Difference Between Regiment and Brigade

Regiment vs Brigade

For those who are serving men, it is easy to understand the concepts of regiments and brigade, also the difference between them. However, to a common man on the street, it is very confusing to understand the difference between a regiment and a brigade. This article tries to highlight the features of these sub divisions of an army to make it easier to understand the differences between a regiment and a brigade. In understanding the differences, we will pay attention to the tasks of each formation and how each type of sub division is made. That can help you to understand the difference between a regiment and a brigade.

What is a Regiment?

Regiments are units that are made up of 3 battalions and they can be different depending upon their usage. If it is an infantry regiment, it has infantry battalions, and so on. A regiment is not self sufficient, and operates as a part of a bigger division where there are 3-5 regiments working together.

In ancient times, a regiment was a traditional building block of an army. When a king went to a war, he had to raise his regiment and lead it in the battle. Soon, kings learnt the lesson of keeping 2-3 full time regiments in a perpetual state of readiness. This meant that several regiments were raised and trained and kept separate from one another, and they were brought together whenever there was a war.

Difference Between Regiment and Brigade

In modern times, a regiment is a unit in military that is composed of a number of squadrons or battalions, and is commanded by a lieutenant colonel or a colonel. If we take the Indian Army for example, section is the smallest unit, comprising 10 men. It is commanded by a Section Commander. The next unit is a platoon that consists of 3 sections, and is commanded by a Platoon Commander. Then comes the company, which consists of three platoons. This is commanded by a Major. Then, there is the battalion, which has four rifle companies. This is commanded by a Colonel. Next in line is a regiment, which can be considered as a type of battalion or a grouping of several battalions (for example Gorkha Regiment). A brigade is the largest of them all, comprising 3 or more battalions or regiments, and is commanded by a high ranking Brigadier.

What is a Brigade?

On the other hand, a brigade may or may not be self sufficient, though normally it is. Often, one can see a mix of 3-5 battalions working as a brigade. These brigades have a purpose in mind. A brigade is larger than a regiment usually. These battalions are not from the same force. They are a mixture of different powers such as infantry, artillery, and tank.

Despite this clear cut distinction, there have been great differences between regiments and brigades in different national armies. In Indian Army for example, brigade is a permanent feature. In the Australian Army, a brigade consists of around 5500 men, while the number of men in a brigade in the US Army is around 4000. While a brigade is a permanent unit in Australia, it is formed only for missions in the US.

 Regiment vs Brigade

What is the difference between Regiment and Brigade?

Both regiment and brigade are tactical units in a military.

• Definition of Regiment and Brigade:

• A regiment is a unit of the army that usually has several battalions of the same force. For example, if you take a tank regiment, it has three tank battalions.

• A brigade is a unit of the army that has several battalions that belong to multiple units. It is a mixed type of unit. So, if we think of a Tank brigade that brigade can have two tank battalions, one artillery battalion, one motorized infantry battalion and several company size units that provide transport, engineering and such.

• Self-Sufficiency:

• Regiment is not self sufficient and is fixed by type.

• Brigade is normally self sufficient, though there are formations where 3 brigades work together.

• Flexibility:

• Regiment is not flexible. That is because it only contains several of the same battalion.

• A brigade is flexible. This is because it contains different types of battalions.

• Number of Battalions:

• A regiment usually has three battalions.

• A brigade has three to five battalions.

• A brigade is larger than a regiment usually.

• Commanding Officer:

• A regiment is commandeered by a Lieutenant Colonel or Colonel.

• The commanding task of a brigade is in the hands of a Brigadier.


Images Courtesy:

  1. Dogra Regiment by Pranav21391 (CC BY 2.0)
  2. A U.S. infantry brigade via Wikicommons (Public Domain)