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Mobile Frame Hangar • View topic - Solar Union forces: Rank and Military Organization

Solar Union forces: Rank and Military Organization

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Solar Union forces: Rank and Military Organization

Postby aimforthetop » Tue Oct 29, 2013 6:19 pm

So I just nailed a nice drawing of a prime character of my System Melocoton setting- but before I draw rank and unit insigina on her TEM uniform, I'd like to get some thought- from the devs or from anyone- on how the SU divides and ranks its soldiers. Let's have some open discussion!

Here's what I've been able to glean so far from canon sources and discussion:

TEM
Company (3-8 frames and support?)

TTM
Company (Transit gate level, 3-8 Frames and support?)

UMFL
Regiment (Colony level?)
Company (3-8 Frames and support, commanded by Captain)

The Company has been established as the primary tactical unit of the SU (or any other force, in the SC setting), a force of 3-8 Frames and presumably support commanded by a Captain. It's the unit we operate with at on the game level. Companies have such an importance in MF0 that they gain numeric designation and nicknames (both something typically given to units above company level in recent eras.)

Traditionally in Earth history of recent centuries a Company totals roughly 100-200 soldiers, commanded by a Captain. The downscaling of a Company in Solar Calendar times to <9 pilots and their support fits very well with the concept of Frames making humans much more able, and also the small scale of many colonies.

In recent history Companies work as part of larger units- a few for example:
Battalion - roughly 500-1200, commanded typically by a Lieutenant Colonel.
Regiment- roughly 3000 (20th/21st cent), 1000 (18th/19th cent), commanded typically by a Colonel.
Division- roughly 10000, commanded typically by a Major General

My character in question, Neler Stirling, is a commander of about a little less than 80 Frames with a TEM unit assigned to operate at colony-scale, specifically on a well-populated planet that has been inhabited since the early 100s SC. Given what I know of the scale of conflict from other threads, this level of force commitment sounds about right- with the combined SU Frame park at the start of the Triangular War numbering about 220 in total when adding the TTM Shining Heroes (another Battalion-size unit) and the local Residential Authority forces that were fighting alongside them at the start of the conflict.

With full-strength companies at about 7-8 frames each, a Battalion sounds about right for this scale- 10 Companies or so. So I'm thinking to pin Lieutenant Commander rank on her lapel. Or whatever they're calling a Lieutenant Commander in 246.

I'm of course very open to correction.
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Re: Solar Union forces: Rank and Military Organization

Postby spacemonkey » Thu Oct 31, 2013 2:18 am

Great topic. This is something I've been thinking about for awhile.

Regarding company sizes, I'm doubtful that the game limit of 8 frames is necessarily the true size cap on a company. Personally I think tank companies are probably a better analog than infantry companies. So a typical tank company (for the US Military) seems to consist of 3 tank platoons of 4 tanks with a command element of 2 tanks plus 4 support vehicles. So 14 fighting elements which seems like a good size for a Frame Company to me; a large battle would potentially see the majority of a Company engaged (one could assume the rest are guarding the base, on patrol, under repair, or fighting in another section of the city). Following this idea, a Battalion consisting of 3-4 Companies would have upwards of 60 frames with the Battalion's command element and a Regiment (or Brigade) consisting of 3 Battalions would have upwards of 190 frames with the Regiment's command element. I'm thinking a Regiment is likely the largest operational unit we would see deployed in a combat theater; I'm thinking any planet wealthy/populated enough to support more than one Regiment would likely see the Regiments reporting directly to the army's/military's commander-and-chief, and sending even this size of a force through a transit gate would probably be so costly that it could only indicate the Solar Union entering a state of total war instead of just enforcing "police actions."

Now all that said, I'm thinking only the TEMs would follow these organizational limits strictly as they are the most military active and a clear and precise command and support structure would be key to their constant operations. Since the UMFL operates as formalized colonial militia, the general organizational structure being would remain the same but UMFL units might see variations in size from colony to colony. I mean I could see individual Companies varying depending the size of the geographic region they patrol/defend, size of the region's population, length of mobilization, and general discipline/influence level of the particular UMFL unit. So a small backwater planet might see under- or half-sized Companies stationed only in or near "major" population centers with total planetary force not even being considered Battalion strength; yet a thriving colony might have reinforced companies stationed near major cities and transit hubs and at regional bases that also act as Battalion or Regiment headquarters. TTMs would probably have the loosest organizational limits given that each Company seems to act as an autonomous unit answerable solely/primarily to whichever corporation controls the transit gate. I'm actually somewhat doubtful of a greater organizational structure for the TTMs despite their militarized nature; I could see Companies reporting to and receiving support from sort of regional administrative command all without any sort of formalized Battalion or Regimental level mobilization capabilities. I imagine the typical TTM Company is made up of around 21 frames with some variation based around actual gate size/activity level/importance. I also see the possibility of a bloated Company (probably not exceeding 40 frames) or an additional Company being deployed where the transit gate's owning corporation has the added need of security beyond normal gate defense (like guarding an intra-system or planet based transportation hub).

As for ranks, my thinking and the information is less clear. Captain does seem to be the proper rank for being in charge of a Frame Company based on the traditional command rank for this size force and that Captain Esthar commands her own Company (page 30 in the rulebook). Contrary to this though assumption is the presence of Commander Abacan Foss of the Red Knights TTM Frame Company (page 28). It's possible "Commander" is only his title (versus a formal rank) as he is the commanding officer of the unit; alternatively, TTMs could use a different rank system than the other military branches and/or it is indicative Foss commanding a larger than usual sized Company. Unfortunately, the rank for Zora Mennit, who leads a TEM Company, (page 29) isn't given; though given her decorated status/appearance it's possible she may have obtained an advanced command rank like Major and still command the Company. Regardless, I would think it safe to assume that a Battalion is probably lead by a Lieutenant Colonel or Colonel and a Regiment is lead by a Colonel or Brigadier General.

The real murky point for me is what are the ranks for the frame pilots under Captain? A Lieutenant is typically a platoon leader and this holds true for both infantry and tank platoons. Beyond that I think the analogs break down since as both units have further internal divisions and rank hierarchies where as frames simply have the pilot. :? So I have two different fields of thought on this and in both I'm thinking that frame Companies instead of breaking into Platoons simply break into Squads of 4 frames and a Lieutenant would then take the spot of Company XO: on one side I can see each squad leader is a 2nd Lieutenant with a team made of simply "Pilots" (a nominal junior officer rank) and on the other side I see each squad led by a Sergeant with a team of Corporals or Specialists.

So anyways in my scheme your character commanding of a little less than 80 Frames would still leave Neler Stirling leading a reinforced Battalion (say 5 full sized companies plus the command element). While I would say you would probably be better off making her a Lieutenant Colonel (or a full Commander for the naval equivalent) for a unit this size, I can see a Major/Lieutenant Commander rank working if was sort of a battlefield/impromptu promotion to allow her to coordinate all the Companies; this assumes those Companies are only led by Captains of course. ;)

Well now that I've completed my treatise on the formal structure and organization of several fictional interplanetary militaries, I await Soren or Joshua to waltz in and destroy all my wonderful theories. :P

Last edited by spacemonkey on Thu Oct 31, 2013 1:02 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Solar Union forces: Rank and Military Organization

Postby aimforthetop » Thu Oct 31, 2013 3:55 am

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Re: Solar Union forces: Rank and Military Organization

Postby spacemonkey » Thu Oct 31, 2013 5:29 pm

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Re: Solar Union forces: Rank and Military Organization

Postby aimforthetop » Thu Oct 31, 2013 8:29 pm

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Re: Solar Union forces: Rank and Military Organization

Postby spacemonkey » Fri Nov 01, 2013 2:27 am

Last edited by spacemonkey on Mon May 12, 2014 1:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Solar Union forces: Rank and Military Organization

Postby Soren » Fri Nov 01, 2013 9:11 pm

It's intentionally vague. I forget if we even had a more involved conversation than 'what should we call a team of robots?' So, feel free to make up a more precise system that suits your needs and tastes.
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Re: Solar Union forces: Rank and Military Organization

Postby Joshua A.C. Newman » Mon Nov 04, 2013 6:20 pm

We did! We chose "Company" because it's the "You guys go achieve this strategically meaningful, concrete objective" scale; smaller is all tactical, larger is "foreign policy" scale.

Estar is a captain, so apparently the UMFL has captains in charge of a company. I can't remember if that was based on research or, more likely, the highest rank she can get before she gets Peter Principled, and doesn't want that. I'm pretty sure I researched the ranks of the other two SU characters in the book, though, so...

well, you can see how much I care about this. If you find a reason to determine who's got one rank instead of another, I'd love to see it!
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Re: Solar Union forces: Rank and Military Organization

Postby Joshua A.C. Newman » Mon Nov 04, 2013 6:25 pm

Oh, and remember: most of the colonial populations in SC 0245 are very small. Labor frames make them six times as effective as humans for most labor purposes, and if they had the resources to support a large population, they're probably churning out materials or goods fast enough that they're gettin' paid by the TTA.
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Re: Solar Union forces: Rank and Military Organization

Postby aimforthetop » Mon Nov 04, 2013 8:39 pm

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Re: Solar Union forces: Rank and Military Organization

Postby spacemonkey » Wed Nov 06, 2013 8:41 pm

Last edited by spacemonkey on Tue May 13, 2014 6:26 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Solar Union forces: Rank and Military Organization

Postby Dukayn » Thu Nov 07, 2013 10:24 pm

I found watching Band of Brothers gave me a good idea of US military rank and structure, at least in WW2 in an infantry sense. I'm not assuming everyone's seen it, so forgive me if you have and already know this, but the main character Richard Winters was a Captain and in charge of Easy Company. He later got bumped to 2nd Battalion XO and while still a Captain at the time, was given the rank of Major later in the war. So that pretty much fits in with Captain being the head of a Frame Company.
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Re: Solar Union forces: Rank and Military Organization

Postby Joshua A.C. Newman » Tue Nov 26, 2013 9:18 pm

An answer to the questions about Commander Foss and Captain Estar can neatly be answered with .

That is, a "Captain" is the head of a company. In some forces, the captain in charge of a company is a "Company Commander".

This fits so well that I'm wondering if we maybe actually looked it up.
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Re: Solar Union forces: Rank and Military Organization

Postby spacemonkey » Sat Dec 07, 2013 12:12 am

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Re: Solar Union forces: Rank and Military Organization

Postby Joshua A.C. Newman » Sun Dec 08, 2013 8:23 pm

As in, no one bothers to pick up a gun unless a) they're getting hungry, or b) someone offers them a better deal.
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Re: Solar Union forces: Rank and Military Organization

Postby Joshua A.C. Newman » Sun Dec 08, 2013 8:24 pm

Oh, and I'm sure they each have slightly different ranking systems and they blame each other for the confusion.
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Re: Solar Union forces: Rank and Military Organization

Postby spacemonkey » Sun Dec 08, 2013 9:37 pm

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Re: Solar Union forces: Rank and Military Organization

Postby spacemonkey » Thu May 08, 2014 6:06 pm

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Re: Solar Union forces: Rank and Military Organization

Postby Joshua A.C. Newman » Mon May 12, 2014 9:27 am

That's over time. It's not a job known for its security. Estar is good at getting the mission done, but is pretty serious about leaving no Legionnaire behind. She's largely able to pull off that balance, which is why she's worth shipping around the galaxy with her dudes.

That thing in the story, where a Legionnaire is using a fallen frame for their rifle rest is actually from a game where I'd forgotten a station at home and so was using a fallen comrade as a station.
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Re: Solar Union forces: Rank and Military Organization

Postby SeraphimKnight » Wed May 28, 2014 7:21 pm

This thread is really pleasing my lore-junkie brain. I'm gonna have to keep all of this in mind while I structure my faction. :)

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