I'm re-reading Starship Troopers, and I'm wondering about the Mobile Infantry's TOE.

From what I've read, so far, there are 50+ in a platoon, two sections with three squads each.

Do we learn any more about the organization? About higher echelons?

  • 1
    Yes, we do learn. There's a description of a division or brigade size unit in there somewhere, along with a discussion of how they are perpetually short of officers so a company commander will also run a platoon, etc.
    – DavidW
    Mar 6, 2021 at 18:34

1 Answer 1


Rico describes a hypothetical M.I.-only division (one not having non-M.I. units like telepaths or K-9) as:

This imaginary division has 10,800 men in 216 platoons, each with a lieutenant. Three platoons to a company calls for 72 captains; four companies to a battalion calls for 18 majors or lieutenant colonels. Six regiments with six colonels can form two or three brigades, each with a short general, plus a medium-tall general as top boss.

You wind up with 317 officers out of a total, all ranks, of 11,117.

But this doesn't reflect necessity or reality, as he explains:

There are no blank files and every officer commands a team. Officers total 3 per cent—which is what the M.I. does have, but arranged somewhat differently. In fact a good many platoons are commanded by sergeants and many officers "wear more than one hat" in order to fill some utterly necessary staff jobs.

Even a platoon leader should have "staff"—his platoon sergeant.

But he can get by without one and his sergeant can get by without him. But a general must have staff; the job is too big to carry in his hat. He needs a big planning staff and a small combat staff. Since there are never enough officers, the team commanders in his flag transport double as his planning staff and are picked from the M. I.'s best mathematical logicians then they drop with their own teams. The general drops with a small combat staff, plus a small team of the roughest, on-the-bounce troopers in the M.I. Their job is to keep the general from being bothered by rude strangers while he is managing the battle. Sometimes they succeed.

Besides necessary staff billets, any team larger than a platoon ought to have a deputy commander. But there are never enough officers so we make do with what we've got. To fill each necessary combat billet, one job to one officer, would call for a 5 per cent ratio of officers—but 3 per cent is all we've got.

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