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Structure of an Alliance Military Unit

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Ok, so this one can be a little misleading, and it's not really relevant to this RP, but I'd thought I'd share it just for completeness.

An Army of a nation is broken up into smaller units to make things easier to handle. So for example the main ground component of the United States Military is the US Army. But this in of itself is broken down into smaller units that are also called an army or field army. Again, as an example in WWII, Gen. George Patton commanded the US Seventh Army in North Africa and Sicily, and then in France commanded the US Third Army. Or for the British, Gen. Bernard Montgomery commanded the UK's 8th Army in Africa and Italy.

Armies have under their umbrellas everything from infantry, to tanks, to artillery, and are usually commanded by three star generals- also called lieutenant generals.


Divisions are the largest size of unit that's all but specifically dedicated to one particular type of unit. For example an armored division is mainly composed of tanks (though they also have dedicated infantry components, mainly to support the tanks). And infantry divisions are of course dedicated to foot soldiers, though some if not all are motorized. All divisions if I recall correctly also have artillery components as well, so to call them dedicated to a single type of unit is not really accurate, but they usually are centered around a core of a particular unit type. Norman's overall unit is the 9th Frontier Division, a unit I created for the RP, but is based on the naming scheme used in Mass Effect by the Alliance.

Divisions range ins size from 10.000 to 20,000 men in size and are commanded by two star, or major generals. (Yes Major General is a lower rank than a Lieutenant General. Don't ask me why it's like that. I don't know).


Regiments are truly the largest unit dedicated to a single unit type, though in terms of all regiments, the amount of personnel dedicated to combat is only a small portion of support staff like cooks, medics, Military Police (MP), etc. I don't know what level those are actually run at, I just thought I'd list them here to emphasize that all levels until about the company are probably more support staff than combat troops. While the US Army no longer uses them, regiments were mentioned in the Mass Effect Wiki so I'm mentioning them here. Regiments in general are also the largest unit size an individual soldier would identifying being a part of. Though they would understand that they were part of a unit all the way up to a field army or larger, the operations of the regiment would affect them the most of any of the larger unit types.

Regiments are about 4000 men in size and are commanded by a Colonel or brigadier (one star) general.


Again, this is something mentioned in the Wiki, but I'm not totally familiar with. Though brigades tent to be larger than regiments, because the canon puts them under regiments, that's where I'm putting them here. With brigades holding more men in real life than the presumably would in universe, I can't really attest to their size, though until I get something more solid I'm going to say they're about 2400 men in size. They're commanded by a Colonel.


Battalions are the largest unit to not get any distinctive designation from one another. For example, in the RP we have the 9th Frontier Division. Well that doesn't mean its the 9th division operating in the Skyllian Verge, and there's another 9th division operating near the Citadel. That means it's the 9th division of the Marine Corps. While there could also be a 9th Shock Division, or a 9th Guards Division etc (not saying there is, I'm just saying there could be) all hat would mean is its the 9th division that's outfitted for frontier work, whatever that would entail, while the 9th shock or guards would serve entirely different purposes.

Or for another example, Norman is in the 259th Marine Brigade. That is again, the only 259th Marine Brigade you'll find anywhere in the Systems Alliance. To say "259th Marine Brigade" to someone when they ask for a solder's unit, means that the asker could immediately know where you're unit is operating and what regiment and division you are in because there is only one 259th.

To the contrary, battalions are simply given a number to give it a slot in the organization, but its number is not exclusive to it. While the 258th and 259th brigades are distinct units, 1st battalion is not, but 1st battalion 258th Marine Brigade, 1st Battalion, 259th Marine Brigade, are.

Regardless, battalions have a maximum of 800 men and are commanded by a major or lieutenant colonel.


Ah the company. The company is the smallest unit a solder would identify them being a part of. Yes he or she may be in 3rd squad, 2nd platoon. But if asked by someone what unit they're in, they'd reply with their company name first.

Unlike other units both larger or smaller, Companies are labeled by letters, with them usually being given a code name that starts with their letter. For example, Norman is in H company, which would have the codename "Hotel." Both are apt and appropriate for naming the unit, and are largely interchangeable. Letterings go from A to I, and unlike with battalions, they don't start over from battalion to battalion. So while A company, 1st battalion, 259th brigade would be the precise unit of a soldier, because companies don't start over from battalion to battalion, you could in theory shorten it to A company, 259th brigade, and people would know what you mean.

Company letterings do start over from brigade to brigade though. So like battalions, there's more than one A company for example. They're just in different brigades.

The codenames typically used are Alpha, Beta, Charlie, Dog, Fox, Easy, Golf, Hotel, and Idol.

Companies are up to 150 men in size and are commanded by a Captain or a Major. Very very rarely by a First Lieutenant.


(Rifle) platoons are usually the smallest unit commanded by an officer, and are the largest unit one man can typically command by himself (though he has Sargents helping him) tactically. Everything else is higher up is commanded by a varying mix of tactics and strategy, with Companies also being probably more tactics overall than strategy as well. This is the size of unit Norm leads and manages.

Platoons are up to 30 men in size and are commanded by a Second or First Lieutenant.


And finally we'll have the last unit that I'll cover here. While there technically a smaller unit called a fire team, I feel that now we're really getting to levels of nitty girtty we really won't see or need. So for the sake of argument a squad (or as the British call it, a section) is the smallest unit of military typically used and seen. This is the level where the individual soldier gets his or her own specific orders. Up until now objectives were deferred and broken down to lower and lower levels of the structure, until eventually an individual soldier gets a general order (advance, retreat, hold fire, etc) or a specific order to accomplish them self (take a few men and secure that house, or "Ramirez, do everything!"). At least when I RP this will be the level you'll largely see me RP at, even with Norm being a platoon leader and all.

Squads are 12 men in size and lead by a Sargent, which is a non-commissioned officer. Or NCO.

Just as an aside on NCOs, unlike an officer, who went to Candidate School and basically attended classes like a college, only at a military academy, an NCO (corporals and sargents), enlisted and either tested high enough to make an NCO position, or over time gained valuable experience, and showed significant merit to eventually be promoted to the spot. NCOs can also on rare occasions be promoted to an officer in what's called a "battlefield commission" but these are rare occurrences. Because the NCPs are enlisted like the rank-and file, they're often regarded by a much more casual attitude by the privates of a squad or company. That means when is promoted to lieutenant, they're often transferred because it's feared that they then won't receive the same respect that's expected to be given to an officer.

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