NationStates Jolt Archive

How to organize an army, part II (branches) Now COMPLETE :)

10-11-2003, 20:33
This is a continuation of my previous thread ( )

The information below comes from many sources. One good on line source has been: .
James Dunnigan*s book How to Make War was also very useful. I currently don*t have a copy. I do know that it gives a listing of the average percentages that each unit makes up. (If anyone has such information, please feel free to post it.)

Armies can be divided into three basic branches. First are the combat arms. These are the units that do the actual fighting. They include: infantry, armor, artillery, aviation, combat engineers, and special operations forces.
next are the combat support arms. These are the units that directly support combat operations. They include: chemical units (both offensive and defensive), intelligence, military, and signals.
The last group are the combat service support. They provide all the support needed to the first two branches. CSS includes: ordinance, quartermasters, transportation, personnel, civil affairs, medical corps, chaplains, and any other service needed that is not directly involved in combat operations.

Combat Arms:
Infantry - The Queen of Battle: Infantry is the unit that does the grunt work of fighting, both on offense and defense. They are the ones who close with the enemy at the closest range and do the dirtiest fighting. Infantry comes in several different flavors.
Mechanized: Mechanized infantry is supported and transported by light armored vehicles known as APCs or IFVs. APCs (Armored Personennel Carriers) are light armored vehicles, either wheeled or tracked, designed to transport infantry units (usually squads) safely in low threat environments. They are light, lightly armored, and lightly armed (usually 1 or 2 machineguns). IFVs are heavier, usually tracked, more heavily armored, and usually mount a missile system, an auto-cannon, and/or a medium gun, as well as machineguns. Mechanizec units often operate in concert with armored units.
Motorized: Some mechanized units may be called motorized. For my purposes here i will distinguishe betwwen the two. Motorized infantry uses trucks and other light wheeled vehicles for transportation. These vehicles may be armed with light weapons.
Light: Light infantry units generally do not have serious organic (organic means an asset which is an integeral part of a unit, one that is not assigned to it from another command) transportation. They depend on other units for transportation to the battle field or walk. Some countries employ bicycle mounted light infantry. Heavy equipment is severly limited. These units are often called upon to operate in jungle or mountainous terrain, or in other locations where vehicular transport is limited.
Airborne: Light infantry that arrives on the battle field via parachute. There is an old distinction between glider and parachute units, with airborne being used to designate glider units. This distinction is not practical with current modern airborne doctrine (gliders are not used). These units have limited heavy assets (artillery, light tanks, etc.). Once they land, they manuver on foot. Airborne landings tend to scatter small groups of men around, and, while these little groups of paratroopers often have a great temporary shock value,. due to surprise, airborne units need to form up fairly quickly after landing, or they get wiped out.
Air Assault: These are light infantry units that are transported by helocopter. As such, they are sometimes known as heliborne. They have much in common with airborne units - not many heavy assets, manuvering on foot, etc. In fact, air assault units were originally
Mountain: These are light infantry trained in the special techniques of fighting in rough, mountanious terrain. Their skills often include skiing, climbing, and animal handling. Transport is usually by foot and pack animal.
Arctic: These are light infantry trained and equiped to fight in extreme cold environments. They use skis, dog sleds, snowmobiles, snow cats, and the like for transport. They are often composed of personnel native to the region.
Amphibious/Naval: These are the marines. These units are trained in shipboard security and amphibious landings. They are generally equiped the same as other forces, with the addition of amphibious landing vehicles, which may be armored.

Armor: Armor is the heavy shock and assault arm. These units use tanks and other armored fighting vehicles to attack, make rapid advances, and exploit breaches made in enemy lines.
Tank: These units may also be known as heavy, heavy armor, or just armor. They are equipped with main battle tanks (MBTs). Tank units can operate without infantry support, however it is usually highly inadvisable.
Cavalry: These units combine tanks with infantry carriers (usually more heavily armed) and small scout units.
Armored Reconnaissance: These units use light armored vehicles, often small, fairly quick, and wheeled, to probe ahead of other units. Their job is to find the enemy and scout out his defenses.

Artillery - The King of Battle: Artillery is the killer arm. These units are the big guns. Artiullery comes in four types: field, air defense, costal, and strategic. These may be grouped together or separated.
Field Artillery: The field artillery*s job is to bombard enemy positions in order to destroy, neutralize, suppress, or otherwise disrupt enemy positions, units, or activities. Artillery includes mortars, howitzers, guns, rockets, and missiles. A quick note to distinguish the above terms. Mortars are short range cannon with a high trajectory. Howitzers are longer range. Guns are even longer range. All of these may may be towed or self-propelled (SP - mounted on a vehicle). Light weapons, especially mortars, may simply be carried or broken down into loads that men or pack animals can carry (pack howitzers). Field artillery units also need observers or fire support teams to direct fire and fire support centers to coordinate action Target aquistion units are also important. These units use radar, sound ranging, flash ranging (at night), and so on, to find important targets not visible to observers (generally behind enemy lines).
Air Defense Artillery: In the US military, air defense artillery is a separate branch. These
units use guns and missiles to shoot down enemy aircraft. Air defense units include radar tracking units.
Costal Artillery: These units use large guns and missiles to defend costal installations. These units are geneally located in perminant fortified, emplacements near strategic harbors and naval bases. US costal artillery no longer exists (AFAIK). Other countries do have costal artillery.
Strategic Artillery: These are the strategic rockets and ICBM forces.
Some armies may also employ assault guns. Assault guns are SP guns mounted on tank like chassis*. They are usually turretless. They provide direct fire fire support to other units.

Aviation: These are fixed-wing and rotary wing units (airplanes and helocopters). The US army does not employ large aircraft (fighters, ground attacke aircraft, etc. - this is due to political infighting between the army and airforce) however the USMC does.
Fixed wing aircraft can be employed for ground attack (bombing and strafing), artillery spotting, transportation, and reconnaissance. Rotary wing aircraft are pretty much used for the same purposes. Helocopters can remain fairly stationary, allowing troops to load or offload fairly easily. However, helocopters are vulnerable and slow. Fixed-wing aircraft are faster, and thus more difficult to target.

Combat Engineers: Combat engineers are the builders and destroyers of buildings and defenses. They are known as pioneers in may armies. They are responsible mines, obsticals, bridges, fortifications, railways, airfields, and most other construction projects. Most engineer units are capable of fighting as infantry. Assault engineers are attack specialist who employ explosives, flame weapons, and other special weapons to attack and destroy tanks or fortifications. Engineer units employ a variety of vehicles: bulldozers, armored engineer vehicles (essentially tanks modified with cranes, demolition guns, dozer blades, and other equipment useful to engineers), bridge laying vehicles, etc.

Combat Support Arms
Chemical: These units are in charge of most weapons of mass destruction related matters. They provide expertise in deployment of and defence against chemical weapons, including toxic gasses, non toxic gasses (ie tear gas), smoke generation, flame weapons, and biological and nuclear weapons. They are also responsible for the detection of NBC attacks (chemical recon) and decontamination (cleaning up after chemical attacks). Finally, they develop NBC weapons.

Intelligence: Intelligence units provide information to commanders. They are the spies, analysts, and reconnaissance people. Intelligence units gather information from spies, prisoners, electronic sources (sattelites, radio interecepts, and many other sources. It is then proccessed and (ideally) passed on to the units ho can use it. This may not happen in real life, due to may factors. Intelligence units are also responsible for electronic warfare - jamming and disrupting enemy communications, and intercepting enemy signals (radio, radar, telephone, etc.). Intelligence unit also provide counterintelligence, finding spies and protecting security.

Military Police: The armies police force. In addition to crime fighting, military police gaurd prisoners of war, help maintain discipline, and direct traffic. Directing traffic is surprisingly important. Large forces on the move can create massive traffic jams, specially when the roads are bad, weather is bad, and everyone has been on the move to their respective areas for 24 hours or more.

Signals: Signals units are responsible for communications. They set up, man, maintain and protect radio networks, telephone networks, and other communications networks, These networks are key to allowing command and control.

Combat Support Service Arms:
Ordinance: These units are in charge of munitions. They research, develop, procure, supply, and maintain weapons systems, as well as combat vehicles.

Quartermasters: These units are in charge of general supplies (food, clothing, equipment, etc.). Among other duties, they are responsible for graves, parachute packing, and laundry.

Transportation: The army*s truck drivers. These units deliver supplies and troops.

Civil Affairs: These units are the army*s PR forces. they are involved in a wide variety of projects helpful towards civilians (many of which benifit the army).

Medical Corps: These are the doctors, nurses, medics, dentists, and other medical personnel of the army.

Finance: This is the army*s acccounting office. They are responsible for paying the bills.

Adjutant General: This is the army*s personnel and administrative department.

Chaplains: These are the religious advisors to the army.

I apologize for any spelling errors or typos. Thank you!

Preview is my friend, preview is my friend....
12-11-2003, 18:32
Part II is now as complete as I*ll get it for now.
13-11-2003, 16:49
bump.... No comments?
13-11-2003, 16:54
most of the stuff translates up to future tech stuff as well.
13-11-2003, 16:55
TAG for now.
Five Civilized Nations
13-11-2003, 17:52
Tagged for future referenced.

Um... What about the navy? Or should I put that up when I have time?
13-11-2003, 18:17
Tagged for future referenced.

Um... What about the navy? Or should I put that up when I have time?

Had a thread asking about naval organization up earlier:

I admit I am basically naval/air force illiterate.... :?
19-11-2003, 18:28
Where you said
Combat Support Arms
Chemical: These units are in charge of most weapons of mass destruction related matters

It should be mass casualties.