Military Subjects: Organization


 


Portuguese Army Ranks and Their British Equivalents

By João Centeno

 

Rank  in Portuguese Army Now

Rank  in Portuguese Army 1800

Rank  in
British army
1800 & Now

Typical Position

Praça

Soldado

Private

 

Segundo-Cabo

Anspeçada

Lance Corporal
Private 1st class
Lance Bombardier(RA)

 

1º Cabo

Cabo

Corporal
Lance Sergeant
Bombardier (RA)

Commander of a section

Segundo -sargento
Furriel

Furriel

Sergeant
Third Sergeant
Corporal of Horse (Cavalry)

Commander of a section

Primeiro-sargento

Segundo Sargento
or Tambor-Mor
Quartel Mestre Sargento

Second Sergeant
Staff Sergeant
Colour Sergeant
(introduced in  1813)
Quartermaster Sergeant
Staff Corporal (Cavalry)
Company Sergeant (RA)

Company Quartermaster

Sargento-ajudante

Primeiro-Sargento
Sargento de Brigada
or Ajudante Sargento

First Sergeant
Quartermaster Sergeant     
Warrant Officer Class 2

Company Sergeant

Sargento-chefe

 

Master-Sergeant
Company Sgt. Major

Company Sergeant

Sargento-Mor

Quartel-Mestre

Sergeant-Major
Warrant Officer Class
Regimental Sgt. Maj.

Regiment Sergeant

Cadete

Cadete

      Officer Cadet

Created in 1757, as form of recruiting noble officials for the Army. While they were not promoted to a full rank officer position were subordinated to Sergeants

 

Cadete Porta-Bandeira

 

Rank created in 1797, due to the abolition of Porta-Bandeira (Standard-bearer's) position.

Alferes

Alferes
(old  Porta-Bandeira officer)

2nd Lieutenant
Cornet
Ensign

Platoon Commander

 

Tenente

       

2nd commander of a Company. Second-lieutenant in the Artillery and Engineering

 

Ajudante

       

Official associate to a Major. Official engineer with 1st Lieutenant's position up to 1792

Tenente

1º Tenente

      Lieutenant

2.nd commander of the companies that had the Colonels, Lieutenant colonels and Majors as commanders. It was extinct in 1796, in the Infantry and Cavalry. In the Artillery and Engineering was equal to Lieutenant's position.

Subsidiary command, Company level

Capitão

Capitão

      Captain

Command at company level

Major

Sargento-mor
Major

      Major

Officer responsible of the daily administration of a Regiment, eventual commander of a Battalion or 2nd commander of an independent battalion. An official of orders was considered and not of command position.

Administration at battalion and command at 1/2 battalion level

Tenente-coronel

Tenente-coronel

      Lieutenant Colonel

2nd commander of a Regiment, or commandant of an independent Battalion, as Caçadores Battalion.

Coronel

Coronel

      Colonel
      (Colonel of the Regiment)

In Portugal, Commander of a Regiment - before call  Mestre-de-Campo.

Brigadeiro 

Brigadeiro

      Brigadier

Brigade commander.
Rank created in 1707 by D. João V for the Infantry and Cavalry, and abolished in 1790. Reintroduced in 1796, due to the organization of the army in Brigades

Major general

Marechal de Campo

      Major General

Division commander Commandant. Name given in 1762 to the position Sargento-Mor De Batalha.

Tenente general

Tenente General

      Lieutenant General

Army Corp commander. Name given in 1762 to Mestre de Campo General.

       
 

General de Artilharia
(Appointment)

 

This rank position was created in 1640 and it is the simplification of the Capitão-General de Artilharia (Captain-general of Artillery), then in use in the Spanish army. Inside of the own hierarchy of the army branch, he was the commander of the Artillery of the counties, including the one of the marine fortresses and of the war ships. It was extinct in the reform of 1707/1708, but it reappear in the Pombal reform of 1762 again (Count of Lippe) to pass to designate the Director-General of the Artillery that was entrusted of the organization of that military branch.

 

General de Cavalaria
(Appointment)

 

This rank is referred, for the first time, in the organization of the army that King D.Sebastião took for Alcácer-Quibir, and he was the commandant of the whole Cavalry as the General of Artillery, it is the simplification of the Captain-General of existent Cavalry in Spain.

The rank stays after 1640, competing to its detainee the government of the Cavalry of Kingdom. It was extinct in the reform of 1707/1708, but renter in the Pombal reform of 1762 (Count of Lippe) to designate the Director-General of the Cavalry that was entrusted of the organization of the military branch.

 

General de Infantaria
(Appointment)

 

In the reform of 1640 as in the one of 1707 this position doesn't appear in the structure of the Army, because the Mestre de Campo General ( Master of General Field)  was by excellence, the commander of the Infantry, the most numerous and important military branch in manoeuvres, in spite of, in operations, to have also under its command the units of Cavalry and of Artillery. Just appears in the reform of 1762 (Conde of Lippe) to designate the Director-General of the Infantry.

General

General

      General

 

Marechal

---

      Field Marshal

 
 

General de Infantaria,
Cavalaria, or Artilharia
(Appointment)

 

Name given in 1762 to the Directores-Gerais  (Director-Generals), created in 1735. They were entrust of the organization of the military branch that they directed, being helped by the Inspectores-gerais (Inspector-generals) , that were subordinated them.

Chefia do estado-maior do ramo

Marechal do exército
(Appointment)

      Captain General

Commander-in-Chief of the Army, or Quartel Mestre General (Quarter Master General) subordinate to the Secretary of State of the Business of the War. The baron of Alvito was Marshal of the army with Count of Lippe, just as Beresford with Wellington. Was used for the first time by the Prince of Waldeck, in 1797

(Major-General William Carr Beresford)

Chefe do Estado-Maior General das Forças Armadas

Marechal General
(Appointment)

General in Chief Command

Created by Count of Lippe (1762), it was the Commander-in-Chief of the armies, with direct access to the King. Equivalent to the Capitão-General (Captain-general). It was created in 1640 with Capitão General (General Captain) name in its primitive meaning. 

(Tenente-General Arthur Wellesley, and after the Peninsular, War William Carr Beresford)

 

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