I would like to know the basic advantages and disadvantages of various military systems, organisation and units?

Aug 2018
Hello I am just doing some basic research on various type of military organisation and units. Basic information will do.

For example, I was making a comparision between :
1. Professional Standing Army : Adv - We well trained and can be deployed anytime for war. Dsv - Really expensive to train and maintain a professional standing army. Might be used by ambitious generals against the state.
2. Feudal Levies : Adv - The ruler doesn't really need to pay a lot of money to equip and maintain them. They are reasonably trained, at least the warrior nobility. Dsv - Takes time to mobilise for war and can't be deployed for long campaigns. Rebellious vassals can use them to fight fellow nobles or against the king.
3. Citizen Militia : Adv - Loyal to the state and can equip and maintain himself due to owning property. Dsv - Manpower is limited and cannot be deployed for long campaigns.
4. Tribal Warriors : Adv - Large man power with almost no cost to the ruler. Dis - Not very well trained or organised and cannot be deployed for long campaigns.
5. Mercenary : Adv - Well trained and equipped. Dis - A lot of money is needed to pay them and are not likely to be very loyal.
6. Slave Soldiers : Adv - Generally loyal to the ruler and very well trained. Dsv: Expensive and time consuming to raise, train and equip armies. Might create its own state within a state and become the king makers.


Ad Honorem
Aug 2016
I would add: National Service Army - large army, cheaper than a similar-sized Professional Standing Army, not as well trained since the soldiers return to civilian life about the time they finish trainng, can be expanded in wartime by recalling reservists, but the reservists are probably out of shape and have forgotten much of their training, generally loyal to the state.

Another disadvantage of the civilian militia is that because they provide their own weapons, there's a lack of standardization which complicates ammo resupply and maintenance of weapons. Depending on who controlls the militia, there could be similar loyalty issues as with feudal armies. Consider the American Civil War where some of the state militias turned against the federal government.

Feudal levies are expensive, but you're right the ruler doesn't pay for the army. Instead, the army is paid for by local taxation. Feudal armies could deploy for long campagnes - consider the Crusades. It depends on circumstances. Feudal warlords usually like going off to war. It's the levee part of the army that can disrupt the economy if away from home too long.
Sep 2017
5. Mercenaries, I would add that "profit motive incentivizes them to agitate and prolong conflicts" as a disadvantage.

6. Slave Soldiers, I would dispute the idea that they are loyal to rulers or well trained. I think you're probably referencing the Jains in particular but their organization was a lot more complicated than "slave soldiers."
Sep 2017
United States
I'd say it depends on the era of warfare too.

But generally, if it can be afforded, a professional force is preferable to a non-professional one. But if you are a small state, it probably doesn't matter much. What's the difference between 100 semi-trained militia and 100 highly-trained elites if the opponent is going to number in the tens of thousands?

Similar History Discussions