[LMB] OT: Piracy, Evil Overbeings, etc.

Peter H. Granzeau pgranzeau at cox.net
Tue, 03 Aug 2004 10:31:03 -0500

At 10:08 08/03/2004 -0400, Andrew Barton wrote:
>Dan Tilque:
> > At the time, the Army had a largish number of officer ranks, from
> > general down to ensign[1], while the Navy contented itself with
> > just admiral, captain, and lieutenant.
> > [1] The rank of ensign started out as an Army rank, was borrowed
> > by the Navy, and then replaced by 2nd Lt. by the Army.
>Are you talking about the British Army and Royal Navy here, or the US
>The Royal Navy at the time of the Hornblower and Aubrey books had several
>flavours of Admiral, Captain, Commander, Lieutenant, Midshipman.  The US
>Navy of this period also had Commodore as a permanent rank, where the RN
>used it as a temporary title for a Captain in command of a squadron.
>Ensign wasn't an RN rank and I don't think ever has been - the equivalent
>in the WW2 era and since is Sublieutenant.

The USN had no official rank of Commodore before the Civil War; all 
officers were Captains and below, with the senior Captain in a squadron 
receiving the courtesy title of Commodore.  In 1862, Commodore became an 
official rank, and was used until 1899, after which it was used only as a 
retirement rank for Captains who had served in the Civil War.  It was 
reinstated in 1943 for wartime use, and there were 143 Commodores during 
the war.  Postwar, the USN reverted to previous practice, and by 1950, 
there were no active duty Commodores.  For three years starting in 1982, 
the rank was reinstated, but in 1986, it was changed to Rear Admiral (Lower 
Half).  Commodore is still a courtesy title for officers of the rank of 
Captain and below who are commanders of more than one ship (usually, a 
squadron or division).

The RN's rank of Sublieutenant is actually considered equivalent to a US 
Lieutenant (Junior Grade).  The RN has no equivalent rank to the USN 
Ensign; in the RN, a Midshipman is considered an officer, but ranking lower 
than the US rank of Ensign.

Regards, Pete
pgranzeau at cox.net