For unit cohesion and consistency we have each of the two sides at CWG events pretend to be part of a real army. For a number of reasons, neither of them emulate any actual real world army, and we do not require significant doctrinal or tactical standards. To assist with getting into the role and feeling like a unit, insignia are available to be worn, and we have created some background, such as these pages describing the armies as though they actually exist.
Ardean Republican Army
The Adrean Republican Army is a fairly small branch of the armed services of Ardea, and one that fairly few people encounter on a regular basis. Even along the border to the Highlands, Frontier Guards man the checkpoints. When local police cannot handle serious crimes, or investigate a small branch of international terror, the Federal Police handle it. The Army is only used as an expeditionary force, and aside from a few quite rare small wars with their neighbors; forays into the Highlands are all the Army really does.
The natural resources of the country are sparse, but its economy is mostly supported through extensive farming and ranching. Ardea is self-sufficient in food production. Agriculture earns 50% of the country's foreign exchange, which is subject to weather, embargo, and falling grain prices on the world market. The country itself is mildly prosperous, but the cost of maintaining large standing armies means that in peacetime Ardea generally maintains only the small professional core of troops, expanding this as required in time of war.
In addition to the draft, there is a certain segment of the literate urban middle class for whom Army service is a patriotic duty. A small number of soldiers and most officers and NCOs are drawn from this circle. Around half of officers follow the Western tradition of a university education. A quarter are promoted from an NCO rank, and educated by the Army, and about a quarter are granted warrants by the national government or their state governor, based on petitions or as rewards for service as a soldier or NCO. Warrant officers hold conventional rank, and in practice the warrant is permanent so they are educated and then treated as any other officer. Most officers attend at least one year at a foreign university or war college, generally in the US or UK.
The early Army was not a professional organization, with key officer positions filled by landowners and other prominent citizens granted commissions. A tiny core of professional NCOs trained locals raised by the officers when wars or other needs cropped up.
In the early 1830s, the Army was reorganized, and a number of Prussian advisors were hired. They instituted the core of a modern army that still exists but the militia and provincial units remained the primary security force in the region throughout the colonial era.
During the inter-war period, British and French soldiers and consultants were an integral part of the operations of the army. In practice the Ardean military was trained and operated by the colonial powers as a defensive proprietorship, protecting British or French interests depending on the region, timeframe, or government seated at the time. While this often times lead to confusing and contradictory enforcement actions, it also lead to constant contact with the western powers.
This had a long term positive impact on training practices and the overall culture of the Ardean military as a whole, and the army in particular. So much so, that the ARA allows Officers to transfer from other armies at their same rank. This is less common now, but around 5% of officer positions are held by experienced Officers of American, British, French, German, or occasionally other nationalities.
The Army is relatively traditional in their organization, respect for rank and hierarchies, and belief in process and structure. While sometimes perceived as being old-fashioned in equipment, it is generally well-maintained. The Army does replace systems that do not work, but generally does not follow trends, and sticks with proven systems for longer than typical.
Reforms during the post-war period created a small expeditionary force for regional defense, reorganized volunteers into a new Territorial Force which trained with the regular army twice a year, and changed the old militia into a special reserve to reinforce the expeditionary force. All told, today the army can only field 25,000 troops, at any one time without instituting a draft. Of these, a mere 5000 are full time soldiers. By all the normal military equations, the ongoing war with Kitoy should have been decided several years ago.
They are desperately short of helicopters, many of their aircraft are old and out-dated, and much of their equipment could be considered "vintage" in this day and age. Lacking mobility assets, the rugged frontier is patrolled almost entirely by troops on foot, and the war has become very much a matter of individual military skill, fought at close range under the leadership of platoon and section commanders.
Lack of gadgetry has forced the Ardeans to concentrate on basic infantry expertise, and to rely heavily on improvisation and initiative. An unusual feature of the Ardeans' methods is the emphasis on long-range patrolling, and the comparatively few troops employed in static guard duties. One of the virtues forced on them by lack of material has been this reliance on the initiative of the individual soldier. On the whole this has worked to their advantage.
At the turn of the 19th century indigenous clay miners discovered valuable salt deposits in the Highlands and within a decade there were dozens of salt operations across the region. Additional minerals were discovered and foreign companies (especially British and French ones) invested in mineral exploitation and transport. These operations often disregarded the poorly defined National boundaries. Starting in 1830 the then Kingdom of Ardea was the first to use soldiers to gather taxes, repossess mines and forcibly eject foreigners from their territory. With money at stake use of troops by both sides escalated and legal actions followed, some of which are still ongoing.
The conflict died down during and after the First World War and the inter-war period saw little attention paid to the region as the value of the traditional commodities (lumber, clay, salt, turpentine, and so on) became too low to make it worth the effort.
After the Second World War American oil and gas companies using new technologies and new understanding of geology to survey the area discovered modest oil reserves in the area. Often times these companies would purchase mineral rights in the disputed territory from both governments simply to protect their interests. Estimates of the reserves vary widely, but it is now valuable again, and with the long-standing disputes there is little hope of any resolution soon. A handful of offshore wells are operating and the two Navies and Coast Guards spend much of their time facing off over the disputed border in coastal areas.
Military operations have ebbed and flowed but since the 1960s they have been quite regular and are largely concerned with obtaining generalized control over the area. Most frequently these operations are in support of legal maneuvering within the courts. While several foreign companies hold mineral rights in the area, no drilling or mining company will commit to operations with this unrest. Complicating matters both Ardea and Kitoy have banned permanent settlements since the 1970s. There are numerous abandoned villages, and the roads and bridges built between 1930 and 1955 are generally in poor condition.
The 23rd Frontier Dragoon Regiment dates back to the founding of the republic, and was originally a medium cavalry unit, with their troops fighting from horseback or as infantry. The original task was stopping smugglers, and generally enforcing the borders in the far-flung mountains. Though the Frontier Guards, a police organization, now do all border security, their base is still along the border, and the first stone fort is still used as part of the Brigade Headquarters building.
When the Talutum War began, the unit was reformed and strengthened. Lacking enough really good horsemen, it was deployed as mounted infantry, dismounting to fight on foot. The unit still considers itself cavalry and uses many cavalry conventions, despite being, and being called, dragoons instead. It saw periodic action for much of the decade, but in 1827, became cut off while covering a retreat from the village of Plamenac (in what is now Susiana) and defended themselves for over a week despite being badly outnumbered. Among the legends of this battle are that they repurposed a centuries-old bronze cannon displayed in front of the city hall as actual &ndash and effective &ndash artillery. This is represented on their insignia and shoulder patch even today.
In the late 1920s the unit was reformed into a mechanised unit, riding into battle on Ford trucks, and renamed the 23rd Mechanised Infantry. The dragoons were not organized in squadrons or troops as were cavalry, but in companies like the infantry and their officers and non-commissioned officers bore infantry ranks. In 1954 the unit was declared redundant and all but disbanded, with only a small ceremonial function accompanying an induction center. In 1977, the Army acquired a few surplus US helicopters and decided to reactivate the concept of mounted infantry. In the end there were far too few helicopters to make a heliborne cavalry unit; they were expensive to operate and several were lost due to accidents. Since then, the 23d has been something between a mounted infantry and light infantry unit, largely depending on the availability of transport resources. This tangled history accounts for the sometimes odd mix of infantry and cavalry terms within the Brigade. Like most byzantine usages, these are near and dear to the hearts of its members as a distinctive mark of their long and varied history.
Units in the field are resupplied and shuttled in small formations by helicopter and light trucks. Due to the tactics available, and the relative difficulty of moving heavy formations in the Central Grafsten Highlands, they are regularly deployed there, but it is not a permanent assignment. The entire Brigade is never deployed, sending out individual Squadrons instead.
The Brigade has an authorized strength of 1,375, though there are regular shortages. It is organized into 3 Squadrons, plus a Headquarters Company. Logistics is attached, but is technically the 154th Supply Company, assigned from LOGSO, the national paramilitary logistics organization. Each Squadron has three Troops with strength of about 140 each.
Troops are organized along cavalry lines, with a Headquarters Platoon, and two maneuver Platoons, which are notionally Scout and Strike (or Assault), though practically there is little difference. There used to be a Weapons Platoon, but in the 1990s this was eliminated and the Headquarters Platoon doubles up as a weapons Platoon, with a concentration of machine guns, grenade launchers and rocket launchers. Exact organization and equipment varies based on available manpower, and what weapons and how many soldiers each Troop can get ahold of.
Platoons throughout the Brigade use traditional cavalry color-coded call signs and names:
- Troop Medic: BLACK-2
- Headquarters: BLACK-3
- Assistant Troop Commander: BLACK-5
- Troop Commender: BLACK-6
- Troop Leader: BLACK-7
- 1st Platoon Leader: RED-6
- 1st Platoon, 2nd Section Leader: RED-2
- 1st Platoon, 2nd Section, Team 1: RED-2-1
- 2nd Platoon Leader: WHITE-6
The bulk of the national armed force is conscripted, for a period of service of 22 months. Individuals may choose other National Service opportunities, and these sometimes overlap with military service, so soldiers may have picked crops or repaired roads as part of their National Service instead. The percentage of non-military service and the timeframe varies based on national needs at the time.
There are many ways to avoid or simply bribe your way out of National Service, so the ruling classes are never drafted into the Army. For many lower class and rural people, an Army billet is a lifesaver, as they always have acceptable food and housing. Once the term of national service is up, soldiers may volunteer to serve further terms, either immediately or at any later date, as long as they can pass a fitness test. For many of the poorer farming or fishing regions, the solution to a bad catch or a bad season is a parent volunteering for an additional term of service. This skews the population of soldiers older than in other armies, but it is limited by time in service restrictions; no soldier can hold any one rank for more than 6 years. Those coming back after a decade at home farming are never promoted, so instead cycle out regularly.
Certain units such as the Plamenac Brigade have semi-official recruiting standards so can pick their soldiers, and volunteering for the branch is available in some cases. There is significant legacy recruiting (sons and grandsons of soldiers are given priority) and despite no official operational use of horses, there is a small "Troop" of horses and dragoons who ride them for ceremonial purposes. The Brigade sstill maintains a stable, and with the rural roots (and free transport) about 10% of the troops bring personal horses to the base and they are regularly ridden in the hills around the fort. Troops with good horse handling experience, and other outdoors-types are often recruited by current or previous members of the Brigade.
While about 8% of conscripts sign up for an additional term of service in the Army as a whole, almost half of those in Plamenac Brigade do so, and almost 1 in 5 are professional soldiers who will retire from the Army after 20 years of service, or often much more.