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the highest tactical subunit of a regiment or brigade. If the battalion is directly part of the composition of a larger unit, it is an administratively independent entity and is called a separate battalion. In the 14th and 15th centuries, those parts of the infantry (or cavalry) disposed for battle in the form of squares separated, by a predetermined distance were called battalions. In Russia the division of a regiment into battalions and the establishment of separate battalions took place at the beginning of the 18th century. The development of combat arms and of special forces led to the formation of tank, paratroop, combat-engineer, motorcycle, signal, motor transport, and other battalions, in addition to special-purpose battalions, such as motor vehicle repair and construction.
Modern motorized rifle (motorized infantry, infantry) or tank battalions are composed of from three to four companies and various platoons, such as infantry mortar, antitank, guided missile, signal, and reconnaissance. The numerical composition of a battalion varies; for example, in the US Army a motorized infantry battalion contains approximately 900 men, a tank battalion contains 575 men; in the English Army a motorized infantry battalion contains approximately 800 men.
M. G. ZHDANOV
(Russian word dizision). (1) The basic fire and tactical subunit of missile troops and artillery in the armies of various states. It may be part of a larger unit or it may be detached (a battalion of the general headquarters reserve). The battalion consists of from two to four batteries and control elements. For example, in the American mechanized division the 155-mm howitzer battalion includes a headquarters, a headquarters battery and a service battery, and three 155-mm howitzer batteries. It has a total of 38 officers, three warrant officers, and 594 enlisted men. It is equipped with 18 155-mm self-propelled howitzers.
(2) In the navy a tactical unit (division) consisting of one class of ships of the third and fourth ranks, usually part of a larger unit of ships.