Monday, 4 April 2011

1756 Army Sizing Explanation

A brief explanation of Army Structure. Following on from my analysis of army size vs population, I calculated that New Byzantium (pop c 800,000) can field an army of about 8,000 men without any major economic problems, probably going up to c 16,000 in war-time without a general call-up.

In order to structure the force, I used a historical models of Wurttemburg, about 50% bigger in population, and assumed that New Byzantiun - which is semi at war and also has a rich trading capital - could exist in these troubled times on a force of c 1.5% of its population. Assuming that about 1/3rd of the force is the "tail", a population of c 800,000 at 1.5% yields 12,000 souls, of which about 8,000 are effectives.The force is made up of:

- 6 Line Regiments, each of 1 battalion - (c 3,600 effectives) - increased from 4 regiments
- The Latinikon - 2 Heavy Horse squadrons ( c 600 effectives )
- The Sipahoi - 2 Medium Horse Squadrons (c 600 effectives)

- 2 Light Horse Regiments (Skythicon, Turcopoloi) each of c 400 light horse  (800 total)
- 2 Light Infantry Battalions of 400 men (800 total)

This brings the total to a round 6,400. The "other" 1/3rd in the tail is assumed to be the depot, senior officers, backup services (such as they are) etc etc. In addition to this, there is the small matter of the Guard. This comprises of:

- The Scolae heavy cavalry (300 lances)
- Two Grenadier Half-Battalions, the Varangian Guard and Les Biscotins (600 men)
- The Trapezitae (400 Light Cavalry lances)
- One Light Battalion - The Gianitzaroi - (400 men)

Giving a total Guard of  2,100 for a total of 8,500. I assumed most of the heavy artillery is in the tail (horses, ammo waggons etc) - the battalion guns are with the battalions of course.

One caveat - quite a bit of this force is of mercenaries - the Varangian Guard and Biscotin, nearly all of the Latinikon, and at least half the Line battalions are currently mercenaries - about 3,000 men. Byzantion's wealth is paying in silver rather than in population. The aim is to replace the mercenary Line infantry over time, but there is no real equivalent of heavy horse in the Ottoman/Rumelian tradition.  The Basileos rather likes having a mercenary Guard regiment, as their allegiance is to him personally

Now, you may also be aware that the Basileos has given permission for a unit of Marines (400 men) to be formed, add to that there is a Navy of some 1,000 sailing effectives - so New Byzantium is clearly moving substantially to a war footing as we enter this year of 1757.....


  1. Sensible and logical -and 'historically based', at times Byzantium relied heavily on mercenaries (Belisarius' Buccellarii against the Nika riots, against the Vandals...).

    I'm curious to discover the "Wine-Dark Sea" ('purple blue'?) of the Marines!

  2. @Abdul - their colour was your idea - I am wheedling the Regmnt de Savoie into my French, they will be the Marines of New Byzantium :-)

  3. @Abdul - also the Bukellarioi were renamed Les Biscotins in honour of a TMP thread..... sounded more "Foreign Legion-y )