Author Topic: How many medics does an army need?  (Read 1047 times)

hubay

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How many medics does an army need?
« on: May 25, 2011, 09:58:14 PM »
Note: This will probably make the most sense to people in Reading Excuses, as it's part of my Lord Domestic story. But any input is going to be valuable, so thanks!

As part of my current story, I have an army that was at full strength, but then gets destroyed in a rout and following disease/starvation, and is now at about full strength. I'm still  trying to figure out how my army is organized, and how many supporting people like quartermasters, surgeons, and supply-chain people it needs to function properly. I don't want it to operate properly after the rout; I'm trying to figure out how this machine works so I can break it.

Anyways. here's a basic command structure. I've omitted irrelevant positions.

1 Prefect (general, more or less) in charge of Legion
10 Penti, each in charge of 1 cohort (5 Centuries).
50 Centuries, each having 100 men.

The tenth cohort is the Immunes, people with supporting or engineering roles. As of right now it's divided so that 3 centuries are composed of some sort of engineer, which operate on their own terms. The other two work more closely with the soldiers.

Then there's one century of medics, and one century of quartermaster ( I use the term loosely here. They handle all sorts of supply stuff). They function the same way: 50 of the men are on assignment with a specific century of soldiers – that's one per century – and the other half runs a sort of central hub, kept out of batttle, where they can pool their resources together and manage the army.

I think this makes a lot sense for the supply century. you get one quartermaster/cook guy per every 100 men, and then a huge stockpile of resources overseen by 50 men, who also handle logistics when the army is on the move.

I'm not sure if it works for the medics. Having a 50-man hospital would probably work, and I think an army would want a combat surgeon during the fight, but I don't know if 1 doctor per 100 men makes much sense once battle begins and people start losing arms and legs.

That's a lot of info to mull over, so if you've reached this far, thanks! I'm just wondering if I should organize my medics differently, just increase their numbers, or if this system looks like it works after all. Thanks!

Shiael

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Re: How many medics does an army need?
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2011, 02:02:39 AM »
Hmmm, i'd say 3 or 4 medics per 50 men, just in case one dies or something. wild guess.
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fireflyz

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Re: How many medics does an army need?
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2011, 10:16:48 PM »
I'm not sure about Roman times.  I know when I was in Afghanistan we had a medic per platoon and we always had one when we rolled out of the gate which was between 3-10 vehicles with at least 3 per truck (often more than that).  I don't know if that helps or not.
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hubay

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Re: How many medics does an army need?
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2011, 10:38:53 PM »
Thanks! I'm thinking in modern times medicine is run so differently we can manage that kind of ratio; in this time period they're more likely to just cut off and cauterize any wounds, so increasing the number of surgeons wouldn't be as huge of an improvement. I might up the reserve number so that they can replace any that were killed? Or I suppose I could just move more of the reserve out to the field so you have 1 to 50 instead of 1 to 100.

I think I'll  just have to read up on classical era medicine; If they can't do much in terms of surgery they probably wouldn't have as many healers because it wouldn't make a difference.

fardawg

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Re: How many medics does an army need?
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2011, 01:21:05 PM »
Look up "Roman medicine and the legions: a reconsideration" on google. It might have some info you need. Also "Roman medicine and the legions: a further reconsideration" is apparently a counter to the conclusions of the first article. Hope this helps. 

Guenhywvar

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Re: How many medics does an army need?
« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2011, 06:48:22 PM »
Maybe have maybe 50 men for the whole thing, but have all of them trained in basic first aid, or at least schooled, so they know what to do for themselves, and leave the medics for the seriously injured.