Ranks in the French Navy

Summary

The rank insignia of the French Navy (French: Marine Nationale) are worn on shoulder straps of shirts and white jackets, and on sleeves for navy jackets and mantels. Until 2005, only commissioned officers had an anchor on their insignia, but enlisted personnel are now receiving them as well. Although the names of the ranks for superior officers contain the word "Capitaine" (Capitaine de corvette, Capitaine de frégate and Capitaine de vaisseau), the appropriate style to address them is "Commandant", "Capitaine" referring to "lieutenant de vaisseau", which is translated as lieutenant. The two highest ranks, Vice-amiral d'escadre and Amiral (Admiral), are functions, rather than ranks. They are assumed by officers ranking Vice-Amiral (Vice-Admiral).

The rank of Vice-Admiral of France (French: Vice-Amiral) was formerly designated as Lieutenant-General of the Naval Armies until 1791, such as in the Levant Fleet and Flotte du Ponant of the Ancien Régime. Major of the French Navy has a similar history to that of the former Lieutenant-General of the Naval Armies.

The only Amiral de la Flotte (Admiral of the Fleet) was François Darlan after he was refused the dignity of Admiral of France. Equivalent to the dignity of Marshal of France, the rank of Admiral of France remains theoretical in the Fifth Republic; it was last granted in 1869, during the Second Empire, but retained during the Third Republic until the death of its bearer in 1873. The title of Amiral de la Flotte was created so that Darlan would not have an inferior rank to that of his counterpart in the British Royal Navy, who was an Admiral of the Fleet.

Insignia

The insignia below depict the configuration on shoulder boards. Shoulder straps are slightly different, notably without the golden frame for general officers.

Great Officers

Officers

Officiers généraux — Flag officers

NATO
rank
Rank insignia Name
Shoulder Sleeve French English translation
OF-9 French Navy-Rama NG-OF9.svg France-Navy-OF-9 Sleeve.svg Amiral Admiral
OF-8 French Navy-Rama NG-OF8.svg France-Navy-OF-8 Sleeve.svg Vice-Amiral d'escadre Squadron vice-admiral
OF-7 French Navy-Rama NG-OF7.svg France-Navy-OF-7 Sleeve.svg Vice-Amiral Vice-admiral
OF-6 French Navy-Rama NG-OF6.svg France-Navy-OF-6 Sleeve.svg Contre-Amiral Counter admiral

Officiers supérieurs — Senior officers

NATO
rank
Rank insignia Name
Shoulder Sleeve French English translation
OF-5 French Navy-Rama NG-OF5.svg France-Navy-OF-5 Sleeve.svg Capitaine de vaisseau Ship-of-the-line captain
OF-4 French Navy-Rama NG-OF4.svg France-Navy-OF-4 Sleeve.svg Capitaine de frégate Frigate Captain
OF-3 French Navy-Rama NG-OF3.svg France-Navy-OF-3 Sleeve.svg Capitaine de corvette Corvette Captain

Officiers subalternes — Junior officers

NATO
rank
Rank insignia Name
Shoulder Sleeve French English translation
OF-2 French Navy-Rama NG-OF2.svg France-Navy-OF-2 Sleeve.svg Lieutenant de vaisseau Ship-of-the-line lieutenant
OF-1 French Navy-Rama NG-OF1b.svg France-Navy-OF-1b Sleeve.svg Enseigne de vaisseau de première classe Ship-of-the-line ensign, first class
French Navy-Rama NG-OF1.svg France-Navy-OF-1a Sleeve.svg Enseigne de vaisseau de deuxième classe Ship-of-the-line ensign, second class
OF-(D) French Navy NG-aspirant.svg France-Navy-OF-(D2) Sleeve.svg Aspirant Midshipman

Warrant, Petty Officers and Enlisted Personnel

Officiers mariniers — Warrant and Petty Officers

NATO
rank
Rank insignia Name
Shoulder Sleeve French English translation
OR-9 French Navy-Rama NG-SO5.svg Blank.svg Major Major
French Navy-Rama NG-SO4.svg Blank.svg Maître-principal Principal master
OR-7 French Navy-Rama NG-SO3.svg Blank.svg Premier-maître First master
OR-6 French Navy-Rama NG-SO2.svg Blank.svg Maître Master
OR-5 French Navy-Rama NG-SO1.svg Blank.svg Second-maître Second master

Matelots et quartiers-maîtres — Sailors and quarter-masters

NATO
rank
Rank insignia Name
Shoulder Sleeve French English translation
OR-4 French Navy-Rama NG-M3.svg Blank.svg Quartier-maître de 1re classe Quartermaster first class
OR-3 French Navy-Rama NG-M2.svg Blank.svg Quartier-maître de 2e classe Quartermaster second class
OR-2 French Navy-Rama NG-M1.svg Blank.svg Matelot breveté Graduate seaman
OR-1 French Navy-Rama NG-M0.svg Blank.svg Matelot Seaman

Attributions

Personnel with a particular attribution may wear distinctive features on their rank insignia. For instance, medical officers bear two red stripes on their insignia. Similarly, the Ingénieur des études et techniques de travaux maritimes wear pearl-grey stripes.

Peintres de la Marine, who are not employed by the navy but have a special status, wear a uniform and officer straps with rank insignia replaced with the words "Peintre officiel".

Military chaplains

Chief Military Chaplain Aum chef cat prot.gif Aum chef isr.gif Aum chef mus.gif
Deputy Chief Military Chaplain Mar aumadj cath prot.gif Mar aumadj isr.gif
Regional military chaplain Ter aumreg cath prot.gif Ter aumreg isr.gif Ter aumreg mus.gif
Military chaplain Mar aum cath prot.gif Mar aum isr.gif

Ranks formerly used in the Navy

See also

References