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Offline Livington

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Discussion About Historical British Ranks
« on: August 05, 2018, 03:13:40 am »
A friendly little discussion about exclusively British ranks (and I guess ratings if people feel up to it :'()...
This is not just to establish which rank is which, but also a little bit of information about them! Anything useful you might know!

I will add more as people share their knowledge!

Sources are of course highly appreciated!

As the game seems to represent the period between 1800-1812 (I have not been able to narrow it down much more) late-war transitions between 1813-1815 will not be in focus.

So I will now state the basics of what I am aware of when it comes to ranks. Feel free to savage me  ;).

Light & Line Infantry
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The Rifles (WIP)
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Cavalry
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Royal Artillery
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Royal Engineers
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Royal Military Artificers (Royal Sappers and Miners from April 1812 onwards)
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Feel free to also correct me if I have spelt something wrong. I will probably explain it away as a typo and then correct it.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2018, 01:58:57 am by Livington »
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Offline Livington

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Re: Discussion About Historical British Ranks
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2018, 03:14:01 am »
Reserved. (Because I can.)
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Offline Saga

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Offline Livington

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Re: Discussion About Historical British Ranks
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2018, 02:02:15 am »
Good source for understanding who commanded what.
https://rodwargaming.wordpress.com/miltary-historical-research/organisation/authorised-establishments-of-the-british-army-1802-1815/

Thank you! I have been looking for this site for quite some time now! It really includes loads of information about the establishments and more. Except from the fact that it further clarified on some points about command, it also provided a lot more information about ranks and especially on the difference between the Foot and Horse Artillery!

I now also added the Royal Engineers and the Royal Military Artificers.

Cheers!
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Offline Garrel

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Re: Discussion About Historical British Ranks
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2018, 06:00:37 pm »
Hope that this helped! :)

Cavalry
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Rifles
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Artillery
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Offline Livington

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Re: Discussion About Historical British Ranks
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2018, 01:49:28 am »
Hope that this helped! :)

Cavalry
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Rifles
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Artillery
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Cavalry: I think these are mainly based on the modern structure and, although they are certainly popular in the community, I have not been able to find any evidence for it. Although it is true that the cavalry ranks did look like that even further back in the day they did not by the napoleonic wars in the majority of units. Only the Household cavalry keeps that ranking structure until today (famously because of the fact that serjeant meant "servant").

After my recent cavalry hype wave I have yet again started to read through some of the manuals, namely...
"Instructions and regulations for the formations and movements of the cavalry" and
"The light-horse drill, designed for the use of the Volunteer corps of Great Britain" (just for the record this one is really easy to read and has pretty pictures  ;)).

Both of these mention the words "Quarter Master", "Serjeant", "Corporal". (Still no sign of LCpl or Chsm, still only 'intelligent men', so I am also technically wrong in listing any of these, but I hope I explained myself sufficiently.)

Rifles: Your rifle ranks match up with what I have, so no disagreement there, in fact I'll add them soon. I think that Regimental Serjeant Major was an appointment, though. I will add a list of appointments later.

Artillery: I think that the term "battery" only later came into British usage, which is why I doubt the existence of a Battery Serejant or Battery Serejant Major. They also sound like appointments (I'll of course change my mind if I find sufficient information to indicate the opposite). Lance-Bombardier was a 20th century invention. They wanted to replace the rank of Corporal and therefore moved Bombardier up from the Lance Corporal equivalent to Corporal. As far as I am aware "Cannoneer" is/was only a rank in the US forces (perhaps also the Battery titles aswell?).

Saga's source also indicates that the listed ranks were in use, and as they are drawn from different records of establishments from the period they should be correct.

I feel like many American ranks and the Household Cavalry ranks circle around the community. This is of course no big deal, ranks are just names for levels in a hierarchy at the end of the day, but I hope to shed some light on the historical side of things. (But don't ask me about other nations, I know F**k all about the French, for example...)

Thank you for your reply, though, and especially the Rifle ranks! I'll add them when I feel I have added sufficient descriptions.

Also, I don't want to come of as just disregarding other people's suggestions (that would hardly be a discussion, would it?). I hope I have explained myself to a satisfactory level regarding the cavalry ranks and the artillery.

If anyone would like to have a look at the cavalry manuals listed I have a link to both of them as e-books, so just drop a reply here in that case. They should be easy to find through a search aswell. (They liked long niche titles!)
« Last Edit: August 08, 2018, 02:01:40 am by Livington »
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Offline Wolfster

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Re: Discussion About Historical British Ranks
« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2018, 04:22:02 pm »
Chosen man only applied to Light Infantry companies, Lance Corporal applied to Centre and Guard Companies

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Offline Livington

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Re: Discussion About Historical British Ranks
« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2018, 06:22:21 pm »
Chosen man only applied to Light Infantry companies, Lance Corporal applied to Centre and Guard Companies

Do you have any reference to this? And with guard I assume you mean grenadier? I'd fully understand the distiction between different regiments, such as a light or line regiment. However, having different ranks for different companies within the battalion seems odd to me.
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Offline CamJo

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Re: Discussion About Historical British Ranks
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2018, 02:33:52 pm »
For the infantry private it depends on what regiment they're in for instances;

. If they're a regiment of foot with no special standards they will be called 'Private'
. If they're a regiment of foot guards they would be called 'Guardsman'
. If they're a regiment of fusiliers they would be called 'Fusilier'
. If they're a Scottish regiment of foot 'Highlander/Private' in some cases it was different.
. If they're a grenadier regiment 'Grenadier'

If they're part of the royal engineers (Formed 1716) they would be called 'Sappers'

Hoped this proved useful.

Offline CamJo

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Re: Discussion About Historical British Ranks
« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2018, 02:37:08 pm »
Chosen man only applied to Light Infantry companies, Lance Corporal applied to Centre and Guard Companies

Do you have any reference to this? And with guard I assume you mean grenadier? I'd fully understand the distiction between different regiments, such as a light or line regiment. However, having different ranks for different companies within the battalion seems odd to me.

Wolfster is correct. Lance Corporal applied to the centre and guard companies based upon the soldiers discipline and veterancy. Where as the chosen man applied to light's and skirmishers to distinguish the veterancy and talent of the soldier not the discipline.

Hense nowadays in the british army rifles regiment they host a yearly chosen man competition. Nowadays they do have lance corporal for the rifles regiment.