Military. a ground force unit composed of a headquarters and two or more companies or similar units.
an army in battle array.
Often, battalions. a large number of persons or things; force: battalions of bureaucrats.

1580–90; < Middle French bataillon < Italian battaglione large squadron of soldiers, equivalent to battagli(a) battaglia + -one augmentative suffix

subbattalion, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
battalion (bəˈtæljən)
1.  a military unit comprised of three or more companies or formations of similar size
2.  (usually plural) any large array
[C16: from French bataillon, from Old Italian battaglione, from battaglia company of soldiers, battle]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

1580s, from M.Fr. bataillon, from It. battaglione "battle squadron," from dim. of V.L. battalia "battle," from L. bauttere "to beat" (see batter (v.)). Specific sense of "part of a regiment" is from 1708.
"Madame, lui répondit-il, ne vous y fiez pas: j'ay tôujours vû Dieu do coté des gros Batallions." [E.Boursault, 1702]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Battalion commanders later insisted that the explosive noise was actually a
  sonic boom and that there was no need for alarm.
All but one of the victims were raw conscripts, part of a battalion on a
  training exercise.
Fox explains that the battalion used chat on the drive up to verify positions.
Trying to enforce it morally seems every bit as facetious to me as trying to
  enforce it with a battalion and a fence.
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