The brigade cannot be understood in its modern sense without reference to the permanent command hierarchy that lies above and below it. In essence, the term brigade was born of the expansion of armies and the geographic space over which these large forces operated. This necessitated the practical step of creating levels (or hierarchies) of command through which a commander could influence the course of a battle or campaign when he was no longer able to personally order or supervise each and every principal subunit. Contemporary brigades usually comprise three to six battalions and can include other supporting units. This entry discusses the history of brigades and their organization.


The brigade is, in its modern sense, a creation of the gunpowder era and the expansion of ...

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