Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Company (military unit)
In the United States military, infantry companies are usually made up of three rifle platoons and a heavy weapons platoon; tank companies are usually made up of three tank platoons and a command element. By tradition, an artillery "company" is always called a battery. An armored or cavalry "company" is often called a troop.
Line combat companies are identified by letter - for example, A Company, 1st Battalion, 15th Rifle Regiment. The letters are usually pronounced using the NATO phonetic alphabet or, before that, the Joint Army/Navy Phonetic Alphabet, resulting in names such as Charlie Company and Easy Company.
The British Army identifies its rifle companies by letter (usually, but not always, A, B and C) within an infantry battalion, usually with the addition of an headquarters company and a support/heavy weapons company. The Royal Marines also has companies designated by letter within a commando. However, the Intelligence Corps, Royal Army Medical Corps, Royal Military Police and Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers all have individually numbered companies.
The Household Cavalry, Royal Armoured Corps, Royal Engineers, Royal Corps of Signals, Army Air Corps, Special Air Service and Royal Logistic Corps have squadrons instead of companies (although the Royal Engineers and Royal Signals had companies until after the Second World War, except in armoured divisions). The Royal Artillery has batteries.
British companies are usually commanded by a major, the Officer Commanding (OC), with a captain as Second-in-Command (2i/c). Until after the Second World War, the company commander of an infantry company was usually a captain, although companies of other corps were often under majors even then (and independent companies almost always were). The company headquarters also includes a Company Sergeant Major (CSM) and a Company Quartermaster Sergeant (CQMS), the two most senior non-commissioned officers of the company.
Some companies were well enough known that they have been identified with their company letter. Examples include:
- Easy Company of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division which became the focus of the BBC/HBO miniseries Band of Brothers and the first-person shooter Medal of Honor: Allied Assault.
- Easy Company is the name of a fictional infantry unit united led by Sgt. Frank Rock in the DC Comics comic book series.
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