Military ranks of the Swiss Armed Forces

The military ranks of the Swiss Armed Forces have changed little over the centuries, except for the introduction, in 2001, of a new set of warrant officers. The rank insignia for all personnel are worn on shoulder boards with the appropriate background colour (see below). The exception is that, in all services, rank insignia is not worn by recruits; it is however worn by privates once they have finished recruit school. Designations are given here in German, French, Italian and Romansh (in this order), with an English translation which is used during overseas missions. In the chart below, NATO codes are used for comparison purposes only; Switzerland is not a member of NATO, and the rank structure in the senior officer region can be seen to diverge significantly from other armies'.

Enlisted ranks

Enlisted men

Ranks for enlisted personnel (de: Grade der Mannschaften), with NATO equivalent, insignia, and designations in five languages
Flag of NATO.svg
rank
Rank insignia Name Description
Mounting loop Camouflage German French Italian Romansh English designation English equivalent
OR-1b Rekrut (Rekr) Recrue (recr) recluta recruit Recruit
OR-1a CHE OR1 Sdt.svg OR-1a - Soldat Soldat (Sdt) Soldat (Sdt) soldato schuldà Private E-1 (PTE) Private (PTE)
OR-2 CHE OR2 Gfr.svg OR-2 - Appointé Gefreiter (Gfr) appointé (App) appuntato appuntà Private E-2 (PTE)
Lance Corporal (LCpl) (old designation)
appointee
OR-3 CHE OR3 Obgfr.svg OR-3 - Appointé-Chef Obergefreiter (Obgfr) appointé-chef (App chef) appuntato capo primappuntà Private first class (PFC) Private first class (PFC) Specialists who take over tasks of responsibility or hold the position of a squad commander. If the Obgfr has a commanding role, they count among the NCOs, otherwise they are enlisted men. A soldier may be promoted to Obgfr after attending the NCO course at the Swiss Army's Recruit School, during which time they are also called Anwärter. Upon very good conduct, a Gefreiter may also be promoted to Obergefreiter at a "repetition course". This promotion is not linked to extended duty (service time).

Non-commissioned officers (NCO)

Ranks for NCOs (de: Grade der Unteroffiziere), with NATO equivalent, insignia, and designations in five languages
Flag of NATO.svg
rank
Rank insignia Name Description
Mounting loop Camouflage German French Italian Romansh English designation English equivalent
OR-4 CHE OR4 Kpl.svg OR-4 - Caporal Korporal (Kpl) Caporal (Cpl) Corporale (Cpl) Caporal (Cpl) Corporal (Cpl) Corporal Before the reorganization of the Swiss Armed Forces, this was the standard junior NCO rank, while the rank of Wachtmeister (Sergeant) was awarded to NCOs upon good conduct. Soldiers in the rank of a Korporal (Corporal) serve as specialist NCOs (e.g. arms specialization, CBRN specialization etc.)
OR-5b CHE OR5b Wm.svg OR-5 - Sergent Wachtmeister (Wm) Sergent (Sgt) Sergente (Sgt) Sergent (Sgt) Sergeant (Sgt) Sergeant Currently, the standard junior NCO rank
OR-5a CHE OR5a Obwm.svg OR-6 - Sergent-Chef Oberwachtmeister (Obwm) Sergent chef (Sgt chef) Sergente capo (Sgt capo) Caposergent (Csgt) Sergeant First Class (SFC) This rank is awarded to future platoon leaders while attending officer school or to sergeants who attend the "platoon leader substitute" program during "repetition courses".

Higher NCOs

Ranks for higher NCOs (de: Grade der höheren Unteroffiziere), with NATO equivalent, insignia, and designations in five languages
Flag of NATO.svg
rank
Rank insignia Name Description
Mounting loop Camouflage German French Italian Romansh English designation English equivalent
OR-6 CHE OR6 Fw.svg OR-6 - Sergent-Major Feldweibel (Fw) Sergent-major (Sgtm) Sergente maggiore (Sgtm) Primsergent (Psgt) Sergeant Major (SGM/Sgt Maj) Master sergeant
(SSgt)
Lowest rank of "Higher non-commissioned officers" (NCO); it used to be a higher rank than Feldweibel and to oversee unit-level military service and operations. Changed under the 1995 reform to a specialist rank. Nowadays, Feldweibel are almost only seen in military police and NBC units.
OR-7 CHE OR7b Four.svg OR-7a - Fourrier Fourier (Four) Fourrier (Four) Furiere (Fur) Furier (Fur) Quartermaster Sergeant (QMS) Quartermaster sergeant (QMS) The higher NCO who administers a company's finances, subsistence and lodging.
OR-7 CHE OR7a Hptfw.svg OR-7b - Sergent-Major Chef Hauptfeldweibel (Hptfw) Sergent-major chef (Sgtm chef) Sergente maggiore capo (sgtm capo) Capoprimsergent (cpsgt) Chief Sergeant Major (CSM) First sergeant
(SFC)
The Hauptfeldweibel oversees unit-level military service and operations.
OR-8 CHE OR8b Adj Uof.svg OR-8 - Adjudant sous-officier Adjutant Unteroffizier (Adj Uof) Adjudant sous-officier (Adj Sof) Aiutante sottufficiale (aiut suff) Adjutant sutuffizier (Adj suff) Warrant officer (WO) Warrant officer class 2
OR-9 CHE OR8a Stabsadj.svg OR-9a - Adjudant d'état-major Stabsadjutant (Stabsadj) Adjudant d'état-major (adjut EM) Aiutante di stato maggiore (aiut SM) Adjutant da stab (Adj S) Staff Warrant Officer (SWO) Warrant officer class 1
OR-9 CHE OR9b Hptadj.svg OR-9b - Adjudant-major Hauptadjutant (Hptadj) Adjudant-major (Adjm) Aiutante maggiore (Aiut magg) Adjutant principal (Adj prin) Master Warrant Officer (MWO) Warrant officer class 1
OR-9 CHE OR9a Chefadj.svg OR-9c - Adjudant-Chef Chefadjutant (Chefadj) Adjudant-chef (Adj chef) Aiutante capo (Aiut capo) Chefadjutant (Schefadj) Chief Warrant Officer (CWO)

Officers

Subaltern officers and Hauptleute (captains)

Ranks for subaltern officers, with NATO equivalent, insignia, and designations in five languages
Flag of NATO.svg
rank
Rank insignia Name Description
Mounting loop Camouflage German French Italian Romansh English designation English equivalent
OF-1b CHE OF1b Lt.svg OF-1a - Lieutenant Leutnant
(Lt)
Lieutenant
(Lt)
Tenente
(Ten)
Litenet
(Lt)
Second Lieutenant (2Lt) Second lieutenant Platoon's leader
OF-1a CHE OF1a Oblt.svg OF-1b - Premier-Lieutenant Oberleutnant
(Oblt)
Premier-lieutenant
(Plt)
Primo tenente
(I ten)
Primlitenant
(Plt)
First Lieutenant (1Lt) First lieutenant Platoon's leader or future company commander. Usually, a Second Lieutenant will be promoted to First Lieutenant after completing two Annual Advanced Training Service Deployments of their Formation in their junior officer rank.[1]
OF-2 CHE OF2 Hptm.svg OF-2 - Capitaine Hauptmann
(Hptm)
Capitaine
(Cap)
Capitano
(Cap)
Chapitani
(Chap)
Captain (Capt) Captain Company commander

or officer in battalion's staff

Staff officers, specialist

Ranks for staff officers and specialists, with NATO equivalent, insignia, and designations in five languages
Flag of NATO.svg
rank
Rank insignia Name Description
Mounting loop Camouflage German French Italian Romansh English designation English equivalent
OF-3 CHE OF3 Maj.svg OF-3 - Major Major
(Maj)
Major
(Maj)
Maggiore
(Magg)
Maior
(Mai)
Major (Maj) Major
(Maj)
Several assignments in a battalion's staff (deputy S1-7), under special circumstances appointment to battalion commander, teacher or staff officer on a military academy, commander of a HQ company, staff officer in major units.
OF-4 CHE OF4 Oberstlt2.svg OF-4 - Lieutenant-Colonel Oberstleutnant
(Oberstlt)
Lieutenant-colonel
(Lt col)
Tenente colonnello
(Ten col)
Litinent colonel
(Lt col)
Lieutenant Colonel
(LTC/Lt Col)
Lieutenant colonel
(Ltc)
Battalion commander, staff officer in major units.
OF-5 CHE OF5 Oberst.svg OF-5a - Colonel Oberst
(Oberst)
Colonel
(Col)
Colonnello
(Col)
Colonel
(Col)
Colonel
(Col)
Colonel
(Col)
Under special circumstances appointment to battalion commander, deputy commander of a brigade, staff officer in major units.
OF1a-5 CHE OF1-5 FachOf.svg OF1a-5 - Officier Spécialiste Fachoffizier (FachOf) Officier spécialiste
(Of spéc)
Ufficiale specialista (Uff spec) Uffizier spezialist
(Uff spez)
Specialist Officer
(Spec Of)
Specialist Officer "Specialist Officer", variable from OF1a to OF5, all officer's rank groups.

Higher staff officers

Higher staff officers wear black lampasses on the outside seam of dress uniform trousers.

Ranks for higher staff officers, with NATO equivalent, insignia, and designations in five languages
Flag of NATO.svg
rank
Rank insignia Name Description
Mounting loop Camouflage Kepi German French Italian Romansh English equivalent
OF-6 CHE OF6 Br.svg OF-6 - Brigadier Général Uniform Képi of a Brigadier General of the Swiss Army Brigadier (Br) Brigadier (Br) Brigadiere Brigadier Brigadier general One-star rank, commander of a brigade, also military attaché
OF-7 CHE OF7 Div.svg OF-7 - Divisionaire Divisionär Divisionär (Div) Divisionnaire (div) Divisionario Divisionär Major general Two-star rank, commander of territorial region, also in an Army HQ or staff.
OF-8 CHE OF8 KKdt.svg OF-8 - Commandant de Corps Korpskommandant Korpskommandant (KKdt) Commandant de corps (cdt C) Comandante di corpo Korpskommandant Lieutenant general Three-star rank, also the rank of the Chief of the Armed Forces, highest rank in peacetime.

Commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces

Rank for the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces, with NATO equivalent, insignia, and designations in five languages
Flag of NATO.svg
rank
Rank insignia Name Description
Mounting loop Camouflage Kepi German French Italian Romansh English equivalent
OF-9 CHE OF9 General.svg OF-9 - Général Kepi General General (Gen) Général Generale Generale General The rank is assigned only during time of war, when the Federal Assembly chooses one general to command the entire Swiss military. Otherwise the word "general" is not used.[2]

Generals were appointed during the Neuchâtel Crisis (Guillaume Henri Dufour), Franco-Prussian War (Hans Herzog), First World War (Ulrich Wille) and Second World War (Henri Guisan). The General remains subordinate to the Federal Council.

Shoulder board colour (Waffenfarbe)

Armored Corps Infantry Staff officers, engineers, intelligence, chaplaincy Artillery Air Force Signal and command support corps Medical corps, Red Cross service
Rescue corps Logistic corps Territorial service Military security NBC defence corps Armed Forces Legal Service Peace Support Operation

References

  1. ^ Verordnung über die Militärdienstpflicht, S. 56. (PDF; 306 kB).
  2. ^ McPhee, John (31 October 1983). "La Place de la Concorde Suisse-I". The New Yorker. p. 50. Retrieved 22 July 2013.

External links

Media related to Military rank insignia of Switzerland at Wikimedia Commons

Korporal

Korporal (en: Corporal; fr: Caporal; from corpus, corporis [lat]) is in a number of armed forces the lowest rank of the non-commissioned officers group (NCO group). However, according to the NATO-Rang it might be equivalent to Hauptgefreiter / Stabsgefreiter of the German Bundeswehr. In Switzerland the rank will be used in the Fire department as well.

In former German armed forces, the designation of the lowest NCO rank was "Corporal".

Oberwachtmeister

Oberwachtmeister (OWm) (ge: for senior master-sentinel; senior watch-master) is in Austria and Switzerland a military rank of non-commissioned officers (NCO). Besides Austria and Switzerland today, the rank was also used for example in Germany and Russia.

Rekrut

Rekrut (en: recruit) is the designation of a military appointment, position or status in German-speaking countries that characterizes newly recruited or sought personnel during the initial period of the basic military training. However, in some countries, e.g. Austria and Switzerland, Rekrut might be the lowest rank of enlisted men, comparable to NATO OR-1.

Swiss Armed Forces

The Swiss Armed Forces (German: Schweizer Armee, French: Armée suisse, Italian: Esercito svizzero, Romanisch: Armada svizra) operates on land and in the air. Under the country's militia system, professional soldiers constitute a small part of the military and the rest are conscripts or volunteers aged 19 to 34 (in some cases up to 50). Because of Switzerland's long history of neutrality, the Swiss Armed Forces do not take part in conflicts in other countries, but do participate in international peacekeeping missions. Switzerland is part of the NATO Partnership for Peace programme.The structure of the Swiss militia system stipulates that the soldiers keep their own personal equipment, including all personally assigned weapons, at home (until 2007 this also included ammunition). Compulsory military service applies to all male Swiss citizens, with women serving voluntarily. Males usually receive initial orders at the age of 18 for military conscription eligibility screening. About two-thirds of young Swiss men are found suitable for service, while alternative service exists for those found unsuitable. Annually, approximately 20,000 persons are trained in basic training for 18 weeks (23 weeks for special forces).

The reform "Army XXI" replaced the previous model "Army 95" and was adopted by popular vote in 2003, reducing manpower from 400,000 to about 200,000 personnel, with 120,000 receiving periodic military training and 80,000 reservists who have completed their total military training requirements. A further reform effective in 2018 began the reduction of forces to 100,000 members.

Wachtmeister

Wachtmeister (Wm) (ge: for master-sentinel; watch-master) is in Austria and Switzerland a military rank of non-commissioned officers (NCO). The Wachtmeister was initially responsible for the guard duty of the army. Later it became the Feldwebel equivalent NCO-grade of the Cavalry and Artillery. Besides Austria and Switzerland today, the rank was also used for example in Germany, Russia, and Poland (wachmistrz).

Overview
Land Forces
Air Force
Military ranks and insignia by country
Africa
Americas
Asia
Europe
Oceania
Post-Soviet states
Commonwealth of Nations
NATO

Languages

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.