Regiment

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Regiment

 

(1) A military unit of various combat arms and special troops in all armed services.

The regiment is an organizationally independent combat and administrative unit. There are motorized rifle, motorized infantry, infantry, tank, rocket, artillery, antiaircraft, reconnaissance, engineer, and signal regiments. Motorized rifle, motorized infantry, and infantry regiments are combined-arms tactical units. Every regiment has an organ of command and control (headquarters), several battalions or squadrons, and combat and logistics subunits. All regiments, except detached regiments, are part of larger units, such as divisions or brigades.

Regiments appeared in Russia and in Germany, France, Sweden, and elsewhere in Western Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries. Their organization was changed many times in the 18th and 19th centuries. In World War I (1914–18), all infantry regiments usually had three or four battalions with four companies each and reconnaissance, heavy machine gun, and service subunits. A cavalry regiment had four to six squadrons. Substantial changes took place in the organization of regiments before and during World War II (1939–45), when tank, mechanized, aviation, and airborne regiments were created. During the war, an infantry, or rifle, regiment was composed of three to four battalions and artillery, mortar, antitank-artillery, and antiaircraft-machine-gun subunits.

(2) In Russia from the 13th through 17th centuries, units of the battle formation of the field forces, divided into five to seven regiments, including the forward, large, right-hand, left-hand, guard, ambush, and ertoul (forward reconnaissance cavalry) regiments.

(3) A military unit and administrative territorial district in the Ukraine in the 16th through 18th centuries.

Registered-cossack regiments appeared in the 16th century. They were military units and were named after cities and small towns. In the 1630’s the registered-cossack regiments were administrative territorial districts. During the War of Liberation of 1648–54 this principle of troop organization was extended to the whole liberated part of the Ukraine. A hetman was in charge of the regiments. The number of regiments varied from 16 to 20. Along with them, regiments as military units also continued to exist. In Slobodskaia Ukraina (the future Kharkov Province and parts of Kursk and Voronezh provinces), five military-territorial regiments were formed in the 17th century from among the cossack population—the Sumy, Akhtyrka, Izium, Kharkov, and Ostrogozhsk regiments.

After the Armistice of Andrusovo of 1667, ten regiments remained in the Left-bank Ukraine. They were subordinate to the hetman of the Ukraine. Each regiment was headed by a colonel, who was at first elected by the cossacks and later appointed by the hetman. The colonel exercised administrative, military, and judicial authority within the territory of the regiment with the help of the host starshina, which was elected at the regimental council. A regiment was divided into from seven to 20 sotni (cossack squadrons) and had between 1,000 and 3,000 cossacks. Its territory covered an area of from 2,000–3,000 to 20,000–30,000 sq km. In the cities, administrative authority was vested in city atamans. In the villages, the peasant population elected voity, and the cossack population, atamans.

With the development of serfdom and the fusion of the host starshina with the Russian dvorianstvo (nobility and gentry), the elective system became nominal. At the same time, the Russian government gradually limited regimental self-government. By the late 18th century, the regiments ceased to exist as administrative territorial units.