Captain Lieutenant
Captain lieutenant or captain-lieutenant is a military rank, used in a number of different navies worldwide.
It is generally equivalent to the Commonwealth
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

 or US
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 rank of lieutenant
Lieutenant (naval)
LieutenantThe pronunciation of lieutenant is generally split between or , generally in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Commonwealth countries, and or , generally associated with the United States. See lieutenant. is a commissioned officer rank in many nations' navies...

, and has the NATO rank code of OF-2, though this can vary.

Russia and ex-Soviet bloc

Kapitan-leytnant is a rank
Military rank
Military rank is a system of hierarchical relationships in armed forces or civil institutions organized along military lines. Usually, uniforms denote the bearer's rank by particular insignia affixed to the uniforms...

 in the Russian Navy, previously the Red Fleet/Soviet Navy
Soviet Navy
The Soviet Navy was the naval arm of the Soviet Armed Forces. Often referred to as the Red Fleet, the Soviet Navy would have played an instrumental role in a Warsaw Pact war with NATO, where it would have attempted to prevent naval convoys from bringing reinforcements across the Atlantic Ocean...

 and Imperial Russian Navy
Imperial Russian Navy
The Imperial Russian Navy refers to the Tsarist fleets prior to the February Revolution.-First Romanovs:Under Tsar Mikhail Feodorovich, construction of the first three-masted ship, actually built within Russia, was completed in 1636. It was built in Balakhna by Danish shipbuilders from Holstein...

. It is the rank below a captain
Captain (naval)
Captain is the name most often given in English-speaking navies to the rank corresponding to command of the largest ships. The NATO rank code is OF-5, equivalent to an army full colonel....

 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).

The US Navy considers this rank equivalent to lieutenant. On the other hand, the Russians assign this rank the two-and-a-half stripe insignia used in Britain and the US for lieutenant commander
Lieutenant Commander
Lieutenant Commander is a commissioned officer rank in many navies. The rank is superior to a lieutenant and subordinate to a commander...


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 minesweepers).

Unlike the equivalent rank 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-lieutnants 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 built.

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
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

 (kapitan-leitnant), Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

 (kapitan-lejtnant) and Latvia
Latvia , officially the Republic of Latvia , is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by Estonia , to the south by Lithuania , to the east by the Russian Federation , to the southeast by Belarus and shares maritime borders to the west with Sweden...

 (kapitan-leitnant). These are equivalent to lieutenant (OF-2). The Estonia
Estonia , officially the Republic of Estonia , is a state in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia , and to the east by Lake Peipsi and the Russian Federation . Across the Baltic Sea lies...

n navy also has the rank of kapitanleitnant, but this is rated higher, equivalent to commander
Commander is a naval rank which is also sometimes used as a military title depending on the individual customs of a given military service. Commander is also used as a rank or title in some organizations outside of the armed forces, particularly in police and law enforcement.-Commander as a naval...


Germany and other European navies

Kapitänleutnant is the third lowest officer's rank in the German Navy
German Navy
The German Navy is the navy of Germany and is part of the unified Bundeswehr .The German Navy traces its roots back to the Imperial Fleet of the revolutionary era of 1848 – 52 and more directly to the Prussian Navy, which later evolved into the Northern German Federal Navy...

. The U.S. Navy's rank of lieutenant is equal to kapitänleutnant in NATO's military hierarchy (classed as OF-2). Nevertheless, a kapitänleutnant may command smaller ships (e.g. submarines class 206A) or serve as principal warfare officer on larger warships, giving the rank responsibilities more along those of a lieutenant commander in the U.S or Royal navies. The abbreviation of the title to "kaleu" (contemporary usage) is used officially in verbal communication; the commander of the Type VIIC U-boat
U-boat is the anglicized version of the German word U-Boot , itself an abbreviation of Unterseeboot , and refers to military submarines operated by Germany, particularly in World War I and World War II...

 U96 in the film Das Boot
Das Boot
Das Boot is a 1981 German epic war film written and directed by Wolfgang Petersen, produced by Günter Rohrbach, and starring Jürgen Prochnow, Herbert Grönemeyer, and Klaus Wennemann...

was of this rank, and called "Herr Kaleun" (historical usage) by his crew.

Rank insignia includes two-and-a-half stripes on shoulder boards (or rings on sleeves).

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).

In the Royal Netherlands Navy
Royal Netherlands Navy
The Koninklijke Marine is the navy of the Netherlands. In the mid-17th century the Dutch Navy was the most powerful navy in the world and it played an active role in the wars of the Dutch Republic and later those of the Batavian Republic and the Kingdom of the Netherlands...

, a kapitein-luitenant ter zee is equivalent to a US Navy or Royal Navy commander (OF-4); while in the Portuguese Navy
Portuguese Navy
The Portuguese Navy is the naval branch of the Portuguese Armed Forces which, in cooperation and integrated with the other branches of the Portuguese military, is charged with the military defence of Portugal....

, a capitão-tenente is equivalent to a British or American lieutenant commander (OF-3).


Captain-lieutenant was formerly a rank in the British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

; the senior subaltern
Subaltern (rank)
A subaltern is a chiefly British military term for a junior officer. Literally meaning "subordinate," subaltern is used to describe commissioned officers below the rank of captain and generally comprises the various grades of lieutenant. In the British Army the senior subaltern rank was...

 rank, above lieutenant
A lieutenant is a junior commissioned officer in many nations' armed forces. Typically, the rank of lieutenant in naval usage, while still a junior officer rank, is senior to the army rank...

 and below captain
Captain (British Army and Royal Marines)
Captain is a junior officer rank of the British Army and Royal Marines. It ranks above Lieutenant and below Major and has a NATO ranking code of OF-2. The rank is equivalent to a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy and to a Flight Lieutenant in the Royal Air Force...


A regiment
A regiment is a major tactical military unit, composed of variable numbers of batteries, squadrons or battalions, commanded by a colonel or lieutenant colonel...

's field officer
Field officer
A field officer is an army, marine, or air force commissioned officer senior in rank to a company officer but junior to a general officer; in some navies, it is an officer who is a Lieutenant Commander, Commander, or Captain....

s - its colonel
Colonel , abbreviated Col or COL, is a military rank of a senior commissioned officer. It or a corresponding rank exists in most armies and in many air forces; the naval equivalent rank is generally "Captain". It is also used in some police forces and other paramilitary rank structures...

, lieutenant colonel
Lieutenant colonel
Lieutenant colonel is a rank of commissioned officer in the armies and most marine forces and some air forces of the world, typically ranking above a major and below a colonel. The rank of lieutenant colonel is often shortened to simply "colonel" in conversation and in unofficial correspondence...

, and major
Major is a rank of commissioned officer, with corresponding ranks existing in almost every military in the world.When used unhyphenated, in conjunction with no other indicator of rank, the term refers to the rank just senior to that of an Army captain and just below the rank of lieutenant colonel. ...

 - originally commanded their own companies
Company (military unit)
A company is a military unit, typically consisting of 80–225 soldiers and usually commanded by a Captain, Major or Commandant. Most companies are formed of three to five platoons although the exact number may vary by country, unit type, and structure...

, 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.

The rank was abolished sometime in the early nineteenth century.


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
Maison du Roi
The Maison du Roi was the name of the military, domestic and religious entourage around the royal family in France during the Ancien Régime and Bourbon Restoration; the exact composition and duties of its various divisions changed constantly over the Early Modern period...

), 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
Charles Ogier de Batz de Castelmore, Comte d'Artagnan served Louis XIV as captain of the Musketeers of the Guard and died at the Siege of Maastricht in the Franco-Dutch War. A fictionalized account of his life by Gatien de Courtilz de Sandras formed the basis for the d'Artagnan Romances of...

 is perhaps the most famous captain-lieutenant in French history, as commander of the first mousquetaire
Musketeers of the Guard
The Musketeers of the Guard were a fighting company of the military branch of the Maison du Roi, the Royal Household of the French monarchy.-History:...



In the Estonian Navy
Estonian Navy
The Merevägi is the navy of Republic of Estonia and is part of the unified Kaitsevägi .In total, there are about four commissioned ships in the Estonian Navy, including three auxiliary ships; the displacement of the navy is under 10,000 tonnes making it one of the smallest navies in the world...

 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 Brazilian Navy
Brazilian Navy
The Brazilian Navy is a branch of the Brazilian Armed Forces responsible for conducting naval operations. It is the largest navy in Latin America...

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 lieutenant (OF-2).
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