One of the strangest ranks in the Russian army is corporal. Many do not understand its meaning at all and are familiar with it from many jokes and funny anecdotes. In fact, this title appeared a long time ago and has an interesting history.
1. What does corporal mean and when did this category of military personnel appear
The origin of this word is German. Gefreiter means "liberated" in translation. In many languages, its root is common - freedom or similar in meaning. In the German armies of all states, and there were about two hundred of them before the nineteenth century, the so-called lower ranks, who were exempted from some duties for ordinary soldiers, as a rule, the most difficult. The term has been mentioned in German documents since the sixteenth century, but then it was more of a privilege status assigned as a promotion.
By the way, "corporals" also existed in Ancient Rome, although they called them differently: beneficiaries, immunes, and so on. But in fact, these were all the same soldiers a little higher in rank than a private. Most of them were old-timers who had been relieved of the obligation to do something heavy in the Legion for some reason. For example, they were members of privileged squads or had certain skills. In the first case, these are the beneficiaries, and in the second, the immunes.
2. When the title appeared in Russia
The first corporals appeared at the time of Peter the Great and are mentioned in 1716 in the Peter's charter, although before that they already existed in the regiments of the tsar, who had not yet become emperor. Then the so-called privates, who had the right not to do some hard work, but without the status of a non-commissioned officer.
As for the aforementioned Military Regulations, in the document the corporals already have a slightly different status. They have already been given the right to substitute for a sergeant or corporal, in particular, when a guard was posted.
In the Charter, in Chapter 68, which regulates the diet of the military, corporals are not mentioned. There are soldiers and there are higher ranks, such as company clerk, paramedic and others. Thus, the corporal could relate both to ordinary soldiers and to those who were above them. If in reality the clerks and paramedics were the corporals, then they were entitled to portions of the double type. If we talk about history, then in ancient Rome, scribes were often just immunes.
In fact, corporal as a title disappeared after the end of the Petrine era. Pavel the First replaced him with something else - a private senior salary. The title returned only after the reform carried out in 1826.
Continuing the topic read, who during the Second World War could be sent to a penal unit.