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Go Back   Armchair General and HistoryNet >> The Best Forums in History > Historical Events & Eras > Napoleonic Era

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Napoleonic Era Discuss the many wars fought around the globe around the time of Napoleon. This forum is dedicated to the memory of Ben Weider.

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  #1  
Old 28 Apr 11, 11:54
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British Military ranks

Hallo everyone. I need some help to find out what British military ranks during the Napoleonic wars looked like for officers and NCO's
Is it true that there was no insignia for field officers until 1810?
Generals already had rank insignia since the 1760's of I'm not mistaken.
If there was no insignia for field officers until 1810, how did strangers distinguish between Lieutenants, captains, etc.?
Your help would be appreciated.
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  #2  
Old 28 Apr 11, 11:55
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Originally Posted by the Iron Duke View Post
Hallo everyone. I need some help to find out what British military ranks during the Napoleonic wars looked like for officers and NCO's
Is it true that there was no insignia for field officers until 1810?
Generals already had rank insignia since the 1760's of I'm not mistaken.
If there was no insignia for field officers until 1810, how did strangers distinguish between Lieutenants, captains, etc.?
Your help would be appreciated.
Army, Navy and Marines?
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Old 28 Apr 11, 17:41
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Army would do for now.
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  #4  
Old 28 Apr 11, 17:50
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Originally Posted by the Iron Duke View Post
Hallo everyone. I need some help to find out what British military ranks during the Napoleonic wars looked like for officers and NCO's
Is it true that there was no insignia for field officers until 1810?
Generals already had rank insignia since the 1760's of I'm not mistaken.
If there was no insignia for field officers until 1810, how did strangers distinguish between Lieutenants, captains, etc.?
Your help would be appreciated.
This site (http://www.victorianstrollers.co.uk/...rms/ranks.html) says that "Badges for field officers were first introduced in 1810, and for captains and subaltern officers in 1855." (Various wiki sites have plagiarized it from there, apparently.)

I suspect strangers would have had to ask, but that does seem strange to me.
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Old 28 Apr 11, 18:53
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Thank you, quite complicated.
I'm just wondering what the difference was between subaltern and field officers apart from a higher rank. Was there any operational differences. They all served in the field until the rank of colonel. Does subaltern mean Junior. than again, captains were also subaltern and they often could be quite old and experienced.
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Old 29 Apr 11, 15:35
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Originally Posted by the Iron Duke View Post
Thank you, quite complicated.
I'm just wondering what the difference was between subaltern and field officers apart from a higher rank. Was there any operational differences. They all served in the field until the rank of colonel. Does subaltern mean Junior. than again, captains were also subaltern and they often could be quite old and experienced.

Actually subaltern generally refers to someone below the rank of Captain. Early on there was a British rank of captain-lietenant was was below captain and was considered a subaltern rank. Do not remember if it had been done away with by the Napoleonic era.
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Old 02 May 11, 13:18
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Old 02 May 11, 19:00
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Wow excellent resource Paul. Where did you find that chart?
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Old 02 May 11, 19:36
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Wow excellent resource Paul. Where did you find that chart?
In what is the best book on the subject of: British Napoleonic Uniforms

Here are the Officer rank distinctions.





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Last edited by Dibble201Bty; 02 May 11 at 19:58..
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Old 03 May 11, 06:33
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Looks like a great book. Is it worth the $51 on Amazon? Does it cover all branches or just combat arms?

Also, what about generals rank insignia? And Royal Artillery (I believe they had special ranks like Bombardier, Master Gunner, etc)?
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Old 04 May 11, 04:41
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Looks like a great book. Is it worth the $51 on Amazon? Does it cover all branches or just combat arms?

Also, what about generals rank insignia? And Royal Artillery (I believe they had special ranks like Bombardier, Master Gunner, etc)?
The book covers the infantry and cavalry arm, and yes, it would be well worth your $51.00.

The sister book by the same author is this 'British Napoleonic Field Artillery' Though I'm afraid its price will take your breath away.

http://www.amazon.com/British-Napole...4494679&sr=8-2

But here is the 'splerge' on the Artillery rank system. It is in monochrome as I have copied it from a PDF file.







Sorry about the text being a bit 'gappy' but I erased most of the non relevant text.

Paul
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Old 05 May 11, 06:51
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Excellent!!! Thanks for the information , I am always happy to add new rank insignia stuff to my already vast collection. It takes up about 3GB on my hard drive!

And that book, while expensive, doesent even come close to some of the prices I have seen. I once saw one of the older Osprey books for over $1,000 on Amazon ... and that was the lowest price.

Last edited by ChrisF1987; 05 May 11 at 06:53..
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Old 05 May 11, 11:03
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Originally Posted by ChrisF1987 View Post
Excellent!!! Thanks for the information , I am always happy to add new rank insignia stuff to my already vast collection. It takes up about 3GB on my hard drive!

And that book, while expensive, doesent even come close to some of the prices I have seen. I once saw one of the older Osprey books for over $1,000 on Amazon ... and that was the lowest price.
I do believe that the Book is at this moment going through a rerun so another $51.00 will probably be all you would have to pay.

Even though I have it on pdf, I won't hesitate to buy the book when it is re-released as it, like the 'Uniforms' version, is just fantastic.

Yes, first and rare editions of books can be worth a fortune.

Paul
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Last edited by Dibble201Bty; 05 May 11 at 11:08..
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