Ancient Chinese Military Hierarchy

Before discussing the ancient Chinese military hierarchy, let’s find out what actually is military hierarchy or military rank system. Militaries use a rank system which defines hierarchical relationships among designations at various levels of military. These ranks and designations are properly organized in a hierarchical manner along the military or armed forces officer lines. This kind of hierarchy has proved quite advantageous in coordination among officers during both simple and complex military operations.

Ancient Chinese emperors also considered and understood the importance of arranging their militaries in hierarchical forms. Although many dynasties existed in ancient china ranging from early Neolithic dynasties to Zhao, Qin, Han, Sui to the most recent Ming & Qing dynasties. China possesses 3000 years of Chinese warfare history and the approach that Chinese had for war was quite exotic.

They arranged their armed forces in well framed structures. Although every dynasty had different military arrangements than their other counterparts but the general military ranking system and military hierarchy among various northern & southern Chinese dynasties was quite similar. The military hierarchy system that existed in various Chinese dynasties is as follows:

Ancient Chinese Military Hierarchy
Ancient Chinese Military Hierarchy

Unit Commander

A commander was the military officer who headed entire military hierarchy and possessed supreme authority of command in the military. This was the top most rank in the ancient Chinese military hierarchy.

Second in Command

This rank was assigned to the military officer who followed commander. This rank can also be considered as the deputy commander rank. The second in command was responsible for taking complete charge in the absence of commander and to assist commander in various operations.

General or Jiangjun

The army general in ancient Chinese military hierarchy was the officer who was responsible for supervision and training of army officers. The general was the top most military rank of a division and was responsible for all the military operations of that division.

Lieutenant General or TongJun

This rank was quite similar to the second in command rank, where Lieutenant general was responsible for assisting the general in leading the division of army and was responsible for taking charge as general in his absence.

Colonel or Jinzhou

The colonel used to be the top most officer of a regiment and was responsible for the supervision, training and leading the military operations in the regiment.

Lieutenant Colonel or JunFu

A lieutenant colonel was responsible for assisting the colonel in his activities pertaining to the regiment.

Captain or Duizhu

A captain was the senior most officer of a company.

Lieutenant or Duifu

A lieutenant was among the junior officers in the company. These officers were mainly responsible for fighting on the battlefield.

Detachment Commander Chuangzhu

A detachment can be defined as the military unit that has been detached from major army sections for certain specific reasons. The officer leading a detachment unit was named as detachment officer.

Garrison Commander or Shuzhu

A garrison commander in the ancient Chinese military hierarchy was the in charge of a certain military facility and was responsible for the day to day operations of that facility.