Originally Posted by betgo
I read that the ratio of enlisted to officers was 30-1 in the British army in WWI and higher is continental armies. In the U military it is was 10-1 in the 1960s and 5-1 now. I guess a lot of officers are in staff or bureaucratic roles and jet pilots have to be officers. In the US army, an infantry platoon has about 50 men, so I would think it would be hard to have a 30-1 ratio just with normal line commanders.
The overall figure for the British Army in WWI was 21 Other Ranks (enlisted): 1 officer. In "combat arm" (line) units such as infantry battalions, the ratio was about 30:1. A WWI infantry platoon had (at establishment) 45 ORs and 1 officer, but then there were the company officers and regimental staffs. You are right that there were also officers in staff and specialist roles - all doctors were officers, for instance. The US Army in WW1 had a 15:1 ratio.
The ratio in the German Army was higher. This was mainly due to a difference in philosophy. The British Army believed that even at company level leadership roles should be held by officers (so commissioned a lot of NCOs), whereas the Germans were prepared to let platoons and even companies be commanded by SNCOs, with perhaps only four officers in a wartime battalion.
The current British ratio is something like 9:1 - more specialist officers - but will fall to about 6.5:1 after the restructuring. But in line units it is around 25:1.