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Module:WPMILHIST Infobox style|header_bar}}|
Navies Armies Air forces
Module:WPMILHIST Infobox style|header_bar}}| Commissioned officers
Admiral of
the fleet
Marshal or
Field marshal
Marshal of
the air force
Admiral General Air chief marshal
Vice admiral Lieutenant general Air marshal
Rear admiral Major general Air vice-marshal
Commodore Brigadier or
Brigadier general
Air commodore
Captain Colonel Group captain
Commander Lieutenant colonel Wing commander
Lieutenant
commander
Major or
Commandant
Squadron leader
Lieutenant Captain Flight lieutenant
Sub-lieutenant Lieutenant or
First lieutenant
Flying officer
Ensign Second
lieutenant
Pilot officer
Midshipman Officer cadet Officer cadet
Module:WPMILHIST Infobox style|header_bar}}| Enlisted grades
Warrant officer or
Chief petty officer
Warrant officer or
Sergeant major
Warrant officer
Petty officer Sergeant Sergeant
Leading seaman Corporal Corporal
Seaman Private Aircraftman

Ensign {{#invoke:IPAc-en|main}} late 14c., via Scottish, from Old French enseigne (12c.) "mark, symbol, signal; flag, standard, pennant", from Latin insignia (plural) is a junior rank of a commissioned officer in the armed forces of some countries, normally in the infantry or navy. As the junior officer in an infantry regiment was traditionally the carrier of the ensign flag, the rank itself acquired the name. This rank has generally been replaced in army ranks by second lieutenant.<ref name=rnza>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> Ensigns were generally the lowest ranking commissioned officer, except where the rank of subaltern itself existed.<ref name=ae>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref>

In Thomas Venn's 1672 Military and Maritime Discipline in Three Books, the duties of ensigns are to include not only carrying the colour but assisting the captain and lieutenant of a company and in their absence, have their authority.<ref>Venn, Thomas; Tacquet, Andrew & (tr) Lacey, John (translator) Military and Maritime Discipline in Three Books R Pawlet, 1672</ref>

"Ensign" is enseigne in French, and chorąży in Polish, each of which derives from a term for a flag. The Spanish alférez and Portuguese alferes is a junior officer rank below lieutenant associated with carrying the flag, and so is often translated as "ensign". Unlike the rank in other languages, its etymology has nothing to do with flags, but instead comes from the arabic for "cavalier" or "knight". Fähnrich in German comes from an older German military title, Fahnenträger (flag bearer); however, it is an officer cadet rank, not a junior officer - the same applies to the Dutch Vaandrig, which has a parallel etymology. In the German Landsknecht armies (c. 1480), the equivalent rank of a Cornet existed for those men who carried the troop standard (known as a "cornet"). It is still used in the artillery and cavalry divisions of the Netherlands (Kornet).

The NATO rank code is OF-1 (junior).


Ensign (rank) sections
Intro  Argentina  France and Canada  Austria and Germany  New Zealand  Norway  Poland  Romania  Russia  Slovakia  Sweden  United Kingdom  United States  Popular Culture  See also  References  External links  

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