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 their differences, but to a common man on the street, it is very confusing to differentiate 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 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.

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. In the Indian army, one can find a company as the smallest unit, comprising 100-120 men. It is commanded by a Major. The next unit is a battalion that consists of 3-4 companies, and is commanded by a colonel or a lieutenant 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.

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. On the other hand, a brigade may or may not be self sufficient, though normally it is. Often, one can see a mix of 2-5 battalions working as a brigade (having a purpose in mind).

Despite this clear cut distinction, there have been great differences between regiments and brigades in different national armies. 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 for missions only in US.

In brief:

Difference Between Regiment and Brigade

• Both regiment and brigade are tactical units in a military

• Regiment is not self sufficient and is fixed by type

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

• Regiment is not flexible, while brigade is flexible

• A regiment is commandeered by a Lieutenant Colonel or Colonel, while the command of a brigade is in the hands of a Brigadier.