Making Waves

Along side the new rule book and the oh-so shiny Black Wolf model (which you can read about here) Spartan Games are also releasing 4 new factions for Dystopian Wars. The first being the Republique of France which you can read about here. So I thought I’d provide the run down from Spartan of the factions, including the French, to really muddy the waters for you on who to collect.

Republique of France

“Liberty, Equality, Fraternity…and resurgence.”
– Louis-Napoleon, on being asked what his election as President would mean for France, 1868

Please Note: The models for the 2nd Wave nations have not yet been released. The information you find on this pages is for reference, allowing you to build up a clear image of the Dystopian Wars world, and how the various nations affect the global conflict.

The Republique of France is a nation scarred and debilitated by its experiences over the past seventy years. It has seen war and revolution, monarchy and republic. It has held an empire and has been fought over as a prize. At the height of its power under the legendary Napoleon Bonaparte, it sought to challenge the great Prussian Empire for dominance of Europe, and at its nadir it found itself unable to even defend its own borders, and suffered the ignominy of having some of its richest provinces laid waste during battles between the foreign powers that sought to govern its very destiny.

Republique of France

Republique of France

But the spirit of France has never been broken, and the legacy of its Revolution lives on. From the highest to the lowest in French society, a fierce patriotic pride burns bright in the heart of every citizen, and it is this that has carried the Republique through every tribulation it has endured since the fall of Napoleon.

Dominion

Territorially, France is a shadow of its former self. Napoleon’s imperial dominion over the Iberian Peninsula is long gone. The region of Provence, including the vital naval base at Toulon, and the island of Corsica, were ceded to the Italian League after the chaos following Napoleon’s death in 1804. Its old power in North and West Africa has also been supplanted by the Britannians and Italians, although it retains quite a considerable amount of economic influence in the region. Currently, the Republique does not exert direct rule over any territory outside of France itself. However, the small kingdom of Belgium, although nominally independent, has effectively been a French military and economic satellite state since end of the 1830s.

Further afield, French trade missions and military advisors operate worldwide, using their alliance with the Prussians to work alongside Dutch free traders and mercenaries in places as far away as China. Although strictly speaking these concerns operate as private enterprises, they are all linked in some way to the French state, enabling the Republique to keep its finger on the pulse of foreign affairs, despite lacking an extensive colonial empire.

Ruler

Since 1808 the Republique has been governed by a President as head of state, serving terms of seven years. The actual business of national administration is handled by the Chamber of Deputies, whose seats are allotted to French departments based on population size. France is one of the world’s most democratic nations, having adopted universal male suffrage in 1821. Although there are many political parties operating in this hothouse, French politics has traditionally been dominated by the so-called Parti Gaulois, a nationalist (but strongly pro-Prussian) organisation that dominated both the presidency and the Chamber of Deputies for decades. Through their influence, France has been officially allied to the Prussian Empire since the late 1800s.

However, all of this changed in 1866, with the election of the eccentric adventurer Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte, nephew of the legendary ruler, to the presidency. This was the climax of a growing resurgence of New Bonapartist influence. Formerly seen as minority dissidents, if not borderline terrorists, the Bonapartist opposition alliance, sometimes called the ‘Imperial Eagles’ faction, headed by the new president has risen to become a potent force in French politics, with its heady mixture of nationalistic propaganda and proto-liberal policies for social reform partially inspired by the attempted Europe-wide revolution of 1848, which has since gained a near-mythical status in France.

After just four years of his term, Bonaparte himself is still a mostly unknown quantity. He has reaffirmed the treaty with Prussia, even though it now places his nation technically at war with both the Russian Coalition and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and physically at war with the Kingdom of Britannia. However, few expect of him the near-supine compliance with Prussia that had been the hallmark of the Parti Gaulois. Louis-Napoleon, like his famous uncle, had plans for France, and playing the role of cat’s paw to Frederick Grunder is unlikely to be among them, at least not for very long.

Military Structure

The French military, formerly the terror of Europe, was shattered by 1810; the long campaign against the Britannians in Spain, the civil war between Napoleon’s marshals and fledgling republican government, and the Prussian invasion had all combined to wreck French military power. The nadir of this process was the ceding of Provence to the Italian League, a humiliation for the French which rivalled that of Trafalgar. French forces, other than a few mercenary companies, played virtually no direct part in the Battle of Waterloo, being unable even to contest the Britannian occupation of the Pas de Calais which allowed them to channel their forces into Belgium to face Blucher’s Prussians.

Since the advent of peace, the Republique has quietly rebuilt its military forces. Although now is the first time that France has been officially at war since 1815, French forces have been active around the world in one form or another since the 1830s. Military missions have been working with the Prussians, with the Ottoman Empire (in an unofficial capacity) and, lately, the Empire of the Blazing Sun. In particular, French engineers have been instrumental in strengthening and modernising the Wolfgang Fortresses, Prussia’s primary defence against the Russo-Polish invasion.

The French military is small compared to those of its neighbours, but it is a highly elite and well-motivated organisation. Like the Blazing Sun, France fields integrated combined-arms formations called Legions, although those of the French consist of only land and air divisions, for reasons explained below. The French soldier, commonly known by the honourable epithet chasseur, or ‘hunter’, is a highly disciplined and well-equipped instrument of war. The French military, unable to match in numbers the conscript mass armies of Prussia and Russia, focuses on training and technological innovation to make up for this deficit in materiel.

Nowhere has this become more apparent than in the French Navy; it has acquired Gravity Nullification Engine (GNE) technology, an innovation that no other nation as yet possesses. By means of this mysterious attribute, French seagoing vessels are capable of lifting themselves out of the water and becoming fully airborne for considerable periods of time. Although their speed is no match for purpose designed flying craft, the firepower they can bring to bear is virtually unmatched by anything else in the air, and they can operate freely over land and water. How the Republique got hold of this expertise is unclear, although fingers point to both Louis-Napoleon’s previous association with Lord Sturgeon’s expeditions, and the influence of the so-called ‘dissident’ Markov. Either way, the French navy, though limited in its reach, is a now a force that even the Britannians are taking very seriously once again.

Ottoman Empire

“The Rus have violated our sacred lands and the Italians sail our waters with impunity. Inshallah, we will teach them all the error of their ways.”
Mehmed Pasha, Grand Vizer to his Imperial Highness Suleiman Mustafa I, to the French Ambassador, Constantinople 1870

Please Note: The models for the 2nd Wave nations have not yet been released. The information you find on this pages is for reference, allowing you to build up a clear image of the Dystopian Wars world, and how the various nations affect the global conflict.

Once thought to be a power in decline, the Ottoman Dominions have staged a remarkable recovery in their fortunes over the last century. Dominating the eastern end of the Mediterranean, the Dominion occupies the crossroads of the Eurasian continent and as a result holds enormous influence on all overland trade between Europe and Orient. The Dominion’s central Asian territories also hold vast quantities of mineral oil – black gold whose significance is just becoming apparent to the other major powers. Long considered militarily backwards, the Dominion has recently undertaken a major overhaul and modernisation of its military forces under its dynamic new Sultan and his wise and experienced Grand Vizier. Nonetheless, the Dominion’s new engagement with foreign powers has created a degree of political tension between rival factions in the Imperial Court.

Ottoman Empire Flag

Ottoman Empire Flag

Dominion

Although challenged in North Africa by both the Italian League and the Kingdom of Britannian, and seeing its dominance in the Balkans slowly eroded by local revolts, these are still comparatively minor issues. The Sultan and his government hold sway over lands from Libya in the west to the borders of the Russian Coalition and the Chinese Federation to the north and east, while to the south, the Dominion’s borders stretch deep into the heartlands of east Africa and the entire Arabian Peninsula. Like the Russian Coalition, all of the Dominion’s lands, apart from its Balkan territories across the Dardanelles, lie within a single set of borders. Moreover, the Dominion benefits from formidable natural defences against foreign interference – rugged mountains in the north and east, the Black, Mediterranean and Arabian Seas and the inhospitable deserts and jungles of the African interior. Only in the Balkans, where its territory directly abuts the Prussian Empire and the Italian-backed Free Hellenic Kingdom, and in North Africa, where a growing Italian presence in Algeria and Tunisia borders its westernmost provinces, can the Dominion be threatened from Western Europe. However, from the Black Sea coast to the Caucasus Mountains, the Sultan’s armies and fleets keep a careful watch on the Russian Coalition, the Dominion’s most overt enemy.

The Sultan, who also holds the title of Caliph, rules from his glittering capital of Constantinople, the jewel of the Mediterranean which straddles the Bosporus. Control of the narrow but vital waterway between two major seas has always been an Ottoman priority, and the entire Dardanelles is heavily fortified from end to end, for it also forms the principal line of defence between the Dominion’s heartlands in Asia and any trouble arising in Europe.

Much of the Dominion’s huge population is concentrated on the coasts of its territories and in the fertile hinterlands of the great rivers it controls – the Nile, Tigris and Euphrates. However, the Dominion is also inhabited by many itinerant nomadic tribes, from the Arabs in the south-east to the Berber tribes of Libya. Like the Russian Coalition, the Ottoman Dominion encompasses many different peoples, societies and beliefs – although Turks constitute the bulk of the ruling class, the Sultan rules such diverse peoples as Arabs, Persians, Greeks, Bulgars, Serbs, Bosniacs, Chechens, Uighurs and many east African tribes.

Ruler

The Sublime Lord Suleiman Mustafa I is the current Sultan of the Ottoman Dominion. At 36 years of age he is a young and dynamic leader, having taken power only seven years before. In technical terms, he holds absolute power over the whole of his vast empire as the supreme military, civil and religious authority (as Caliph), although in practice the bulk of administration is handled by an exceptionally capable bureaucracy, headed by his chief advisor, the 67 year old Grand Vizier Mehmed Pasha. Mehmed has faithfully served no fewer than three Sultans during his long tenure, and his great political wisdom and experience helps to temper the sometimes impassioned and mercurial Sultan. This has been particularly evident in the light of prolonged Italian and Russian hostility towards the Dominion in both the Caucasus and the Balkans. Rather than acquiescing to the Sultan’s wish to lead his nation alone into conflict with its giant neighbour, Mehmed has advised that the Dominion lessen its previously isolationist stance towards the world in order to gain foreign allies and avoid the rigours of a two-front conflict fought alone.

Although the Dominion is effectively autocratic, and is frequently characterised by foreigners as a deeply conservative and religious entity, its system of governance is in fact highly flexible. The regional governors of its various provinces, known as Pashas or Beys, have considerable autonomy over their territories. This kind of freedom has led to a degree of corruption in the past, and so the activities of governors are policed by the Qadi, or magistrates, who report back to the Grand Vizier and through him, ultimately, to the Sultan.

Although characterised as a Muslim empire – the bulk of its population following this faith – the Dominion is pragmatic enough to permit a high degree of religious toleration, with officials being promoted and ennobled on merit rather than by blood or beliefs. Suleiman Mustafa has instituted major reforms in education, taking it partially out of the hands of the religious institutions that have traditionally held sway over it, and bringing in much foreign expertise in order for his empire to capitalise on the latest industrial and technological advances. In particular, he has revived the Dominion’s historic association with France, so much so that French is once again an officially recognised language in his court. French engineers, scientists and soldiers are working extensively in the Dominion’s universities and military academies.

Military Structure

Ottoman military organisation retains many of the features that have sustained it for centuries, but the demands of modern warfare and rapid technological advances have given rise to extensive changes in equipment and tactics. The core of the Ottoman army is still its elite regiments of Janissary infantry, although their composition and role have changed greatly since their extensive (and brutal) reorganisation by the then-Sultan in the early 19th century. The Janissaries are trained as riflemen and grenadiers, and some regiments have recently begun to undergo extensive training with French-designed rocket packs to serve as assault troops on Ottoman armoured and naval units. Janissary regiments are totally self-contained organisations, and even include their own medical and logistic services. Alongside the Janissaries, the bulk of the Ottoman armies are made up of Azap regiments – conscript light infantry given basic training and equipment, and which form the mass manpower of the Sultan’s armies. Lastly, Ottoman armoured regiments and Land Ships are crewed by a special class of soldiers known as Seymen. Originally irregular, almost exclusively Turkish, light infantry units who also served as guards and watchmen, the Seymen regiments have evolved to become custodians of the Sultan’s war machines, and are busily building a whole new military tradition.

Alongside the regular Ottoman forces, there are many irregular troops from various quarters, such as desert nomads, who fight more or less as guerrilla forces. Ottoman commanders allow such troops a high degree of autonomy, understanding that they operate best when left to fight as they know best.

The Ottoman Navy is a single organisation that also encompasses the Aviation Corps. Ottoman warships are strongly built and well armed, designed to operate almost as mobile fortresses in confined waters where the risk of surface and air attack is considerable. The Aviation Squadrons, a comparatively recent addition to Ottoman military strength, as yet mostly employ redesigned versions of French equipment, but are said to be rapidly re-equipping with new craft originated by the Dominion’s own naval and aerial architects. There are also persistent rumours than the Dominion may be attempting to acquire GNE technology from its French allies.

Currently, the Ottoman Dominion is engaged in a defensive conflict against the Italian League in the Mediterranean, staving off the perfidious southern Europeans while a corps of engineers works on a secretive plan in the Suez region to undermine overall Italian objectives at a single stroke. Meanwhile, the Sultan is marshalling his forces for a major counterattack against the Russians. Although Suleiman Mustafa has no real desire for territorial expansion, he is determined that the unprovoked Russian violation of his empire’s heartland will not go unpunished.

League of Italian States

“The Mediterranean will be ours again, Cardinal. We will have a new empire, even if we cannot yet divine who will be its Caesar…”
– Lord Marco Santini, envoy of the King of Sardinia, to the Papal nuncio (ambassador), Turin, 1867

Please Note: The models for the 2nd Wave nations have not yet been released. The information you find on this pages is for reference, allowing you to build up a clear image of the Dystopian Wars world, and how the various nations affect the global conflict.

Of all the great powers of the world, perhaps none are as skilled in the arts of political chicanery and deadly focused violence as the Italian League. The fractious Italian peninsula has long been the scene of wars, dynastic struggles and political infighting, and such matters still exist today, although to a lesser degree, as the one thing that unites the otherwise disparate forces in Italian politics is their desire for territorial expansion – the League fancies itself as the forerunners of a new Italian empire dominating the Mediterranean basin. The Italians spent many years capitalizing upon the weaknesses of their neighbours, taking only what they could wrest without provoking outright war.

League of Italian States Flag

League of Italian States Flag

Now embroiled in a struggle for Mediterranean dominance with the Ottoman Dominion, the League has also been dragged into conflict with several other major powers thanks to its long-standing treaty with Prussia, as well as being compelled to ally with one of its natural enemies, France. This has left the League in a potentially perilous position, but none are better at playing off one power against another than the Italians, who have literally had a thousand years of practice in such arts.

Dominion

The Italian League is one of the smallest of the great powers, its core territory consisting of only the Italian peninsula and the islands of Sicily and Sardinia. However, since the early 1800s, the League has gradually been expanding its overseas holdings around the Mediterranean basin. The League’s forces took back much of the old Venetian territories on the eastern Adriatic coast, including the important trading port of Split, after the Habsburg submission to the Prussians in 1804, and seized the Balearic islands from a weakened Spain soon afterwards. The League’s greatest prizes, however, came when the Kingdoms of Sardinia and Sicily combined their forces and took the island of Corsica and the north African lands of Algeria and Tunisia from the French. These combined lands form the current extent of the Italian League’s holdings
As well as their own lands, the Italians also sponsor the Free Hellenic Kingdom in western Greece and the Peloponnese, supporting the Greeks’ struggle for independence from the Ottomans, although for more pragmatic than idealistic reasons. The charismatic adventurer, idealist and general Giuseppe Garibaldi himself is currently leading the Italian efforts to assist the Greeks in freeing the island of Cyprus from Ottoman influence. This is a calculated measure on the part of the League, as it keeps the highly effective but politically risky Garibaldi away from the centres of power in Italy itself.

As well as their actual empire, the Italians have a considerable diaspora of citizenry living abroad, as far afield as the Americas, Free Australia and China. These communities form a widespread and very effective worldwide intelligence network for the League, allowing it to subtly influence affairs far beyond its immediate sphere.

Ruler

As befits a place where independence of mind, backroom intrigue and cut-throat politics holds sway, the Italian League has no single leader. In fact, its homeland on the peninsula is divided into more than twenty independent duchies, republics and city-states. However, in practice, all of these smaller states owe allegiance to one or other of the four most powerful constituent states of the League. These are the Kingdom of Sardinia, the Kingdom of Sicily, the Kingdom of Lombardy and the Republic of Venice. Not only are these the four largest states in Italy itself, but it is they who have divided up the League’s overseas holdings between themselves. Only Lombardy lacks such prestige, but compensates by controlling the lucrative mountain trading routes into the Prussian empire, as well as the League’s major banking houses in Milan.

The Kings of Sardinia, Sicily and Lombardy, and the Doge of the Venetian Republic, form the so-called ‘Tetrarchy of Princes’ that governs the League as a whole, with the smaller states jostling and politicking for influence with one or other of them. In addition, although nominally supposed to act in unity for the greater good of the League, they also constantly strive for dominance within the Tetrarchy. However, all are united by the struggle against a common enemy, in this case the Ottoman Dominion. The Tetrarchy normally operates from the magnificent floating city of Venice, but in practice can and has met in Milan, Turin and Palermo when necessary.

Standing apart from the rest of the League is one very special state – Rome, the Eternal City, home of and controlled by the Catholic Church. Although no longer an imperial capital, Rome’s immense significance means that all Italians consider it to belong to them. While he has no official temporal power in the League outside of Rome itself, the Pope has immense moral authority with all of the League states, which he does not hesitate to exert when necessary.

Military Structure

The Italian League is heavily militarised despite its small size – all of the states maintain standing armed forces, as much to protect themselves from each other’s ambitions. Despite this, however, a lack of resources compared to the other powers means that the Italian military is still not especially numerous. However, what it lacks in numbers, it makes up for in skill and equipment. The largest and most powerful branch of the Italian military is its navy, whose administration is shared primarily between Sardinia and Venice. It is a highly trained and motivated force, for it is the navy that most frequently runs up against the Ottoman enemy. Italian warships are quite lightly armoured, but they are swift and agile and carry massive firepower for their tonnage. Beauty and aesthetics are key features in all Italian design and this is especially apparent in their warships, which are made to resemble floating works of art. In fact, some say that Italian ships carry the longest ranged weapons possible in order to prevent the enemy from unsporting damaging their finely crafted decoration!

The armies of the states, which together comprise the land forces of the League, are comparatively small, but they consist of a great many crack formations. The most notable are the bersaglieri, with their distinctive plumed helmets, and the alpini or mountain troops. Most Italian land formations are organised into Legions, which strongly resemble those of the ancient Roman Empire in organisation, suitably updated for the rigours of modern war. Because Italian formations tend to be small, they are mostly heavily mechanised with tanks and armoured transports. Almost all Italian armour is amphibious, and the League’s forces are very adept at assault from the sea. Of special note is the Legion commanded by Garibaldi, currently fighting the Ottomans in Greece. This Legion, unlike almost all others, is made up of troops from all over the League.
The Italian Air Armada falls between the navy and army in terms of size, but considers itself even more elite. Air combat, especially that involving aeroplanes, lends itself well to the individualistic Italian character; one on one, Italian pilots are noted as being some of the best in the world, likely a match for even the dreaded Steel Interceptors of the Russian Coalition.

The Italian League stands at the crux every major conflict developing in Europe. From an outsider’s perspective, its situation looks exceptionally bleak. But where foreigners see only despair, the League sees opportunity. Power is about more than brute force and numbers. Often, perceptions and finesse render such things irrelevant, and none do these better than the Italians.

Russian Coalition

“It is said that no one man can command the world, Dimitri, but I say nothing is impossible…”
– Tsar Vladimir I Nikolaievich to the Grand Prince of Kiev, St Petersburg, 1866

Please Note: The models for the 2nd Wave nations have not yet been released. The information you find on this pages is for reference, allowing you to build up a clear image of the Dystopian Wars world, and how the various nations affect the global conflict.

The Russian Coalition is without doubt one of the greatest powers on earth. Its ruler, Tsar Vladimir I Nikolaievich Rurik-Novy, commands the people, wealth and resources of over a sixth of the world’s entire landmass. And yet, still it is not enough for him. Long regarded as insular, backwards and obsessed with mysticism, the Coalition under Vladimir’s rule has burst onto the world stage in spectacular fashion. Every one of the Coalition’s neighbours have been affected by its new spirit of expansionism, and while the Tsar’s ambitions are a long way from being fulfilled, many believe that ultimately the motion of this global juggernaut can at best only be delayed rather than stopped outright.

The Russian Coalition

The Russian Coalition

Dominion

The Russian Coalition is by a considerable margin the largest land power in the world. Its vast holdings girdle half the northern hemisphere, from the Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth to the north-eastern tip of Asia; the Coalition even has borders with the FSA and Britannian Canada, as it also claims the great wilderness of Alaska at the north-western edge of the New World. Its northern border brushes the Arctic, while in the south it abuts the wastes of the Gobi Desert, China and the Ottoman Empire. This enormous empire encompasses every imaginable landscape: soaring mountains, sweeping grassy steppes, windswept tundra, searing deserts and dark, forbidding forests. These vast lands are rich in resources of all kinds, easily fuelling the great expansion of industry and agriculture incepted by Tsar Nikolai and continued with gusto by his son Vladimir.

This territorial giant has a population to match, and while it is not quite as large as the empire’s landmass would suggest, it is still many times larger than any other single nation’s, with the possible exception of the Chinese Federation. Although often seen as a monolithic horde, the Coalition’s people are composed of a bewildering array of ethnic groups, social orders and creeds. The largest single group are the Great Russians, who dwell mostly in the European portions of the Tsar’s domain and who form its ruling class. But in these regions alone the empire also encompasses Finns, Ukranians, Ruthenians, Latvians, Bulgars, Georgians, Armenians and Azeris. From further afield come Siberian tribesmen, Mongols, Kazakhs, Uzbeks, Kyrgyz, Turkmen and countless others.

The European portions of the Coalition, and some areas of its far eastern holdings near the Chinese and Korean borders, are highly urbanised and heavily industrialised, while other areas, such as the wilderness of Siberia and the arid Kazakh hinterlands, are only sparsely populated and largely agrarian. Apart from the autonomous Oblast of Alaska, and few small islands to the north of Japan, all of the Coalition’s territory is contained within its borders. This sheer concentration of land, people and resources is what makes the Russian Coalition so intimidating.

Ruler

In theory, as its name suggests, the Russian Coalition is a union of many different regional powers; kingdoms, duchies, principalities, dominions and more archaic divisions, such as the khanates of the east, the tribal councils of Siberia and the Cossack clans. In practice, however, all of these various local magnates are the vassals and subjects of the Supreme Autocrat, the Tsar of All the Russias. These local rulers, be they Grand Princes, Dukes, Khans or tribal Hetmen, serve as regional governors over their territories, acting as the Tsar’s representatives under the exceptionally watchful eyes of his secret police.

The current Tsar is Vladimir I Nikolaievich Rurik-Novy, a tireless, driven man intent on expanding his nation’s power and prestige. Vladimir’s father, Nikolai, took power in 1799, following mass revolution that brought down the eccentric and unpopular Paul I, the last of the Romanov Tsars. A fiercely charismatic man who claimed descent from the legendary Rurik dynasty, the family of Russia’s first true Tsar, Ivan the Terrible, Nikolai rallied support far and wide among a large number of regional potentates.

Becoming Tsar at the tender age of twenty, after his father’s depression and alcohol-induced suicide, Vladimir rapidly demonstrated his utter ruthlessness. No less than thirty-seven generals and senior boyars, or nobles, suspected of conspiring to depose him, were put to death or exiled to Siberia. Vladimir also legitimized the political officers appointed by his father to ensure discipline in the massed ranks of the White Army, modelling them on the infamous Oprichniki of his ancestor Ivan the Terrible, and ensuring that their authority extended to his regional leaders as well.

At the heart of his government, Tsar Vladimir is advised by a council of ministers known as the Imperial Duma. The Duma’s members are drawn from Vladimir’s most trusted nobles, although the last word on decision-making is always left to the Tsar himself. Vladimir’s most important advisor however is the man to whom he owes credit for the amazingly rapid and effective modernisation of his armies – Markov Helsinki, the dissident of Antarctica.

Military Structure

The White Army is the collective term for the Russian Coalition’s vast land and air military forces. The seaborne component, the White Navy, is a sister organisation and firmly subordinate to the army. The White Army’s strength is, and has always been, manpower. Tsar Vladimir has men in millions, organised into thousands of infantry regiments, or Polks. However, the quality of his troops varies wildly, as does the extent and state of their equipment. The best White Army troops are the Streltsy regiments, elite armoured riflemen whose very best form the inner guard of the Tsar himself. At the other end of the scale, many regular army conscripts are little better than partially trained peasant militiamen, driven into battle by their officers, who are themselves frequently in fear of their lives, courtesy of Oprichniki advisors. However, regardless of their origins there are two characteristics shared by all Coalition forces – their immense endurance and resistance to hardship, and their almost mystical faith in and loyalty to the Tsar.

Since Markov’s return the White Army has undergone substantial technical growth. Tank regiments have started to appear, often composed of huge armoured troop carriers that act like mobile bunkers, shielding the vulnerable infantry while allowing them to fight. Russian Land Ships tend to be smaller than those of other nations, but well armoured, and many new designs are capable of burrowing beneath the earth and collapsing whole settlements.

The White Air Armies regard themselves as an elite force and have the reputation to match. Their combination of fearless pilots and surprisingly advanced aircraft – dubbed ‘Steel Interceptors’ – make them formidable foes. Many pilots are Cossacks, who have swapped their horses for the latest tools in the shock attacks at which they excel.

Despite its immense numbers the White Army’s military history is somewhat chequered. Beginning the century with an unexpected loss to the Commonwealth at the so-called ‘Charge of the Angels’ outside Vilnius in 1830, they next fought a bloody and inconclusive war with China for nine years until 1847. However, with the ascension of a new and ruthless supreme commander, the Siberian Josef Cherdenko, and the adoption of more and more of Markov’s fearsome weaponry, the White Army and Navy have acquired new heart and are successfully waging war or no less than three fronts, against the Prussian and Ottoman Empires in the west and south, and now the FSA at sea in the Pacific. The Russian colossus is on the march, and Tsar Vladimir’s ambitions, once thought no more than dreams, look increasingly achievable.

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