The Royal Manticoran Army

The Seal of the Royal Manticoran Army

The Royal Manticoran Army was formally established by King Roger Winton II in 1648 PD and is the youngest of the Star Empire’s three military services. Prior to that date, each planet in the Manticore system had its own Planetary Guard to provide for disaster relief, peacekeeping, and planetary security, but there was no perceived need for a Kingdom-wide army.

With the growing merchant fleet and responsibilities of the Royal Manticoran Navy in the years following the first transit of the Junction, the Star Kingdom began to look forward towards a military that was capable of force projection in addition to its historical role of system security and defense. The Royal Army was established as part of that initiative, merging the three Planetary Guard forces into a single service and starting a research and Star Empire of Manticore construction program to develop the equipment and doctrine to fight a major ground war if required.

The Army achieved two important “firsts” during the Ranier War: its first operational deployment, and first actual combat operations. The practical experience of several months of low intensity combat in the Ranier system honed the skills the Army had developed through extensive training and wargaming. The Army’s good performance was one of the factors cited to justify the century-long merger with the Royal Marines.

The Army’s four primary mission roles are defined as follows:

  1. provide the mechanized “muscle” for sustained planetary combat
  2. secure and maintain control of planetary surfaces and fixed ground defenses
  3. maintain the peace against uprisings or unrest when called to do so by the Government
  4. provide disaster relief and humanitarian assistance

 

It should be noted that, despite the equipment and training, the Royal Army has never in its history been called upon to fulfill its primary mission. Any force that holds undisputed control of the high orbitals can force a surrender or defeat even a superior enemy ground force without risking its own units with few excep¬tions. For those exceptions that the Star Kingdom has built an Army capable of sustained planetary combat, but the capability has not been needed to date. Instead, the Army has been tasked with peacekeeping and garrison duties on over a dozen captured Havenite worlds. Often the first Manticoran any of their population met in person was a member of the Army, and its training as peacekeeping and local police forces has served them well in that role.

Organization

The Royal Army is primarily a mechanized force, consisting of regular, armored and assault infantry units; armored units; engineering units; heavy ground defense units; and aerial units, including both atmospheric and trans-atmospheric fighters (sting ships). The Army uses the term “armored unit” to indicate a unit equipped with armored fighting vehicles, which range from rela¬tively lightly armored but highly mobile skimmers and infantry fighting vehicles to heavy tanks, capable of standing up to heavy plasma fire. In the unusual eventuality of really heavy ground combat, the Army usually provides heavy vehicles support for the Marines or completely takes over from them in the sustained combat role.

While the Army’s “leg” infantry and few battle armored assault units operate with the same organization and doctrine as the Marines, their armored infantry are organized a little differently at the squad level. An armored infantry squad fights dismounted, with two four-man fireteams (often called “quads”) and a sergeant in overall command, supported by the two to three man team in their light skimmer or infantry fighting vehicle.

Armored infantry platoons consist of three squad vehicles plus a command vehicle. A tank platoon likewise consists of four tanks (three plus a command tank). Various support platoons exist at different levels of organization, but the core “three plus command” organization concept remains constant across this level of organization. A company, whether composed of infantry, armored infantry or tanks, consists of three platoons plus a com¬mand element. The command element will include a command vehicle for the staff, and often includes support vehicles (medical, engineering, air defense, etc.) depending on the mission.

A typical Army Battalion will consist of a command element, three standard companies, one support company (often a com¬bination of heavy weapons and mission-specific support) and a fifth company that is normally detached for recruiting and depot duties, including vehicular maintenance and rear area security. Three battalions combine to form a regiment, which is the highest permanent organizational unit, similar to the Marines.

Pure function units above regimental size are not used; but, when necessary, the Army will form mission-specific Regimental Combat Teams, typically consisting of one armored regiment, two armored infantry regiments and one aerospace wing for transport and airspace control.

Atmospheric Command operates all of the Army’s aerospace fighters and transports, and is organized into squadrons and wings. The unit organization changes to meet the needs of the mission, ranging anywhere from a cross-attached squadron for close-air support of an armored infantry battalion to a full transport wing to provide airlift for an entire regiment. Under the terms of the East Cay Agreement, Atmospheric Command is prohibited from operating extra-atmospheric vehicles at “interplanetary distances,” which is interpreted to mean more than one light-minute from a planetary body. The East Cay Agreement was intended to prevent the design and procurement of competing assault shuttles, pin¬naces, etc., by restricting the Army to stingships and similarly short-ranged extra-atmosphere combat vehicles. The East Cay Agreement had been waived upon occasion; however, and Army stingships are designed to be capable of operating from Navy boat bays and Marine assault ships when necessary. Atmospheric Command personnel routinely train in joint operations with both the RMMC and the RMN, despite the Easy Cay Agreement.

Equipment
At the level of the individual soldier, the Army has a great deal of commonality of equipment with the Royal Marines, and its infantry regiments are equipped with identical gear across the board, with minor differences only based on mission focus. The Army has far fewer battle armored assault units than the Marines, however, given the expense in both equipment and training to maintain them.

The primary combat unit of the armored regiment is the M11A2 grav tank. The M11 is a hybrid design, capable of short “sprints” on countergrav, with conventional treads for stability and long distance travel. The primary weapon is a 120 mm plasma cannon, supported by a remote tribarrel pulser for anti-infantry defense as well as an automated point defense turret designed to rapidly engage and destroy incoming projectiles and missiles. Forward scouting is performed by onboard countergrav reconnaissance drones, while an active and passive ECM suite works to defeat guided projectiles as well as target locks from enemy tanks.

The M13 Infantry Fighting Vehicle is a lightweight variant of the same hybrid pattern as the M11, but armed with a heavy tribar¬rel pulser in the turret and capable of carrying a total of twelve, including a commander, driver, gunner and a full rifle squad. Numerous specialty vehicles (command, engineering, air defense, artillery etc.) are built on the M11 and M13 base platforms. In comparison, the M27 Skimmer (often referred to as a “battle taxi”) is a pure countergrav vehicle that bears a closer resemblance to an armored aircar than a tank. Optimized as a fast reconnais¬sance vehicle, the M27 is capable of speeds up to 900 kph at low altitude. Armament consists of a twin light tribarrel pulser turret to provide support fire to the embarked squad when necessary.

Atmospheric Command operates a number aerospace craft, but the two most common are the M105 “Goliath” transport and the M116 “Viper” stingship. The Goliath is the primary heavy lift platform of the Atmospheric Command, and a Goliath Wing is capable of airlifting an entire regiment from one side of the planet to the other in less than 24 hours. The Viper is the standard single-seat stingship operated by the Army, a high performance impeller-drive hypersonic attack fighter capable of operations from “treetops to low orbit” as well as limited space capability.

The Army has no interplanetary transport ability and must rely solely on Navy and Marine transport. The Star Empire is running chronically short of their fast attack and heavy assault transports, and the ones in service are worked hard. It is not unusual for Army regiments to find themselves loaded aboard civilian transport to reach their garrisons.

Queen’s Own
The Queen’s Own exists in order to provide physical security to the sovereign and to members of the royal family, and to provide area security for Mount Royal Palace and for other royal residences. More than mere bodyguards, the Queen’s Own also has responsibility for certain support functions (e.g., intel¬ligence) associated with protection of the Royal Family. While operationally part of the Army, the Queen’s Own dates back to 1489 PD with the Coronation of King Roger I. Recognizing the need for a protective detail for the Monarch, given the influx of new colonists, the Manticore and Sphinx Planetary Guards each “donated” a company and a half of their troops to form the core of a battalion. Gryphon followed suit after its population reached a level to support its own Planetary Guard. The unit has grown in strength since then, and had already reached regimental size by the time it was merged with the Army in 1665 PD. The Queen’s Own (formally known as the Monarch’s Own Regiment) is generally regarded as the elite of the Army; but its ranks are also open to Marines, and even the occasional naval officer. Before being accepted for service in the Queen’s Own, an individual must first prove himself or herself thoroughly in one of the combat arms.

The Queen’s Own consists of four “battalions,” one for each of the three original planets of the Star Kingdom plus a “training battalion,” which both trains new recruits and provides opposi¬tion forces for training at the Army’s premier combat training facilities. The Queen’s Own’s battalions do not normally detach their “recruiting” or depot company. This means that, techni¬cally, the Queen’s Own’s official strength is 2,940. In fact, it is usually somewhat understrength because of the high standards its personnel must meet. Like the Army itself, The Queen’s Own contains its own atmospheric component of stingships and heavy transports. Most of its personnel, even on security detail for the monarch herself, are normally configured as light infantry, but each battalion has its own integral heavy weapons company, and powered armor is available to it.

The Queen’s Own is expected to contribute forces to front-line combat within the Star Kingdom is at war. This usually takes the form of deploying one of its three “planet battalions” to the active theater, leaving the other two “planet battalions” to hold down the Regiment’s normal peacetime duties. Those duties include the personal security of the sovereign and of members of the royal family, security at Mount Royal Palace and other royal residences, and intelligence functions related to the preceding two duties.

In addition to all of the above, the Queen’s Own is the Army’s premier ceremonial unit, as it has been a part of the Star Kingdom’s military traditions back to the founding of the Star Kingdom itself.

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