How much can I get for a kidney? 30 years old, reasonably good condition…
“Prussian infantry advancing on the left? Splendid! I thought we wouldn’t get a chance to thrash them before sundown.”
-First Lieutenant Arthur Wickes, 28th Regiment of Foot (Suffolk), Her Majesty’s Army of Flanders
The officer corps of Britannian regiments has traditionally been drawn from the nation’s upper class. Many old Britannian families have a long and honourable tradition of military service.
Britannian field officers are mostly still seen as a breed apart by the troops under their command. What comes as a surprise to outside observers is that this often serves to strengthen the bond between commissioned officers and the regular soldiers.
Britannian officers, aware of their reputation, go to great lengths to remain absolutely unflappable even in the face of the worst tribulations. As far as they are concerned, a panicking commander is of no use to anyone. In turn, the regular troops harbour great respect for their leaders that stems from more than mere status.
Trained in prestigious military colleges such as Sandhurst, Britannian officers command with a combination of easy confidence and unshakeable self-belief. Junior officers in particular, the lieutenants and captains are also noted for leading from the front, never hesitating to put themselves in the line of fire if their presence is needed.
However, as the war progresses a new breed of officer is beginning to appear in the Britannian army, especially the newer regiments. These men, hard-bitten veterans, have been ‘raised from the ranks’.
At first, this was a controversial move. Some of the more traditional Britannian generals feared that the troops would not hold leaders who came from their own ‘sort’ in the same kind of respect as officers drawn from upper classes.
However, for the most part, these fears have not been borne out. Although they might lack some of the awe in which their upper-class peers are held by the soldiery, these rougher-edged leaders make up for it with sheer grit and battle experience. A slight lack of etiquette in the mess is now seen by even the stuffiest of military traditionalists as a fair price to pay for battles won for Queen and country!
The Kingdom of Britannia is famous for the quality of its officers, and their Lieutenants are no exception. In combat the main value of a Lieutenant is to influence their men with their powerful Command Abilities,Focus Fire and On My Mark.
The Focus Fire Command Ability represents an officer co-ordinating the musketry of a nearby Section, making them much more likely to hit their targets. This ability is incredibly important to any Ranged Attack-heavy Britannian force.
The On My Mark Command Ability is a rather different tool, allowing a Section to react immediately if they come under attack from enemy fire. Beyond the obvious advantage of being able to hit back before having your firepower reduced by the incoming attack, this ability can have a terrible psychological effect on your opponent. Would you really want to fire on a section if you well know that you’ll be taking more punishment back in return?
A Britannian Lieutenant can do more than just shout orders. A lifestyle involving shooting, fencing and horse riding means every officer is fighting fit and handy with a sabre and a pistol. Additionally, most officers buy their own weapons before heading out on campaign, meaning Britannian commanders can rely on a good deal of personal firepower.
A common choice for officers heading out at the moment is the powerful Windshear Ray Projector, a weapon able to shred a man or machine in moments. This allows the Lieutenant to pack a surprisingly powerful punch at point-blank range – perfect for finishing off any dazed stragglers who escaped the wrath of rifle and flamethrower!
“Every shot needs to count, my lads. Can’t go wasting Her Majesty’s ammunition now, can we?”
-Sergeant Albert Trieves, 33rd Regiment of Foot (Royal Berkshires)
For centuries, the armies of Britannia have relied on a solid core of well-trained, professional Riflemen. Since the unification of the British Isles as the Kingdom of Britannia, its red-coated soldiers have fought on nearly every continent, and their battles have taken them to the very ends of the earth.
From tiny islands in bleak oceanic fastnesses to the searing deserts of Africa and the dense jungles of South Asia, Britannia’s soldiers have marched to battle in the name of monarch and country. Through all of this, the Britannians have maintained a reputation for battle skill and resolution that far outweighed their relatively small numbers.
Prime among these attributes is their sheer stubbornness and will to win. Many times Queen Victoria’s forces have emerged from campaigns in triumph through their sheer unwillingness to accept defeat. Dogged endurance has seen even small expeditionary forces overwhelm many foes that should have beaten them.
The modern Britannian army is one of the most heavily mechanised forces in the world o, but large numbers of foot soldiers still form its beating heart. These days they are almost always furnished with specialist support weaponry and armoured units. However, there is still a tradition of rigorous – sometimes harsh – training that turns out hardy and resolute soldiers. This has ensured that Britannia’s infantry are still a formidable power in the field in their own right.
Although supported by soldiers from all over Britannia’s vast imperial territories, the core of the Kingdom’s forces are the English, Welsh, Scots and Irish regiments of the home army. The majority of them are well-trained professionals in the tradition of Wellington’s armies of the Prussian Wars. Often tied into twenty-five years or more of service, many are skilled veterans of battles all over the world to protect and expand Queen Victoria’s empire.
However the outbreak of the World War, especially the London Raid, has seen vast numbers of volunteers sign up for military service. Nicknamed ‘Short-Shrifters’ by the old professionals, what these new soldiers lack in experience they more than make up for in energy and patriotic fervour.
Rigorous musketry drill has always been the hallmark of Britannian regiments. Even now, all regular soldiers still use breach-loaders rather than repeating rifles, but thanks to their training they are able to put up walls of fire so ferocious that enemy troops assume they have additional machine-guns in support.
Although never quite as numerous as the conscript armies of other great nations, Britannia’s ‘thin red lines of heroes’, held firm by the bellowing exhortations of their sergeants are more than capable of holding their own against any opponent.
The Britannians have a well-earned reputation for fighting on in the face of even the most impossible odds. This attitude is exemplified by actions such as the 3rd Northamptonshire Rifles, who defended the Falkland Islands almost to the last unwounded man against Blazing Sun forces who outnumbered them more than ten to one.
Just recently, Britannian regiments have been issued with the fearsome Mk III Ricardo portable flamethrower. These specialists use the fiery fury of their weapons to keep the enemy away from their comrades in the firing line, allowing the riflemen to keep up their deadly torrents of lead as long as possible. On the attack, they are even more formidable, burning enemy troops out of fortified positions as the riflemen advance in line.
A Britannian Line Infantry Section has a clear-cut and simple job; to take up a secure position, preferably in cover and then hurl volley after volley of shots into the enemy ranks.
Line Infantry Riflemen simply cannot be matched at range by any of the mainstay Sections of the other Great Powers. The Martini-Metford rifle and its users’ marksmanship skills means that a section of Redcoats can fire accurately out to a distance from which most enemy small arms cannot respond.
The Britannian Line Infantry will never be lacking for able leadership either, as each Section may include a Sergeant for no additional cost. This gives them limited ability to function independently.
Furthermore, if a Section benefits from the Focus Fire Command Ability of the Britannian Lieutenant an opposing section in open ground could feasibly be wiped out by a single volley. If the Line Infantry use their “Volley Fire Present – Fire!” Game Card, you can expect to see the enemy stop dead in their tracks, unable to draw any closer.
Although your Riflemen are vulnerable if you get them involved in a Melee, a Britannian Line Infantry Section needn’t worry if the enemy draws near – a hosing from the Specialist’s Flamethrower will soon send them packing!