Ranks in the French Navy

French Navy
(Marine Nationale)
Motto: Honneur, Patrie, Valeur, Discipline
(“Honour, Homeland, Valour, Discipline”)
Naval Ministers
Maritime Prefect
Naval Action Force
Submarine Forces
Naval Aviation
FORFUSCO (Marine Commandos, Naval Fusiliers)
Maritime Gendarmerie
Current fleet
Current deployments
Ranks in the French Navy
History of the French Navy
Future of the French Navy
Ensigns and pennants
Historic ships
Historic fleets
Cross of War
Military Medal
Legion of Honour

The rank insignia of the French Navy (French: Marine Nationale) are worn on shoulder straps of shirts and white jackets, and on sleeves for navy jackets and mantels. Until 2005, only commissioned officers had an anchor on their insignia, but enlisted personnel are now receiving them as well. Although the names of the ranks for superior officers contain the word "capitaine" (capitaine de corvette, capitaine de frégate and capitaine de vaisseau), the appropriate style to address them is "commandant", "capitaine" referring to "lieutenant de vaisseau", which is translated as lieutenant. The two highest ranks, vice-amiral d'escadre and amiral (admiral), are functions, rather than ranks. They are assumed by officers ranking vice-amiral (vice admiral). The only amiral de la flotte (Admiral of the Fleet) was François Darlan after he was refused the dignity of Admiral of France. Equivalent to the dignity of Marshal of France, the rank of Admiral of France remains theoretical in the Fifth Republic; it was last granted in 1869, during the Second Empire, but retained during the Third Republic until the death of its bearer in 1873. The title of amiral de la flotte was created so that Darlan would not have an inferior rank to that of his counterpart in the British Royal Navy, who was an Admiral of the Fleet.


Great Officers


Officiers généraux — Flag officers

Officiers supérieurs — Senior officers

Officiers subalternes — Junior officers

Petty officers and enlisted personnel

Officiers mariniers — Petty Officers

Matelots et quartiers-maîtres — Sailors and quarter-masters


Personnel with a particular attribution may wear distinctive features on their rank insignia. For instance, medical officers bear two red stripes on their insignia. Similarly, the Ingénieur des études et techniques de travaux maritimes wear pearl-grey stripes.

Peintres de la Marine, who are not employed by the Navy but have a special status, wear a uniform and officier straps with rank insignia replaced with the words "Peintre officiel".

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