Corporal - Poland

Poland

In the Polish Land Forces, the rank of kapral is the lowest rank in the NCO corps (OR-3 in NATO code). Most commonly the rank is held by a NCO commanding an infantry squad, tank or gun crew, or a similar unit. The equivalent rank in the Polish Navy is mat.

As with many other military ranks, direct comparison between various armies might be misleading. Before World War II Polish Army's kapral was more or less equivalent to the British rank of Lance Corporal, while British rank of Corporal was named plutonowy (lit. Platooner). In modern times the rank is still equivalent to Lance Corporal in UK or Private First Class in U.S. Army (OR-3), while British and American rank of Corporal (OR-4) is equivalent to the Polish rank of starszy kapral (lit. Senior Corporal), introduced in 1971.

Historically, the rank was first introduced in Poland in 17th century, together with mercenary troops of Italian origin. In foreign troops on royal payroll kapral commanded four ranks of musketeers or part of a company of pikemen. In 20th century, between the world wars, the rank of corporal was held by both conscripted NCOs and professional soldiers alike. This was changed after World War II, when the Polish Army was under Soviet command and the rank of kapral was modified to resemble that of Soviet Junior Sergeant, reserved for conscripted NCOs. In modern Polish Army the rank is reserved for professional soldiers exclusively.

The insignia of kapral (worn on shoulder straps and/or badge above breast pocket) are two bars.

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