Military Definitions

Undoubtedly, many readers of this work will be historians and trained military officers. Yet there will be a great percentage who will have had either none or only rudimentary military training, so it behooves us to define the terms we will be using throughout this work. Wc will assume that most readers will understand the basics of the military chain of command, so we will not define the rank structures. We will, however, define tor all the organizational terms we use throughout this work.

When talking about the makeup of military units, we refer to three major types of units. Unless otherwise specified, most units are made up of only one type of combat element (infantry, lank, BattleMech, etc.). For purposes of this work, mixed units are made up of multiple types of combat cle ments, including BattleMechs. Combined-arms units are made up of multiple type?, of combat elements, though they lack BattleMechs.

The squad is the smallest combat unit used, comprised of five to sixteen men or four battle suits, and is used exclusively in reference to infantry or battle armor units. A platoon is used in reference to either infantry or armor (tanks and other conventional armored vehicles) and consists of four squads or four tanks. Organizationally, lances are equivalent to platoons, but the term is used primarily in reference to BattleMechs; a lance contains four 'Mechs. A company can be made up of two to five platoons or lances, but is usually comprised by three. A battalion likewise can contain two to five companies, and a regiment can also have as many as five or six battalions.

In aerospace terms, a flight (sometimes called an aero lance) is made up of two fighters. Three flights traditionally make a squadron, while three squadrons form a wing. Very rarely, three or more wings can be assigned together to form an aerospace regiment.

A brigade is formed from a group of three or more regiments, usually of like composition. Though not often used in modern military parlance, a division is made up of two or more brigades.

While most of the previous units are traditionally made up of a single type of units (at least up through the brigade level), several mixed and combined-arms units also exit. A regimental combat team (RCT) is made up of a single BattleMech regiment, an armored (tank) brigade, an infantry brigade and sev eral aerospace wings. A combat command is usually a subdivision of an RCT (though it can also be formed from other units), generally stronger than a regiment, that takes battalion formations from 'Mech, armored and infantry units and combines them under a single commander. Combat commands are usually only temporary formations, but offer a commander more flexibility and capability than a regiment of a single type of combat element.

Most BattleMech units, and all regimental combat teams, within the AFFS and LAAF structures belong to a combat organization—a greater organization of units that fall under the same administrative chain of command (such as the Arcturan Guard, the Davion Brigade of Guards or ttie Syrtis Fusiliers). On the other hand, free units (usually regiment sized or higher for ground forces) do not belong to any specific combat organization and are directed solely through the normal march or theater chain of command.

Regular army units are the full-time, front line units of the AFFS or the LAAF; they receive the best equipment and soldiers. Regional mllltla units are the second line forces that defend the Federated Suns' Marches and the Lyran Theaters; they receive older and less-capable equipment. Planetary militia are the soldiers raised by each planet's government to provide a final line of defense; as they are financed primarily by each planet's government, they vary in composition and capability, but very few employ BattleMechs.

We will speak extensively about unit affiliations: Loyalist units are those that backed Archon Katherine, while Allied units were those that opposed the Archon.

Finally, while it is beyond the scope of this work to give exact casualties (and by casualties we mean dead/destroyed, missing, unserviceable and/or captured) suffered by each unit involved in the war, we will talk about casualty levels in general. Light casualties include losses of all kinds up to ten percent of the unit's combat strength. Moderate casualties are losses from ten to twenty-five percent, heavy casualties are from twen ty-Hve to fifty percent losses, and serious casualties are more than fifty percent, In general, units that lost more than sixty per cent casualties were considered by the AFF5 or LAAF as lost or destroyed, even though the unit might still have a significant amount of force left, especially within RCTs. In many cases within the past century, "destroyed" units were stricken from the active military rolls, but took only a short amount of time to rebuild (a few months to a few years). Even today, mere months after the official end of the Civil War, half a dozen "destroyed" units have returned to service within the AFFS and the LAAF.

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