The Australian Army Structure

The best analogy to explain the structure of the Army is a collection of building blocks called sub-units that are combined in different ways to form larger groups that are known as units. Different combinations of these units can in turn be put together to form larger groups, known as formations. The basic structure of the Army is outlined below.

Basic Army structure

Formations

Organisation

Strength

Made up of

Commanded  by

Army

 

Two or more corps

General

Corps

30,000 or more

Two or more divisions

Lieutenant general

Division

10,000-20,000

3 brigades

Major general

Brigade

2,500-5,000

First World War

Second World War

Brigadier (General)

4 battalions

3 battalions

Sub-units

Battalion

550-1000

4 companies

4 companies

Lieutenant Colonel

Company

100-225

4 platoons

3 platoons

Major

Platoon

30-60

4 (later 3) sections

3 sections

Lieutenant

Section

9-16

 

Corporal/Sergeant


Formations consist of a variety of different corps units in addition to the infantry. The different structures of these other units are shown below. The sub-units are listed in ascending order.

Army sub-units and units by corps

Corps

Sub-Unit & commander

Unit & commander

Army Service Corps
Engineers
Infantry
Intelligence
Military Police
Ordnance
Section (Sect) Corporal Battalion (Bn) Lieutenant Colonel
Platoon (Pl) Lieutenant
Company (Coy) Captain or Major
Aviation
Cavalry/Armour
Engineers (post-1945)
Signals
Transport
Section (Sect) Corporal Regiment (Regt) Lieutenant Colonel
Troop (Tp) Lieutenant
Squadron (Sqn) Captain or Major
Artillery (pre-1939) Detachment (Det) Sergeant Brigade (Bde) Lieutenant Colonel
Section (Sect) Lieutenant
Battery (Bty) Major
Artillery (post-1939) Detachment (Det) Sergeant Regiment (Regt) Lieutenant Colonel
Section (Sect) Lieutenant
Troop (Tp)

Lieutenant/Captain

Battery (Bty) Major

Detailed Army structure

The structure of Army units has changed periodically to reflect changes in technology and tactics. The tables below show the changing organisation of the three major fighting units in the Australian Army.

The Infantry Battalion

Year
Section
Platoon
Company
Battalion
1917

Rifle Section: 10 Other Ranks

Lewis Gun Section:
10 Other Ranks
1 Lewis light-machine gun

Platoon Headquarters (1 Officer, 4 Other Ranks)

3 x Rifle Section
1 x Lewis Gun Section

Company Headquarters (2 Officers, 57 Other Ranks)

4 x Platoon

29 Officers, 1007 Other Ranks

Battalion Headquarters
4 x Company

1941

Rifle Section:
10 Other Ranks
1 x Bren light-machine gun
1 x Thompson sub-machine gun

Rifle Platoon:
"mortar)

3 x Rifle Section

Rifle Company:

3 x Rifle Platoon

33 Officers, 759 Other Ranks

Battalion Headquarters
Regimental Aid Post

Signals Platoon
Anti-Aircraft Platoon
Mortar Platoon
Pioneer Platoon
Administration Platoon

4 x Rifle Company

1944

(Tropical)

Rifle Section:
10 Other Ranks
1 x Bren light-machine gun
2 x Owen/Austen sub-machine gun

Rifle Platoon:
"mortar, 1 x PIAT [projector, infantry, anti-tank])

3 x Rifle Section

Rifle Company:

3 x Rifle Platoon

32 Officers, 745 Other Ranks

Battalion Headquarters
Regimental Aid Post

Signals Platoon
Machine Gun Platoon
Mortar Platoon
Tank-Attack Platoon
Pioneer Platoon

4 x Rifle Company

1966

Rifle Section:
10 Other Ranks
1 x M60 GPMG (General purpose machine gun)

Rifle Platoon:

3 x Rifle Section

Rifle Company:

3 x Rifle Platoon

37 Officers, 823 Other Ranks

Battalion Headquarters

Quartermasters Platoon

Support Company

Mortar Platoon
Signals Platoon
Anti-Tank Platoon

4 x Rifle Company

1993

Rifle Section:
9 Other Ranks
2 x Minimi light support weapon
1 x M79 grenade launcher

Rifle Platoon:

3 x Section

Rifle Company:

3 x Rifle Platoon

39 Officers, 662 Other Ranks

Battalion Headquarters

Administration Company
Transport Platoon
Quartermasters Platoon
Catering Platoon
Technical Support Platoon

Support Company

Signals Platoon
Mortar Platoon
Assault Pioneer Platoon
DFSW (Direct fire support weapon) Platoon
Reconnaissance and

4 x Rifle Company

The Light Horse/Cavalry/Armoured Regiment

Year/Unit
Section
Troop
Squadron
Regiment

1916
Light Horse Regiment

4 Other Ranks (mounted)

Troop Headquarters (1 Officer, 3 Other Ranks)

8 x Section

4 x Troop

25 Officers

Regiment Headquarters
3 x Squadron

1941
Divisional Cavalry Regiment

N/A

Carier Troop:
1 Officer, 10 Other Ranks

Light Tank Troop:
1 Officer, 12 Other Ranks, 3 light tanks

Squadron Headquarters (2 light tanks, 2 universal carriers)

2 x Light Tank Troop
3 x Carrier Troop

37 Officers

Regiment Headquarters (4 light tanks, 2 carriers)
Administration Squadron
3 x Fighting Squadron

1968

N/A

tank troop:
1 Officer, 12 Other Ranks

tank squadron:
Squadron Headquarters (2 armoured personnel carriers, 2 Centurions)

4 x Tank Troop

34 Officers

Regiment Headquarters (2 armoured command vehicles)

3 x Tank Squadron

1993

6 Other Ranks

Troop Headquarters (1 Officer, 5 Other Ranks, 3 armoured personnel carriers)

3 x Section

9 Officers, 132 Other Ranks

Squadron Headquarters (9 armoured personnel carriers)
Support Troop (17 armoured personnel carriers, 3 tracked load carriers)
Administration Troop (4 armoured personnel carriers, 12 tracked load carriers)

4 x Armoured Personnel Carrier Troop

 

* Only one armoured squadron served with 1 Australian Task Force (ATF) at any one time during the Vietnam War.
** Only a single cavalry squadron served in Somalia with the Australian Forces in Somalia (AFS).

The Artillery Regiment

Year
Detachment
Section
Troop
Battery
Regiment/Brigade
1916

10 Other Ranks
1 x 18-pounder gun

18-pounder:

2 x Detachment

4.5 inch howitzer:

2 x Detachment

N/A

Battery Headquarters

20 Officers, 579 Other Ranks

Brigade Headquarters
3 x 18-pounder Battery

1941

6 Other Ranks

1 Officer

Troop Headquarters (1 Officer, 1 Other Ranks)

2 x Section

Battery Headquarters

42 Officers, 385 Other Ranks

Regiment Headquarters
3 x Battery

1968

7 Other Ranks

1 Officer

N/A

Battery Headquarters
2 x Section

447 all ranks

Headquarters Battery
3 x Battery