Wikipedia:Naming conventions (military units)

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Deprecated due to the adoption of the new military unit and formation naming convention.

Wikipedia:Naming conventions (military units) provides conventions for naming military units and headquarters of all nations, for use in articles' bodies as well as for Wikipedia article names.

Note: These are draft conventions. Please read the talk page before you undertake converting lots of articles to conform to them. (Please join the discussions on the talk page if you would like to help extend or revise these conventions as well.)

Related conventions:


General conventions[edit]

  • Use English forms except where exceptions are noted elsewhere in these conventions.
    • However, when using direct quotation, never change the forms used by the source.
      • However, when translating a direct quotation, translate to the forms recommended by these conventions.
    • Unit type designations are normally translated to the English-language equivalent. Exceptions are itemized in a separate section below.
    • This draft does not yet address conventions for translating vs. not-translating unit nicknames or proper names used as part of a unit's name; please see (or join) the discussion on the talk page.
  • Use capitalization when referring to units or headquarters by their proper names, but not otherwise:
    ...1st Division advanced...
    ...8th and 24th Divisions advanced...
    ...the division advanced...
  • For articles about a specific headquarters or unit:
    • Prefix the article name with the nationality to avoid possible name clashes:
      British 6th Airborne Division
    • Use the full article name, including the national prefix, in the first sentence of the article:
      The British 6th Airborne Division was...
    • For units from non-English-speaking countries, give the native language form of the name in parentheses and italics immediately after the bolded name of the article:
      The German 3rd Mountain Division (3. Gebirgs-Division) was...
      • For languages that do not use Latin-based alphabets, give a transliteration of the native-language form instead of (or in addition to) the "native" native-language form.
  • For articles that mention military units that are not the subject of the article:
    • Link the first mention of each unit's name to an article about it, but not any following mentions.
      • However, for very long articles also link the first mention of a unit in a new section of the article, if and only if there has been "a lot" of text since the previous mention.
      • If the nationality is clear from context, it is acceptable to hide the nationality prefix in a unit's name:
        ...meanwhile the British had moved the 6th Airborne Division to Belgium...
      • Provide links even for articles that do not yet exist, taking care to follow the article naming conventions.
    • Do not give the native-language form of units' names in article bodies.
    • After the first mention of a unit by name, abbreviated forms are acceptable when the context prevents ambiguity:
      ...since 6th Airborne was now ready...
  • For headquarters, no distinction usually needs to be made between a headquarters per se vs. the headquarters plus the units it controls:
    ...III Corps ordered the division to advance...
    ...III Corps moved south...

Units that were redesignated, upgraded, reorganized, or reconstituted[edit]

  • If a unit's name changed over time, refer to it by the form of the name in effect at the time the context is referring to:
    During Operation Barbarossa, SS Division Wiking was...
    During the Battle of Kursk, SS Panzergrenadier Division Wiking was...
    During the attempt to relieve Budapest, 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking was...
  • Additional material for this section is TBA – see the talk page for more information.

Units and headquarters[edit]

Army groups[edit]

  • If numbered, use an ordinalized Arabic number and put it at the front:
    ...to 21st Army Group...
  • If named, or designated by a letter, put the name or designation at the end:
    ...to Army Group North...
    ...to Army Group B...

Armies[edit]

  • If numbered, spell out the number and put it at the front:
    ...to First Army...
  • If named, put the name at the end:
    ...to Army Karpaty...
    • But preserve English idioms:
      ...to the Army of the Potomac...
  • If the army has a type designation, put it before the word "Army":
    ...Twentieth Mountain Army...

Corps[edit]

  • If numbered, use capitalized Roman numerals and put them at the front:
    ...to XXIV Corps...
    • Do not create ordinalized forms of the Roman numerals such as "XXIVth".
  • If named, – TBA (see talk page)
  • If the corps has a type designation, put it before the word "Corps":
    ...to XIX Mountain Corps...

Exceptions[edit]

  • Soviet World War II era tank and mechanized corps are numbered with ordinalized Arabic numerals rather than Roman numerals:
    ...then the Soviet 2nd Guards Mechanized Corps advanced...
  • Due to familiarity, the German Afrika Korps retains its native form.
    • Be sure to link the term's first appearance, since some readers may not be familiar with it.
    • The form should always be italicized, except in direct quotations that do not italicize it.
    • Also due to familiarity, the German acronym DAK may also be used. However, it should only be used in an article after being fully introduced:
      ...was sent to join the German Afrika Korps (German acronym DAK) in the Western Desert. While with the DAK, it...
    • This is a narrow exception: other German corps should be referred to as "Corps" rather than "Korps", in accord with the general use English precept.
    • Also due to familiarity, other German units with Afrika in their name can retain the native form of Afrika, but other elements of their names are translated normally:
      ...to Panzer Army Afrika...
      ...unless 90th Light Afrika Division advanced...

Divisions and brigades[edit]

  • If numbered, use an ordinalized Arabic numeral and put it at the front:
    ...paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division dropped...
  • If named, – TBA (see talk page)
  • Since the beginning of the modern era divisions (and brigades) almost always have a type designation, which goes just before the word "Division" (or "Brigade"):
    ...then 1st Armoured Division attacked...
    ...then 10th Mountain Division attacked...
    ...then 102nd Panzer Brigade attacked...
  • If context allows a shortened form, the word "Division" (or "Brigade") should be dropped rather than the type designation:
    ...then 1st Armoured attacked...
    ...then 10th Mountain attacked...
    ...then 102nd Panzer attacked...

Regiments[edit]

TBA (see talk page)

Battalions / squadrons[edit]

  • Observe the distinction between "battalion" and "squadron" for nations that use different terms for different arms:
    ...then an infantry battalion advanced...
    ...then a cavalry squadron advanced...
  • More TBA (see talk page)

Companies / troops / batteries[edit]

  • Observe the distinction between "company", "troop", and "battery" for nations that use different terms for different arms:
    ...an infantry company moved up...
    ...a cavalry troop moved up...
    ...an artillery battery moved up...
  • More TBA (see talk page)

Platoons[edit]

TBA (see talk page)

Sections[edit]

TBA (see talk page)

Squads[edit]

TBA (see talk page)

Type designations[edit]

Type designations in units' names should be translated to the English-language equivalent. Note, however, that the general convention (above) calls for giving the native-language form of a unit's name in the introduction to an article about that unit, so in that case the designation may appear both ways:

The German 3rd Mountain Division (3. Gebirgs-Division) was...

The remainder of this section shows the equivalence conventions by nation, and lists exceptions.

Germany[edit]

  • Artillerie → artillery
  • Aufklärungs → reconnaissance
  • Ausbildungs → training
  • bodenständige → static
  • Ersatz → replacement
  • Feld → field
  • FliegerTBA (see talk page)
  • Fallschirmjägerparatrooper (falling,hunter (literal) (see talk page)
  • Festungs → fortress
  • FLAK, FlakTBA (see talk page)
  • Freiwilligen → volunteer
  • FüsilierTBA (see talk page)
  • Gebirgs, Gebirgsjäger → mountain
  • gepanzerte → armored
    • Notice the subtle difference with Panzer – strictly speaking, a panzer division is a "tank division", not an "armored division".
  • Granatwerfer → morter
  • GrenadierTBA (see talk page)
  • Grenz, Grenzwacht → border
  • Hochgebirgs → alpine
  • Infanterie → infantry
  • JägerTBA (see talk page)
  • Kavallerie → cavalry
  • Kosaken → Cossack
  • Krad. → motorcycle
  • Küste-Abwehr → coastal defense
  • Lehr → demonstration
    • Ordinarily goes after other elements of the type designation:
      ...attached the Panzer Demonstration Battalion to...
      ...sent the Reconnaissance Demonstration Battalion ahead...
    • However, due to familiarity Lehr remains untranslated in the name of the famous division:
      ...when Panzer Lehr returned to the West Wall...
  • leichte → light
  • Luftlande → air landing
  • Machinegewehr → machinegun
  • Motorisierte, (mot.) → motorized
    • Use "motorized infantry" rather than the parenthetical "(motorized)":
      ...then 20th Motorized Infantry Division crossed...
  • Nebelwerfer → do not translate, and treat as a foreign term outside unit names:
    ...the 1st Nebewerfer Brigade began firing at midnight...
    ...they began firing Nebewerfers at midnight...
  • Nummer, Nr.TBA (see talk page)
  • OstTBA (see talk page)
  • Panzer → do not translate, and treat as fully borrowed into English in contexts where it occurs:
    ...to II SS Panzer Corps...
    ...a panzer division would have... (n.b. – neither capitalized nor italicized)
  • Panzerabwehr → anti-tank
  • PanzergrenadierTBA (see talk page)
  • Panzerjäger → tank destroyer
  • Pioniere → engineer
  • Radfahr → bicycle
  • ReiterTBA (see talk page)
  • Reserve → reserve
  • SchattenTBA (see talk page)
  • SchützenTBA (see talk page)
  • schwere→ heavy
  • Sicherungs → security
  • Skijäger → ski
  • Sturm → do not translate, and treat as a foreign term outside unit names:
    ...with the 78th Sturm Division in...
    ...that many of the Sturm units were merely low-grade infantry.
    • As exceptions, do translate Sturm in:
    • Sturmartillerie → assault artillery
    • Sturmgeschütz → assault gun
    • Sturmpionier → assault engineer
  • Volks → see following, but never translate as "People's".
    • VolksgebirgsTBA (see talk page)
    • Volksgrenadier → do not translate, and treat as a foreign term outside unit names:
      ...was reconstituted a second time as the 716th Volksgrenadier Division in...
      ...supported by a dozen Volksgrenadier divisions...
    • Volks-Sturm → do not translate, and take care not to spell it as Volkssturm
  • z.b. V.TBA (see talk page)

Soviet Union[edit]

  • Use "tank" rather than "armored":
    ...the First Guards Tank Army advanced...
    ...three tank brigades were released from reserve...
  • Use "guards mortar" for rocket launchers:
    ...98th Guards Mortar Regiment moved to...

UK[edit]

  • Be sure to make the proper distinction between "Tank" and "Armoured", which are not synonymous:
    ...the 23rd Armoured Brigade moved...
    ...the 33rd Tank Brigade moved...
  • Observe the differences in British and U.S. spellings:
    ...the British 7th Armoured Division moved...
    ...the US 7th Armored Division moved...

USA[edit]

  • Observe the differences in U.S. and British spellings:
    ...the US 7th Armored Division moved...
    ...the British 7th Armoured Division moved...

Other issues[edit]