Military Units - The Art of World Building
Oct 122020
 
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Large armed forces are organized into military units, each led by a commander. When combined, these units form larger groupings that can amount to an army, navy, or air force (or space force). The armed forces we’re inventing now may not exist in such large numbers; maybe they’re more of a specialty group, like the U. S. Marines, who have special training and may accompany members of larger military units. Decide which type you’re creating as this determines whether you need to organize them into military units or if they accompany the units of other forces.

The following chart shows typical army units, numbers of individuals comprising each, and the rank of the usual commander. Each unit is comprised of multiple small units. For example, a platoon is composed of multiple squads. This means that a lieutenant (in charge of a platoon) has several subordinate sergeants (commanding those squads at his direction). We can alter these numbers. This can be a guide or used wholesale.

UnitsNumbers of SoldiersCommander
Fireteam2-4Corporal
Squad5-14Sergeant
Platoon15-45Lieutenant
Company80-150Captain/Major
Battalion300-800Lieutenant Colonel
Brigade1000-5000Colonel/Brigadier General
Division10000-25000Major General
Corps30000-50000Lieutenant General
Field Army100000-3000000General
Army Group2+ field armyField Marshal
Region4+ army groupsCommander-in-chief

Figure 4 Army Units

The following chart shows several air force units and how many aircraft are in each and the usual commander. Regarding groups and wings, significant variations occur across countries, making it harder to generalize, but these names can be used interchangeably.

UnitsNumbersCommander
Flight3-6 aircraft and support crewSquadron leader
Squadron3-4 flightsSquadron leader
Group/Wing3-4 squadronsWing Commander/Group Captain

Figure 5 Air Force Units

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