The Imperial Legionary system was created by Consul Marius in 637:Chaos -- 107 years before the Inner Sea Imperium and the Dawn Imperium signed the Charter of Two Realms Under Heaven, beginning the Imperial Age. Concurring with the rise of Inner Sea Imperium in the west, the military reforms fundamentally altered the Imperial military from an army of citizen-soldiers to professional troops. But apart from changes in legal ramifications and social status, it also established the basis of organization for all armies in the west.
The Legionary hierarchy was created to emphasize organizational flexibility, with the capacity to adapt for any army size and circumstance. Furthermore, it was designed to conserve the army's most valuable resource but also its greatest shortage -- the availability of trained MCOs (Magic-Capable Officers). By employing MCOs in a leadership and magic support role to boost the offense and defense of enlisted commoners, the Legionary hierarchy balanced the strength of magic users with the 'resilience' of commoner troops, who were easier to heal and far more easily replenished from combat losses.
This hierarchy is still utilized by all ex-Imperial states and protectorates to this day. This includes the Holy Imperium of the Inner Sea, the Caraliyyah (Cataliya) Caliphate, the Empire of Rhin-Lotharingie, and the Kingdom of Weichsel. Many long-time enemies of the Imperium (i.e. the Hyperborean nations) have also partially absorbed elements of the system. Nevertheless, it is important to note that in each of these nations, the hierarchy is influenced by local military traditions and utilized in a different way. For example:
- The Holy Imperium of the Inner Sea uses the most 'pure' form of this hierarchy, even adhering to its original nomenclature.
- The Kingdom of Weichsel has a higher MCO ratio than any other nation, provided by its military aristocracy and the conscription of nobility. This offers the Weichsel army an organizational discipline and concentration of spellpower unmatched by other nations. However, it is also the nation least capable of replenishing army losses, and its army quality will quickly degrade in a prolonged attrition war.
- The Empire of Rhin-Lotharingie has a semi-Feudal military. It employs professional officers for battalion-level command (Major) and below, with minor exceptions such as aspiring noble scions wishing to prove themselves in war. However, all command above the battalion level is delegated to the nobles whose realm the soldiers are pulled from -- usually Dukes, but also under Marquess of border Marches and even some Counts of populous regions. Career Generals -- who must be a Duke or Oriflamme -- are only available to command the royal standing army directly under the crown's command. Meanwhile, most regional army units are led by nobles with a limited understanding of military tactics, discipline, and logistics, severely limiting the capacity of the Lotharin army to carry out complex battle plans.
- The Caraliyyah (Cataliya) Caliphate has the distinction of using Ghulams for much of its professional cavalry and archery corps. Purchased as child slaves and given draconian training and cultural/religious indoctrination over the years, Ghulams take a decade to train before they become soldiers and are given their freedom. As such, the Caliphate faces a similar problem (though still better than Weichsel) in replenishing its army. To pad this issue, it also employs large numbers of religiously-motivated volunteer troops (the Ghazi), especially among the infantry.20
The highest unit of organization in the Legionary System is the 'Corps' -- a nominal organizational unit left unspecified and to be assembled as needed per operational parameters. An army corps consists of multiple brigades, plus independent battalions and companies of auxiliary, logistical, and specialist troops. It is commanded by a General of the appropriate rank for the troops assembled (or in Rhin-Lotharingie, an Oriflamme or militarily experienced Duke).
The size of a Corps depends on two factors: troop availability and maximum supply limit along a single route of advance. A Corps should always be divided down if roads along the path of advance is strained or outright incapable of supplying the quantity of troops and equipment moving through it. This means that corps may be especially small in regions of low infrastructure development.
Corps fall under the direct command of each nation's military High Command.
Brigade / Legion
Full Strength: 6000 men, including ~300 MCOs (Magic-Capable Officers)
- 10 Combat Battalions (500x10), distribution of skirmisher, infantry, missile, light cavalry, heavy cavalry, cavalry archers, light artillery, and heavy artillery depend on nation, locale, and purpose.
- 1st Support Battalion
- 1 Reconnaissance Company (160)
- 1 Engineering Company (160)
- 1 Logistics Company (160)
- 2nd Support Battalion
- 1 Headquarters Company (160): led by Brigadier and Colonel
- 1 Guard Platoon (40)
- 2 Military Police Platoons (40) : not available in Lotharin armies
- 2 Field Hospital Platoons (40)
- 1 Logistics Company (160)
Brigades are the standard unit of operational and strategic maneuvering. Its HQ company include both the command staff and any organizational personnel who may be needed to manage a brigade's human resources, supply distribution, and logistical management on prolonged deployments in the field. Individual commanders determine how much administrative staff to bring to campaign, often leaving behind extra personnel at their forward supply base to ensure that the brigade's logistical needs are met.
Battalion / Cohort
Full Strength: 500, including ~25 MCOs
- 2 Combat Companies (160x2)
- 1 Logistics Company (160)
- 1 Guard Squad (12)
- 1 Command Section (4): Major, Lieutenant, 2 Signal Officers (Jr Lieutenants)
- 1 Intel Section (4): led by a Lieutenant
Battalions serve as the basic operational unit, representing the smallest unit capable of self-supply in the field. Upon arrival on the battlefield, battalions usually break down to its companies for tactical maneuvering, with the Major's command and guard units joining up with a combat company for forward command-and-control. A battalion may also form a 'light reconnaissance platoon' by combining both companies' recon squads under the command of its Intel section lieutenant -- dual-trained in reconnoiter and propaganda/public relations for dealing with locals.
Company / Centuria
Full Strength: 160, including 8-10 MCOs
- 3 Platoons (40x3)
- 1 Reconnaissance Squad (12): led by a Jr Lieutenant
- 1 Combat Medic Squad (12): Healer, Healer Trainee, 6 Medics, 4 Shieldbearers
- 1 Support Squad (12)
- 1 Command Section (4): Captain, Lieutenant, Signal Officer (Jr Lieutenant), Signaler
- 3 Squads (12x3)
- Command Section (4): Lieutenant or Jr Lieutenant, Master Sergeant, Signaler, Standard Bearer
Squad (12): divided into 3 Sections, lead by a Sergeant (as 1st section leader) and 2 Corporals (2nd and 3rd section).
Companies serve as the basic tactical unit, capable of maneuvering and fighting independently on the battlefield while maintaining direct communications with brigade HQ. The built-in support squad is responsible for the day-to-day needs of the troops (i.e. cooking, weapon/armor repair) rather than providing long-term supplies. Without the support of a battalion supply company, a combat company can sustain itself in the field for only 1 week.
Artillery companies also replace the Combat Medic squad with +1 Support squad. Artillery squads field either 1 heavy artillery (i.e. trebuchet/onager/bombard mortar, with sections dedicated to loading/ferrying ammo), or 3 horse/light artilleries (i.e. scorpion/springal/ballista/tube mortar).
Full Strength: 160, including 2 MCOs
- 3 Supply Platoons (40x3): lead by Master Sergeants
- 2 Guard Squads (12x2)
- 1 Support Squad (12)
- 1 Command Section (4): Captain, Master Sergeant, Signal Officer (Jr Lieutenant), Signaler
Logistical Companies are responsible for ferrying and distributing supplies to combat companies, although they are often delegated to other rear duties to spare combat and engineering troops for better use. As such, logistic companies are always made of 2nd rate soldiers, lead by far fewer magic-capable officers, and provided inferior equipment. They mostly operate light or heavy wagons.