File (formation)

A file is a military term for a number of troops drawn up in line ahead, i.e. one behind the other in a column. The number of files is the measure of the width of a column of troops in several ranks one behind the other.[1][2][3][4]


Files are useful when troops don't know where the enemy is, since there are overlapping fields of fire from each soldier, and cover from a possible flanking attack. Files are at a disadvantage when there are heavy weapons nearby, supported by infantry, especially machine guns and tanks.[1][2]

Ancient Greek use

A file of men in the Greek phalanx was called a lochos (Greek: λόχος) and usually ranged from eight to sixteen men.[2][5][6]


  1. McNab, p. 55.
  2. Schwartz, p. 9
  3. Holbrook, p. 10.
  4. United States Army, p. 9.
  5. Duparcq, p. 16.
  6. Royal military panorama, p. 149.


  • Royal military panorama, or, Officers' companion. 3. 1813. OCLC 8007063.
  • Duparcq, Edouard Le Barre (1863). Elements of Military Art and History: Comprising the History and Tactics of the Separate Arms; the Combination of the Arms; and the Minor Operations of War. D. Vand Nostrand. OCLC 3104705
  • Holbrook, John (1826). Military Tactics: Adapted to the Different Corps in the United States, According to the Latest Improvements. E. A. Clark. OCLC 3139910
  • McNab, Chris (2007). Combat Techniques: An Elite Forces Guide to Modern Infantry Tactics. Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-312-36824-1
  • Schwartz, Richard B. (2008). Tactical Emergency Medicine. Williams & Wilkins. ISBN 978-0-7817-7332-4

Web sources

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