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Guard Regiment Friedrich Engels , East Berlin (1985)
Tactical sign of an infantry regiment (IR)

The regiment ( Latin regimen = control, rule, government) is a medium-sized military formation . Structure and strength vary greatly depending on the type of weapon , era and country. In most cases a regiment consists of a few battalions .


It is characteristic of regiments that they are typically or predominantly provided by only one branch of arms, so their sub-units do not differ greatly in their capabilities. The size and number of units per regiment varies greatly depending on the era, army and type of weapon. A regiment usually consists of two to four battalions or several companies , in the cavalry usually five squadrons (or squadrons) belonging to the same branch of service . The range of nominal strengths is correspondingly large, ranging from the British cavalry regiment of the 19th century with ten troops (half squadrons) of 40 men to the four battalion infantry regiment of the late Tsarist era with 4,000 men. On average, the nominal strength was mostly 800 (cavalry) or 2500 men (infantry). Added to this are the staff and, if necessary, training formations or, up to the First World War, often their own military band. Sometimes infantry regiments also had their own artillery department, such as B. with Frederick the Great or some corps of Napoleon's army.

The commander is usually a colonel . The military symbol on the NATO signature are three vertical bars. The superordinate large unit of a regiment can be the brigade , in the Bundeswehr it is usually the division .

Previously, a regiment of an independent, was from battalions ( infantry ), squadrons ( cavalry ) or batteries ( Artillery ) existing association . The name is also derived from this extensive independence of the (controlled) command.

The infantry regiments usually had three battalions, the cavalry regiments four to six (in the 18th and 19th centuries up to ten) squadrons, the foot and fortress artillery regiments two battalions, the field artillery regiments two to four detachments of two to four batteries each . The individual battalions of the regiment were led by a major and his staff. An infantry regiment of the Prussian army around 1888 had a total strength, with three battalions, of 2364 officers, NCOs and men. In this type of regimental structure, the commanding officer was mostly a colonel with a lieutenant colonel as a deputy. The regiment's staff also consisted of the regimental adjutant, a lieutenant colonel or major and several majors, so-called "majors with staff". The medical / veterinary care of the regiment members was carried out by the regimental doctor, a senior staff doctor, and the assigned staff, senior and assistant doctors. On behalf of and on behalf of the regiment commander, the paymaster, in Prussia a military officer, and the underpayers, soldiers, were responsible for supplying the regiment and paying the soldiers. The music at marches and on social occasions was played by 37 hoboists and auxiliary hoboists under the direction of a bar hoboist (music master from 1908), who formed the medical and patient carrier staff in the event of war.


From early modern times to World War II

With the decline of the classic feudal army and the increasing commercialization of warfare, the regiment developed as a new association organization at the end of the 16th century. The regiment, like the company, was originally an administrative unit and not a tactical troop body. At that time a company was referred to as a violence heap or a quarter heap, and from the middle of the 17th century also called a battalion .

The owners of a regiment were war entrepreneurs who, on behalf of the warring princes , recruited , armed, equipped and paid mercenaries on their own account , in order to make them available to the client for money under their command. As a rule, the head of the regiment also ensured the supply of his regiment on his own account, the price for food and the uniforms (customary from the second half of the 17th century) were then deducted from the soldiers' pay. By purchasing these goods in bulk or by producing them himself, the regiment chief was able to achieve considerable price advantages and thus achieve considerable profits. The prototype of such an entrepreneur was Wallenstein , the Bohemian general and imperial generalissimo in the Thirty Years' War , who even organized an army of 20,000 men according to this model for the emperor .

With the transition to the standing armies , this regimental economy solidified, even if the regiment chief was now primarily an officer of his prince . At company level, the captains operated as subcontractors to the head of the regiment, who was typically called the regiment owner. If a colonel rose to the rank of general , he generally retained the ownership of his regiment, since the income obtained from it not infrequently exceeded the general wages . The regiment was then commanded by a lieutenant colonel . The owner positions were increasingly also transferred to civilian members of the royal houses or foreign monarchs on an honorary basis, especially since income from the regiment was sometimes associated with this position as honorary colonel .

Cold war and present

Trooping the Color : The British Guards Regiments at the Queen's Birthday Parade in 2013

In many armies in which the regiments have been formally abolished, the designation for units of battalion strength continues to exist, in order to combine battalions of the same kind that are otherwise subordinate to mixed brigades or to continue the designation in battalion strength for reasons of tradition. This applies in particular to the British Army , the US Army and the French Army . In the British Army, members of the royal family are representative regiment owners and have the task of maintaining tradition.


In the Bundeswehr , the battalions became the tactical command level and were directly subordinate to a brigade in operations management. Regiments existed in the Bundeswehr as a homogeneous military association made up of battalions or companies of only one type of weapon. This is the case, for example, with the engineer regiment , the repair regiment and the transport regiment of the logistics force , the artillery regiment and the hospital regiment. For a time, tank regiments were also set up as a focus weapon, which were subordinate to the corps. However, these regiments did not have sufficient logistical capacities of their own and were therefore disbanded. In Army Structure 6 “New Army for New Tasks” the divisions were subordinate to regiments of command and combat support troops. Since July 1, 2006, the 1st Jägerregiment existed in the Airmobile Brigade 1 . In Army Structure 7 “Army of the Future” there are again individual regiments after the division of the military brigades. As part of the realignment of the Bundeswehr , the two paratrooper brigades were reclassified into the 31st paratrooper regiment in Seedorf (near Zeven ) and 26th paratrooper regiment in Zweibrücken under one brigade.


The Swiss Army managed the reform Army XXI from the stage regiment by the beginning of 2004. Like the Bundeswehr, the battalions directly subordinate to the brigades are new .


The Austrian Army already presented with the structural adjustment in 1998 of regiments to brigades subordinate battalions to currently only supply Regiment 1 leads in Graz and Gratkorn the designation Regiment of the association name.

United States

In contrast, the regiments of the US Army represent an alternative, generic organization of the battalions, which, however, are not necessarily hierarchically subordinate to a division. In the management structure, the battalions are also directly subordinate to the brigades. There are three active regiments outside of the division or brigade structure:

Equivalent troop designation for floating and flying troop units

In the air force , flying formations at regimental level are called squadrons . Other regimental equivalents in the German Air Force are the anti-aircraft missile squadrons and the operational command areas .

In the Navy , on the other hand, a squadron usually referred to a (large) combat unit , comparable to the regimental level. The term "regiment" is used for non-swimming associations such as the now disbanded naval security regiment of the German Navy .

See also


  • Theodor Fuchs: History of the European Warfare. Volume 1: From antiquity to the formation of the standing armies (= Troop Service Pocket Book. Vol. 19, ZDB -ID 525144-8 ). Ueberreuter, Vienna 1972.
  • Gerhard Papke: From the militia to the standing army. Defense in absolutism. In: Military History Research Office (Hrsg.): German military history in six volumes. 1648-1939. Volume 1. Pawlak, Munich 1983, ISBN 3-88199-112-3 , separate count.
  • Georg Ortenburg: Weapons and use of weapons in the age of the Landsknechte (= armies of the modern age. Dept. 1: The age of the Landsknechte. Vol. 1). Bernard & Graefe, Koblenz 1984, ISBN 3-7637-5461-X .

Web links

Wiktionary: Regiment  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations


  1. Quoted from Fuchs, p. 196 and from Ortenburg, p. 183.