Tactical Organization

“I am a Soldier, I fight where I am told, and I win where I fight.”

– General George S. Patton Jr.

Organized into formations by increasing size, U.S. Army unit names, as well as their details, have evolved over time. Broken down by specialty, name and composition varies depending on the unit’s role (ex: Combat Arms, Combat Support, Combat Service Support). One of the most notable changes included the elimination of the regiment from the Infantry structure.

Team: Made up of four (4) Soldiers and generally commanded by a Staff Sergeant

  • Fireteam: Team leader, rifleman, grenadier and an automatic rifleman
  • Sniper Team: Sniper and a spotter

Squad or Section (Cavalry): Made up for four to ten (4-10) Soldiers and generally commanded by a Sergeant or Staff Sergeant.

Platoon: Made up for two (2) or more Squads consisting of sixteen to forty (16-40) Soldiers generally commanded by a Lieutenant

Company (Infantry) or Troop (Cavalry) or Battery (Artillery): Made up of three to five (3-5) Platoons consisting of one to two hundred (100-200) Soldiers generally commanded by a Captain

Battalion or Squadron (Cavalry): Made up of four to six (4-6) Companies consisting of five to nine hundred Soldiers generally commanded by a Lieutenant Colonel

Brigade or Regiment (Armored Cavalry or Ranger Unit) or Group (Logistics or Special Forces): Made up of two to five (2-5) Battalions consisting of three to five thousand (3,000-5,000) Soldiers generally commanded by a Colonel

Division: Made up of three (3) or more Brigades consisting of ten to eighteen thousand (10,000 to 18,000) Soldiers generally commanded by a Major General

Corps: Made up of two (2) or more Divisions, plus other units, commanded by the Corps Commander (Lieutenant General)

Field Army: Made up of two (2) or more Corps, plus other units, commanded by the Field Army commander (General or Lieutenant General)

Army Group: Made up of two (2) or more Field Armies, plus other units, commanded by the Army Group commander (General)

Since 1939, the U.S. Army has undergone twelve divisional reorganizations:

  • Triangular Infantry Division, 1939
  • Armored Division, 1940-1943
  • Division Reorganization, 1947-1948
  • Pentomic Division, 1955-1963
  • ROAD (Reorganization Objective Army Divisions), 1960-1963
  • 11th Air Assault Division (Test), 1963-1965
  • 1st Cavalry Division (TRICAP), 1971-1974
  • Division Restructuring Study (DRS), 1975-1979
  • Division 86, 1978-1980
  • High Technology Test Bed (HTTB)/High Technology Light Division (HTLD)/ High Technology Motorized Division (HTMD) (9th Infantry Division), 1980-1988
  • 7th Infantry Division (Light), 1983-1986
  • Force XXI/EXFOR/Experimental Division, 1993-1997

These reorganizations have been unique and were undertaken to address specific needs (to accommodate or utilize new technology, to meet a specific threat or to accommodate austerity). And while there have been some shared patterns, their methods, degrees of success and objectives have varied.

With each iteration the U.S. Army has grown and continues to evolve to meet and surpass the demands of an ever-changing climate.


About Jenifer Chrisman

Jenifer joined the MWR Marketing team in 2011 as graphic designer. In 2014, she went back to her roots when she joined the Fort Gordon FYI Magazine team as a writer, along with her designer duties. As of 2015, she has created a series of briefs about the history, culture and traditions of the military called Culture.Mil, as well as writing various other pieces, including her favorite ... A Thin Line Of Many Colors.

One comment:

  1. In Europe tradition was a principle of military culture that had evolved out of the Middle Ages’ concept of chivalry. Within Europe a wide variety of separate military traditions developed until at least World War I. Subsequently major political and social changes have tended to break-down the historical continuity that had been a source of military tradition in many armies.

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