Military Units

Like it or not, we live in a world where the news and popular fiction is shot through with military themes and references. It’s almost like even non-military types are supposed to know how many men are in a division or how many platoons are in a company. In most cases it doesn’t matter, but I often get the feeling that I missed something somewhere. Unless you’re in the military, chances are you’re like me and kind of gloss over the exact meaning when you see these terms or even use them. So it’s time for a refresher. Note that the sizes and leadership of these military units can vary widely for any number of reasons, so the numbers are purely indicative.

To get the most out of that next war movie, book or documentary, here’s what you should already know.

Unit Indicative Numbers Typically Led By
Army Group 2+ Field Armies Field Marshal/Five-Star general
Field Army 80,000+ General (four stars)
Corps 20,000-40,000 Lieutenant General (three stars)
Division 10,000-15,000 Major General (two stars)
Brigade 2,000-4,000 Colonel/Brigadier General (one star)
Regiment 1,000 – 3,000 Colonel
Battalion 300-800 Lieutenant Colonel
Company 80-150 Captain/Major
Platoon 15-30 Lieutenant
Squad 8-12 Sergeant
Fireteam 3-4 Corporal

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