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The Survey Corps (調査兵団 Chōsa Heidan?) is the branch of the Military most actively involved in direct Titan combat and outside exploration. Despite having little success and occasionally mocked by both citizens and other branches of the Military, they still symbolize the hope of mankind with their insignia being known as the "Wings of Freedom." They hope that someday, their efforts will change the world and they will be able to recover what has been taken away from humanity.
Recent developments in technology have renewed hopes that Titans will become a more manageable threat in the near future, increasing interest in Survey Corps operations and the branch itself.
The Survey Corps is entrusted with exploring the areas outside the Walls; according to Jorge Pikale, a former Commander of the Survey Corps, the regiment currently has only ten kilometers south of the Walls fully mapped and explored.
Although it has yet to be proven, it is rumored by some soldiers that the constant presence of Titans south of the Walls is an indication that they originate somewhere in that direction. With the aforementioned Titan activity and lack of effective weapons or technology, the Survey Corps have had little success in fighting against them. To counter this, they routinely perform training and exploration drills to develop operations and tactics for Titan combat and further explorations beyond the Walls.
In terms of membership numbers, the Survey Corps is the smallest branch of the Military. Stories of the high losses of life due to Titan activity often frighten most away from joining (or even cause members to request transfers to the Garrison.)
In the past, Survey Corps soldiers showed unprecedented levels of bravery and selflessness, with many joining with the prospect of discovering the world beyond the Walls. Due to the numerous deaths from Titans, however, the quality of soldiers would begin to degrade over time. Initially seeking soldiers with increased upper body strength, the Corps began to go in a different route and have recently begun recruiting soldiers of various sizes and builds.
Strategy and tactics
Due to the constant horrific losses suffered at the hands of Titans, the Survey Corps has been forced to fight smarter to achieve their goals. The Survey Corps use specially bred horses as one of the main resources to explore the unfamiliar area and participate in drills. After several expeditions, the Survey Corps managed to learn of a possible weak spot on the Titans located in the nape; however, they have yet to be able to exploit this due to lack of technology and weapons capable of sufficiently injuring Titans.
Before they were essentially disbanded, an inventor named Angel began working on a device that would be able to make it easier for the Survey Corps soldiers to effectively fight against Titans. Years later, a newer variation of the device was created and, after seeing it in action, plans were made to begin a training regimen that would teach newer generations of soldiers to use the equipment.
While the initial training class completed the three month course, an expedition was set up to test the overall effectiveness of the program along with the new equipment. Due to the overall low views of the branch (along with the uncertainty of how effective the equipment will perform), the Military Police sent one of their members to take part in the expedition as well to witness the equipment in action first hand; this would ultimately warrant whether the branch should be permanently disbanded or kept in service.