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1. a business enterprise
2. the members of an enterprise not specifically mentioned in the enterprise's title
3. a group of actors, usually including business and technical personnel
4. the officers and crew of a ship
5. a unit of Girl Guides
6. English history a medieval guild
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a tactical unit in motorized rifle (motorized infantry or infantry), tank, airborne, engineer, and other troops.

The first companies were formed in the mercenary armies of the Western European states in the late 15th and early 16th centuries. In the Russian Army companies were formed in the “regiments of the new order” and were subdivisions of infantry, cavalry, and artillery regiments. In the Russian Army cavalry companies were replaced by squadrons in the early 18th century, and in 1833 artillery companies were renamed batteries. By the start of World War I, companies in the different armies had 200–250 men; by the start of World War II, their size was 120–150.

The present-day company usually has several platoons and is part of a battalion. For example, in the US armed forces an infantry or motorized infantry company consists of the company administration, three infantry or motorized infantry platoons, and a weapons platoon; it has approximately 200 men. In the armed forces of the United States, Great Britain, and other countries, divisions, brigades, and battalions have headquarters companies.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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