Updated: Apr 21
The military is a full-time professional armed force trained to deal with the Titans within and beyond the Walls. It is divided into three divisions: the Survey Corps, which explores outside human territory to hostile areas in a bid for expansion; the Garrison, which patrols and maintains the Walls, keeping Titans out and acting as the first to engage the Titans if the gate is destroyed; and the Military Police Brigade, the top-ranking soldiers who serve as the personal guards for the king and maintain order within the Walls.
Each regiment is led by a Commander, with the overall command rests with the Commander in Chief, who is Sebastian Bishop until 850*, and Darius Zackly from 850 onwards.
*((Not true canon))
The Training Corps is the branch of the military dedicated to training and educating trainees to become members of the three main military branches. Trainees can enlist from the age of 11 and training lasts three gruelling years, in which the trainee is broken down and reassembled and remoulded to become a soldier. Such training is so taxing, trainees have died whilst undertaking it. Exercises involve ODM gear traversal, Titan dummy slaying, long distance runs, marching through harsh environments such as rain and snow, hand to hand combat, as well as lessons on Titans and tactics.
Only the top ten graduates can apply to the Military Police Brigade, giving them the privilege of living in the Inner District. The other graduates can only choose between joining the Survey Corps and the Garrison.
The Survey Corps (also known as the Scout Regiment) is the branch of the Military most actively involved in direct Titan combat, Titan study, human expansion, and outside exploration. They have the best soldiers who are the most skilled in using omni-directional manoeuvring equipment. Despite having little success, they still symbolize the "hope of mankind" with their insignia being known as the "Wings of Freedom." They hope that someday, their efforts will change the world and they will be able to recover what has been taken away from humanity.
They are primarily in charge of the exploration and the eventual reclamation of human territory from Titan-infested lands through the act of setting up small bases, camps, resupply stations, and extra fortifications in available areas outside the Walls. This branch of the military has by far the highest death rate.
Another, unofficial duty, has been Titan observation and research.
The Survey Corps is the smallest branch of the Military in terms of membership, originally with an overall size of around 300 soldiers. This already-limited number of volunteers is made less and less by commonplace deaths and an infamy surrounding the body count that frightens most away from joining. While 300 is a common headcount for membership in the Survey Corps, there have been several occasions where expeditions took place with around only 100 soldiers. Their stables also include a total of 600 specially-bred horses, including reserves. These horses are noted to be exceptionally valuable and bred for great speed, stamina, and calm temperament.
Since the Survey Corps are constantly on the front lines, fighting Titans, its high fatality, and low success rate discourage most people from enrolling, as seen when only 10% of the 104th Training Corps joins them. Thus, the Survey Corps suffers a constant personnel shortage and the only soldiers who enter the Survey Corps are dedicated to the cause of humanity, usually at the cost of their own lives. In stark contrast to the Military Police, there is no laziness or incompetence in the Survey Corps and no corruption. Whether at their headquarters or in battle, members of the Survey Corps have no one to depend on but each other. This has built a strong atmosphere of trust in the Survey Corps and a general no-nonsense form of honesty among its personnel. Survey Corps members tell and expect to be told the truth, no matter how good or bad it might be.
Feelings of pride of the individual soldiers are also very high, as they are aware of not only being the bravest of the three Military branches but whatever victories mankind gains against Titans are gained at the cost of the soldiers' lives. They realize this as they boldly go into the realm where most humanity dares not their pride is rightfully justified.
Trust between leaders and subordinates is absolute. This level of trust is necessary for a corps that has no one to rely on but each other.
While most soldiers do not survive their first expedition, each successive expedition exponentially increases their chances of survival. The Survey Corps' most hardened veterans each have numerous Titan kills to their name and, far beyond any members of the Garrison or Military Police Brigade, are the most skilled soldiers in the entire military. With its frequent expeditions outside the safety of the Walls and regular combat engagements with the Titans, however, membership in the Survey Corps is extremely dangerous. Each and every officer and enlisted man, from highest to lowest in rank, lives with the fatalistic knowledge that their next encounter with the Titans may well be their last.
Despite their small numbers, the discipline and fighting prowess of the Survey Corps is regarded as the best out of the three military branches. There is no class-based segregation between officers and enlisted men, with all ranks sharing equally in the work and dangers. The Survey Corps has a well-earned reputation for toughness and cool-headed courage in the face of extreme hardship; members will fight on even in the smallest, most isolated of groups. Survey Corps members are physically and mentally tough, highly adaptable, and can be counted on not to panic even when the Garrison and Military Police personnel around them have broken ranks.
Unfortunately, this branch is also in the most uncomfortable position, politically and financially, despite being the best out of the three military branches in terms of the overall quality of its officers and enlisted men. The bureaucrats, rich conservatives, and many Military Police members dislike the Survey Corps and view it as a waste of money and resources, due to the Survey Corps' lack of definite, decisive successes and high losses of lives. Only from the support of the King does the Survey Corps still remain intact and protected from the greedy bureaucrats and hostile conservatives. Membership thus involves little glory, and Survey Corps members are thus arguably humanity's finest and most sincere soldiers - not after money, glory or promotions, but truly committed to buying humanity a better tomorrow, whatever the cost may be. Any graduate from the Training Corps can join the Survey Corps for that it does not have a certain requirement, unlike the Military Police branch.
The Garrison is the largest of the Military divisions which protects and maintains order within the Walls. Given the fatality rate of the Survey Corps and the limited entry of the Military Police Brigade, most soldiers join the Garrison. As they often have close contact with both Titans and human civilians, they are proficient over a wide variety of tasks such as Titan combat (defensive battles), cannons, security detail, crowd control, and rifle usage.
The Garrison takes care of all defences for the Walls whether it be patrols, repairs, or improvements. As such, they spend most of their time preparing for attacks against the Wall. The Garrison mans the cannons on the Walls that are often used for long-range Titan defence. They must also deal with civilian evacuations and have emergency plans for dealing with scenarios for when the Walls are breached to make sure the citizens are evacuated safely.
The Garrison is the largest of the three branches, with a total of 30,000 soldiers. Members of the Trainee Corps are considered in this total until their graduation and enlistment in a chosen branch. Their total number of combat-ready personnel is a mere 3rd of this total, at 10,000 soldiers.
Their structure consists of Regiments, Brigades, and Divisions. A regiment is the smallest unit, consisting of 1,000 soldiers. A Brigade consists of anywhere between 2,000 and 3,000 soldiers, or 2-3 regiments. And finally, the largest units are Divisions, which consist of 2 Brigades. Due to the size of the Garrison, they are often divided into four territories - Northern, Eastern, Southern, and Western.
Being the main fighting force of the vertical equipment soldiers, the men and women of the Garrison come from all backgrounds and views. There are those who joined and are simply afraid of dying or unwilling to give their lives for what they believe to be foolish causes, although many are fiercely devoted to the protection of mankind, having joined the Garrison simply to protect loved ones from the threat of Titans. A great deal of diversity also gives great talent to the Garrison.
Before the fall of Wall Maria, the quality of the troops was divided, lazy, undisciplined, and unreliable; only slightly better than the Military Police Brigade. Like them, most joined just to avoid working in the farms and fields and enjoyed drinking alcohol on duty.
Ever since Wall Maria was abandoned, members of the Garrison have undergone radical behaviour and character changes. Garrison members have become innovative, tactical/strategic, and more disciplined than ever before. As such, this branch is currently viewed as the most reliable military branch after the Survey Corps.
Members of the Garrison usually work by themselves but will assist the Survey Corps when needed.
Military Police Brigade
The Military Police Brigade is the most prestigious military sector due to their work, which allows citizens to live safely within the inner Wall and access to abundant resources. Therefore, it has higher authority over other military sectors. However, in reality, it is the most corrupted military sector due to a lack of oversight compared to the other sectors of the military. Due to their misuse and abuse of power, the Military Police Brigade is also at odds with the Garrison and especially with the Survey Corps. Only the top ten alumni from trainee squads can apply for the Military Police Brigade.
The Military Police Brigade is the primary police force within human territory. Not only do they maintain order, but they also serve as the king's guard. Since they do not normally come in contact with Titans, they must have special permission to use omni-directional manoeuvring equipment and usually carry firearms instead. They are also in charge of tax collection and land distribution. Primary duties also include supervising of the Training Corps, monitoring the Garrison, and directing fire-fighting operations. They are also responsible for the arrest and detainment of political criminals and major offenders. The Military Police Brigade is given the priority during investigations that involve nobility or the royal family.
The Military Police Brigade is an organization with 2,000 members, with direct command over 3,000 additional personnel from the Garrison. This brings their total potential manpower to 5,000 soldiers. About 200 MPs are stationed in each walled city.
The Military Police Brigade is intended to be an elite unit made of the most skilled soldiers due to its rigorous standards. However, the reality is a lazy and corrupt system that selfishly benefits from the powers granted to it, with these powers being constantly abused and taken unnecessarily advantage of. Though they are among the top ten graduates from the trainee squads, they are inexperienced as they only stay in the safety of Wall Sina and do not directly engage in battle with Titans.
Senior officers have been seen spending all their time gambling and drinking while leaving recruits to do all the work. They are also known to pilfer taxes and misappropriate land. This corruption is well-known with many people (even to Wall Sina citizens) criticizing their lack of care for anyone other than themselves. Refugees and forced labourers (called producers) hold simmering hostility against them
However, many trainees still dream of joining the Military Police Brigade, because it will allow them to live within Wall Sina in safety. Also, being so close to the centre of human territory, most policemen have relatively little experience fighting Titans as compared to the Survey Corps or the Garrison. This, together with corruption, loose discipline, contempt from public and abuse of power makes this military branch the most incompetent out of the three.
((adapted from canon))
Commander in Chief (1)
Regiment Commanders (3)
Section Commanders (Major)
Senior Team Leaders (Captain)
Team Leaders (Lieutenant)
It is to be noted that the military does not follow a strict rank system, rather it is based on merit. Thus, it is possible to be a Captain and still hold the position of Section Commander.
((adapted from canon))
Each regiment operates in a similar fashion; the overall command of the regiment is given to the Regiment Commanders (with the exception of the Garrison Regiment where each Territory has a Regiment Commander).
Following this, each regiment is further split into Sections, which can be added to or removed at the Regiment Commander's discretion. Sections can be of various sizes as needed. This flexibility allows for the Regiment Commander to efficiently manage a full army.
In charge of each Section is a Section Commander, who has a Vice Section Commander. Once again, each section can be broken down into Teams which is led by a Senior Team Captain, or a Team Captain depending on the size of the team.
Each Regiment has one or more squads of Elite troops, who are handpicked by the Regiment Commander due to their abilities in the field. These troops often fall outside the command structure, reporting to the Regiment Commander directly.
The core of each force are the soldiers, who are assigned to sections and teams. Good service can sometimes allow for higher command ranks, as is the case in the Scout regiment due to the high fatalities. In the Military Police and to some extent the Garrison Regiment, nepotism and bribery are common.