Marshal is a term used in several official titles in various branches of society. As marshals became trusted members of the courts of Medieval Europe, the title grew in reputation. During the last few centuries, it has been used for elevated offices, such as in military rank and civilian law enforcement.
"Marshal" is an ancient loanword from Norman French (cf. modern French maréchal), which in turn is borrowed from Old Frankish *marhskalk (="stable boy, keeper, servant"), being still evident in Middle Dutch maerscalc, marscal, and in modern Dutch maarschalk (="military chief commander"; the meaning influenced by the French use).
It originally and literally meant "horse servant", from Germanic *marha- "horse" (cf. English mare and modern German Mähre, meaning "horse of bad quality") and *skalk- "servant" (cf. Old Engl. scealc "servant, soldier" and outdated German Schalk, meaning "high-ranking servant"). This "horse servant" origin is retained in the current French name for farrier: maréchal-ferrant.
The late Roman and Byzantine title of comes stabuli ("count of the stables") was a calque of the Germanic, which became Old French con(n)estable and modern connétable, and, borrowed from the Old French, the English word "constable". Finally, in Byzantium, a marshal with elevated authority, notably a borderlands military command, was also known as an exarch.
Marshals are typically, but not exclusively, appointed only in wartime. In many countries, especially in Europe, the special symbol of a marshal is a baton, and their insignia often incorporate batons.
In some countries, the term "marshal" is used instead of "general" in the higher air force ranks. The four highest Royal Air Force ranks are marshal of the Royal Air Force, air chief marshal, air marshal and air vice marshal (although the first named, which has generally been suspended as a peacetime rank, is the only one which can properly be considered a marshal). The five-star rank of marshal of the Air Force is used by some Commonwealth and Middle Eastern air forces.
Some historical rulers have used special "marshal" titles to reward certain subjects. Though not strictly military ranks, these honorary titles have been exclusively bestowed upon successful military leaders, such as the famous grand marshal of Ayacucho Antonio José de Sucre. Most famous are the Marshals of France (Maréchaux de France), not least under Napoléon I. Another such title was that of Reichsmarschall, bestowed upon Hermann Göring by Adolf Hitler, although it was never a regular title as it had been "invented" for Göring who was the only titleholder in history. In England during the First Barons' War the title "Marshal of the Army of God" was bestowed upon Robert Fitzwalter by election.
The following articles discuss the rank of marshal as used by specific countries:
These ranks are considered the equivalent to a marshal:
The name is also applied to the leader of military police organizations.
Usually in monarchies, one or several of the senior dignitaries wear the title of Marshal or a compound such as Court Marshal (not related to court martial, therefore usually called Marshal of the Court to prevent confusion) or more rarely Grand Marshal.
The function of the Marshal of the Court varies according to national tradition, but frequently he is the chief of staff of the monarch's household (meaning the palace and other domains). Often, the charge includes also the honorary privilege as chief of the protocol to announce formally the arrival of VIP guests at audiences, state dinners, and conferences in the monarch's premises. This office was often made hereditary in the high nobility, e.g., the English Earl Marshal, or the Scots Earl Marischal.
The term is also used in more profane contexts, such as modern pageantry; for example, the grand marshal of a parade is often an honored guest or dignitary.
In the United States, many colleges and universities have marshals. In some cases, there is a single "faculty marshal," appointed to the post on a more or less permanent basis. In other cases, there are one or several faculty marshals, and often one or several student marshals appointed for a single occasion. In all cases, the post is one of honor given to a senior faculty member or outstanding student, and the functions are generally limited to leading processions or parts of processions during commencement exercises, academic convocations, encaenia and similar events. These marshals often carry maces, staffs or wands of office.
A chief usher at a large wedding is sometimes called a wedding marshal. In addition to coordinating other ushers in attending guests, the wedding marshal may be a messenger between parties to signal the impending start of the service or communicate delays. In a church wedding, particularly a nuptial mass, these functions may be assumed by a verger. The wedding marshal is a position of honor and trust, often filled by a close friend or relative.
Apart from its military uses, the Polish word marszałek (marshal) also refers to certain political offices:
Demonstration marshals, also called stewards, are used by the organizers of large or controversial demonstrations, rallies and protests, to help ensure the safety of the participants. They are especially important for preventing infiltration by agents provocateurs.
In motorsports, such as auto racing, motorcycle racing, and rallying, the track marshals wave the racing flags and assist crashed or broken-down vehicles and their drivers, while pit marshals watch over the procedures in the pits, and fire marshals assist in the event of a fire on the track or in the pit. The FIA  provides general rules and recommendations on marshalling. In the 1977 South African Grand Prix, 1977 Japanese Grand Prix, 2000 Italian Grand Prix, 2001 Australian Grand Prix, and 2013 Canadian Grand Prix, track marshals were victims of fatal accidents.
In some organized competitions, such as the endurance competition "Tough Guy," officials seeing to the observance of the rules are styled marshals. In road running races, in particular, course marshals enforce rules of competition and assist runners as needed.
The marshal is the highest playing piece in the board game Stratego.
The word Maréchaussée derives from the French word Maréchal (plural Maréchaux), which was the second highest military charge in feudal France after Connétable (Constable), the military Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Armed Forces until 1627, when the charge of Constable was abolished. The Constable and the Marshals had also jurisdictional powers, at first only over members of the armed forces. The additional conferring of police powers led to the creation of the "Corps of the Maréchaussée" ("Marshalcy"; the forerunner of the modern Gendarmerie) and to an Ancien Régime Court of Justice called the "Tribunal of the Constable and the Marshals of France" which was competent for judging military personnel and civilians alike in cases of petty violations of the law.
In the United States, marshal is used particularly for various types of law enforcement officers.
The federal court system in the United States is organized into 94 federal judicial districts, each with a court (and one or several judges), a United States Attorney with assistants such as prosecutors and government lawyers, and one marshal, appointed by the president, in charge of federal law enforcement. The courts are part of the independent judicial branch of the government, while the marshals and U.S. attorneys are part of the Department of Justice in the executive branch.
In actual practice, the U.S. marshal for the district primarily oversees court security, and has a unit of appointed deputies and special deputies. (Other law enforcement operations and the federal prison system are handled by a variety of federal police agencies.)
The United States Marshals Service is a professional, civil service unit of federal police, part of the system of marshals, made up of career law enforcement personnel rather than the appointed district marshals. The U.S. Marshals Service assists with court security and prisoner transport, asset forfeiture, serves arrest warrants and seeks fugitives.
The Federal Air Marshal Service is a separate armed federal law enforcement service employed to protect commercial airliners from the threat of aircraft hijacking. These air marshals work for the Transportation Security Administration of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The U.S. Supreme Court maintains its own, separate Marshal of the United States Supreme Court, who also controls the U.S. Supreme Court Police, a security police service answerable to the court itself, rather than to the president or attorney general. It handles security for the Supreme Court building and for the justices personally, and undertakes whatever other missions the court may require or assign.
In many U.S. states, marshals can be found acting at the state, local or municipal court level; marshals can be court bailiffs or process servers, or even full police officers. In certain states, they may be sworn peace officers, however their job is, in some cases, entirely civil rather than criminal law enforcement. Some communities maintain a Town or City Marshal who is responsible for general law enforcement as well as court duties, while others are strictly court officers. This is especially true in communities with both police and marshals. The position of Marshal vastly differs from state to state. At least one local railroad servicing company's part-time public safety staff, which are both fire and police trained, is supervised by a chief marshal.
American Old West (for example, Arizona Territory and Texas of the 1880s): Marshals, usually called town marshals or city marshals (since the larger cities were often punctilious about their titles), were appointed or elected police officers of small communities, with powers and duties similar to those of a police chief; these powers generally ended at the border of the community. By contrast, federal marshals (U.S. marshals) worked in a larger territory, especially in pioneer country, and this area could potentially overlap with the state or territorial office of county sheriff (who then, as now, policed communities, as well as areas between communities). The word marshal is still used in this sense, especially in the American Southwest. (See List of Western lawmen.) Town or city marshal is still the name for the head officer of some community police forces.
Arizona: Cities and towns decide whether to appoint or elect a marshal, or have the board, council, or city manager hire a chief of police as the top criminal law enforcement official for their jurisdiction (as in the town of Tombstone). Marshals are elected by the trustees to serve a fixed term, and chiefs of police can be fired at will by whomever hired them, just like any other employee.
California: Several urban counties (including Los Angeles, San Bernardino County, California, and San Diego) once maintained separate county marshal's offices, which served as court officers similar to U.S. marshals or constables, but mainly for the municipal court system. This system was abolished by state law in 2000, when the sheriffs of those counties announced that those counties' marshals would be absorbed into their departments. Therefore, many have been merged into or taken over by the local county sheriff's office, with the exceptions of Shasta County and Trinity County both located in Northern California. As of 2010, the marshal of San Benito County has been disbanded as an independent organization, with its employees becoming part of the sheriff's office. California also has fire marshals and deputy fire marshals, who may work for the State of California Fire Marshal's Office, or various county, city or special districts throughout the state. Fire marshals and deputy fire marshals are full-time sworn peace officers throughout the state, with powers of arrest statewide under section 830.37 of the California Penal Code. Their responsibilities include fire and arson investigation, bomb and explosives investigation, general law enforcement, as well as enforcement of the fire code.
Colorado: Cities, towns and villages decide whether to appoint or elect a marshal, or have the board, council, or city manager hire a chief of police as the top criminal law enforcement for their jurisdiction. Marshals are elected by the trustees to serve a fixed term, and chiefs of police can be fired at will by whoever hired them, just like any other employee.
Connecticut: In 2000, Connecticut eliminated the county sheriff system, and replaced it with two types of marshals. State marshals operate out of the executive branch of state government. They are sworn peace officers who perform a wide range of duties, including service of process, seizing money and property under court order, evictions, serving tax warrants, and arresting individuals on bench warrants. Judicial marshals are employed by the judicial branch. They are sworn peace officers who perform court security and transport detainees to and from court.
Georgia: The marshal is a commissioned armed and uniformed law enforcement officer of the county state courts which have jurisdiction over civil matters and state ordinances. In the Atlanta metro counties, marshal's offices enforce evictions, foreclosures, subpoenas, civil forfeitures, judgements, seizure, liens, repossession, and garnishment. With a few exceptions, elsewhere in Georgia, the sheriff's office is responsible for enforcement of these duties, with some sheriffs' offices having an assigned unit or personnel for these duties.
Indiana: Many towns still utilize the Town Marshal's Office within local government. Police terms in Indiana vary by what local government one works for; for example: counties have Sheriff's/deputies, cities have Police Departments/Officers or Patrolmen and Towns have Marshals/deputies. In Indiana, a town is managed by a council without an elected mayor, whereas a city has a mayor and, thus, a city police department. Marshals are responsible for all law enforcement in their town, and their primary duties are the enforcement of local and state laws or ordinances as well as code enforcement. The town marshal may also be the town's humane law enforcement officer. Town marshals are fully sworn state police officers, having law enforcement authority statewide; therefore, it is not at all uncommon for Town Marshals to be seen outside of their bailiwicks assisting other police agencies. Some town marshal agencies in Indiana can be quite large. Any Town Marshal can appoint any number of unpaid deputy town marshals or reserve officers who may exercise full police powers in the state. Indiana Town Marshals are authorized to enforce not only city/town code, but also county ordinances; this differs from city police departments where a city police officer may only enforce city code or a sheriff's deputy, who may only enforce county code. Indiana Code recognizes Town Marshals as Police Officers, therefore it is very common for Indiana Town Marshal's Offices to go simply by "Police Department" .
Under Indiana Code IC36-5-7 the marshal is described as "the chief police officer of the town and has the powers of other law enforcement officers in executing the orders of the legislative body and enforcing laws. The marshal or his deputy:
Maine: The State Marshal Service provides physical security and law enforcement duties to the judicial system, as well as protection of all state judges. Deputy marshals are fully sworn state law enforcement officers with statewide authority.
Missouri: There are two types of marshal:
New York: There are two levels of marshals:
Ohio: The term village marshal has been used for the same function, often filled without colleagues, directly under the mayor.
Texas: City marshals and deputy city marshals have, by law, the same authority as a municipal (village, town, or city) police officer. However, municipalities (like Fort Worth), that have both a police force as well as a city marshal's office, often utilize the police as the general law enforcement agency of the municipality, while court security and process service is provided by the city marshal's office. In municipalities that do not have a police department, the city marshal's office sometimes serves as the agency that provides general law enforcement services to residents.
Washington State: The city of Seattle employs marshals in their municipal court, with the senior officer holding the title of chief marshal and the subordinate officers known as deputy marshals. Seattle Marshals provide court security and law enforcement services within the court. They handle arrests of out-of-custody defendants within the courthouse and transport in custody defendants to and from court hearings. The King County Sheriff's Office (county seat in Seattle) also employs court marshals, which is a unit under the sheriff's office. In the Old-West themed town of Winthrop, the municipal police force is headed by a town marshal, consistent with the Old West restoration of the buildings and tourist attractions.
Wisconsin: The duty of a marshal, that he or she generally speaking, occupies the same relation to the governmental affairs of the municipality as the sheriff does to the county.
The hereditary title of "marshal" at one time designated the head of household security for the King of England. William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke, served four kings in this office, ultimately becoming one of the most powerful men in Europe; by the time he died in 1219, people throughout Europe (not just England) referred to William Marshal simply as "the marshal". The office of hereditary Marshal (or Earl Marshal) thus evolved into that of a Great Officer of State.
The task of maintaining law and order within the King's Court then devolved upon the office of Knight Marshal (established in 1236). Together with his officers, the King's (or Queen's) Marshalmen, the Knight Marshal continued to have restricted powers of arrest within a 12-mile (19 km) radius of the sovereign's palace until 1846, when the office was abolished.
In 1595, Queen Elizabeth I issued letters patent giving powers to a marshal to maintain order within the City of London. Later, an under-marshal and six city marshalmen were appointed to assist the marshal in his duties. As a result of the Police Acts of 1829 and 1839, the marshal's role changed significantly. As of 2009, one city marshal, currently Colonel Billy King-Harman, CBE, still acts as peacekeeper to the Lord Mayor of London, leading processions and representing the Lord Mayor at all Entries of Troops (challenging and then escorting those few regiments entitled to march though the City of London).
The office of "marischal of Scotland" (marascallus Scotie or marscallus Scotie) had been held heritably by the senior member of the Keith family since Hervey de Keith, who held the office of marischal under Malcolm IV and William I. The descendant of Herveus, Sir Robert de Keith (d. 1332), was confirmed in the office of "Great Marischal of Scotland" by Robert Bruce around 1324.
Robert de Keith's great-grandson, William, was raised to the peerage as Earl Marischal by James II in about 1458. The peerage died out when George Keith, the 10th Earl, forfeited it by joining the Jacobite Rising of 1715.
The marischal was to serve as custodian of the Royal Regalia of Scotland, and protect the king's person when attending parliament. The former duty was fulfilled by the 7th Earl during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, who hid the Royal Regalia at Dunnottar Castle. The role of regulation of heraldry carried out by the English Earl Marshal is carried out in Scotland by the Lord Lyon King of Arms.
In France, the Maréchaussée ("Marshalcy") was the forerunner of the French Gendarmerie. A military corps having such duties was first created in 1337, placed under the command of the Constable of France (the Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Armed Forces), and named the Connétablie. In 1627 after the abolition of the title of Connétable, it was put under the command of the "Marshals of France," and renamed the Maréchaussée. Its main mission was to protect the roads from highwaymen.
The Maréchaussée was a mounted military police force organised and equipped along military lines. The force wore uniforms similar to those of the dragoons of the regular army and carried the same muskets and sabres. While its existence ensured the relative safety of French rural districts and roads, the Maréchaussée was regarded in contemporary England (which had no effective police force of any nature) as a symbol of foreign tyranny.
In 1789, on the eve of the French Revolution, the Maréchaussée numbered 3,660 men divided into small detachments called brigades. By law dated 16 February 1791, this force was renamed the Gendarmerie Nationale, though at first its personnel remained unchanged. Later many of them died under the guillotine, especially the members of the nobility.
The new designation "Gendarmerie" was derived from the term gens d'armes (gentlemen/people at arms) who were originally heavy cavalry regiments (called at first Ordonnances royales) which were part of the King's household, the equivalent of the English "Honourable Corps of Gentlemen at Arms".
The title "Marshal of France" is a Dignité d'État ("State Dignity") in the contemporary French Republic, not strictly speaking a military rank. It is granted to generals for exceptional achievements, especially in times of war or national crisis.
However, the Marshal of France was one of the Great Officers of the Crown of France during the Ancien Régime and Bourbon Restoration and one of the Great Dignitaries of the Empire during the First French Empire (when the title was not "Marshal of France" but "Marshal of the Empire")
A Marshal of France displays seven stars and is equivalent to a six star general in armies of other countries. The marshal also receives a baton, a blue cylinder with stars, formerly fleurs-de-lis during the monarchy and Eagles during the First French Empire. It has the Latin inscription: Terror belli, decus pacis, which means "terror in war, ornament in peace".
The position in the French Navy (Marine nationale) equivalent to the "Marshal of France" is called Amiral de France ("Admiral of France"). The title has not been conferred since 1869. Theoretically, the equivalent title in the French Air Force is Général de France ("General of France"), but it has never been conferred to anyone yet.
Six Marshals of France have been given the even more prestigious rank of "Marshal General of the King's Armies and Camps": Biron, Lesdiguières, Turenne, Villars, Saxe, and Soult. This rank and title no longer exists in present-day republican France.
In the Netherlands, the Koninklijke Marechaussee are the gendarmerie force created by King William I to replace the French gendarmerie on October 26, 1814. The word gendarmerie had gained a negative connotation, so William called the new force "marechaussée" (an alternate French word for gendarmerie). At that time, the marechaussee was part of the army (landmacht). The marechaussee performed police duties for the army, as well as civilian police work as a part of the national police (rijkspolitie). The marechaussee formed the only police force in many small cities like Venlo, especially in the southern provinces of Limburg and North Brabant. As of 1998, the marechaussee is a separate branch of the Dutch military, and is assigned both military and civilian police tasks.
The Indian Air Force's rank structure is based on that of the Royal Air Force. The highest rank attainable in the Indian Air Force is Marshal of the Indian Air Force, conferred by the President of India after exceptional service during wartime. MIAF Arjan Singh was the only officer to have achieved this rank. The head of the Indian Air Force is the Chief of the Air Staff, who holds the rank of Air Chief Marshal. The current Chief of the Air Staff is Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa, appointed on 31 December 2016, following the retirement of Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha.Air chief marshal
Air chief marshal (Air Chf Mshl or ACM) is a four-star air officer rank which originated in and continues to be used by the Royal Air Force, where it is the most senior peacetime air force rank. The rank is also used by the air forces of many countries that have historical British influence and it is sometimes used as the English translation of an equivalent rank in countries which have a non-British air force-specific rank structure.
Air chief marshal is a four-star air officer rank and has a NATO ranking code of OF-9. An air chief marshal is equivalent to an admiral in the Royal Navy or a general in the British Army or the Royal Marines. In other forces, such as the United States Armed Forces and the Canadian Armed Forces, the equivalent four-star rank is general.
The rank of air chief marshal is immediately senior to the rank of air marshal but subordinate to marshal of the Royal Air Force. Air chief marshals are sometimes generically considered to be air marshals.Air marshal
Air Marshal (Air Mshl or AM) is a three-star air-officer rank which originated in and continues to be used by the Royal Air Force. The rank is also used by the air forces of many countries which have historical British influence, including the Commonwealth, and it is sometimes used as the English translation of an equivalent rank in countries which have a non-English air force-specific rank structure.
Air marshal is a three-star rank and has a NATO ranking code of OF-8, equivalent to a vice-admiral in the Royal Navy or a lieutenant-general in the British Army or the Royal Marines. In other NATO forces, such as the United States Armed Forces and the Canadian Armed Forces, the equivalent three-star rank is lieutenant general.
The rank of air marshal is immediately senior to the rank of air vice-marshal and immediately subordinate to the rank of air chief marshal.
Officers in the rank of air marshal typically hold very senior appointments such as commander-in-chief of an air force or a large air force formation. Officers in the ranks of air chief marshal and air vice-marshal are also referred to generically as air marshals. Occasionally, air force officers of marshal rank are considered to be air marshals.Air vice-marshal
Air vice-marshal (AVM) is a two-star air officer rank which originated in and continues to be used by the Royal Air Force. The rank is also used by the air forces of many countries which have historical British influence and it is sometimes used as the English translation of an equivalent rank in countries which have a non-English air force-specific rank structure. Air vice-marshals may be addressed generically as "air marshal".Air vice-marshal is a two-star rank and has a NATO ranking code of OF-7. It is equivalent to a rear-admiral in the Royal Navy or a major-general in the British Army or the Royal Marines. In other NATO forces, such as the United States Armed Forces and the Canadian Armed Forces, the equivalent two-star rank is major general.
The rank of air vice-marshal is immediately senior to the rank air commodore and immediately subordinate to the rank of air marshal. Since before the Second World War it has been common for air officers commanding RAF groups to hold the rank of air vice-marshal. In small air forces such as the Royal New Zealand Air Force and the Ghana Air Force, the head of the air force holds the rank of air vice-marshal.
The equivalent rank in the Women's Auxiliary Air Force, Women's Auxiliary Australian Air Force, Women's Royal Air Force (until 1968) and Princess Mary's Royal Air Force Nursing Service (until 1980) was "air chief commandant".Bernard Montgomery
Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, (; 17 November 1887 – 24 March 1976), nicknamed "Monty" and "The Spartan General", was a senior British Army officer who fought in both the First World War and the Second World War.
He saw action in the First World War as a junior officer of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. At Méteren, near the Belgian border at Bailleul, he was shot through the right lung by a sniper, during the First Battle of Ypres. He returned to the Western Front as a general staff officer and took part in the Battle of Arras in April/May 1917. He also took part in the Battle of Passchendaele in late 1917 before finishing the war as chief of staff of the 47th (2nd London) Division.
In the inter-war years he commanded the 17th (Service) Battalion, Royal Fusiliers and, later, the 1st Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment before becoming commander of 9th Infantry Brigade and then General Officer Commanding (GOC) 8th Infantry Division.
During the Second World War he commanded the British Eighth Army in the Western Desert from August 1942 until the final Allied victory in Tunisia in May 1943. This period included the Second Battle of El Alamein. He subsequently commanded the British Eighth Army during the Allied invasion of Sicily and the Allied invasion of Italy. He was in command of all Allied ground forces during Operation Overlord from the initial landings until the end of the Battle of Normandy. He then continued in command of the 21st Army Group for the rest of the campaign in North West Europe. His 21st Army Group failed in their airborne attempt to bridge the Rhine under Operation Market Garden, after being defeated in the Battle of Arnhem. When German armoured forces broke through the American lines in Belgium months later in the Battle of the Bulge, Montgomery was given command of the north shoulder of the Bulge. This included temporary command of the US First Army and the US Ninth Army, which held up the German advance in the north of the Bulge while the US Third Army under Patton relieved Bastogne from the south. Montgomery's 21st Army Group, bolstered by the US Ninth Army and the First Allied Airborne Army, crossed the Rhine in Operation Plunder in March 1945, two weeks after the US First Army had crossed the Rhine in the Battle of Remagen. On 4 May 1945 Montgomery accepted the surrender of the German forces in North-western Europe at Lüneburg Heath, east of Hamburg, after the surrender of Berlin to the USSR on 2 May but before the general surrender to SHAEF on 7 May.
After the war he became Commander-in-Chief of the British Army of the Rhine (BAOR) in Germany and then Chief of the Imperial General Staff (1946–1948). From 1948 to 1951 he served as Chairman of the Commanders-in-Chief Committee of the Western Union. He then served as NATO's Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe until his retirement in 1958.Field marshal
Field marshal (or field-marshal, abbreviated as FM) is a very senior military rank, ordinarily senior to the general officer ranks. Usually it is the highest rank in an army, and when it is, few (if any) persons are appointed to it. It is considered as a five-star rank (OF-10) in modern-day armed forces in many countries. Promotion to the rank of field marshal in many countries historically required extraordinary military achievement by a general (a wartime victory). However, the rank has also been used as a divisional command rank and also as a brigade command rank. Examples of the different uses of the rank include Austria-Hungary, Prussia, Germany, India and Sri Lanka for an extraordinary achievement; Spain and Mexico for a divisional command (Spanish: mariscal de campo); and France, Portugal and Brazil for a brigade command (French: maréchal de camp, Portuguese: marechal de campo).
The origin of the term dates to the early Middle Ages, originally meaning the keeper of the king's horses (from Old German Marh-scalc = "horse-servant"), from the time of the early Frankish kings. The exact wording of the titles used by field marshals varies: examples include "marshal" and "field marshal general". The air force equivalent in Commonwealth and many Middle Eastern air forces is marshal of the air force (not to be confused with air marshal). Navies, which usually do not use the nomenclature employed by armies or air forces, use titles such as "fleet admiral," "grand admiral" or "admiral of the fleet" for the equivalent rank. The traditional attribute distinguishing a field marshal is a baton. The baton nowadays is purely ornamental, and as such may be richly decorated. That said, it is not necessary for the insignia to be a baton (Such is the case in Russia post-1991 and the former Soviet Union, which use a jewelled star referred to as a Marshal's star).Field marshal (United Kingdom)
Field Marshal has been the highest rank in the British Army since 1736. A five-star rank with NATO code OF-10, it is equivalent to an Admiral of the Fleet in the Royal Navy or a Marshal of the Royal Air Force in the Royal Air Force (RAF). A Field Marshal's insignia consists of two crossed batons surrounded by yellow leaves below St Edward's Crown. Like Marshals of the RAF and Admirals of the Fleet, Field Marshals traditionally remain officers for life, though on half-pay when not in an appointment. The rank has been used sporadically throughout its history and was vacant during parts of the 18th and 19th centuries (when all former holders of the rank were deceased). After the Second World War, it became standard practice to appoint the Chief of the Imperial General Staff (later renamed Chief of the General Staff) to the rank on his last day in the post. Army officers occupying the post of Chief of the Defence Staff, the professional head of all the British Armed Forces, were usually promoted to the rank upon their appointment.In total, 141 men have held the rank of field marshal. The majority led careers in the British Army or the British Indian Army, rising through the ranks to eventually become a field marshal. Some members of the British Royal Family—most recently Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, and Charles, Prince of Wales—were promoted to the rank after shorter periods of service. Three British monarchs—George V, Edward VIII, and George VI— assumed the rank on their accessions to the throne, while Edward VII was already a field marshal, and two British consorts—Albert, Prince Consort and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh—were appointed by their respective queens. Other ceremonial appointments were made as diplomatic gestures. Twelve foreign monarchs held the honour, though three (Wilhelm II, German Emperor; Franz Joseph I, Austrian Emperor; and Hirohito, Emperor of Japan) were stripped of it when their countries became enemies of Britain and her allies in the two world wars. Also awarded the rank were one Frenchman (Ferdinand Foch) and one Australian (Sir Thomas Blamey), honoured for their contributions to World War I and World War II respectively, and one foreign statesman (Jan Smuts).A report commissioned by the Ministry of Defence in 1995 made a number of recommendations for financial savings in the armed forces' budget, one of which was the abolition of the five-star ranks. Part of the rationale was that these ranks were disproportionate to the size of the forces commanded by these officers and that none of the United Kingdom's close allies, such as the United States (which reserves the rank of general of the army for officers who have commanded large armies in major wars), used such ranks. The recommendation was not taken up in full, but the practice of promoting service chiefs to five-star ranks was stopped and the ranks are now reserved for special circumstances. Sir Peter Inge was, in 1994, the last active officer to be promoted to the rank. Inge relinquished the post of Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) in 1997 and his successor, Sir Charles Guthrie, was the first officer not to be promoted upon appointment as CDS.The most recent promotions to field marshal came in 2012, eighteen years after the moratorium on routine promotions to the rank, when Queen Elizabeth II promoted Prince Charles, her son and heir apparent, to the five-star ranks in all three services, in recognition of support provided for her in her capacity as Commander-in-Chief of the British Armed Forces. At the same time, Guthrie, who relinquished the post of CDS and retired from active service in 2001, was promoted to honorary field marshal. In June 2014 former Chief of the Defence Staff Lord Walker of Aldringham was also promoted to honorary field marshal.Although the rank of field marshal is not used in the Royal Marines, the insignia is used on the uniform of the Captain General, the ceremonial head of the corps (equivalent to colonel-in-chief).Generalfeldmarschall
Generalfeldmarschall (English: general field marshal, field marshal general, or field marshal; listen ; abbreviated to Feldmarschall) was a rank in the armies of several German states and the Holy Roman Empire (Reichsgeneralfeldmarschall); in the Habsburg Monarchy, the Austrian Empire and Austria-Hungary, the rank Feldmarschall was used. The rank was the equivalent to Großadmiral (English: Grand admiral) in the Kaiserliche Marine and Kriegsmarine, a five-star rank, comparable to OF-10 in today's NATO naval forces.Georgy Zhukov
Georgy Konstantinovich Zhukov (Russian: Георгий Константинович Жуков; 1 December 1896 – 18 June 1974) was a Soviet Russian general and Marshal of the Soviet Union. He also served as Chief of the General Staff, Minister of Defence, and was a member of the Presidium of the Communist Party (later Politburo). During the Second World War, Zhukov was responsible for some of the Red Army's most decisive victories.
Born to a poor peasant family from central Russia, Zhukov was conscripted into the Imperial Russian Army and fought in the First World War. He then served in the Red Army during the Russian Civil War. Gradually rising through the ranks, by 1939 Zhukov was given command of an army group and won a decisive battle over Japanese forces at Khalkhin Gol, for which he won the first of his four Hero of the Soviet Union awards. In February 1941, Zhukov became chief of the Red Army's General Staff.
Following the German invasion of the Soviet Union, Zhukov lost his position of chief of the general staff. Subsequently he organized the defense of Leningrad, Moscow and Stalingrad. He was further involved in the planning of several major offensives, including the Battle of Kursk and Operation Bagration. In 1945, Zhukov commanded the 1st Belorussian Front and took part in the Vistula–Oder Offensive and the Battle of Berlin, which resulted in the defeat of Nazi Germany, and the end of the war in Europe. In recognition of Zhukov's role in the war, he was chosen to personally accept the German Instrument of Surrender.
After the war, Zhukov's success and popularity caused Joseph Stalin to see him as a potential threat; he was subsequently stripped of his positions and relegated to military commands of little strategic significance. After Stalin's death in 1953, Zhukov returned to favour and supported Nikita Khrushchev's bid for Soviet leadership. He was appointed Defence Minister and made a member of the Presidium. In 1957 Zhukov again lost favour and was forced to retire. He never returned to power and died in 1974.Indian Air Force
The Indian Air Force (IAF) is the air arm of the Indian Armed Forces. Its complement of personnel and aircraft assets ranks fourth amongst the air forces of the world. Its primary mission is to secure Indian airspace and to conduct aerial warfare during armed conflict. It was officially established on 8 October 1932 as an auxiliary air force of the British Empire which honoured India's aviation service during World War II with the prefix Royal. After India gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1947, the name Royal Indian Air Force was kept and served in the name of Dominion of India. With the government's transition to a Republic in 1950, the prefix Royal was removed after only three years.
Since 1950 the IAF has been involved in four wars with neighboring Pakistan and one with the People's Republic of China. Other major operations undertaken by the IAF include Operation Vijay, Operation Meghdoot, Operation Cactus and Operation Poomalai. The IAF's mission expands beyond engagement with hostile forces, with the IAF participating in United Nations peacekeeping missions.
The President of India holds the rank of Supreme Commander of the IAF. As of 1 July 2017, 139,576 personnel are in service with the Indian Air Force. The Chief of Air Staff, an air chief marshal, is a four-star officer and is responsible for the bulk of operational command of the Air Force. There is never more than one serving ACM at any given time in the IAF. The rank of Marshal of the Air Force has been conferred by the President of India on one occasion in history, to Arjan Singh. On 26 January 2002 Singh became the first and so far, only five-star rank officer of the IAF.Jean-de-Dieu Soult
Marshal General Jean-de-Dieu Soult, 1st Duke of Dalmatia, (French: [ʒɑ̃dədjø sult]; 29 March 1769 – 26 November 1851) was a French general and statesman, named Marshal of the Empire in 1804 and often called Marshal Soult. Soult was one of only six officers in French history to receive the distinction of Marshal General of France. The Duke also served three times as President of the Council of Ministers, or Prime Minister of France.
Soult's intrigues while occupying Portugal earned him the nickname, "King Nicolas", and while he was Napoleon's military governor of Andalusia, Soult looted 1.5 million francs worth of art. One historian called him "a plunderer in the world class."List of Marshals of France
Marshal of France (French: Maréchal de France, plural Maréchaux de France) is a French military distinction, rather than a military rank, that is awarded to generals for exceptional achievements. The title has been awarded since 1185, though briefly abolished (1793–1804) and briefly dormant (1870–1916). It was one of the Great Officers of the Crown of France during the Ancien Régime and Bourbon Restoration, and one of the Grand Dignitaries of the Empire during the First French Empire (when the title was Marshal of the Empire, not Marshal of France).
A Marshal of France displays seven stars on each shoulder strap. A marshal also receives a baton: a blue cylinder with stars, formerly fleurs-de-lis during the monarchy and eagles during the First French Empire. The baton bears the Latin inscription of Terror belli, decus pacis, which means "terror in war, ornament in peace".
Between the end of the 16th century and the middle of the 19th century, six Marshals of France were given the even more exalted rank of Marshal General of France: Biron, Lesdiguières, Turenne, Villars, Saxe, and Soult.Major general
Major general (abbreviated MG, Maj. Gen. and similar) 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 apparently confusing phenomenon whereby a lieutenant general outranks a major general while a major outranks a lieutenant.
In the Commonwealth and the United States, it is a division commander's rank subordinate to the rank of lieutenant general and senior to the ranks of brigadier and brigadier general. In the Commonwealth, major general is equivalent to the navy rank of rear admiral, and in air forces with a separate rank structure, it is equivalent to air vice-marshal.
In some countries, including much of Eastern Europe, major general is the lowest of the general officer ranks, with no brigadier-grade rank.Marshal of the Soviet Union
Marshal of the Soviet Union (Russian: Маршал Советского Союза; Russian pronunciation: [ˈmarʂəɫ sɐˈvʲɛtskəvə sɐˈjuzə]) was the highest military rank of the Soviet Union.
The rank of Marshal of the Soviet Union was created in 1935 and abolished in 1991, and forty-one people held this rank. The equivalent naval rank was until 1955 Admiral of the fleet and from 1955 Admiral of the fleet of the Soviet Union. Both ranks were comparable to NATO rank codes OF-10, and to the five-star rank in anglophone armed forces.
While the supreme rank of Generalissimus of the Soviet Union, which would have been senior to Marshal of the Soviet Union, was proposed for Joseph Stalin after the Second World War, it was never officially approved.Michel Ney
Marshal of the Empire Michel Ney (French pronunciation: [miʃɛl ˈnɛ]), 1st Duke of Elchingen, 1st Prince of the Moskva (10 January 1769 – 7 December 1815), popularly known as Marshal Ney, was a French soldier and military commander of German origin who fought in the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars. He was one of the original 18 Marshals of the Empire created by Napoleon. He was known as Le Rougeaud ("red-faced" or "ruddy") by his men and nicknamed le Brave des Braves ("the bravest of the brave") by Napoleon.Philippe Pétain
Henri Philippe Benoni Omer Joseph Pétain (24 April 1856 – 23 July 1951), generally known as Philippe Pétain (, French: [filip petɛ̃]), Marshal Pétain (Maréchal Pétain) or The Old Marshal (Le Vieux Maréchal), was a French general officer who attained the position of Marshal of France at the end of World War I, during which he became known as The Lion of Verdun, and in World War II served as the Chief of State of Vichy France from 1940 to 1944. Pétain, who was 84 years old in 1940, ranks as France's oldest head of state.
During World War I Pétain led the French Army to victory at the nine-month-long Battle of Verdun. After the failed Nivelle Offensive and subsequent mutinies he was appointed Commander-in-Chief and succeeded in repairing the army's confidence. Pétain remained in command throughout the war and emerged as a national hero. During the interwar period he was head of the peacetime French Army, commanded joint Franco-Spanish operations during the Rif War and served twice as a government Minister.
With the imminent Fall of France in June 1940 in World War II, Pétain was appointed President of the Ministerial Council by President Lebrun at Bordeaux, and the Cabinet resolved to sign an armistice agreement with Germany. The entire government subsequently moved briefly to Clermont-Ferrand, then to the spa town of Vichy in central France. His government voted to transform the discredited French Third Republic into the French State, an authoritarian regime that collaborated with the Axis, although it refused to declare war on the UK after the attack on Mers-el-Kebir and even remained formally at war with Germany. After Germany and Italy occupied and disarmed France in November 1942, Pétain became a mere puppet of the German military administration.
After the war, Pétain was tried and convicted for treason. He was originally sentenced to death, but due to his age and World War I service his sentence was commuted to life in prison. He died in 1951.Sam Manekshaw
Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw, (3 April 1914 – 27 June 2008), popularly known as Sam Bahadur ("Sam the Brave"), was the Chief of the Army Staff of the Indian Army during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, and the first Indian Army officer to be promoted to the rank of field marshal. His military career spanned four decades and five wars, beginning with service in the British Indian Army in World War II.
Manekshaw joined the first intake of the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun in 1932. He was commissioned into the 2nd Battalion, Royal Scots, and later posted to the 4th Battalion, 12th Frontier Force Regiment. In World War II, he was awarded the Military Cross for gallantry. Following the partition of India in 1947, he was reassigned to the 8th Gorkha Rifles. Manekshaw was seconded to a planning role during the 1947 Indo-Pakistani War and the Hyderabad crisis, and as a result, he never commanded an infantry battalion. He was promoted to the rank of brigadier while serving at the Military Operations Directorate. He became commander of 167th Infantry Brigade in 1952 and served in this position until 1954 when he took over as the Director of Military Training at Army Headquarters.
After completing the higher command course at the Imperial Defence College, he was appointed General Officer Commanding of the 26th Infantry Division. He also served as the commandant of the Defence Services Staff College. In 1961, Manekshaw made derogatory comments about the political leadership which allowed his opponents to label him as unpatriotic, and he was charged with sedition. After being exonerated in the subsequent court of inquiry, he took command of IV Corps in November 1962. The next year, Manekshaw was promoted to the position of army commander and took over Western Command, transferring in 1964 to the Eastern Command.
Having already commanded troops at division, corps and regional levels, Manekshaw became the eighth chief of the army staff in 1969. Under his command, Indian forces conducted victorious campaigns against Pakistan in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, which led to the creation of Bangladesh in December 1971. He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan and the Padma Bhushan, the second and third highest civilian awards of India. In January 1973, Manekshaw was conferred with the rank of Field Marshal, the first army officer of independent India to be so honoured.United States Marshals Service
The United States Marshals Service (USMS) is a federal law enforcement agency within the U.S. Department of Justice (28 U.S.C. § 561). It is the oldest American federal law enforcement agency and was created by the Judiciary Act of 1789 during the presidency of George Washington as the Office of the United States Marshal. The USMS as it stands today was established in 1969 to provide guidance and assistance to Marshals throughout the federal judicial districts. USMS is an agency of the United States executive branch reporting to the United States Attorney General, but serves as the enforcement arm of the United States federal courts to ensure the effective operation of the judiciary and integrity of the Constitution.The Marshals Service is the primary agency for fugitive operations, the protection of officers of the Federal Judiciary, the management of criminal assets, the operation of the United States Federal Witness Protection Program and the Justice Prisoner and Alien Transportation System, as well as the execution of federal arrest warrants. Throughout its history the Marshals have also provided unique security and enforcement services including protecting African-American students enrolling in the South during the civil rights movement, escort security for United States Air Force LGM-30 Minuteman missile convoys, law enforcement for the United States Antarctic Program, and protection of the Strategic National Stockpile.William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke
William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke (1146 or 1147 – 14 May 1219), also called William the Marshal (Norman French: Williame li Mareschal, French: Guillaume le Maréchal), was an Anglo-Norman soldier and statesman. He served five English kings – Henry II, his sons the "Young King" Henry, Richard I, John, and John's son Henry III.
Knighted in 1166, he spent his younger years as a knight errant and a successful tournament competitor; Stephen Langton eulogized him as the "best knight that ever lived."
In 1189, he became the de facto Earl of Pembroke through his marriage to Isabel de Clare, though the title of earl would not be officially granted until 1199 during the second creation of the Pembroke Earldom. In 1216, he was appointed protector for the nine-year-old Henry III, and regent of the kingdom.
Before him, his father's family held a hereditary title of Marshal to the king, which by his father's time had become recognized as a chief or master Marshalcy, involving management over other Marshals and functionaries. William became known as 'the Marshal', although by his time much of the function was delegated to more specialized representatives (as happened with other functions in the King's household). Because he was an Earl, and also known as the Marshal, the term "Earl Marshal" was commonly used and this later became an established hereditary title in the English Peerage. All Kings of England, Great Britain and the United Kingdom since James VI and I have been cognatic descendants of William Marshal through his great-great-grandson Robert the Bruce.
|Field marshal or
General of the army
the air force
|Admiral||General||Air chief marshal|
|Vice admiral||Lieutenant general||Air marshal|
|Rear admiral||Major general||Air vice-marshal|
|Commander||Lieutenant colonel||Wing commander|
junior grade or
|Second lieutenant||Pilot officer|
|Officer cadet||Officer cadet||Flight cadet|
|Warrant officer or
chief petty officer
|Warrant officer or
|Petty officer||Sergeant||Flight sergeant|
|Leading seaman||Corporal or
Military ranks and insignia by country
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Star officer grades
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