Company (military unit)

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A Company is a military unit, typically consisting of 80–250 soldiers and in the British Army, is usually commanded by a Major, a Captain or a senior Lieutenant. Most companies are formed of three to six platoons, although the exact number may vary by country, unit type, and structure.

Rifle companies consist of three platoons and a company headquarters. Company-sized organisations in units with a horse-mounted heritage, such as the Household Cavalry, Royal Armoured Corps, Royal Engineers, Royal Corps of Signals, Army Air Corps, Special Air Service, Honourable Artillery Company and Royal Logistic Corps, use the term squadron instead of company, and in the Royal Artillery they are called batteries. Until after the Second World War, the Royal Engineers and Royal Signals had both squadrons and companies depending on whether the units were supporting mounted or foot formations.

The British Army infantry normally identifies its rifle companies by letter (usually, but not always, A, B and C) within a battalion, usually with the addition of a headquarters company and a support/heavy weapons company. Some units name their companies after regimental battle honours; this is commonly the case for composite units, for example the London Regiment with its Somme, Messines and Cambrai companies. The foot guards regiments use traditional names for some of their companies, for example Queen's Company, Left Flank, Prince of Wales's Company etc.

Royal Marines companies are designated by a letter that is unique across the corps, not just within their command. The Intelligence Corps, Royal Army Medical Corps, Royal Military Police and Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers all have companies uniquely numbered across their corps. The defunct Royal Army Service Corps, Royal Pioneer Corps and Royal Army Ordnance Corps had companies; the Royal Corps of Transport had squadrons.

British companies are usually commanded by a major, the officer commanding (OC), with a captain or senior lieutenant as second-in-command (2i/c). The company headquarters also includes a Company Sergeant Major (CSM) normally holding the rank of Warrant Officer class 2 and a Company Quartermaster Sergeant (CQMS) of Colour Sergeant rank, the two most senior soldiers in the company. The Honourable Artillery Company is in fact a regiment, not a company, in terms of organisation and size.[1]

References / notes[edit]

  1. Information on this page from Company (military unit). Wikipedia: The free encyclopedia. Accessed 21 April, 2017.

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This page forms part of our glossary of words and phrases of the Armed Forces of the United Kingdom of Great Britain during the Great War, which also includes: technicalities, trench slang, expressions in everyday use, nicknames, sobriquets, the titles and origins of British and Commonwealth Regiments, and warfare in general. Please feel free to help expand and improve this content.
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