Warfare in the West

Soldiers of the West

The soldiers fielded in the Civilised West vary widely based on their state origin, who employs them and whether they are professionals, militia or levies. Warfare is often about making do with what troops are at hand rather than fielding uniform forces of high quality and discipline.

Troops are fielded in three tiers:

  1. Professional Soldiers
  2. Militia
  3. Levies

A house is able to field troops each of these tiers, which numbers based on their Kingdom and level of nobility. To these numbers are added the retainers their knights keep under arms; usually these knightly retainers are used as a reserve (see 'Knights and their retainers' tab.) Adding these up together will give the total banner.

For example:

House d'Bartone of Aequor fields -
250 Professional Soldiers + 150 Militia + 500 Levies = 1,000 troops
+
10 knights - 7 hedge knights, 3 noble knights (Hedge knights have 25 x retainers, noble knights have 50 x retainers)

7 x 25 = 175 retainers (for the hedge knights)
3 x 50 = 150 retainers (for the noble knights)

1,000 + 175 + 150 = 1,325 total troops for the d'Bartone banner.

These are the numbers at full strength, and banners often are not at that level due to attrition.

Standing Armies of the West

A standing army is just that. A nationalized military that is funded through some form of taxes that is loyal to the nation, and who is sworn to defend the nation, her peoples, and to do the nation's bidding on foreign soil. Usually the Standing Army is organized and kept in check by a great house such as the Argent Legion of Aequor, but this is not always the case, and is certainly a concern when a nation goes to war.

Aequor has one of the more famous standing armies of the West that of the Argent Legion. The Legion is primarily barracked in al'Callenta's Duchy of Murnord and is Aequor's front line defense. During the 30 year war, it was only Aequor's standing Military that gave it the edge against their Galenthian counterparts who did not have a standing army, and it continues in this role today. All other Aequorian Duchies have at least a fortification that is manned by a cohort of the Legion, with the largest being along the border that al'Callenta shares with al'Ramar.

Since the early 1870s, the Argent Legion was joined by the newly raised Arrani Legion, administered and commanded by the al'Arran Dukes of the North and headquartered at the old crusader fort of Benide. The Arrani Legion is less than half the size of the Argent Legion (full strength of 3,000), but acts as a lethal and mobile force for the Aequorian Crown. It is primarily recruited from those hardy northmen who dwell in that half of the kingdom.

The Argent Legion is an oversized Legion consisting of fifteen cohorts.
Cohort Troops Purpose
First 1000 Assault (Prime)
Second 500 Infantry
Third 250 Cavalry
Fourth 500 Infantry
Fifth 400 Cavalry/Scout
Sixth 500 Infantry
Seventh 250 Cavalry
Eighth 500 Infantry
Ninth 500 Infantry
Tenth 500 Infantry
Eleventh 100 Rangers
Twelfth 500 Infantry
Thirteenth 500 Infantry
Fourteenth 500 Engineers
Sixteenth 500 Musketeers

Argent Legion Total: 7,000

  • 1st Cohort or Prime Cohort consist of 750 Men at Arms, and are supported by 50 Musketeers, and 200 Longbowmen.
  • An Infantry Cohort consists of 300 Legionnaire Spearmen in Chain Maile, 125 Archers, and 75 Crossbows.
  • Cavalry of the 3rd and 7th Cohort consist of 250 Heavy Cavalry, usually commanded by Knight officers, while the Cavalry/Scout of the 5th is all Light Horsemen who act as a patrolmen
  • The Rangers of the 11th Cohort, called the Argent Rangers use Longbows, and are skilled woodsmen and scouts.
  • 14th Cohort consists entirely of Engineers and run the Legion's Artillery.

Note: One will notice that legion's Cohort numbering goes from 14 to 16. This is to honor the 15th Cohort who gave their lives to stem a White Hall incursion in the 17th Century. They gave their lives to a man, but caused so much damage that the Raid had to turn back. It is estimated the 500 men of the 15th killed more than three times their number, and stopped White Hall from burning Alasce (The al'Morena capital, which was vulnerable at the time) to the ground. As such no Military unit in Aequor may have the number 15, as it has been retired from the Aequor service.

The Arrani Legion is formed of five Cohorts.
Cohort Troops Purpose
First 1000 Assault (Prime)
Second 500 Infantry
Third 250 Cavalry
Fourth 500 Infantry
Fifth 250 Scout
Sixth 500 Infantry

Arrani Legion Total: 3,000

  • 1st Cohort or Prime Cohort consist of 500 Arrani Heavy Infantry, 200 Legionnaire Spearmen, 200 Longbowmen and 100 Peltasts.
  • Infantry Cohorts consist of 300 Legionnaire Spearmen, 100 Longbowmen, 50 Arrani Heavy Infantry and 50 Peltasts.
  • The 3rd (Cavalry) Cohort consists of 50 Heavy Horsemen, 150 Lancers and 50 Raider Cavalry.
  • The Fifth (Scout) Cohort consists mainly of skirmishers scouts and archer rangers.

Aequor Total Standing Army: 10,000

After the Battle

Battlefield.jpg

Army Composition in the West

Below is outlined how the various armies form their soldiers when they march to war, what size these formations are and who commands them.

Nobility and Military Rank

While it is not automatic that nobles of higher birth will automatically achieve high rank in a combined army, it should be remembered that the Head of any given House is also the commander-in-chief of that House's military forces, unless that title has been granted by said head of house to someone else (this is not an uncommon position for spouses or grown heirs to hold if the head of house is not overly military-minded). Of course, vassals are expected to answer to their lieges militarily speaking, as well. Additionally, being of higher birth in combination with military experience and/or reputation greatly increases the chances of attaining one of the many "political appointments" listed above.

While it is possible for politics to result in commanders that are sub-par, in general the political appointments still tend to put competent (though not always the best) leaders in those positions. Obviously the more important the campaign, the more likely that competent leadership will be put in place. For minor skirmishes and patrols, it's entirely possible that the priority might go to pleasing influential nobles by placing them or their family into positions of authority, but for major battles, pragmatism usually outweighs politics in the grand scheme of things.

One other important note: Those making the political appointments must be mindful that placing commoners in positions of authority over nobles is a recipe for poor discipline, insubordination, and dissent in the ranks. In point of fact, if a commoner is granted command authority over a noble, the noble(s) in question may immediately request a transfer to a noble-led unit, and common courtesy and custom deems that this request is always granted save at the most grave emergencies. For this reason placing commoners in high ranks is almost never done (and they are barred from several, as seen below). The only exceptions that are regularly deemed "acceptable" are among House al'Sylenthar, where they have always practiced merit-based ascension through the ranks, and for recognized bastards of high-level (Viscount and above) nobles, whose "half-noble" status tends to present enough of a grey area that many nobles will let it slide if they are known to be competent commanders. Even then, it only applies for the forces of the particular house said recognized bastard hails from, and in a "combined" army recognized bastards are almost never granted higher authority.

All that having been said, wise commanders (noble or otherwise) will listen to and consider carefully the advice of their veteran fighters, regardless of their station of birth.

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