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The military ranks of the Swiss Army 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). Recruits of all services do not wear any rank insignia. Once recruit school is finished, privates wear one. Designations are given in German, French, Romansh and Italian (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[edit | edit source]

NATO code OR-2 OR-3 OR-4 OR-6 OR-7 OR-8 OR-9
Insignia CHE OR1 Sdt.svg CHE OR2 Gfr.svg CHE OR3 Obgfr.svg CHE OR4 Kpl.svg CHE OR5b Wm.svg CHE OR5a Obwm.svg CHE OR6 Fw.svg CHE OR7b Four.svg CHE OR7a Hptfw.svg CHE OR8b Adj Uof.svg CHE OR8a Stabsadj.svg CHE OR9b Hptadj.svg CHE OR9a Chefadj.svg
Title Soldier (Private soldier) Private Private First Class Corporal Sergeant Sergeant First Class Sergeant major Quartermaster Sergeant Chief sergeant major Warrant Officer Staff Warrant Officer Master Warrant Officer Chief Warrant Officer
Abbreviation Pte Pte PFC Cpl Sgt SFC SGM / Sgt Maj QMS CSM WO SWO MWO CWO
  • Soldier - Private E-1 (Pte) – Soldat (Sdt); soldat (sdt); schuldà (sdt); soldato (sdt).
  • Private E-2 (Pte) – Gefreiter (Gfr); appointé (app); appuntà (app); appuntato (app).
  • Private first class (PFC) – Obergefreiter (Obgfr); appointé-chef (app chef); primappuntà; appuntato capo (app capo): the rank was introduced after a long debate on 1 January 2004. They are specialists, who take over tasks of responsibility or hold the position of a group commander. If the Obergefreiter has a commanding role, they count among the NCOs, otherwise they are enlisted personnel. A soldier may be promoted to Obergefreiter 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).
  • Corporal (Cpl) – Korporal (Kpl); caporal (cpl); corporal (cpl); caporale (cpl).
  • Sergeant (Sgt) – Wachtmeister (Wm); sergent (sgt); sergent (sgt); sergente (sgt).
  • Sergeant first class (SFC) – Oberwachtmeister (Obwm); sergent chef (sgt chef); caposergent (csgt); sergente capo (sgt capo).
  • Sergeant major (SGM/Sgt Maj) – Feldweibel (Fw); sergent-major (sgtm); primsergent (psgt); sergente maggiore (sgtm): the lowest rank of "Higher non-commissioned officers". The Feldweibel oversees unit-level military service and operations.
  • Quartermaster sergeant (QMS) – Fourier (Four); fourrier (four); furier (fur); furiere (fur): the WO who administers a company's finances and subsistence.
  • Chief sergeant major (CSM) – Hauptfeldweibel (Hptfw); sergent-major chef (sgtm chef); capoprimsergent (cpsgt); sergente maggiore capo (sgtm capo).
  • Warrant officer (WO) – Adjutant Unteroffizier (Adj Uof); adjudant sous-officier(adj Sof); adjudant (adj); aiutante (aiut).
  • Staff warrant officer (SWO) – Stabsadjutant (Stabsadj); adjudant d'état-major (adj EM); adjutant da stab (adj S); aiutante di stato maggiore (aiut SM).
  • Master warrant officer (MWO) – Hauptadjutant (Hptadj); adjudant-major (adjm); adjutant principal; aiutante maggiore (aiut magg).
  • Chief warrant officer (CWO) – Chefadjutant (Chefadj); adjudant-chef (adj chef); schefadjutant (schefadj); aiutante capo (aiut capo).

Officers[edit | edit source]

NATO code OF-1 OF-2 OF-3 OF-4 OF-5 OF-1/2/3/4/5 OF-6 OF-7 OF-8 OF-9
Insignia CHE OF1b Lt.svg CHE OF1a Oblt.svg CHE OF2 Hptm.svg CHE OF3 Maj.svg CHE OF4 Oberstlt2.svg CHE OF5 Oberst.svg CHE OF1-5 FachOf.svg CHE OF6 Br.svg CHE OF7 Div.svg CHE OF8 KKdt.svg CHE OF9 General.svg
Title Second Lieutenant First Lieutenant Captain Major Lieutenant Colonel Colonel Specialist Officer Brigadier General Major General Lieutenant General General
Abbreviation 2 Lt 1 Lt/LFC Capt Maj LTC / Lt Col Col Spec Of Brig Gen Maj Gen Lt Gen Gen
  • Second Lieutenant (2 Lt) – Leutnant (Lt); lieutenant (lt); litenent (lt); tenente (ten).
  • First Lieutenant (1 Lt/LFC) – Oberleutnant (Oblt); premier-lieutenant (plt); primlitenent (plt); primo tenente (1 ten).
  • Captain (Capt) – Hauptmann (Hptm); capitaine (cap); chapitani (chap); capitano (cap).
  • Major (Maj) – Major (Maj); major (maj); maior (mai); maggiore (magg).
  • Lieutenant Colonel (LTC/Lt Col) – Oberstleutnant (Oberstlt); lieutenant-colonel (lt col); litinent colonel (lt col); tenete colonnello (ten col).
  • Colonel (Col) – Oberst (Oberst); colonel (col); colonel (col); colonnello (col).
  • Specialist Officer – Fachoffizier; officier spécialiste (of spéc); uffizier spezialist (uff spez); ufficiale specialista (uff spec).
  • Brigadier General (Brig Gen) – Brigadier (Br); brigadier (br); brigadier (br); brigadiere (br).
  • Major General (Maj Gen) – Divisionär (Div); divisionnaire (div); divisiunari (div); divisionario (div).
  • Lieutenant General (Lt Gen) – Korpskommandant (KKdt); commandant de corps (cdt C); cumandant da corp (cdt C); comandante di corpo (cdt C).
  • General (Gen) – General (Gen); général (gén); general (gen); generale (gen): The rank is only assigned during time of war, when the Federal Assembly chooses one general to command the entire Swiss military. Otherwise the word "general" is not used.[1] 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.

The four highest ranks can wear a dress uniform Kepi with additional rank insignia:

Shoulder board colour[edit | edit source]

Staff officers, engineers, intelligence, chaplaincy Infantry Armoured Corps 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[edit | edit source]

  1. McPhee, John (1983-10-31). "La Place de la Concorde Suisse-I". The New Yorker. pp. 50. http://archives.newyorker.com/default.aspx?iid=16248&startpage=page0000103#folio=050. Retrieved 22 July 2013. 

External links[edit | edit source]

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