View Full Version : Organisation of an army.....??
June 20th, 2007, 03:54 AM
I may be asking for too much , but, is there a source from where i could get to know how an army is organised , modularized.
The heirachy system , the rank system , the divisions which are controlled by ranked officers , the no of soldiers in the respective divisions (eg sergeant 'controls' a squad of 10 ) just completely overwhelms me.
I need to know the different ways an army can be organised. Can the no of soldiers in a squad of one army vary with another armys' squad? All these details tends to get the better of me as I dont have access to the respective research material.
If i could have a rough idea of how its usually done..id have no problem making an army up myself.
Thanks a lot.
June 20th, 2007, 06:12 AM
First you need to specify time period which will help with weapons and thus arrangement - is it modern day, is it swords and shields etc.
From that information we can then work out a whole bunch of different things. Remember Google is your friend ;)
June 20th, 2007, 07:10 AM
the timeline i have in mind is medieval. swords and shields and bows and arrows .
June 20th, 2007, 07:24 AM
It really is dependent on what type of army.
If you are looking for an extremely organized war machine, look at stuff on the roman legions. The good thing is is that there's a HEAP of stuff about them, and was possibly the greatest army of all time. (My opinion, please have a go at it if you feel different:) )
Or you might be looking at a barbarian horde? Less organized, more clan like in nature.
It really does depend a lot on lots of things: the culture, the history, the geography, the physical characteristics of the people, what resources are available, the politics and even the religion. Probably lots more that I haven't even thought of.
If you wanted to throw some details up here, I'd give you my opinion and I'm sure others would have ideas too and maybe even some web links.
Good luck with it. Hope to hear from you soon.
P.S. Long time listener, first time poster.... Hello all :D
June 20th, 2007, 08:20 AM
My opinion is that the best way to learn how an army operates is to join one.
Historically, the way an army is organized has changed. In theory, it should be organized in such a way as to hold the most efficeint structure for the tactics it employs. However, military structure is heavily influenced by history and tradition, which means this isn't always the case.
In the european medieval era, you had historical influences from the Roman legions: maniples, centuries organized into phalanx formations, as well as influences from Vikings and their wedged or arrowhead shaped shield walls. Obviously, the dominant military figure of the time was the armoured knight. My understanding is that in earlier times these figures were often lower class thugs (with enough money or muscle to acquire a horse and armour). As time progressed, the knights ascended to positions of minor nobility.
Medieval armies weren't organized quite as efficiently (or perhaps as rigidly)as modern day armies. A knight would generally be supported by a few men-at-arms. Together, I think about 3-5 of them would form a "lance" or a small, highly mobile team of mounted warriors. Lances would combine under "banners" to form larger cavalry groups. I think then these could further come together to form "companies" although I'm not sure about that. Companies were commanded by a captain.
Archers and footmen (or infantry) had their own organization. Largely, the infantry would be made up of peasants who were obliged to provide military service to their lords. Archers were more respected and higher paid. I'm not sure what the exact titles were for the men who commanded groups such as a company of footman. Presumably this would also be a "captain" who would have been assisted by some form of "lieutenant" as well as sergeants (higher-ranking men-at-arms).
Clear as mud?
June 20th, 2007, 09:55 AM
thanks to all of you for the quick replies.
Let me rephrase my question with a comparison. Im sure you must have read the Malazan books. (I have just started the fifth ) .
Well the army organisation there is done in a certian style.
Empress > High Fist > Fist > *Commander* > Captian > Lieutanent > Sergeant > Corporal ......
And then you also have what they respectively command. Legions and companies and squads...heres where im thrown overboard. Not sure how the splitting up of the the army is done. i.e no of ppl in a company , legion , squad and who commands them.
Simply..how many squads ( assuming that is the lowest ) form a company and how many companies form a legion (or the other way round) How many legions/companies make up the whole army. The total . How they are overseen. Who reports to whom. Do the archers and cavalry also have their respective squads . Are they spilit up in the same fashion ? Thats my question.
Well all of you have the right to tell me that I have the answer to my question , but this is Erikson's point of view. ( I could use it..but that would be copying :p . )
I need to have an idea of how its generally done in most armies during those times . Only then can i do something original.
June 20th, 2007, 10:03 AM
Even modern armies require a context to describe their organization. For example, the U.S. army finds itself reorganized about every 10 years whether it needs to or not. The army of World War II looked much different than the Army of Korea and then Vietnam and the Desert Storms. As kater pointed out, much of this is due to weaponry. The advent of the automatic rifle changes the infantry squad composition. Then, improvements in those weapons change the squad again. Add a 40mm weapon and you change the composition again. Add rocket launchers and you change it again.
Decide that the infantry needs to be more mobile and you get squads that jump out of airplanes and a mechanized infantry squad in addition to the light infantry squad that only gets jeeps and Hummvs.
Every time the squad organization changes, the platoon changes changing the company, the battalion and on up the line. Now the changes are logistics based, what it takes to support the men and the weapons/equipment in the squad. Those above changes all happened within a 70 year period. If you want to describe a U.S. infantry squad, you need to define the time period you are interested in.
As folks in previous posts have said, it would be most unusual if this were not true for medieval armies as well. Replace a short bow with a long bow and you change the method of command and control. Replace a short sword with a Claymore and you change offensive/defensive parameters of man and squad thereby changing command and control. Change the numbers and you change the quartermaster support thus changing that organization. All inter-related but all based on the basic fighting unit.
Building a fantasy army could do no better than to decide what the basic unit looks like and then build something logical to support it. Modern armies, the ration runs 7 to 1, support to combat troops.
Modern units have to do written reports so the bureaucracy gets a boost from administrative requirements. Imagine a fantasy army with a scribe assigned to each company to quill and ink daily reports. There is probably embedded in that concept a major fantasy series comparable to anything Jordan can produce.
June 20th, 2007, 11:44 AM
I'd add that you may want to give consideration to a naval element as well, if the Malazan is your template then there's nothing wrong with adopting that with changes unique to your circumstances. Someone suggested the Romans I'll add the Spartans and the Mongols, very different types of forces but both brutally effective over land.
As I said Google really is a great source of information to give you an idea on how you'd like to group your forces. For instance, a rough guide to Spartan organisation:
The Roman army:
There's nothing wrong with mixing and matching based on what you require, which is the key thing to decide.
A few factors to consider - what is the purpose of the army? is it a standing army? what type of land does the army fight on - land-locked (what type of land - mountainous, woodland, forest, desert etc), port access -> land dictates tactics more often than not.
June 20th, 2007, 11:46 AM
I guess im pretty naive. I mean i never thought this could be this difficult. Is outlining this so hard? :confused:
Lots of thinking to do i guess :o
June 20th, 2007, 11:47 AM
Thanks a lot . Ill have a look at them.
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