Polish Armed Forces rank insignia


Polish Armed Forces rank insignia

Contents

Origins

Present Polish system of rank insignia is a direct descendant of various systems used in the past in the Polish Army. Some of the grades trace their name back to Middle Ages, for instance the rank of chorąży literally means a flag bearer. Other names of Polish ranks are of foreign origin and were in most cases introduced by 17th century mercenaries serving for the Polish Crown. These include the rank of kapral is a derivate of Italian caporale - much like the English equivalent of corporal.

Most rank titles are cognates to the ones in English, with some exceptions. Notably colonel's literal meaning is regimental-leader, likewise plutonowy means platoon-leader. Also, the title equivalent to petty officer is identical to the word for boatswain, so a Bosman may or may not be a bosman.

Until World War II, each of the branches of the Land Forces used a set of different names for the same grades. For instance a sergeant was called sierżant in the infantry, ogniomistrz (literally master of fire) in the artillery and wachmistrz (from German Wachtmeister, or Master of the Guards) in the cavalry. This is directly equivalent to the German army calling a cavalry Hauptmann a Rittmeister

Modern polish military practices were heavily influenced by Prussian/German and Russian traditions, as most founding officers after 1918 independence were veterans of those respective armies.

Customs

The Polish language requires the use of a prior honorific before stating the addressee's rank e.g. 'Panie Kapitanie...' (Sir Captain...). This is directly equivalent to French practice where the possessive Mon is pre-pended to the addressee's rank. During the communist period use of the formal 'Pan' (Sir) was frowned upon and 'Obywatel' (Citizen) (as in: Obywatelu Kapitanie!) was used. This has reverted to prior style in the post-communist era.

It is customary to include other titles when referring to an officer in writing. This can lead to some interesting abbreviations. For example, a Lt. Col. in the airforce by the name Nowak who is a pilot and has a M.Sc. in engineering would be written ppłk pil. mgr inż. Nowak. (LtCol plt MEng Nowak)

Uniquely, Polish forces use a two-fingered version of the salute, and the saluting custom insists one is saluting the eagle (pinned to almost all headwear) rather than the counterparty, therefore one doesn't salute superiors if they aren't wearing a cap/beret etc.

Land Forces

Officers

NATO Code OF-10 OF-9 OF-8 OF-7 OF-6 - OF-5 OF-4 OF-3 OF-2 OF-1
POL Wojska Lądowe.svg
Land Forces
Rank insignia of marszałek Polski of the Army of Poland.svg Rank insignia of generał of the Army of Poland.svg Rank insignia of generał broni of the Army of Poland.svg Rank insignia of generał dywizji of the Army of Poland.svg Rank insignia of generał brygady of the Army of Poland.svg Rank insignia of pułkownik of the Army of Poland.svg Rank insignia of podpułkownik of the Army of Poland.svg Rank insignia of major of the Army of Poland.svg Rank insignia of kapitan of the Army of Poland.svg Rank insignia of porucznik of the Army of Poland.svg Rank insignia of podporucznik of the Army of Poland.svg
Marszałek
Polski
1
Generał2 Generał
broni
Generał
dywizji
Generał
brygady
Pułkownik Podpułkownik Major Kapitan Porucznik Podporucznik
English equivalent Marshal of Poland General Lieutenant General Major General,
Divisional General
Brigadier,
Brigade General
Colonel Lieutenant Colonel Major Captain Lieutenant Second Lieutenant
Abbreviation marsz. gen. gen. broni gen. dyw. gen. bryg. płk ppłk mjr kpt. por. ppor.

Warrant officers

Uniform of a Major of the Polish Army
NATO Code OR-9 OR-8
POL Wojska Lądowe.svg
Land Forces
Rank insignia of starszy chorąży sztabowy of the Army of Poland.svg Rank insignia of starszy chorąży of the Army of Poland.svg Rank insignia of chorąży of the Army of Poland.svg Rank insignia of młodszy chorąży of the Army of Poland.svg
Chorąży Chief Warrant Officer Warrant Officer Class 1 Warrant Officer Class 2 First Warrant Officer
Abbreviation st. chor. szt. st. chor. chor. mł. chor.

Non Commissioned Officers and Privates

NATO Code OR-7 OR-6 OR-5 OR-4 OR-3 OR-2 OR-1
POL Wojska Lądowe.svg
Land Forces
Rank insignia of starszy sierżant of the Army of Poland.svg Rank insignia of sierżant of the Army of Poland.svg Rank insignia of plutonowy of the Army of Poland.svg Rank insignia of starszy kapral of the Army of Poland.svg Rank insignia of kapral of the Army of Poland.svg Rank insignia of starszy szeregowy of the Army of Poland.svg Rank insignia of szeregowy of the Army of Poland.svg
Sierżant Plutonowy Kapral Szeregowy
Staff Sergeant Sergeant Master Corporal Corporal Lance Corporal Private 1st Class Private
Abbreviation st. sierż. sierż. plut. st. kpr kpr. st. szer. szer.

Air Forces

Officers

NATO Code OF-9 OF-8 OF-7 OF-6 - OF-5 OF-4 OF-3 OF-2 OF-1
POL Wojska Lotnicze.svg
Air Forces
General Czterogwiazdkowy Lotnicze.svg General Broni Lotnicze.svg General Dywizji Lotnicze.svg General Brygady Lotnicze.svg Pulkownik Lotnicze.svg Podpulkownik Lotnicze.svg Major Lotnicze.svg Kapitan Lotnicze.svg Porucznik Lotnicze.svg Podporucznik Lotnicze.svg
Polish rank Generał Generał
broni
Generał
dywizji
Generał
brygady
Pułkownik Podpułkownik Major Kapitan Porucznik Podporucznik
English equivalent General Lieutenant General Major General,
Divisional General
Brigadier,
Brigade General
Colonel Lieutenant Colonel Major Captain Lieutenant Second Lieutenant
Abbreviation gen. gen. broni gen. dyw. gen. bryg. płk ppłk mjr kpt. por. ppor.

Warrant officers

NATO Code OR-9 OR-8 OR-8 OR-8
POL Wojska Lotnicze.svg
Air Forces
Starszy Chorazy Sztabowy Lotnicze.svg Starszy Chorazy Lotnicze.svg Chorazy Lotnicze.svg Mlodszy Chorazy Lotnicze.svg
Chorąży Chief Warrant Officer Warrant Officer Class 1 Warrant Officer Class 2 First Warrant Officer
Abbreviation st. chor. szt. st. chor. chor. mł. chor.

Non-commissioned officers and privates

NATO Code OR-7 OR-6 OR-5 OR-4 OR-3 OR-2 OR-1
POL Wojska Lotnicze.svg
Air Forces
Starszy Sierzant Lotnicze.svg Sierzant Lotnicze.svg Plutonowy Lotnicze.svg Starszy Kapral Lotnicze.svg Kapral Lotnicze.svg Starszy Szeregowy Lotnicze.svg Szeregowy Lotnicze.svg
Polish rank Starszy
Sierżant
Sierżant Plutonowy Starszy
Kapral
Kapral Starszy
Szeregowy
Szeregowy
Technical Sergeant Flight Sergeant Staff Sergeant Senior Airman Airman 1st Class Airman Airman Basic
Abbreviation st. sierż. sierż. plut. st. kpr kpr. st. szer. szer.

Navy

Officers

NATO Code OF-9 OF-8 OF-7 OF-6 - OF-5 OF-4 OF-3 OF-2 OF-1
POL Marynarka Wojenna.svg
Navy
POL PMW pagon1 admirał.svg POL PMW pagon1 admirał floty.svg POL PMW pagon1 wiceadmirał.svg POL PMW pagon1 kontradmirał.svg POL PMW pagon1 komandor.svg POL PMW pagon1 komandor porucznik.svg POL PMW pagon1 komandor podporucznik.svg POL PMW pagon1 kapitan marynarki.svg POL PMW pagon1 porucznik marynarki.svg POL PMW pagon1 podporucznik marynarki.svg
Polish rank Admirał Admirał floty1 Wiceadmirał Kontradmirał Komandor Komandor
porucznik
Komandor
podporucznik
Kapitan
marynarki
Porucznik
marynarki
Podporucznik
marynarki
English rank Admiral Fleet Admiral1 Vice Admiral Rear Admiral,
Counter Admiral
Captain,
Commodore
Commander,
Lieutenant Commodore
Lieutenant Commander,
Sublieutenant Commodore
Lieutenant,
Ship Captain
Lieutenant (junior grade),
Ship Lieutenant
Ensign,
Ship Sublieutenant
Abbreviation adm. adm. fl. wadm. kadm. kmdr kmdr por. kmdr ppor. kpt. mar. por. mar. ppor. mar.
  • 1 introduced in 2002
Uniform of an officer of the Polish Navy.

Warrant officers

NATO Code OR-9 OR-8 OR-8 OR-8
POL Marynarka Wojenna.svg
Navy
POL PMW pagon1 starszy chorąży sztabowy marynarki.svg POL PMW pagon1 starszy chorąży marynarki.svg POL PMW pagon1 chorąży marynarki.svg POL PMW pagon1 młodszy chorąży marynarki.svg
Starszy
chorąży
sztabowy
marynark
Starszy
chorąży
marynarki
Chorąży
marynarki
Chief Warrant Officer,
Chief Midshipman
Warrant Officer Class 1,
Senior Midshipman
Warrant Officer Class 2,
Midshipman
First Warrant Officer,
Junior Midshipman
Abbreviation st. chor. szt. mar. st. chor. mar. chor. mar. mł. chor. mar.

Non-commissioned officers and sailors

NATO Code OR-7 OR-6 OR-5 OR-4 OR-3 OR-2 OR-1
POL Marynarka Wojenna.svg
Navy
POL PMW pagon1 starszy bosman.svg POL PMW pagon1 bosman.svg POL PMW pagon1 bosmanmat.svg POL PMW pagon1 starszy mat.svg POL PMW pagon1 mat.svg POL PMW pagon1 starszy marynarz.svg POL PMW pagon1 marynarz.svg
Starszy
bosman
Bosman Bosmanmat Mat Starszy
marynarz
Marynarz
Senior Chief Petty Officer,
Senior Boatswain
Chief Petty Officer,
Boatswain
Petty Officer 1st Class,
Junior Boatswain
Petty Officer 2nd Class Ordinary Seaman Seaman Apprentice Seaman Recruit
Abbreviation st. bsm. bsm. bsmt st. mat mat st. mar. mar.
  • All naval rank and insignia information is referenced from the Official Website of the Polish Navy [1]

Historical ranks

Abolished on July 1, 2004

NATO Code OR-9 OR-7 OR-5|
Rank insignia of chorąży sztabowy of the Army of Poland.svg POL PMW pagon1 chorąży sztabowy marynarki.svg Rank insignia of młodszy chorąży sztabowy of the Army of Poland.svg POL PMW pagon1 młodszy chorąży sztabowy marynarki.svg Rank insignia of starszy sierżant sztabowy of the Army of Poland.svg POL PMW pagon1 starszy bosman sztabowy.svg Rank insignia of sierżant sztabowy of the Army of Poland.svg POL PMW pagon1 bosman sztabowy.svg Rank insignia of starszy plutonowy of the Army of Poland.svg Starszy Plutonowy Lotnicze.png POL PMW pagon1 starszy bosmanmat.svg
Polish rank Senior Warrant Officer Senior Warrant Officer Senior Warrant Officer Second Warrant Officer Second Warrant Officer Second Warrant Officer Sergeant Major Senior Master Sergeant Command Master Chief Petty Officer Master Sergeant Master Sergeant Master Chief Petty Officer Lance Sergeant Senior Staff Sergeant Chief Petty Officer 2nd Class
Abbreviation chor. szt. chor. szt. chor. szt. mar. mł. chor. szt. mł. chor. szt. mł. chor.
szt. mar.
st. sierż. szt. st. sierż. szt. st. bsm. szt. sierż. szt. sierż. szt. bsm. szt. st. plut. st. plut. st. bsmt.

Other

See also

  • Wojsko Polskie (Polish Armed Forces)
  • Ranks and insignia of NATO Armies
  • Comparative military ranks
  • Military Rank
  • Polish Scouts rank insignia

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