Ranks: Abbreviations, Explanations & Order (several merged threads)

Discussion in 'Service Records' started by pjs, Sep 18, 2006.

  1. pjs

    pjs Junior Member

    Hey,

    I believe the following list contains the correct, exact abbreviations used in the U.S. Army during WWII; exact right down to every space, dash, and capital letter (1942-...?). Please correct me if I'm wrong on any of them. I did a lot of rersearch on the net and in books to come up with this complete list.

    Pvt.
    Pfc.
    Cpl.
    T/5 Cpl.
    Sgt.
    T/4 Sgt.
    S/Sgt.
    T/3 Sgt.
    T/Sgt.
    M/Sgt.
    1st Sgt.

    2nd Lt.
    1st Lt.
    Capt.
    Maj.
    Lt. Col.
    Col.
    Brig. Gen.
    Maj. Gen.
    Lt. Gen.
    Gen.

    Are those correct? If so, why is it there a lot of --for example-- video games that have them wrong? And why is there no source out there that lists them all like I have done above? It really confuses me, as I kind of figured it would be easy to search for "WWII army abbreviatrions" --among other combinations similar to that; but to my surprise, there wasn't one site out there with a complete, accurate list like the one I posted above.

    Yet, after all the research I have done on these abbreviations, it makes me wonder, 'perhaps my list isn't correct either?'. I am trying to make a Wikipedia page for the WWII U.S. Army ranks. For now, I am using the list above, but if anyone has corrections they know of, let me know.

    Thanks.
     
  2. jacobtowne

    jacobtowne Senior Member

    Was sergeant major in use at the time?

    JT
     
  3. RLeonard

    RLeonard Junior Member

    An equally, if not more, common abreviation for Lieutenant was "Lieut."

    Rich
     
  4. Cancerkitty

    Cancerkitty Member

    Great list! You wouldn't happen to have anything similar for the first world war, would you?
     
  5. ANN

    ANN Junior Member

    Can anyone tell me what a w/sgt, a p/a/sgt and a w/s/sgt are in the RAOC in India in WW2...I have received info on my dad's servicebut don't know what the letters before the sgt bit mean !!!!!
    Ann
     
  6. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Ann -
    starting of with the p/a/sgt - paid acting sergent -

    w/sgt - either war or warrant sergeant -

    w/s/sgt - is war substantive sergeant which means he is fuly paid - and accepted as a sergeant - he would - most likely have started off as an unpaid acting sergeant - from a war substantive corporal etc... the lowest up from private is the
    unpaid acting lance corporal...rank of course had it's privelege - once you got there !

    Cheers
     
  7. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Hi Ann,

    Just a thought now you have your father's records, perhaps you could start a thread of your own, keep all the information together, and possibly post up images when you need help.

    That way anyone who offers information and background could see what has already been gleaned and possibly add to it.

    Best of luck with it all,
    D
     
  8. ANN

    ANN Junior Member

    Thanks everyone ...you are all stars...this army lingo is beyond me...perils of being a woman I suppose
    Ann
     
  9. militarycross

    militarycross Very Senior Member

    Hello pjs & welcome to the forum. Well done on the list.
     
  10. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Old Hickory Recon

    Are those correct? If so, why is it there a lot of --for example-- video games that have them wrong? And why is there no source out there that lists them all like I have done above? It really confuses me, as I kind of figured it would be easy to search for "WWII army abbreviatrions" --among other combinations similar to that; but to my surprise, there wasn't one site out there with a complete, accurate list like the one I posted above.


    Things change over time and probably outside of military circles, authors and other don't necessarily know (or care) what the "official" abbreviations are or were. In my lifetime, the US Postal Service state abbreviations have changed from three letters to two. An example would be Alabama, which was Ala. and was changed to AL, with no period.

    There was not the rank of Sergeant Major in the US Army in WWII, but there was in the USMC. It was the rank equivalent to the First/Master Sergeant of the Army and Master Sergeant and Master Gunnery Sergeant of The Corps. The pay grade was the First Grade, which is a reverse of the practice today, where the lowest grade/rank is 1



    I would suspect that even among military authors, you will see variance sometimes, especially in informal documents.

    You will also see variance among the nations.
     
  11. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Ann

    I thought this might be of some help

    Good luck in your research

    Ron
     
  12. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Hello pjs & welcome to the forum. Well done on the list.


    <Whispers> Phil, He/She posted that 3 years ago :D
     
  13. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Ann

    I thought this might be of some help

    Good luck in your research

    Ron

    Cheers Ron,

    Now I know where I get my rank from-a bit disappointed there's no signals on there though ;)
     
  14. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

  15. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    I have seen W= Warrant/SGT and War/SGT.

    Now as an ex-matelot I have a basic knowledge of all three services ranking structure but can some kind soul please tell me what a W/SGT really stands for. I have noticed this rank in my research particularly with the Maritime Royal Artillery.
    Thanks in anticipation.
    Hugh
     
  16. Rob Dickers

    Rob Dickers 10th MEDIUM REGT RA

    Hugh
    This unusual rank seems particular to Artillery (land+sea), my understanding is that it is War/SGT - Rank only for the duration of the War, after the end he reverts back to original rank. It was a W/O idea to prevent to many SGT's staying in the army at the end of the war.
    Rob.
    P.S. Have also heard that, Warrant/Sgt = Master Gunner Sgt
     
    dbf likes this.
  17. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    Thank you Rob that is much appreciated.
    Regards
    Hugh
     
  18. op-ack

    op-ack Senior Member

    W/ generally refers as Rob says to War Substantive, in other words, whilst hostilities continued, such a soldier was paid, and held the same responsibilities as the full rank.

    There was also an A/ fopr acting, which inferred you were paid for the role, but would revert to own rank as soon as a suitable NCO arrived in the unit. In addition, there was an A/U Acting Unpaid, which is fairly self-explanatory.

    Hope that helps

    Phil
     
    Rob Dickers likes this.
  19. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    Thank you Phil. That does indeed help.
    Regards
    Hugh
     
  20. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Hi Hugh,

    Trawling through all the VC and GC citations I've come across quite a lot of 'Temporary' rank sometimes prefixed as 'T' used in all three services.

    Cheers
    Andy
     

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