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Naval officer ranks
Flag officers:

Admiral of the fleetFleet admiralGrand admiral
AdmiralGeneral admiral
Vice admiralSquadron vice-admiralLieutenant admiral
Rear admiralCounter admiralDivisional admiral
CommodoreFlotilla admiral

Senior officers:

CaptainCapt at seaCapt of sea and warShip-of-the-line Capt
CommanderFrigate captain
Lieutenant commanderCorvette captain

Junior officers:

Captain lieutenantLieutenantShip-of-the-line lieutenant
Frigate lieutenantLieutenant (junior grade)Sub-lieutenant
Corvette lieutenantEnsign

Captain Lieutenant or Captain-Lieutenant is a military rank, used in the Russian Navy, previously the Red Fleet/Soviet Navy and Imperial Russian Navy, in the German Navy or Finnish Navy,in the Brazilian Navy and formerly in the British army.

In Russian and other East-European navies it is the most senior junior officer rank (equivalent to Captain in the Army/Ground Forces). The rank is also used in other countries, such as Brazil and Portugal. In many countries, a Captain Lieutenant is equal to a Commonwealth or US naval lieutenant, but this varies.

The NATO rank code is OF-2.


RAF N F2CaptLt since 2010par

Soviet капитан-лейтенант shoulder board

Captain-Lieutenant (Russian: Капитан-лейтенант) is a rank in the Russian Navy below a Captain of the 3rd rank and above a Senior Lieutenant. In Soviet times, it may be achieved as early as an officer's 5th year of service.

The US Navy considers this rank equivalent to Lieutenant. On the other hand, the Russians assign this rank the two-and-a-half stripe insignia used in Britain and the US for Lieutenant Commanders.

In terms of responsibilities, officers of this rank may serve as department heads on larger warships, but may also serve as commanding officers of 3rd and 4th rank warships (Russian ship classifications referring to all from Krivak-class frigates to gunboats and minesweepers).

Unlike the equivalent rank in the German Navy, submarines are at least nominally not on the list of eligible positions. In the past, when the boats were smaller, captain-lieutnants were eligible for the submarine command. However, in current Soviet/Russian ship ranking no modern submarine is given 3'rd rank. This reflects the high status of submarines, as all nuclear submarines (SSBN or SSN) are considered 1'st rank and large and medium diesels 2'nd rank, while smaller 3'rd rank subs simply aren't built.[1]

Germany and NATOEdit

File:GE-NAVY-OF-2a KptLt.png

Kapitänleutnant is the third lowest officer's rank in the German Navy.[2] The U.S. Navy's rank of Lieutenant is equal to Kapitänleutnant in NATO's military hierarchy (classed as OF-2).[3] Nevertheless, a Kapitänleutnant may command smaller ships (e.g. submarines class 206A) or serve as Principal Warfare Officer on larger warships, giving the rank responsibilities more along those of a Lieutenant Commander in the U.S or Royal Navies. The abbreviation of the title to "Kaleu" (contemporary usage) is used officially in verbal communication; the commander of the Type VIIC U-boat U 96 in the film "Das Boot" was of this rank, and called "Herr Kaleun" (historical usage) by his crew.

Rank insignia includes two-and-a-half stripes on shoulder boards (or rings on sleeves).

In the navies of Finland, Denmark and Norway the same rank is used (Finnish: Kapteeniluutnantti, Danish: Kaptajnløjtnant, Norwegian: Kapteinløytnant). The latest revision of the relevant NATO STANAG standardization agreement makes the longstanding courtesy practice of translating the rank into English as "Lieutenant Commander" for all German, Danish and Norwegian officers of that rank official.[4] The Norwegian Navy even goes a step further in ranking the Kapteinløytnant as OF-3 when serving afloat, disregarding the Norwegian national tri-service ranking (which still equates the Kapteinløytnant with the Army rank of Kaptein).[5][6]


Captain-lieutenant was formerly a rank in the British Army; the senior subaltern rank, above lieutenant and below captain.

A regiment's field officers - its colonel, lieutenant colonel, and major - originally commanded their own companies, as well as carrying out their regimental command duties.

However, from the 17th century onwards, the colonel increasingly became a patron and ceremonial head instead of an actual tactical commander, with command in the field devolving to the lieutenant colonel. This left the colonel's company without a captain.

The lieutenant of this company thus became its acting captain. This state of affairs was formally recognised with the creation of the rank of captain-lieutenant, with its own entry in the table of prices for the purchase of commissions.

The rank was abolished sometime in the early nineteenth century.


The French Army of the Ancien Régime used a rank of capitaine-lieutenant very similar to the British one. It was mostly encountered in the Royal Guard (maison militaire du roi), where the King was officially captain of most of the Guard companies, but the effective command was in the hands of a captain-lieutenant. D'Artagnan is perhaps the most famous captain-lieutenant in French history, as commander of the first mousquetaire company.


In the Estonian Navy the similarly sounding rank of "Kaptenleitnant" is actually an officer rank classified as NATO OF-4, i.e. equal to Commander in the Royal Navy and United States Navy.[7] As the Commander of the Estonian Navy is a captain[8] this is the de facto second highest rank in the Estonian Navy.

See alsoEdit


  1. Polmar, N. (1991) The Naval Institute Guide the Soviet Navy
  2. official rank table of the German Navy [1]
  3. NATO STANAG 2116
  4. NATO STANAG 2116 of 25 February 2010
  5. Norwegian Ministry of Defence decree of 18 May 1977
  6. NATO STANAG 2116 of 25 February 2010
  7. Naval rank table of the Estonian Navy (estonian)
  8. Official CV of Captain Igor Schwede

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