The foreground image of the bird is the copyright of Eric Sloan and used here with his permission. The background is from an image titled DSC00686Cairns.jpg uploaded to Wikipedia by Tim35 released to the public domain on 22 May, 2007. The manipulation, and adding of text is by Ernest Bywater. All rights to the cover image are reserved by the copyright owners.
All of the Military forces in the region use the same establishment and rank system. Twenty member platoons plus a commander, ten platoons to a company with a commander and radio operator; thus a company of two hundred and twelve troops. A regiment of six companies with a command unit of a regimental commander, a regimental sergeant major, a five person communications squad, and a medical support platoon with a doctor in command. Making a regiment of one thousand three hundred men and officers. A brigade consists of five regiments. The brigade commander is a general supported by a five person communications squad, three officers as assisting staff, plus a platoon of troops as the headquarters security. New troopers enlist as recruits who graduate basic training as a private, with some as an acting junior corporal in training. Corporals, Sergeants, and Warrant Officers wear their rank on the upper arm of all their uniform shirts and jackets. Commissioned Officers wear shoulder epaulettes, or plastic shirt collar studs when serving in a non-combat unit. The rank symbols are corporal: junior or lance, one V shaped stripe; full, two stripes; senior, two stripes with a hat - a small upturned V stripe. Sergeant: junior, three stripes; full, three stripes with a hat; senior three stripes with two hat stripes. Warrant Officer: junior, one small crown; full, two small crowns; senior, one large crown; the Regimental Sergeant Major has a falcon above the crown. Lieutenant: junior, one thin bar; full, two thin bars; senior, two thick bars. Captain: junior, one diamond; full, two diamonds; senior; three diamonds. Major: junior, one small crown; full, two small crowns; senior one large crown. Lieutenant Colonel: one small falcon; Colonel: one large falcon. General ranks wear one to five stars. All personnel on training courses are called trainees, and rank isn’t worn. Officers start as privates, and serve as non-commissioned officers before becoming officers. Most go from sergeant to commissioned officer via tests and courses. Warrant Officers equate to a lieutenant or captain, depending upon assigned duties.
Army members swear an oath of allegiance to the parliament, and are controlled by the Minister of Defence (a cabinet level post). The military commander is the Chief of General Staff, a four star general. There are five brigades of ground troops, four brigades of armoured troops, and one brigade of logistics and transport troops. The Army has a different communications network and radio frequencies to the Royal Guards, and there is a third set of radio frequencies for their combined operations. The Army insignia is a rectangular patch on the right shoulder consisting of the Berant flag with the words ‘Berant Army’ under it. Unit insignia is a rectangular coloured patch on the left shoulder with a unit number.
Army entry standards are below those for the Guards, many people who miss out on joining the Guards join the Army. On a per unit basis the Army is regarded as being about half as combat effective as the Guards, because of lower performance standards and less training. The most common Army duty is to aid the community during an emergency. Army HQ would like to have higher standards and training levels, but are severely restricted by parliamentary budget limits.
The Royal Guards
The Royal Guards (Guards) are very effective combat troops, and are very loyal to the King; because their oath of allegiance is to the King they’re his personal troops. Each year staff travel the world to study troop training methods in other countries, and they see the best aspects are included in training the Royal Guards. All of the Guards are trained as combat troops then their specialist skills: including the medical and rescue troops. The Guards wear two insignia. The right shoulder has an oval patch with a horizontal main axis showing the Royal Falcon. The oval has a crown on its centre top, and the words ‘Royal Guards’ along the bottom curve. The left shoulder has the unit insignia with the regimental and unit symbol on it, the unit name around the top edge with its short name along the bottom edge. There are five brigades. An individual is called a ‘Sword,’ because they’re the King’s Sword who smites the enemy. Each regiment specialises in something. As a group name the troops are called ‘Swords.’ Civilian contractors do the equipment repairs and maintenance for all Guards units while the Guards do the combat field repairs.
The Claymore are ground troops, the core of the Guards. Their unit patch is a coloured horizontal sword with the regimental number below the blade’s centre with a symbol above it. Three regiments. The 1st, the Kings Own, a crown: they protect the royal family and embassies; thus it has extra companies. The 2nd, the Foresters, a tree: jungle warfare. The 3rd is a newly raised unit of mountain climbers, they’ve no symbol yet.
The Raptors, Royal Armoured Guards, a brigade of five armoured regiments. Each has a different level of armoured tank or armoured car, some have less tanks with their own trained support troops in similarly armoured transports. Each regiment uses a particular combat style or vehicle type. The unit insignia is an attacking velociraptor side on with claws and fangs showing and the regiment number on its side. The colour of the raptor matches that of the regiment’s colour code. The 1st, Royal Raptors, imperial purple. The 2nd, Black Raptors. The 3rd, Brown Raptors. The 4th, Green Raptors. The 5th, Red Raptors. The Raptors’ organisation varies in that each tank has a five person crew with two or more tanks per platoon, depending upon the regimental mix. All units use the same type of troop transport while the engine power, amount of armour, and mounted weapons varies between the units to suit their job.
The Fishers, Royal Rescue Service, are Search and Rescue (SAR) specialists, three regiments of one thousand three hundred troops. Each platoon has its own medical support and each regiment specialises in a type of SAR work. 1st, the Sky Hooks, air rescue using helicopters. The 2nd, the Gophers, land rescue using multi-terrain ground vehicles, climbers, and cave work. The 3rd, the Otters, water rescue close to shore and waterways using light patrol boats. All of the units are based on a five member team with a sergeant or officer commanding it. Four teams to a platoon. The regimental commander has an oversized equipment support platoon instead of a medical platoon, and no security unit. The unit patch is a Falcon carrying a first-aid kit with the unit number on the falcon’s chest. No colour coding is used in the Fishers.
The Shields, the Protector’s Own, is a regiment of troops who give their oath of loyalty direct to the Royal Protector and the crown, not the King or Parliament. They’re usually recruited from amongst the Guards and given extra training. The King gives ex Guards a personal release from their original oath before they’re appointed to the Shields. These are the only people who can lawfully disobey the King, but only when acting under orders from the Royal Protector. As well as the Guards communications systems they have their own ones. Technically, they’re part of the Royal Guards, despite being outside of the Guards normal command structure. They wear a Royal Guards patch on their right shoulder. Their unit patch is a heart shaped shield with a crown in its centre. The structure is the same as a Claymore regiment. They’re better trained and much more multi-skilled than the other Guards. Two regiments were approved, but only one was raised as a permanent unit.The Shields were created by special order of King Herbert in June 2006. The intent being to give the Protector a small and highly effective military capability responsive to the Protector’s direct command. Thus allowing the Protector more flexibility and greater speed when dealing with extreme situations. In the Royal edict establishing the Shields King Herbert gave them the authority, under direct orders from the Royal Protector (given personally and in writing), to execute the King. In such a case the Protector is the only person held responsible and executed for treason. This provides a way to remove an abusive King while ensuring it isn’t used without a really good reason.
Swords are still carried by officers for formal functions. However, they use a short sword that’s similar to the Roman Gladius with a 600 mm straight blade. It’s a very effective combat weapon that’s especially useful in the Berant jungles. The officers and some Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs) carry a sword into battle as a close quarters weapon as well as the service issue 400 mm long combat knife.
When King Edward comes to power the highest Berant award for courage is the Valour Cross, equal to the US Medal of Honor and the British Commonwealth Victoria Cross. The Valour Cross only awarded to serving military personnel for actions in combat with the enemy. The King creates two more awards. The Claymore, equivalent to the Valour Cross, but can be awarded to anyone for acts of great courage under any circumstances other than those required for the Valour Cross. The new highest award being the Golden Claymore, awarded to anyone where the courage shown is so high it immediately ranks as legendary. The award process for all three awards is a panel of five officers and five civilians who examine the circumstances of the incident, with no personal details of the people involved. Their decision must be based on the person’s actions only, and they have to be unanimous for the award to be given.
The Army is funded by the Parliament out of taxes. The Guards are funded by the King out of the King’s revenue and the personal wealth of the Amir Clan, because the Berant King’s family helps pay to run his areas of responsibility.
English is now the official language of Berant. For about one hundred and fifty years Berant was a French colony, and the official language was French. The old tongue was still spoken in the tribes, and used for the tribal councils, it still is today. The original language of Berant is much closer to French in its construction and syntax than it is to English.