Field Marshal (France)

Field Marshal (France)

Field Marshal (France)

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Field Marshal () was a general officer rank used by the French Army until 1848.

The rank of Field Marshal originated in the older one of Sergeant Major General (fr: sergent-major général). Sergeant Major General was third in command in an army, after the General and the Lieutenant General. One of his tasks was to dispose the troops on the battlefield. It was also known in the French army as the "Battle Sergeant" (fr: sergent de bataille). In English-speaking countries, the rank of Sergeant Major General became known as simply Major General. In France, it became Field Marshal, where "field" means "battlefield".

Background and history

The Field Marshal rank was the junior of the two officer general ranks of the French army, the senior being Lieutenant General. The rank of brigadier was intermediate between those of Colonel and Field Marshal, but was not considered a general officer rank. Nevertheless, when rank insignia were introduced in the 1770s, the brigadier insignia was one star, that of the Field Marshal two stars (as its foreign equivalent the rank of Major General).

When the rank of brigadier was abolished in 1788, Field Marshals assumed command of brigades in the French army, but kept their two-star insignia. In 1793, during the French Revolution, the rank of Field Marshal was renamed Brigade General (général de brigade), as the brigade was its normal command. In 1815, the rank of Brigade General became once...
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