- For naval command groups, see fleets.
The game uses a limited number of colors for command groups. To change the colors, select the command group and click on the colored bar to the right of the command group's name above the list of divisions, or the icon of the command group.
- Main article: Battle plan
Battle plans are a mechanic to give orders to command groups as a whole or may include different specific orders for different parts of the command group.
An army group can be commanded like any other group of units and simply given a right-click move order to a destination. However, they fight better if they are given "plans" – a general order that is coordinated along a front, either to advance, defend or make an orderly withdrawal. Once the player hits the execute button, the AI will direct forces through the plan, although the player can still micromanage to correct the AI and for complex maneuvers such as encircling. The player may also decide whether the AI should act carefully, balanced or rushed.
When selecting a command group, the player will see a row of general orders appear at the bottom of the screen. Each of these has rollover text that explains in detail how to use this instruction.
- Main article: Commander
Command groups may be assigned a commander, increasing their effectiveness in combat.
Military exercises including drill, weapons practice, and field maneuvers are a less deadly way to gain experience than combat, although at some level there is no substitute for experiencing combat conditions. Any command group may exercise, which can provide two separate benefits. While exercising, the divisions gain experience until they reach regular status, after which they need combat experience to improve further. The country, however, gains land combat experience whenever troops that are trained or better are conducting an exercise. Such experience is needed to edit or create new divisions. Training is one way to provide needed land experience while at peace. Commanders do not gain experience from exercising, only combat time.
While in an exercise, divisions have a 6% increase in attrition of their equipment. Their organization is set to 20% and may take about a week after they stop to fully recover. Note that arming fresh troops with older weapons from inventory (by setting their division template equipment button setting to use the older equipment) conserves more expensive current weapons for combat units. To help with this, it is sound practice to attach all divisions that need exercising to a training Army during the training period by using the Army View (hotkey "o") to click or shift-click to select all those needing training and then right clicking on the training army icon to assign them there before giving the exercise order at the army command level. By checking periodically, the same process can be used to re-assign back the divisions that have completed their intended training.