Full Text

Tactical organization


Subject History » Military History

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631168485.1994.x


Modern armies are organized into ‘units’(platoons, companies and battalions) and ‘formations’(regiments, brigades, divisions, corps, armies and army groups). Units of the same size sometimes have different names depending upon the particular branch of the service – ‘company’ in the infantry, ‘squadron’ in the cavalry or armoured forces and ‘battery’ in the artillery are all equivalent commands under a captain or major. The numerical strength of units has varied over the past 500 years. A company contained 1,000 men at the beginning of the sixteenth century, sometimes less than fifty in 1700 and around 150 in 1990. The Soviet army (up to 1991) did not have corps but subordinated its divisions directly to the level of army, the equivalent of a corps in Western forces. Similarly, the Soviets referred to the army group as a ‘front’. In the German land forces of the Second World War, corps and army groups were only battle headquarters and did not possess administrative functions; these were reserved to divisions and armies amongst the higher formations. Similarly, ad hoc formations like battle-groups composed of elements from several different arms do not function as administrative entities. The tactical organization of a particular land force is determined by its weaponry, by the number of men it contains and, to a lesser extent, by the weapons of its opponents. Weaponry decides the ... log in or subscribe to read full text

Log In

You are not currently logged-in to Blackwell Reference Online

If your institution has a subscription, you can log in here:


     Forgotten your password?

Find out how to subscribe.

Your library does not have access to this title. Please contact your librarian to arrange access.

[ access key 0 : accessibility information including access key list ] [ access key 1 : home page ] [ access key 2 : skip navigation ] [ access key 6 : help ] [ access key 9 : contact us ] [ access key 0 : accessibility statement ]

Blackwell Publishing Home Page

Blackwell Reference Online ® is a Blackwell Publishing Inc. registered trademark
Technology partner: Semantico Ltd.

Blackwell Publishing and its licensors hold the copyright in all material held in Blackwell Reference Online. No material may be resold or published elsewhere without Blackwell Publishing's written consent, save as authorised by a licence with Blackwell Publishing or to the extent required by the applicable law.

Back to Top