"Desiror sölçe vëceor vïdett." (People should know when they're conquered) - Archäos Quintus Arana, an Imperial General Officer
The Imperial Army is the primary military arm of the Empire, senior to its Navy, and employs the majority of the nation's military personnel. In the Imperial Language, it is officially known as sin-Molok Chösonêräniran, or "Her Sovereign Majesty's Legions". Chösonêräniran is a modification of the word for Legion, Chösonêran, which could be thought of as meaning 'A group of those having been called to serve' - it is literally the verb Chösonn ('called to serve') in its past participle form, i.e. 'having been called to serve', with a noun ending (masculine suffixes are used by convention, and in this particular case it is in the nominative: thus, an). Turning verbs into nouns by simply substituting their endings is not grammatically correct, technically speaking, but is permitted anyway by convention for brevity's sake (appending a sufficient number of particles to Chösonn convey the meaning grammatically / literally would result in an impractically long word). Thus, Chösonêräniran - which refers to the Legions as a collective body - is the term in its pluralized form [i.e. Chösonêran plus the pluralizing suffix -ir-] with the addition of the -än- particle to make it a singular / collective plural noun.
[Note: there is a grammatically correct way to convert any verb, adjective or adverb into a noun, but the above 'improper' method is used FOR CERTAIN WORDS - doing so in casual speech with just any verb is considered borish, improper and ignorant].
The central unit of the Imperial Army, as might be surmised, is the Legion: a large combined-arms body of 60,000 men which functions as a self-contained army [similar to, but larger than, a real world Corps]. The Legions are grouped into Armies and Army Groups, but these formations are purely temporary and flexible, with command held based on appointment from the Empress herself.
The Early ArmyEdit
"Sçëmatt Jâle!" ("Hold the Line!") - common Imperial rallying cry / command calling upon soldiers to maintain their formation under pressure or during a charge
The genesis of the Imperial Army was the 12 original Legions (the so-called Primogenitor Legions) created by Markus for his conquest of what would come to be called the Imperial Peninsula. Following his proclaimation of the Empire, he reigned over a roughly three centuries of peaceful prosperity during which the structure of these formations remained largely unchanged.
Near the end of his reign, he began the process of expanding the Imperial Army, however, so that territorial conquest could continue under his successors. The so-called "Lords Marshal", a council of 12 men with supreme authority over the military (second only to the monarch), was created - originally, they were the Legates of the 12 Primogenitor Legions.
Under the guidance of an expanded professional military hierarchy, the Imperial military grew rapidly in size and complexity. The wealth and technology of Markus's new Empire was put to the task of creating the most disciplined, effective and organized machine of war the world had ever known.
The Primogenitor Legions became the core of a vast new military system that would number in the hundreds of thousands and later millions. A complex schema of tactics, strategies, divisions and specializations was created. The backbone of these forces was the same steel-armored heavy infantry as Markus had formed, supplemented by a huge new array of new and foreign levies.
The Early Imperial Army, the structure of which would remain essentially unchanged until the adoption of hand-held gunpowder firearms, was even more complicated than the modern one, subdivided into many complicated types of troops and specialized personnel.
(Author's Note: the overall organizational structure is based largely on the Army of the Late Roman Empire, with the troops themselves being heavily inspired by the classical Roman (Late Republican / Early Imperial) and Alexandrinian Macedonian / Greek forces).
Jâldesiran (singular: Jâldesan)Edit
The basic frontline infantry of the early Imperial military system. The term survives to this day, and means "Men of [the] Line" (in the modern sense, it refers to still to the basic foot soldiers of the Imperial forces, the Line Infantry). Jâldesiran were largely drawn as conscripts or as foreigners seeking Imperial Citizenship for 12-year Terms of Service. They were not as heavily-equipped as their Legionary heavy infantry counterparts, although neither unarmored nor poorly armed. They wore relatively light skirted leather vests / jerkins (called Vâmir - singular: Vâmm, or Vâman / Vâmiran when inflected with the masculine nominative grammatical case ending). Resembling a tunic, the vests reached about halfway down the wearer's thigh and were overlayed with a slightly shorter layer of lightweight steel mail fitted onto the leather by means of brackets and rivets. They had short sleeves and were fitted with additional bands / flaps of mail-covered leather running over the tops of the shoulders from about the pectorals to the middle of the back, so as to protect the wearer against vertical blows and arrow or bolt fire. This armor was worn over a longer woolen garment called a Vëtae (plural: Vëtaeir [the second e is always silent]), or Vëtaean / Vëtaeiran with a masculine ending. Note that this is also the Imperial Language word for "robe", but is usually given neuter case endings (neuter nominative: -or) rather than masculine ones (i.e. -an) when referring to anything other than this specific soldier's garment. The Vëtae was essentially of the same cut as the heavier leather Vâmm but longer, with elbow-length sleeves and a skirt down to just past the bottom of the knee (note that both this garment and the armor over it had vertical cuts / parts in front and back running all the way up to the wearer's belt, so as not to restrict leg movement). The purpose of the Vëtae was for warmth as well as for protection; it served to shield the soldier's limbs from scratching branches and helped pad the force of blows. Supplementing these garments was a steel helmet, called a Raçünn (Raçun[ir]an with inflection), very much like that of a Roman legionary. It had hinged cheek guards to shield the face and a "lobster-tail" flaring skirt at the back protecting much of the neck the neck. This helmet was probably the heaviest part of the armor, and was also the thing which the Jâldesiran shared in common with their plate-armored heavy infantry cousins; its design survives in the Imperial military to this day with modifications, mostly used by modern cavalry.
The principle weapon of the Jâldesiran was the Sâriçae, an extremely long pike made from well-seasoned hardwood. These pikes were 6 meters / 19.7 feet in length and made in two sections that were carried separately for ease of marching. A hollow steel tube, wrapped in padding to form a grip, was used to join the two halves - both of which were tipped with metal points. The primary blade of the Sâriçae was steel and fashioned in a similar manner to a shortsword blade, double-edged with a symmetrical stabbing point and specially reinforced to prevent it from flexing. The opposite end of the shaft bore a steel buttspike that could be used to anchor the weapon in the ground, or as an auxillary point should the primary head be damaged. The Sâriçae was quite heavy - over 7 kg / 15.5 pounds. It was essentially useless as a weapon outside the Jâldesiran's tight, ordered formation (although the front half of the weapon, with the stabbing head, could be used separately as a shorter spear). Its shear bulk and size meant that it had to be wielded with both hands. But its length was a major asset against most enemy soldiers, who were armed with more managable but shorter spears. For general mélée combat, each Jâldesan was also armed with a Säilae: a straight-bladed, double-edged sword measuring a meter in length. He would have also had a Pugïorr, which was a short leaf-bladed dagger that served as a sidearm.
Because of the weight and burden of each Jâldesan's pike, they were equipped with a 64cm ovoid shield that was strapped to the shoulder like a sling and worn bound around the left forearm. This shield had a half-circular cutout on the right side that the Sariça was rested inside of and thrust forward through. It was constructed from three layers of wood, with the two outer layers being relatively light and a much stronger, thicker layer sandwiched between them, held together by glue. The shield was wrapped in a skin of leather, then the entire thing bound with metal rivets, and they were painted with bright, distinctive patterns to differentiate between soldiers of different units.
The Jâldesiran were trained to fight in a tight, orderly formation called a Rivëstan, which can be most appropriately translated as "Phalanx". The most basic unit of this was a Sïntagan (or "Company") of 400 men in a 24x24 square formation, with three such Companies creating a 1728-strong Battalion. Normally, the three companies would line up behind one another so that each Battalion formed a column. Most of the Jâldesiran's training was devoted to formational operations and simply to getting them used to marching rigorous distances with the weight of their equipment and provisions. If the cohesion of the Company was lost, these troops usually did not last long in open close-quarters battle.
Chösaniran (Singular: Chösanan)Edit
Chösâniran were the more significantly armored heavy infantry modeled after Markus's original Legionary pattern: the backbone of the Imperial Army. Their name comes from the Imperial verb for "selection", and is of the same general construction as the word for "Legion" - meaning "A chosen one" rather than "a group of those chosen" (i.e. Legion). Chösaniran were the troops who formed the actual Legions, the Empire's mobile field armies, although each Legion would not have gone into battle without several attached regiments of Jâldesiran and other auxillary troops except in very special or dire circumstances.
They were clothed in a similar fashion to their pike-wielding cousins: a robe-like Vëtae and leather Vâmm, albiet in this case without the mail outer layer. Over this was an intricate, complicated system of partial steel plate armor [resembling a cross between that of a real-life Roman Legionary's Lorica Segmentata and a Medieval Knight]. The upper torso was protected by solid front and black plates, to which were attached a series of lames (or bands) that covered the stomach and allowed some flexibility. The lames could also be collapsed into one another like a slinky for ease of transport. Further sets of lames, attached to the soldier's X-shaped harnass and belt, guarded the upper arms and outer thighs, with bracers and greaves for the lower limbs as well as a helmet identical to that worn by the Jâldesiran. Chösaniran also carried much larger shields, rectangular with a rounded top and bottom, that could be used to protect almost their entire body and also as a kind of battering ram.
In terms of weaponry, they wielded shorter, 2-meter spears - called Hästiror (Singular: Hästor) - with similar sword-like blades to the Sâriça. These polearms were designed to be thrust through a half-circular notch in the soldier's shield in rapid thrust, twist & withdraw stabbing motions. Their other primary arm, used almost as often, was a Säila like that issued to the Jâldesiran. Each Chösanan, furthermore, carried a half-dozen lead-weighted and fletched "darts" or javelins bracketed onto the reverse side of the shield - known as Tâkiror. Because of their design, they had a range of about 30 meters: substantially greater than the more primitive throwing spears used by their enemies. Their heads were even designed to bend as they punctured a hard surface, such as a shield or armor, and thus become stuck. This would prevent the enemy warriors from retrieving the Tâkiror to throw them back, and would also render whatever piece of equipment it became lodged in useless. In this way, the Imperial heavy-infantrymen could badly disorder an enemy formation by forcing them to shed shields and pieces of armor as well as cause casualties from distances. In addition, each Chösaniran had a side-arm dagger and many of them were fond of carrying brass knuckles or additional bladed weapons at their own personal expense.
The Chösaniran were formed from volunteers as well as those Conscripts who had completed their mandatory terms and re-enlisted. They were veteran soldiers, well used to the hardships of military life, and unlike their less well experienced and trained pikemen counterparts, could hold their own when their formation became disordered. They were organized, like the Jâldesiran, into Companies (i.e. Sintagan in the singular, Sintagiran in the plural), six of which formed an 864-strong Skaran, equivalent to a Battalion.
Each Company / Sintagan typically arrayed itself in one of two rectangular formations, depending on the situation - either eight ranks of eighteen men (18x8) or four ranks of thirty-six (36x4). The six Companies in a Skaran were then either side-by-side in a single line or in two lines of three, most usually, but it varied as needed. When these heavy infantry formations fought, they locked their shields together and assumed a stationary posture: slaying their enemies with short, viscious jabs of their spears or swords from behind the safety of their shields. Every man but those in the front rank would grip the harnass of the soldier in front of him. The commander of the Company would blow a whistle roughly every 30 seconds. At this sound, the men in the front of the formation would be "pulled" back by their comrades and would turn sideways, passing between the files back to the rear of the unit. Those in the second line would simultaneously bring their shields around to a fighting position as they pulled the men ahead of them back and the entire file would move up by one position, with the newly-rotated men from the front assuming this newly-created space. In this way, the Company would always have its freshest men bearing the brunt of the opposing unit's pressure.
However, the Empire's rotationary tactic was not always wise or practical to employ, as it created a potential disruption in the unit's cohesion. Against a well-organized and well-disciplined foe, or an enemy familiar with how to exploit the weakness, it was not usually used or was used less frequently. Its employment, however, was crucial to the success of the Imperial heavy infantry, as it enabled them to out-last their opponents, meaning they would try to use the tactic wherever and whenever possible.
(Author's Note: for a view of this in action, watch this Youtube video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxLqx8xF9Pw - It depicts a Roman century [i.e. a company of Legionnaries] employing the same rotationary tactic, from which the Imperial maneuver was copied. This seems to have been actually employed by the Romans in real life, although it is the subject of some debate).
The Chösaniran were trained and expected never to run. And they rarely ever did. When a withdrawal was necessary, the men of a Company were sufficiently well-drilled to be able to walk backwards while retaining their formational cohesion. Thus, they would fall back incrimentally, integrating the movement into their normal rotationary maneuver as described above when possible. If the cohesion of a Company was broken and there was not another waiting in reserve (i.e. when a Battalion was deployed in a single line), the soldiers were expected to fight to the last man. They were drilled to an instictive level to huddle low and close, bringing their shields as close together as possible, and would naturally draw up into an increasingly tighter circle as the cohesion of their Company deteriorated. These kind of mass casualties, however, were rarely ever inflicted by simple attrition: their training, discipline and advanced tactics were sufficient that only the shock of a cavalry charge or missile bombardment would normally break a Company's square.
Gränsvâktiran (Singular: Grânsvaktan)Edit
Troops whose designation literally tanslates to "The Border's Eyes" or "The Boundary's Eyes". These were - as the name implies - the frontier soldiers, garrisons and internal policing units of the Imperial Armies, drawn from conscripts, older soldiers and non-citizens as necessary. Ever larger numbers of Gränsvâktiran were needed as the Empire expanded, necessitating the creation of a districts system that eventually became the modern Imperial Military Districts. Through this system, each self-administrating district would raise a sufficient number of Gränsvâktiran for itself: thereby ensuring they would be familiar to and of the same stock as the local populace, since they were the primary reminder of the Empire's presence in conquered lands and the only ones with whom the people would be likely to interact.
Gränsvâktiran were armored in the same way as the pike-wielding Jâldesiran but armed more like the Chösaniran heavy infantry: a Hästor spear, Säila sword and Pugïor dagger, sans the javelins. They generally fought in the same manner as the Chösaniran as well, but without the advanced training to be able to perform the rotation and other complex maneuvers. For this reason, their Company formations were essentially always the deeper 18x8 and their Battalions drawn up in a double line.
Çahaniran (Singular: Çahanan)Edit
Skirmishing auxillary troops equipped with a light quilted cloth version of the standard leather / mail Vâm. This garment's skirt is also shorter to better enable the Çahaniran to run. Companies of Çahaniran were attached to Battalions of pikemen or heavy infantry as a kind of support force, much like the rifle-armed Skirmishers of the modern Imperial Army. They were, like the Jâldesiran, composed of conscripts and foreigners: usually younger or less physically-capable levies. Each man carried a shorter version of the standard Säila sword, 64 cm / 25" long, and Tâkiror javelins - six bracketed on the backside of the shield and another half-dozen slung across the back.
During battle, the Çahaniran would deploy behind the primary battle line. As the enemy troops closed with the Imperial forces, the pikemen and heavy infantry would open ranks to permit the Çahaniran to run forward ahead of them, forming a loose "chain" a few meters in front of the line approximately 3 men deep. The skirmishers would hurl their javelins at the closing enemy forces and then withdraw, giving the other infantry time to re-close their ranks.
Much like the modern Imperial Skirmishers, once the primary battle proper was joined, these auxillary troops were often used for non-combat tasks, such as pulling wounded out of the battle line or bringing fresh blades to the other troops.
Sâmostriran (Singular: Sâmostran)Edit
Crossbow-armed ranged infantry armored in the same way as Çahaniran skirmishers. The pre-gunpowder Imperial Army did not use bows (except in the hands of foreign levies), as they developed the Crossbow during the conquest of the Imperial Peninsula and found that it was much easier to train soldiers to use it effectively, while offering performance equal to or greater than all but the most powerful and well-designed foreign bows.
The Imperial Crossbow - or Sâmostror - was an advanced repeating crossbow fed from a hopper holding a dozen bolts. It operated off a lever-action mechanism. The lever was pushed forward to catch the string and drop a bolt into the firing groove, then considerable force was applied to push it back down and cock the mechanism. Compared to an effective bow, however, it had a somewhat shorter range: its advantages were in accuracy, hitting power and ease of use, allowing the Imperials to field much larger numbers of effective missile troops.
(Author's Note: The Imperial crossbow is (loosely) based on an ancient Chinese repeating crossbow. This weapon was made almost entirely out of wood, however, and as such the lever could not withstand the stresses necessary to apply truly large amounts of torque when cocking the weapon. Thus, their range & penetration were quite poor. The Imperial version, however, with its well-machined steel components, is considerably more powerful and suffers from this problem to a much lesser extent).
The other piece of equipment unique to the Sâmostriran was a rectangular shield similar to those carried by the heavy infantry but worn slung on the back. As the crossbowmen prepared to fire, the shields were deployed upright in front of them using specially-designed spade attachments bolted onto the bottoms. The vulnerable missile troops could then hunker behind them for cover as they operated their weapons, much as how a modern soldier might dig himself a foxhole. This afforded the Sâmostriran some protection from hostile archers. This was especially important because the risk of counter-fire from hostile missile troops was quite high, due to the withering and demoralizing power of sustained volleys from massed Imperial crossbows. Against sharply-plunging arrows or bolts (i.e., those fired along a high arc), the Sâmostriran developed the tactic of leaving their shields slung on their backs, hunkering down and tucking their limbs beneath their torsos when ordered. This had the obvious disadvantage, however, of leaving no frontal cover against fire coming in at a shallower angle - and, as such, the tactic was used sparingly. More often, massed bow- / crossbowmen (Imperial or otherwise) would simply be ordered to aim at a general area of an approaching army rather than at any specific formation within it, usually at the front. As such, the Imperials considered enemy missiles 'over-flying' the front lines to be more of a danger for the Sâmostriran than high-angle fire aimed specifically at them; thus, they almost always deployed their shields accordingly, in the first manner.
For close-in defense, each Sâmostran also carried one of the same short-swords as the Çahaniran as well as the ubiquitous side-arm dagger. They wore leather armor, better than that of the above-mentioned skirmishers but lighter than the medium Jâldesiran / Gränsvâktiran or heavy Chösaniran.
Häsâmostriran (Singular: Häsâmostran)Edit
A second type of crossbow-armed ranged infantry. They were equipped with a Häsâmostror: a compound, recurve crossbow using a heavy steel string. The weapon was larger and more difficult to cock compared to the smaller Sâmostror and hopper-fed repeating mechanism. The Häsâmostriran worked in pairs to operate these powerful weapons, providing for an increased rate of fire.
The Häsâmostror crossbow was adopted as a counter to the powerful longbows utilized by many of the northern nations which Empire was fighting to conquer. It does not have the same rate of fire as these weapons but also does not require a lifetime of practice to utilize effectively. Furthermore, it was considerably more powerful and capable of inflicting lethal injuries even upon the most well-armored enemies from impressive distances, outmatching said foreign longbows in this regard.
The Häsâmostriran were equipped with the same armor and secondary weapons as the Sâmostriran.
Scordesiran (Singular: Scordesan)Edit
Naval Infantry, the name of which literally translates to "Men of the Sea". The Scordesiran were essentially Marines, intended to board and neutralize enemy warships or secure landing sights and beach-heads. They were armored in the same way as the Chösaniran heavy infantry, carrying Säila swords and ovoid shields - not quite as large as the shields used by the heavy infantry. Their primary arm would have been either an Imperial repeating crossbow or a Hästiror spear.
Contingents of marines were often used as regular battlefield infantry. Like the Chösaniran, they were all veterans and are quite capable of engaging in regular land warfare.
The early Imperial Navy - called the "Scadre", meaning "Fleet" - was decidedly subordinate to the Imperial Army and operated in support of it. It was, in its early days, limited to coastal, galley-like vessels propelled by a mixture of sails and oars. However, these vessels evolved rapidly into larger and more sea-worthy forms, eventually cementing the Navy's position as an independent service. The first Imperial overseas territories, many of them a good distance away from the Imperial mainland, were established using such wind- & oar-powered ships, although colonization would not begin in ernest until the introduction of the Steam engine as a viable method of maritime locomotion.
Vësiairan (Plural: Vësiairiran)Edit
(See main article: http://ruffles.wikia.com/wiki/V%C3%ABsiairan )
The Vësiairan - meaning "four rowers" - was the principle warship of the Imperial Navy for much of its history prior to the introduction of steam power. Each vessel was roughly 60 meters long, displacing about 100 tonnes, and was equipped with two decks of oars. Each oar would have been rowed by two sailors. The average beam of the vessel - i.e. its width - was approximately 6 meters (but varied because the vessel sloped) and it sat out of the water about 3 meters. For cruising and for additional speed as well as for maneuverability, the Vësiairan boasted two triangular Lateen sails. Unlike the warships used by many rival nations, the Imperial vessels had full decks: those of their enemies often had "outriggers" for a third set of oars atop the hull of the ships, which took up a good deal of space. The Imperial design, with its outward-sloping "tumblehome" hull, could have two rowers per oar, eliminating the need for a third file of rowers and freeing up additional deck space.
Each Vësiairan carried a compliment of either 72 or 144 Marines - the Scordesiran - equipped with repeating crossbows, shields and swords. It would have also had two bolt-throwers (ballistæ), one toward the bow and another toward the stern, as well as a protected central fighting platform built around the main mast. The bolt-throwers were often loaded with specialized eight-spoked grappling hook rounds attached to long ropes that could be used to drag an enemy ship in close for boarding and capture. Both the fore and rear of the Vësiairan's deck were raised to provide a better vantage for the crossbows as well, and a siphon projector for a special Imperial incendiary mixture (similar to Greek fire) was built into the bow, once this formula was developed. A heavy cowl or bow plate covered the front of the ship, protecting its front against missile fire and reinforcing its bow for ramming. Although each Vësiairan had a ram, it was rarely used in battle: it's primary purpose was to prevent the ship from running into underwater rocks.
Vësiairan were not only used for military purposes. They were transports and cargo ships as well, and the design was such that different forms of the vessel could be easily built to fufill different functions. When the Imperial State first put to war following Markus's death, they possessed a fleet of 300 of these vessels. Within a few generations, however, as the Imperial fleet grew in size, the Vësiairan would be supplemented with increasingly larger, although similarly-designed, ships. However, they would not be rendered completely obscelete until the development of gunpowder weaponry, for which their narrow, oar-dependent design was ill-suited. The influences of the basic shape - the narrow beam, the ramming prow, the raised foredeck - can be seen in Imperial warship designs to this day.
Early Imperial Technological / Developmental AdvantagesEdit
"Avelonan sin-Sïder sin-Pëstë sin-Pïritïdä" (a genetive consturction translating to something like "The Empire is made of Steel, Faith & gunpowder" or, more literally, "The Empire of Steel, Faith & Gunpowder")
The Imperial State, for its entire existence, has maintained a number of technological advantages over its foes. It was the first country within the boundaries of the Known World to employ firearms and gunpowder for warefare (although perhaps not the first nation to discover it, as the Imperials would find out once their trade expanded to distant lands). However, even prior to this, the Empire's forces enjoyed technological superiority over their foes and a level of discipline and organization which few other militaries could match.
- Steel - Steel was one of the technological developments bequeathed by Markus to his people and one of the key factors which enabled his small city-state to expand across the peninsula and unite it into the Empire in the first place. Imperial blacksmiths were (and are) widely regarded as the best in the world, at least among humans - their art only being exceeded by relics and antiques left behind by other, forgotten sentient races.
- Paper & printing press - another of the Founder-Emperor's gifts was the knowledge to create paper and the printing press. This gave rise to a "culture of bureaucracy" in the Empire which has only grown more comprehensive with time. The Imperial people, having had access to cheap printing for their entire existence, are meticulous and adapt record-keepers. The advantages of having access to this particular development cannot be overstated, and it is perhaps one of the single greatest factors in the Empire's success. It gave rise to an unparalleled level of literacy and diffusion of knowledge, not to mention permitted a rich culture tradition and a much more efficient system of administration to fund the Empire's conquests.
- Science & Mathematics - even in its earliest days, the Imperial peoples had an unsually advanced knowledge of science - particularly physics & biology - as well as highly developed mathematics. Coupled with their ability to cheaply record information on paper and the skill of their craftsmanship, this enabled an unparalleled level of standardization and centralization in manufacturing that permitted a highly efficient manufacturing / supply system for the Imperial warmachine.
- Philosophy & Religion - the Imperial culture is a deeply spiritual one, based strictly on the precepts set by Markus near the end of his life. The religious zeal of the Imperial people and their devotion to their society at large has fueled the resolved and drive of the nation for its entire history, generally improving the convictions and morale of its soldiers and the patriotism of its people. The Imperial religion created a deeply-ingrained sense of nationalism among the Imperial populace, of the sort that would not be seen in our own world until the 19th century. It also fostered a general unity among the people that suppressed rebellion and ensured a loyal chain of command.
- Machinery - the Imperials, much like the Romans of our own world, were expert engineers. They essentially bypassed the bow & arrow as a weapon of war to move directly to the crossbow (or hand ballista, as they would call it).
Middle Imperial ArmyEdit
The Middle Imperial Army represented essentially a direct outgrowth of the existing Early system, having developed from it through slow change over time until it represented something distinct and different. The major driving force behind these shifts came with the relatively slow introduction of gunpowder, then explosives - later, cannon (guns, howitzers, mortars) and finally firearms.
Thus, the term "Middle Army" covers a period of progressive evolution in Imperial military science, and does not carry the clear-cut distinctiveness of the Early and Modern models (the Early system, in particular, had stayed almost completely unchanged until the introduction of gunpowder). Still, the Middle Army largely retained the character of the Early and then evolved into the Modern, which is a very different system having few real similarities to its predecessors, quite suddenly.
The Empire's equivalent of our own Gunpowder Revolution, at first, produced little change. The new compound was only quickly harnassed in developing explosives - hand-throwable grenades, rockets, bombs and mines for sieges / defensive positions or traps, etc - and adopted with considerable enthusiasm into the existing military system. However, Niter / Saltpeter (the mineral form of Potassium Nitrate, KNO3), the essential ingrediant of black powder, had been known to the Empire probably since (or nearly since) its creation, possibly even before. It had a number of applications, such as soap, medicinal remedies and refridgeration.
Gunpowder's creation was followed by the invention of a number of other early explosive compounds and even resulted in a modification to the Empire's much older incendiary weapon, Markian Fire [similar to Greek Fire].
Section is Work in Progress ---