The USE Army

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In early September, 1633, after Hans Richter's first solo flight, the Committees of Correspondence began recruiting in Grantville (1633, Chapter 33). These forces became the USE Army, which appears in all of the main spine novels from 1634: The Baltic War on, as well as in Ring of Fire anthologies and the Grantville Gazette. The USE Army has built its reputation on the battles of Ahrensbök, Zwenkau, Zielona Gora, Dresden, and more. But how is it organized?

The basic unit of the USE Army is the regiment. Regiments are named. They have numbers, too, but only the accountants use them (1635: The Eastern Front, Chapter 26).

 

Regimental Organization

 

A USE infantry regiment contains two infantry battalions of four hundred soldiers and one artillery company of two hundred soldiers. A colonel commands the regiment, a major commands each battalion, and a captain commands the artillery company (1636: The Saxon Uprising, Chapter 1).

Each battalion consists of four infantry companies (1636: The Saxon Uprising, Chapter 1).

Each infantry company has:

1 captain

1 first lieutenant, normally the second in command

3 platoons, each consisting of a second lieutenant and 30 soldiers

1 heavy weapons squad, consisting of 10 men under a sergeant

(1636: The Saxon Uprising, Chapter 1)

After giving this description, Eric Flint notes that departures from the official table of organization began immediately. Before discussing those departures, however, there are some additional personnel to consider:

First are the traditional means of communication: fifes, bugles, and drums. The USE Army adopted bugles for a unique sound but also retained fifes and drums (1634: The Baltic War, Chapter 56). The regimental and battalion commanders need musicians as well as each company.

Second are the radio operators. The Hangman Regiment had six radios (1635: The Eastern Front, chapter 27). We know that Jimmy Anderson has an entire radio team at some points (1636: The Saxon Uprising, Chapter 38, for example) and just an assistant operator at others (1636: The Ottoman Onslaught, Chapter 19). Other radios seem to have a single operator (1635: The Eastern Front, Chapter 27). This may reflect different types of radios, or the extra team members may be associated with erecting a larger antenna for longer-range communications.

Third are commanders' staffs. These are not the large staffs of the twenty-first century. When Jeff Higgins takes command of a battalion, his battalion staff is Eric Krenz (1635: The Eastern Front, Chapter 10). As a regimental commander, he has a staff of two (1636: The Saxon Uprising, Chapter 3). Later, he has three senior staff (1636: The Ottoman Onslaught, Chapter 1) and additional aides (1636: The Ottoman Onslaught, Chapter 19).

Fourth are medical personnel. Technically, these are not USE Army personnel; the Medical Corps is a separate branch of the USE armed services ("Doc," Huff & Goodlett, Grantville Gazette 16). Medics appear to be assigned at the company level ("Doc," Grantville Gazette 16).

This yields a total of 92-115 personnel in addition to the 1000 rank and file:

45 company-grade officers

3 field-grade officers

24-36 musicians

7-12 radio operators

4- 9 headquarters staff

9-10 medics

 

Deviations from the Table of Organization

 

In the same scene that outlines the organization of the USE Army, Eric Flint provides this warning: "Such was the neat theory reflected in the official table of organization. Mike was pretty sure the ink hadn't dried yet before reality began to diverge from theory" (1636: The Saxon Uprising, Chapter 1).

The most blatant departure from the table of organization is the creation of the Hangman Regiment. One of its battalions came from the Black Falcon Regiment, the other from the Gray Adder Regiment, and Captain Thorsten Engler's volley guns were its initial artillery. Then Mike Stearns assigned additional artillery units from the Freiheit Regiment.

Moreover, the Hangman Regiment soon recruited beyond its official full strength. As of November, 1635, it numbered about 1200 men before receiving additional artillery and heavy weapons units (1636: The Saxon Uprising, Chapter 1). Most of the additional 200 men were in heavy weapons squads.

Third Division is frequently overstrength. Before the Battle of Ostra, in February, 1636, it contained nearly 10,000 soldiers. Over 4,000 soldiers captured at the Battle of Ostra joined the division (1636: The Saxon Uprising, Chapter 50). When it marched into Bavaria, it numbered over 13,000 men (1636: The Ottoman Onslaught, Chapter 17).

But it is not just Third Division. The Danube Regiment's artillery company numbered almost 400 instead of the usual 200 because it had absorbed Ingolstadt's own artillery units ("Four Days on the Danube," Chapter 4, in Ring of Fire III). That is described as "more than a third of" the total regiment, so the infantry battalions were understrength: two infantry companies from 2nd Battalion total 150 men ("Four Days on the Danube," Chapter 4).

Other units exhibit minor departures from the table of organization. In the Wolverine Regiment's 2nd Battalion's 1st Company, Sergeant Richard Hartmann functions as a first sergeant, not belonging to any squad ("Sergeant Whatsisname," Lorance, Grantville Gazette 62). The Red Lion Regiment has a captain in charge of its camp followers ("The Red Lion Regiment, Episode Two," Hasseler, Grantville Gazette 59). The Hangman Regiment has a regimental sergeant major (1635: The Eastern Front, Chapter 32).

Deviations from the table of organization are not limited to just unit size but also include matters of rank. The best-known instance of this are General Stearns instituting the rank of lieutenant colonel and promoting first Jeff Higgins (1635: The Eastern Front, Chapter 26) and then Thorsten Engler (1636: The Ottoman Onslaught, Chapter 1) to that rank.

Sometimes units follow the table of organization but call the enlisted ranks something else. This is perhaps easiest seen in tabular form:

 

RankTable of OrganizationHangman RegimentWolverine RegimentRed Lion Regiment
Ranking sergeant in regimentNone mentionedSergeant majorNone mentionedNone mentioned
Ranking sergeant in companyNo specific titleNo specific titleSergeantWachtmeister
Ranking sergeant in platoonNo specific titleNo specific titleWachtmeister


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