Wikipedia:WikiProject Military history/Notability guide

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The Military history WikiProject's notability guide is intended to provide recommendations regarding the notability of topics within the scope of the project.


For more details on this topic, see Wikipedia:Notability.

In general, a topic is presumed to be notable if it has received significant coverage in reliable sources that are independent of the subject.



In general, an individual is presumed to be notable if they have received significant coverage in multiple verifiable independent, reliable sources.

In particular, individuals will almost always have sufficient coverage to qualify if they:

  1. Were awarded their nation's highest award for valour;[1] or
  2. Were awarded their nation's second-highest award for valour (such as the Navy Cross) multiple times; or
  3. Held a rank considered to be a flag, general or air officer, or their historical equivalents; or
  4. Held the top-level military command position of their nation's armed forces (such as Chief of the General Staff), or of a department thereof (such as Chief of Army Staff); or
  5. Played an important role in a significant military event; or
  6. Commanded a substantial body of troops in combat; or
  7. Made a material contribution to military science that is indisputably attributed to them; or
  8. Were the undisputed inventor of a form of military technology which significantly changed the nature of or conduct of war; or
  9. Were recognized by their peers as an authoritative source on military matters/writing.

For the purposes of these criteria, a "substantial body of troops" refers to a capital ship, a division or larger formation, or their historical equivalents.

Conversely, any person who is only mentioned in genealogical records or family histories, or is traceable only through primary documents, is not notable.

Units and formations[edit]

For more details on this topic, see the discussions that led to this essay here and here.

As for any subject on Wikipedia, presumption of notability for a military unit or formation depends wholly on the existence of significant coverage in multiple reliable secondary sources that are independent of the subject. The consensus within the Military history WikiProject is that the following types of units and formations are likely, but not certain, to have such coverage and therefore likely, but not certain, to be suitable for inclusion:

  1. National armed forces or branches thereof. Examples include Canadian Forces, People's Liberation Army Navy, Fleet Air Arm, Royal Marines, Special Republican Guard and United States Army;
  2. Higher level land forces command formations, such as regiments, brigades, divisions, corps, and armies, or their historical equivalents.[2] Examples include 2nd Brigade (Australia), 1st Infantry Division (Germany), I ANZAC Corps and Eighth Army (United Kingdom);
  3. Land forces units that are capable of undertaking significant, or independent, military operations (including combat, combat support and combat service support units). Examples include battalion-level or equivalent units[3] such as 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment and 21st Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry;
  4. Warships, including submarines, commissioned in recognised naval forces. Examples include HMAS Sydney, USS Enterprise and SMS Blücher;
  5. Civilian vessels serving as auxiliary warships are notable in the same way as commissioned warships. Otherwise, a civilian vessel's notability is derived from participation in a notable naval action or association with an otherwise notable military figure. Examples include SS Ohio, RMS Lusitania and Queen Anne's Revenge;
  6. Higher level naval command formations, such as flotillas, squadrons and fleets. Examples include Caspian Flotilla, West Africa Squadron and United States Seventh Fleet; and
  7. Air force, naval, or marine aviation squadrons, wings, groups, and commands. Examples include No. 1 Squadron RAF, No. 1 Wing RAAF, No. 6 Group RCAF, 16th Air Army and Western Air Command, Indian Air Force.

As a general rule, sub-units that exist below the level of those formations listed above—such as sections, platoons, troops, batteries, companies, and flights—are not intrinsically notable. Such information as can be suitably sourced should normally be included, with appropriate focus, in an article about a notable parent formation.[4] Rarely, some sub-units will meet Wikipedia's general notability requirements. These however will be exceptional cases, such as E Company, 506th Infantry Regiment (United States), which is notable because it was the subject of a best-selling and detailed book and TV miniseries.

Independent sources for units and formations[edit]

"Significant coverage in multiple reliable secondary sources independent of the subject" includes published books, journal articles, and/or reputable websites, by recognised subject experts that discuss in depth the units and their involvement in significant military operations. It does not include websites, newsletters and webcasts published by the unit itself or other non-independent agencies (such as a parent formation).[5] Also, it does not include passing mentions in otherwise suitable sources.


  1. ^ Some awards, such as the Légion d'Honneur, are/were bestowed in different grades and/or have civil and military versions. For the purpose of this notability guide only the highest military grade of such awards qualifies. (Discussion regarding awards with multiple grades)
  2. ^ For example cohorts, legions or alae or medieval mercenary companies, such as the Catalan Company.
  3. ^ The availability of sources on different sized units, and hence the intrinsic notability of the unit, can vary from country to country. For example, in Australia most infantry battalions have had at least one detailed book published about them along with a high degree of coverage in various official histories. In other countries with larger military forces, such in depth coverage for similar sized units may not exist. In deletion discussions here and here, battalion-level units were deemed not to be notable due to a lack of suitable coverage.
  4. ^ Precedents were set for this in deletion discussions here and here, where it was held that information contained in such articles should be merged with the units' parent formations.
  5. ^ While usually acceptable as sources for content, material published by armed forces, individual branches, or historical divisions (such as the USN's Naval History & Heritage Command or United States Army Center of Military History) should not be used as the only evidence towards a subject's notability. A possible exception to this rule might be where it can be established that these works are reliable per the established guideline and provide significant coverage of the subject.