Military ranks of the Swiss Armed Forces

Summary

The military ranks of the Swiss Armed Forces have changed little over the centuries, except for the introduction, in 2004, 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 (German: Grade der Mannschaften), with NATO equivalent, insignia, and designations in five languages
Approximate NATO code Rank insignia Name Description
Epaulette Camouflage German French Italian Romansh English designation English equivalent
OR-1 Rekrut
(Rekr)
Recrue
(recr)
Recluta Recruit Recruit
OR-1a CH.png OR-1a - Soldat Soldat
(Sdt)
Soldat
(Sdt)
Soldato Schuldà Private E-1 (PTE) Private (PTE)
OR-2 OR-2 CH.png OR-2 - Appointé Gefreiter
(Gfr)
Appointé
(App)
Appuntato Appuntà Private E-2
(PTE)
E-1 Privates can be promoted to E-2 after a minimum of 20 days' service in a refresher course, subject to good performance.[1] E-2 Privates also receive 6 CHF daily pay (as opposed to 5 CHF prior to promotion)[2]
OR-3 OR-3 CH.png OR-3 - Appointé-Chef Obergefreiter
(Obgfr)
Appointé-chef
(App chef)
Appuntato capo Primappuntà Private first class
(PFC)
Private first class
(PFC)
The rank "Obergefreiter" was removed as of 1 January 2019 with the WEA of the Swiss Army.[3] However those soldiers previously awarded this rank are able to keep it.

Non-commissioned officers (NCO)

Ranks for NCOs (German: Grade der Unteroffiziere), with NATO equivalent, insignia, and designations in five languages
Approximate NATO code Rank insignia Name Description
Epaulette Camouflage German French Italian Romansh English designation English equivalent
OR-4 OR-4 CH.png OR-4 - Caporal Korporal
(Kpl)
Caporal
(Cpl)
Caporale
(Cpl)
Caporal
(Cpl)
Corporal
(Cpl)
Corporal Soldiers in this rank serve as specialist NCOs (e.g. arms specialization, CBRN specialization, postal soldiers)
OR-5 OR-5b CH.png OR-5 - Sergent Wachtmeister
(Wm)
Sergent
(Sgt)
Sergente
(Sgt)
Sergent
(Sgt)
Sergeant
(Sgt)
Sergeant Currently, the standard junior NCO rank
OR-6 OR-5a CH.png OR-6 - Sergent-Chef Oberwachtmeister
(Obwm)
Sergent chef
(Sgt chef)
Sergente capo
(Sgt capo)
Caposergent
(Csgt)
Sergeant First Class
(SFC)
Staff Sergeant This rank is awarded to Sergeants who receive very good performance assessments. Holders of this rank are appointed to be the platoon leader's replacement and serve an additional 10 days compared to the standard Sergeant rank.[1]

Higher NCOs

Ranks for higher NCOs (German: Grade der höheren Unteroffiziere), with NATO equivalent, insignia, and designations in five languages
Approximate NATO code Rank insignia Name Description
Epaulette Camouflage German French Italian Romansh English designation English equivalent
OR-7 OR-6 CH.png 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. Since the 2003 reform a specialist rank only. Nowadays, Feldweibel are mainly seen in military police, NBC and other specialist units.
OR-8 OR-7 CH-Fourier.png 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 CH.png 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-9b OR-8 CH.png 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 CH.png OR-9a - Adjudant d'état-major Stabsadjutant
(Stabsadj)
Adjudant d'état-major
(Adj EM)
Aiutante di stato maggiore
(aiut SM)
Adjutant da stab
(Adj S)
Staff Warrant Officer
(SWO)
Warrant officer class 1
OR-9a OR-9 CH-Master.png OR-9b - Adjudant-major Hauptadjutant
(Hptadj)
Adjudant-major
(Adjm)
Aiutante maggiore
(Aiut magg)
Adjutant principal
(Adj prin)
Master Warrant Officer
(MWO)
OR-9 CH-Chief.png 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
Epaulette Camouflage German French Italian Romansh English designation English equivalent
OF-1b OF-1b CH.gif OF-1a - Lieutenant Leutnant
(Lt)
Lieutenant
(Lt)
Tenente
(Ten)
Litenet
(Lt)
Second Lieutenant
(2Lt)
Second lieutenant Platoon's leader. Promotion to First Lieutenant occurs after a minimum of 3 refresher courses (subject to good performance) or after 6 years' service.[1]
OF-1a OF-1a CH.gif 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.
OF-2 OF-2 CH.gif 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
Epaulette Camouflage German French Italian Romansh English designation English equivalent
OF-3 OF-3 CH.gif 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 large units (BDE).
OF-4 OF-4 CH.gif 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 large units (BDE).
OF-5 OF-5 CH.gif 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 larger units (BDE).
OF1-5 OF-1a-5 CH.gif 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 OF-6 CH.gif OF-6 - Brigadier Général Uniform Képi of a Brigadier General of the Swiss Army.jpg Brigadier
(Br)
Brigadier
(Br)
Brigadiere Brigadier Brigadier general One-star rank, commander of a brigade, also military attaché
OF-7 OF-7 CH.gif OF-7 - Divisionaire Divisionär.jpg Divisionär
(Div)
Divisionnaire
(div)
Divisionario Divisionär Major general Two-star rank, commander of territorial division, also in an Army HQ or staff.
OF-8 OF-8 CH.gif OF-8 - Commandant de Corps Korpskommandant.jpg 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 OF-9 CH.gif OF-9 - Général Kepi General.jpg 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.[4]

Throughout Swiss history, there have only been 4 officers formally designated as General:[4]

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 police Special forces command Armed Forces Legal Service Peace Support Operation

References

  1. ^ a b c Swiss Army Regulations, Regellaufbahnen (Arbeitshilfe 40.100 d) https://www.vtg.admin.ch/content/vtg-internet/de/organisation/kdo-ausb/_jcr_content/infotabs/items/dokumente/tabPar/downloadlist/downloadItems/186_1591883129631.download/200710_Brosch_Ausbildungs_Dienstleistungsmodell_40_100_d.pdf
  2. ^ "Sold und Erwerbsersatz (EO)". Schweizer Armee (in German). Retrieved 9 March 2021.
  3. ^ See MG (Militärgesetz) Art. 102.
  4. ^ a b McPhee, John (31 October 1983). "La Place de la Concorde Suisse-I". The New Yorker. p. 50. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  5. ^ Langendorf, Jean-Jacques (7 November 2005). "Dufour, Guillaume-Henri". Historical Dictionary of Switzerland (in German). Archived from the original on 18 January 2017. Retrieved 16 January 2017.
  6. ^ "Wyrsch-Ineichen, Paul: Die Schwyzer Truppen im Büsinger-Handel 1849 von 1985 in Mitteilungen des historischen Vereins des Kantons Schwyz". Archived from the original on 28 January 2017. Retrieved 16 January 2017.
  7. ^ Hans Senn: Aktivdienst in German, French and Italian in the online Historical Dictionary of Switzerland.
  8. ^ Rapport sur l'armement et la campagne de 1857. Revue militaire Suisse 1857
  9. ^ Toast à la Patrie. Revue militaire Suisse 1860

External links

  • Swiss Armed Forces rank insignia as of 1 Jan 2006
  • "Rank insignia" (PDF). Insignia of the Swiss Armed Forces. p. 31. Archived from the original (pdf) on 14 December 2010. Retrieved 12 July 2009.
  • iPhone Tool to look-up and study Swiss Military Grades and Function Insignias

Media related to Military rank insignia of Switzerland at Wikimedia Commons