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(Russian, eshelon), in Soviet military usage:
(1) A unit within the battle or operational arrangement of a body of troops. A battle formation or the operational arrangement of a front’s or any army’s forces may consist of one echelon or of several echelons arranged one behind another.
(2) A distinct grouping of personnel being moved by rail, water, or air. In this sense, an echelon may be a troop train, a motor-vehicle convoy, or a group of aircraft or surface ships.
(3) In military strategy, the part of a country’s armed forces that is deployed while mobilization is taking place in a critical period, at the very outset of a war, or in the course of military actions.
ii. A level of maintenance service, such as first echelon maintenance, fourth echelon maintenance, etc.