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Military Formations in the United Commonwealth

Hello again, "reader", this is Gustav, back to provide another entry to my Father's little Journal. (Though if he keeps asking me to add these, it won't be so little for much longer.)   This time, I will be elaborating on the various types and hierarchies of the Military Formations within the United Commonwealth Armed Forces. I made the effort to revise my notes on the systems utilised by the other Services, so I won't be sticking solely to the Army this time. I do admit, however, that the sections on the Air Force and Navy leave something to be desired.  

Army and Corps of Marines

The Army and the Corps of Marines, being the two ground warfare bodies within the Armed Forces, are broadly organised along the same lines. Due to being my own Service, I am far more aware of the organisation of the Army than of any other Service, with the Marines coming in second place. Looking from the top down, the main Formations of the Army and Marines are:  
Army Groups
It's odd to think that a Field Marshal can command more soldiers, than some countries have citizens.
Army Groups, as a rule commanded by Field Marshals, are the largest operational Formations possible within the United Commonwealth Army. While there aren't any in current service, during the Great Wars, multiple Army Groups operated simultaneously across the 12 Worlds.   These Formations, dwarfing even the Field Armies, of which they were comprised, were absolutely humongous. The largest, 6th Army Group, contained over 4 million Combat and Combat Support Soldiers at its height in the Third Great War, not counting the thousands of Marine and Air Force personnel under its command. For context, there are around 6 million soldiers currently serve in the entirety of the Army at this present time. So yes, these things are very big.   Due to peacetime, or at least not Great Power War time, cuts in personnel and budget, no more of these juggernauts of muscle and steel are in active Service. Instead, their Banners, Honours, and Lineages, and likely haunted souls, are kept in reserve, stored somewhere in Forces Command HQ's basement space, waiting and ready to be brought from the dead and released on whatever poor, unfortunate foe decided that messing with the largest Army in the 12 Worlds was a good idea.   Due to their limited numbers, the Marines have never operated anything nearly as large as an Army Group, and in fact they will have to wait to be mentioned until I reach the Corps.  
Field Armies
"Schmidt, I can assure you, you do not want to take this sort of position. I spend more time in briefings with the Heads of State and those █████ from the General Staff than I do sleeping, and I can assure, I have a far greater urge to close my eyes and drift off in the former."
  Field Armies, commanded by Generals, are the largest operational units currently in active service. Typically acting as the Army Field Commands of their respective regions, they are generally comprised of a few hundred thousand soldiers in Combat and Combat Support, and tens of thousands more in Service Support Roles.   Field Armies are typically based around 2 or more Army Corps, as the main combat Formations, as well as taking control of an array of Support Formations, ranging from Medical Services to Maintenance to Fueling, as well as overseeing, if not necessarily controlling, any deployed Military Intelligence or Army Strategic Defence Units in the region. This does not, for the most part, include any Army Special Activities Groups in the region.   Field Armies, due to their size and role as Field Commands, are also the Army Formations with the most political importance. Their sheer size and position as "the ones in charge" of any soldiers that go to war in their region means that a Field Army's General Officer Commanding can expect a great of their time to be spent in briefings with the civilian leadership on matters related to the Armed Forces. They are also expected to advise and participate in Foreign Affairs and diplomatic matters, particularly those that pertain to their region of command, including going on trips to nearby non-U.C. but still allied nations to convince them of our commitment to friendship, to neutral nations to convince them to ally with the U.C., and with enemy or rival nations, often in support of de-escalation and the signing of major treaties.  
Army Corps and Marine Amphibious Assault Groups
"Yes, sir, I understand that you want to conduct an Exercise with the troops. However, I would like to point out a few things that stand in the way. First, the Corp hasn't gotten our new Medical Group, and two of the barracks just got hit with a nasty wave of food poisoning.   Second, just under half the cargo and fuel trucks have broken down, and we used up our stockpile of spare parts back in the war, and no one's botherd to replace them.   Third, last time we held an Exercise, half the farmers on the continent theatened to sue us for crop damage.   Fourth, oh wait, do you want me to go on? Okay, well, fourth, ........"
The Corp is the highest level to which my own personal experience goes. Commanded by Lieutenant Generals like myself, they are comprised of around 2-3 Divisions, though more are certainly possible. My own Corp, the 18th, consists of 3 active Divisions, 2 independent Regiments, 1 each of a Artillery and Army Air Regiment, and has been assigned war-time control of a multitude of other Divisions and units. In addition, Corps also control a large number of Service Support formations, some organic under direct control, and some assigned to them by their respective Field Commands.   While Corps are technically capable of being given special "Arms" distinctions, either Infantry or Armoured Corps, this is rarely done, since one can expect to have multiple units of both under their command. A major exception is in the form of the Airborne Corp, a Corp entirely comprised of units, Combat, Combat Support, and Service Support, that have all been rated as being able to be deployed by air-drop. There are 3 of such Corps in total, and they are given the role of "Rapid Response Forces", which can be deployed to any one of the 12 Worlds on a moments notice.   A Corp's G.O.C. can also expect to assist in certain political affairs, such as embarking on diplomatic expeditions, and advising diplomats and civilian leadership on military topics they may not be aware of, and on the regional geopolitical climate.   However, the Army is not the only Service that operates in ground warfare, of course. The Marine Corp's largest Formations are its Amphibious Assault Groups. These AAGs, commanded by a Marine Lieutenant General, are based around one or more Marine Amphibious Divisions, a Marine Aviation Group, and other supporting units, land, sea and air based, which enable it to conduct an amphibious operation in a contested area.    
"Well, the 135th's certainly seen its fair of action. We carry a long, storied history, you know. I mean, we've fought almost as many battles as numbers in our name! Howeve, I still think we have a long, heroic future ahea- What the HELL do you mean we're getting merged with 140th!"
A Division in the Army, and one in the Marines, are both broadly similar in composition. Commanded by a Major General, and made up of at least 2 and generally 3 Regiments, as well as dozens of smaller supporting units, a Division is typically regarded as the minimum amount of force necessary for any independent deployments.   Divisions in the Army are the highest level of Formation which is universally given an Arm distinction, marking them out as being either an "Infantry", "Airborne", or "Armoured" Division. These showcase that a majority, or in the case of an Airborne Division, all, of the subordinate units correspond to their respective Arm.   Divisions are also the first unit that get Army Aviation Formations. These generally come in the form of Army Aviation Wings, which are also part of Corps, and operate a varied combination of Assault, Reconnaissance, Utility, and Transport Aeroships. These Wings provide Air Support, Combat or otherwise, to the Division, in tandem with the Air Force units in the area.   Now onto Marine Amphibious Divisions. These are based around Regiments, simply called Marine Regiments, as well as having a larger Marine Aviation Wing. Depending on whether or not the Division is independent, or part of an Amphibious Assault Group, the Division may have its own Expeditionary Support and Sustainment Group, or rely more on the AAG's resources. The Division, being the main offensive Formation in the AAG, can opt to deploy in contested areas either in a conventional Amphibious landing by landing boats, or by being flown in from Aeroships, both operating off Amphibious Assault Ships.    
"This Regiment has a long history. One of Bravery, Valour, and blindly charging into enemy gun lines because two Colonels bickered with each other."
A Regiment, commanded by a Colonel, or on rare occasions a Brigadies General, is once again broadly similar regardless of Sevice. Comprised of multiple battalions, and provided with multiple Combat and Service support units, the Regiment is the lowest echelon Formation that could potentially take independent action, even though it would be more limited than a Division.   Combat Regiments, despite generally being "Combined-Arms" formations like those above them, are also allowed to take on Arms Distinctions. Regiments are in fact the lowest Formation to take on such a Combined role, bringing together elements of all the major Arms in the Army. Regiments are also given limited Fires Support, in the form of Artillery Battalions, which also provide Air Defence, as well as Combat Engineer units and sustainment units.   There are also other kinds of Regiments, which are entirely dedicated to other roles, and which do not contain maneuver ground Combat units. These include the dedicated Artillery and Army Aviation Regiments, assigned to Division level Formations and higher, as well as Military Intelligence, Supply and Sustainment, and other supporting Regiments, though such units may be called "Groups", or other terms, depending on their position. To save time, I shall add that the same is true for every Army Formation size I mention below.   Marine regiments are also fairly diverse, taking on many roles. Combat Regiments in the Marines are comprised of mixed Infantry-Armoured forces, and have limited Service Support and Combat Support units, instead relying on Divisional assets. These Regiments are the ones charged with conducting any actual ground operations.    
"You know, I heard that once, two Field Marshals threatened each other to a duel just to see who got to claim their old battalions as their! I mean, what kind of maniac cares so much about one Battalion?   Ha-Ha. Now, if you even think about taking the 67th, I'll shove my sword SO FAR UP YOUR-"
  The Army Battalion is regarded as a particularly prestgious type of unit. For what I shall describe briefly as "Historical-Cultural" reasons, a Battalion is the first unit in the hierarchy to have its own, independent lineages, traditions, affiliations, and other effects that build towards that fabled esprit de corp that the Army so loves. However, discussion on byzantine, archaic, and strange traditions surrounding the Battalion will wait for another time, and I shall continue onto discussing the Battalion as a Formation, and not an object of affection and pride.   Battalions, Army or Marine, there being little distinction, are commanded by Lieutenant Colonels, who are assisted by a Second in Command, or 2IC, and a large Staff. I should also add that most Formations I have mentioned above also have such Staffs and 2ICs, as do their equivalents in the other Services, but those below Battalion level only keep the 2IC. The Battalion is comprised of Companies, and gains its own Arms Distinctions from them, similar to Regiments. However, Battalions, unlike Regiments, do not contain any elements from other Combat Arms, but are purely single Arm Formations, of the Infantry, Armour, Artillery, or Army Aviation.   The Battalion is also the first unit to have organic Combat Support and Service Support Formations, in the form of Field Supply and Sustainment Companies. These allow it limited, in range and time, independence. As mentioned, some Battalions are entirely devoted to providing such support to other, larger Formations, such as the Supply and Sustainment Battalion of a Regiment.    
Companies, Batteries, and Squadrons
"Alright, Battalion's ordered us to hold this hill. Let's see, we've got about a hundred grunts, a mortar Section from Battalion, and a radio connection for air support. Lieutenant, what are we facing?"   "2 Infantry Battalions, two Armoured Companies, and judging by those explosions I can hear, enough artillery to level a small city. Also, we lost our air support, their too busy shooting down or being shot down by enemy aircraft. So, our hundred or so versus a few thousand."
The Company, and its Artillery, Army Aviation and Armoured equivalents of the Battery and the Squadron, is commanded by a Captain, who is assisted by a Lieutenant. The Company's Arms Distinction is fairly obvious, with Company itself being reserved for the Infantry, the ASAS, and the non-Combat Arms. Combat Companies, Army or Marine regardless, are reliant on their Battalions for Supply and Sustainment.   Infantry Companies and Armoured and Cavalry Squadrons are comprised of around 3 Platoons, and the Company Commanding Officer may have units assigned to them, such as Engineers, Medics, Signallers and Fires Coordinators for Air and Artillery Support. Of course, there are also Maintenance companies, Sustainment companies, Signals companies, and many other types.    
So, you're a newly commissioned Lieutenant, eh? Fresh out of the Academy, and ready to lead soldiers into battle.   Well, here's some advice. You're new, which means that as far as any actual work is concerned, you are thoroughly naive, ignorant, and quite frankly incompetent, and unless you wish to retire as a Lieutenant, my only suggestion is that you better had listen to your Goddamn Sergeant, cause he actually knows more than what the Field Manual can write down, understand?"
The Platoon, commanded by a Lieutenant or Second Lieutenant, is the smallest Unit in the Army and Marine Corp still commanded by an officer. While Infantry, Armoured, and Aviation units still have Platoons, as do the Combat Support and Service Support Arms, which sometimes call the Detachments, the Artillery Arms of both Services do not.   Platoons consist of 3 Sections in the Infantry, which are commanded by Corporals, and have a Platoon Sergeant, a Signaller, and a Medic in their HQ, along with the Lieutenant. Armour and Aviation Platoons, consisting of only around 4 of their respective vehicle, lack such Sections.    


The Navy is an Institution that I would not consider myself entirely familiar with. This is certainly not helped by its byzantine, complicated organisational structure, which is in a constant race to pull one over the Army's in melting the sentience of anyone trying to understand it. Much of this difficulty lies with the fact that the Navy's Formations are all more ad hoc than the Army's,practically being tossed together using whatever ships are left.   However, going off my best efforts, the Military Formations of the United Commonwealth Navy are:  
Numbered Fleets
"Quite frankly, I'm pretty sure if the Admiral put every ship in the Fleet, bow to stern, we'd probably be able to walk our way to the coast without getting our feet wet."
A Numbered Fleet is the largest Formation in the Navy. Once again, the somewhat convoluted nature of Naval Hierarchies reveals itself when you discover that a Numbeed Fleet is simultaneously an Army Group and a Field Army. The rank of the Flag Officer Commanding of a Numbered Fleet is either that of an Admiral of the Fleet, on par with a Field Marshal, or an Admiral, on par wth a General.   Numbered Fleets are assigned geographical regions to command, which is to say particularly large bodies of water, such as entire Seas and Oceans. The Admiral in charge would oversee the have command over all subordinate Fleet Task Groups and Type Squadrons, Fleet Air Groups, and Marine Formations operating in their region, and would work together with the Air Force Theater Commanders and Army Field Commanders based on the landmasses bordering it.   Currently, the single largest Numbered Fleet, and the only one stll commanded by an Admiral of the Fleet, is the 1st Fleet, also known as the Warp Fleet. This Formation has full control over all Naval assets operating in The Warp, which is about double the total assets of any of the other Numbered Fleets.   Just like the Field Commanders, the Flag Officers commanding the Numbered fleets will also have to engage in more political and diplomatic matters, and advise our civilian leadership on Naval and Naval related Affairs.    
Task Groups, Type Squadrons
"We might just be a squadron, but we're a Ballistic Squadron, which means we most assuredly have several orders of magnitude more firepower than you do."
Task Groups and Type Squadrons are two, roughly equivalent in the hierarchy, types of Formation in the Navy. These Formations are typically commanded by Vice Admirals and are the main groups which make up Numbered Fleet's combat Formations.   A Task Group is a Formation comprised of multiple different types of ship, which mutually support each other, and which typically retains some organic support vessels. The most common example of a Task Group is the Carrier Task Group, which is centered around one or more Aircraft Carriers, which are supported by Flotillas of Destroyers, Cruisers, and Frigates, and Submersibles, and finally given control of some supply and fueling ships. Other examples are Amphibious Expeditionary Task Groups, which involve Marine Corp assets to carry out an invasion, and Surface Warfare Task Groups, comprised solely of Divisions of Cruisers, Destroyers and Frigates.   All in all, a Task Group is generally a semi-independent, ad hoc unit, since the subordinate Formations are generally made utilising the resources the Numbered Fleet in question has on hand, and possibly disbanded and formed again with different assets as the situation needs.   On the other hand, Type Squadrons are very much different. A Type Squadron is made entirely of a single category of ship, and almost always exists to operate under the full control of a Numbered Fleet, and relies on said fleet for its supplies. Categories of Type Squadron include Battleship, Cruiser, Destroyer, Frigate, and Submersible Squadrons. While some of the ship categories just mentioned can serve in a Task Group, they do so in much smaller numbers than in a Squadron purely dedicated to their respective type.   Type Squadrons typically only exist in very large Fleets, such as those active during the Great Wars. These days, since almost all Blue Water Cruisers, Destroyers and Frigates operate in various Task Groups, the main vessels operating in Type Squadrons are Warp Fleet Surface vessels, which is to say Battleships, Cruisers, and others listed, and Submersibles, which typically operate directly under thier respective Numbered Fleets in Blue Water.    
Type Divisions, Flotillas
"Does no one else think that sending in a Battleship Division into one of the most dangerous parts of the Warp without any escorts at all in the middle of a WAR, might be an excellent way to lose 3 Battleships?"
Type Divisions and Flotillas are, respectively, generally commanded by Rear Admirals and Commodores. However, I have listed them together due to both these Formations being directly subordinate to the previous Formations stated above, with Type Divisions reporting directly to Type Squadrons and Flotillas reporting to both the Type Squadrons and Task Groups.   Type Divisions, commanded by Rear Admirals, are comprised of a single Category of ship, and are subordinated to a given Type Squadron of the same Category. A Type Squadron or a Surface Warfare Task Group may have 2 to 3 Divisions, with a Battleship Squadron's Division controlling around 4 Battleships, and Cruiser, Destroyer, Frigate or Submersible Division 3 to 6 ships.   Flotillas, commanded by Commodores, can be both mixed-Type and Single type. A typical mixed-Type Flotilla is the Surface Warfare Flotilla, which would be part of either a Carrier Task Group or Amphibous Expeditionary Task Group. The difference between Surface Warfare Flotilla and a Division of the non-Battleship Surface Vessels is that the former may contain multiple different ship Categories, while the latter would be uniform in type.   Examples of Single Type Flotillas also commonly include the Mne-hunting, Mine-laying, Coastal Patrol, and other functions of the Navy that utilise smaller vessels, and which tend to report directly to a Numbered Fleet.  

Air Force

The Air Force, being the newest Service, has had a pretty clean slate when it comes to organising itself. However, this only makes the still fairly complicated hierarchy of AIr Force units even less forgivable, though that is probably just Service bias speaking. Anyways, the main Formations of the United Commonwealth Air Force are:    
Theater Commands
"No, Your Excellency, we do not allow for the use of military aircraft for the purposes of ferrying around government officials. Besides, the only ones you could use are the Transports, which, from personal experience, smell like a mixture of sweat, lubricant, and diesel."
Theater Commands, commanded by either an Air Marshal or a General, are the largest Formations in the Air Force, and regarded as mostly parallel to Army Field Commands. They control a few subordinate Air Forces, around 2-4, of various Types, as well as many smaller Formations and groups devoted to what the Army would call Service Support roles. Their Theaters generally expand to include a continental Field Command, and often even extend well beyond just the one.   Theater Commands control all the Aircraft in a given Theater, ranging, from Air Combat to Tactical Strike to Reconnaissance, and a great deal more. The Air Officer Commanding will also have some oversight over the Strategic Strike and Strategic and Air Defence assets of any of the 3 Services within their Theater, and works with the regional Field Commanders and Flag Officers on planning and strategy.   Once again, the Air Officer Commanding will also engage in political and diplomatic activities, and advise political leadership on Air Force related matters.    
Numbered Air Force
"Yes, I recently took charge of the 38th Air Force. No, the Air Force has not committed mitosis, Carl, you've made that joke more times than you have hairs on your thick head."
A Numbered Air Force, commanded by either a Lieutenant General or Major General, is comprised of a number of Air Groups with combat aircraft, and Wings and Squadrons for supporting roles. A Numbered Air Force is is always a mixed-Type Formation, even though certain Types of aircraft may be more prevalent, as as such is similar to the Navy's Task Groups.   These Numbered Air Forces can act as a Theater Commanders regional controllers, containing a diverse, partially self sufficient force, as the Commander's specialist formations aimed at specific tasks, such as Strategic Strike, Intelligence, and Supply and Sustainment, or as units directly reporting to Commands at Air Force Headquarters, controlling specific tasks, often applying to the entirety of their respective World.    
Air Group
An Air Group, commanded by a Colonel or Brigadier General in the Air Force and Marines, and a Captain in the Navy, is composed of multiple Air Wings of various types, Combat and support. "Combat Air Groups" are based around 3 or 4 Air Wings of combat aircraft, as well as a few support Wings or Squadrons, while other types of Group can be entirely for the purposes of supporting their parent Formation, either through specific aircraft niches or through "on the ground" support. That of course is also true for the smaller Formaton sizes.   Air Groups can be either mixed-Type or single-Type. In a mixed-Type Air Group, the A.O.C. will have control over a mixture of Wings of Air Combat, Tactical Strike, Air Coordination, and most other aircraft types, turning the Air Group into a limited independence organisation, able to act semi-separately from its Numbered Air Force. Such a configuration may be used to divide the Theater Command into smaller, more manageable regions, or act as the Fleet Air Arm unit deployed on a single Aircraft Carrier.   A single-Type Air Group is one that has its subordinate Air Wings be of a a single uniform Type. A common example of such an Air Group are Strategic Strike Groups, which control the Long-Range Strike Bombers assigned to a given Theater's Strategic Strike Numbered Air Force by the Air Force's Strategic Strike Command.  
Air Wing
An Air Wing is a formation commanded in the Air Force and Marines by a Lieutenant Colonel, and in the Navy by a Commander. Air Wings, regardless of Service, are comprised of multiple Squadrons, with the precise configuration of Squadron Type and number depending on the Wings specific purpose.   An Air Wing is generally a single-Type Formation, comprised of two or more of a single Type of Squadron, Combat or supporting aircraft Types, and another one or two smaller units for sustainment and support, and be part of either category of Air Group formerly mentioned. Wings can also include the ground supporting units of higher commands, such as Numbered Air Forces and Theaters.      
"Good morning Major, glad to see your'e- GAH!! When the hell did you last sleep!?"   "(Yawn) Good morning, Colonel. Say, I don't suppose you have any more coffee, do you? This Squadron is a lot larger than my old Flight was, and a hell of a lot harder to manage."
A Squadron, commanded by either a Major in the Air Force and Marines and a Lieutenant Commander in the Navy. Squadrons consist of Flights, usually around 3-4 per squadron, as well as few Flights in support roles.   Squadrons are single-Type Formations, split into combat Squadrons, with Air Combat and Tactical Strike aircraft, and supporting Squadrons, with Transports, Air Coordination, Tanker, and other aircraft, though there are also "ground" squadrons to command the large amount of ground personnel and vehicles that the larger Formations. A combat aircraft Squadron can have around 20 or so combat aircraft, with different Squadron types operating different aircaft types generally having less.    
"So, now that you've been promoted, here's your first chance to boss around more than a flight crew, Captain. How does it feel?"   "Well, Major, it's certainly nice to know someone thinks I have actual leadership skills! So, where's the Squadron's next deployment? I can't wait to really lead under fire."   "Ohh, you didn't hear? The Squadron's converting into a training unit next month, so you'll most likely be taking charge of some new recruits fresh from the Academy. So, have fun with that."
A Flight, commanded by a Captain or Lieutenant in the Air Force and Marines, and a Lieutenant in the Navy, is the smallest formation of more than one Aircraft in existence. Typically composed of around 4-6 individual Aircraft, a Flight in a flying unit is just too small to have anything more than one Type.
Military Order

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