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(French brigade, from the Italian brigata— society, detachment), in military usage in reference to ground forces, a large unit of several battalions or of regiments and subunits of special forces. Among others, there are motorized rifle (motorized infantry, infantry), cavalry, tank, rocket, artillery (gun, howitzer, infantry mortar, antitank, combined), engineer (combat engineer), airborne, and marine brigades. In the navy a brigade is a large tactical unit of warships of the same class. They are differentiated as separate organic brigades.
The brigade as a troop unit originated in the Spanish Army in the second half of the 16th century. It appeared in the Russian Army in the early 18th century; originally it was only a combat unit that was sometimes formed immediately before combat. In the 19th century the two-regiment brigade became a permanent organizational unit in infantry and cavalry, becoming part of a division (two brigades each). In 1806 the first artillery brigades were formed, and in 1819 combat engineer brigades were formed. The brigade was preserved as an organizational unit in most armies. In the Red Army during the Civil War (1918-20) there were three-regiment brigades organic to rifle divisions (three brigades each).