- "It is settled then. Yoda will take a battalion of clones to reinforce the Wookiees on Kashyyyk."
- ―Jedi Master Mace Windu
A battalion was a ground military unit, normally consisting of a number of companies.
In the Grand Army of the Republic, a battalion was made up of four companies of 144 clone troopers each, for a total of 576 men, commanded by a Major or a Clone trooper commander, 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. Each battalion had a dedicated headquarters (HQ) staff which, unlike the command and support elements at company level and below, was not expected be involved in combat. Besides the Major it consisted of five staff officers of Captain rank along with support personnel and droids.
- SB1: Battalion's Captain (Second-in-Command, Intelligence)
- SB2: Logistics
- SB3: Medical
- SB4: Technical
- SB5: Headquarters Officer
The headquarters officer's role was to oversee the interaction between the various elements of the HQ and command a 38-man security platoon during normal circumstances; command was transferred to the battalion's captain when the HQ came under attack. While the security platoon consisted of combat troopers, it was not a combat unit per se: its actual role was to maintain discipline within the battalion. In rare circumstances, senior commanders were recorded improvising fighting forces out of their battalions' security troops, but regardless the security platoon's troopers were not counted as part of the battalion's Order of Battle (OB). Including the security platoon, the number of human personnel in the battalion HQ was 90, supplemented by a standard contingent of 145 droids, of which a hundred or more were usually MSE-6-series repair droids; the rest varied according to availability in the local sector.
A battalion was considered the smallest unit suitable for surface operations and in most cases could fit on a single Imperial landing barge. It could also be augmented per their OB, in which case the additional units were commanded by the battalion's second-in-command.
This was the most common type of battalion used by the Imperial Army, consisting of three line companies and one assault company. This made for a total of 810 men including 608 combat troopers, 18 more if the assault company was fully equipped. It could be augmented with two additional line companies and two additional assault companies.
Assault battalions were used in urban environments and attacks on a single enemy stronghold. For this reason they were typically the first units deployed from orbit and were given priority over line battalions when it came to requesting fire support from artillery or capital ships. With one line company, a repulsorlift company and two assault companies (one of which was always fully equipped), the assault battalion had an average strength of 868 men, of which 662 were combat troopers, and 31 repulsorcraft. On occasion the repulsorlift company was reorganized so that it carried two platoons from the fully-equipped assault company instead of its own line units. Augmented battalions had an additional line company, a third assault company, an artillery battery and a second repulsorlift company.
Repulsorlift battalions were commonly used for reconnaissance, pursuit of enemy forces, skirmishes and seizing lightly-held objectives. They were only used for frontal assaults when absolutely necessary; likewise this made these battalions popular assignments among the troops. Consisting of three repulsorlift companies and a scout troops, it also had an entirely mobile HQ mounted on 18 repulsorcraft. While command of two of the vehicles was split between the major, staff officers and an additional sergeant driver, the rest required their own additional three-man crew and increased the size of the battalion HQ. Total strength was 952 men, 680 of which were combat troopers, along with 115 repulsorcraft and 40 speeder bikes. Augmented battalions added an armor company and three additional repulsorlift companies.
An armor battalion offered the most effective combination of speed and firepower, although it lacked sufficient troops to defend at stationary targets; thus it's primary objective was attack and mobile defense. The composition of an armor battalion was one breakthrough armor company, two attack armor companies and one repulsorlift company. Like a repulsorlift battalion the HQ was completely mobile, transported on 24 HTVs, and had 23 additional support personnel to maintain equipment. Command for two of these vehicles was split between the major, staff officers and an additional sergeant driver, while the rest required their own three-man crews, further raising the size of the battalion HQ to 180 personnel plus droids.
A light armor battalion of had 695 troops out of 1,096 total, 93 medium or light tanks and 55 repulsorcraft. Designed in response to Rebel activities on backwater worlds, light armor battalions were ideal against weakly-defended objectives, although the unit was too large to fit on a single Imperial landing barge. Heavy armor battalions meanwhile had 601 troops out of 1,000 total, 53 heavy tanks and 55 repulsorcraft. Both types could be augmented with a second repulsorlift company, two more breakthrough and an attack armor company.
An artillery battalion had three artillery batteries and an assault company for a total of 96 light or 48 medium/heavy artillery pieces, plus vehicles necessary to move them, and 608 troopers out of 810 total. The assault company was used to protect the battalion against attack and buy it time to redeploy to another location. Augmented artillery battalions had three additional artillery batteries and a second heavy weapons company.
Special Missions Battalion
The largest Special Mission formation was the battalion, consisting of four Special Mission companies for a (technical) total of 544 combat troops out of 746 personnel and 88 speeder bikes. Unlike other battalions however the 202-strong HQ staff was expected to be directly involved in combat: all were hardened combat veterans, with the support personnel actually Special Missions engineers who pulled double-duty during down times and the security platoon was some of the finest combat troops in the Imperial Army. This improved morale among troopers who knew their Major was willing to risk his life along with theirs while also providing ample opportunity for promotion within the HQ as positions opened up more frequently. Four additional Special Missions companies could augment the battalion's size.
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. Because of the overall size of Stormtrooper battalions, they are likely to incorporate various types of specialized stormtrooper units, including Incinerator stormtroopers and Scout troopers.
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 forces
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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