The Baron Harkonnen mounted a huge, planet-wide invasion to take down the Atreides. Based on accounts of different characters, there had been more than 2000 ships and tens of battalions of Sardaukar involved. He later admits that it'll take at least 60 years of full-capacity spice production to offset the costs. However, it's never explicitly mentioned how many men the Duke Atreides had in the first place. Based on various scattered references in the preceding chapters, I guess this number has to lie somewhere between two and five thousand which seems too small to control a planet and certainly way too small compared to House Harkonnen.

  • Ten legions of Sardaukar appears to be approximately 300,000 troops. Assuming they killed the Atreides troops at a ratio of 1:1 (hah!), we can assume that the Duke brought 300,000 troops of his own
    – Valorum
    Sep 20 '18 at 19:43
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    I'm pretty sure the Atreides were being allocated Arrakis instead of Caladan, not in addition to it, although I can't remember where that's stated. Sep 20 '18 at 20:05
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    @DanielRoseman funny - I never read it that Atreides were giving up Caladan. They moved the household, but I figured that's probably because Arrakis was more prestigious than Caladan. But now I've just loads of discussions about them giving up Caladan
    – HorusKol
    Sep 20 '18 at 23:00
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    'That made me angry and I said my father rules an entire planet. And she said, "He's losing it."' (Paul, speaking to Hawat) from which I conclude that they were indeed giving up Caladan. Sep 21 '18 at 1:15
  • @HarryJohnston Mohiam could have been talking figuratively (or even slightly prescientally), but I'll concede it may also be read literally.
    – HorusKol
    Sep 21 '18 at 6:49

More specific to your initial question on the troop numbers there are no definite tables but 300,000 seems reasonable for a planet of no more than a few million.

There is a large expense to sending men across space and battles often devolve to hand to hand combat, this is also in the future where most individual powers have parity as far as technology. Meaning everyone can be pretty confident in the performance of their forces and troop numbers.

An army of 300,000 men dug in would probably be more than enough troops for any opponent. With the exception of an opponent + imperial sardaukar.

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    Is this entirely speculation or do you have any evidence you can edit in?
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Oct 3 '18 at 17:07
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    Nowhere in the books are any numbers mentioned for Atreides troop strength. I've myself always assumed the Atreides were seriously outnumbered, holding on only in isolated fortified strongholds that could be held against vastly superior numbers, with the occasional raiding party going out.
    – jwenting
    Jan 2 '19 at 5:07

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