APPENDIX XV: How many Troops in a Legion?
- By: Fireangel
We know that TOG makes quite a point of stating in canon that 1 Legion = 50,000 troops. We need to take this number with a grain of salt, considering the hyperbole associated with some of their other canon numbers (“quadrillions of people on billions of worlds” and “8 million legions” combined with “one garrison legion per million citizens”). So how do we test this number?
Simple; we count. We have canon information on the composition of line ground units from a squad all the way to a legion. This information is mostly consistent across sources (the margin of error is between “very small” and nonexistent between the single deviant source and all other coherent sources). Let’s just look at the TO&E, and see where that takes us.
Let’s start with the basics:
The SQUAD is the foundation of all military formations (we’ll not break the squad down into fireteams, as that is not necessary for this analysis). In standard Legion doctrine, a squad has three basic forms:
- ARMORED: A tank “squad” is composed of a single combat vehicle and its crew. For purposes of this analysis, we will assume that an AVERAGE combat vehicle (i.e. tank; grav or otherwise) was an average crew of four.
- INFANTRY: An armored infantry squad is composed of two elements: a dismounted element of eight infantrymen and a mounted element of an APC and its crew (we’ll assume an average of four crewmen as well).
- FOOT INFANTRY: A foot infantry squad is composed of a single element of eight infantrymen without a vehicle. On occasion, a foot infantry squad is paired with a tank/vehicle squad, but in such cases they are considered two distinct squads. Since foot squads are practically non-existent in standard Legions, they shall not be discussed and are mentioned here for completeness’s sake.
The PLATOON is made up of three identical squads (three tanks OR three APC’s + 24 troopers). This yields the following numbers:
- Armored Platoon = 12 soldiers (average)
- Infantry Platoon = 36 soldiers (average)
A CENTURY (or Company in the Commonwealth) is made up of three “line” platoons (tank or armored infantry) plus a “HQ” Platoon of three support vehicles and personnel (we’ll assume an average of 36 soldiers in the HQ Platoon). Armored Centuries have two Tank Platoons, one Infantry Platoon and one HQ platoon. Infantry Centuries have two Infantry Platoons, one Tank Platoon and one HQ Platoon. This yields the following numbers:
- Armored Century = 96 soldiers (average)
- Infantry Century = 120 soldiers (average)
Looking at these numbers, an AVERAGE CENTURY will have 108 soldiers, both combat and support.
Different numbers of Centuries are put together in different types of COHORTS, depending on the type of cohort and whether the Legion is classified as Praetorian or not.
The FIRST COHORT of every legion, regardless of type is composed of TEN Line Centuries and a HQ Century (which we will assume has an average of 108 soldiers). This yields the following numbers:
- Armored Legion First Cohort = 1,071 soldiers
- Infantry Legion First Cohort = 1,308 soldiers
Other Line CohortsEdit
The remaining NINE COMBAT COHORTS in Strike, Infantry and Garrison Legions are composed of SIX Line Centuries and a HQ Century (which we will assume has an average of 108 soldiers). This yields the following numbers:
- Armored Legion: 684 x 9 = 6,156 + 1,071 = 7,227
- Infantry Legion: 828 x 9 = 7,452 + 1,308 = 8,760
PRAETORAN LEGIONS are Infantry Legions with TEN Line Centuries in each of their ten cohorts.
- Praetorian Legion: 1,308 x 10 = 13,080
All Legions include a HQ Cohort of four support Centuries (which we will assume have an average of 108 soldiers each). Given that the description of the Praetorian Legion states that all their cohorts have ten centuries, we’ll give the Praetorian Legion ten extra HQ centuries (which makes sense; both to bolster the high maintenance/supply bureaucracy and to provide entertainment as well as provide a safe place for “special cases” to be assigned and kept relatively safe).
- Armored Legion: 438 + 7,227 = 7,665
- Infantry Legion: 438 + 8,760 = 9,198
- Praetorian Legion: 1,080 + 13,080 = 14,160
Manus HQ CenturiesEdit
All Legions also have FIVE HQ Centuries for each MANUS. There is no reason to believe that Praetorian Legions are any different in this regard. As usual, we’ll assume an average of 108 soldiers per Century.
- Armored Legion: 7,665 + 540 = 8,205
- Infantry Legion: 9,198 + 540 = 9,738
- Praetorian Legion: 14,160 + 540 = 14,700
All Legions are equipped with an ARTILLERY MANUS of three ARTILLERY COHORTS, one AIR DEFENSE COHORT, one ROCKET CENTURY and (because it is a Manus) one HQ CENTURY. Garrison legions invert the ratio of Air Defense and Artillery Cohorts, but the numbers remain the same. There is no reason to assume that the manpower of these centuries and cohorts are any different from line units, so we’ll use Infantry unit numbers: 108 soldiers per Century and 828 soldiers per Cohort:
- Artillery Cohorts (x3): 2,484
- Air Defense Cohort: 828
- Rocket Century: 108
- HQ Century: 108
- Total: 3,528 (5,448 if Praetorian)
Praetorian Legions of course up the ante to ten Centuries per Cohort, so the total is 5,448.
Every Legion is also equipped with the following units:
- One SUPPLY MANUS
- One SIGNAL COHORT
- One ENGINEER COHORT (half-sized in Garrison Legions)
- One MP COHORT (Manus in Garrison Legions)
As with the Artillery Manus, there is no reason to assume that these units are much different from other similar-size units in terms of manpower, so we assign the following numbers:
Adding the Line, Artillery and Support numbers yields the following:
These are the base totals for each Legion type. As can be seen, the totals are nowhere near 50,000 soldiers per legion, even doubling or tripling the size of the Support Manus.
Many Legions have integral Auxiliae and/or Aerospace Wing support, so let’s look at these:
Legionnaire (pp. 43) states that an Auxilia is about the size of a Manus; 2-5 cohorts, or an average of around 3,500-4,000 troops, which is supported by the statement that an Infantry Auxilia has about 2,000 legionnaires with the implication that these are “combat infantrymen” (doubling that to account for support elements). Strike (armored) Legions typically have an infantry auxilia permanently assigned (2,000 x 2 = 4,000). Infantry Legions are assigned Auxilia as needed, so we’ll go with the dead-average 3,528. Praetorian Legions also tend to have a permanently assigned auxilia; in this case of reinforced heavy grav armor… so the “standard” 5,448 number should serve well (“reinforced” in this case to me means reinforced in relation to a standard Manus, not the inflated Manii of a Praetorian Legion). Garrison Legions are not commonly assigned Auxiliae on a permanent basis.
Only Strike and Praetorian Legions are commonly assigned Permanent Fighter Wings (reinforced, in the case of the Praetorian Legion). While Infantry Legions may have Aero Wings attached, this is not normal practice (Legionnaire, pp. 44), so we won’t either. Likewise, Garrison Legions are normally not assigned organic aerofighter capability, so we won’t either.
Let’s break it down (See APPENDIX XII: Fighter vs. Legion Organization for detailed fighter numbers):
- 360 Fighters = 360 Pilots (assuming single-occupant fighters are the norm)
- Squadron Level Staff for 60 squadrons (assume 3/fighter) = 1,080
- Flight Level Staff for 15 Flights (assume 64/flight) = 960
- Wing-Level “Intelligence Detachment” = 108
- Group-Level “Marines or other Security Forces” (1 Century per Group) = 600
(Add a HQ Century to the overall Marine forces per standard deployment doctrine) = 108
- Total: 3,216
For the Praetorian “reinforced wing” we’ll just follow standard praetorian doctrine and use a base-10 approach:
- 720 Fighters = 720 Pilots (assuming single-occupant fighters are the norm) in 10 groups (not 5)
- Squadron Level Staff for 120 squadrons (assume 3/fighter) = 2,160
- Flight Level Staff for 30 Flights (assume 64/flight) = 1,920
- Wing-Level “Intelligence Detachment” = 108
- Group-Level “Marines or other Security Forces” (1 Century per Group) = 1,200
- (Add a HQ Century to the overall Marine forces per standard deployment doctrine) = 108
- Total: 6,216
As can be seen, the totals are not anywhere near 50,000 troops (with the near-exception of the Praetorian Legion). Transport assets do not make up the difference, since canon makes it clear that these are separate assets. It is this researcher’s contention that the 50,000 troops per legion figure is a propaganda tool based on the hard numbers of a Heavy Praetorian Legion (i.e. heavier vehicles with more crew, skewing the average crew numbers upwards), possibly with a second Auxilia attached, or it is taking into account a number of non-combat support auxilia that are not directly attached to the Legion.