U.S. Army Combat Arms Regimental System

U.S. Army Combat Arms Regimental System

U.S. Army Combat Arms Regimental System

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The Combat Arms Regimental System (CARS), was the method of assigning unit designations to units of the five combat arms (Infantry, Field Artillery, Armor, Cavalry, and Air Defense Artillery) of the United States Army from 1957 to 1981. CARS was superseded by the U.S. Army Regimental System (USARS) in 1981.


Before the adoption of 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 U.S. Army division was reorganized under the Pentomic structure in 1957, the traditional regimental organization was eliminated, raising questions as to what the new units were to be called, how they were...
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