Black Iron's Glory - Chapter 541

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"Master of Communications, Major-General Alfred Bor Alexander, Master Inquisitor, Major-General Andweck Kor Yewejiz, Master Cartographer, Major-General Ridkham Lor Auwelot, Master of Intelligence, Major-General Fodres Way Kleidelar, Instructor-general, Pedraik Schuh Babizeik, Master-at-Arms, Major-General Mantweit Mar Penakro, Master of Logistics, Major-General Siegfeld Mor Vincent, Adjunkt Master of Logistics, Major-General Banklordon Zi Altro, Chief of Security, Major-General Yorkt Shaol Sildiss, Master of Finances, Major-General Seinarnoff Wai Bakum, Chief of Human Resources, Major-General Bolizia Teik Maltok, Master of Military Affairs, Major-General Kandwok Sei Boklut, Master of Strategy, Major-General Natass Bar Lawakoss, Elite Strategists, Major-General Drivick Arn Weyblon, Major-General Sabolir Wey Klinsdon, Major-General Sibylos Tar Borliot, and finally, Master of Medicine, Major-General and Intermediate Herbalist Perunt Arr Birdok..."

On the 21st of the 8th month of Year 602 in the headquarters in Lanu, Claude held the first meeting of the elite military council. He revamped the various departments, compartmentalising and atomising most aspects of the army into 12 departments and one central infirmary and named their heads.

The logistics department was most affected. It was split into the departments of armory, security and finances. Thereafter was the department of intelligence, which had a division split off for cartography and surveys. While a few new departments were created, they were all standardised and assigned specific tasks. A few redundant administrative officers were also discharged to cut down on bureaucracy.

"Lieutenant-General Myjack shall take over as the Master of the Forces and deal with daily affairs. Next, we will make experimental changes to the organisational structures of the two corps to match relevant and current demands. Additionally, the department of intelligence will have to increase their network in the western colonies and monitor Operation Wildfire's progress."

Claude made sure most of the new heads were originally from Thundercrash. The eight major-generals and three lieutenant-generals who retired were all from Monolith and used to be Bolonik's subordinates. Claude wasn't intentionally trying to discriminate against them on that part. It just so happened that the people he chose were the best fit for their roles.

Claude was the youngest among the five heads of the autonomous region, and the officers he promoted in Thundercrash were also young and good at adapting to new tactics and developments. The elder high-ranking officers who were more stiff in their approach had been transferred to the local garrison forces. That was another reason for Thundercrash's offensive strength.

Bolonik was more than ten years Claude's senior, for instance, and prioritised defence, which was a trait that spread to his corps, Monolith. So, the officers he counted on more were stable and older, being mostly about his age. Some were even older than him, all beyond the age of 55. Now they had been promoted to generals and made hereditary barons with their own fiefs, they were at the peak of their careers. There was no higher peak for them to conquer. They could still improve their fiefs, and had much work to do on their nobility, so they decided to retire from the army and focus their efforts there.

The young officers were sharp and dared to take risks, while old officers were more reliable and confident. Each had its advantages, making the two-corps structure of the region's military a rather unique set up. However, most of the old officers in Monolith decided to retire, which was quite helpful to Claude's initiative. He picked many younger officers to take over. Otherwise, Claude would have to deal with the senior soldiers and could only 'advise' them on their approaches rather than educate.

Having dealt with the departmental revamps, Claude turned his efforts to unit structures. As both the main forces and garrison forces had switched out the old rifles and cannons for new ones, a huge strain was put on logistics. Claude tried to implement the insights he gained during the war.

The region's army still relied on traditional unit layouts focused on musketry, which had a heavy emphasis on swarm tactics. So, the units had to constantly maximise the number of men under an officer's command. For instance, a tent of twelve was created because it was the maximum number of men a tentsman could effectively command.

Claude had always felt that it was a little too many people. Since they started using Sonia 591s, a tent's firepower was greatly boosted. Having twelve men in a tent was beginning to limit the agility and mobility of the individual units, so he decided to decrease the size of a tent to eight people, with the tentsmen being at least of sergeant-major rank and the vice tentsman being at least master-sergeants.

Additionally, Claude had wanted to make all units adopt the three-three ratio instead of the former four-four ratio, i.e. three tents to form a band, three bands to form a clan, three clans to form a tribe all the way to a corps. However, the proposed change came under heavy objection by the other officers. After some consideration, he didn't move forward with that change.

So, they ended up with eight-member tents. Four tents formed a band, which was led by a bandsman of at least the rank of a second lieutenant and accompanied by an orderman that doubled as an adjutant, a guard, a signaller, and a medic, making a band contain a total of 37 people. Four bands made a clan led by a clansman with the rank of first lieutenant or captain, aided by an adjutant, two guards, one signaller, one medic and one cannoneer tent of six men armed with one new light-infantry cannon, with 160 men in total.

Four clans formed a tribe with a tribesman of captain or major rank, aided by an adjutant, an orderman, three guards, six strategists, twelve support staff, one logistics tent of eight men, one tent of eight signallers, one tent of eight enforcers, one logistics tent, one tent of eight medics, one tent of eight guards, and one band of 30 cannoneers armed with eight light-infantry cannons, totalling up to 740 men.

Four tribes formed a line, whose linesman was a lieutenant-colonel or a colonel, aided by an adjutant, an orderman, 16 strategists, 32 support staff, one logistics band, one enforcer band, one guard band, one tent of eight medics, a direct-command clan of 160, and a clan of 145 cannoneers armed with 16 light-infantry cannons, totalling up to 3485 men. Main combat lines had an extra fifteen members, rounding up to a total of 3500.

Four of those lines formed a folk, headed by a folksman of colonel or major-general rank, aided by an adjutant and an orderman. Each folk headquarters would have twelve departments mirroring those of the force headquarters with a head and vice head each, four administrative officials, and twelve support staff. They would have a total of 216 people. Each folk also had a clan of guards, a clan of signallers, a clan of enforcers, a clan of constables, a clan of logistics staff, a clan of support staff, two clans of heavy transport crew and a band of 35 healers.

Additionally, each folk would also have an independent enhanced tribe numbering eight hundred and a tribe of cannoneers with 680 members and 64 light-infantry cannons. The whole folk in total numbered around 17 thousand men. If the stablemen, vets, kitchen staff and other non-combatants were taken into account, there would be around 18 thousand.

Claude knew that the two corps had around 35 thousand men per folk, which was far too much. Noncombatants occupied a third of that number and rendered them rather bloated and inflexible, also putting a lot of stress on supplies and logistics.

For instance, in the battle at Polyvisia, Claude used a line of troops to resist a corps of the Union. Even with properly fortified defensive walls giving the defenders great advantage, they still suffered quite a lot of unnecessary casualties. Back then, they didn't have much of a choice due to their inferior numbers. Not to mention, it would be overkill to fight an enemy corps with only a folk back then. It would be too easy to scare them away instead of leading them into a trap.

However, a line of 5500 soldiers against an enemy of 60 thousand wasn't exactly sufficient. Though, sending two lines to fight could cause the enemy to be too cautious and notice the trap. Back then, Claude hoped that he had a folk that numbered around 12 thousand which he could command like his own body.

This time, he shrunk a folk to around 18 thousand men, basically half the number from before. That way, even if they had four folks instead of two, each corps coupled with two direct-command lines, their total number of troops per corps wouldn't exceed 90 thousand. It was still far better than having four folks of 150 thousand troops in total in Thundercrash right now, which was a huge load off military spending and a solution for the lack of positions for generals to hold.

Despite finishing the revamps, he couldn't implement them immediately. Claude decided to use Monolith 3rd and 4th Folks that were left behind in the region as an experiment for that structure. When the older soldiers and officers retired, he formed a folk numbering 18 thousand men and ran various training programs and drills to test out the new structure's effectiveness and responsiveness to commands.

The days flew past rather quickly. Soon, Claude received word from Borkal and Bloweyk. They had travelled two long months to finally reach a small path that led to Moloshik's colony at the western coast and finally met with the mix-blood baron, Tazinger Nora Taganem.

Tazinger was elated that the region would support him. For the sake of the pamigar's liberation, he was willing to form a liberation force even if it meant his bankruptcy. The only difficulty was how none of the pamigars had military training. They would need at least half a year to finish training for their fight to be remotely impactful.

That was a little too long than the region would've liked. Not to mention, having tens of thousands of pamigars gather and train in one area made it easy for Moloshik's colonial troops to discover their plans. So, Bloweyk suggested recruiting voluntary soldiers to fight for the pamigar. At the very least, they would try to establish a foothold by taking some territory for themselves and buy time for training as the battle was ongoing to get the best results.

To Claude, the hard part of Operation Wildfire wasn't inspiring a wave of rebellion among the local natives. Instead, it would be preventing the colonies from tracing it back to the region. It wouldn't be a problem to send officers and voluntary fighters to train and help the pamigar. The issue was they couldn't use the region's signature new weapons for the fights.

First, ammunition would be a rather inconvenient problem. And if the new weapons ever fell into Moloshikian hands, then the region would have no more excuses. Everyone would conclude that the region was the faction supplying those weapons to intentionally sow chaos, since they never sold them to anyone else.

So, all the region could provide was old-fashioned muskets and mortar rounds, but no new weapons.

However, there were no longer as many muskets in the region. The Aubass Mark 3s that remained had been shipped back to the mainland to the three main corps of the kingdom to fight the Union. Even though the war was over, the region's forces couldn't exactly request the muskets to be returned.

Having no other choice, Claude got Weyblon to extend factory operation hours to produce 100 thousand precision-shooting muskets within two months to fulfill that urgent need.

But his problems didn't just end with obtaining the muskets. Instead, they were only the beginning. The soldiers that were used to the new weapons wouldn't be happy to be using muskets in battle. That would negatively impact the number of volunteers recruited to fight for the pamigars.

During the forces' council, Head of Strategy Drivick suggested that they recruited the Shiksan captives as voluntary soldiers to fight for the pamigars in their war of independence instead.

He justified it with three reasons. First, the Shiksan captives had served their terms and were free men, but a peace treaty hadn't been signed with Shiks. So, they couldn't return home. If they were willing to fight for the pamigars, the region had no right to deny them.

Second, they were most used to using muskets, so they would have no issues training and fighting with them.

Third, and most crucially, letting the 100 thousand plus Shiksan captives get residency in the region was a huge issue of contention among the council members. Those that supported it wanted fresh manpower for the region, and those that opposed argued that it would be akin to giving the same rights to citizenship to former enemies of the region. It would be too good for them to get free land or property like normal troops since they were not citizens who contributed to the region in any way.

Thus, Drivick said any captive that was willing to join the voluntary folk should not only be compensated highly with their salary, but also automatically become a citizen of the region once the fight was over and gain rights similar to Aueran citizens.

He believed that there should be enough volunteers among the 100 thousand free captives to form a folk of 30 thousand. He said he would be willing to lead to Moloshik's colony to start the fight to liberate the pamigars.

After some short discussions, Claude decided to give Drivick's plan a try and made him folksman of the voluntary folk. He would also take care of organising the folk before leaving for Moloshik's colony after the arms were produced.

Currently, the region would be funding the voluntary folk themselves. According to Borkal's agreement with Tazinger, the pamigars would pay the cost back after their nation was formed. After all, the baron wasn't able to afford such a huge expense given his current status.

As Claude was dealing with all those matters, he received Svenson's report from Ferd Manor that Madam Ferd and Kefnie had packed up their luggage and were prepared to leave for Whitestag with Beuergarcy and Amelisa.

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