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In a military context, the term Front can have several meanings. According to official
US Department of Defense The United States Department of Defense (DoD, USDOD or DOD) is an executive branch department of the federal government A federation (also known as a federal state) is a political entity characterized by a union of partially self-go ...
and
NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental organization, intergovernmental military alliance between 27 European ...
definitions, a front can be "the line of contact of two opposing forces."Leonard, B. (2011). Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms: As Amended Through April 2010. (n.p.): DIANE Publishing Company. p. 193 This
front line A front line (alternative forms: front-line or frontline) in military terminology is the position(s) closest to the area of conflict of an armed force's personnel and equipment, usually referring to land forces. When a Front (military), front (an ...
can be a local or tactical front, or it can range to a
theater Theatre or theater is a collaborative form of performing art The performing arts are arts such as music, dance, and drama which are performed for an audience. It is different from visual arts The visual arts are art forms such as pain ...
. An example of the latter was the
Western FrontWestern Front or West Front may refer to: Military frontiers *Western Front (World War I), a military frontier to the west of Germany *Western Front (World War II), a military frontier to the west of Germany *Western Front (Russian Empire), a major ...

Western Front
in
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a List of transcontinental countries, transcontinental country spanning Western Europe and Overseas France, overseas regions and territories in the Ame ...

France
and
Belgium Belgium ( nl, België ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien ), officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe. The region's countries and territories vary depending on cont ...

Belgium
in
World War I World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war engaged in by all or most of the principal nations of the world". The term is usually reserved for ...

World War I
. Relatedly, front can refer to the direction of the enemy or, in the absence of combat, the direction towards which a
military unit Military organization or military organisation is the structuring of the armed force A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare War is an intens ...
is facing. Conversely, the term "
home front Home front is an English language English is a of the , originally spoken by the inhabitants of . It is named after the , one of the ancient that migrated from , a peninsula on the (not to be confused with ), to the area of later n ...

home front
" has been used to denote conditions in the civilian sector of a country at war, including those involved in the production of
matériel Materiel or matériel (; ) refers to supplies, equipment, and weapons in military supply-chain management, and typically supplies and equipment in a commerce, commercial supply chain management, supply chain context. In a military context, the ...
. Front can also refer to the lateral space occupied by a military unit as measured from the extremity of one
flank Flank may refer to: * Flank (anatomy) The flank or latus is the side of the body between the rib cage The rib cage is the arrangement of ribs attached to the vertebral column and sternum in the thorax The thorax or chest is a part of the ...
to the other. The amount of front occupied by a unit depends on many factors, including time period and available technology. For example, under the military doctrine of the
Soviet Army The Soviet Ground Forces (russian: Советские сухопутные войска, Sovetskiye sukhoputnye voyska, SSV) was the main of the from 1946 to 1992. Until 25 February 1946, it was known as the , established by decree on 15 (28) ...
and those which copied it, the amount front occupied by an attacking unit depended on its size. A
division Division or divider may refer to: Mathematics *Division (mathematics), the inverse of multiplication *Division algorithm, a method for computing the result of mathematical division Military *Division (military), a formation typically consisting o ...
attacking with three
regiment A regiment is a military unit Military organization or military organisation is the structuring of the armed forces of a state so as to offer such military capability as a national defense policy may require. In some countries param ...
s in the first echelon would maintain an attack zone of 15 to 25 kilometers wide. A regiment's front was typically 4 to 5 kilometers wide, but could vary between 3 to 8 kilometers. This frontage decreased with each smaller unit involved: 2 to 3 kilometers for a
battalion A battalion is a military unit Military organization or military organisation is the structuring of the armed force A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intend ...

battalion
, 500 to 800 meters for a
company A company, abbreviated as co., is a Legal personality, legal entity representing an association of people, whether Natural person, natural, Legal person, legal or a mixture of both, with a specific objective. Company members share a common pu ...
, and 100 to 200 meters for a
platoon A platoon is a military unit typically composed of two or more squads, sections, or patrols. Platoon organization varies depending on the country and the branch, but a platoon generally comprises 50 people, although specific platoons may ran ...
.FM 5-34 Engineer Field Data. Department of the Army. 30 August 1999. Threat 2-11 Additionally, the Soviet Army used to the term "
front Front may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Films * ''The Front'' (1943 film), a 1943 Soviet drama film * '' The Front'', 1976 film Music * The Front (band), an American rock band signed to Columbia Records and active in the 1980s and e ...
" to mean an
army group An army group is a military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, gove ...
; the Polish Armies used the same terminology during the Polish-Soviet War and
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
. The term "front line city" was used by the Germans during their long retreat from Moscow/Stalingrad to refer to metropolitan centres that had become disputed by the two combatants. Designation of a city as such resulted in administrative changes (largely the imposition of martial law). In the film '' Downfall'', the term was briefly referenced.


See also

*
Rear (military)In military parlance, the rear is the part of concentration of military forces A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare War is an intense armed co ...


References

Military organization Military geography {{mil-stub