Throughout the galaxy
- "The Emperor's army is infinite."
- ―Rahm Kota
The Imperial Army was a branch of the Imperial Military that had the primary responsibility of prosecution of ground-side military operations, under the oversight of Army Command. Numbering in the tens of trillions, 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 Starfleet, stormtroopers, and the local constabulary to maintain order and security.
Formed through the reorganization of the non-clone Republic Army, the Imperial Army was initially composed of the Judicial Forces and Planetary Security Forces, both of which had been combined through nationalization and amalgamation under the Galactic Empire. During the Imperial era, one of the Army's most common duties was the maintenance of planetary garrisons throughout the galaxy, as well as waging war on the Alliance to Restore the Republic.
After the defeat of the Emperor, the Army would be split up between various Imperial warlords up until the Imperial Reunification. A century later, the split of the Fel Empire and the new Imperial Civil War would also lead to the splitting of the Imperial Army among the two factions.
Recruitment and trainingEdit
Initially the Army accepted recruits from worlds across the Empire, though this policy was changed in wake of several high-profile defections to the Rebel Alliance. Emphasis was then placed on recruiting from the Core Worlds, especially with regards to officer candidates, and those which bordered the Imperial Core. Frontier and primitive worlds were also targeted for recruitment drives, the latter especially for filling the ranks with expendable assault troops, although some care had to be taken to weed out Rebel sympathizers. Those worlds which had been subject to Imperial bombardment or assault within recent memory, and those with a strong liberal or independent tradition, were considered breeding grounds for the Rebellion and avoided altogether.
Potential recruits would be screened at their local Imperial Recruitment Office, with Screening Officers conducting background checks including looking into the candidate's school reports and home life. While these officers were instructed to watch for any potential Rebel connections, including family members with Rebel sympathies, suspected Rebel infiltrators were encouraged to join and the Imperial Security Bureau informed immediately. Candidates who passed initial screening would then be sent to Training Centers for medical examinations and intelligence assessments.
Where possible recruits would be placed in the branch of service of their choosing, as dissatisfaction with assignment was a major cause of morale problems. However the initial screening tests were used as a guide to help show where a recruit was better suited; for example those with less intelligence were often transferred to the infantry branch. While an entirely different organization those recruits who matched certain criteria were transferred to the Stormtrooper Corps.
Basic training took place at one of thousands of drop camps situated across the Empire, each one focused on a different area of operation such as infantry, armor, communications, engineering, et cetera. Physical fitness, equipment maintenance, team-building drills and indoctrination were all part of training to become an Army trooper. Survival in a variety of environments, from deserts to swamps to arctic tundra, and under different planetary gravities was standard in most cases. Some drop camps specialized in training units to deal with a specific terrain and atmospheric types, though in these cases most recruits would be drawn from relevant exotic worlds.
Officer training would take place at a number of different Imperial Army Officer Training Academies, although among these Raithal Academy was the most famous for producing the best officers. At Raithal recruits underwent a year of hard, grueling training of intense physical and military exercises. Emphasis was placed on an officer's ability to command men through the two-fold method of leadership - drawing upon their fear of disobeying orders, which was disciplined into them during training, and gaining their respect by example. Psychological examinations were rigorously performed to test the candidate's mettle while a week spent in the interrogation center simulated the type of treatment they could expect if they fell into enemy hands. Loyalty to the State and the correct balance between self-sacrifice and self-preservation also formed a critical part of officer training.
- See Rank insignia of the Galactic Empire for the rank structure of the Imperial Army.
Combat, command and supportEdit
As with the rest of the Imperial Service, 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, despite the fact that they were expected to take part in the fighting. Since unit commanders were considered supernumeraries, the average size of an Imperial Army formation tends to have a larger headcount than an equivalent strength formation in the Grand Army of the Republic.
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. All units from platoon-level and up were expected to maintain a baseline strength which, as the Imperial military grew, could be upgraded to their full strength. Augmentation was part of the Army's Surface Operations Training Doctrine and represented an idealized version of how it was organized.
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, a baseline armored battlegroup had 10,090 troops out of 16,346 total, with 1,132 repulsorlift vehicles and 318 tanks. If every unit was augmented to its full capacity, a full-strength armored battlegroup would have 318,062 troops out of 324,318 total, with with 36,084 repulsorlift vehicles and 14,480 tanks.
Augmentation proceeded according to that unit's official Order of Battle (OB), especially for units of company-size and larger; smaller units often got away with more flexibility in how they were augmented. For example a line company was augmented first by a heavy weapons platoon, followed by a second heavy weapons platoon, and then two line platoons. In rare instances an Army unit was augmented in ways other than dictated by the OB. The most common happened when an army commander organized survivors from a battle, creating haphazard units regardless of the OB. The second was when units were augmented with local auxiliaries. Finally a commander could order a special augmentation which he felt was critical to accomplishing his mission. If he succeeded his superiors would overlook this infraction, while failure meant he faced harsh justice. Indeed it was not unknown for an unorthodox commander to violate the SOTD and be executed, only for his methods to be evaluated and adopted after-the-fact.
When a formation of company-size and larger was augmented, it's second-in-command was charged with commanding the extra units while the commanding officer maintained control of the baseline units. In practice a particularly strong-willed or above-average commander could and did assume direct control over the augmenting units. These violations were largely overlooked by superior officers.
At the time of the Battle of Yavin the majority of Army units were at their baseline strength. Of the rest eight percent fell below it for reasons other than combat attrition while fifteen percent were above. The limiting factor in the Army's growth was not for lack of resources themselves but in the Imperial Navy: the Army simply could not expanded faster than the number of ships designed to carry it. When necessary new units were raised regardless of naval support but were then bound to that planet.
The structure of the Imperial Army was similar to the Grand Army of the Republic with some differences. The following table lists the size and composition of the various units used by the Imperial Army, although given the variety of unit types and possibility for augmentation the numbers listed are only nominal.
|Squad||Sergeant||-||8 Imperial Army troopers|
|Platoon||Lieutenant||4 Squads||32 troopers|
|Company||Captain||4 Platoons||128 troopers|
|Battalion||Major||4 Companies||512 troopers|
|Regiment||Lieutenant-Colonel||4 Battalions||2,048 troopers|
|Battlegroup||High Colonel||4 Regiments||8,192 troopers|
|Corps||Major General||4 Battlegroups||32,768 troopers|
|Army||Major General||4 Corps||131,072 troopers|
|Systems Army||High General||1-3 Armies||131,072-393,216 troopers|
|Sector Army||Marshal||2-4 Systems Armies||262,144-1,572,864 troopers|
The Imperial Army had two direct branches within its hierarchy. Its first branch, the Army Command, was a subdivision of the Imperial High Command that operated and commanded the ground battles and anything within the Imperial Army's jurisdiction, and concentrated on the war effort for the Galactic Empire. It was headquartered on Coruscant, then known as Imperial Center, and was a council comprised of the Empire's senior army generals and led by the Army Chief of Staff.
Besides the Army Command, it also had the Assault Armor Division, a branch of the Imperial Army that was responsible for mechanized warfare and utilizing heavy vehicular support.
Although not a branch of the Imperial Navy, they have occasionally worked alongside each other, with several sharing some of the same equipment.
Like other armies during history, the Imperial Army had various specializations for specific soldiers.
The Imperial Army troopers were the standard infantry for the Imperial Army, as well as the most common soldiers on Empire-controlled worlds. Their uniforms were cut in a similar manner to the Imperial Navy troopers, although they were primarily green on occasion. They also wore plasteel armor of a similar nature to the Snowtroopers. The Imperial Army troopers were deployed to either keep the peace on Imperial-occupied worlds or otherwise conquer non-strategic worlds for the Empire, in contrast to the Stormtrooper Corps, which were deployed to raid enemy worlds. Although they were often on foot, several, such as Imperial Army pilots, were also responsible for manning mechanized vehicles such as the AT-AT walkers. The Imperial Army pilots did not generally wear armor, although some higher ranking officers did. In addition to the regular soldiers, medics were also present among the Imperial Army soldiers, distinguished by navy blue-colored uniforms, and officers that were directly leading the forces often wore darker colored armor.
The Imperial commandos were also the choice group of the Imperial Officer Corps, and by extension, the Imperial Army. They were distinguished by their tendency of using long-range weapons, due to feeling melee weapons were the arms of their "lessers," as well as helmets similar to that of the Imperial Army Engineers. They were considered to be among the Imperial Army's special forces groups.
Like other Armies, they were generally led by Field Commanders.
In addition, a segment of soldiers were also deployed for ground assaults, identified as Imperial land assault troopers. Many of these were stationed aboard the first Death Star before it was destroyed at the Battle of Yavin.
The Imperial Army was composed of various vehicles, many meeting multiple classifications. Some also had joint use within other branches of the Imperial Military alongside the Imperial Army.
The Imperial Army utilized several Artillery pieces, whether on vehicles or stand-alone.
Among it's static artillery pieces were the heavy weapons like the tremendous C-136 "Grandfather Gun," Turbolaser System I and V-188 Penetrator, although the V-188 could also be mounted on the 440 Super-Heavy Armored Chassis to make it more mobile. For lighter targets the Army employed the DF.9 Anti-Infantry Battery and Twin DF.9 anti-infantry battery. Anti-aircraft artillery included the G-001 Tracker, later replaced by the G-003 Tri-Tracker; while the G-003 could technically be made mobile by mounting it on a repulsor sled, this was less than ideal.
Self-propelled artillery included a number of walker vehicles. Some were inherited from the Clone Wars era, including the All Terrain-Attack Pod and Self-Propelled Heavy Artillery, and served as inspiration for later models, including the Self-Propelled Medium Artillery, All Terrain-Anti-Aircraft, and All Terrain Ion Cannon, which was essentially an All Terrain Armored Transport with most of the rear removed in place of a massive ion cannon turret]].
A number of repulsorlift-based artillery models were used as well, such as the Energy Pummel, SP.9 Anti-Infantry Artillery Vehicle based on the DF.9, Unstable Terrain Artillery Transport developed specifically for unstable terrain, mobile artillery and heavy artillery platforms. Imperial self-propelled artillery included tracked models as well, such as the Leveler I medium concussion missile launcher and artillery crawler.
The MobileMortar-3 was a light artillery piece used by the Imperial Army to provide close fire support.
The Imperial Army utilized a wide array of heavy armored tanks. These vehicles included armored repulsortanks such as the S-1 FireHawke Heavy Repulsortank and its replacement, the 1-H Imperial-class repulsortank, along with the Heavy Assault Vehicle/repulsorlift A9 Floating Fortress, and the Heavy Assault Vehicle/repulsorlift C10 Siege Tower.
Among the various walkers employed were the famous All Terrain Armored Transports, successor to the All Terrain Tactical Enforcer and All Terrain Heavy Enforcer inherited by the Army from the GAR. The All Terrain Armored Heavy Transport, based on the original AT-AT, was used by the both the Fel Empire and Darth Krayt's Sith Empire.There were also insect-like armored transports dedicated to mountainous terrain, called Mountain Terrain Armored Transports. The only known facility was destroyed when Carida was destroyed by a supernova, although it was rumored that the Empire had made off with the plans when they evacuated.
Wheeled assault vehicles included the Heavy Assault Vehicle Transport B5 Juggernaut, the Heavy Assault Vehicle/wheeled A5 Juggernaut, and the Heavy Assault Vehicle/wheeled A6 Juggernaut. The XR-85 tank droid was both a tracked and automated tank employed by the Army.
The Imperial Army also made use of heavy cavalry-type vehicles. A number were hold-overs from the GAR, including walkers like the All Terrain-Experimental Transport and All Terrain Personal Transport, and repulsorcraft including the Infantry Support Platform and TX-130T fighter tank; even captured battle droids such as the DSD1 dwarf spider droid were used, ironically enough to help clear the remaining Separatist hold-outs in the early stages of the Empire.
Eventually the Army began employing its own models of heavy cavalry-type vehicles. These included walkers like the All Terrain-Advance Raider, the All Terrain-Scout Transport/Assault and All Terrain Kashyyyk Transport, along with repulsorcraft like the 2-M Saber-class repulsor tank, 1-L Imperial-class repulsortank, the 008 Heavy Landspeeder and the Ultra-Light Assault Vehicle. Wheeled vehicles such as the Compact Assault Vehicle/wheeled PX-10 were employed on remote worlds, while the unique Swift Assault 5 Hoverscout traveled on a cushion of air as opposed to traditional repulsor engines.
Sienar Fleet Systems also had some involvement in the development of the heavy cavalry vehicles, which resulted in some of their vehicles adopting TIE series features. These included the TIE ap-1, nicknamed the TIE Mauler, and the Century tank, nicknamed the TIE Crawler.
The successors of the Galactic Empire; the Fel Empire and Darth Krayt's Sith Empire, made use of heavy cavalry weapons, such as the All Terrain Riot Control Transport.
The Imperial Army was well known for its mechanized infantry, including especially its walkers. The most famous of these were the quadruped walkers known as the All Terrain Armored Transports. The Mountain Terrain Armored Transport was also utilized since at least post-Endor. They also utilized some Clone Wars-era vehicles, including the Heavy Assault Vehicle/wheeled A5 Juggernaut, the Heavy Assault Vehicle/wheeled A6 Juggernaut, and the All Terrain Open Transport. Wheeled and repulsorlift vehicles were also used besides these, such as the Heavy Assault Vehicle Transport B5 Juggernauts and the Heavy Assault Vehicle/repulsorlift A9 Floating Fortress.
Armored Personnel Carriers were also utilized to deliver troops and/or prisoners. The Imperial Troop Carrier, 6500 ATVs, GPT-117 Troop Transports, SV-50 Swift-Strike Speeders, Urban Assault Speeders, PX-7 troop transports, and the Reconnaissance Troop Transporters were similar in role to the APCs. In addition, the MTV-7 Multi-Terrain Vehicles were used as scouting vehicles, while Battlespeeders were special World Devastator-developed speeders utilized by the Imperial Army.
The Galactic Empire's successors, and by extension the Imperial Army's successors, also utilized mechanized infantry. The Fel Empire and Darth Krayt's Sith Empire both utilized the All Terrain Armored Heavy Transports.
Vehicles used primarily for reconnaissance duties were also utilized by the Imperial Army. They included speeder bikes, such as 74-Z speeder bikes, BARC speeders, and XR-10 Shadowhawk Speeder Bikes; sleds such as Storm Skimmer Patrol Sleds and the 64-Y Swift 3 repulsor sleds, and speeders such as the Imperial patrol landspeeders, which included a variant in Mos Eisley on Tatooine, and a tank variant. Repulsor scouts and Sub-ter rovers were also used, as was the Swift Assault 5 Hoverscout.
Tanks could also be used, such as the T2-B repulsor tank.
There were also some for specific environments, such as the Swamp crawler.
The Imperial Army utilized various aerial assault vehicles, some of which were also used by the Imperial Navy. They were primarily used for air patrol purposes.
Airspeeders utilized by the Imperial Army included the Rapid Deployment Airspeeder, the Tracker-4 military airspeeder, the Shark combat airspeeder, the Deathhawk combat airspeeder, the Shadow V Combat Airspeeder, and the HSP-10 pursuit airspeeder. Post-Endor the Sniper airspeeder came into use, while after after 15 BBY the Imperial Army employed the Imperial Side Gunner vehicles and the Imperial Sniper Vehicles. The Hover Combat Carrier was primarily used to keep insurgents in line.
Fighters, including some from the Imperial Navy, were also used by the Imperial Army, namely for reconnaissance. For example, the Imperial Navy fighter called the INT-4 Interceptor, was used by Blizzard Force to scout out Echo Base during the Battle of Hoth. Skim fighters and Imperial Escort Fighters were also sometimes used.
The Imperial Army also made use of aerial artillery, such as the Lancet Aerial Artillery.
Command and combat supportEdit
The Imperial Army also utilized various vehicles for command and combat support-related duties. They had several jobs, with combat being a minimal requirement. One vehicle that did focus on combat-related duties was the 1-M Imperial-class repulsortank. Although vehicles specifically used for combat were rare in command and combat support types, they were equipped with weapons for protection. The Tracked Shield Disabler also disabled shield generators at Rebel bases. Gravtrucks and XP-38 sport landspeeders were also used by the Imperial Army, the latter as support vehicles at Imperial garrisons.
Heavy recovery vehicles were utilized to recover damaged or disabled vehicles during combat, and at times worked with repulsorlift barges. The Heavy Transport Vehicles had a similar purpose: transporting resupply units and spare parts to the battlefield.
Light Assault Vehicle/repulsorlift QH-7 Chariots were often issued for Commanders for them to enter battlefields with relative protection. Likewise, the PX-4 Mobile Command Bases acted as command centers for Imperial Commanders to issue orders from and relay instructions. They also formerly had a Tracked Mobile Base prototype with similar functions, although it eventually ended up captured by the Rebel Alliance. Another mobile base used by the Imperials was the MFB-4 Mobile Repulsor Base.
Combat service supportEdit
The Imperial Army also utilized vehicles relating to combat service support duties. Because of these duties, they also were utilized by both the Imperial Army and the Imperial Navy divisions of the Imperial Military.
They were also used to deliver supplies. Armored hovertrains were also used for delivering troops/prisoners and supplies. In addition, the All Terrain Tactical Enforcers also have a cargo transport variant.
Imperial Cargo Traders were utilized to deliver nova crystals to spaceports for export as well as deliver supplies to other outposts. In addition, the All Terrain Construction Transport was created specifically to do construction work, so it doesn't have any conventional weapons systems. However, its tractor beam could be used as an unconventional weapon system. The Unstable Terrain Artillery Transport was also used for transportation duties.
For maritime-based operations, the Imperial ground-skimmer-sls are also utilized to deliver troops.
Many of their combat service support vehicles also are spacefaring, including the Imperial dropships, the Imperial Dropship Transports, the Imperial transports, and the Clone Wars-era Low Altitude Assault Transport/carrier and Low Altitude Assault Transport/vehicles. Because of the amount of spacefaring these vehicles require, several of these vessels are also under the co-jurisdiction of the Imperial Navy as well.
The Imperial Army, under its maritime branch, also utilized aquatic vehicles. During the reign of the First Galactic Empire, it utilized Aquatic Destroyers (including a heavily armed variant), Aquatic Terrain Armored Transports, Aquatic Scout Ships, Aquadon CAVa 400s, Explorer Submergibles, Imperial submarines, aquatic transports, TIE fighter boats, and waveskimmers, such as the A-Q5 Waveskimmer and the Single person waveskimmer. The Amphibion was also utilized during the time of the Dark Empire.
By the time of the Krayt Empire and the Fel Empires, the successors of the Galactic Empire, they utilized the Acklay-class mobile fortresses, Shark underwater fighters, and modified versions of the Aquatic Terrain Armored Transports.
The Imperial Army also featured several defensive systems for occupied planets. The 1.4 FD P-Tower laser cannon was a dish-type laser cannon dating back to the Clone Wars, although it was outdated by the time of the Battle of Hoth in 3 ABY. In addition, the company Taim & Bak also developed several of their defensive systems, including the Bp.2 anti-infantry turrets, the Bp.4 anti-vehicle turrets, and the Bp.5 anti-aircraft turret. In addition, the DF.9 anti-infantry battery was also developed both for stationary use and for usage for the Imperial Army's XR-85 tank droids. HVs-2 hypervelocity guns were also able to shoot at Alliance Space Stations. The Army also utilized the LNR Series I Systemary Laser Batteries the LNR Series II Systemary Laser Batteries, and the XX-10 turbolaser towers. It also utilized anti-orbital ion cannons such as V-150 anti-orbital ion cannons.