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
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?
a. 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.)
b. 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.)
c. 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.)
d. 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
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 t 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. 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.
9. 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.)
10. 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.)
11. 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.
REGIMENTS ORGANIZED UNDER THE COMBAT ARMS REGIMENTAL SYSTEM*
1st Special Forces
* Note: Army National Guard regiments not included
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
"America's Pride: Famous Old Regiments to Get
New Life," The Army Reservist, III (October 1957), 10-11.
"Army Studies Ways to Keep Famed Regiments on Roster," Army Times (28 April 1956), 7.
Atwood, Thomas W. "A Hard Look at CARS," Armor, LXXII (July-August 1963), 19-22.
Booth, Thomas W. "Combat Arms Regimental System," Army Information Digest, XII (August 1957) 24-31.
Bourjaily, Monte Jr. "Battle Honor 'Lies' ", Army Times (10 March 1962), 13.
_____. "Colorful Names Would Identify Regiments," Army Times (2 August 1958), 9.
_____. "The Combat Regiments," Army Times (16 July 1960), 15.
_____. "Is Regimental Plan a Paper Exercise?" Army Times (23 March 1957).
_____. "The Question of CARS," Army, XI (July 1961), 23-27.
_____. "Regimental Plan Can Live or Die," Army Times (16 February 1957).
_____. "Unit Homes in '57?" Army Times (29 December 1956), 1, 35.
"CARS Confusion," editorial, Army Times (25 July 1959), 10+.
Corbett, W.H. "New Life for Old Regiments," National Guardsman, XII (April 1958), 8, 9; (May 1958), 4, 5.
Danysh, Romana. "What's the History of Your Unit?" Army Digest, XXII (December 1967), 12-15.
Department of the Army. Army Regulations.
672-5-1, Military Awards. 3 June 1974
840-10, Flags and Guidons: Description and Use of Flags, Guidons, Tabards and Automobile Plates. 23 August 1962
870-5, Historical Activities: Military History - Responsibilities, Policies and Procedures. 22 January 1977.
870-20, Historical Activities: Historical properties and museums, 28 Sep 1976
_____. Circular 220-1. October 1960.
_____. Pamphlet 220-1. June 1957.
Dupuy, R. Ernest. "Our Regiments will Live Forever," Army Navy Air Force Register, LXXVIII (September 1957), 3.
Eliot, George Fielding. "Army's Future Tightly Linked to 'Future of the Regiment,' " Army Times (June 1955).
"Future of the Regiment," Army Times (4 December 1954); (11 December 1954).
Gavin, James M. "The Traditional Regiments will Live On," Army Combat Forces Journal, V (May 1955), 20-21.
Harrison, O.C. "Doubts About the Regimental System," Army, VII (July 1957), 62+.
_____."The Combat Arms Regimental System," Armor, LXVI (November-December 1957), 18-21.
"Historic Regimental Designations to be Retained by the Army," Army Navy Air Force Register, LXXVII, 1.
Jones, F. P. "The Cost of Going Regimental," Army, XVII (May 1967), 47-49.
Keliher, John G."CARS is OK. It Can Do the Job," Army, XI (May 1961), 70-71.
Kennedy, William V. "Continuity Through the Regiment," National Guardsman, XIII (February 1959), 2, 3, 31.
Lamison, K.R. and John Wike. "Combat Arms Regimental System," Army Information Digest, XIX (September 1964), 16-24.
Mahon, John K. and Romana Danysh. Infantry. ARMY LINEAGE SERIES. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1972. Pages 87-100.
McMahon, Walter L."CARS '75; Permanent Headquarters for the Combat Arms Regimental System." US Army War College Research Paper, 31 October 1974.
Palmer, Bruce Jr. "Let's Keep the Regiment," Army Combat Forces Journal, V (May 1955), 22-23.
"Reserves Brought into CARS," Army Times (4 April 1959).
Schmieier, Elmer. "Long Live the Regiment," Army, VII (April 1957), 25-28.
Short, James Harvey. "Young Soldiers Fade Away." Student essay, US Army War College, 13 January 1967.
Sinnreich, Richard H. and George K. Osborn. "Revive the Regiment, Rotate, and Reorganize," Army
, XXV (May 1975), 12-14.
Stubbs, Mary Lee and Stanley Russell Connor.Armor-Cavalry. ARMY LINEAGE SERIES. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1969. Pages 81-83.
Tallat-Kelpsa, Algis J. "A Regiment as Home for Career Soldiers," Army, XXI (January 1971), 51-52.
Wike, John W. "Our Regimental Heritage," Army Information Digest, XIX (February 1964), 50-56.