and prayed that RNG would give me GR-tanks, which one of the villages did give me, and a shield gen, and a bunch of the 3 infantry troops.
LOL. First you're very lucky. Second dunno how you're capable to "chew raiders" with militia units on Hard+, as raiders, slavers and nomads are too tough for them, they're capable to defend against them at best. Even basic buggies are quite weak against them (especially if initials roll aren't great one).
Try hard+, without forests so defensive terrain will be extremely rare, and enable "extreme violence" lens so you will rarely seen poor weaklings like farmers or independent militia units.
Restarted 6 new games so far since I posted this thread, always 1-2 majors next too me, even thou im doing 100+ zones to get a better spread of everyone..
Yes, I can confirm this issue in latest betas. Very rarely I was able to start without having a major nearby.