Online Encyclopedia

ECHELON (Fr. from ecltelle, ladder)

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V08, Page 871 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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ECHELON (Fr. from ecltelle, ladder), in military tactics, a formation of troops in which each body of troops is retired on, but not behind, the flank of the next in front, the position of the whole thus resembling the steps of a staircase. To form echelon from line, the parts of the line move off, each direct to its front, in succession, so that when the formation is completed the rightmost body, for example, is farthest advanced, the one originally next on its left is to the left rear, a third is to the left rear of the second, and so on. The word is also used more loosely to express successive lines, irrespective of distances and relative positions, e.g. the " second echelon of ammunition supply," which is fully a day's march behind the first.
End of Article: ECHELON (Fr. from ecltelle, ladder)
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