Navigation Menu loading...

The Combat Arms Regimental System:
Questions and Answers

Cover, The Combat Arms Regimental System: Questions and Answers


A US Army Photograph

This is a black and white reproduction from the following color transparency:
CC51148, USAPA 68 CCA-168-23, 6 Aug 1968

"0700 22 February 67," by Robert De Coste. The painting depicts a battalion of the 7th Cavalry going into action in Vietnam.

The Combat Arms Regimental System: Questions and Answers

Organizational History Branch
US Army Center of Military History

Questions and Answers about CARS 1
Regiments Organized under the Combat Arms Regimental System
Organizational Charts of Typical CARS Organizations


Questions and Answers about CARS

  1. What is CARS?

    CARS is the Combat Arms Regimental System, under which the combat arms units in the United States Army are organized.

  2. Why was CARS established?

    Before the adoption of the CARS, there was no satisfactory means of maintaining the active life of the combat arms organizations. Whenever the nation entered periods of military retrenchment, units were invariably broken up, reorganized, consolidated, or disbanded. During periods of mobilization, large numbers of new units were created. Changes in weapons and techniques of warfare produced new types of units to replace the old ones. As a result, soldiers frequently served in organizations with little or no history, while units with long combat records remained inactive.

    In the late 1950s requirements for maneuverable and flexible major tactical organizations demanded highly mobile divisions with greatly increased firepower. For this purpose the regiment was deemed too large and unwieldy and had to be broken up into smaller organizations. (Most artillery and armored regiments had already been broken up for flexibility and maneuverability during World War II.) When the division was reorganized under the Pentomic structure in 1957, the traditional regimental organization was eliminated, thus raising questions as to what the new units were to be called, how they were to be numbered, and what their relationship to former organizations was to be.

    On 24 January 1957 the Secretary of the Army approved the CARS concept, as devised by the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, which was designed to provide a flexible regimental structure that would permit perpetuation of unit history and tradition in the new tactical organization of divisions, without restricting the organizational trends of the future.

  3. What are the regiments organized under the CARS concept?
    1. There are 61 Regular Army infantry regiments and 18 Army Reserve infantry regiments, plus the 1st Special Forces, in the Combat Arms Regimental System. (See Appendix A for listing.)
    2. There are 30 Regular Army armor/cavalry regiments in the Combat Arms Regimental System. The only Regular Army combat units not organized under CARS are the 2d, 3d, 11th, and14th Armored Cavalry (regiments). (See Appendix A for listing.)
    3. There are 82 Regular Army artillery regiments in the Combat Arms Regimental System - 58 field artillery regiments and 24 air defense artillery regiments. (See Appendix A for listing.)
    4. [1]

    5. Except for the 18 Army Reserve infantry regiments, those regiments organized under CARS may have elements in both the Regular Army and the Army Reserve. In the Army National Guard, each state has its own regiments. The number of CARS regiments varies as troop allotments change. The 1st Special Forces has elements in all three components - Regular Army, Army Reserve and Army National Guard.
  4. How were the regiments selected?

    The criteria for the majority of the regiments selected were two factors: age (one point for each year since original organization) and honors (two points for each campaign and American decoration). Those regiments with the most points were selected for inclusion in the system.

  5. What were the phases in which CARS was instituted?

    Phase I: Reorganization of Regular Army regiments (1957)

    Phase II: Reorganization of Army Reserve regiments (1959)

    Phase III: Reorganization of Army National Guard regiments (1959)

    Phase IV: Mobilization planning (1957-present)

    Phase V: Organization of regimental headquarters (subsequently suspended indefinitely)

  6. How were the regiments reorganized under CARS?

    Each company, battery or troop in the regiment (as originally organized) was reorganized as the headquarters and headquarters element of a new battle group, battalion, or squadron in the new regiment. The new battle group, battalion, or squadron's organic elements (i.e. lettered elements) were constituted and activated as new units. Each of the old companies, batteries, or troops of the former regiment also had the capability of becoming a separate company, battery, or troop in the new regiment. The regimental headquarters was transferred to Department of the Army control. (For detailed charts of typical regiments reorganized under CARS, see Appendix B.)

  7. Since Phase V (organization of regimental headquarters) of CARS was never instituted, who has custody of the regimental colors, properties, etc.?

    The lowest numbered or lettered active element of the regiment normally has custody of the regimental properties. If, however, the lowest numbered or lettered active element is unable to care for the properties, they may be transferred to the next lowest numbered or lettered active element. If a numbered or lettered element of the regiment is activated lower that the one having custody of the regimental properties, the propertie will not necessarily be transferred.

  8. [2]

  9. What is the difference between a brigade and a regiment?

    In a regiment not organized under CARS, there is a fixed number of organic elements organized into battalions or squadrons. For example, the infantry regiment of World War II contained Companies A through M divided into three battalions, plus supporting elements such as the service company. A brigade, on the other hand, is a flexible organization; it has no organic, permanently assigned elements. A brigade may have several different kinds of units attached to it, such as three infantry battalions, a cavalry troop, an engineer company, and other supporting units. In tactical structure, therefore, it is very similar to the regimental combat team of World War II and Korea. Its maneuver (infantry and armor) elements are not required to be from the same regiment. Since they are flexible, except for the headquarters and headquarters company, no two brigades need be alike, whereas all regiments are fixed with organic elements provided for under basic tables of organization and equipment.

  10. How are battle honors displayed?

    Each battalion or squadron of a CARS regiment has a replica of the regimental colors with the number of the battalion or squadron in the upper fly. The streamers attached to the colors are those for the regiment, as determined when the regiment was reorganized under CARS, plus those subsequently earned by the battalion or squadron. Those campaigns and decorations actually earned by the battalion or squadron are shown on the streamers by earned honor devices. Regimental honors are listed on the battalion or squadron Lineage and Honors Certificates, with the earned honors being marked by asterisks. Separate batteries, troops, and companies of CARS regiments display only those honors they actually earned, not the regimental ones. Campaign participation credit for these guidon-bearing units is displayed by silver bands and decorations streamers. (See ARs 672-5-1, 840-10 and 870-5 for further details.)

  11. What insignia do members of CARS regiments wear?

    Personnel wear the distinctive insignia for their regiment and the shoulder sleeve insignia of their division or other tactical organization to which they are assigned. (See AR 670-5 for further details.)

  12. Who selects what elements of the CARS regiments will be activated?

    The Adjutant General controls the designations of elements to be activated and coordinates his selections with the Center of Military History.




  • Armor/Cavalry
  • 1st Cavalry
  • 4th Cavalry
  • 5th Cavalry
  • 6th Cavalry
  • 7th Cavalry
  • 8th Cavalry
  • 9th Cavalry
  • 10th Cavalry
  • 12th Cavalry
  • 13th Armor
  • 15th Cavalry
  • 16th Cavalry
  • 17th Cavalry
  • 32d Armor
  • 33d Armor
  • 34th Armor
  • 35th Armor
  • 37th Armor
  • 40th Armor
  • 63d Armor
  • 64th Armor
  • 66th Armor
  • 67th Armor
  • 68th Armor
  • 69th Armor
  • 70th Armor
  • 72d Armor
  • 73d Armor
  • 77th Armor
  • 81st Armor
  • Infantry
  • 1st Infantry
  • 2d Infantry
  • 3d Infantry
  • 4th Infantry
  • 5th Infantry
  • 6th Infantry
  • 7th Infantry
  • 8th Infantry
  • 9th Infantry
  • 10th Infantry
  • 11th Infantry
  • 12th Infantry
  • 13th Infantry
  • 14th Infantry
  • 15th Infantry
  • 16th Infantry
  • 17th Infantry
  • 18th Infantry
  • 19th Infantry
  • 20th Infantry
  • 21st Infantry
  • 22d Infantry
  • 23d Infantry
  • 26th Infantry
  • 27th Infantry
  • 28th Infantry
  • 29th Infantry
  • 30th Infantry
  • 31st Infantry
  • 32d Infantry
  • 34th Infantry
  • 35th Infantry
  • 36th Infantry
  • 38th Infantry
  • 39th Infantry
  • 41st Infantry
  • 46th Infantry
  • 47th Infantry
  • 48th Infantry
  • 50th Infantry
  • 51st Infantry
  • 52d Infantry
  • 54th Infantry
  • 58th Infantry
  • 60th Infantry
  • 61st Infantry
  • 75th Infantry
  • 87th Infantry
  • 187th Infantry
  • 188th Infantry
  • 325th Infantry
  • 327th Infantry
  • 501st Infantry
  • 502d Infantry
  • 503d Infantry
  • 504th Infantry
  • 505th Infantry
  • 506th Infantry
  • 508th Infantry
  • 509th Infantry
  • 511th Infantry

  • AR Infantry
  • 59th Infantry
  • 305th Infantry
  • 306th Infantry
  • 307th Infantry
  • 313th Infantry
  • 314th Infantry
  • 315th Infantry
  • 322d Infantry
  • 345th Infantry
  • 357th Infantry
  • 358th Infantry
  • 359th Infantry
  • 381st Infantry
  • 383d Infantry
  • 409th Infantry
  • 410th Infantry
  • 411th Infantry
  • 442d Infantry

  • 1st Special Forces

* Note: Army National Guard regiments not included


  • Artillery
  • 1st Air Defense Artillery
  • 1st Field Artillery
  • 2d Air Defense Artillery
  • 2d Field Artillery
  • 3d Air Defense Artillery
  • 3d Field Artillery
  • 4th Air Defense Artillery
  • 4th Field Artillery
  • 5th Air Defense Artillery
  • 5th Field Artillery
  • 6th Air Defense Artillery
  • 6th Field Artillery
  • 7th Air Defense Artillery
  • 7th Field Artillery
  • 8th Field Artillery
  • 9th Field Artillery
  • 10th Field Artillery
  • 11th Field Artillery
  • 12th Field Artillery
  • 13th Field Artillery
  • 14th Field Artillery
  • 15th Field Artillery
  • 16th Field Artillery
  • 17th Field Artillery
  • 18th Field Artillery
  • 19th Field Artillery
  • 20th Field Artillery
  • 21st Field Artillery
  • 22d Field Artillery
  • 25th Field Artillery
  • 26th Field Artillery
  • 27th Field Artillery
  • 28th Field Artillery
  • 29th Field Artillery
  • 30th Field Artillery
  • 31st Field Artillery
  • 32d Field Artillery
  • 33d Field Artillery
  • 34th Field Artillery
  • 35th Field Artillery
  • 36th Field Artillery
  • 37th Field Artillery
  • 38th Field Artillery
  • 39th Field Artillery
  • 40th Field Artillery
  • 41st Field Artillery
  • 42d Field Artillery
  • 43d Air Defense Artillery
  • 44th Air Defense Artillery
  • 51st Air Defense Artillery
  • 52d Air Defense Artillery
  • 55th Air Defense Artillery
  • 56th Air Defense Artillery
  • 57th Air Defense Artillery
  • 59th Air Defense Artillery
  • 60th Air Defense Artillery
  • 61st Air Defense Artillery
  • 62d Air Defense Artillery
  • 65th Air Defense Artillery
  • 67th Air Defense Artillery
  • 68th Air Defense Artillery
  • 71st Air Defense Artillery
  • 73d Field Artillery
  • 75th Field Artillery
  • 76th Field Artillery
  • 77th Field Artillery
  • 78th Field Artillery
  • 79th Field Artillery
  • 80th Field Artillery
  • 81st Field Artillery
  • 82d Field Artillery
  • 83d Field Artillery
  • 84th Field Artillery
  • 92d Field Artillery
  • 94th Field Artillery
  • 319th Field Artillery
  • 320th Field Artillery
  • 321st Field Artillery
  • 333d Field Artillery
  • 377th Field Artillery
  • 517th Air Defense Artillery
  • 562d Air Defense Artillery




Chart 1 - Typical Infantry Regiment under Combat Arms Regimental System


Chart 2 - Typical Armor/Cavalry
			Regiment under Combat Arms Regimental System


Chart 3 - Typical Field Artillery
			Regiment under Combat Arms Regimental System


Chart 4 - Typical Air Defense
			Artillery Regiment under Combat Arms Regimental System