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Military ranks of the Swiss Armed Forces

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Title: Military ranks of the Swiss Armed Forces  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Military of Switzerland, Major general, Swisscoy, Parachute Reconnaissance Company 17, Oberwachtmeister
Collection: Military Insignia, Military Ranks of Switzerland
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Military ranks of the Swiss Armed Forces

The military ranks of the Swiss Army have changed little over the centuries, except for the introduction, in 2001, of a new set of warrant officers. The rank insignia for all personnel are worn on shoulder boards with the appropriate background colour (see below). Recruits of all services do not wear any rank insignia. Once recruit school is finished, privates wear one. Designations are given in German, French, Romansh and Italian (in this order), with an English translation which is used during overseas missions. In the chart below, NATO codes are used for comparison purposes only: Switzerland is not a member of NATO, and the rank structure in the senior officer region can be seen to diverge significantly from other armies'.


  • Enlisted ranks 1
    • Enlisted men 1.1
    • Non-commissioned officers (NCO) 1.2
    • Higher NCOs 1.3
  • Officers 2
    • Subaltern officers and Hauptleute (captains) 2.1
    • Staff officers, Specialis 2.2
    • Higher staff officers 2.3
    • Commander in Chief 2.4
  • Shoulder board Waffenfarbe 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Enlisted ranks

Enlisted men

Rank insignia Name Description
Mounting loop Camouflage Deutsch Français Italiano Rumantsch En equivaklent
OR-1b Rekrut (Rek) Recrue (recr) recluta Rekruit
OR-1a Soldat (Sdt) Soldat (Sdt) Sopldato Schuldà Private (PFC)
OR-2 Gefreiter (Gfr) Appointé (App) Appuntato Appuntà
OR-3 Obergefreiter (Obgf) Appointé-chef (App chef) Appuntato capo Primappuntà Private First Class (PFC) They are specialists, who take over tasks of responsibility or hold the position of a squad commander. If the Obgf has a commanding role, they count among the NCOs, otherwise they are enlisted men. A soldier may be promoted to Obgf after attending the NCO course at the Swiss Army's Recruit School, during which time they are also called Anwärter. Upon very good conduct, a Gefreiter may also be promoted to Obergefreiter at a "repetition course". This promotion is not linked to extended duty (service time).

Non-commissioned officers (NCO)

Rank insignia Name Description
Mounting loop Camouflage Deutsch Français Italiano Rumantsch En equivaklent
OR-4 Korporal (Kpl) Caporal (Cpl) Corporale (Cpl) Caporal (Cpl) Corporal
OR-5b Wachtmeister (Wm) Sergent (Sgt) Sergente (Sgt) Sergent (Sgt) Sergeant
OR-5a Oberwachtmeister (Obwm) Sergent chef (Sgt chef) Sergente capo (Sgt capo) Caposergent (Csgt)

Higher NCOs

Rank insignia Name Description
Mounting loop Camouflage Deutsch Français Italiano Rumantsch En equivaklent
OR-6 Feldweibel (Fw) Sergent-major (Sgtm) Sergente maggiore (Sgtm) Primsergent (Psgt) Staff Sergeant
Lowest rank of "Higher non-commissioned officers" (NCO); the Feldweibel oversees unit-level military service and operations.
OR-7b Fourier (Four) Fourrier (Four) Furiere (Fur) Furier (Fur) Quartermaster sergeant (QMS) The higher NCO who administers a company's finances and subsistence.
OR-7a Hauptfeldweibel (Hptfw) Sergent-major chef (Sgtm chef) Sergente maggiore capo (sgtm capo) Capoprimsergent (cpsgt) Sergeant First Class
OR-8b Adjudant Unteroffizier (Adj Uof) Adjudant sous-officier (Adj Sof) Aiutante sottufficiale (aiut suff) Adjutant sutuffizier (Adj suff) Warrant Officer Class 2
OR-8a Stabsadjutant (Stabsadj) Adjudant d'état-major (adjut EM) Aiutante di stato maggiore (aiut SM) Adjutant da stab (Adj S)
OR-9b Hauptadjudant (Hptadj) Adjudant-major (Adjm) Aiutante maggiore (Aiut magg) Adjutant principal (Adj prin) Warrant Officer Class 1
OR-9a Chefadjutant (Chefadj) Adjudant-chef (Adj chef) Aiutante capo (Aiut capo) Chefadjutant (Schefadj)


Subaltern officers and Hauptleute (captains)

Rank insignia Name Description
Mounting loop Camouflage Deutsch Français Italiano Rumantsch En equivaklent
OF-1b Leutnant
Second lieutenant
OF-1a Oberleutnant
Primo tenente
(I ten)
First lieutenant
OF-2 Hauptmann

Staff officers, Specialis

Rank insignia Name Description
Mounting loop Camouflage Deutsch Français Italiano Rumantsch En equivaklent
OF-3 Major
Several assignments in a battalion´s staff (deputy S1-7), under special circumstances appointment to battalion commander, teacher or staff officer on a military academy, commander of a HQ company, staff officer in major units.
OF-4 Oberstleutnant
(Lt col)
Tenete colonnello
(Ten col)
Litinent colonel
(Lt col)
Lieutenant colonel
Battalion commander, staff officer in major units.
OF-5 Oberst
Colonel (Col) Under special circumstances appointment to battalion commander, deputy commander of abrigade, staff officer in major units.
OF1-5 Fachoffizier (FachOf) Officier spécialiste
(Of spec)
Ufficiale specialista (Uff spec) Uffizier spezialist
(Uff spez)
Officer specialist "Officer specialist", variable from OF1 to OF5, all officer´s rank groups.

Higher staff officers

Higher staff officers wear on the outside seam of the tress uniform trousers black lampasses.

Rank insignia Name Description
Mounting loop Camouflage Kepi Deutsch Français Italiano Rumantsch En equivaklent
OF-6 Brigadier (Br) Brigadiere Brigadier Brigadier general One-star rank, commander of a brigade, also military attaché
OF-7 Divisionär (Div) Divisionnaire (div) Divisionario Divisionär Major General Two-star rank, commander of territoroial region, also in an Army HQ or staff.
OF-8 Korpskommandant (KorKdt, KKdt) Commandant de corps (cdt C) Comandante di corpo Korpskommandant Lieutenant General Three-star rank, highest rank in peace time.

Commander in Chief

Rank insignia Name
de | fr | it | ru | en 
Mounting loop Camouflage Kepi
OF-9 General (Gen) The rank is only assigned during time of war, when the Federal Assembly chooses one general to command the entire Swiss military. Otherwise the word "general" is not used.[1]
Four-star rank

Generals were appointed during the Neuchâtel Crisis (Guillaume Henri Dufour), Franco-Prussian War (Hans Herzog), First World War (Ulrich Wille) and Second World War (Henri Guisan). The general remains subordinate to the Federal Council.

Shoulder board Waffenfarbe


  1. ^ McPhee, John (1983-10-31). "La Place de la Concorde Suisse-I". The New Yorker. p. 50. Retrieved 22 July 2013. 

External links

  • Swiss Army rank insignia as of 1st Jan 2006
  • "Rank insignia" (pdf). Insignia of the Swiss Armed Forces. p. 31. Retrieved 12 July 2009. 
  • iPhone Tool to look-up and study Swiss Military Grades and Function Insignias
  • Excercises to study the military grades of the Swiss Army

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