Formation (military)

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The military in its various forms of organization (regular armed forces , paramilitary and others) consists of different structural elements of the troops / forces / services, which are referred to as military formations .

Combat formation Bundeswehr
U.S. marching formation (1986)

The order of formation of a military formation for and in armed struggle is called a combat formation .

Characteristic features of military formations

Military formations are distinguished by:

  • the number and composition of staff ( strength and qualifications);
  • the grouping of personnel in a specific, hierarchical leadership and command structure;
  • the level of training achieved and the specific training organization;
  • the type, number, composition and condition of the weapon systems and equipment (physical equipment).

For the regular armed forces of the states, decisions on the creation of national military formations are made at an early stage and documented in breakdowns and equipment records. This includes the (existing) troops and forces that are already present, as well as those that are temporarily to be assembled (e.g. marching, gathering units) and those to be newly formed in the event of an emergency (e.g. to be mobilized).

This specifies how many vehicles, weapons, equipment, heaters, compasses, flashlights, binoculars, map and message pockets, tents, generators, as well as map boards and other small devices, are included in a unit as scheduled equipment. This also includes the number of staff. Who occupies which position (and salary group) can be promoted within the unit - and who cannot.

For example, the German Wehrmacht specified details in the War Strength Report (KStN). The Bundeswehr specifies this in the strength and equipment verification (STAN) derived from it.

Military formations in military science

Military formations of the armed forces , troops / branches of armed forces, branches of forces, special troops and military services have different structural features depending on the use (use) in the tactical, operational, operational-strategic or strategic level.

In the tactical action level, fixed and comparable tactical structural elements are predominantly to be found. Flexibly composed armed forces are typical at the operational and strategic levels .

Tactical structural elements

For use in the tactical action level, the structure usually shows tactical structural elements of the same type, with a fixed set of personnel, weapon systems and equipment.

As tactical units , the lowest division of the armed services are called: the squad , the (armored) occupation , the (artillery) operation; the group, the half-train, the squad / the pair (flying objects); the train , the swarm / the chain (flying objects); the company / battery , squadron (flying objects), squadron (cavalry), boats and ships ( navy ).

The battalion , the division, as the largest tactical unit is also classified as the (smallest) tactical unit.

The unit leaders carry the designation: troop, gun, group, platoon leader; (Tank) commander; Company / battery commander; Commander of the battalion / division.

The structural elements are considered tactical units : regiment, squadron, independent battalions (departments). In some branches of the armed forces, the brigade is viewed as a tactical unit. You are led by a commander .

The following are referred to as a tactical unit : the brigade and the division - the largest tactical unit, also known as a large unit and led by a commander .

Operational force formations

The corps is classified as an operational-tactical association (also an association). The operational formations led by a corps commander (commanding general) have two to four tactical units and corps troops in their regular inventory.

The armed forces formation Army is referred to as an operational association .

The army is an operational association of the armed forces led by a commander , which in its structural composition includes the army troops in addition to the army command organs.

A distinction is made according to the armed forces: (general) army, tank army, airborne army, air army, air defense army.

Colloquially, the term army is used both for the total armed forces of a state and only for the land forces (the army).

Operational-strategic armed forces formations

The following are designated as operational unification : the front, the army group, the army group.

The front is the highest operational association of operational units of the armed forces, of independent operational-tactical units, led by a commander-in-chief (supreme commanding officer). The inventory is not constant, it depends on the tasks to be solved and the character of the respective theater of war.

If several operational associations (a group of fronts / fleets / army groups) act on a theater of war with adjacent seas, an operational-strategic association can be created that coordinates and leads strategic operations in several strategic areas and in several strategic directions.

Historical examples of military formations

During the Second World War , Army Groups (Germany) and Fronts (Soviet Union) were the largest military formations. They each comprised well over 100,000 men. In the battle for the Seelow Heights , the 1st Belarusian Front comprised eleven armies with 77 divisions and around 1 million soldiers.

The German Wehrmacht had air fleets (in World War II),

Military formations using the example of the Bundeswehr

In the Bundeswehr, some of these structural elements have different names:

Army, navy and air force are referred to as armed forces (TSK).

In the Air Force, there is the Air Force Command , the Corps ( Center for Air Operations and Air Force Troop Command ), the Squadron , the Squadron and the Rotte .

In the Navy , the existing naval command , the flotilla , the squadron .

In the army there is the command army , the division , the brigade , occasionally the regiment , the battalion , the company or battery , the platoon , the group and the troop / crew (of a tank, etc.) - see navigation bar, troop units, below .

Individual evidence

  1. See marching formation (Russian маршевое формирование ). In: Military Encyclopedic Dictionary. (Russian Военный Энциклопедический Словарь [Wojenny Enziklopeditscheskij Slowar]). Moscow 1986, p. 428.
  2. See the collective of authors of the military academy "Friedrich Engels" of the National People's Army a. a. (Ed.): Military Lexicon. 2nd edition, Berlin 1973, 575 pp.
  3. See: Collective of the Military Academy of the National People's Army "Friedrich Engels" (Ed.): German Military Lexicon. Berlin 1961, pp. 111, 151
  4. See Strategic Operation (Russian Стратегическая операция ). In: Military Encyclopedic Dictionary. (Russian Военный Энциклопедический Словарь [Wojenny Enziklopeditscheskij Slowar]). Moscow 1986, p. 710.