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Subject: Question on Wargame Counters rss

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Tony B
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I have a quick question about counters and what they represent.

If we look at the photo below, the counter circled with red is Regiment of infantry. So my understanding is that this is a group of approximately 2 or more Battalions which represent a total number of 1,000 - 2,000 men.

Now if we look the counter circled with yellow, it is a brigade of armor (tanks). My understanding is that this is a group of 3 or more Battalions which represent approximately 1,500 - 3,500 men.

With the infantry, I can envision 1,000 to 2,000 men representative of the counter, but its hard for me to get grasp of the armor counter. How many tanks would there be with this counter in conjunction with men?

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Reverend Uncle Bastard
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The top result on google when I searched "how many tanks in a brigade":

"That makes 14 tanks in a tank company. There are 3 tank companies in every tank battalion for a total of 42 tanks - plus 2 additional tanks in the battalion headquarters for a total of 44 tanks. Armor brigades may have from 2 to 3 tank battalions."

So simple math indicates 88 to 132 tanks for an Armor Brigade.
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Bob Zurunkel
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reverendunclebastard wrote:
The top result on google when I searched "how many tanks in a brigade":

"That makes 14 tanks in a tank company. There are 3 tank companies in every tank battalion for a total of 42 tanks - plus 2 additional tanks in the battalion headquarters for a total of 44 tanks. Armor brigades may have from 2 to 3 tank battalions."

So simple math indicates 88 to 132 tanks for an Armor Brigade.


The answer's not that simple. How many tanks were in a Brigade can vary from country to country, and even within the same country. This seems to be a Free French unit, which I thought to be organized and equipped along US lines, and the US did not use Armor Brigades. It is likely to be the equivalent of a US Combat Command, but maybe not as CCs were combined arm units. You need to know the actual unit being represented, and at what time, to get a precise answer.
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Reverend Uncle Bastard
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Westie wrote:
reverendunclebastard wrote:
The top result on google when I searched "how many tanks in a brigade":

"That makes 14 tanks in a tank company. There are 3 tank companies in every tank battalion for a total of 42 tanks - plus 2 additional tanks in the battalion headquarters for a total of 44 tanks. Armor brigades may have from 2 to 3 tank battalions."

So simple math indicates 88 to 132 tanks for an Armor Brigade.


The answer's not that simple. How many tanks were in a Brigade can vary from country to country, and even within the same country. This seems to be a Free French unit, which I thought to be organized and equipped along US lines, and the US did not use Armor Brigades. It is likely to be the equivalent of a US Combat Command, but maybe not as CCs were combined arm units. You need to know the actual unit being represented, and at what time, to get a precise answer.


Yeah, my answer wasn't going for precision, but more a rough idea. The OP seemed to be looking for a general sense (i.e. they refer to 1000 - 2000 soldiers in an infantry regiment) rather than a specific answer.
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Colin Raitt
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Between 1943-45 each French armoured brigade/combat command has an HQ, 1 mechanised infantry battalion and 1 tank battalion. 1815 men and 82 tanks (53 M4 Shermans, 20 M3 Honeys, 9 M4(105 howitzer)).

A tank battalion has 40 Officers & 660 Enlisted
17 light tanks,
53 medium tanks,
6 medium tanks with 105mm howitzers,
3 M21 halftracks with mortars

13 halftracks without armament
17 M10 ammunition trailers
6 ¼-ton trailers,
32 1-ton trailers,
22 ¼-ton trucks,
2 3-4/ton weapons carriers,
39 2½-ton trucks, 2 heavy
wrecker trucks, 1 light tank recovery vehicle,
5 M32 tank recovery vehicles without armament.

The mechanised infantry battalion had 39 Officers & 956 Enlisted
72 halftracks without armament,
3 75mm howitzer motor carriages,
3 M21 halftracks with 81mm mortars,
9 57mm anti-tank guns,
9 60mm mortars,
1 81mm mortar,
3 medium tanks with 105mm howitzers,

8 M10 ammunition trailers,
21 1-ton trailers,
23 ¼-ton trucks,
2 3/4-ton weapons carrier,
21 2½-ton trucks,
1 heavy wrecker truck,
1 M32 tank recovery vehicle without armament.

The combat command HQ has 14 Officers and 76 Enlisted
7 halftracks without armament
3 light tanks

1 M10 ammunition trailer
2 ¼-ton trailers
2 1-ton trailers
9 ¼-ton trucks,
2 2½-ton trucks

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1st_Armored_Division_(France)#...
http://www.warandtactics.com/smf/toe-world-war-2-allied/us-a...
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Chuck Schneider
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Westie wrote:
reverendunclebastard wrote:
The top result on google when I searched "how many tanks in a brigade":

"That makes 14 tanks in a tank company. There are 3 tank companies in every tank battalion for a total of 42 tanks - plus 2 additional tanks in the battalion headquarters for a total of 44 tanks. Armor brigades may have from 2 to 3 tank battalions."

So simple math indicates 88 to 132 tanks for an Armor Brigade.


The answer's not that simple. How many tanks were in a Brigade can vary from country to country, and even within the same country. This seems to be a Free French unit, which I thought to be organized and equipped along US lines, and the US did not use Armor Brigades. It is likely to be the equivalent of a US Combat Command, but maybe not as CCs were combined arm units. You need to know the actual unit being represented, and at what time, to get a precise answer.


That's my understanding regarding the organization of Free French ADs too. Regarding vehicle/manpower split, the US Combat Command structure was meant to be flexible; armored, infantry, and supprt units could be mixed as needed. So their composition could vary from division to division. Note that in this game (MMP's Beyond the Rhine), the French armored "brigades" are functionally identical to the US Combat Commands which are labeled regiments. Another game specific note, the red background indicates that it is a combined arms unit; it is treated "armored" for purposes anti-tank combat modifiers and mech infantry certain terrain combat modifiers.
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Brian Train
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And all of this goes out the window the day after you drive out of barracks, as vehicles break down and go astray and are sent off on other tasks... even before the enemy has had any chance to interfere with your strength!

Brian
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Holman
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Maybe this is too specific a thread to ask this tangent question, but here goes:

Why were the three Combat Commands in a late-WW2 US Armored Division called CCA, CCB, and CCR (for Reserve)?

Was CCR always used in a reserve role? If so, were the battalions in the division swapped in and out of different CC's, or did the CCR guys just have it easier than the rest?
 
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Tony B
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reverendunclebastard wrote:
The top result on google when I searched "how many tanks in a brigade":

"That makes 14 tanks in a tank company. There are 3 tank companies in every tank battalion for a total of 42 tanks - plus 2 additional tanks in the battalion headquarters for a total of 44 tanks. Armor brigades may have from 2 to 3 tank battalions."

So simple math indicates 88 to 132 tanks for an Armor Brigade.


Everyone, thanks for the replies. The quote above answers my question perfectly (thank you).
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Bob Zurunkel
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PaulWRoberts wrote:
Maybe this is too specific a thread to ask this tangent question, but here goes:

Why were the three Combat Commands in a late-WW2 US Armored Division called CCA, CCB, and CCR (for Reserve)?

Was CCR always used in a reserve role? If so, were the battalions in the division swapped in and out of different CC's, or did the CCR guys just have it easier than the rest?


The SOP for US Divisions was two forward, one back. That's how the reserve designation came to be, although CCR would not always be the one in reserve.
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Holman
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Westie wrote:
PaulWRoberts wrote:
Maybe this is too specific a thread to ask this tangent question, but here goes:

Why were the three Combat Commands in a late-WW2 US Armored Division called CCA, CCB, and CCR (for Reserve)?

Was CCR always used in a reserve role? If so, were the battalions in the division swapped in and out of different CC's, or did the CCR guys just have it easier than the rest?


The SOP for US Divisions was two forward, one back. That's how the reserve designation came to be, although CCR would not always be the one in reserve.


That's why I'm wondering. Wouldn't it have been clearer to call the third one "CCC" (rather than "CCR") if it would sometimes be on the front line while CCA or CCB was in reserve?

Other triangular structures (such as the three regiments in an infantry division) rotated roles as necessary. You didn't see one of them designated as the "reserve regiment."
 
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Bob Zurunkel
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PaulWRoberts wrote:
Westie wrote:
PaulWRoberts wrote:
Maybe this is too specific a thread to ask this tangent question, but here goes:

Why were the three Combat Commands in a late-WW2 US Armored Division called CCA, CCB, and CCR (for Reserve)?

Was CCR always used in a reserve role? If so, were the battalions in the division swapped in and out of different CC's, or did the CCR guys just have it easier than the rest?


The SOP for US Divisions was two forward, one back. That's how the reserve designation came to be, although CCR would not always be the one in reserve.


That's why I'm wondering. Wouldn't it have been clearer to call the third one "CCC" (rather than "CCR") if it would sometimes be on the front line while CCA or CCB was in reserve?

Other triangular structures (such as the three regiments in an infantry division) rotated roles as necessary. You didn't see one of them designated as the "reserve regiment."


I believe, but am not certain off hand, that CCR was a smaller unit than the other two. I am sure someone here will enlighten us.
 
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Carl Fung
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mindtech2 wrote:
reverendunclebastard wrote:
The top result on google when I searched "how many tanks in a brigade":

"That makes 14 tanks in a tank company. There are 3 tank companies in every tank battalion for a total of 42 tanks - plus 2 additional tanks in the battalion headquarters for a total of 44 tanks. Armor brigades may have from 2 to 3 tank battalions."

So simple math indicates 88 to 132 tanks for an Armor Brigade.


Everyone, thanks for the replies. The quote above answers my question perfectly (thank you).


Except that the reply isn't exactly correct. The yellow circled counter represented a combined arms "brigade" (called a Combat Command in American Armor usage). This is shown by the fact that it's red colored in rectangle. The rules say this has tanks and infantry. These combat commands highly varied as to their composition but the rule of thumb was that its main components were one tank battalion, when at full strength, had over 70 tanks (59 Sherman tanks and 17 Lighter Stuart tanks). It also had one infantry battalion (1000 men but really only about 300-400 of actual frontline fighting men) carried around in half tracks. Supporting these guys would be anti-armor units, some artillery, anti-aircraft, reconnaissance, etc. But for your purpose they had one tank (average say 40-60 depending on many factors on a good day) and one mechanized battalion.

The answer above would have implied that a tank division with three armor brigades would have 300-400 tanks which wasn't the case.
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Carl Fung
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Westie wrote:


I believe, but am not certain off hand, that CCR was a smaller unit than the other two. I am sure someone here will enlighten us.


Yo, right here.

CCR was intended to be a reserve element and hence their HQ was allotted fewer men for command and control vs. CCA and CCB HQ's. However, in the field, all US (and French that adapted the American Armor division TO&E) used each of their combat commands in different ways.

Many did use their CCR to house and replenish beat up units to use as reserves. CCR of the 4th Armored Division was done in such a way in the Battle of the Bulge and when CCA and CCB were stymied on their drive to Bastogne, the depleted CCR made the drive up and relieved the 101st and other elements there.

Some barely had any units in CCR, the 10th and 11th Armored would rotate units in a battalion or some companies then rotate them back to CCA and CCB.

Yet the 5th Armored Division operated their three CC's as equals each with the same amount of units in them to operate as three equal maneuver elements. Divisions that operated similarly would supplement the number of men in the CCR HQ so staff work would be easier.

The thing to remember is that the Combat Command structure was first and foremost flexible to allow any given number of units to be subordinated to here commands.

This describes the "light" US Armor division TO&E. The "heavy" configuration (the 2nd and 3rd through the war and the 1st until Italy) didn't have CC on paper but used their respective regiment HQ's (two armor and one armored infantry) as CC HQ's and mixed and matched as the "light" armor divisions. Note that right before Kasserine Pass battles, 1st Armored Divison operated CCA, CCB, CCC, and CCD (!) while in the "heavy" configuration.
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Steve S
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As a very simple rule of thumb:

A brigade is the same as a regiment which is the same as a Combat Command.

Each organization has three battalions.

A battalion of infantry is around 750 soldiers.
A battalion of tanks is around 40 tanks.

Thus, the size of the brigade/regiment/combat command depends on the distribution of tank/infantry battalions.

Of course there are exceptions, and that simple rule of thumb doesn't always apply. But it doesn't apply to other organizations, either. We all pretend to know what a division represents, but divisions can vary dramatically from army to army and time to time (ex: a US late war armored division vs a late war volksgrenadier division).

So the simple rule of thumb is reasonable for an understanding of the size of an organization.

Another set of simple estimates:

10 soldiers in a squad
3 squads in a platoon
3 platoons in a company
3-4 companies in a battalion (probably more often 4)
3 battalions in a brigade/regiment/Combat Command
3 brigades/regiments/combat commands in a division.
2-5 divisions in a Corps (if you just estimate 3, you'd be fine).

None of these statements is absolutely and always correct; but you can understand the approximate size of an organization if you know the above.

Steve
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Tony B
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SDawg wrote:
As a very simple rule of thumb:

A brigade is the same as a regiment which is the same as a Combat Command.

Each organization has three battalions.

A battalion of infantry is around 750 soldiers.
A battalion of tanks is around 40 tanks.

Thus, the size of the brigade/regiment/combat command depends on the distribution of tank/infantry battalions.

Of course there are exceptions, and that simple rule of thumb doesn't always apply. But it doesn't apply to other organizations, either. We all pretend to know what a division represents, but divisions can vary dramatically from army to army and time to time (ex: a US late war armored division vs a late war volksgrenadier division).

So the simple rule of thumb is reasonable for an understanding of the size of an organization.

Another set of simple estimates:

10 soldiers in a squad
3 squads in a platoon
3 platoons in a company
3-4 companies in a battalion (probably more often 4)
3 battalions in a brigade/regiment/Combat Command
3 brigades/regiments/combat commands in a division.
2-5 divisions in a Corps (if you just estimate 3, you'd be fine).

None of these statements is absolutely and always correct; but you can understand the approximate size of an organization if you know the above.

Steve


Thank you.
 
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Sean
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ltmurnau wrote:
And all of this goes out the window the day after you drive out of barracks, as vehicles break down and go astray and are sent off on other tasks... even before the enemy has had any chance to interfere with your strength!

Brian


Drive out of barracks? In my experience all that starts happening before even thinking about leaving the barracks - and that's if you even ever reach full numbers on papar...

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SDawg wrote:
As a very simple rule of thumb:

A brigade is the same as a regiment which is the same as a Combat Command.

Each organization has three battalions.

A battalion of infantry is around 750 soldiers.
A battalion of tanks is around 40 tanks.

Thus, the size of the brigade/regiment/combat command depends on the distribution of tank/infantry battalions.

Of course there are exceptions, and that simple rule of thumb doesn't always apply. But it doesn't apply to other organizations, either. We all pretend to know what a division represents, but divisions can vary dramatically from army to army and time to time (ex: a US late war armored division vs a late war volksgrenadier division).

So the simple rule of thumb is reasonable for an understanding of the size of an organization.

Another set of simple estimates:

10 soldiers in a squad
3 squads in a platoon
3 platoons in a company
3-4 companies in a battalion (probably more often 4)
3 battalions in a brigade/regiment/Combat Command
3 brigades/regiments/combat commands in a division.
2-5 divisions in a Corps (if you just estimate 3, you'd be fine).

None of these statements is absolutely and always correct; but you can understand the approximate size of an organization if you know the above.

Steve


A notable exception is that most Commonwealth tank/armoured regiments are US battalion sized and comprise of three Sabre Squadrons of tanks/armour plus other HQ and support sqns.

I'm not being picky or trying to muddy the waters, it's just that armoured regiments in the Commonwealth and the US are vasty different sizes. That could be rather confusing if looking a both US and Commonwealth counters together, in much the same way as the Div example above.

And I have no idea where Canada sits in all that.
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Carl Fung
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SeanFR wrote:

A notable exception is that most Commonwealth tank/armoured regiments are US battalion sized and comprise of three Sabre Squadrons of tanks/armour plus other HQ and support sqns.

I'm not being picky or trying to muddy the waters, it's just that armoured regiments in the Commonwealth and the US are vasty different sizes. That could be rather confusing if looking a both US and Commonwealth counters together, in much the same way as the Div example above.

And I have no idea where Canada sits in all that.


Correct, this is advanced course level

Canada uses the same Commonwealth Regimental system so their "regiments" are really battalions like Fort Garry Horse (regiment) or Les Fusiliers de Sherbrooke (regiment). This extended to the units below regiment where squadrons would be battalion-sized in the US but companies in British/Canadian, and troops as company-sized in the US but platoons in the other.

So it's all kinds of confusing...
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calvinboy24 wrote:
Westie wrote:


I believe, but am not certain off hand, that CCR was a smaller unit than the other two. I am sure someone here will enlighten us.


Yo, right here.

CCR was intended to be a reserve element and hence their HQ was allotted fewer men for command and control vs. CCA and CCB HQ's. However, in the field, all US (and French that adapted the American Armor division TO&E) used each of their combat commands in different ways.

Many did use their CCR to house and replenish beat up units to use as reserves. CCR of the 4th Armored Division was done in such a way in the Battle of the Bulge and when CCA and CCB were stymied on their drive to Bastogne, the depleted CCR made the drive up and relieved the 101st and other elements there.

Some barely had any units in CCR, the 10th and 11th Armored would rotate units in a battalion or some companies then rotate them back to CCA and CCB.

Yet the 5th Armored Division operated their three CC's as equals each with the same amount of units in them to operate as three equal maneuver elements. Divisions that operated similarly would supplement the number of men in the CCR HQ so staff work would be easier.

The thing to remember is that the Combat Command structure was first and foremost flexible to allow any given number of units to be subordinated to here commands.

This describes the "light" US Armor division TO&E. The "heavy" configuration (the 2nd and 3rd through the war and the 1st until Italy) didn't have CC on paper but used their respective regiment HQ's (two armor and one armored infantry) as CC HQ's and mixed and matched as the "light" armor divisions. Note that right before Kasserine Pass battles, 1st Armored Divison operated CCA, CCB, CCC, and CCD (!) while in the "heavy" configuration.


To supplement what Carl (a true authority) says about light (three tank battalion) armored division CCRs, CCR or Reserve Command was originally envisaged as a holding formation for the division's reserves with a very small staff that was not really capable of directing combat operations. When units were needed for fighting, they would be sent to CCA or CCB. During 1944, it was gradually realized that armored divisions would benefit from having three fully functioning subordinate headquarters, which would allow CCR to work as an exploitation force or third column. CCR HQ staffs were therefore beefed up. Precocious divisions did this with division personnel, but later outside resources were called in.

The principal outside resources for these expansions were the armored group headquarters. In theory, the US Army's "independent" tank battalions (numbered in the 700s) were members of armored groups, which could concentrate them for action. In practice, these battalions were attached to infantry divisions, and almost never worked together as armored groups. That being the case, the armored group headquarters were almost completely superfluous.

For a time, the armored group headquarters operated as specialized consultants for armor affairs at the corps level. But in late 1944, many personnel from armored group headquarters were reassigned to form functioning CCR staffs for armored divisions.

As Carl points out, the 5th Armored Division was an earlier adopted of the full-fledged CCR model. The small existing staff was initially augmented, in June 1944, by personnel from the headquarters of one of the division's armored infantry battalions. Then in late October 1944, the staff received personnel from the headquarters of the 3d Armored Group, which was broken up between the division and CCR.

Another example: the 13th Armored Division's CCR headquarters was actually merged with that of the 7th Armored Group during combat operations in the Ruhr Pocket on April 14, 1945, with the 7th Armored Group's commanding officer taking over command of CCR on that date. (This was part of a general command reshuffle in the 13th, part planned and part not, that saw a staff officer from First Army, Col. Peter Hains, take command of CCA and a previously relieved corps commander, Maj. Gen. John Milliken, take over from the division commander, Maj. Gen. John Wogan, who was severely wounded in action on April 15--my late grandfather, a battalion commander, was slightly wounded by the same volley and possibly the same bullet.)
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Lots of good replies here.

Just as a little bit of clarification for those who are not versed in the arcana of unit organization and nomenclature:

Originally, in continental European practice, brigades were the command echelon between regiments and divisions, required for the efficient command and control of troops in the era before wireless. By World War I armies were almost universally organized on the basis of (smallest to highest) platoon-company-battalion-regiment-brigade-division-corps-army.

By World War II advances in communication had increased the command span enough that division commanders were able to effectively control the activities of battalions enough with just one intermediate command level. There was also a lot of experimentation due to the emergence of combined arms warfare and increased organizational complexity. WW1 armies were essentially masses of infantry divisions supported by a few cavalry divisions and fortress divisions. World War II saw armored divisions, armored infantry or mechanized divisions, airborne divisions, airlanding divisions, mountain divisions, marine divisions, cavalry divisions, fortress divisions, static divisions, various kinds of lights divisions, artillery divisions, etc., not to mention an incredible variety of specialized units smaller than divisions. The term 'regiment' usually (but not always) implied a fixed organization -- with battalions considered to 'belong' to the regiment and as subdivisions of it. Companies were typically lettered or numbered within sequence within the regiment. The term 'brigade' usually (but not always) implies a similarly sized organization that is comprised of independently existing units that are joined together, either permanently or temporarily. In this scheme, the battalions are assigned to the brigade and don't 'belong' to it. Company lettering or numbering will start over within each battalion. (So in an infantry regiment the companies might be lettered A-D, E-H, I-M [J was skipped] while an infantry brigade would have A-D in each battalion).

The term 'group' was an American coinage that usually signified a regiment/brigade sized headquarters without organic units, often non-maneuver types such as artillery, engineers and transportation. (It only survives today in Special Forces, which are organized in 'groups.') Over time these have tended to become 'brigades.' The term 'combat command' was an armor specific term. As they did not have organic elements most game designers and historians consider them more akin to 'brigades' and, in fact, after the war that is what they became.

Other armies followed different paths with their superfluous command level. The Soviets retained brigades for specialist branches such as tanks. Infantry brigades generally were short of typical divisional supports such as artillery, engineers and logistics but had almost as many riflemen as a division. Japanese practice similarly often used brigades to denote near-divisional sized infantry formations lacking the expected support troops.

Commonwealth armies simply made the brigade the tactical HQ and reduced 'regiments' to administrative or ceremonial status.

In post World War II armies the trend has been for the term 'brigade' with its implied organizational flexibility to win out over the term 'regiment.' Most armies are organized into brigades. With technology increasing span of control even more, now the Darwinian struggle between command levels has moved up to the corps/division level, as one of those command levels is now becoming superfluous. Many armies are opting to have the brigades controlled directly by corps. (like brigade, the term 'corps' historically implies a more task-organized organization than the term 'division,' which implies a more fixed organization).

The modern trend is to follow a scheme like this: fire team-squad-platoon-company-battalion-brigade-corps.

I think the next shake-out will probably occur within the battalion, as companies and platoons are beginning to overlap too much. The trend is for smaller companies, squeezing out the platoon level. With 10-12 vehicles a company commander can probably control the bunch with an assistant without needing subleaders. (See Ogre for an example of how this trend works. In this speculative history the 'company' appears to be the basic battle unit, with hardly any mention of platoons and the 'battalion' now exercising the command responsibilities of a modern brigade, division or even corps).

All this confusion stems from the conflict between a system of nomenclature (platoons, companies, regiments, brigades, divisions, corps, army) that evolved from ca. 1600-1800 and conservative military tradition adapting to a completely new style of warfare in the 20th century. We might as well be trying to adapt centuries-cohorts-legions. Indeed, the Romans seemed comfortable with surprisingly large spans of control (10 cohorts in a legion with no subunits) so their system may even be more apt today.
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dave bcs
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wargamer55 wrote:
Lots of good replies here.

Just as a little bit of clarification for those who are not versed in the arcana of unit organization and nomenclature:

Originally, in continental European practice, brigades were the command echelon between regiments and divisions, required for the efficient command and control of troops in the era before wireless. By World War I armies were almost universally organized on the basis of (smallest to highest) platoon-company-battalion-regiment-brigade-division-corps-army.

By World War II advances in communication had increased the command span enough that division commanders were able to effectively control the activities of battalions enough with just one intermediate command level. There was also a lot of experimentation due to the emergence of combined arms warfare and increased organizational complexity. WW1 armies were essentially masses of infantry divisions supported by a few cavalry divisions and fortress divisions. World War II saw armored divisions, armored infantry or mechanized divisions, airborne divisions, airlanding divisions, mountain divisions, marine divisions, cavalry divisions, fortress divisions, static divisions, various kinds of lights divisions, artillery divisions, etc., not to mention an incredible variety of specialized units smaller than divisions. The term 'regiment' usually (but not always) implied a fixed organization -- with battalions considered to 'belong' to the regiment and as subdivisions of it. Companies were typically lettered or numbered within sequence within the regiment. The term 'brigade' usually (but not always) implies a similarly sized organization that is comprised of independently existing units that are joined together, either permanently or temporarily. In this scheme, the battalions are assigned to the brigade and don't 'belong' to it. Company lettering or numbering will start over within each battalion. (So in an infantry regiment the companies might be lettered A-D, E-H, I-M [J was skipped] while an infantry brigade would have A-D in each battalion).

The term 'group' was an American coinage that usually signified a regiment/brigade sized headquarters without organic units, often non-maneuver types such as artillery, engineers and transportation. (It only survives today in Special Forces, which are organized in 'groups.') Over time these have tended to become 'brigades.' The term 'combat command' was an armor specific term. As they did not have organic elements most game designers and historians consider them more akin to 'brigades' and, in fact, after the war that is what they became.

Other armies followed different paths with their superfluous command level. The Soviets retained brigades for specialist branches such as tanks. Infantry brigades generally were short of typical divisional supports such as artillery, engineers and logistics but had almost as many riflemen as a division. Japanese practice similarly often used brigades to denote near-divisional sized infantry formations lacking the expected support troops.

Commonwealth armies simply made the brigade the tactical HQ and reduced 'regiments' to administrative or ceremonial status.

In post World War II armies the trend has been for the term 'brigade' with its implied organizational flexibility to win out over the term 'regiment.' Most armies are organized into brigades. With technology increasing span of control even more, now the Darwinian struggle between command levels has moved up to the corps/division level, as one of those command levels is now becoming superfluous. Many armies are opting to have the brigades controlled directly by corps. (like brigade, the term 'corps' historically implies a more task-organized organization than the term 'division,' which implies a more fixed organization).

The modern trend is to follow a scheme like this: fire team-squad-platoon-company-battalion-brigade-corps.

I think the next shake-out will probably occur within the battalion, as companies and platoons are beginning to overlap too much. The trend is for smaller companies, squeezing out the platoon level. With 10-12 vehicles a company commander can probably control the bunch with an assistant without needing subleaders. (See Ogre for an example of how this trend works. In this speculative history the 'company' appears to be the basic battle unit, with hardly any mention of platoons and the 'battalion' now exercising the command responsibilities of a modern brigade, division or even corps).

All this confusion stems from the conflict between a system of nomenclature (platoons, companies, regiments, brigades, divisions, corps, army) that evolved from ca. 1600-1800 and conservative military tradition adapting to a completely new style of warfare in the 20th century. We might as well be trying to adapt centuries-cohorts-legions. Indeed, the Romans seemed comfortable with surprisingly large spans of control (10 cohorts in a legion with no subunits) so their system may even be more apt today.


I also think the difference between Brigade and Regiment comes from the original usages of these terms. A regiment was more a permanent unit of recruitment: the men recruited, equipped, and trained together, generally of the same weapon type, by a single nobleman, organization, or locality, that was later broken down into smaller units for ease of battlefield command (the battalion) when the regiment got too large. The brigade was a unit of battlefield convenience, being groupings of regiments or battalions, smaller than a general commanded division. The verb "to brigade" also suggests this purpose, also the Italian origin Brigata meaning "fighting unit".
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Sean
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Seth,

That is an informative and excellent response! I think I perhaps 'understood' your points but never really thought about it explicity like that, and rather concisely.

I've a question about this bit though:

wargamer55 wrote:
Commonwealth armies simply made the brigade the tactical HQ and reduced 'regiments' to administrative or ceremonial status.


I certainly agree Bdes being the tactical HQ but not about the Regiments being simply sent to administrative or ceremonial back paddocks in all cases.

Consider the units that comprise of the Australian 1st Brigade.

Headquarters 1st Brigade;
1st Armoured Regiment (Armoured Cavalry Regiment) (US Battalion equivilant size);
5th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment;
7th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment;
8th/12th Regiment (US Battalion equivilant size), Royal Australian Artillery;
1st Combat Engineer Regiment (US Battalion equivilant size);
1st Combat Signal Regiment (US Battalion equivilant size); and
1st Combat Service Support Battalion.

I agree that the Royal Australian Regiment is the administrative entity you describe but regiment is also used as the term of battalion sized units (for some and not others) within the Commonwealth.

Does that sound right? I probably haven't written it as nicely but I think it's clear what I'm trying to say. Either way, they are the same sized units organised under a brigade as you said, just called regiments at times instead of battalions. Clear as mud?
 
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dave bcs
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Are these counters from Tunisia?
 
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drdranetz wrote:
Are these counters from Tunisia?


They are from Beyond the Rhine
 
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