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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

General Officers


Old Tom

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Hello,

The French army had, and as far as I know still have, a simple gradation of officer rank titles at senior level. If I recall correctly General covers the ranks we then called Brigadier General, Major General, Lieutenant General, General and Field Marshal. I am not sure when they adopted the practice of referring to 'General de Division, General de Corps d'armee etc. I have just come across a statement that suggests that Field Marshal Sir John French was uneasy in dealing with General Joffre as Joffre was 'in charge' while he, French, seemed to be the senior ranking officer. Seemed odd to me as Joffre was in command of several armies while French only commanded a couple of corps.

I wonder if there are examples where the different style of rank titles has caused a real problem. I don't suppose the British Brigadier was ever confued with a French NCO - Brigadier.

Old Tom

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"...I am not sure when they adopted the practice of referring to 'General de Division, General de Corps d'armee etc..."

The French ranks "General de Brigade" and "General de Division" certainly date back to the Age of Napoleon, if not earlier.

I think that "General de Corps d'armee" was a much later invention.

Tom the Walrus

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I think, although I'm not certain, that there are only 2 permanent general officer ranks in the French Army, General de Brigade & General de Division, with General de Corps d'Armee & General d'Armee being apppointments given to a General de Division. Obviously, there's also the most senior rank of Marshal.

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