Full admiral

For other uses, see Admiral (disambiguation).

Common Anglophone military ranks
Navies Armies Air forces
Officers
Admiral of the fleet Marshal /
field marshal
Marshal of
the air force
Admiral General Air chief marshal
Vice admiral Lieutenant general Air marshal
Rear admiral Major general Air vice-marshal
Commodore Brigadier Air commodore
Captain Colonel Group captain
Commander Lieutenant colonel Wing commander
Lieutenant
commander
Major /
commandant
Squadron
leader
Lieutenant Captain Flight lieutenant
Sub-lieutenant Lieutenant Flying officer
Ensign 2nd lieutenant Pilot officer
Midshipman Officer cadet Officer cadet
Seamen, soldiers and airmen
Warrant officer Sergeant major /
warrant officer
Warrant officer
Petty officer Sergeant Sergeant
Leading seaman Corporal Corporal
Seaman Private Aircraftman
Hierarchy of naval officer ranks
Flag officers:
Admiral of the navy

Admiral of the fleetFleet admiral
General admiralGrand admiralAdmiral
Squadron admiralFlotilla admiral
Vice admiralLieutenant admiral
Rear admiralCounter admiral
Commodore admiralSchout-bij-nacht
Port admiral

Senior officers:

CommodoreFleet captain
Post captainCaptain
Captain of sea and warShip-of-the-line captain
Captain at seaCorvette captain
Frigate captainCommander

Junior officers:

Lieutenant commanderCaptain lieutenant
Flag lieutenantLieutenant
Ship-of-the-line lieutenantCorvette lieutenant
Frigate lieutenantLieutenant (junior grade)
Sub-lieutenantEnsign

Training officers:

Passed midshipmanMidshipman
Naval cadet

Admiral is the rank, or part of the name of the ranks, of the highest naval officers. The rank usually refers to the position of full admiral (equivalent to full general) and above vice admiral and below admiral of the fleet (or fleet admiral). It is usually abbreviated to "Adm" or "ADM". Where relevant, admiral has a NATO code of OF-9, and is a four-star rank.

Etymology

The word "admiral" in Middle English comes from Anglo-French amiral, "commander", from Medieval Latin admiralis, admirallus. These themselves come from Arabic "amir", or amir-al- أمير الـ, "commander of the" (as in amir-al-baHr أمير البحر "commander of the sea").[1] Crusaders learned the term during their encounters with the Arabs, perhaps as early as the 11th century.

The Norman Roger II of Sicily (1095–1154), employed a Greek Christian known as George of Antioch, who previously had served as a naval commander for several North African Moslem rulers. Roger styled George in Abbasid fashion as "Amir of Amirs", i.e. "Commander of Commanders", with the title becoming Latinized in the 13th century as "ammiratus ammiratorum".[2]

The Sicilians and later Genoese took the first two parts of the term and used them as one word, amiral, from their Aragon opponents. The French and Spanish gave their sea commanders similar titles while in Portuguese the word changed to almirante. As the word was used by people speaking Latin or Latin-based languages it gained the "d" and endured a series of different endings and spellings leading to the English spelling "admyrall" in the 14th century and to "admiral" by the 16th century.

The word "admiral" has today come to be almost exclusively associated with the highest naval rank in most of the world's navies, equivalent to the army rank of (full) general. However, this wasn't always the case; for example, in some European countries prior to the end of World War II, admiral was the third highest naval rank after general admiral and grand admiral.

The rank of admiral has also been subdivided into various grades, several of which are historically extinct while others remain in use in most present day navies. The Royal Navy used colours (red, white, and blue, in descending order) to indicate seniority of its admirals until 1864; for example, Horatio Nelson's highest rank was vice admiral of the white. The generic term for these naval equivalents of army generals is flag officer. Some navies have also used army-type titles for them, such as the Cromwellian "general at sea".

Admiral insignia by country

The rank insignia for an admiral often involves four stars and/or 3 stripes/rings over a broad stripe/ring, but as one can see below, there are many cases where the insignia do not involve four stars.

National ranks

See also

Notes

References

  • Abulafia, David (2011) The Great Sea: A Human History of the Mediterranean. (London: Allen Lane). ISBN 978-0-7139-9934-1
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