Black Iron's Glory - Chapter 329

On the 20th of the 5th month, Year 583, Claude stood before the whole student body during the closing ceremony. He had been promoted just six months earlier, and now he was once again being promoted. With his latest promotion he would be a lieutenant-colonel. He was also appointed as tribesman of the autonomous tribe.

Claude was only 26 and had been with the army for less than eight years.

Some 200 officers were promoted for good performance during the course, specifically the top achievers. Myjack, Moriad, Berklin, and Dyavid were among them. Myjack would be promoted to second lieutenant and the other three to captain.

The students would be on break for the next ten days. After the first graduation, Kleibon Royal Army College would become a normal youth academy like Stellin War College. All peasant war orphans would be enrolled.

Though Miselk allowed Claude to pick 20 men from the top-ranking officers, it was still just a fifth of what he needed, and Claude's autonomous tribe would need even more. He needed at least 160.

Myjack, Gum, Moriad, Dyavid, and Berklin were going with him, of course. Claude needed familiar faces, and they all knew their best chance at a bright career was with him. Berklin had reminded them of it almost every day after the tribe was first brought up. His career had seemed promising after he moved to 2nd Rangers, but he'd barely made any stride in all the years he'd been with them.

He fought with the new tactics, but he had none of the fortune Claude did. He'd fared considerably worse in every engagement as well. His superior had focused on achieving objectives as quickly as possible, which, despite their superior weaponry and tactics, meant their losses were about the same as normal units'. He'd at least kept himself safe, and, with a bit of luck, had come out of the war largely unscathed.

Myjack had absolutely no interest in a command of his own. He wanted nothing but to be Claude's shadow. Luckily, he'd also had a couple promotions -- he was currently a second lieutenant -- which made it possible for him to do just that. Claude was all too happy to keep him in the shade. The boy had learnt exactly how to keep him happy, so he wouldn't have to worry about training a new adjutant.

Gum had not made any substantial progress in the entire year. He had lazed around, wasting away both his study time and free time. He only got the tribe-guaranteed promotion, which left him as a master-sergeant. He could only be a tentsman. He had loyalty in spades, however, so Claude decided to give him command of his personal guard tent.

Moriad, Dyavid, and Berklin, being captains now, were made clansmen, filling three of the four positions. The final position would be filled by Claude's superiors. He needed four second lieutenants in each clan to fill the bandsman positions. Beneath them, he needed sixteen sergeant-majors as tentsmen. A clan needed 22 or 23 officers at least, and Claude had just 20 picks for his entire tribe.

Claude left the rest of the positions to his direct subordinates. He let his captains pick their subordinates, who could pick theirs in turn. He had Myjack chip in with three recommendations as well. He was thus in no doubt of the abilities of three of his clans. The fourth was still up in the air and he would not know how bad or good it was until they marched.

It took him and his just two days to decide on his twenty picks and hand the list to Miselk. He had no say in the staffing of the cavalry and cannoneer clans, however. They were 'attache' clans, which meant they were staffed by their respective divisions' brass. He did ask to be given a say in the choices for his logistics staff.

Miselk sent Claude two officers, Schnak and Siegfeld. Schnak was 34, a second lieutenant. Claude's tribe aside, he was among the youngest of his rank in the army. Claude was unnerved with that description as, despite it, he was still eight years Claude's senior.

Schnak was to be his second-in-command. His file left Claude with the impression of a thorough individual, a perfectionist who hammered on even the tiniest detail. Most importantly, he was not prone to questioning his superiors. Miselk appeared quite happy with the pick. He was of the opinion that he was a great complement to Claude, who tended to get lost in his grand visions and forget about the technicalities involved in achieving them.

For all his regard for Claude, that one flaw of his had driven General Miselk up the walls. He dearly wished the little rascal would learn to be more thorough with some more experience. He was most acutely troubled in this regard when it came to the boy's after-battle reports. Claude was supposed to report, in exact numbers, how many enemy arms and supplies he'd captured, instead he simply said he had 'a lot'. He had improved a little, however, he'd started giving a range estimate, 'hundreds', or 'thousands'.

Despite how much time the general had spent coaching the rascal, he'd never done any more than that. For his part, Claude didn't care about the numbers, besides the fact that everything was just wargaming at this point, the general could look at the depot's logs to find out how much had been added after the battle. Miselk eventually gave up and just blamed Claude's lack of proper military education.

All the frustrations in the world could not blind him to Claude's unique mind, however. The boy had a perspective, and a fluidity and freedom of thought that dwarved even the greatest of either his own or the general's peers. The general wanted him out in the field, despite his shortcomings, so the best he could do was give him a right-hand man who could help remedy his weaknesses.

Unlike Siegfeld, Schnak was appointed directly by the general, without consultation or a say in the matter. Siegfeld, on the other hand, had chosen his posting. He'd had the choice between taking a position under an old friend of his, a colonel, in his tribe, or take the position as Claude's chief logistician.

He had been chosen for his skills, of course. He was one of the army's foremost logisticians. He would have achieved much more by now than he had, but he had little ambition for anything beyond his station.

He would have loved to take the position his friend had offered him, but he loathed the idea of being saddled with the tag of someone who'd gotten their station thanks to their connections rather than their skills. His sole ambition in the army was to have a comfy career, however, so he loathed equally the idea of being put with someone who'd very quickly built a substantial track record and reputation as a daredevil and 'get-in-trouble'.

He was not one to make rash decisions, however, so he investigated his options carefully, especially the lieutenant-colonel under whom he would serve should he take the latter position. He was quite surprised to learn that the lieutenant-colonel had been his friend, Colonel Skri's, subordinate during the war. He looked up his friend and asked him for his advice.

The colonel gave him one glance and told him he had no choice, he had to take the position under Lieutenant-Colonel Claude. The only place he would have a better career than under Skri, was under Lieutenant-Colonel Claude. The lieutenant-colonel was not only a pleasant man, but he respected capable people more than any other kind of people. If Siegfeld did his job well, he would not have to lift a finger to be in Claude's good graces. And, as long as he continued serving the lieutenant-colonel loyally, he would never abandon him or throw him under the horse cart.

"I'd been in charge of his logistics during the war, and we'd gotten along incredibly well. I would have loved to have the same position if not for me being in charge of the folk's logistics. If I had a choice I would have picked to work with Claude, actually."

Skri wrote Siegfeld a reference. He knew his old friend's personality well. He was decisive when it came to his job, but terribly uncertain when it came to making decisions regarding himself. Siegfeld was not, however, hesitant about trusting and taking his friends advice. He didn't spare the decision a second thought, and simply reported for duty the next day.

Claude was all too happy to have a friend's recommendation as his subordinate, so he accepted Siegfeld without reservation.

"I gladly welcome you two to my family," Claude said, motioning grandiously at an empty room, "I have work for both of you. We have to be at Castle Kristo in a couple days. We need to leave soon, and we still have a lot to do before we can.

"Major Schnak, as my second-in-command, you will take charge of the tribe's administration. I leave the keepery, the judiciary, the archives, and all the other stuff to you. Speaking of which, I have yet to put in a request for a signaller's tent and a healer tent. I'll leave that to you as well."

Schnak's eyes nearly fell out of their sockets. He didn't know of a single commander, of any rank, that would hand practically their entire portfolio to their second-in-command. He didn't know of a single officer who had that kind of trust in their subordinates. He made a mental note to never cross his lieutenant-colonel. There was not another posting like this on the entire continent.

The keeper band, under the keepery, was in charge of the tribe headquarters' defence and the ordermen's, guards', civilian train's, and adjutants' safety. They were guards of both people and places, after all. Claude's personal guard fell under their jurisdiction as well.

That was the one thing Claude did not give to Schnak's direct command. He put them under Myjack alongside his personal guard. It meant that Myjack had command of all the personal guards of all the officers in the entire tribe, as they all, three to an officer, besides Claude, of course, were part of the keepery.

The judiciary dealt with discipline and military law. It consisted of a band of enforcers. They enforced military laws and regulations, and handled internal intelligence and security, such as checking and censoring letters and guarding prisoners.

Administration was in charge of things like keeping track of identification documents, keeping the roll of leave, salary, death and injury, and merits.

Comms was responsible for all communication-related tasks, such as passing reports and orders back and forth between the clans and the tribe, and the tribe and other units and Claude's superiors as relevant and necessary. Their primary means of delivery were carrier pigeons and couriers, depending on the size of the letters.

Archives would only become important once they started marching, and so could be handled later.

Siegfeld was next. Needless to say he was more well-versed in logistics than Claude, so the lieutenant-colonel left everything in his hands, including staffing and budget.

Claude left both in joint command of the logistics staff. Both would need access to the labour force that came with it to fulfill their duties, and that arrangement would make it easy for them to get what they needed, when they needed it without going through unnecessary paperwork and bureaucracy.

The logistics staff were equal to about a clan, which Claude thought was just ridiculous. He couldn't see a need for any more than a band, as was standard. Their primary duty was just handling the supply train, after all, but he'd been given an entire clan instead.

He had no say in that, however, so he just let it be.

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