Lieutenant general (Lt Gen), 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.
Lieutenant general is a superior rank to major general, but subordinate to a (full) general. The rank has a NATO rank code of OF-8, equivalent to a vice-admiral in the Royal Navy and an air marshal in the Royal Air Force (RAF) and the air forces of many Commonwealth countries.
The rank insignia for both the Army and the Royal Marines is a crown over a crossed sabre and baton. Since the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, the St Edward's Crown, commonly known as the Queen's Crown, has been depicted. Prior to 1953, the Tudor Crown, commonly known as the King's Crown was used.
Ordinarily, lieutenant general is the rank held by the officer in command of an entire battlefield corps. The General Officer Commanding NATO's Allied Rapid Reaction Corps is a British lieutenant general. Historically, I Corps and II Corps were commanded by British lieutenant generals. Additionally, three lieutenant general appointments also exist within the extant British Army's Headquarters. They are the Commander Field Army, the Commander Home Command and the Chief of Materiel (Land) in Defence Equipment and Support (double-hatted as the Quartermaster-General to the Forces).
Although the senior appointment in the Royal Marines, the Commandant General, has held the lower rank of major general since 1996, prior to this date the Commandant General was a lieutenant general or full general. However, as a few more senior positions in the British Armed Forces are open to officers from different services, Royal Marines officers can and do reach the rank of lieutenant general, being posted to Joint Forces or MOD postings. Examples include Lieutenant-General Sir Robert Fry, Lieutenant-General Sir James Dutton and Lieutenant-General Sir David Capewell.
From 1 April 1918 to 31 July 1919, the Royal Air Force maintained the rank of lieutenant general. It was superseded by the rank of air marshal on the following day. Although Sir David Henderson was an RAF lieutenant general, the then RAF Chief-of-Staff, Sir Hugh Trenchard never held this rank. Additionally, the retired Royal Navy admiral, John de Mestre Hutchison, held an honorary RAF commission in the rank of lieutenant general.
The RAF lieutenant general rank insignia was similar to the naval rank insignia for a vice-admiral, with a broad band of gold being worn on the cuff with two narrower bands above it. Unlike the naval insignia the RAF lieutenant general insignia did not have an executive curl.
Lieutenant general, lieutenant-general and similar (abbrev 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 latter 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.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, 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.
|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||Capt-Gen|
|Army||O Cdt||2Lt||Lt||Capt||Maj||Lt Col||Col||Brig||Maj-Gen||Lt-Gen||Gen||Fd Mshl|
|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|