Monday, 4 April 2011

Army Sizing 1920

Following the analysis of Army Sizing in 1756, the next step is to define the size of the military in the 1920's. Firstly, the initial analysis is c 1810 when Ottoman Europe was about 8m strong. By 1910 the population was about 24m, a 3 - fold increase. World War one ensured little growth.

Thus New Byzantium, reconstituted as Byzantia in 1919, re-emerged with a 3 fold population increase, from 800,000 to 2.4m. Using the 1% rule, we can calculate that a peacetime military of c 24,000 is affordable, and with Militias, trainees etc it can rapidly mobilise to c 48,000. Assuming again a c 1/3rd tail (Typical World War One level), that is a 16,000 person effective standing military. About 1/3rd are in the Navy and Air Arm, leaving c 11,000 in the Army. This gives (at about 600 men per Battalion) about 18 Battalion sized formations, roughly doubling at the time of callup.

As with the Napoleonic wars. the Great Powers bled themselves white in World War One, running between c 15% and 20% of all the population called up - so double that for % of males - (Russia was less, at c 7.5%, but that is partly a function of the society structure and partly exiting early). At full stretch, Greece as a late entrant in World War One had 230,000 men in arms with a population of  c 4.8m (ie c 5% of the population). The other Balkan states, fighting more intensively, averaged c 13% (Bulgaria at 20% was at major state levels)

(Warning - stats differ wildly per source so these are orders-of-magnitude views)

Assuming the same difference between large and small states in troop raising capabilty,  I set the 1% limit as a peacetime standing army, the 2% limit as with reserves called up, 5% as a state at war with a draft, and 10% as a small state at near total war. That means that in a major conflict Byzantia can mobilise about 120,000 men and at full stretch will be at c 240,000 (10 %)  Once you get to Bulgarian levels of 20% (480,000) the state is ruined whether they win or lose.

Most of New Byzantium fought in the Turkish army in World War One, but in the aftermath of the war the Byzantia view was that the defeated Germans and Turks were not the best example, and so they re-modelled themselves on the French army they served alongside in the Russian Civil War (most commentators there confused Byzantia with Greek troops, probbaly because they were both French equiped and used the Greek alphabet)

The big lessons from that conflict was the usefulness of fast moving Armoured Car and Cavalry, and easy to move medium artillery, and that has influenced Byantia's thinking. Tanks were felt to be less useful so they equip just one Guard unit.(Tanks also were less reliable and needed a larger support structure than armoured cars, about 20 men per tank as opposed to 10 per car)

Byzantia managed to wheedle a War Gift from the French and British, ostensibly to help fight in the Russian Civil War, so loaded up on decommissioned armoured cars, tanks, guns (and planes) from the two great powers over the 1919 - 1922 period.

The current structure of the army is:

Guards Brigade - these are a Battalion each of Tanks (Scholae Klibanaroi), Armoured Cars (Trapezitae), two Line Infantry (Varangians, Les Biscotins) and one Light Infantry (Gianitzaroi) - making five of the 18 peacetime Battalions, leaving 13 for the regular Army.

The rest of the battalions are re-constituted as per the regimental organisation of 1756, but re-equipped:

- an Armoured Car Regiment (Battalion sized) - the Latinikon (many are demobbed White Russian, French and British soldiers familar with the cars)
- A "Heavy" cavalry regiment - the Sipahoi - though some are not quite clear on the use of heavy cavalry going forward and there is talk of conversion to armoured cars. Others of course feel a Gentleman should always and only be on a saddle.
- Two Cavalry Regiments - the Skythikon and Turcopoloi
- Six Infantry Regiments of 1 (standing) Battalion
- Two Light Infantry (Evzone) Battalions who can operate in mountains and the deep woods
- An Artillery Regiment, supplying all the heavier Artillery (as per Byzantine tradition, mortars and light mountain guns are attached to infantry and cavalry Battalions)
How to organise them is the great debate in the mid 1920s - concentrate the cavalry and armour to break through at a point, or disperse it to stiffen the infantry?


  1. That's a pretty believable MTO&E , if you are following the French model The cavalry and Armor would be dispersed to the infantry formations. I would also add an Armored Train to your forces as used in the Russian Civil wars, which would have influenced Byzantia I'm sure.

  2. The structure is a straight copy of the 1756 structure, just updated - which is interesting in itself :-)

  3. Speaks well for Imperial consistency if nothing else!

    If you'd like to see a great MTO for Sci-fi Byzantium!

  4. Interesting...I see you are using the Dark Age structure more than my use of the Medieval.

    I have had a 40K Very Late Roman force in mind for a while :-0

  5. That's my buddy John he likes the classic Byzantines!

    Late Roman is more my thing...might be interesting in a sci-fi setting!

  6. You could give them all faux late roman names - Auxilia Machina Fideles for a robot unit for example :-)

  7. Nova Balisti Invicta for jump troops? lol