Talk:Military unit

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The Units & Formations Table[edit]

How about this list:

I think it is fairly consistent with what I know about the Soviet, German, Finnish and US organizations. The British probably have something much much more complicated :) -- JNi 12:46 Mar 25, 2003 (UTC)

Hmmm, I'm still in favour of retaining the table that was here in a previous version (have a look at the history) and which has been shifted to Structure of the United States Armed Forces. It's easily read and provides a concise (and, imho, useful) ordering of the various units and their relative sizes. charlieF 13:01 Mar 25, 2003 (UTC)
Yes, the table looks good and I agree that we should put it back. But it lacks Regiment and the formations larger than Corps. -- JNi 13:23 Mar 25, 2003 (UTC)

The problem with the table as it was is that it appears quite specific to the US army, and it's hard in that format to make it more general in a clean way. - Khendon

OK, I'll copy it here - feel free to edit it, when we're agreed that it's ready, we can put it in the article. I'm not sure where the US-specifics appear that aren't easily clarified in brackets. The use of brigades in the British Army is in any case mentioned on the British Army website. charlieF 14:22 Mar 25, 2003 (UTC)
Military units in the army
NameNumber of personnelNumber of subordinate unitsOfficer in charge
Corps30,000+2 divisionsLieutenant General
Division10,000–20,0002/3 regiments or brigadesMajor General
Regiment(UK)/Brigade(USA)2000–50002+ battalionsBrigadier
Battalion300–10002–6 companiesColonel
Company150–3003–6 platoonsMajor
Platoon30–402+ squadsFirst lieutenant or captain
Squad8–122+ fireteamsNCO (Sergeant)
Fireteam (Mostly USA)4–5n/aNCO

The numbers and ranks are, afaik, wrong for the British Army. A British company would, unless I'm mistaken, be commanded by a Captain. A Corps isn't two divisions, it's an irregular grouping. A "Squad" is usually a "Section". The Regiment size is far too large, I think. And so on. - Khendon

Why not just have multiple tables? Should be easy enough to set up, just copy the existing one and edit it as appropriate for the different forces. I think most other forces will use either the British or the American model anyway. For example, Australia and New Zealand, so far as I recall, are the same as the UK, but always use "battalion" rather than "regiment" for normal divisional units, and "regiment" for independant units that are not normally part of a division. So that should keep the required number of tables down to a managable size. Tannin

If we're having multiple tables, why not have them on separate pages? That way they can be combined with extensive notes on irregularities and further information as appropriate. - Khendon

I think the current Finnish army only has battalion/brigade/corps. Skipping division entirely. In WW2 it was battalion/regiment/division/corps. But anyway, If we have separate tables on separate pages what is left for the main page? :) -- JNi 15:06 Mar 25, 2003 (UTC)

OK, I've put the table back in. I think it provides a useful *general* summary of military units which a wikipedian searching for 'military unit' might expect to find. I've added some preamble clearly stating that there are national variations and people looking to find out about those national variations should consult the relevant pages. Given the supposition that most armies are based, broadly, on the US/UK model, this table can easily incorporate these two (perhaps with the addition of a couple of extra columns if really need). The table doesn't include some of the units mentioned by User:Jniemenmaa because I'm not familiar with them - maybe he would like to add them? charlieF 09:51 Mar 26, 2003 (UTC)
Looks good. Army groups etc. are large units with no clear definitions so I think it is ok not to have them in the table. But it seems that they are used by the US army: US army units. I'll add this link to the page. JNi 10:50 Mar 26, 2003 (UTC)

I prefer this table - opinions? - Khendon 09:14 Mar 27, 2003 (UTC)

British ArmyUS Armed Forces
CorpsVariously sized; administrative grouping by common functionTwo divisions (30,000+ soldiers), commanded by a Lieutenant General
Division3 or 4 brigades grouped for a fighting role or for administration3 or 4 brigades (10,000–20,000), commanded by a Major General
BrigadeRegiments and supporting units grouped together for a particular purpose - typically 5,000 soldiers2 or more regiments (2,000–5,000), commanded by a Brigadier
RegimentAround 650 soldiers, commanded by a Lieutenant Colonel
Battalion 2-6 companies (300-1,000), commanded by a Colonel

Oops, got to do some work ;-) Feel free to continue, or I'll do it later - Khendon 09:14 Mar 27, 2003 (UTC)

Personally, I think we should use both. The one currently in the article gives a good overview of relative sizes, whilst the one above (at least on the British Army side) gives a good summary of the rationale between different groupings. Thus I would suggest you remove elements in this table concerning sizes and instead fill it with information on why different units are required. Just my 2d. charlieF 09:41 Mar 27, 2003 (UTC)

How about a separate column for size? - Khendon

Give it a go and I'll tell you how it looks! :) charlieF

We only have the army structure. Try to get the structure tables for air forces and navies.- B-101 15:58, 25 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Strict meaning of unit[edit]

I think unit is a generic term for infantry battalion or armoured regiment; a homogenous organization, as opposed to a smaller organization like a platoon or company, or a larger organization like a battle group, division or army, etc. It seems to me that this article would be better titled military organization. Any objections if I move it and start a new stub for Military unit? Michael Z. 2005-02-9 06:53 Z

A section, platoon or company is also a unit (in the British Army they're called Minor Units, as opposed to battalions and regiments, which are Major Units). A brigade, division or higher is a formation. A unit is any homogeneous military organisation; a formation is a collection of separate units with their own command structures. This may be different in the US Army, but it's certainly the case in the British Army and probably in others too. So I would support not moving it. -- Necrothesp 13:59, 9 Feb 2005 (UTC)
In Canada, a unit is a stand-alone organization with its own Commanding Officer (CO), usually answerable to a formation commander. This includes regiments and battalions, but also companies, squadrons, and battalions that are NOT part of a larger unit. Platoons, troops, and smaller outfits, as well as companies, squadrons, and batteries that are part of a larger unit, are called sub-units. For example, a signal regiment, such as 721 Comm Regt in Charlottetown is a unit, broken down into squadrons (sub-units); however, there also exist signal squadrons which are themselves independent units, for example 728 Comm Sqn in St. John's. The COs of both units answer directly to their formation commander. SigPig 04:54, 17 July 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In the British Army, only the infantry and cavalry generally have companies/squadrons that are technically part of their parent unit (and are therefore sub-units, not units in their own right). Companies, squadrons and batteries in the other corps (except sometimes HQ units) are individually numbered and are thus technically separate units (although they may be considered sub-units to all intents and purposes if they are part of a battalion or regiment). Don't know about the Canadian Army, but in the British Army only regiments and battalions are under COs. Companies and equivalent are under OCs (Officers Commanding), platoons and sections under 'Commanders'. -- Necrothesp 20:58, 18 July 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Army group is also called a front, I think it's important to add that to the table since it's very common in WWII's books and films...

Battalion-level regiments[edit]

Necrothesp, what other branches of service have "regiments" at the battalion (II) level? In the Canadian army, I believe only armoured regiments are at the unit level. Other branches have "battalions" as units, and "regiments" are considered higher up (although I don't think they really exist as permanent organizations). Michael Z. 2005-03-13 18:58 Z

In the British Army, the Household Cavalry, Royal Armoured Corps, Royal Artillery, Royal Engineers, Royal Corps of Signals, Royal Logistic Corps, Army Air Corps, Special Air Service and Royal Military Police all use the term "regiment" instead of "battalion". According to the Canadian Army website this terminology is also used in the Engineers and Artillery, as well as Armour. The Australian Army uses it for Armour, Artillery, Engineers and Signals. The term regiment as a higher (administrative only) level than battalion is only used in the infantry (and technically also in the artillery). -- Necrothesp 19:44, 13 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Regiment instead of Battalion is also used for Signal units of the Canadian Forces. They also use Squadron for Company and Troop for Platoon. SigPig 04:43, 17 July 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

What about the Navy Organzation[edit]

Shouldn't also be somthing in the article about the Navy Sturacture of units.--Scott3 18:58, 13 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Suggestion and Question[edit]

Suggestion: How about adding a column with deputy (XO) commanders as well?
Question: In the US companies are commanded by a Captain. Where can I find Majors as commpany commanders and how common is it for Majors to be in such position?

  • In the British Army, almost all companies are commanded by Majors - in the British forces, there's been 'inflation' in the ranks that command a certain unit since the second world war: it's most obvious in the RAF, where Squadron Leaders no longer lead squadrons, Wing Commanders no longer command wings and so on. Also, Captains don't have a monopoly on company commands even in the US forces - Majors command companies in some branches, including, IIRC, special forces. --Scott Wilson 16:47, 20 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Brigade Command[edit]

I question the inclusion of a major-general as a possible commander of a brigade. Can anyone give examples of this, or is it an error that needs to be rectified? bigpad 19:44, 29 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I agree with the merge. This page a bit small, almost a stub. Colonel Marksman 20:41, 12 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]