A battalion was a ground military unit, normally consisting of a number of companies.
Republic and EmpireEdit
In the Grand Army of the Republic, a battalion was made up of four companies of 165 clone troopers each, for to a total of 660 men, commanded by a Major, with four battalions forming a Regiment. All the line troops of the GAR used this structure, although in the elite Special Operations Brigade, the term battalion was used for the units known on the order of battle as Commando Groups, directly subordinate to brigade command, and each consisting of 500 men in five companies. At least some non-clone troops among the Republic's forces were also organized into battalions, such as the engineering battalion commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Kreen on Praesitlyn, while logistics battalions were units involved with the GAR's supply chain, although it is not entirely clear whether these last were clone troops or not.
In the Imperial Army, a typical battalion was still commanded by a Major, and still consisted of four companies; likewise, four battalions still formed a Regiment; but a number of different types of battalion had developed for specialist roles. In addition, unlike the earlier battalions of the GAR, each battalion in the Army had a dedicated HQ designed to provide logistical, technical and medical support.
Within the HQ detail, the Major in command was supported by a Battalion Captain, who also served as the unit's intelligence officer, and four other aides of equivalent rank, the logistics, medical and technical officers and the headquarters officer, whose role was to oversee the interaction between the various elements of the HQ. The headquarters officer served as the commander of the battalion's 38-man security platoon, and was also considered the senior of the unit's 47 non-combatant support personnel.
Although it consisted of combat troops, the security platoon was not treated as a front-line unit; it was designed to maintain discipline within the battalion, although in rare circumstances, senior commanders were recorded improvising fighting forces out of their battalions' security troops. Although it is not explicitly stated, the 46 non-commissioned support personnel probably represented the equivalent of two company support details, namely sixteen logistics troopers, 22 technical personnel, and eight medics.
The overall strength of different types of battalions in the Imperial Army is as follows (note that numbers of non-combat personnel include the company command/support details as well as the battalion HQ):
608 combat troops and 202 other personnel, in four line companies. Ideally, one line company became a heavy weapons company, raising the number of combat troops to 626. Line battalions were the most common type of battalion, and thus became the force strength deployed for surface action most commonly by the Imperial military.
Typically, 662 troopers, 206 other personnel, and 31 repulsorlift vehicles, organized in one line company, two heavy weapons company, and one repulsorlift company.
In an assault battalion, one heavy weapons company was always "fully equipped", meaning each line platoon was given a heavy repeating blaster, and the two assault platoons were strengthened by heavy weapons teams. Sometimes, two platoons from this company were rearranged with the repulsorlift company's two infantry platoons, so that the heaviest-armed troops in the battalion became the most mobile.
In major multi-battalion operations, assault battalions were typically the first units deployed from orbit; on their own, they were used for operations like storming fortresses and occupying centers of population.
680 troopers, 272 other personnel, 115 repulsorcraft and 40 speeder bikes, organized in three repulsorlift companies and one scout company. Along with the rest of the battalion, the HQ was mobile, and included 18 repulsorlifts: sixteen of these were transports with three-man crews, and the remaining two were command vehicles for the commanding Major and the Battalion Captain, each with two other battalion officers; the Battalion Captain's repulsorcraft also had a driver ranked as a sergeant.
Due to their highly-mobile nature, repulsorlift battalions were used for reconnaissance, raiding, and for rapid maneuvers such as seizing outlying enemy positions. They would only be thrown into a major battle if the situation required a commander to commit all his troops.
608 troopers and 202 other personnel, in three artillery batteries and a heavy weapons company, with 48 heavy or medium artillery tubes, or 98 light field pieces.
53 heavy tanks or AT-ATs, or 93 light tanks or AT-STs, plus 55 other armored vehicles. Whether heavy or light, the battalion consisted of a breakthrough armor company, two attack armor companies, and a repulsorlift company, plus a HQ of 180 men, including 23 extra personnel to service the armored vehicles and 67 vehicle drivers. A heavy armor battalion thus had a total of 601 troops and exactly 1,000 men; a light armor battalion 695 troops out of 1096 men.
The armor battalion HQ was mobile, like the unit's component companies, boasting 24 HTVs, two of which were command vehicles as in the repulsorlift battalion, the rest being transports with three-man crews.
An armor battalion boasted an excellent balance of firepower and mobility, but lacked the capability to effectively occupy territory: such units were thus largely used for frontal assault, or for maneuver-based defensive warfare ahead of other targets. Light armor battalions were often used against opponents lacking heavy defensive weaponry or large-scale physical defenses, which meant that they saw extensive use against Rebel Alliance positions, but due to the extra numbers of troops and vehicles, a light armor battalion was too large to fit into a single standard landing barge.
Special missions battalionEdit
544 front-line troops, including 88 scout troopers with their speeder bikes, and 202 support personnel, organized in four special missions companies, plus an HQ detail. In contrast with other battalions, the special missions HQ detail was designed to see front line combat: the support personnel were combat engineers, and the security platoon consisted of crack troops.
Special missions troops were designed to operate in small elite units, typically at platoon strength, so battalions were the largest special missions formations on the Imperial order-of-battle, although they often did operate as single units, where a large number of special missions platoons were required to be deployed on a single planet.
The strength of a standard stormtrooper battalion has been cited as 820 men, while the manpower of the stormtrooper battalion assigned to a planetary garrison is stated as 800 men: these two figures are close to the 810-man or 826-man strength of line battalions in the Army, and perhaps suggest a similar organization. However, there are also references to a three-company garrison deployment of 540 men, implying larger company units of 180 men. With nearly 90% of the front-line manpower of a line battalion, and just four men less than a special missions battalion, the nearest rival to a stormtrooper unit in the Army, it is possible that these three-company units reflected a command structure different from the typical four-company battalion used in the Army.
Under the Empire of the Hand, the standard stormtrooper company apparently consisted of just forty men, making it a much smaller unit; it is not known for sure how this affected battalion organization, but some further restructuring of the order-of-battle would have probably been necessary.
Other military forcesEdit
The term "battalion" has a long pedigree, stretching back to the Battalions of Zhell of Coruscant's earliest history. However, although it can be supposed that most Regiments consisted of a number of battalions in the era of the Clone Wars and Galactic Civil War, the number of direct references is few.
During the Clone Wars, the Neimoidian Gunnery Battalions were Trade Federation forces sent to defend the Separatist planet Moorja, due to the electrical storms that rendered battle droids unusable on that world: their relationship with the Neimoidian Home Defense Legions is not clear.
CompForce operated "Assault Battalions." In the later stages of the Galactic Civil War, the People's Liberation Battalion was the insurgent force on Eiattu commanded by the impostor of Harran, in secret alliance with Moff Leonia Tavira.
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