The Imperial Army was a branch of the Imperial armed forces whose primary responsibility was the prosecution of ground side military operations. During the Imperial era, one of the army's most common duties was the maintenance of garrisons throughout the galaxy.
The Army utilized a wide range of equipment and vehicles in support of its infantry. Army units were often reinforced by Stormtroopers, although the command structure for the two organizations remained separate. On garrisoned worlds, the Army operated in conjunction with Imperial Navy, Stormtroopers, and the local constabulary to maintain order and security.
The Imperial Army was founded in 19 BBY in conjunction with the Imperial Navy and the Stormtrooper Corps. It served as the backbone of the Imperial Military, responsible for the planetary defense of Imperial worlds and the garrison of occupied planets. The Imperial Army was also responsible for the invasion and subjugation of hostile worlds, operating alongside the Stormtrooper legions and with the Imperial Navy.
The Imperial Army was comprised entirely of normal humans, recruited from Imperial worlds. Clones were regulated to the Stormtrooper legions. Troopers were put through intense training and Imperial indoctrination, though nowhere near the intensity and scope the Stormtrooper recruits received.
The Imperial Army was purely military, commanded by Moffs and influential generals, and as such was always a possible threat to Emperor Palpatine's rule. COMPNOR and its CompForce Observers and the Imperial Security Bureau, along with the Emperor's Stormtroopers, kept a watchful eye over individual Army units.
After the fragmentation of the Empire after the Battle of Endor, the Army fell into disarray, entire sector armies warring with one another amidst the Post-Endor Imperial power struggle. The entire command structure of the Imperial Army collapsed, leaving the Interim Ruling Council to pick up the pieces and rebuild from scratch. The formal Imperial Army during the Civil War, under the command of the Ruling Council, was a mere mock up of its former self, and most of the fighting was left to the Stormtrooper Legions, which, due to their extreme loyalty to the New Order, was not hit as hard as the Army.
When the Civil War ended and Bacharan Valak ascended to the throne, a major program was initiated to completely overhaul the Army and restore it to its former glory. By 10 ABY, the program began showing results, but the Imperial Army would not be fully combat-ready until 14 ABY, when the Imperial Blitzkrieg was initiated. During the Blitzkrieg, the Army was put to major use alongside the Stormtrooper legions, effectively conquering dozens of star systems in a matter of months. The most famous unit of the Army at this time was the Imperial 6th Army Division led by Morrison van Sen, stationed aboard the HIMS Conqueror as part of Task Force Hammer. The 6th was responsible for the subjugation of vital worlds during the Blitzkrieg, including Chandrila, Corellia, and Sullust.
As the Empire gained more and more territory, the Imperial Army, like the navy would shift into a defensive force. The offensive armies and doctrines changed and updated to reflect a role geared towards repelling ground invasion and defending Imperial holdings. The one abberation to this is on many of the newly conquered worlds, the Imperial Army acts as an occupation force, assisting COMPNOR in maintaining law and order. While the Empire's policy on non-humans has been changing since the New Republic was once again pushed off of Coruscant, the occupation of majority non-human worlds such as Sullust has gone difficultly. The Imperial Army is especially harsh when enforcing order among former enemies.
The Imperial Army is led by the Chief Army Officer, a Grand General who is the chairman of the Grand General's Council and who reports directly to the Commander-in-Chief, head of the Imperial Military.
Combat, command and supportEdit
Like the rest of the Imperial military, the Army made a strong distinction between “combat elements”, and “command elements” or “support elements”. Any commander, even a sergeant, was considered part of the "command element" and was not counted among the troopers.
The Imperial Army in its regular state was extremely small, with just over a million men per sector. The uniquely Imperial concept of 'augmentation' was intended to allow the rapid integration of reinforcement units into an existing force while minimizing the number of (relatively scarce) senior officers required.
On a small scale augmentation could be compared to unit “attachments”, while on a larger scale it could be compared to an active cadre for reserve divisions. The full extent of augmentation could be impressive. For example, the augmentation of a million man sector army could result in its size being expanded many hundreds of times over.
Perhaps in an effort to facilitate this process, support in the Army was noticeably decentralized. For example, armored and repulsorlift platoons included organic mechanic sections not accounted for in the order of battle (OOB), while higher command did not have the usual assortment of support units common in other militiaries.
The nine basic types of squads were the building blocks of the Army. Each type was commanded by a sergeant. The symbol for this level of organization was: |
Infantry units were called “line” units in the Army, and frequently equipped with light repeating blasters to increase their short range firepower. The regular infantry were augmented by heavy weapons squads with heavy repeating blasters.
Mechanized infantry were composed of repulsorlift squads, with two vehicles per squad. There were two types of vehicles: the repulsorlift that functioned as a “battle taxi” (APC), and the heavy repulsorlift which was closer in concept to the “infantry fighting vehicle” (IFV). The task of comm interception was assigned to squad level, and each sergeant's vehicle was equipped with an additional DER and operator for this purpose. Repulsorlift squads seldom integrated dismounted infantry, leaving such integration to the company level.
There were two types of armor and artillery sections: heavy and light. Heavy sections consisted of one vehicle. In comparison, light sections had two vehicles, but those vehicles were individually smaller than the one in the heavy section.
A scout “lance” had only five personnel including the sergeant and were generally equipped with repulsorbikes. For these units the Empire, in contrast to the more usual practice, emphasized unit heritage and pride.
Both sharpshooter and engineering squads were part of “Special Missions.” Regular Imperial units did not have designated marksmen or the usual engineering support as found in Terran militaries.
These are commanded by lieutenants, with a Sergeant Major as deputy. The symbol for a platoon is a kind of L: |_
A platoon was authorized to request fire support but, typically, not directly. The centralized fire support scheme required the request to be routed up to battalion level, where arrangements were made.
Infantry platoons were split into 'light' and 'assault' platoons. In comparison to assault platoons, light platoons had fewer repeating blasters and no medium or heavy support weapons.
Mechanized units was a blanket term covering repulsorlift and heavy weapons repulsorlift units, as well as armored platoons. These units included specialized and distinct command vehicles, in addition to organic maintenance sections in transport vehicles.
Scout platoons tended to have two lances and two regular line squads.
There were also artillery platoons.
Finally, there were special mission platoons - commandos. These were a mix of sharpshooter and engineering and heavy weapons squads.
In contrast to the overabundance of support assets at lower levels, the higher levels proved increasingly deficient in organic assets.
Companies were the smallest units where staffs were integrated in the form of specialized medical, technical, and logistic sections, as well as an executive officer also in charge of intelligence. Not surprisingly, various supplementary droids could be found at this level that allowed the unit a certain degree of independence. Additional biological staff could be added for longer operations.
The organization symbol of a company was an upside down squarish U.
The repulsorlift units at this level turned from being APC-units to being mechanized infantry. Light platoons were integrated with vehicle platoons. Counting the platoon- and company-level support vehicles, the number of repulsorlifts compared favorably to a small Terran battalion.
Assignments to Repulsorlift companies, can, incidentally, be good or bad assignments. A good assignment is an assignment to a company of a repulsorlift regiment. These are tasked as far as possible for maneuver warfare against light opposition. A bad assignment was to a company belonging to either a line or assault regiment - in which case the company is generally used as mechanized assault troops in the decisive sector, presumably for shock effect.
There were two types of armored companies - "attack" and "breakthrough". The breakthrough company was comprised totally of tanks for sustained and rapid operations lasting up to 72 hours. An attack company replaced some tanks with a platoon of heavy weapon repulsorlifts. A heavy tank breakthrough company was numerically comparable to two Terran companies. Any light tank company was comparable numerically to a small Terran armored battalion.
Dedicated command vehicles also appeared at the company level. Such vehicles in armored units were easily identifiable, inevitably making them prime targets for hostile fire.
The artillery battery was also comparable in number of tubes to Terran artillery battalions. Perhaps reflecting the direct-fire nature of typical Imperial artillery, there were no FDC at all.
The largest reconnaissance formations were at the company level. A scout company (or “troop”) was comprised of four scout platoons.
An all-bike scout platoon was combined with special mission platoons to form a special missions company.
Finally, there were the run-of-the-mill line and assault companies, with the latter being more heavily equipped with repeating blasters of larger caliber.
A CP was introduced at battalion level where all support elements were directed. The size of the support staff was double that in a company. There was also a dedicated headquarters officer who acted as a chief of staff, coordinating support elements and commanding the battalion headquarters' security platoon.
Battalions were the smallest units that the military considered dropping. Some battalion types therefore benefited from a limited degree of combined arms integration. Prior to any augmentation, a battalion was comparable to its Terran equivalent in personnel numbers, but the number of vehicles could be much larger.
A battalion's symbol was a rectangle.
The largest Special Mission formation was the battalion. Support personnel were support-trained engineers (see engineering squads above), and the HQ was expected fight unlike HQ's of most other battalion types.
The artillery battalion had a comparable number of guns to a Terran artillery regiment or even brigade. Three batteries were combined with an assault company.
Repulsorlift battalions were composed of three repulsorlift companies and a scout troop. With the lack of organic recce assets, the ground-recce ability of a major Imperial unit thus depended greatly on how many repulsorlift battalions it had.
Armored battalions were a combined arms formation with a repulsorlift company.
There were also line and assault battalions, the latter having an organic mobility for some of its units due to a repulsorlift company.
A regiment was a combined arms formation containing approximately 2,500 troops and 1,500 support personnel and commanded by a lieutenant colonel. The staff complement was the same as a battalion's, but with more droids and an organic repair workshop with nanotech capability.
Unless command continuity was disrupted or the unit was engaged in a long term (over one month) or independent campaign, regimental HQs did not deploy onto the ground. Instead they remained aboard orbiting command ships.
A regiment's symbol was roughly flag shaped
Line regiments had two line, one assault and one repulsorlift battalion for use against low resistance. CompForce regiments (composed of fanatical but ill-trained COMPNOR troops) had the same basic structure, but had fewer security concerns.
Assault regiments consisted of two assault, one line and one armor battalion, and deployed against known points of resistance where attrition became a major factor. Upon completion of the assault, a line regiment was dropped to hold it while the assault regiment advanced toward its next objective.
Repulsorlift regiments, with 3 repulsorlift battalions and an armor battalion were used for maneuver warfare over large areas with scattered light resistance.
Armor (2 armor and 2 repulsorlift) and vanguard armor (3 armor and 1 repulsorlift) were used only in battlegroup level actions as they were generally “tank heavy” and deficient in supporting infantry.
Finally, there was the artillery regiment, which had almost as many tubes as a Terran artillery division. In addition to the guards at battalion level, there was a full assault battalion organic to regiment. There was some confusion as to whether there was an armor battalion or a scout troop organic to the artillery unit. The latter would probably be more useful.
These formations were intended for major offensives. Battlegroups had sufficient strength to assault one major or several lesser points of resistance on a planet. A corps was composed of multiple battlegroups and whose usual theater of operations was a whole planet. Armies, comprised of a number of corps, could pursue objectives on multiple planets at once.
Perhaps in awareness of the increasingly challenges of command (and the increasing requirement of political reliability), the number intervening ranks between command levels increased.
In the Old Republic era, many divisions were associated with particular places (such as planets) or beings in much the same way as British regiments did. The Imperial military preferred a more “unified” system. Except for a few elite formations, all Army units were stripped of their old designations. To further highlight the change, the term “division” was replaced with “battlegroup”.
A battlegroup's commanding officer (CO) was at least a high colonel, although it was possible for the CO to be as senior as a major general (the starwars:1st_Tapani_Assault_Battlegroup was one such example.)
A battlegroup had the usual principle staff, but in addition the SG5 (battlegroup "headquarters" officer) had a 4-man "substaff". They were backed by 188 support personnel and protected by two security platoons, but the battlegroup had no organic units other than its maneuver elements.
Unaugmented battlegroups did not have artillery units even as late as Battle of Yavin. However, this was compensated for by augmenting a battlegroup (other than armored) with an artillery regiment first.
Battlegroups with 3 line and 1 assault regiment were considered “line”. However, by the Battle of Tiems this formation was considered obsolescent: the Rebels had begun fielding division-equivalents and line battlegroups held no decisive advantage over such forces. Many line battlegroups were replaced by the better balanced assault battlegroups, by the simple expedient of replacing one of the line regiments with an armored regiment.
It should be noted that unlike some Terran militaries, the Imperil military did not place as much emphasis on the total mechanization of its units. This may have been, in part, a result of the wide range of terrain types that Imperial units were expected to operate in.
If the enemy had several concentrations spread over a moderate length of front, an armored division (four armored regiments) was committed to destroy each of the enemy positions in turn.
A mobile battlegroup was used for offensive or defensive operations over a wide front with its 3 repulsorlift and one armored regiment.
The corps was equivalent to what a Terran military might call a theater command. Commanded by a major general, a corp had its own organic assets organized into an auxiliary battlegroup – an organic fighter wing (40 TIE Interceptors and 3 COMPNOR regiments. An industrial complex with over 2000 droids was frequently attached as well. The complex was capable of producing almost all of the items required by a corps, and so greatly eased logistics.
While the Empire enjoyed numerical superiority on the strategic level, and aimed for the same on the tactical, this was not necessarily true on the operational level. A corps deployed to pacify a hostile world could typically expect to be outnumbered by at least four to one. It was up to the operational skills of Imperial commanders to arrange local superiorities and defeat the enemy in detail.
The corps had five primary staff, each with two subordinates. HQ security was provided by one security company and six independent perimeter platoons. The 3 COMPNOR regiments were supported by (an inadequate) 144 personnel. The remainder of the corps had 388 support personnel. Intelligence was handled by one Imperial Intelligence operative and 50 ISB agents, the latter functioning as political officers as well.
There were four types of corps: line corps (3 line and 1 assault battlegroup), atrisian corps (2 assault battlegroups, 1 line battlegroup, and 1 armored battlegroup), armor corps (3 armor battlegroups and 1 repulsorlift battlegroup), and mobile corps (3 repulsorlift and 1 armor battlegroup.)
In addition to real corps, there were cadre corps HQs on planets. These were the basis of Imperial garrisons, to be reinforced as required. A typical garrison had 4 battalions and an organic fighter wing.
A corps was supposed to fit onto a single transport ship.
An army is commanded by a full general. It had five staff and ten substaff officers, a security company and six independent perimeter platoons, 200 ISB agents for agent intelligence or counterintelligence, 3 companies of COMPNOR "observers", 4 Imperial Intelligence representatives and 784 support personnel.
An army would have one of each type of corps and was supposed to fit into a naval troop squadron.
These command levels were not intended to fight, rather they were there for administration purposes and to liaise with the navy for support.
A systems army was commanded by a high general and consisted of anywhere from two to six armies, they were organizationally separated from the field armies and corps HQ over which they had oversight. While a standard garrison had several battalions of front-line soldiers, to say nothing of a field army with some 193,644 combat troops, the only force directly attached to a high general's command was the headquarters unit. This was a mere 1,855 personnel, and identical to those deployed with subordinate field armies, consisted of 784 support personnel, coupled with 200 ISB agents and three companies of COMPNOR observers, and protected by one security company and six perimeter patrol platoons - these last being the only troops under the high general's direct command.
The primary function of a systems army was to deploy reinforcements and naval support to its child armies.
The sector army could be commanded by a moff or delegated to a surface marshal. A sector army could have up to eight systems armies under its command and was supposed to fit within an Imperial Assault Fleet
The symbol was two stacked rectangular prisms on top of an L.
- 1-L Imperial-class Repulsortank
- 2-M repulsortank
- All Terrain Advance Raider
- All Terrain Personal Transport
- All Terrain Scout Transport/Assault
- Dwarf spider droid
- Infantry Support Platform
- Mountain Terrain Scout Transport
- PX-10 Compact Assault Vehicle/wheeled
- Sniper airspeeder
- Swift Assault 5 Hoverscout
- TIE Crawler
- TIE Mauler
- TX-130T fighter tank
- Ultra-Light Assault Vehicle
Command and combat supportEdit
- 1-M Imperial-class Repulsortank
- Light Assault Vehicle/repulsorlift QH-7 Chariot
- PX-4 Mobile Command Base
- Tracked Mobile Base
- Tracked Shield Disabler
- XP-38 landspeeder
Combat service supportEdit
- All Terrain Tactical Enforcer (cargo transport)
- Armoured Hover Train
- Low Altitude Assault Transport/carrier
- Low Altitude Assault Transport/vehicle
- Unstable Terrain Artillery Transport
- All Terrain Armored Transport
- All Terrain Open Transport
- Armored Personnel Carrier
- Heavy Assault Vehicle/wheeled A5 Juggernaut
- Heavy Assault Vehicle/wheeled A6 Juggernaut
- Heavy Assault Vehicle/repulsorlift A9 Floating Fortress
- Imperial Troop Carrier (wheeled)|Imperial Troop Carrier
- Mountain Terrain Armored Transport
- Reconnaissance Troop Transporter