The Military of Haven
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Military Tactics

Combat on Imperius and the moons of Oculus takes the form of a mixture between the historical tactics used by the Anglo-Saxon and Norman armies around 1066 and the cinematic combat demonstrated at the beginning of the movie Gladiator and throughout Troy. Command and control is more like the use of battlesuits in David Drake's Northworld and John Ringo's A Hymn Before Battle.

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Although most battles begin with single combat between champions, the shield wall with hand weapons or spears (pikes are not in use due to the greater need for point control against advanced armor) is king, with cavalry primarily used to exploit disorder in a shield wall or to run down disorganized infantry. The shield wall is supported by archers behind it, and light cavalry guards the flanks and is used as scouts and raiders off the battlefield.

The proper tactics for use against the Hostiles upon their return is still being debated. Some suggest that based on the Hostiles' tactics during the Second System War - all-out infantry charge devolving into individual fights - a charge of heavy cavalry should be enough to rout them, while others argue that the Hostiles' own tactics are likely to be different this time around, and that Haven forces should simply stick to their standard tactics until the Hostiles' methods are known.

Each house has a standing military based around a body of professional men-at-arms, archers, and cavalry. The men-at-arms anchor the shield wall, around which levies of spearmen and archers gather. Small units of knights supply both the champions for single-combat and the charge weight to turn a disordered shield wall into a rout, but the knights do not have the numbers to break a well-managed shield wall on their own.

Archers form up behind the shield wall, arcing arrows up and over the opposing shield wall to strike at the rear ranks and try to disorganize them. Light cavalry is held out of combat to harry fleeing forces and to guard the flanks of the shield wall. If an opposing shield wall has no cavalry to guard its flanks, both light and heavy cavalry can gather together to turn the flank of the enemy shield wall.

Sieges involve heavy blaster weapons to pierce walls which are too large to be protected with energy fields, but these weapons aren't brought to battle, as they are useless against soldiers and horses with energy fields.

The Evolution of a Battle

Battles begin with a challenge of champions, but this isn’t a formalized duel. Instead, the champions fight until the defeat of one champion is eminent, at which point there will usually be a rush to either save the defeated champion or recover his or her arms, armor, and body. If the fight was particularly one-sided, and the defeated side is greatly outnumbered, they will sometimes retreat with only minor skirmishing around the defeated champion. If they won’t retreat, however, shield walls are formed, and battle begins in earnest.

The press of the shield wall requires high physical strength and high morale alike. Energy shields are pressed against one another, and monomolecular swords or spears are thrust at heads and legs, or gravity-generator axes are swung over the top of shields. Casualties occur slowly but steadily, with one shield wall or another occasionally withdrawing momentarily to redress their lines and prevent disorganization.

The press is such that in the center of each shield wall, discipline will often break down, turning the fight into a swirling melee. Where the lines are not intermixed, however, the forces must hold their discipline, lest enemy cavalry overrun them. When one shield wall breaks, casualties begin to mount rapidly as the heavy cavalry is sent in to exploit the disordered line and shatter the shield wall before it can reform.

Levies are used to provide mass behind professional shield walls, to turn the flanks of a smaller enemy force, or to shield the flanks of an outnumbered shield wall. They usually break when the shield wall does, and a large number of the casualties come from these lightly-armored fighters.

Military Ranks

For the most part, ground forces are commanded by nobles and knights, but there are a few additional ranks to help control the masses of footmen, archers, and cavalry. Sergeants command squads of nine soldiers, Captains command companies of 100 soldiers, and Lieutenants assist Captains in their commands. Citizens and nobles alike can hold these ranks, with knights who do so usually outranking their Citizen or noble counterparts (after all, Knights are especially trained for war). The officer in command of the entire force is temporarily named General, and typically has several Captains as assistants. In a particularly large force, there will be a General of the Right, a General of the Left, a General of the Wall, and the overall General.

Soldiers

Whether men-at-arms, archers, light cavalry, and a more esoteric unit type, individual soldiers are drawn from the ranks of the Citizens living within a House's domain. They swear their service directly to the House in exchange for room, board, equipment, and a salary, and serve as soldiers during wartime and a police force during peacetime. They serve until physically or psychologically unable to do so, and then are allowed to retire and given a small stipend.

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Arms and Armor

Both weapons and armor in the Haven System are highly advanced. Just because energy fields have made blaster weapons and firearms obsolete doesn't mean that warriors are relegated to swinging heavy hunks of metal at one another and wearing iron stove plates.

Weapons

Bladed weapons are honed to a monomolecular edge, while traditionally weighted weapons like maces and axes are fitted with gravity generators to allow the swing to strike with more mass.

Compound bows allow high draw weights with less training and practice, while keeping arrow velocities under the threshold stopped by energy fields. These bows can mount laser sights, arrow-braces, and other enhancements. Crossbows and hand crossbows are even easier to aim than compound bows, but even these magnetically-driven crossbows fire more slowly than bows, as they have to recharge after each shot.

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Armor

Armor is at least as advanced as weapons technology, consisting of sandwiched layers of lightweight metals and ceramics in various weights, along with kevlar and impact-resistant fabrics. It can range from a skinsuit which is no more encumbering than plain clothing to ultra-heavy armor so heavy that even with servo assistance, a well-trained soldier cannot even run in it.

Most suits of armor include equipment allowing the user to see in several visual spectrums and fight at night as well as during the day; Heads-Up-Displays to display maps, maneuver orders, and the like; and communication systems to keep the army commander in contact with all of his or her soldiers.

Some armor even comes with chameleon paint, allowing it to display one of several preset camouflage or heraldic patterns. The most expensive suits even include on-board AI to control the HUD, communication systems, and to assist the wearer with controlling his or her forces.

Military Forces

House Population Knights Light Cavalry Men-at-Arms Archers Total Military Emphasis
Sauveur Paramount 2,000,000 2,000 6,000 19,000 14,000 41,000 Balanced Forces
Orelle Paramount 2,000,000 500 500 25,000 13,750 39,750 Marines
Orelle 1,000,000 250 0 12,000 7,000 19,250 Marines
Dalton 200,000 50 250 2,500 1,250 4,050 Light Infantry
Larent 150,000 50 0 1,500 1,500 3,050 Scouts
Grantham 90,000 25 0 1,500 500 2,025 Heavy Infantry
Iah 100,000 25 0 1,000 1,000 2,025 Irregular Infantry
Volen 100,000 25 0 1,500 500 2,025 Marines
Other Orelle Vassals 360,000 75 250 5,000 2,000 7,325 -
Cindravale Paramount 4,000,000 4,500 33,000 26,250 17,500 81,250 Cavalry
Cindravale 2,000,000 2,500 16,000 12,000 8,000 38,500 Cavalry
Leonnida 150,000 200 500 2,250 1,500 4,450 Balanced Forces
Ligonier 50,000 75 0 1,000 500 1,575 Swordsmanship
Rovehn 50,000 75 3,500 0 0 3,575 Light Cavalry
Other Cindravale Vassals 1,750,000 1,650 13,000 11,000 7,500 33,150 -
Khournas Paramount 4,000,000 2,750 3,500 51,500 25,000 82,750 Heavy Infantry
Khournas 2,500,000 1,750 750 32,000 16,000 50,500 Heavy Infantry
Ibrahm 200,000 150 0 4,000 1,000 5,150 Mounted Infantry
Saimhann 175,000 100 0 2,500 2,000 4,600 Irregular Infantry
Valta 150,000 100 0 2,500 1,000 3,500 Infantry
Other Khournas Vassals 975,000 650 2,750 10,500 5,000 18,900 -
Arboren Paramount 3,000,000 1,500 3,000 24,500 29,500 58,500 Archers
Arboren 1,500,000 750 500 12,000 15,000 28,250 Archers
Peake 300,000 125 0 3,500 2,500 6,125 Irregular Infantry
Hollolas 250,000 100 0 2,000 3,000 5,100 Wet Navy
Other Arboren Vassals 950,000 525 2,500 7,000 9,000 19,025 -
Chantry 250,000 0 0 5,000 3,000 8,000 Planetary Defense
Totals 15,250,000 11,250 46,000 151,250 102,750 311,250 -

Naval Combat

In the First System War, Havenite ships were a collection of jury-rigged exploration and transit ships. They were able to slow the assault of the Hostiles, but not drive them back entirely. By the Second System War, the Royal Navy had expanded, and now had purpose-built ships to engage the Hostile ships with blaster weapons, and other purpose-built ships for delivering their knights and men-at-arms to Hostile ships where they could capture them intact.

Now, with the Third System War approaching quickly, new ships have been prepared, ships that can both fight with blaster weapons and deliver troops in boarding actions. They are captained and crewed by graduates of the Royal Naval Academy on The Ring. Thousands of knights and men-at-arms are prepared to step into Waygates and load onto the Royal Navy ramships at a moment's notice, ready to take the fight to the Hostiles as soon as their ships are spotted. These ramships range in size from ones with a crew of 20 and room for 100 boarders to ones with a crew of 50 and room for 300 boarders.

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Boarding actions are one of the few situations when blaster weapons are useful, but even then they cannot damage any enemies wearing an energy field. Instead, they are often used against doors, instrument panels, or other inanimate objects which might disable an enemy ship. They are more efficient than a melee weapon, and can be used multiple times, unlike demolition charges. Because of this, many boarders carry a blaster pistol with them when attacking an enemy ship.

Naval Ranks

Ranks within the Royal Navy are the same as within the ground forces. All members of the Navy, however come out of the Royal Naval Academy on The Ring. There are two tracks in the Academy, a vocational track leading to graduates being enlisted as Sailors, and a command track leading to graduates being commissioned as Lieutenants. Each Captain commands a ramship with one to three Lieutenants serving as second officer, gunnery officer, and engineer. Small ramships have only a single Lieutenant, while larger ones have three. Sergeants in the Navy are technical specialists, and are only rarely promoted to Lieutenant. Onboard a ship, the Captain has the final say unless an Admiral is along for the ride. There are four Admirals in the Royal Navy, each commanding a flotilla of ramships, and the entire Navy is commanded by the High Admiral, who is also the Master of Ships.

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