Brigadier general: Wikis


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See also Brigadier

Brigadier General is a very senior rank in the Armed Forces. It is the lowest ranking General Officer in some countries, usually sitting between the ranks of Colonel and Major General. It is a Flag Rank. A Brigadier General is typically in command of a Brigade consisting of around 3,000 troops (three Battalions).

In some countries, this rank is given the name of Brigadier, which is often considered to not be a General Officer rank, but is usually a Flag rank.

The rank can be traced back to the militaries of Europe where a brigadier general, or simply a brigadier, would command a brigade in the field. The rank spread throughout the world after being adopted in the 18th century by the United States with simultaneous spreading of the rank by the British Empire. The alternative rank of "Brigade general" was first used in the French revolutionary armies, and was used in British and Commonwealth armies in the first quarter of the 20th century.

In the Commonwealth of Nations the equivalent rank for most of the last century has normally been Brigadier, while many other countries use the rank of brigade general. A few countries use Major General as the equivalent of Brigadier General, rather than as the rank above; these are countries which then generally use a rank of Colonel General to make four general officer ranks.

The naval equivalent is often Commodore or Rear admiral, but this depends on the rank system of the navy in question.




Army insignia

Air Force insignia

This gallery displays Air Force brigadier general insignia if they are different from the Army brigadier general insignia. (They usually are.)
Note that in many Commonwealth countries, this rank is called Air Commodore. (And in the Netherlands, it is called Commodore.[1])

Brigadier general ranks by country


The rank of brigadier general (with some local variations) is used in the Argentine Air Force. The use of the rank is different from that of other military forces of the world. Unlike other armed forces, the rank of brigadier general is actually the highest rank in the Argentine Air Force. This is due to the use of the rank of brigadier and its derivatives to designate all general officers in the Air Force: brigadier (lowest general officer) brigadier-major (middle) and brigadier-general (highest). The rank of brigadier general is reserved for the Chief of the General Staff of the Air Force, as well as the Chief of the Joint General Staff if he should be an Air Force officer.

The Argentine Army does not use the rank of brigadier-general, instead using the equivalent rank of brigade general (in Spanish general de brigada).


In the Australian Imperial Force during World War I, the rank of brigadier-general was always temporary and held only while the officer was posted to a particular task, typically the command of a brigade. When posted elsewhere, the rank would be relinquished and the former rank resumed. This policy prevented an accumulation of high-ranking general officers brought about by the relatively high turnover of brigade commanders.

As in the United Kingdom, the rank was later replaced by brigadier. Hence, prior to 1922, a "brigadier general" was a "general officer"; subsequently, brigadiers were not "generals". (See also List of Australian generals and brigadiers.)


The rank was known as Brigadier inconformity with the rank structure of the Commonwealth Nations prior to 2001 in the Bangladesh Army. It is the lowest ranking General Officer between the ranks of Colonel and Major General.

The Bangladesh Army introduced the rank of Brigadier General in 2001, however the grade stayed equivalent to Brigadier . Brigadier General is equivalent to Commodore of Bangladesh Navy & Air Commodore of Bangladesh Air Force. It is still more popularly called Brigadier (One Star General).


The Belgian Army uses the rank of général de brigade (French) and brigadegeneraal (Dutch). However, in this small military there are no permanent promotions to this rank, and it is only awarded as a temporary promotion to a full colonel who assumes a post requiring the rank, notably in an international context (e.g. as Military Attaché in a major embassy).


Brigadier General is the lowest rank amongst general officers of the Brazilian army. They wear two stars as this is the entry level for general officers in the Brazilian Army. In the Brazilian Air Force, the 2 star, 3 star and 4 star are known as Brigadeiro (Brigadier), Major-Brigadeiro (Major-Brigadier) and Tenente-Brigadeiro-do-Ar (Lieutenant-Air-Brigadier) respectively. See Military ranks of Brazil and Brigadier#Officer rank in Latin America for more information.


In the Canadian Forces, the rank of brigadier-general (BGen) (brigadier-général or bgén in French) is an Army or Air Force rank equal to a commodore of the Navy. A brigadier-general is the lowest rank of General Officer, the Army and Air Force equivalent of a Naval flag officer. A brigadier-general is senior to a colonel or naval captain, and junior to a major-general or rear admiral.

The rank title "brigadier-general" is still used notwithstanding that brigades in the army are now commanded by colonels. Until the late 1990s brigades were commanded by brigadier-generals. In the air force context, brigadier-generals used to command air force "Groups" until these bodies were abolished in the late 1990s.

The rank insignia for a brigadier-general is a single gold maple leaf beneath crossed sword and baton, all surmounted by St. Edward's Crown, worn on the shoulder straps of the service dress jacket, and on slip-ons on other uniforms. The service dress jacket also features a wide strip of gold braid around the cuff. On the visor of the service cap are two rows of gold oak leaves; the air force wedge cap features gold braid on the edges of the ear flaps. The cap insignia for a general officer is a modified version of the Canadian Forces insignia; the collar insignia (Army generals only) is two crossed sabres. Some brigadier-generals, by nature of holding a branch-specific appointment, may continue to wear the insignia of their personnel branch; for example, the chaplain-general wears the general officer's cap insignia with the collar insignia of the Chaplain Branch,[2] while the surgeon-general continues to wear the cap and collar insignia of the Canadian Forces Medical Service.[3]

Brigadier-generals are addressed by rank and name; thereafter by subordinates as "Sir" or "Ma'am". They are normally entitled to staff cars.

Note: Before unification in 1968 of the Royal Canadian Air Force, Canadian Army, and the Royal Canadian Navy, rank structure and insignia followed the British pattern. In army usage, the term "brigadier" was used to denote what is now known as a brigadier-general while the air force used the term "Air Commodore".


Chinese rank of (Da-Xiao 大校) or Senior Colonel is a direct equivalent of a brigadier. It ranks above colonel (Shang-Xiao 上校) and below major general (Shao-Jiang 少将). A brigadier is commonly in command of a division(Shi 师) or a brigade(Lv 旅). Divisional commanders are seldom general officers.


In the Estonian military, there is a rank is called Brigaadikindral which stands for the general of the brigade.[4]


France uses the rank of Brigade General. It formerly used the historic rank, until 1793, of Brigadier des armées ("Brigadier of the Armies"). The rank contrasts with the French sub-officer rank of Brigadier. As with all French general officers, a French brigade general is titled "general" (e.g. notably General De Gaulle) without any implication that he is an Army General.

Until 1793, a rank of Brigadier des armées ("Brigadier of the Armies") existed in the French Army, which could be described as a senior colonel or junior brigade commander. The normal brigade command rank was Field Marshal (Maréchal de camp) (which elsewhere is a more senior rank). A "Brigadier of the Armies" wore one star and a "Field Marshal" wore two stars. During the French Revolution, the revolutionaries' drive to rationalise the state led to a change in the system of ranks. The rank of "Brigadier of the Armies" was abolished and the normal brigade command rank, Field Marshal, was replaced by Brigade General. The rank of Brigade General inherited the two stars of the rank of Field Marshal, explaining the absence since 1793 of a French rank with only one star.

Nowadays, a French général de brigade generally commands a brigade, which is the biggest permanent formation in the French army. The rank can also be awarded in an honorary fashion to retiring colonels. The insignias are two stars, worn on the shoulder are at the sleeve of the uniform, depending on the dress. Two different kepis are issued : the service kepi sports the two starts, while the formal kepi features a large band of oak leaves (the kepi of a division general has two smaller such bands).

Charles de Gaulle, held the rank of Brigade General. He was given a temporary promotion to this rank in May 1940 as commander of the 4th Armoured Reserve Division (4ème division cuirassée de réserve). However his authority as head of the Free French really came from being the only cabinet member outside occupied France, not from his military rank. As a reminder of his war position, he refused any further promotion.


The equivalent modern German rank is Brigadegeneral. The concept of a brigadier general rank is relatively new, as prior to 1982 the lowest German general officer rank was Generalmajor, which was often considered equivalent to brigadier general in other armies.



In Hungary the Brigadier General is a relatively new military rank used from 1992. The Army and the Air Force insignia are not different.


In Indonesia, Brigadir Jenderal (abbreviated as Brigjen) is the fourth highest rank and the lowest general rank both in Polri and TNI. The insignia is a gold star.


The equivalent rank for Brigadier General in Iranian army and air force is called Sar-Tip. It is above the rank of Sar-Hang (colonel) and below the rank of Sar-Lashkar (major general).

Notice that Iranian Revolutionary Guards also use this rank. The difference is in salutation. One refers an army or air force brigadier general as "Timsar Sar-Tip", while a revolutionary guard general is referred to as "Sardar Sar-Tip". As an unwritten rule which states the highest Iranian military rank to be the rank of a Majorgeneral the Brigadier General is considered to be second highest rank of Iranian military. Which is customly the rank of the commander of Airforce and equvalantly the Navy.


In the Israel Defense Forces, the rank of brigadier general is called Tat Aluf and is the third highest rank, below Aluf (major general) and Rav Aluf (lieutenant general or general), and above Aluf Mishne (colonel).


In the Jordanian military, the rank of Brigadier general is known as "Amid", and it is higher than colonel "Akeed" and lower than Major general "Liwa"


The rank of brigadier general is known in South Korea as Junjang and is a direct equivalent to the United States one star rank, with very similar insignia. The military of North Korea does not technically maintain a brigadier general rank, but the rank of senior colonel (대좌, Taejwa) which is above colonel (상좌, Sangjwa) and below major general (소장, Sojang) is the effective equivalent.


In Mexico, brigade general is the rank below Divisional General and, confusingly, the rank above Brigadier General. A Mexican brigade general wears as rank insignia the arms of Mexico above two stars. (A Mexican brigadier general wears the arms of Mexico above one star.)

Myanmar (Burma)

The rank of brigadier general is known in Myanmar as Bo Mhu Gyoke and is often the deputy commander of one of Myanmar's Regional Military Commands (RMC), commander of the light infantry division (LID) or Military Operation Commands (MOC). In civil service, brigadier general often hold the office of deputy minister or director general of certain ministries.


The Pakistan Army has followed the British Army rank system since independence from the British Empire in 1947. However, the crown in the ranks has been replaced with a star and crescent, which symbolizes the sovereignty of the Government of Pakistan.

Brigadier General is equivalent to brigadier in the Pakistan army, commodore in the Pakistan Navy and air commodore in the Pakistan Air Force. Brigadier is also called a one star general. Like other armies, this rank is higher than colonel and lower than major general.


Prior to 2002, the Polish rank of Generał brygady was equivalent to both the ranks of major general and brigadier general.


In the Portuguese Army and Air Force, Brigadeiro-General is a temporary general rank for the colonels that have to exercise a special command. It is the equivalent of the commodore rank in the Portuguese Navy.

The rank was reintroduced in 1999. Before that, it existed, simply as Brigadeiro, from 1707 to 1864 and, again, from 1929 to 1937. From 1937 to 1999, Brigadeiro become the 2-star general rank in the Portuguese Army. As 2-star rank it was substituted by the rank of Major-General.


In the Spanish Army and Spanish Air Force, General de Brigada is the lowest rank of general officers. Its equivalent on the Navy is Contraalmirante.


In the Swedish Army and Swedish Air Force, Brigadgeneral is the lowest rank of general officers. Its equivalent on the Navy is Flottiljamiral.


In the Turkish Army and the Turkish Air Force, the equivalent rank is Tuğgeneral (the Turkish Navy equivalent would be Tuğamiral). The name is derived from tugay, the Turkish word for a brigade. Both tugay and tuğ- as military terms may owe their origins to the older Turkish word tuğ, meaning horsetail, which was used as a symbol of authority and rank in Ottoman and pre-Ottoman times.

United Kingdom

Brigadier-General was formerly a rank in the British Army and Royal Marines, and briefly in the Royal Air Force.

It first appeared in the army in the reign of James II,[5] but did not exist in the Royal Marines until 1913.[6]

It was abolished in both the army and the marines in 1922, being replaced in the army by the grade of Colonel Commandant (which already existed in the marines). Colonel Commandant was in turn replaced by the grade of Brigadier in the army in 1928, and at some time between World War II and 1957 in the marines.[7][8]

From its formation on 1 April 1918 until 31 July 1919, the Royal Air Force maintained the rank of brigadier general. It was superseded by the rank of air commodore on the following day.

Brigadier-General was a temporary rank only, bestowed on a colonel or lieutenant-colonel (or on a colonel commandant in the marines) for the duration of a specific command.

The insignia for the rank was a crossed sword and baton on its own; higher grades of general at the time and still consist of this device with the addition of a star, crown or both for a full general.

Brigadier is the highest field officer rank (hence absence of the word "general"), whereas brigadier-general was the lowest general officer rank. However, the two ranks are considered equal.

The equivalent naval rank is commodore and the equivalent Air Force rank is air commodore.

United States

List of notable Brigadier Generals

U.S. Brigadier Generals

Other Brigadier Generals

See also

References and notes

  1. ^ In the Netherlands, the Air Force rank is called "Commodore".
  2. ^ Canadian Chaplain General
  3. ^ Canadian Surgeon General
  4. ^ Estonian Army ranks
  5. ^ The Brigade: A History, Its Organization and Employment in the US Army
  6. ^ Senior RM Officers - Promotion, London Gazette
  7. ^ WWII RN Pay Tables
  9. ^ Although best known for his role as Macgyver, Richard Dean Anderson was awarded the honorary rank of Brigadier General by the airforce for portraying the airforce in a positive light in Stargate.
  10. ^ Yeager was promoted to Major General on the retired list in 2005.
  11. ^ Benedict Arnold held the rank of Major General in the Continental Army before defecting to the British.

Simple English

A Brigadier General is a rank in the army. He is normally in command of a brigade, about 3,000 men. It is between the rank of major general and colonel.


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