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(Russian, vakhmistr, from German Wachtmeister), a rank and duty position in the junior command of the cavalry and in the horse artillery in the pre-revolutionary Russian army. The sergeant major aided the squadron (battery) commander in the conduct of drill and in the organization of management and internal order. The rank of sergeant in other combat arms corresponded to that of sergeant major in the cavalry.
(Russian, starshina). In the Soviet armed forces, the person in a company (battery) responsible for proper performance of duty on the part of soldiers and sergeants, for order and discipline, and for the safekeeping of weapons and property. The sergeant major is the immediate superior of the company sergeants and soldiers. He is subordinate to the company commander; if no officers are present, he assumes command of the company.