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Major general (abbreviated MG, maj. gen. and similar) is a military rank used in many countries. It is derived from the older rank of sergeant major general. The disappearance of the "sergeant" in the title explains the apparent confusion of a lieutenant general outranking a major general, whereas a major outranks a lieutenant.[better source needed]
In the Commonwealth and in the United States, when appointed to a field command, a major general is typically in command of a division consisting of around 6,000 to 25,000 troops (several regiments or brigades). There, it is a two-star rank that is subordinate to the rank of lieutenant general and senior to the rank of brigadier or brigadier general. In the Commonwealth, major general is equivalent to the navy rank of rear admiral, and in air forces, with a separate rank structure, it is equivalent to air vice-marshal.
Major general ranks by country
The following articles deal with the rank of major general, as it is or was employed in the militaries of those countries:
- Major general (Australia)
- Generalmajor (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Norway)
- Major general (India)
- Major-general (Sri Lanka)
- Generalmajor (Sweden)
- Major-general (United Kingdom)
- Major general (United States)
In the Canadian Armed Forces, the rank of major-general (MGen) (French: major-général) is both a Canadian Army and Royal Canadian Air Force rank equivalent to the Royal Canadian Navy's rank of rear-admiral. A major-general is a general officer, the equivalent of a naval flag officer. The major-general rank is senior to the ranks of brigadier-general and commodore, and junior to lieutenant-general and vice-admiral. Prior to 1968, the Air Force used the rank of air vice-marshal, instead.
The rank insignia for a major-general in the Royal Canadian Air Force is a wide braid under a single narrow braid on the cuff, as well as two silver maple leaves beneath crossed sword and baton, all surmounted by St. Edward's Crown. In the Canadian Army, the rank insignia is a wide braid on the cuff, as well as two gold maple leaves beneath crossed sword and baton, all surmounted by St. Edward's Crown. It is worn on the shoulder straps of the service dress tunic, and on slip-ons on other uniforms. On the visor of the service cap are two rows of gold oak leaves.
Major-generals are initially addressed as "general" and name, as are all general officers; thereafter by subordinates as "sir" or "ma'am" as applicable in English (French: mon général. Major-generals are normally entitled to staff cars.
Because no brigadier-general rank is used in Japan, major-general is the rank of brigade commander. Therefore, the designation in the French Revolutionary System is the brigade general. In the past, rikugun-shōshō (陸軍少将) in the Imperial Japanese Army was equivalent to major-general; in the current Japan Self-Defense Forces, rikushō-ho (陸将補) in the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force and kūshō-ho (空将補) in the Japan Air Self-Defense Force are equivalent to it.
In the New Zealand Army, major-general is the rank held by the chief of army (formerly the chief of general staff). The more senior rank of lieutenant-general is reserved for when an army officer holds the position of chief of defence force, who commands all New Zealand's armed forces. This position is subject to rotation between the heads of the air force, army, and navy.
Major general in the Pakistan Army is equivalent to rear admiral in the Navy and air vice marshal in the Air Force. It is the lowest of the general officer ranks, ranking between brigadier and lieutenant general.
The rank of major-general was reintroduced in the Portuguese Army, Air Force and National Republican Guard in 1999, replacing the former rank of brigadier in the role of brigade commander. As a rank, it had previously been used in the Army only for a brief period (from 1862 to 1864). It is equivalent to the rank of contra-almirante (rear-admiral) in the Portuguese Navy. In 2015, the rank of major-general was moved up one level, with the role of brigade commander being assumed by the below rank of brigadier-general.
In most of the 19th and first half of the 20th century, major-general was not used as a rank in the Portuguese military, but as an appointment title conferred to the general officer that acted as the military head of a service branch. The roles of Major-General of the Navy (Major-General da Armada) and Major-General of the Army (Major-General do Exército) became extinct in 1950, with their roles being unified in the then created Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces.
The Turkish Army and Air Force refer to the rank as tümgeneral. The Turkish Navy equivalent is tümamiral. The name is derived from tümen, the Turkish word for a military division (tümen itself is an older Turkish word meaning "10,000"). Thus, linguistically, it is similar to the French equivalent for a major general, général de division.
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- Media related to Major generals at Wikimedia Commons
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