Fähnrich is a German
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 and Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

n military rank in armed forces which translates as "Ensign
Ensign (rank)
Ensign is a junior rank of a commissioned officer in the armed forces of some countries, normally in the infantry or navy. As the junior officer in an infantry regiment was traditionally the carrier of the ensign flag, the rank itself acquired the name....

" in English. The rank also exists in a few other European military organizations, often with historical ties to the German system. Examples are Sweden, Norway and Finland (see Fänrik
-Professional officer:A minimum of 11 months of basic military training or 6 months as an aspirant followed by a three year programme at an officer school . - Conscript officer :...

). The French Army
French Army
The French Army, officially the Armée de Terre , is the land-based and largest component of the French Armed Forces.As of 2010, the army employs 123,100 regulars, 18,350 part-time reservists and 7,700 Legionnaires. All soldiers are professionals, following the suspension of conscription, voted in...

 has a similar position called an Aspirant. A Fähnrich is a soldier who serves in the ranks, first as a junior non-commissioned officer
Non-commissioned officer
A non-commissioned officer , called a sub-officer in some countries, is a military officer who has not been given a commission...

 then in subsequent grades equivalent to Unterfeldwebel (until 1945, now Unteroffizier
Unteroffizier is both a specific military rank as well as a collective term for non-commissioned officers of the German military that has existed since the 19th century. The rank existed as a title as early as the 17th century with the first widespread usage occurring in the Bavarian Army of the...

), Feldwebel
Feldwebel is a German military rank which has existed since at least the 18th century with usage as a title dating to the Middle Ages. The word Feldwebel is usually translated as sergeant being rated OR-6 in the NATO rank comparison scale, equivalent to the British Army Sergeant and the US Army...

, and Oberfeldwebel (until 1945, now Hauptfeldwebel
In the German military, the appointment of Hauptfeldwebel was the German equivalent of a Commonwealth Company Sergeant Major or American Company First Sergeant. There was one such non-commissioned officer in every infantry company, artillery battery, cavalry squadron, etc...

). The end goal is to create an officer out of the Fähnrich. In the Finnish landforces and airforce vänrikki (Fähnrich) is the lowest comissioned officer rank, which is granted to the soldiers in the national service in the day they are released from the 362-day service. Finnish vänrikki is thus equal rank to the German lieutenant, who is, as well a platoon leader.

The word Fähnrich comes from an older German military title, Fahnenträger, and first become a distinct military 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...

 on January 1, 1899.
Junior Rank
Senior Rank
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