Reuters wrote in this report:

The Russian Defence Ministry said on Tuesday it had deployed an S-300 missile system to its Tartus naval base in Syria.

"The missile battery is intended to ensure the safety of the naval base ... It is unclear why the deployment of the S-300 caused such alarm among our Western partners," the ministry said in a statement.

It seems the word battery is referred to meant system here. Why is that?

  • 1
    Have you consulted a dictionary?
    – Mick
    Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 9:49
  • What @Mick said, and what Google says.
    – J.R.
    Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 9:55
  • Battery: "unit of artillery" (a sense recorded in English from 1550s).etymonline.com/index.php?term=battery
    – user66974
    Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 9:57
  • "Battery" basically means "multiple identical units". (Which is why an "AAA battery" isn't -- technically it's "AAA cell".) An artillery battery is multiple guns. An auto battery is multiple individual cells. A battery of lawyers is a bunch of guys dressed in identical suits.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 12:18
  • Unless AAA=Anti Aircraft Artillery. Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 13:07

1 Answer 1


This article is about artillery battery, which is a unit of guns, mortars, rockets or missiles so grouped to facilitate better battlefield communication and command and control, as well as to provide dispersion for its constituent gunnery crews and their systems. The term is also used in a naval context to describe groups of guns on warships.

The term 'battery' itself derives from the Middle French 'batterie', itself deriving from Old French 'baterie', the action of 'beating', which comes from Latin 'battuo', or 'beat'. The main purpose of massed guns was to target and destroy large fortifications (and later, as artillery became smaller, handier, and faster-firing, to do the same for massed formations of troops), that is, to 'beat' them, or 'batter' (observe the battering ram - similar principle).

You can read more in the corresponding article on Wikipedia.

  • Send in the battery of battering rams to batter the gates down!
    – GEdgar
    Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 13:44

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.