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Battalion vs. Legion: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
A battalion is a military unit typically consisting of 300 to 1,000 soldiers, while a legion is a larger unit of the Roman army historically comprising 3,000 to 6,000 soldiers.
Battalion vs. Legion

Key Differences

A battalion is a military unit usually consisting of several companies or batteries, numbering 300 to 1,000 soldiers. A legion, historically in Roman times, was a larger unit comprising 3,000 to 6,000 infantry soldiers and supporting cavalry.
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Battalions are a common unit in modern armies. The term legion is historically associated with the Roman army and represents a larger formation than a battalion.
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The battalion is a standard unit in the hierarchical organization of modern armies, often part of a regiment or brigade. The legion was a major tactical unit in the Roman army, more autonomous and larger than a battalion.
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A battalion is usually commanded by a lieutenant colonel or a major. A legion, in Roman times, was commanded by a legate and was a more independent military formation.
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The concept of a battalion is widely used in modern military organizations, while the term legion is more specific to historical contexts, particularly the Roman era.
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Comparison Chart

Size

Typically 300-1,000 soldiers
Historically 3,000-6,000 soldiers
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Historical Use

Common in modern armies
Specific to the Roman army
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Organizational Level

Part of a regiment or brigade
A major autonomous unit in the Roman army
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Command

Led by a lieutenant colonel or major
Commanded by a legate
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Current Relevance

Widely used in contemporary military structures
More historical, with limited modern use
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Battalion and Legion Definitions

Battalion

A large body of troops ready for battle, especially an infantry unit forming part of a brigade.
The battalion moved swiftly to secure the area.
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Legion

Any large group of armed men.
A legion of warriors assembled to defend the kingdom.
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Battalion

A large, organized group of people pursuing a common aim.
A battalion of volunteers worked on the community project.
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Legion

A major unit in an army.
He dreamed of commanding a legion one day.
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Battalion

A group of organized military personnel.
He served in an artillery battalion during the war.
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Legion

A vast host, multitude, or number of people or things.
Fans in legion turned up for the concert.
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Battalion

A substantial group of soldiers that can operate independently.
The battalion was deployed for a peacekeeping mission.
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Legion

A large military or semi-military unit.
The foreign legion was composed of volunteers from various countries.
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Battalion

A military unit typically consisting of a headquarters and two or more companies, batteries, or similar subunits.
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Oct 19, 2023

Legion

The major unit of the Roman army consisting of 3,000 to 6,000 infantry troops and 100 to 200 cavalry troops.
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Battalion

A large body of organized troops.
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Legion

A large military unit trained for combat; an army.
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Oct 19, 2023

Battalion

A great number
Battalions of ants.
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Legion

A large number; a multitude.
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Battalion

(military) An army unit having two or more companies, etc. and a headquarters. Traditionally forming part of a regiment.
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Legion

Often Legion A national organization of former members of the armed forces.
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Battalion

An army unit having two or more companies, etc. and a headquarters; forming part of a brigade.
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Legion

Constituting a large number; multitudinous
Her admirers were legion. His mistakes were legion.
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Battalion

Any large body of troops.
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Legion

Numerous; vast; very great in number
Russia’s labor and capital resources are woefully inadequate to overcome the state’s needs and vulnerabilities, which are legion.
Dissatisfied customers and their legion complaints
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Battalion

(by extension) A great number of things.
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Legion

The major unit or division of the Roman army, usually comprising 3000 to 6000 infantry soldiers and 100 to 200 cavalry troops.
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Battalion

To form into battalions.
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Legion

(military) A combined arms major military unit featuring cavalry, infantry, and artillery, including historical units such as the British Legion, and present-day units such as the Spanish Legion and the French Foreign Legion.
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Oct 19, 2023

Battalion

A body of troops; esp. a body of troops or an army in battle array.
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Oct 19, 2023

Legion

(military) A large military or semi-military unit trained for combat; any military force; an army, regiment; an armed, organized and assembled militia.
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Battalion

An infantry command of two or more companies, which is the tactical unit of the infantry, or the smallest command which is self-supporting upon the battlefield, and also the unit in which the strength of the infantry of an army is expressed.
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Legion

(often Legion or the Legion) A national organization or association of former servicemen, such as the American Legion.
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Battalion

To form into battalions.
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Legion

A large number of people; a multitude.
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Battalion

An army unit usually consisting of a headquarters and three or more companies
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Legion

(often plural) A great number.
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Battalion

A large indefinite number;
A battalion of ants
A multitude of TV antennas
A plurality of religions
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Legion

A group of orders inferior to a class; in scientific classification, a term occasionally used to express an assemblage of objects intermediate between an order and a class.
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Battalion

An administrative unit in some branches of the military.
She was assigned to the engineering battalion.
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Legion

(transitive) To form into legions.
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Legion

A body of foot soldiers and cavalry consisting of different numbers at different periods, - from about four thousand to about six thousand men, - the cavalry being about one tenth.
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Oct 19, 2023

Legion

A military force; an army; military bands.
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Legion

A great number; a multitude.
Where one sin has entered, legions will force their way through the same breach.
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Legion

A group of orders inferior to a class.
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Legion

Archaic terms for army
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Legion

Association of ex-servicemen;
The American Legion
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Legion

A large military unit;
The French Foreign Legion
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Legion

A vast multitude
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Legion

A unit of 3,000–6,000 men in the ancient Roman army.
The Roman legion was known for its discipline and organization.
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

What is a battalion?

A military unit of 300-1,000 soldiers, often part of a larger formation.
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Did legions exist outside of Rome?

The term is most closely associated with the Roman army.
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What's the typical size of a battalion?

A battalion can vary in size but often consists of 300 to 800 soldiers, depending on the military's organization.
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How are battalions structured?

Typically composed of several companies or similar units.
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Were Roman legions only infantry?

Primarily, but they also included cavalry and other support units.
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What was unique about Roman legions?

Their discipline, training, and organization were highly advanced for their time.
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What is a legion?

Historically, a large Roman army unit of 3,000-6,000 infantry soldiers.
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Are battalions still used today?

Yes, they are a standard unit in modern military organizations.
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Who commands a battalion?

Usually a lieutenant colonel or a major.
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What is the significance of the Roman legions?

Roman legions were renowned for their discipline and effectiveness, playing a crucial role in the Roman Empire's expansion and defense.
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How many soldiers were in a Roman legion?

A Roman legion typically consisted of around 5,000 soldiers during the height of the Roman Empire.
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What are some common types of battalions?

Common types include infantry battalions, armored battalions, and engineer battalions, each specialized for specific tasks.
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Do any organizations or groups use "legion" in their names today?

Yes, some organizations, like the American Legion, use the term "legion" to honor military veterans and provide support and advocacy for them.
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Who leads a battalion?

A battalion is led by a lieutenant colonel or a major, depending on the military's structure.
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Shumaila Saeed
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Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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