Military of Etrand

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The Kingdom of Etrand currently has the largest and most powerful land army on the continent of Artograch, while the most powerful navy happens to belong to the the Free City of Gabyr.

Land Army

Composition

Etrand's land army currently consists off 147,000 potential soldiers in total, out of which 17,000 are parts of its standing army, and 130,000 are reservists in its levy. The standing army of 17,000 is divided the following way: 7,000 are yeomen, retainers and mercenaries, 10,000 are city and castle watchmen.

The land army of Etrand consists of various units:

  • Heavy Cavalry: Composed of knights, noblemen and their retainers, as well as mercenaries. The earlier three mainly use swords, while the latter - mercenary heavy cavalary - prefer lances, maces, hammers and axes. They usually wear chainmail and breastplates over them.
  • Light Cavalry: Split between Horse Archers and Mounted Spearmen, they are lightly armoured, but fast and mobile. Usually composed of a mix between yeomen, retainers (unlanded warriors with honorary nobility) and mercenaries.
  • Heavy Infantry: Usually composed of mix between yeomen, retainers (unlanded warriors with honorary nobility) and mercenaries.
  • Light Infantry: Usually composed of peasant levies and militias.
    • Skirmishers
    • Longbowmen
    • Crossbowmen
    • Arbalestiers
    • Spearmen and local militias
  • Dwarven mercenaries
  • Siege engines: ballistae, catapults/manogels, trebuchets, cannons
  • Golems

Infantry

Skirmishers

See also: Skirmishers#Etrand

Etrandish Skirmishers are effectively a class of light infantry that carry short composite bows and axes. Their roles are scouting and harassing the enemy, the latter of which consist of hit-and-run attacks aimed at demoralizing the enemy, delaying their advancement and slowly chipping away at their numbers.

Etrandish Skirmishers have existed in their current form since the Great War, a war which forced the humans of Etrand to better adapt themselves to forest warfare and realize that mobility is also an important attribute of an army. With their lighter armour and extra training at handling the elements, skirmishers are superior at handling rough terrain to the heavier troops.

Several times during Etrand's history - most recently during the Froturnish Civil War of 809 - attempts were made to outfit Skirmishers with crossbows instead of shortbows, as the earlier required less training to operate, and were superior are penetrating armour, an ability deemed necessary in this increasingly armoured world, where armour is cheaper than ever. All of these attempts resulted in failure and disappointment, as the rate of fire of even lightweight crossbows paled in comparison to composite bows, resulting in an immediate revival of the shortbow. The last of these failures was during the Battle of Ancestors Field , during which the crossbow-using skirmishers of Etrand were overwhelmed by the superior rate of fire of the Halfling slingers, once again prompting a revival of the old-fashioned shortbow-skirmishers after the war.

Navy

The Etrandish navy is composed of cogs, caravels and galleons. The Etrandish navy consists of approximately 1 000 ships in total.

Military history

Pre-Fathred

Before the rise of Fathred's Confederation, the various Late Proto-Elven or Early Human clans of Etrand were making a gradual transition from the bow-and-sword accord-centric Proto-Elven way of fighting, and shifting towards the use of melee infantry and cavalry with axes, as well as both pedestrian and mounted skirmishers with javelins.

Fathred's Confederation

During the existence of Fathred's Confederation, the military of Etrand consisted of the following types of units:

  • Fathred's Personal Retinue, consisting of armoured cavalrymen equipped with swords and shields. They were drawn from the tribal chieftains and their sons.
  • Light cavalry, equipped with both javelins and one-handed axes. Their primary strategy was to ride by the enemy and throw their javelins, then retreated once they ran out of javelins, and charge with their axes. They were only lightly armoured, wearing mostly leather armour.
  • Heavy infantry, wearing lamellar armour, equipped with two-handed axes and javelins or throwing axes. They would throw javelins or throwing axes at the enemy, then switch to their melee axes and attack.
  • Archers, wearing leather armour or no armour at all, they saw very limited use in Fathred's armies. They were used for defensive purposes, in case the enemy got into range.

The Fathredian army was rather cavalry-centric. Archery was shunned, and the Etrandish thought of warfare as something that should be up-close and personal - melee was favoured, however, out of sheer pregmatism, skirmishers with javelins and throwing axes were greatly favoured.

Magicians weren't used in battle yet.

The Great War

During the Great War fought between the Human tribes of Etrand and the Kingdom of Dragoc, the military of Etrand once again saw a shift. The old cavalry-centric ways were practically useless against the forest-dwelling Wood Elves, and throwing axes have proven to be ineffective against the faster Wood Elven archers who could quickly fire more arrows, and still not run out. Mobile elven swordsmen were also a grave threat to the less mobile Etrandish axemen, whose slow weapons often prevented them from effectively defending themselves against a stab in the stomach or the heart.

After the initial disasters, the humans of Etrand began adapting by putting more emphasis on missile infantry and spearmen to counter the Wood Elven onslaught. Etrandish archers would attempt to counter their Dragoci counterparts, while Etrandish spearmen would stab the Dragoci swordsmen before they could get into range. The humans also started creating their own rangers, warriors who were good with both the sword and the bow.

Before Corlagon

After the Great War, Etrand once again fell into disunity, consumed by endemic warfare. While the tribes remained infantry-centric, skirmishers using javelins slowly regained their prominence. Most tribal armies relied on a combination of spearmen, skirmishers and archers, with cavalry playing a very limited role. The people of Northern Etrand adopted crossbows from the Dwarves, but it did not spread to the rest of Etrand before Corlagon.

Also, for the first time, battlemages began making an appearence.

Corlagonid and Hengistid Era

After Corlagon founded the Kingdom of Etrand, he created a new army modeled on that of Froturn, relying on heavy units: battlemages, longbowmen, heavy infantry with pikes, heavy cavalry with swords. A unique add-on to the Etrandish army were the crossbowmen, adopted from the defeated tribes of Northern Etrand. Crossbowmen and longbowmen coexisted in Corlagon's army: crossbowmen were cheap to train, could pierce heavy armour with their bolts, but were slow to reload and had a short range; longbowmen took an entire lifetime to train (just like magicians) and weren't the most effective against armour, but could shoot fast, had a very long range.

Early Tondbertid Era

After the Hengistid dynasty gave way to the Tondbertid dynasty, many older elements got re-introduced to the Etrandish military. Swordsmen, axemen, javelin-skirmishers and light cavalry made a re-appearance in the Etrandish military.

In many ways, the Tondbertids used an army that was a combination of Coraglonid and Fathredian models, making use of the heavy cavalry, pike infantry, crossbowmen and longbowmen that were adopted by the Corlagonids, but also reintroducing Fathred-era light cavalry and axe-wielding heavy infantry into the mix.

Despite the diversification of military, heavy cavalry became much more prominent than before - various knightly orders were founded, giving birth to the Knight: a unique type of heavily armored warrior that combined the sword with Clerical Magic, their preferred way of fighting being from the horseback.

Middle and Late Tondbertid era

After the Etrandish annexation of the dwarven clans and Hulra, the Etrandish army got diversified even more. The Etrandish adopted horse archers from the Hulrans, while Dwarven mercenaries brought in one-handed axe infantry, dwarven bear cavalry, flamethrowers, golems and dragon golems.

During these times, Light Cavalry - especially Horse Archers - became more prominent than before. This era marked the decline of the skirmisher: at first, Horse Archers replaced javelin cavalry, then infantry with javelins became less and less prominent as time passed. Melee Light Cavalry adopted spears and sabers, discarding axes.

As armour became cheaper, the lines between light infantry and heavy infantry got blurred. Chainmail - previously afforded only by the elite, such as Knights - replaced lamellar armour for infantrymen, while plated armour and breastplate made appearences, racing to replace chainmail for heavy units: in the end, heavy cavalry - such as Knights - would wear breastplates over chainmail, while heavy infantry would gradually switch to plated armour.

As noblemen ran out of land to distribute, they began offering honorary titles in exchange for military service: this new hybrid between feudal and mercenary, the retainer would become the de facto standard for Tondbertid and Bryantid militaries.

Bryantid Era - new developments

The shift from the Tondbertid dynasty to the Bryantid dynasty coincided with the gradual rise of the mercenary army at the expense of feudal levies. However, at the same time - continuing a proccess with already started between the Tondbertid dyansty - the line between mercenaries and feudal levies continued to blur with the rise of the Retainer: warriors who are given honorary titles (unlanded nobility) in exchange for military service.

Another development during the Bryantid era is the rise of the halberdier: the two-handed axes used by heavy infantry progressively got longer and longer during the late Tondbertid era, gradually evolving into halberds by the early Bryantid era. Arbalesters - specialized crossbowmen using heavy crossbows that are even slower to reload, but effectively pierce even the heaviest of non-magical armour - made an appearance.

After centuries of neglect, King Cairbré I of Etrand gave Battlemages back their prestige and importance in the army. His predecessor King Bryant I of Etrand attempted to introduce self-cocking crossbows to the army, but was persuaded by experts not to - a century later, King Orlonius is creating new mercenary crops using the weapon.

Being seemingly uneffected by the rise of the mercenary at the expense of traditional feudal levies, the various knightly orders fare as well as ever. But what will the future bring?