In a military, ranks are a system used to determine the hierarchical relationship between its members. It is used to establish the chain of command (who must answer to who) in the military and determine pay and responsibilities, but it can also have ceremonial functions.

Some common ranks include Private (or Trooper, Soldier, Airman, or other equivalents), Sergeant, Captain and General (or Admiral, Marshall, or other equivalent). Ranks can differ not only between countries (especially those with different language) but also between service branch (Army vs Air Force, for example).

In ArmA series, ranks are applied, but they are simplified and serve mainly practical purposes, which is to establish the chain of command and hierarchy within a unit. Ranks in ArmA appeared to be based on common Army ranks.

Real-world ranks Edit

Ranks in real-life can be divided into three major groups: Commissioned Officers, Non-Commissioned Officer and Enlisted, each could be broken down to smaller groups. Commissioned Officers and Non-Commissioned Officers (NCO) are members of the military with command responsibility. Likewise, Enlisted personnel, forming the bulk of the military, do not have command responsibilities.

The following is one example of rank structure in an army from top to bottom. Note that the names can differ between armies or different service branches.

Commissioned officers Edit

General officers Edit

These are the most senior members of the army, usually commanding brigades and higher. They are not expected to be in the frontlines.

  • General of the Army (usually reserved for war time or ceremonial)
  • General
  • Lieutenant General
  • Major General
  • Brigadier General

Field officers Edit

These are the most senior ranks that may be expected to command from the field. Typically, they command battalions or regiments.

  • Colonel
  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • Major

Junior officers Edit

  • Captain
  • 1st Lieutenant (or Senior Lieutenant)
  • 2nd Lieutenant (or Junior Lieutenant)

Warrant officers Edit

They are somewhere in between commissioned and non-commissioned officers. While they may not command units like other officers, they may be highly skilled specialists. Alternatively, they may be known as 'Sub-Lieutenants'. Some military organizations do not have this class at all (e.g. US Air Force).

Non-commissioned officers Edit

Non-Commissioned Officers are the lowest ranks to be have command responsibility. Holders of this type of rank usually lead small groups of soldiers (e.g. a squad or fireteam) and are responsible in the training of enlisted men. Some common ranks include the different grades of Sergeant and Corporal (e.g. Staff Sergeant, First Sergeant, Corporal, Lance Corporal).

Enlisted ranks Edit

These ranks make up the large part of the armed forces and usually have no command responsibility by default. They typically include Private and some variations or grades of such ranks. In several countries, Lance Corporal are also considered Enlisted.

Other ranks Edit

Other ranks may be in use, if sometimes for formality purposes. One of the most common is a retired rank, usually given to an officer who has honorably retired. Others may include honorary ranks, brevet ranks (higher responsibility but no change in pay grade) or ceremonial ranks (e.g. Colonel-in-Chief). These ranks may not carry the authority (and responsibility) of normal ranks.

Ranks in ArmA series Edit

ArmA 2 Edit

ArmA 2 uses a simplified rank structure that works as follows (from top to bottom):

  1. Colonel
  2. Major
  3. Captain
  4. Lieutenant
  5. Sergeant
  6. Corporal
  7. Private

These ranks identify the hierarchy of the character in-game. In the context of a squad, the ranks determine who is the squad leader and who is his second-in-command, his third-in-command and so on. How this works is as follows:

Consider a squad consisting of: 1 Lieutenant, 1 Sergeant, 2 Corporal and 4 Privates. The Lieutenant is assigned as the squad leader by the game.

If the Lieutenant is killed or incapacitated, the Sergeant takes over, until the Lieutenant is revived (if he was incapacitated), the scenario is over or he is also killed or incapacitated. In the last case, one of the Corporals will take command, and afterwards the other. Should the last Corporal was killed, one of the Privates will take command and the same thing continues if necessary.

Other than that, ranks also determine 'value' points of each character. Killing an enemy Lieutenant gives the player more points than killing an enemy Private.

Note that ArmA 2 has no 'set' rank for the models and characters in the mission editor. It is entirely possible to put one Rifleman as a colonel and command Team Leaders whose ranks are all Private. While counter-intuitive, it may not affect the performance of the unit greatly.