The Alexander Palace Time Machine Discussion Forum
 
 User Info & Key Stats   
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
November 28, 2014, 09:47:42 AM
462597 Posts in 8998 Topics by 14528 Members
Latest Member: CalvinKl
News: We think Pallasart is the best web design company in Austin and for good reason - they make this forum possible! Looking for a website? Call them at 512 469-7454.
+  The Alexander Palace Time Machine Discussion Forum
|-+  Discussions about Russian History
| |-+  Russian Imperial Medals, Orders, Uniforms & Militaria (Moderator: Forum Admin)
| | |-+  Imperial Russian Army Ranks
  0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
Pages: [1] 2 Go Down Print
Author
Topic: Imperial Russian Army Ranks  (Read 15153 times)
« on: June 10, 2004, 01:55:55 PM »
Coldstream Offline
Newbie
*
I love YaBB 1G - SP1! Posts: 57

View Profile

The rank designations for officers and enlisted personnel was as follows:

                             ENLISTED RANKS

Infantry
    Mladshii Unterofitser (Corporal)
    Vzvodnyi Unterofitser (Sergeant)
    Feldfebel (Sergeant-Major)
    Portupei Yunker (acting officer)

Cavalry
    Unterofitser (Corporal)
    Vzvodnyi Unterofitser (Sergeant)
    Vakhmistr (Sergeant-Major)

Artillery
    Mladshii Feierverker (Corporal)
    Vzvodnyi Feierverker (Sergeant)
    Feldfebel (Sergeant-Major)

                          OFFICERS

Infantry
    Praporshchik (Ensign)
    Podporuchik (2d Lieutenant)
    Poruchik (Lieutenant)
    Shtabskapitan (2d in command)
    Podpolkovnik (Lieutenant Colonel)
    Polkovnik (Colonel)

I will include cavalry and cossack ranks in another entry to come.

Coldstream
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 05:00:00 PM by Coldstream » Logged
Reply #1
« on: June 11, 2004, 01:15:00 AM »
Mike Offline
Velikye Knyaz
****
Posts: 1290

View Profile WWW

Coldstream, a good idea. A few remarks that might help you to continue:
- The rank system was changed many times during XIX - early XX c. (eg, the Major rank was repeatedly abolished and reestablished, etc.). So any such list may only be correct with regard to a certain period - which should be explicitly stated, otherwise confusions are inevitable.
- The army and Guards systems were always slightly different (eg, there were no Guards Lieutenant Colonels).
- Where is the captain (kapitan)?
Logged
Reply #2
« on: June 11, 2004, 08:19:51 AM »
Coldstream Offline
Newbie
*
I love YaBB 1G - SP1! Posts: 57

View Profile

Mike, you are absolutely right in your statement concerning the Guards.  Because of this difference, Guard officers were promoted direct from captain to colonel.  Another privilege of Guard officers was that, if they were transferred to a Line unit, they were given a rank above that held while in the Guard.

The officer ranks can get a bit involved, as you suggested in your remarks.  The rank table which I am using was that in effect at the beginning of the Great War (World War I).  The western equivalent ranks are those used by the British Army during the same period (1914).

                      OFFICER RANKS

General Feldmarshal (Field Marshal)
Polni General (General)
General-Leitnant (Lieutenant-General)
General-Maior (Major-General)
Polkovnik (Colonel)
Pod-polkovnik (Lieutenant-Colonel)
Voiskovoi Starshina (Lieutenant-Colonel [Cossacks])
Kapitan (Major of Infantry, Artillery, Engineers [the    
   specific rank of "Major" evidently did not exist during
   this period])
Rotmistr (Major of regular cavalry)
Yesaul (Major of Cossacks)
Shtabs-Kapitan (Captain of Infantry, Artillery, Engineers)
Shtabs-Rotmistr (Captain of Cavalry)
Pod-Yesaul (Captain of Cossacks)
Poruchik (Lieutenant)
Sotnik (Lieutenant of Cossacks)
Pod-Poruchik (Sub-Lieutenant (2LT) of Infantry, Artillery,
    Engineers)
Kornet (Sub-Lieutenant of Cavalry)
Khorunji (Cornet of Cossacks)
Praporshchik (Ensign [Reserve only])

The enlisted ranks I gave in my initial submission were rather basic to say the least.  The following should be a more comprehensive treatment:

                             NCOs

Pod-praporshchik (Sub-Ensign of Infantry, Artillery,
    Engineers)
Estandart-Yunker (Sub-Cornet of Cavalry)
Pod-Khorunji (Sub-Cornet of Cossacks)
Zauryad-praporshchik (Acting Ensign [Sergeant-Major      or Under-Officer].  Abolished in 1912, but
    retained for a short time for those who held the rank
    at the   time it was abolished)
Feldvebel (Sergeant-Major of Infantry, Artillery,
    Engineers)
Vakhmistr (Sergeant-Major of Cavalry and Cossacks)
Starshi-Unterofitser (Senior Under-Officer [equivalent
    to      Sergeant in British Army] of Infantry, Cavalry,
    Engineers)
Starshi-Feierverker (Senior Sergeant of Artillery)
Uryadnik (Under-Officer of Cossacks)
Mladshi Unterofitser (Junior Under-Officer [between
    Sergeant and Corporal in British Army] of Infantry,
    Cavalry, Engineers)
Mladshi Feierverker (Junior Sergeant of Artillery)
Polkovoi-Barabanshchik (Regimental Sergeant-Drummer
    [Drum Major]) (Sergeant-Drummer was official in the
    British Army until the early 20s when it
    became "Drum Major."  However, the rank was
    always unofficially "Drum Major")
Polkovoi Hornist (Regimental Sergeant Bugler [Bugle-     Major in British Rifle and Light Infantry regiments])
Batalionni-Barabanshchik (Battalion Drummer)
Batalionni Hornist (Battalion Bugler)
Shtab-Trubach (Regimental Trumpeter [Cavalry])

                     OTHER RANKS

Yefreitor (Lance-Corporal of Infantry, Artillery, Engineers)
Bombardir Navodchik (Bombardier Layer of Artillery)
Bombardir (Bombardier of Artillery [equivalent to      Corporal])
Prikazni (Lance-Corporal of Cossacks)
Barabanshchik (Drummer)
Hornist (Bugler)
Trubach (Trumpeter)
Muzikant (Bandsman)
Ryadovoi (Private of Infantry, Cavalry, Engineers)
Kanonir (Gunner of Artillery)
Kazak (Cossack)

When a private addressed an NCO, he would prefix the rank with "gospodin" (Mr.), e.g., "gospodin feldvebel."

I hope that I have covered the ranks thoroughly, but given the complexity of the Russian Army, nothing is final.  I invite those who are more knowledgeable to add or detract from the above.  The ranks were taken from the sixth edition of "Handbook of the Russian Army" published by the British General Staff, War Office, 1914.  It was reprinted by the Imperial War Museum in 1996 (The Battery Press, Nashville, TN, in USA).  One might still obtain a copy by searching book dealers on the worldwide web.

Regards,

Coldstream (AKA W. McCaughey)




« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 05:00:00 PM by Coldstream » Logged
Reply #3
« on: June 11, 2004, 09:38:25 AM »
Mike Offline
Velikye Knyaz
****
Posts: 1290

View Profile WWW

Wow, Coldstream! Not sure that back in 1914 an average Russian general could list all them by heart!
A propos generals: you're right that the highest general rank (after January 1912 and up to the end the only remaining Russian fieldmarchals were the kings of Romania and Montenegro) was called polnyi general - but only unofficially. The official designation was general ot infanterii (kavalerii, artllerii, inzhener-general) - i.e. general of infantry (cavalry, artillery, engineers). The Russian word polnyi means full - but also corpulent and complete, which resulted in many jokes about those venerable warriors.
Logged
Reply #4
« on: September 14, 2004, 08:08:08 AM »
Charles Offline
Newbie
*
I love YaBB 1G - SP1! Posts: 64

View Profile

Can either of you discuss the Emperor's suite?  How do you translate flugel-adiutant?  Is is simply Aide-de-camp?  What about General-adiutant?

Thanks
Logged
Reply #5
« on: September 14, 2004, 09:35:14 AM »
Mike Offline
Velikye Knyaz
****
Posts: 1290

View Profile WWW

Quote
Can either of you discuss the Emperor's suite?

Happily! Fligel-adjutant and general-adjutant were not military ranks but honorary court ranks granted to military personnel for distinguished service - or good family conections.

The fligel-adjutant rank meant "Aide-de-camp to the emperor" and was always added to a normal senior officer rank, e.g.: fligel-adjutant colonel Count Sumarokov-Elston.

The general-adjutant rank meant "General assigned to the emperor", was granted to lieutenant-generals and "full" general (or vice-admirals and "full" admirals) and was usually used instead of a normal general rank, e.g.: general-adjutant Alexeyev.

Both ranks weren't purely honorary, their bearers were supposed to carry out actual duties as members of the emperor's military suite. Those stationed in Petersburg or near imperial residences did it periodically, in turn with their comrades of the same rank; those who served far from the capital used their visits there to appear at the court in their suite capacity.

The uniforms of both fligel-adjutants and general-adjutants were distinctive by the aiguillettes and the emperor's monograms on shoulder boards or epaulettes.
Logged
Reply #6
« on: September 14, 2004, 01:29:18 PM »
Charles Offline
Newbie
*
I love YaBB 1G - SP1! Posts: 64

View Profile

Thanks Mike.

Were there specific uniforms for the Aides-de-camp and General Aides-de-camp?  Or did they just wear the uniforms of whatever regiment they served in?  What other duties did they perform?  

Is there a good book/source that answers these questions?

Thanks (again) in advance

Charles
Logged
Reply #7
« on: September 15, 2004, 05:41:52 AM »
Mike Offline
Velikye Knyaz
****
Posts: 1290

View Profile WWW

All officers of the imperial military suite - fligel-adjutants, major-generals/rear-admirals of the suite, and general-adjutants - had special suite uniforms that were worn on festive occasions and at court ceremonies. While performing their everyday duties, they were wearing regular uniforms of their regiments or services (e.g. of the general staff) adorned by aiguillettes and monograms.

By 1914, the military suite consisted of 56 fligel-adjutants, 64 major-generals/rear-admirals of the suite, and 51 general-adjutants. This considerable number offered Nicolas II an opportunity to show his brilliant memory: he remembered full names and service records of all of them.

When a fligel-adjutant was on duty (which lasted 24 hours), he accompanied the emperor wherever he went, introduced to him those granted an audience, and dined at the imperial family's table. Fligel-adjutants weren't supposed to perform tasks reserved for "non noble" servants. They had also to refrain from discussing anything outside their immediate official duties, and the imperial family was usually careful not to involve them in potentially embarassing conversations.

A general-adjutant also accompanied the emperor during his day on duty. He had an important and exclusive prerogative: to receive the emperor's oral orders and to pass them over to appropriate persons, including ministers, military commanders etc. By law, a high official could receive an imperial oral order either from the monarch personally or through his general-adjutant.

I cannot recommend an English source on this issue - simply because I use Russian references.  
Logged
Reply #8
« on: September 15, 2004, 05:46:35 AM »
Charles Offline
Newbie
*
I love YaBB 1G - SP1! Posts: 64

View Profile

Thanks Mike.

Russian sources are really the only ones that I care about.

Charles
Logged
Reply #9
« on: September 20, 2004, 03:13:25 AM »
donski Offline
Newbie
*
Boze Cara Chrani Posts: 9

View Profile

Hello Everybody !
I have found recently two shoulderboards which are coming from battle of Tannenberg 1914 (former East Prusia).
Those were hidden in ground in metal box in place of disarming of XV corps of gen. Martos. I will be very thankfull for help to identifie them as those are very uncommon. Made out of golden tread and only one cipher (roman) is fixed on both: its XV...
I will email pictures for those who can help.
Thank You !
Damian from Poland
Logged
Reply #10
« on: September 20, 2004, 07:16:41 AM »
Mike Offline
Velikye Knyaz
****
Posts: 1290

View Profile WWW

Damian,
The shoulder boards look somewhat odd. First, they are too short for their width. Second, AFAIK Roman numerals were never used on shoulder boards. Third, the numerals' tops on a regular shoulder board faced the button, while on your boards they face the board's edge. Maybe they are actually a part of the XV Corps commander's personal standart, or something like that?...

The badge seems to be a unit badge of one of artillery brigades, as indicated by cannons, a grenade and the "1806" date (the year when many artillery brigades were founded).

Probably somebody else here could identify your findings more precisely.
Logged
Reply #11
« on: September 20, 2004, 07:32:18 AM »
donski Offline
Newbie
*
Boze Cara Chrani Posts: 9

View Profile

Shouder boards are shortened as rest of them fallen apart (literrary  pulled off by conditions- pieces were not able to be fixed up to the rest of boards).Stiching is very distinctive and previously they were on fabric which also fell out due to time spent in wet conditions. They are  glued on cardboard now (only stiching, buttons and ciphers survived as stiching is made out of a thin golden tread). Buttons are typical size for shoulders, many of them found with belt buckles etc.
Respect
donski
Logged
Reply #12
« on: October 04, 2004, 07:09:48 AM »
Michael_Doubrovin Offline
Newbie
*
Posts: 55

View Profile

Shoulder-boards are more likely Ok. Roman digits were used by the Corps Staff. Need to check references to say for sure...
Logged
Reply #13
« on: October 04, 2004, 04:24:03 PM »
Michael_Doubrovin Offline
Newbie
*
Posts: 55

View Profile

The breastbadge is of the 4th Battery of the 6th Artillery Brigade.
Logged
Reply #14
« on: October 04, 2004, 05:13:51 PM »
donski Offline
Newbie
*
Boze Cara Chrani Posts: 9

View Profile

Thanks for coming back to this matter as no clue  on my side of Planet. I can say those are for sure shoulder boards and pictures can be easily seen on Mikes post due to His courtesy ( links are with blue color lettering when clicking on 'shoulder boards'. To recoll boards were found in place of disarming of XV corps of GMartos, commanding under gen. Samsonow.

Logged
Pages: [1] 2 Go Up Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS! Website by Pallasart - Austin Web Design