Captain lieutenant or captain-lieutenant is a military rank, used in a
number of navies worldwide and formerly in the British Army. It is
generally equivalent to the Commonwealth or US naval rank of
lieutenant, and has the NATO rank code of OF-2, though this can vary.
1 Finland, Denmark and Norway
6 Portugal and Brazil
7 Slavophone armed forces
7.2 Bulgaria, Latvia, Ukraine
8 United Kingdom
10 See also
Finland, Denmark and Norway
The same rank is used in the navies of Finland (kapteeniluutnantti),
Denmark (kaptajnløjtnant) and Norway (kapteinløytnant). The latest
revision of the relevant NATO STANAG standardization agreement makes
the longstanding courtesy practice of translating the rank into
English as "lieutenant commander" for all German, Danish and Norwegian
officers of that rank official.
The Norwegian Navy goes a step further in ranking the kapteinløytnant
as OF-3 when serving afloat, disregarding the Norwegian national
tri-service ranking (which still equates the kapteinløytnant with the
Army rank of kaptein).
Estonian Navy the similarly sounding rank of kaptenleitnant is
an officer rank classified as NATO OF-4, i.e. equal to commander in
the Royal Navy and
United States Navy. As the commander of the
Estonian Navy is a captain, this is the de facto second highest
rank in the Estonian Navy.
The French Army of the
Ancien Régime used a rank of
capitaine-lieutenant very similar to the British one. It was mostly
encountered in the Royal Guard (maison militaire du roi), where the
king was officially captain of most of the guard companies, but the
effective command was in the hands of a captain-lieutenant. D'Artagnan
is perhaps the most famous captain-lieutenant in French history, as
commander of the first mousquetaire company.
Kapitänleutnant is an OF2 rank equivalent to the
Captain) in the
German Army and the German Air Force.
Main articles: Kapitänleutnant, Ranks of the German Bundeswehr, and
Rank insignia of the German Bundeswehr
In the Royal Netherlands Navy, a kapitein-luitenant ter zee is
equivalent to a US Navy or Royal Navy commander (OF-4).
Portugal and Brazil
In the Portuguese Navy, a capitão-tenente is the equivalent naval
rank to a British or American lieutenant commander (OF-3).
Brazilian Navy uses the rank of capitão-tenente, in the same
manner as the Navy of Portugal, but in contrast to those of other
South American countries. It is equivalent to the USN and RN
Slavophone armed forces
Kapitan-leytenant (Russian: капитан-лейтенант) is a
rank in the Russian Navy, previously the Red Fleet/
Soviet Navy and
Imperial Russian Navy. It is the rank below a captain of the 3rd rank
and above a senior lieutenant. In Soviet times, it may be achieved as
early as an officer's 5th year of service. In Russian and other
East-European navies it is the most senior junior officer rank
(equivalent to "captain" in the Army/Ground Forces).
Russian Navy assigns this rank the two-and-a-half stripe insignia
used in Britain and the US for lieutenant commanders. On the other
hand, the US Navy considers this rank equivalent to lieutenant.
In terms of responsibilities, officers of this rank may serve as
department heads on larger warships, but may also serve as commanding
officers of 3rd and 4th rank warships (Russian ship classifications
referring to all from Krivak-class frigates to gunboats and
Unlike the equivalent OF2-rank
Kapitänleutnant in the German Navy,
submarines are at least nominally not on the list of eligible
positions. In the past, when the boats were smaller,
captain-lieutenants were eligible for the submarine command. However,
in current Soviet/Russian ship ranking no modern submarine is given
3rd rank. This reflects the high status of submarines, as all nuclear
submarines (SSBN or SSN) are considered 1st rank and large and medium
diesels 2nd rank, while smaller 3rd rank submarines simply aren't
Sequence of ranks in the Russian Federation Navy
Kapitan 3rd rank
(Капитан 3его ранга)
Rank insignia IRA, Soviet Navy, RF Navy
shoulder board / sleeve insignia
Bulgaria, Latvia, Ukraine
The rank is also used by the navies of several ex-Soviet republics and
former Eastern bloc countries. It is used in the navies of Ukraine
Bulgaria (kapitan-lejtenant) and Latvia
(kapteiņleitnants). These are equivalent to lieutenant (OF-2).
Captain-lieutenant was formerly a rank in the British Army; the senior
subaltern rank, above lieutenant and below captain.
A regiment's field officers - its colonel, lieutenant colonel, and
major - originally commanded their own companies, as well as carrying
out their regimental command duties.
However, from the 17th century onwards, the colonel increasingly
became a patron and ceremonial head instead of an actual tactical
commander, with command in the field devolving to the lieutenant
colonel. This left the colonel's company without a captain.
The lieutenant of this company thus became its acting captain. This
state of affairs was formally recognised with the creation of the rank
of captain-lieutenant, with its own entry in the table of prices for
the purchase of commissions.
In 1772 captain-lieutenants were granted rank as captains in their
regiments and in the Army. The rank was abolished sometime in the
early 19th century.
^ NATO STANAG 2116 of 25 February 2010
^ Norwegian Ministry of Defence decree of 18 May 1977
^ NATO STANAG 2116 of 25 February 2010
^ Naval rank table of the
Estonian Navy (Estonian)
^ Official CV of Captain Igor Schwede Archived September 30, 2011, at
the Wayback Machine.
^ Polmar, N. (1991) The Naval Institute Guide the Soviet Navy
^ "No. 11251". The London Gazette. 23–26 May 1772. p. 1.
Naval ranks and insignia of the Russia