I’ve been thinking about what parts would make up an Iron unit. I thought it might be fun to know what the Table of Organization and Equipment might look like. I know just enough about military organization to make broad generalizations. I’m sure I won’t get some of the details right but that’s why I’m asking for help.
Let’s start in the days of the Federated Empires and maybe the early Hanrilke era. They would have had the resources to fund massive iron formations.
I could see fielding Iron divisions. Would there be a need for Iron corps? I’d presume an Iron corps would have multiple Iron brigades along with other supporting assets.
An Iron division would have a couple brigades of Iron, maybe a brigade or 2 of Anvil, as well as anti-air/anti-space capability, intelligence, supply, repair, signals and something like artillery (long range fire support) as well of course with an HQ. I even think an Iron division might incorporate tanks. Call that a “heavy” Iron division.
I’m not sure if Iron would incorporate its own space transport assets. Maybe that would be a Forged Corps. Maybe there would be shuttles at the Anvil corps level but nothing interstellar or interplanetary. I would think there would be terrestrial aviation assets, for recon, strike, med-evac, etc. Again, maybe at the corps level you could launch satellites for recon.
I wonder what the “tooth to tail ratio” of an iron division would be? I imagine the Federated Empires had something like Foam for Iron. You could very quickly repair Iron with nanotech in that way. Perhaps Foam for Iron would fix a lot of things, but some critical components (Fusion reactors, maybe) would require hands on repair/replacement. You’d need to have stores of these items as spare parts. Some things would no doubt require a trip to a repair depot. Iron itself runs on water as I recall. All that leads me to believe that Supply would be for the benefit of the soldiers. I’d think Anvil would be the same way. You have foam to repair armor and weapons, some spares, and the rest is care and feeding of people. I think an Iron division would very toothy and have a short tail. This would make them easier to transport and very fast, both of which would increase the effectiveness of an iron division.
If there is no Foam for Iron even in the time of the Federated Empire, then Supply and Repair will become especially crucial components of the division and the size and weight of the “tail” will increase dramatically.
The US Army composes armor divisions of an Armor brigade and an infantry brigade, according to this TO&E. I assume Iron is much like tanks (though obviously more flexible in that it is much more effective if supported by (in this case) Anvil.
So what would an Iron company look like? The TO&E for US Army tank batallion (unit below a division) is 3 armor companies and an HQ. So how many Iron units? 15? 20? They should have a couple transport units (Assault Sleds?) along with some heavy weapons (also air mobile).
An Anvil Company (thinking 3-4 rifle companies to a batallion in US Army) would be what, a 100 troops, with transport assets and some heavy weapons and crews for them as well. They might have specialized equipment if companies are given special jobs. Otherwise, they’d all look pretty much the same.
Now let’s move on the time of the Iron Empires.
Iron should be more rare. There are less places it can be created and less people that know how to do it even if facilities are available. Iron would have already had a high status in the popular imagination. Now it would be like magic from the past. Fielding Iron in any way would be a huge psychological advantage. If you have a Landwher company whose leader wears Iron, it’s now an “Iron company.” So, good intelligence becomes paramount; knowing how close your enemies could to the old Federated TO&E could be the difference between offering battle or asking for further time to negotiate a peace treaty.
Foam for Iron is probably more rare. Foam (that heals people) inside of Iron self-regenerates. Foam for Iron probably does the same, but if you run out you’ll have to ask for a boon of Foam. No foam and you have to repair Iron “the old fashioned way.” Again, this will serve to make the tooth to tail ratio in the Iron Empires tend more towards tail than in the Federated era.
People who can repair Iron are valuable. They must either be turned to your service or eliminated so as to “hollow out” core elements of the enemy’s force structure. Alternatively, there might be something of a code that says so long as you don’t attack my stentors, I won’t attack yours.
That’s about it. I welcome your thoughts and comments.