How does a lieutenant get his battalion?

Ranks of the Austrian Armed Forces

The armed forces rank

The following list should give you an overview of the armed forces ranks. The ranks of the Austrian Armed Forces are:

  • Team rank
  • Batch ranks
    • Private (Gfr)
    • Corporal (assembly)
    • Platoon leader (Zgf)
  • NCOs
    • Constable (Wm)
    • Oberwachtmeister (OWm)
    • Staff Sergeant (StWm)
    • Chief Staff Sergeant (OStWm)
    • Deputy Officer (OStv)
    • Vice Lieutenant (Vzlt)
  • Officers
    • Ensign (Fhr)
    • Lieutenant (Lt)
    • First Lieutenant (Olt)
    • Captain
    • Major (Mjr)
    • Lieutenant Colonel (Obstlt)
    • Colonel (fruit)
    • Brigadier (Bgdr)
    • Major General (GenMjr)
    • Lieutenant General (GenLt)
    • General (Gen)

Division of troops in the armed forces

The smallest organizational unit is the squad, it consists of 2-3 people. A group has 2 teams and consists of 8-10 people. A train has up to five groups and thus 30-50 people. A company has three to five platoons and consists of up to 250 people. A battalion consists of four companies and can contain 1,000 people. Battalions are grouped into brigades. A brigade consists of up to five battalions and is therefore several thousand people strong. In principle, the following applies: the larger the organizational unit, the more people are subordinate to the commander as support staff. They should support the "boss" of the organization in making the right decisions or in implementing his decisions correctly and comprehensively.

Who has what role?

Ranks help with the differentiation and classification in the hierarchy of the armed forces. In principle, the following functional classifications can be made, although this list does not claim to be complete:


Soldiers at the beginning of their careers are called recruits. Recruits provide simple services that can be mastered after a relatively short training and learning phase. This includes security services, work as a driver, kitchen assistant or clerk (assistant in the office). After five and a half months at the earliest, promotion to corporal takes place. However, numerous recruits finish their military service without being promoted.


Depending on the training path, promotion to private corporal takes place after the first five to six months. Militiamen who were transferred to the militia after completing their military service are sometimes promoted to private during the first militias. A private takes over tasks that require a completed basic training. This already includes the function as a commander for one or two people. Typical activities are vehicle commanders and auxiliary instructors.

Corporal and platoon leader

Promotion to the corporal can take place after seven months at the earliest; to the train driver after 12 months at the earliest. Corporals and platoon leaders have completed basic training as well as specialist training in their branch of service. This includes the commanding function in a squad (3 people) of an anti-tank guided weapon or a deputy commanding function of a hunter group (8 people). Soldiers with this rank are regularly deployed to train recruits.


Sergeant is the first rank of non-commissioned officer. It can be reached at least 18 months after the date of indentation. Sergeants are group commanders (8 people). They have a broad field of theoretical training and practical experience of weapons and equipment in their weapon type.

Sergeant major

Oberwachtmeister is also a non-commissioned officer. In practice, the prefix "Ober-" indicates that the person is older than the previous rank.

Staff sergeant, chief staff sergeant

Staff NCOs have completed staff NCO training. It enables these people to drive trains (up to 50 people). Staff NCOs are also used as specialist NCOs. You are therefore responsible for specialized services such as telecommunications (radio and data transmission), operating personnel (including drones, machines) but also economic and administrative matters.

Officer deputy

Contrary to what the name suggests, officer deputies are not officers' deputies. On the contrary, they are experienced and comprehensively trained NCOs who play responsible roles in the army.

Vice lieutenant

Vice lieutenant is the highest rank of the non-commissioned officers. He or she holds important administrative positions in the company, battalions and brigade. This group of people is very well trained and has gained significant experience in handling weapons, equipment and people.


Ensigns are students of the military academy. During their training as officers, ensigns undergo a three-year training course in which they are continuously encouraged and challenged in terms of sport and spirit. The end of the training is the retirement, in which the ensigns are solemnly taken over as lieutenants in the army. Retirement is possible at the earliest 48 months (4 years) after joining the army.

Lieutenant, first lieutenant

Lieutenants are at least 21 years old, but mostly between 22 and 24. They are theoretically well-trained executives in the armed forces. They take on "junior management" positions and are therefore deployed as platoon commanders and deputy company commanders. Experienced first lieutenants are already entrusted with the independent management of a company.


Soldiers who have completed leadership courses and have the appropriate experience are promoted to captains. Persons with this rank are commanders of a company, specialist officers on the staff of a battalion, and teaching officers at weapons and technical schools.

Major, lieutenant colonel

Persons with the rank of major or lieutenant colonel are mostly officers in the staff of a battalion or a brigade. Persons with the rank of lieutenant colonel can also be commanders of a battalion. These officers are between 35 and 50 years old. They form the middle management level of the armed forces. You have completed well-founded theoretical leadership training over many years and gained practical experience in assignments at home and abroad.


A colonel is used as a battalion commander or officer on the staff of a brigade. For most officers, the rank of colonel is the highest attainable rank.


Brigadier is the first rank of general. Internationally, there is also talk of the 1-star general. A brigadier can be the commander of a brigade or an organization that has brigade-like structures (weapons school or military command). Brigadiers are used in the highest management positions. As a rule, this officer rank is only possible after completing the general staff course, a demanding, comprehensive and year-long training for the highest management positions in the armed forces.

Major General, Lieutenant General

These ranks in the general rank (2 and 3 star general) are entrusted with the management of commandos. In Austria, for example, the "Land Forces Command" is led by a Lieutenant General, who in turn is supported by numerous General Staff officers. A command leads brigades and weapons schools.


The rank of general is the highest rank of the armed forces. The Federal Minister for National Defense stands above the general as the highest soldier, which is intended to ensure the separation of politics and the military. The general is the chief of the general staff, the command unit of the highest level of the armed forces.