Saturday, 28 December 2013

I'm unlikely going to update this blog in the future.  However, much of this and possibly more will be over at:

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Been a while hasn't it?

Terribly sorry about that chaps...but I will be back. 

Soonish I hope.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

More on the independant regiments.

 4th Infantry Regiment (The Duke of Moltuja's Rifles)

The Regiment first saw service in 1689, seeing action for the first time in the Dinaric Mountains in the tribal rebellion of the same year. After the successful conclusion of the campaign the Regiment was reviewed and mustered 520 rank and file, exclusive of officers and NCOs. They remained in the border region, seeing action again at Molja (1690), Kinja (1690) and the “Plains of the Moltus” (1690). In 1692 the Regiment returned to Istow, where it was stationed in a succession of locations until being sent to the border region in 1695. Stays in Istow and Klow followed this. 

After many years of home service, the Regiment returned to the border with Borduria and fought at Vukaselo (1843) and Grahovo (1845), and was then rushed back to Syldavia to meet the threat posed by the 1845 Bordurian counter offensive in the north, fighting at Bellicosow (1846) and Tarkaji Bazar (1846). 

On its formation, the uniform of the Duke of Moltuja's Rifles reflected the Duke’s colours, with a yellow coat lined and turned up with scarlet, Scarlet waistcoats and breeches, White stockings and cravat, broad brimmed hats having the brim turned up on one side and ornamented with Yellow ribbons. The captains were armed with pikes, the lieutenants with partisans, the ensigns with half-pikes, sergeants with halberds, 30 rank and file of each company were pikemen and 73 musketeers, the whole carried swords.

In 1742, The Duke's Regiment status as an Independant Regiment was confirmed. In a series of contemporary coloured prints representing the costumes of the Syldavian Army, the uniform of The Duke's Regiment was a three cornered cocked hat bound with White lace and ornamented with a Black cockade, yellow coats, the cuffs, facing and turn backs of scarlet and ornamented with white lace. Scarlet waistcoats reaching below the hips, the breeches were yellow and white linen gaiters reach above the knee.

The regulation uniform for the on-duty enlisted man in the 4th Infantry Regiment, as it is officially known, consists of a dark green wool service coat (w/ a falling collar), fez (featuring the Duke of Moltuja’s heraldry), olive green shirt, dark green wool trousers, helmet and traditional Moltujan boots in brown leather. The regiment was otherwise armed and equipped much like the regular army.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Much ado about nothing?

The issues surrounding the status and role of the Police/Gendarmerie in Syldavia following the “sceptre incident” has been perplexing me lately.  In my particular alternative timeline for Syldavia, something has most certainly happened to them. Consider this, first the king is shown to be an energetic and somewhat autocratic leader.  Second, the “sceptre incident” demonstrates that vast segments of Police are not loyal to the crown, but rather to Musslter.  Logically the king must take some steps to bring the police under control, and I feel that this would be the case.  However, it is curious to note that in the adventure “Destination Moon” the security forces (or ZEPO as they are known) guarding the rocketry facility appear in largely the same uniforms as seen in “King Ottokar’s Scepter”.  In general one does not entrust the security of a secret faculty to an organisation that cannot be trusted.  Finally another interesting point is the complete absence of the traditional police uniforms in the “Calculus Affair”.  Perhaps then, following the “sceptre incident” the Police were reorganised in order to root out any Bordurian sympathisers, and by the 1950’s finally seen as an entirely trustworthy organisation, albeit with a new role as a secret police/internal security force.

So, let us then explore this alternative timeline shall we?  The 1938 “sceptre incident” has demonstrated a grave problem within the Syldavian state, and in the months following the incident attempts are made to rid the police of subversive elements.

Initially this resulted in mass arrests across the country. Policemen had to fill in a questionnaire regarding their professional and political activities. About three hundred investigations were conducted, and the suspects divided into five categories - from "major offender" to "discharged".  Cleared of any subversive activity or links to Borduria, the majority of the police returned to their jobs. Most were not removed from their office, but the whole of the force was disarmed (just as it remains today), and over the next few years the police uniform was redesigned to differentiate it with the pre-war organisation.

However, this was not the end for the police or their pre-war uniform.  Ironically in 1949 the decision was reached that the state required an internal security force tasked with high security installations and countering Bordurian intelligence gathering activities.  The ZEPO is rumoured to have been formed in autumn 1949, although details are sketchy at best.  Although there are a few differences the official uniform is remarkably similar to the pre-war police uniform.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

The 3rd Infantry Regiment (The Duke of Travunia's own)

Like the Italians, the Austrians, and the Germans, after the war the Syldavian army experimented with specialist assault units for the purpose of raiding and or spearheading attacks. Ultimately the government in the 1920’s was unwilling to pursue this any further, and the experimental company was disbanded in 1921.  However the Duke of Travunia was a firm proponent of modern ideas of mobile warfare and with the blessing of the monarch he raised and financed the 3rd infantry regiment, organized for specialist operations.  The regiment contained not only infantrymen but also many other specialists: assault gunners with light cannon, machine gunners, mortar crews, and engineers. The men were issued the Bergman MP18 and large numbers of grenades, rather than then the standard infantry rifle in order to provide them with the firepower needed to consolidate captured enemy positions while awaiting reinforcement. The formation of a regiment of this type marked a radical change in tactics within the military.
The regulation uniform for the on-duty enlisted man consists of a dark grey wool service coat (w/ a falling collar), fez, shirt, dark grey wool trousers, helmet and ankle boots in brown leather, laced up with eyelets and hooks worn with puttees. The trousers and coat were reinforced at the elbows and knees. The regiment sported an unusual magazine pouch in drab light grey cloth, designed to be worn on the chest, its ten horizontal pockets holding the thirty-round clips of ammunition for the Bergman MP18.  For combat/field service the soldier would add a knife based on the traditional Travunian fighting knife and grenades.

The 3rd IR gained a notorious reputation within the Syldavian military and the public’s perception.  Soldiers in the 3rd IR have traditionally been allowed a greater degree of independence than those of other units.  The relatively young unit has been encouraged to develop a strong sense of espirit de corps and bravado.  For example during training recruits are often ordered to undertake raids on other units.  As a result more than a few proud old Syldavian regiments have briefly lost their prized regimental flag to a thief in the night. 

Monday, 31 January 2011

The Independent Cavalry Regiments

5th Zeta Lancers

On 10 January 1750, Lord Strazcowitz of Zeta offered to raise a regiment at his own expense for service in the Army. The King accepted his offer and thus was born one of the more unusual regiments of the Slydavian Army. While officially simply another unit in the cavalry corps, the distinction was lost on the public and the men serving in its ranks. It could hardly have been otherwise, as the unit was recruited entirely in the eastern region Zeta. It was equipped by Lord Strazcowitz, quartered in Lanzkigrad, and paraded outside the city’s old citadel. The men cut impressive figures, resplendent in dark blue uniforms and matching fezes, and mounted on local Zeta ponies with traditional lances.  Over the years the uniforms changed in only minor ways, until the 1920’s military reforms.  Unlike most Syldavian cavalry units the 5th Zeta Lancers (and the 3rd Polishov Hussars) have remained a non-mechanised force.  Despite this the regiment adopted the new uniforms, with some differences.  The new uniform of the regiment was, as of 1926: 

The regulation uniform for the on-duty cavalry enlisted man consists of the wool service coat (w/ a falling collar), fez, wool shirt, wool jodhpurs and riding boots. The boots are laced ankle boots. The boots are worn with matching gaiters and spurs with spur straps. Beginning in 1931, an ankle-height laced boot was issued to enlisted personal for the first time and worn with a separate canvas or leather gaiter. Prior to 1931, a knee-high boot was worn. All ranks would wear a pistol belt with holster and magazine pouch for the C96 Mauser Pistol. The pistol would be secured with a lanyard looped from left shoulder to right hip as required when armed with the pistol while on horseback. The mounted version of the cartridge belt has nine pockets each containing one en bloc clip of ammunition for the C96 Pistol. Additional ammunition is carried in the saddlebags for extended field service.

Weapons of the 5th Zeta Lancers:

    * 1855 pattern Sabre carried by all cavalrymen.
    * C96 Mauser Military Pistol. The "96" was carried by all cavalry troopers for use as a mounted offensive weapon. The sabre had been retained as a cavalry service side arm although the pistol was the weapon exclusively employed in most actions. The pistol was always worn with a lanyard. The lanyard was worn from left shoulder to right hip and snapped to the butt of the pistol. It prevented loss of the pistol if dropped while on horseback.

The unit was known, officially, as the 5th Zeta Lancers.  Unofficially, it was known as the “Sir Kromir’s Light Horse” It was made up of three “banners” recruited exclusively from the famed horsemen of eastern Zeta. The regiment famously experienced a considerable amount of hard fighting during the 1851 border war with Borduria as well as the Zarawir crises of 1856.

3rd Polishov Hussars

The Polishov Light Horse was first raised in the 18th century. Initially they formed part of the 4th cavalry regiment performing scouting, reconnaissance and the like, but due to their successes in this role, (and also in charging and harassing the enemy), they soon acquired a reputation for courage and skill. The decision was made to allow the light horse to be formed as an independent regiment dedicated to this role, and the Polishov Light Horse were formed.

The Polishov Light Horse was initially known as Sir Vladizlav’s Regiment of Light Horse. By 1781 the regiment title was simplified to the 3rd Regiment of Light Horse. In 1861 the regiment changed its name to the 3rd Polishov Hussars and in 1924 it amalgamated the 8th Royal Hussars (Queen Najada's Own).

Before 1830 the regiment wore a dark blue, braided, dolman jacket and a leather "Tarleton" style helmet. After 1830the uniform consisted of dark blue jackets with short tails and a shako.

The 1851 War

In 1851 the regiment was ordered to prepare for service. On the 20 September the regiment, took part in the first major engagement of the War, the Battle of the Almazout Valley. Although the regiment’s role in the battle had been minimal early on in the day, with the Bordurians now in full retreat by the afternoon, General Prosdj ordered the Regiment to pursue the fleeing enemy. After a brief, but fruitful pursuit, the regiment was recalled when it was realized that the Bordurians had a significant uncommitted cavalry force in reserve.

During the 25 October the regiment took part in the Battle of Barazoum. They formed the right of the front line along with the 5th Zeta Lancers on the left. The 3rd and 5th moved forward; after 100 yards the 3rd Royal Lancers, in the second line, also moved off followed by the 5th and 6th. It was not long before they came under heavy Bordurian fire. The regiments were soon cutting down the artillerymen that had remained at their posts. Once the Bordurian guns had been passed, they engaged in hand-to-hand fighting with the few enemies that remained and engaging in a rout of those Bordurians forced to retire.

Renamed to The 3rd Polishov Hussars

On the 8 April 1861 the 3rd Regiment of Light Horse were renamed the 3rd Polishov Hussars. The regiment remained otherwise unchanged until 1918 when they underwent there next major change. The new uniform of the regiment was, as of 1918: 

The regulation uniform for the on-duty cavalry enlisted man consists of a grey wool service coat (w/ a standing collar), fez, shirt, grey wool jodhpurs and knee high riding boots. The boots are worn with spurs with spur straps. Prior to 1931, a knee-high boot was worn. NCO’s and officers would wear a pistol belt with holster and ammunition pouch for the Smith and Wesson Model 3 revolver. The pistol would be secured with a lanyard looped from left shoulder to right hip as required when armed with the pistol while on horseback. The mounted version of the cartridge belt had nine pockets each containing one clip of ammunition for the 1888 Mauser carbine. Additional ammunition is carried in the saddlebags for extended field service.

Weapons of the 3rd Polishov Hussars:

    * 1855 pattern Sabre carried by all cavalrymen.
    * 1880 Smith and Wesson Model 3 revolver carried by all officers and NCO's.
    * 1888 Mauser carbine. The carbine was carried by all cavalry troopers for use as an offensive weapon. The sabre was been retained as a cavalry service side arm although the carbine was the weapon exclusively employed in most actions.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Independant Slydavian military units

Prior to the 1700’s, there was effectively no standing army in Syldavia, the King maintained a personal Bodyguard, the Royal Guard and the Honourable Company of Gentlemen, as well as a few locally raised companies to garrison important places. As we know from earlier discussions, troops required for foreign expeditions were raised upon an ad-hoc basis when required. This was a development of the feudal concept of fief (in which a lord was obliged to raise a certain quota of knights, men-at-arms and foot soldiers).
In practice, noblemen and professional soldiers were then commissioned by the King to supply troops. They would then raise their units, filling their quotas by indenture from a variety of sources. A Commission of War could be issued to raise even more troops for a foreign expeditions, drawing on a range of earlier laws that directed that, at least in theory, the entire male population who owned property over a certain amount in value, were required to keep arms at home and periodically train or report to musters.
The military reforms of the 1720’s created the first professional standing army in Syldavian history. The King Boris III issued the Royal Warrant that created the first units of what would become the Syldavian Army in May of that year. One of the first new units was the Royal Guards, which was recruited from soldiers formerly in service in the King’s personal guard and the Honourable Company of Gentlemen. This is the oldest infantry regiment in the Syldavian army (known simply as the "Royal Guard"). Infantry and cavalry units had originally been known by the names of their officers, such as "Sir Kazimir's Regiment of Foot", obviously this system could be confusing if officers succeeded each other rapidly or more than one officer of the same name commanded separate companies. In 1781 a numeral system was adopted, with each regiment gaining a number according to their rank in the order of precedence.

The continued existence of independent companies within the Syldavian military is something of an anomaly.  The reason for this lies with Boris III’s decision to allow some lords to continue to raise independent companies in their duchies.  Although they were encouraged to adhere to the new regulations, they were independently funded and for many years, these regiments were to be the most colourful and distinctive units in the Army, retaining much of Syldavia’s traditional dress.  The tradition continued down the years with the more recent raising of 6 motorcycle and bicycle companies in the mid 1930’s.

3rd Infantry Regiment, The Duke of Travunia's
4th Infantry Regiment, The Duke of Moltuja's Rifles
5th Infantry Regiment, The Duke of Hum's Fusilers
5th Zeta Lancers
3rd Polishov Hussars

13th bicycle company
14th bicycle company
15th bicycle company

16th frontier motorcycle company
17th frontier motorcycle company