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Excerpt from Modern Galactic War by Paul Malthus, 3rd Edition , Made available for Extranet Scholastic Use by The Institute of War and Diplomacy, Vancouver Metroplex, North American Union, Earth, 2190 (1st Edition published by Banabar Books in 2184).
The Turian Army
Several factors shape Turian military doctrine, among them the scarcity of planets that are suitable to support dextro-amino acid life. This leads the Turian Hierarchy to build the largest military force in the galaxy in order to protect the few garden worlds capable of providing the bulk of foodstuffs for turian survival. Although known for having the largest space force in Citadel space, the turian army is still the senior service and the generals in the Hierarchy’s General Staff dominate the armed forces. In spite of their reputation as militaristic culture, turians do not revel in conflict. Instead they seek to eliminate an enemy’s capability to fight as quickly as possible. They do so by bringing as much firepower in the shortest amount of time possible to bear on an enemy. The combination of speed and volume of fire tends to overwhelm most adversaries and leads them to reach for a diplomatic solution which the turians readily (see: First Contact War/Relay 314 Incident for exceptions to this rule) accept as they can negotiate from a position of strength.
All able body turians are drafted into service at the age of fifteen and usually serve between one to three five year tours. Many turians serve their first tour with the army and then switch to a secondary branch (Space Forces/Military Police/Emergency Services/Colonial Militia, C-Sec, etc) on their subsequent tours. That makes every able body turian a disciplined and competent soldier even if they have transitioned to an administrative/civilian career track later on in life.
The core army unit is the legion , a flexible, all arms formation that ranges from 800 to 1500 (somewhere in size between a Alliance Marine battalion or regiment) individuals. A legion is fully self deployable at the planetary level, with integrated transport, combat support (engineers, gunships and artillery). A legion can be made as few as 4 to up 8 companies of between 80 to 250 soldiers. Companies are then made up of platoons and squads. Companies are fully mechanized with heavy armor and mobile artillery. Platoons and squads are the nexus of specialized troops, like the above mentioned artillery, engineers or communications. Legions can also call on drone support and space force support for bombardment, reconnaissance and off world transport/supply.
The legion and its attendant units provide more than administrative/command/logistical cohesiveness. Each legion (and smaller units within) are seen as metaphysical entities in their own right. Every turian that joins a given platoon, company or legion is expected to uphold the honor of the unit and follow in the footsteps of those that came before. Even units that have been utterly destroyed are reorganized and put back into the army roster. This combined with the legendary turian discipline under fire makes for units that rarely break under pressure. Outsiders tend to view turian military doctrine as inflexible, but nothing could be further from the truth. Army battle drills incorporate centuries of experience in galactic warfare. Even the greenest of recruits can fall back on their training to see them through most situations. Couple this with above mention discipline and an absolute dedication to victory and you end up with a tough, flexible force able to stand up to any challenge.
Officers are expected to be patient and cultivate the “moment of decision”, the moment when they can capitalize on their strengths to bring about a decisive action that will end hostilities forthwith. But once committed to said action, the same officers are expected to lead from the front. Turians tactics put emphasis on shock action through the use of overwhelming firepower and fast maneuver. The goal is to close with the enemy and bring maximum firepower to bear. Turian commanders usually execute a partial envelopment, where in they use air power to pin the enemy (see: Big Wing Tactics) in place, move to contact to bring pressure along the front and flanks (with artillery, air power and orbital fires to disrupt/immobilize the enemy) and seed the obvious escape route with heavily armed platoons. Under such pressure the enemy is forced to abandoned ready made positions and attempt to regroup. Demoralized forces are captured on their way out of the pocket, while units still capable of fighting are ambushed by mobile forces with fire support on call. Since few forces will hunker down when outmaneuvered, this tactic avoids costly frontal assaults. Smaller units can then be engaged individually and destroyed in detail. Only the most fanatical or desperate of enemies would continue to fight after such a defeat.
The army lacks special forces since all turians are considered to be elite forces. The turians do employ specialists, such as Cabals (turian biotics) and hastatim (anti-insurgency units) but these are not consider above the average soldier. It is with regard to the later that the army suffers a glaring doctrinal weakness. Turians, as remarked above, are willing to take prisoners, but when faced with dogged resistance they tend to escalate their countermeasures to degrees seen as excessive by other races (see: Genophage). These tactics work well against turian insurgents or krogan remnants, but can backfire spectacularly against other species. What the turians see as viable military tactics can be seen by others are brutal war crimes which engender a victim mentality. Such a mentality fuels increased insurgent activity and a greater escalation by the turian armed forces. This in turn could lead to protracted war that would stretch the turians resources to the limit (see : Strategic Weakness-Turian).