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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Képi of a général
Képi of a général

Général is the French word for general. There are two main categories of generals: the general officers (officiers généraux), which are the highest-ranking commanding officers in the armed forces, and the specialist officers with flag rank (officiers des services avec rang d'officer général), which are high-level officers in the other uniformed services.

General officers

Army

Ranks as of 2013

In France, army generals are named after the type of unit they command. In ascending order there are two ranks :

Officers holding the rank of général de division can receive different positions and styles (rang et appellation) :

The appointment of maréchal de France, wearing seven stars, is purely honorary.

  • Army-FRA-OF-10.svg
    Maréchal de France ("Marshal of France").

History

The French army of the monarchy had several ranks of general officer:

  • Brigadier des armées du roi ("brigadier of the armies of the King"): a rank in a grey area of seniority, conferred on certain colonels who were in command of a brigade (cf. the grey area of the naval "commodore" rank given to certain captains, the equivalent of army full colonels, who had been in command of a group of ships and over the captains of the group's other ships). These officers wore a colonel's uniform with a star on the shoulder straps. This rank was abolished in 1788.
  • Maréchal de camp ("field marshal"(major general)): the first substantive rank of general. The maréchaux de camp wore a special uniform, blue and red, with a single bar of gold lace, and in the late 18th century also received two stars on the shoulder straps. With the abolition of the rank of brigadier des armées in 1788, it became the lowest general officer rank, but its insignia of two stars remained unchanged. The rank was redesignated Général de brigade in 1793 which retained the two star insignia. This explains why French generals' insignia starts with two stars.
  • Lieutenant général: the highest military rank. Lieutenants généraux wore the same uniform as the maréchaux de camp, but with two bars of gold lace, and in the late 18th century also received three stars on the shoulder straps.
  • Général: an appointment conferred on a lieutenant général who was commander-in-chief of a campaign.
  • Maréchal de France: not a military rank, but a dignity of the Crown.

During the French Revolution, the ranks of maréchal de camp and lieutenant general were renamed général de brigade and général de division, and the appointment of général was renamed général en chef. In 1793, the dignity of maréchal de France was abolished.

Napoléon Bonaparte reinstated the dignity of maréchal de France, now named maréchal d'empire. In 1814, the ranks of général de brigade and général de division reverted to maréchal de camp and lieutenant général, but were changed back again in 1848.

The Third Republic of the 1880s reorganised the ranks of général:

  • Général de brigade, wearing two stars.
  • Général de division, wearing three stars.
  • Général commandant de corps d'armée (général commander of an army corps), an appointment conferred on certain généraux de division, wearing four stars. This appointment became the position and style (rang et appellation) of général de corps d'armée in 1936.
  • Général membre du conseil supérieur de la guerre (general - member of the superior council of war, a body of the Ministry of War which had the functions of a general staff), wearing five stars.

The experience of the First World War transformed the structure of the French Army. The superior council of war was abolished and an appointment of général commandant d'armée (general commander of an army) was created. This appointment became the position and style (rang et appellation) of général d'armée in 1936. The dignity of maréchal de France was reinstated and given to the commanders-in-chief of the conflict, such as Joseph Joffre, Ferdinand Foch and Philippe Pétain.

Navy

In ascending order there are two ranks :

Officers of the rank of vice-amiral can receive different positions and styles (rang et appellation) :

The appointment of amiral de France, wearing seven stars, is purely honorary.

Air Force

In France, Air Force generals are named after the type of unit they command. In ascending order there are two ranks :

  • French Air Force-général de brigade aérienne.svg
    Général de brigade aérienne ("air brigade general").
  • French Air Force-général de division aérienne.svg
    Général de division aérienne ("air divisional general").

Officers of the rank of général de division can receive different positions and styles (rang et appellation) :

  • French Air Force-général de corps aérien.svg
    Général de corps d'armée aérien ("air corps general").
  • French Air Force-général d'armée aérienne.svg
    Général d'armée aérienne' ("air army general").

Specialist Officers

Armament

  • Ingénieur général de l'armement de deuxième classe (Armament General Engineer, 2nd Class)
  • Ingénieur général de l'armement de première classe (Armament General Engineer, 1st Class)
  • Ingénieur général de l'armement hors classe (Armament General Engineer, Special Class)
  • Ingénieur général de l'armement de classe exceptionnelle (Armament General Engineer, Outstanding Class)

Maritime Administration

  • Administrateur général des affaires maritimes de deuxième classe (Maritime General Administrator, 2nd Class)
  • Administrateur général des affaires maritimes de première classe (Maritime General Administrator, 1st Class)

Military Administration

  • Commissaire général de deuxième classe (General Commissioner, 2nd Class)
  • Commissaire général de première classe (General Commissioner, 1st Class)
  • Commissaire général hors classe (General Commissioner, Special Class)

Military engineering

  • Ingénieur général militaire d'infrastructure de deuxième classe (Military General Engineer, 2nd Class)
  • Ingénieur général militaire d'infrastructure de première classe (Military General Engineer, 1st Class)
  • Ingénieur général militaire d'infrastructure hors classe (Military General Engineer, Special Class)
This page was last edited on 23 December 2020, at 19:01
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