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Thread: Company commander - captain or major?

  1. #31
    Military Professional sappersgt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by entropy View Post
    The rank of captain was only one, sir. There was a junior and senior Lieutenant, as well as an Undercolonel and a Colonel.
    Thank you for the correction and as I used to say, "don't call me Sir, I work for a living!".
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  2. #32
    Senior Reader Senior Contributor entropy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sappersgt View Post
    Thank you for the correction and as I used to say, "don't call me Sir, I work for a living!".
    There are a bunch of Captains in the Russian/Soviet navy. Captain-Lieuteant, Cpt. 3rd, 2nd, and 1st class.

    And you are not the first one asking for me not to call you Sir. Must be bad for the self esteem, when unarmed civilians start to "sir" you.

  3. #33
    WAB BOUNCER Senior Contributor Stan187's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by entropy View Post
    The rank of captain was only one, sir. There was a junior and senior Lieutenant, as well as an Undercolonel and a Colonel.
    I believe in English, the equivalent of Undercolonel or Sub-Colonel (Podpolkovnik), is Lieutenant Colonel. Also sometimes informally known in the Soviet Army as ComBat (Comandir Battaliona--> Battalion Commander). Polk=regiment. Polkovnik=Regimental Commander. Pod=Under/Sub. So Podpolkovnik=commander on one level of organization below regiment, hence battalion commander. There is some terminological entymology for ya people, whether you asked for it or not.
    In Iran people belive pepsi stands for pay each penny save israel. -urmomma158
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    Defense Professional RustyBattleship's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by entropy View Post
    The rank of captain was only one, sir. There was a junior and senior Lieutenant, as well as an Undercolonel and a Colonel.
    We call junior and senior lieutenants 2nd and 1st Lieutenants. 2nd "Louies" are the worst in demanding exact discipline because they want to advance in rank.

    Reminds me of a story. It was at night on the Army base and the private wanted to have a cigarette but was out of matches. Another soldier walked by and he said, "Hey Buddy. You got a light?"

    The other soldier pulled out his lighter and the private saw two silver stars on the man's collar indicating he was a General. He snapped to attention and said, "I'm sorry Sir. I did not see your rank in the dark."

    The General laughed and said, "No problem soldier. Just be glad I wasn't a Second Lieutenant."
    Able to leap tall tales in a single groan.

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    Rusty,

    Those were different times as far as 2LTs go. It has long been an automatic promotion to 1LT unless you screw something up bigtime. Thus, the saying that "rank among lieutenants is like virtue among whores" - it doesn't exist.
    "So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand." Thucydides 1.20.3

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    Defense Professional RustyBattleship's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shek View Post
    Rusty,

    Those were different times as far as 2LTs go. It has long been an automatic promotion to 1LT unless you screw something up bigtime. Thus, the saying that "rank among lieutenants is like virtue among whores" - it doesn't exist.
    Are you accusing me of being an old f**t?

    Hmmm. Maybe I am. After all, my time in uniform was over half a century ago.
    Able to leap tall tales in a single groan.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shek View Post
    Rusty,

    Those were different times as far as 2LTs go. It has long been an automatic promotion to 1LT unless you screw something up bigtime. Thus, the saying that "rank among lieutenants is like virtue among whores" - it doesn't exist.
    We called that promotion the Fog The Mirror Promotion...i.e., if you were breathing you got promoted.

    The way to tell a senior captain from a junior captain? Easy..the senior captain usually has a coffee mug in his hand and a disgruntled look on his face as he is posting on blogs and ticked off that he has already commanded and has to sit in this stupid staff job while the junior captain has all of the fun and is out with the troops in a combat unit.
    “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
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    So at the risk being a Necroposter....our new member Sam mentioned this post so I decided to revisit. Great stroll down memory lane with some former, and sadly, late members.

    But I did not see one point that I think needs to be brought up on this subject.

    In the British and Commonwealth armies in much of their history, the rank of company commander was a Captain and not a Major.

    So what changed, when & why? A result of lesson learned form WW 1? Massive change in doctrine?
    “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
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    Somewhat interestingly in this regard the Bundeswehr just finished transitioning all/most company commander posts from Captain to Major as regular paygrade.

    The official explanation for that is to give officers "more time to gather experience" before placing them in a command post - there's up to six years difference after all.
    The more realistic explanation is that:
    a) the Major paygrade in the German Army is reserved for lifetime soldiers, i.e. those officers who committed to serving longer than 12 years.
    b) they basically upgraded all levels by one paygrade anyway to find more recruits.

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    For a period of time US Army Aviation companies and ordnance ammunition (special weapons) were commanded by majors because of the increased responsibility. That went away when A) we deployed Aviation Brigades and B) got out of the nuke business
    “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
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    Quote Originally Posted by Albany Rifles View Post
    So at the risk being a Necroposter....our new member Sam mentioned this post so I decided to revisit. Great stroll down memory lane with some former, and sadly, late members.

    But I did not see one point that I think needs to be brought up on this subject.

    In the British and Commonwealth armies in much of their history, the rank of company commander was a Captain and not a Major.

    So what changed, when & why? A result of lesson learned form WW 1? Massive change in doctrine?
    WWI is easy. We lost too many Captains. Until Arthur Currie, only Officers were issued with maps and compasses. The Germans learned that if you shoot the Officers, the rest of the platoon/company would be lost and don't know where to advance after their immediate objective.

    WWII and beyond, there was the Company Group (coy+) to include other sections/platoons/even another squadron from the brigade's artillery/tank/engineer units which demanded the Major rank to integrate. In other words, asking a re-enforced company to do the job of a battalion. That was not fun.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WABs_OOE View Post
    WWI is easy. We lost too many Captains. Until Arthur Currie, only Officers were issued with maps and compasses. The Germans learned that if you shoot the Officers, the rest of the platoon/company would be lost and don't know where to advance after their immediate objective.

    WWII and beyond, there was the Company Group (coy+) to include other sections/platoons/even another squadron from the brigade's artillery/tank/engineer units which demanded the Major rank to integrate. In other words, asking a re-enforced company to do the job of a battalion. That was not fun.
    Thanks sir.

    Interesting perspective. When I went to the Infantry Officers' Advanced Course in 1984-85 I was taught to use integrated combined arms at the company level and how to command them. As a Rifle Company commander I habitually was task organized as 2 Mechanized Infantry platoons, 1 tank platoon, Mech Engineer Platoon (-), Fire Support Team, ADA Team. Did all of that as a captain. Maybe I would have done it better as a Major.
    “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
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    Quote Originally Posted by Albany Rifles View Post
    Interesting perspective. When I went to the Infantry Officers' Advanced Course in 1984-85 I was taught to use integrated combined arms at the company level and how to command them. As a Rifle Company commander I habitually was task organized as 2 Mechanized Infantry platoons, 1 tank platoon, Mech Engineer Platoon (-), Fire Support Team, ADA Team. Did all of that as a captain. Maybe I would have done it better as a Major.
    It wasn't the combined arms that was the problem. It was actually going on deployment (peacekeeping) with such a grouping and tasked with the job of battalion. A company group is not a battalion no matter what resources you throw at it. The Canadian Airborne Regiment saw combat in the Turk invasion of Cyprus as a Company Group. 1 Commando was re-enforced with a squadron (company) from 2nd Combat Engineers Regiment. They were wishing to hell that they had 2 and 3 Cmdo there.
    Last edited by WABs_OOE; 12 Mar 18, at 15:37.

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    Okay, sir. I get what you are saying. We declare those as Task force and place a major or lieutenant colonel in charge with a staff. I was speaking purely as the commander of a company.

    The span of control issues become ungainly once a commander gets past 5 subordinate units...platoons at company level, companies at battalion level, and so on. That is one of the reasons we built support commands, fires brigades, etc., so there would be a command element over a lot of those separate units.
    “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
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    It's been awhile since I've been down at a USMC rifle Battalion, but Company Commanders were typically senior Captains with many getting promoted to Major at the tail end of their tour.

    2ndLt/1stLt will do their initial tour with a rifle battalion, then move on to a 'B' billet which is typically either a tour at the recruit depots, as a recruiter, or similar training/staff post. They are usually promoted to Captain during this time. Upon completion of this tour, they then go on to Expeditionary Warfare School (or it's equivalent), then back to the Fleet as a senior Captain. There are many exceptions, a really good 1stLt will sometimes be kept around the battalion and will get a Company, but it's not typical.

    I think the extra couple of years does benefit the Captains.

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