ranks are often of foreign origin, like the ones introduced by the 17th-century mercenaries serving for the Polish Crown. These include the rank of kapral, which is a derivative of the Italian caporale - much like the English equivalent of corporal.

As the structure of Polish rank names substantially differs from the English one, it seems more appropriate to give the U.S. or U.K. equivalent ranks, based on the common NATO codes, rather than to provide a literal translation which can lead to numerous misinterpretations.

Ranks and insignia of NATO air forces enlisted

The following are the ranks and insignia of NATO Air Forces Enlisted personnel for each member nation.

Ranks and insignia of NATO armies enlisted

This page lists the enlisted ranks and insignia of NATO member armies.

For the comparison chart of the commissioned officers, see:

Ranks and insignia of NATO armies officers

Ranks and insignia of NATO navies enlisted

This table shows the ranks and insignia of NCOs and Seaman in the navies of member countries of NATO. NATO maintains a "standard rank scale" in an attempt to match every member country's military rank to corresponding ranks used by the other members. The rank categories were established in the document STANAG 2116, formally titled NATO Codes for Grades of Military Personnel.

Stanisław Ernest Denhoff

Stanisław Michał Ernest Denhoff (German: Dönhoff; Latin: Stanislaus Michael Ernest Denhoff; c. 1673 – 2 August 1728) was a Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth aristocrat, Grand Master of the Hunt of Lithuania (from 1697), Grand Chorąży of the Crown (1704–1721), voivode of Połock (1721–1728), politician and a military commander (Field Hetman of Lithuania, 1709–1728).

He was a Starost of numerous territories (nowokorczyński, kałuski, kościerski, lubocheński, mozyrski, latowicki, lucyński, zydekański).

Wojciech Bartosz Głowacki

Wojciech Bartos(z) Głowacki (1758–1794), known also as Bartosz Głowacki, was a Polish peasant and the most famous member of the kosynierzy (peasant volunteer infantry) during the Kościuszko Uprising in 1794. Born as Wojciech Bartosz, he became a Polish national hero during the battle of Racławice on 4 April 1794, when he captured a Russian cannon by putting out the fuse with his hat. For this, he was promoted to the rank of 'chorąży' and received the surname 'Głowacki'. He was mortally wounded during the battle of Szczekociny on 6 June that year. Since then he has become one of the symbols of the Uprising and Polish valor.

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