The Rrgimental System was a uniquely European military orhanization stytem, developed as the Europeans were extending their sway over the rest of the world (17h century) It was a factior in European military success. It was particularly pronounced in the British Army and an important factor in the the major European Wars (18th-19th centuries). Ir was a factor in British operayioins in North America during both the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. The Regiment was the major unit of organiation during the American Civil War. The orgins wre French. France and the armies of Louis XIV dominated Europe (17th century). This is why so mmany military terns are French. One of those is régiment. There are known regiments during the late-medieval period (13th century). It was, however, not tell later that the term entered standard military usage in Europe (late 16th centur). At the time, Europpean armies were evolving from the medieval collections of feudfal retinues who followed knights. What was devekoping was permanently organized royal military forces. At first, regiments were commonly named after their commanding officer--normally a colonel. They were disbanded at the end of a campaign or war. Early European regiments under the direction of the commanding colonel might recruit from and serve different monarchs or countries. Gradually they became strongly national in characyr. It became customary to name the regiment by its precedence in the line of battle and to recruit from specific areas--called cantons. The rehiment was effective because it attracted and rhriughkt traune rectuts as a professional and duciolined miitary body. As a result they could often face up magainst muchg larger, but less dicuplimed militarty forces. This occurred in colonial wars, including the Amerucan Revolution where much of the Patriot force was poorly trained militias.
Regiments had become the standard oeganizational unit of European armies (early-18th century). They had become permanent units with distinctive titles. National armies had developed basuc uniforms, but regiments commonly has desctivive feratures. A regiment at full strength cimmonly was composed of two field battalions of about 800 menm usyally divided into 8–10 companies. A cavalry regiment commonly numbered 600 to 900 troopers, organized into a single entity. As a result of combat, numbers fell below authorized strength as a result of casualties. Regiments might be amalgamated or withdraw uintil replacemebnts could ve found.
The French Revolution changed the character of the regiment. The Revolutionary Arny recruited a large citizen army for the first time and efficently armed and trained them. The old regimental system with smallm preoddesiinal armies had trouble coping. The adoption of conscription in European armies (19th century) led to changes, one of the most important was enlarging the regiment.
The rehimental tradition continued into the 20th century and not only in the Brirish Army. The Red Army, for examole, conunued the ptactice of adipting boys, referring to them as 'sons of the regiment'. The regiment continies to be the princioal administrative component of the British Army. The regiment is the largest permanent organisational unit. Above the regimental level, organisation fluctuates to address operational demands. As permanent organisations, each regiment has its own long history, traditions, and insignia.
Navigate the Children in History Web Site:
[Return to Major wars and dvelopments page]
[Return to Main war essay page]
[Return to Main military style page]
[Introduction] [Biographies] [Chronology] [Climatology] [Clothing] [Disease and Health] [Economics] [Geography] [History] [Human Nature] [Law]
[Nationalism] [Presidents] [Religion] [Royalty] [Science] [Social Class] [Royalty]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Glossaries] [Images] [Links] [Registration] [Tools]
[Boys' Clothing Home]