The setting is: Imperial Guard (Astra Militarum) in the Warhammer 40.000 universe. I find their regimental structure too unrealistic, sending only a few regiments to defend/attack a given planet.

So I want to come up with a better military structure to span an entire planet. I'm not interested in battalion/regiment/... structures, but more on how many generals you need for which functions, how many commanders should report to the next higher-up. Who needs how many aids, etc.

I will expand the question with what I've already come up with. But want to post it already so as not to lose what I've already typed.

1. Size of the miliary

The planet has a population of about 10 billion people. About 10 percent will be drafted in the army. If about half of this (500 million) stay "at home" to defend the planet, train, study (to achieve higher ranks), etc, 500 million troops can be sent out to different planets to conquer those of defend them from the aliens.

2. High command

I can imagine the following high (e.g. four-star generals) being required:

  • Chairman of the joint chiefs of staff
  • Chief of staff of the army
  • Chief of staff of the navy/coast guard
  • Chief of staff of the air force
  • One commander for the troops of each continent

What would their general staff look like? Which composition?

3. Lower commands

I'm a bit lost here as well. What would the lower structures look like? For example, each continent would be divided into smaller regions, do each get another commander and general staff?

  • $\begingroup$ @DonQualm: agreed. there is no clear question yet. The setting (Imperial Guard/Warhammer 40.000) is not really relevant for the question, I guess. I would like to know how I could structure the military, general staffs, administrative functions needed, etc, for a planet-wide army. $\endgroup$ – Tommiie Jun 26 '19 at 13:44
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    $\begingroup$ This question is pretty broad and also quite opinion based.. I can think of thousands of potential ways to organise a planet-wise military organisation, most of which have no clear ‘this is better’ criteria. You might want to consider what a ‘good’ answer would contain. How will you judge what structures are good vs bad, etc. Use that to pin down a more specific issue with your world’s current command structures and ask a more pointed question. I’m going to VTC until I can see a way to answer the question that isn’t entirely vague... $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Jun 26 '19 at 14:11
  • $\begingroup$ Astra Militarum means Stars of Military Things. Star Soldiers would be Astrales Milites. Pompous dog Latin = instant downvote and vote to close. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Jun 26 '19 at 14:34
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    $\begingroup$ In its original cultural context, Warhammer 40,000 is intended as a light humorous satire of militaristic tendencies. In that context, dog Latin (latin de cuisine, as the Frech call it) is perfectly fine; and in any European cultural context the use of silly bad Latin is a strong clue that the entire setup is not to be taken seriously. The downvote is for pompously using dog Latin without realising it is dog Latin and wondering why it was used. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Jun 26 '19 at 14:57
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    $\begingroup$ The size and mission of any military is determined primarily by political factors (peacetime) and resources available (wartime). Similarly, the structure, organization, and strategies will be determined mostly be political factors internal to that society. Since the author gets to determine all of those factors, this question seems entirely opinion-based. Go ahead and draft 10 percent, if you can afford it and if you have useful work for them to do. The drafting government may not be popular if it many squanders years of young citizens' productive lives. $\endgroup$ – user535733 Jun 26 '19 at 15:13

It can be what you need it to be for your story.

I took a look at https://warhammer40k.fandom.com/wiki/Astra_Militarum: this is another instance of Napoleonic / Roman infantry tactics in a world where spaceflight is possible. If you are digging that kind of thing you can have as much or as little as you like for your story. It makes for good story.

Not to be a wet blanket: in our world with current tech, massed infantry, and even tanks would be toast. How can a tank formation protect itself against drones flying 2 miles up? How can even dug in massed infantry protect itself from cruise missiles? How can anything on the planet surface protect itself from a bombardment coming from interplanetary space? That pre1990 style of warfare makes glorious fiction but requires suspension of disbelief.

If I were protecting the planet I would want good tech and a crew of a few hundred to organize the response. None of this crew is going to get dirty. They will use things like the sweet ion cannon from Empire Strikes Back to attack incoming vessels and disrupt large incoming impactors. Drone satellites will do their part in keeping invaders off world. If I were invading a world so protected I would again choose a couple of hundred but these might get dirty - it would need to be a Trojan horse affairs with the commandos sneaking onward and commandeering defenses from the inside.

  • $\begingroup$ I agree, the first line of defense would be some space navy to defend/attack. After that though, troops will have to hit the ground to take control of the people living there. I'm interested in organizing the troops on the ground. The spaceships are not my cup of tea. $\endgroup$ – Tommiie Jun 26 '19 at 13:53
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    $\begingroup$ I think that after the space defenses fell, the ground operation would be akin to the occupation of Japan: walk in and take over a population that had (almost) unconditionally surrendered after facing the alternative of complete annihilation. Part of the rationale offered for the nuclear strikes on Japan is that a ground operation would have been such a mess. $\endgroup$ – Willk Jun 26 '19 at 14:01
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    $\begingroup$ @Willk, ah, the old ‘The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress’ rationale for surrendering your planet. $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Jun 26 '19 at 15:07
  • $\begingroup$ @JoeBloggs - does the Warhammer crew read Heinlein? $\endgroup$ – Willk Jun 26 '19 at 18:44

I would encourage you to research real-world national militaries and their structures. The United States military is considered the most powerful military in the world*, so take a look at how it's organized and you can extrapolate upward from there.

* It's also by far the most expensive, both per capita and in raw numbers, so that should be a consideration as well.

  • $\begingroup$ I tried that and I'm still looking into that, but most sites on the internet only talk about squads, companies, and battalions, never about the organizational structures, transport and logistics, or the make-up of their general staff and HQs. $\endgroup$ – Tommiie Jun 26 '19 at 13:58
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    $\begingroup$ You could always enlist and find answers for yourself in 4-6 years :D $\endgroup$ – PlutoThePlanet Jun 26 '19 at 14:03
  • $\begingroup$ @Tommiie 1st, I hope they never put operational make-ups 100% online and easy to find (otherwise Officers, SNCOs, and my own NCOs would all be more targets than they are already). 2nd, the leadership of US military branches are required to be published. 3rd, the basic breakdown is US MIL (Joint Cheifs, DoD leadership) -> Each Branch -> Each branch's specific makeups. Start there ask a more focused question once you decide on a good starting structure $\endgroup$ – LinkBerest Jun 27 '19 at 0:01

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