Division (military)

A division is a large military unit or formation, usually consisting of between 6,000 and 25,000 soldiers.

NATO Map Symbols[1]

a friendly combined arms division

a hostile combined arms division

a friendly infantry division

a friendly airborne infantry division

a hostile tank division

In most armies, a division is composed of several regiments or brigades; in turn, several divisions typically make up a corps. Historically, the division has been the default combined arms unit capable of independent operations. Smaller combined arms units, such as the American regimental combat team (RCT) during World War II, were used when conditions favored them. In recent times, modern Western militaries have begun adopting the smaller brigade combat team (similar to the RCT) as the default combined arms unit, with the division they belong to being less important.

While the focus of this article is on army divisions, in naval usage "division" has a completely different meaning, referring to either an administrative/functional sub-unit of a department (e.g., fire control division of the weapons department) aboard naval and coast guard ships, shore commands, and in naval aviation units (including navy, marine corps, and coast guard aviation), to a sub-unit of several ships within a flotilla or squadron, or to two or three sections of aircraft operating under a designated division leader. Some languages, like Russian, Serbian, Croatian and Polish, also use a similar word, divizion/divizijun/dywizjon, for a battalion-size artillery or cavalry unit.

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