Captain lieutenant


Captain lieutenant or captain-lieutenant is a military rank, used in a number of navies worldwide and formerly in the British Army.

Northern Europe

Denmark, Norway and Finland

The same rank is used in the navies of Denmark (kaptajnløjtnant), Norway (kapteinløytnant) and Finland (kapteeniluutnantti). The latest revision of the relevant NATO STANAG standardization agreement makes the longstanding courtesy practice of translating the rank into English as Lieutenant commander for all German, Danish and Norwegian officers of that rank official.[1]

Latvia, Lithuanian and Estonia

In the Estonian Navy the similarly sounding rank of kaptenleitnant is an officer rank classified as NATO OF-4, i.e. equal to commander in the Royal Navy and United States Navy.[2] As the commander of the Estonian Navy is a captain,[3] this is the de facto second highest rank in the Estonian Navy.


A captain lieutenant (Kaptenlöjtnant) was in Sweden an officer standing between captain and lieutenant, who commanded one of the companies, which actually had the regimental commander, lieutenant colonel or major as chief. In 1750, the captain lieutenant was replaced by staff captain, whose number, when the so-called sekundmajor in 1757 was established, became four in each infantry regiment. The rank was removed following the 1833 wage regulation.[4]


The French Army of the Ancien Régime used a rank of capitaine-lieutenant very similar to the British one. It was mostly encountered in the Royal Guard (maison militaire du roi), where the king was officially captain of most of the guard companies, but the effective command was in the hands of a captain-lieutenant. D'Artagnan is perhaps the most famous captain-lieutenant in French history, as commander of the first mousquetaire company.


Kapitänleutnant is an OF2 rank equivalent to the Hauptmann (en: Captain) in the German Army and the German Air Force.


In the Royal Netherlands Navy, a kapitein-luitenant ter zee is equivalent to a US Navy or Royal Navy commander (OF-4).

Portugal and Brazil

In the Portuguese Navy, a capitão-tenente is the equivalent naval rank to a British or American lieutenant commander (OF-3).

The Brazilian Navy uses the rank of capitão-tenente, in the same manner as the Navy of Portugal, but in contrast to those of other South American countries. It is equivalent to the USN and RN lieutenant (OF-2).

Slavophone armed forces


Kapitan-leytenant (Russian: капитан-лейтенант) is a rank in the Russian Navy, previously the Red Fleet/Soviet Navy and Imperial Russian Navy. It is the rank below a captain of the 3rd rank and above a senior lieutenant. In Soviet times, it may be achieved as early as an officer's 5th year of service. In Russian and other East-European navies it is the most senior junior officer rank (equivalent to "captain" in the Army/Ground Forces).

The Russian Navy assigns this rank the two-and-a-half stripe insignia used in Britain and the US for lieutenant commanders. On the other hand, the US Navy considers this rank equivalent to lieutenant.

In terms of responsibilities, officers of this rank may serve as department heads on larger warships, but may also serve as commanding officers of 3rd and 4th rank warships (Russian ship classifications referring to all from Krivak-class frigates to gunboats and minesweepers).

Unlike the equivalent OF2-rank Kapitänleutnant in the German Navy, submarines are at least nominally not on the list of eligible positions. In the past, when the boats were smaller, captain-lieutenants were eligible for the submarine command. However, in current Russian ship ranking no modern submarine is given 3rd rank. This reflects the high status of submarines, as all nuclear submarines (SSBN or SSN) are considered 1st rank and large and medium diesels 2nd rank, while smaller 3rd rank submarines simply aren't built.[5]

Rank insignia IRA, Soviet Navy, RF Navy
Flag of Russia.svg IRN Kapitan-leytenant 1911.jpg RAF N F2CaptLt 1943-1955.gif RAF N F2CaptLt since 2010par.svg Rus navy-kapitan.png RAF N F2-KaptLt 2010–.png RAF N F2-KaptLt sleeve.png
shoulder board
shoulder board
shoulder board
... everyday
shoulder board / sleeve insignia
(after 2010)

Ukrainian Navy

Captain-Lieutenant (Ukrainian: Капітан-лейтенант) is a rank in the Ukrainian Navy. These are equivalent to lieutenant (OF-2).

The armed forces of Ukraine, formed during the collapse of the USSR, adopted the Soviet model of military ranks, as well as the Soviet marks of distinction. For the distinguishing marks, the captain-lieutenant had three tapes (two medium tapes, one above narrow one) on the sleeve, and chains of one lumen on which four small five-pointed stars were placed.

On July 5, 2016, the President of Ukraine approves the "Uniform Design and Signs of the Distinction of the Armed Forces of Ukraine". The draft includes, among other things, military ranks and distinguishing marks for military personnel. The marks of the distinction of servicemen are changing, departing from the Soviet standard.

November 20, 2017 issued by the order of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine No. 606, which specifies the rules for wearing and using uniform insignia by military personnel.[6][7] The distinguishing marks of the captain-lieutenant became three stripes (two middle ones, one narrow one among which). The distinguishing marks are placed on both the sleeves and on the coats.

Rank insignia UA Navy
Emblem of the Ukrainian Navy.svg UA-CLT-NAV.jpg UNER14.png UNSR04.png
shoulder board
shoulder board / sleeve insignia
(after 2016)

United Kingdom

Captain-lieutenant was formerly a rank in the British Army; the senior subaltern rank, above lieutenant and below captain.

A regiment's field officers – its colonel, lieutenant colonel and major – originally commanded their own companies, as well as carrying out their regimental command duties.

However, from the 17th century onwards, the colonel increasingly became a patron and ceremonial head instead of an actual tactical commander, with command in the field devolving to the lieutenant colonel. This left the colonel's company without a captain.

The lieutenant of this company thus became its acting captain. This state of affairs was formally recognised with the creation of the rank of captain-lieutenant, with its own entry in the table of prices for the purchase of commissions.

In 1772 captain-lieutenants were granted rank as captains in their regiments and in the Army.[8] The rank was abolished sometime in the early 19th century.

NATO code

NATO code Country[9] English equivalent
OF-4 Estonia, Netherlands Commander
OF-3 Portugal Lieutenant commander
OF-2 Albania, Bulgaria, Denmark, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway Lieutenant



  1. ^ NATO STANAG 2116 of 25 February 2010
  2. ^ Naval rank table of the Estonian Navy (Estonian)
  3. ^ Official CV of Captain Igor Schwede Archived September 30, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Westrin, Theodor, ed. (1910). Nordisk familjebok: konversationslexikon och realencyklopedi (in Swedish). 13 (New, rev. and rich ill. ed.). Stockholm: Nordisk familjeboks förl. p. 884. SELIBR 8072220.
  5. ^ Polmar, N. (1991) The Naval Institute Guide the Soviet Navy
  6. ^ "Текст наказу Міністерства оборони України №606 від 20.11.2017 р." (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2018-07-27. Retrieved 2019-02-07.
  7. ^ "Текст наказу Міністерства оборони України №606 від 20.11.2017 р. на сайті Ліга Закон". Archived from the original on 2018-07-28. Retrieved 2019-02-07.
  8. ^ "No. 11251". The London Gazette. 23–26 May 1772. p. 1.
  9. ^ NATO (2021). STANAG 2116 NATO (7th ed.). Brussels, Belgium: NATO Standardization Agency. pp. B-1–B-3.
  10. ^ "GRADAT, FORCA DETARE" (PDF). (in Albanian). Archived from the original on 28 April 2021. Retrieved 25 May 2021.
  11. ^ "Azərbaycan Respublikası Silahlı Qüvvələri hərbi qulluqçularının hərbi geyim forması və fərqləndirmə nişanları haqqında Əsasnamə" (PDF). (in Azerbaijani). Ministry of Defense. 25 June 2001. pp. 64–70. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  12. ^ "Postos e Graduações". (in Portuguese). Brazilian Navy. Retrieved 7 May 2021.
  13. ^ "ЗАКОН ЗА ОТБРАНАТА И ВЪОРЪЖЕНИТЕ СИЛИ НА РЕПУБЛИКА БЪЛГАРИЯ". (in Bulgarian). Глава седма. ВОЕННА СЛУЖБА. 12 May 2009. Retrieved 25 May 2021.
  14. ^ "Søværnets Gradstegn" (PDF). (in Danish). Danish Defence. 2018. Retrieved 26 May 2021.
  15. ^ "Sümboolika: Mereväe Auastmed". (in Estonian). Estonian Defence Forces. Retrieved 26 May 2021.
  16. ^ "Sotilasarvot Puolustusvoimissa". (in Finnish). Finnish Defence Forces. Retrieved 26 May 2021.
  17. ^ "Dienstgradabzeichen Marine". (in German). Bundeswehr. Retrieved 30 May 2021.
  18. ^ "Қазақстан Республикасының Қарулы Күштері, басқа да әскерлері мен әскери құралымдары әскери қызметшілерінің әскери киім нысаны және айырым белгілері туралы". (in Kazakh). Ministry of Justice (Kazakhstan). 25 August 2011. Retrieved 29 May 2021.
  19. ^ "Pakāpju iedalījums". (in Latvian). Latvian National Armed Forces. Retrieved 26 May 2021.
  20. ^ "Karių laipsnių ženklai". (in Lithuanian). Ministry of National Defence (Lithuania). Retrieved 26 May 2021.
  21. ^ "De rangonderscheidingstekens van de krijgsmacht" (PDF) (in Dutch). Ministry of Defence (Netherlands). 19 December 2016. Retrieved 18 March 2021.
  22. ^ "Militære grader". (in Norwegian). Norwegian Armed Forces. 4 February 2021. Retrieved 26 May 2021.
  23. ^ "Os Postos". (in Portuguese). Retrieved 26 February 2021.
  24. ^ Приказ Министра обороны Российской Федерации от 09.10.2020 № 525 (Зарегистрирован 16.11.2020 № 60927) (in Russian). 17 November 2020. pp. 320–323. Retrieved 15 September 2021.
  25. ^ "TÜRKMENISTANYŇ KANUNY Harby borçlulyk we harby gulluk hakynda (Türkmenistanyň Mejlisiniň Maglumatlary 2010 ý., № 3, 58-nji madda) (Türkmenistanyň 01.10.2011 ý. № 234-IV Kanuny esasynda girizilen üýtgetmeler we goşmaçalar bilen)" [LAW OF TURKMENISTAN On military service and military service (Information of the Mejlis of Turkmenistan, 2010, No. 3, Article 58) (as amended by the Law of Turkmenistan of October 1, 2011 No. 234-IV)] (PDF). (in Turkmen). Ministry of Defense (Turkmenistan). pp. 28–29. Retrieved 2 June 2021.
  26. ^ "НАКАЗ 20.11.2017 № 606". (in Ukrainian). Ministry of Justice of Ukraine. 13 December 2017. Retrieved 2 June 2021.
  27. ^ "O'zbekiston Respublikasi fuqarolarining harbiy xizmatni o'tash tartibi to'g'risida". (in Uzbek). Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Uzbekistan. 12 September 2019. Retrieved 3 June 2021.