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Badge of rank of a sergeant of the NYPD : Internationally, the angle as a badge often distinguishes the NCO from the officer (stars)

Sergeant ( English ), Sergent ( French ), Sargento ( Portuguese and Spanish , from Latin serviens , to serve) is a non-commissioned officer rank in numerous Anglo-Saxon and Latin countries . The rank is also used in the police. In France , the sergent is called Maréchal-des-logis in the "mounted troops" (e.g. tank troops , gendarmerie ) .


As servientes equites (French: sergents à cheval ) were referred to the High Middle Ages around since the 12th century cavalry soldier is not chivalrous Ethnicity, ie non-noble soldiers, miners and professional warriors, armed to chivalrous nature and fought. In some cases, noblemen were also referred to as servientes , i.e. young nobles who had not yet been promoted to knights through the sword line (later the accolade ) . The term was particularly used in the military orders of knights , where non- knightly order members were generally referred to as sergeants.

Military rank

Using the rank table of the NATO armed forces ( NATO rank code system ), the rank of “sergeant” can be classified in relation to ranks of the Bundeswehr . A British sergeant covers the ranks of NCO up to and including sergeant major . In some British regiments such as The Rifles the name Serjeant is traditionally used . An American sergeant , on the other hand, corresponds to the Bundeswehr ranks of NCO and Sergeant ; in a similar ratio, the French are Sergent and Italian Sergente .

The professional qualifications and duration of training, on the other hand, can vary considerably: in the Bundeswehr, promotion to NCO is usually possible after about a year of training, in France, on the other hand, after three months.

In the multilingual Swiss Army corresponding Sergeant the sergeant , who as a group leader is used.

Police rank

The rank or the official title "Sergeant" is also used by many police forces in different countries. It is usually the highest rank held by a superior officer who is assigned directly to an agency or patrol duty.

In the British Police , the Police Sergeant is placed between the Police Constable and the Inspector . British Police Sergeants are usually addressed by their subordinates as "Sergeant", "Sarge", "Skipper" or "Skip". Constables must complete their two-year probationary period before they can apply for sergeant selection tests. In London's Metropolitan Police Service, there was still a senior sergeant, the Station Sergeant or First Class Detective in the criminal investigation department from 1890 to 1973 .

In many US police forces, the sergeant , who is usually located directly below the lieutenant , is also used as a rank.

The New Zealand and Australian police forces also have the rank of Senior Sergeant .

Historical use in Germany


Prussian sergeant button

The rank of sergeant was reintroduced in the Prussian army in 1843, after it had been abolished in the meantime and was sometimes used synonymously with the term " sergeant ". The large eagle button as a badge of rank on the collar, also called flywheel in soldiers' jargon, did not appear until 1846.

In the contingent army of the German Empire , the sergeant ranked after the portepee NCOs and stood between the corporal or NCO and the vice sergeant . A non-commissioned officer could be promoted to sergeant after 5½ years of service at the earliest. However, the sergeant was not a regular rank between the sergeant and the vice sergeant; only longer-serving non-commissioned officers (e.g. as medical sergeants, trainers or corporal leaders) were promoted to sergeants. An infantry regiment had about 48 regular sergeants.

The rank was renamed in 1921 in " Unterfeldwebel ", accordingly " Unterwachtmeister " for cavalry and artillery . In the modern Bundeswehr of the Federal Republic of Germany, this corresponds to the rank of staff sergeant, which is now always to be passed except in the case of candidate officers .


Around the same time with the re-emergence of the service level in the military, the sergeant came in the police services of the countries German Confederation in use. Since simple police officers usually ranked with the non-commissioned officers of the Army, the sergeant was as the next higher rank almost everywhere the second lowest rank of the police - before the small-town policeman, the policeman in the city or the militarized policeman in the country.

In this regard, Prussia and the Grand Duchy of Hesse were an exception . In the police administrations of the Prussian small and medium-sized towns, "Sergeant" was the entry level and was equal in rank to the "policeman" of the militarily oriented Berlin police force. In the Grand Ducal Hessian gendarmerie, the simple gendarme was ranked on a par with the army sergeant.

In all police forces of the German Empire, the "Wachtmeister" and the " Oberwachtmeister " were the immediate superior ranks. These corresponded to the "Vice Sergeant" and "Sergeant" of the army. In Bavaria there was also the rank of "Staff Sergeant", comparable to the " Deputy Officer " of the army .

Almost without exception, former soldiers have been employed in the police force since the mid-19th century. Since 1852 the Berlin protection team has only accepted applicants who had voluntarily served nine years (instead of the usual two to three years of active service as part of compulsory military service ), of which at least five years were non-commissioned officers. The same was true in most German countries.

The police rank "Sergeant" was used for a few years after the end of the German Empire in 1918. Around 1923 it was completely eliminated. In Bavaria , Hesse and Prussia he was replaced by the rank of "Unterwachtmeister".

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Sergeant  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations