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The logo of the Army
The UNSC Army is a branch of the United Nations Space Command armed forces, and is primarily responsible for land-based military operations under the direction of the Unified Ground Command alongside the UNSC Marine Corps and other land-based forces. Unlike the Marine Corps, which is typically deployed in expeditionary operations across the galaxy in conjunction with the UNSC Navy, the Army is primarily implemented in ground combat operations and garrison duties, serving as a major part of the UNSC Defense Force alongside the UNSC Air Force.
Mission and roles
- "Provide forces for sustained terrestrial combat operations and civil works."
- — The Army's official mission statement.
- Conducting civil works that have strategic application, including projects for improvement of navigation and follow-on terraforming.
- Development of doctrine, procedures and equipment that are of common interest to the Air Force and Marine Corps.
- Organisation and training of civil defense units (colloquially "militias")
- Providing forces for joint aerospace and space operations, in accordance with UNSC doctrines.
Overall, the Army is tasked with the defence of Unified Earth Government colony worlds and the long-term occupation of enemy territory. As such, it is tasked with training, organising, equipping and maintaining amphibious, land, and airborne forces capable of carrying out this mission. Despite being a primarily military force, the Army has additional peacetime roles of providing engineers, technicians, builders, and designers on civil and public works projects and the support of other UNSC deployments.
- Main article: Domus Diaspora
The UNSC Army was formed by at least the latter years of the Domus Diaspora.
- Main article: Insurrection
- Main article: Human-Covenant war
Army forces mounted an unsuccessful defense of the planet Alluvion during the Covenant's invasion in late 2542, ending when the Covenant glassed the planet. In May 2545, the Army's 53rd Armored Division, commanded by Colonel Akono Menteith, defended the human colony of Actium during the Covenant's invasion of the planet. At the end of the campaign, 12,000 soldiers of the 53rd took part in a massive assault on a trio of Covenant staging grounds. Though these attacks succeeded, the 53rd was ultimately annihilated and Actium was subsequently glassed.
Between July 23 and August 30, 2552, thousands of Army personnel defended the fortress world Reach during the Covenant's invasion of the planet. Trooper fireteams dispatched by Colonel Urban Holland initiated first contact with the Covenant at the UNSC communications relay at Visegrád on the night of July 23. On July 26, Army troopers stationed near the Office of Naval Intelligence's Sword Base, with crucial assistance from SPARTAN Noble Team, defended against Covenant attackers. Following these early engagements, Army personnel continued to combat the Covenant's advance invasion force for several weeks. On August 12, three Army brigades served as part of a large joint UNSC force during the battle for the Viery Territory. Part of this force was used to eliminate a series of Covenant deployment spires during the Battle at Szurdok Ridge. Two days later, UNSC Army pilots joined Noble Six in Operation: UPPER CUT, flying FSS-1000 Sabre fighters to help disable and board the Ardent Prayer. Shortly after, a much larger Covenant fleet arrived at Reach. By August 23, Army forces had attempted to break the Covenant's siege of New Alexandria for some time. With the assistance of SPARTAN-B312, they were able to evacuate most of the civilians and military personnel from the city, though some stragglers remained. On August 29 and 30, the few Army personnel remaining on the Eposz continent attempted to rally at the area's ship-breaking facilities, which served as the only evacuation area left on the continent. There, they engaged in a large-scale battle against the Covenant, who had arrived on Reach in force and had begun glassing the area. Most of the convoys on the way to the evacuation zone were destroyed by the Covenant.
During the Battle of Earth on October 20, 2552, an Army convoy was sent to New Mombasa to aid the Marines and civilians stationed there; the unit was destroyed in the attempt. Later, during the defense of Mars, Colonel James Ackerson led Army personnel against Covenant forces led by the Jiralhanae commander Lepidus.
Post-Covenant war conflicts
- Main article: Post-Covenant War conflicts
The UNSC Army has continued to expand its role in the defense of humanity's interests in the postwar era, and served with distinction against the resurgent Covenant remnants in the 2550s. On an undetermined date, the UNSC Army aided the Marine Corps in combating Covenant forces occupying the colony world of Draetheus V, playing a part in the UNSC's eventual victory but sustaining huge losses in the process.
In February 2558, Army personnel attached to the UNSC Infinity were deployed to the Forerunner shield world known as Requiem. Along with Navy, Marine Corps, and Spartan assets, they were to secure beachheads and to prevent the Covenant from establishing bases near the UNSC's forward line.
During the era prior to the destruction of the Human-Covenant War, the UNSC Army was divided into a number of special local command forces termed Army Component Commands. Each Army Component Command was based out of an assigned colony world, with given Army units administratively under the the control of these commands. As the war escalated and colonies were increasingly destroyed, many Component Commands were "temporarily" disestablished and replaced by working groups on Reach and Earth that instead managed Army units via sector.
Operational authority of Army assets is assigned to the Unified Ground Command - one of the two major combatant commands of the UNSC and charged with carrying out terrestrial and close-orbit missions. In practice, NAVCOM and its space-based brother NAVCOM then form joint task forces assigned to one of the four Central Commands (or CENTCOMs), which are then charged with protecting that specific region of human space.
Overall, the Army is divided into regular, reserve, and security forces. UNSC Army Reserve troops are trained and equipped similarly to other Army forces, but they are faced with missions more oriented towards garrison and support on existing colonies, with their personnel generally working and training on a part-time basis and returning into civilian life until called upon in an emergency. Army Security Forces act as a military police force with duties extending into colonial occupation, overseeing reconstruction and acting as law enforcement for civilians. Army Security Forces are rarely deployed in the Inner Colonies, instead seeing most of their action in the Outer Colonies alongside CAA Marshals and other peacekeeping forces.
The Army additionally maintains a number of more specialised internal branches. These include the responsibility for maintaining maritime "wet navy" forces on select colonies, and dedicated special forces, organised under Unified Special Warfare Command.
The UNSC Army is divided into a number of component commands, each based out of a given colony world - though some were replaced by sector-level working groups based on Reach and Earth due to the scale of glassing attacks during the Great War. The Army maintains a number of divisions, with specialisations including:
Special operations forces
The Army's special operations fall under the authority of UNICOM's Special Warfare Command (SPECWARCOM). While most Spartans have been historically operated by Naval Special Weapons, some Spartan units are known to have served within UNICOM's special forces. The most notable of these units is NOBLE Team, which served under Special Warfare Group Three. Pathfinder units are also known to exist, and are known to utilise the Torchbearer VISR and the FC-I configuration of Air Assault helmet.
The UNSC Army operates Ranger units who serve as advance scouts on occupied human worlds, conducting counterinsurgency missions and organizing resistance groups. Prior to the development of Spartan-IVs, Rangers were exclusively recruited into ONI Section 3 Delta-6 Division as non-augmented personnel to conduct operations outside the capacity of conventional warfighters.
The majority of the UNSC Army's infantry force is made up of riflemen, who are often supported by heavy weapon infantry. Army Fire Support Teams are specialized units which assist standard infantry and are allocated as part of their battalion's offensive or defensive plans, providing overwatch and combating heavy enemy forces.
See here for a list of Army personnel.
The personnel of the UNSC Army are described as well-trained, disciplined, and motivated men and women. Service people hold ranks, which are divided between officers and enlisted. The rank structure of the UNSC Army is based around that of the United States Army. For a list of ranks within the Army, see UNSC rank structure.
UNSC Army personnel wear distinctive uniforms. The dress uniform is worn outside combat, while battledress is worn in combat. The Battle Dress Uniform incorporates many modular components shared by other branches of the United Nations Space Command armed forces, including the CH252 combat helmet. UNSC Army pilots employ grey flight suits.
As a part of UNICOM, the Army utilises the standardised rank structure maintained by that organisation. Thanks to the usage of artificial intelligence, the Army (alongside all other UNSC ground forces) has comparatively little administrative overhead or bureaucracy - with most routine tasks handled by AI automation. This allows the Army to maintain a much higher "tooth to tail" ratio of fighting troops to support personnel than historical military forces.
|Rank||Private (PVT)||Private, First Class (PFC)||Lance Corporal (LCPL)||Corporal (CPL)||Sergeant (SGT)||Staff Sergeant (SSGT)||Gunnery Sergeant (GYSGT)[unicomnote 1]||
|Typical responsibilities||Boot camp and training school||Initial assignment||Fireteam assistant||Fireteam leader||Squad leader||Assistant platoon leader||Assistant company commander||
|Rank||Cadet (CDT)||Warrant Officer (WO)||Chief Warrant Officer (WO-2)||Second Lieutenant (2LT)||First Lieutenant (1LT)||Captain (CPT)||Major (MAJ)||Lieutenant Colonel (LTCOL)||Colonel (COL)||Brigadier General (BGEN)||Major General (MGEN)||Lieutenant General (LTGEN)||General (GEN)|
|Typical responsibilities||No command authority||Crew chief or Army pilot||Senior subject matter expert||Platoon commander||Company executive officer||Company commander||Battalion executive officer||Battalion commander||Brigade commander||Division commander||Task Force commander||CENTCOM commander||HIGHCOM senior staff|
- Master Gunnery Sergeants can also be referred to informally as "Master Guns", while Master Sergeants in the Army and Marine Corps may be referred to as "Top".
UNSC Army ground forces are led by their commanding officers. Often seasoned and battle-hardened veterans, UNSC officers are trained to maintain a calm demeanor, inspire their men, and deliver a sound tactical perspective while on the battlefield. They also ensure that combined-arms operations are carried out efficiently and safely by controlling the unit's shard of the UNSC battle network.
The core fighting units of the Army consist of riflemen, who are equipped with a wide variety of small arms. When available, they can also be reinforced with heavy weapon units. Army Fire Support Teams are allocated as part of their battalion's offensive or defensive strategies. In defensive operations, they provide overwatching support-by-fire, while on the offense they engage enemy vehicles and heavy infantry, as such, their loadout is usually tailored to their mission, terrain, and expected enemy composition.
Along with their Marine counterparts, UNSC Army infantry played a pivotal role in humanity's fight against the Covenant hegemony, engaging the enemy in small arms combat, and often in close proximity. Their tenacity during combat was one of the major factors that decided humanity's continued survival against the overwhelming technological and numerical advantage of the Covenant.
UNSC Army doctrine emphasises rapid advances and high volumes of fire to suppress opposing forces and break through enemy lines. Infantry riflemen make heavy use of assault rifles, with the Army traditionally preferring the MA37 Individual Combat Weapon System over the MA5 series used by the Marine Corps. In more recent years, the Army has switched its forces over to the MA40 model, with a number of broad but subtle improvements over the MA37. The Army additionally fields limited numbers of MA5D assault rifles, with the Army's preferred configuration being those fitted with a recon sight. Some second-line Army units additionally employed the HMG-38 "Monitor Rifle" configuration, though it proved unpopular with troops due to its unreliability and cumbersome nature.
The Army prefers to use the M392 designated marksman rifle for medium-range suppression, which has been replaced in all other branches of service by the BR55 battle rifle. DMRs were commonly used by Army scouts and squad marksmen since 2512, and still remain in service with the branch's sharpshooters due to the weapon's reliability and use of standard 7.62×51mm M118 FMJ-AP. However, by 2558, the BR85 battle rifle equipped with the COG sight was undergoing final Army SPECWARCOM trials.
The M6G magnum has traditionally reigned as the standard sidearm adopted by the Army (with the Marine Corps instead preferring the M6G2 variant). However, following the end of the Human-Covenant War, all branches of the UNSC switched to the M6H and M6H2 magnums - with this adoption finished by the year 2555. The Army is the only branch of the UNSC to make use of the M6J carbine variant of the M6 series.
Snipers operate the SRS99-AM sniper rifle for long-range suppression and anti-matériel operations. The M319 Individual Grenade Launcher is used for medium-range suppression and anti-fortification duties while the M45E Tactical Shotgun is used for close-quarters combat. The Army also operates the M9 High-Explosive Dual-Purpose Grenade. Anti-armor fire is provided by the M41 rocket launcher and the Model 6V Grindell/Galilean Nonlinear Rifle directed energy weapon. Around October 2558, the M41 SPNKR was phased out in favour of the cheaper, lighter M57 Pilum.
The Army's standard vehicle is the M12 "Warthog" Force Application Vehicle, which is used for armored patrols and personnel mobility. The M12 FAV is produced in several variants. The most common of these variants is the M12 Light Reconnaissance Vehicle, which is armed with an M41 Light Anti-Aircraft Gun. Light anti-vehicle and anti-aircraft support is provided by the M12R Light Anti-Armor Vehicle, which features an M79 Multiple Launch Rocket System. The M12G1 Light Anti-Armor Vehicle, sporting an M68B Gauss cannon, serves as the primary anti-armour Warthog configuration in the Army. The Army makes use of a number of armoured personnel carriers for combat operations. These include the M650 Mastodon and M88 Bison. This role is supplemented by the M15 "Razorback" Light Tactical Vehicle, which replaced the use of the M831 Troop Transport Warthog in Army service. The M9 Wolverine is used for heavier tactical air defence.
The Army favours the use of the M247R Mongoose, though select units of the M290 are also used. These include the "Urban" Mongoose, which are commonly used for scouting and light target interdiction. Army scouts also employ the M290-M Gungoose, in the Urban and Woodland variants.
For heavy engagements, the Army operates the M808 Main Battle Tank, which is armed with an M512 Smooth Bore High Velocity Cannon and an M247T Medium Machine Gun, though by 2558 the Army was utilising the M820 Scorpion, with units expected to fight insurrection forces in urban environments provided the "Urban" tactical upgrade for their tanks. The Army retained M850 Grizzly units for planetary defense, following the Human-Covenant War. From between the latter years of the Domus Diaspora and the early years of Operation: TREBUCHET, the Army operated the M700 Viper.
The UH-144 Falcon is the iconic aerial vehicle of the Army, and is used to transport both regular infantry as well as Spartans across the battlefield. It can hold up to six occupants total, and is armed with various weapons, including machine gun turrets, grenade launcher turrets, and a chin mounted turret for the pilot's use. There are also variants that have no armaments and are completely dedicated as troop transports. The AV-19 SkyHawk was also used by the Army. Following the dissolution of the CMA, the JOV-99 Kestrel was originally earmarked for UNSC Army service, but lobbying by Misriah Armory caused those to be replaced by the AV-49 Wasp. As well, some MV-29 Wyverns were given to some Army units.
The Army is the force that maintains most "wet navy" forces on terrestrial worlds, particularly on Earth and Reach. During the Great War, the Army maintained submarine arsenal ships on Reach and other worlds, while on Earth they maintained aircraft carriers for regional defence. In 2550, the Army reactivated the older Crassus-class supercarriers formerly of East African Protectorate regional defence force service, and brought them back online to assist in the defence of Earth should the planet be attacked. They were once again retired following the war's conclusion. The army's carrier platforms served as a key asset for the UNSC Air Force during the war, as they allowed Air Force operations to be launched from the ocean, before retreating to underwater staging areas. The Army's maritime forces were frequently some of the only survivors of Covenant glassing attacks, due to the Covenant tendency to ignore the oceans in favour of attacking industrial, military, and population centres.
- Main article: UNSC Army/Gameplay
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- The UNSC Army makes its in-game debut in Halo: Reach, in which UNSC Army troopers, Marines, and ODSTs have their own service tags showing their name and rank as part of the fireteam gameplay mechanic. Most of them are named after Bungie and Rooster Teeth employees.
- Bungie concept artist Isaac Hannaford was largely responsible for designing the look of the UNSC Army troopers in Halo: Reach. When first starting to design the troopers, he drew them as all-female, as he was looking to do something different after drawing the Master Chief for three years during the development of Halo 3.
- All male Army troopers in Halo: Reach have an emblem with a hexagon divided by a diagonal line on their shoulders. Curiously, female troopers lack this symbol. Additionally, variations of the same design are also seen in some pieces of Halo: Reach concept art. The BDUs worn by many Marines in Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary also feature this symbol, possibly meaning it is not unique to the Army or it could have been kept accidentally since the Halo: Reach soldiers and Anniversary marines share the same model. This is very likely since at certain points in the game, the textures of the marines change in front of the player's very eyes and the emblem is replaced with the abbreviation UNSC and the logo of said organisation, just like Halo: Reach's marines.
- The insignia bears some resemblance to the divisional patch of the U.S. 1st Cavalry Division. This may be a simple homage to the historic Army unit or suggesting that many of the soldiers seen in Halo: Reach were members of a unit carrying on the division's lineage.
Concept art of Army soldiers operating alongside Noble Team.
Concept art of a trooper being killed by a Sangheili Minor.
Army Troopers aboard a D77-TC Pelican.
A female Army Trooper armed with an M6G.
A UNSC Army trooper takes aim with an MA37 rifle.
The UNSC Army in Halo: Ground Command
List of appearances
- Halo.bungie.org: Interview with Frank O'Connor and Robert McLees
- Halo: Official Spartan Field Manual, page 133-135
- Halo Encyclopedia (2022 edition), page 61
- Halo Encyclopedia (2022 edition), page 53
- Halo Waypoint, Canon Fodder - Cutting Room Lore (Retrieved on Jul 26, 2022) [archive]
- Halo: Escalation, Issue 7
- Halo Waypoint, Hero - Courage
- Halo Waypoint, Halo Infinite - Lone Wolves Intel (Retrieved on Nov 3, 2022) [local archive] [external archive]
- Winter Contention
- Deliver Hope
- Halo: Reach
- Halo: Reach, campaign level Noble Actual
- Halo: Reach, campaign level Winter Contingency
- Halo: Reach, campaign level ONI: Sword Base
- Halo: Reach, campaign level Tip of the Spear
- Halo: Warfleet, page 76-77
- Halo: Reach, campaign level Long Night of Solace
- Halo: Reach, campaign level Exodus
- Halo: Reach, campaign level New Alexandria
- Halo: Reach, campaign level The Pillar of Autumn
- Halo Waypoint, DMR
- Halo: Evolutions - Essential Tales of the Halo Universe, "Palace Hotel", page 356
- Halo: Uprising, Issue One
- Halo: Glasslands, page 411
- The Sprint: Season 3 - Episode 5
- Spartan Ops: S1E1 - Land Grab
- Halo: Official Spartan Field Manual, page 122-123
- Halo: Spartan Assault, quotes
- Heroes Never Die: Courage
- halo.bungie.org: Re: Just checked out the Essential Visual Guide
- Halo: The Essential Visual Guide, pages 29, 62, 101, 103-105, 130, 139, 165
- Halo 5: Guardians, Torchbearer VISR description
- Halo: Reach, Armory: Air Assault - FC-I Helmet Description "Command network module-Improved; external hardened uplink. A favorite of Pathfinder units."
- Halo: Official Spartan Field Manual p. 134
- Halo Waypoint, Community Update - Summer Red, Summer Blue (Retrieved on Oct 30, 2020) [archive]
- Halo: Reach, Armory - MJOLNIR/AA variant description: "Entered service in 2535; the MJOLNIR/AA variant is exclusive to Army airborne units."
- Halo: The Essential Visual Guide
- Halo: Spartan Assault, Quotes: "Knowing that monster firing a Battle Rifle at you used to be Kevin from 2nd Platoon is just creepy. That could be me." —Specialist Archibald Berger, 6th Airborne Division, UNSC Army
- Halo 5: Guardians - Armory description
- Halo: Ghosts of Onyx
- Halo Reach
- Halo Infinite, Armor Hall: Enigma - Helmet Description "The ENIGMA was intended for use by Army tank crews, but the Spartans have acquired most of these helmets, as its state-of-the-art vehicle cyberlink is an invaluable resource."
- Halo: Official Spartan Field Manual, page 142-143
- Halo Encyclopedia (2022 edition) - Human Weapons, page 162-185
- Halo 5: Guardians, REQ card: Recon AR Description "Assault Rifle with Recon Sight. UNSC Army configuration with quick-acquisition sights for mid-range engagements."
- Halo Waypoint, DMR (Retrieved on Apr 13, 2016) [archive]
- Halo 5: Guardians, REQ card: COG Battle Rifle Description "Battle Rifle with COG. Army SPECWARCOM configuration currently undergoing final evaluation."
- Halo Waypoint, Halo 4 Interactive Guide - Weapons: Magnum (Retrieved on May 1, 2013) [local archive] [external archive]
- Halo 4: The Essential Visual Guide, page 64
- Bungie.net, The M6G Pistol (Retrieved on Jan 24, 2021) [local archive] [external archive]
- Halo Waypoint, Rocket Launcher (Retrieved on Apr 13, 2016) [archive]
- Halo Waypoint, Canon Fodder - Know-Scope (Retrieved on Jul 30, 2021) [archive]
- Halo Wars 2, Phoenix Logs: Mastodon
- Halo Wars 2, Phoenix Logs: Bison
- Halo Encyclopedia (2022 edition), page 134-161
- Halo 5: Guardians, REQ card: Urban Mongoose Description "Rugged utility vehicle used by UNSC Army scouts and Air Force security patrols. Improved Mongoose with upgraded armor."
- Halo 5: Guardians, REQ card: Urban Gungoose Description "Armed Mongoose deployed by Army scouts and Spartan long-range recon teams. Improved Gungoose with upgraded armor."
- Halo 5: Guardians, REQ card: Woodland Gungoose Description "Army reconnaissance units appreciate the mobility and firepower afforded by the Gungoose, particularly in remote colonies that lack road systems of any kind. Improved Gungoose with extra armor."
- Halo 5: Guardians, REQ card: Urban Scorpion Description "Support package for the Scorpion now being rolled out to Army and Marine Corps units expected to deploy against Insurrection forces in urban areas. Improved Scorpion with upgraded armor."
- Halo Waypoint, Grizzly (Retrieved on Apr 13, 2016) [archive]
- Halo 5: Guardians, REQ card: Urban Mantis Description "The UNSC Army and Marine Corps continue to upgrade their Mantis units while work continues on a new model with modular hardpoints. Improved Mantis with upgraded armor."
- Halo Waypoint, Falcon (Retrieved on Apr 13, 2016) [archive]
- Halo 3, multiplayer map Longshore
- Halo Waypoint, Canon Fodder - Ship Strike (Retrieved on Apr 20, 2023) [archive]
- Halo Encyclopedia (2022 edition), page 60
- Bungie.net: Bungie Weekly Update: 07.02.10
- Isaac Hannaford: Halo Reach Army trooper development