The Provincial Armies Military Formation in Kelbonnar | World Anvil

The Provincial Armies

Each of the Empire of Turelion's eleven Provinces has their own dedicated armed force, which are known collectively as the Provincial Armies. These forces, though they are often referred to together, act independently of one another, and are responsible for the defence their individual provinces.      However, in reality, a Provincial Army acts as a series of town and city garrisons that rarely stray beyond their settlement walls, leaving the outlying villages vulnerable to attack, unless they lucky enough to be defended by a third party organisation such has one of the Knightly or Renegade houses.      Though characterised and satirised as being ill-disciplined, corrupt, poorly trained and with piss-poor sense of duty, f or many communities across the Empire of Turelion, the soldiers of the Provincial Army are all that stands between them and the dangers of the wider world.



Each Provincial Army varies greatly in terms of their manpower, but the largest of the Provincial Armies, around 15,000 strong is kept by Norgantho Province, primarily because of the size of the Province and the need to have a large defence force manning the Northern Norgantho Defences.     Conversely, the smallest Provincial Army is maintained by Quess Province, who only have a standing force of only around 4,000 troops, the size and relative peacefulness of the Province meaning their is less need for a large standing army.


Whilst there is no standard equipment list that characterises the Provincial Armies in particular, as each is free to arm their troops with whatever weapons they choose, in general the Provinces will tend to equip their soldiers with pole-arms - spears in particular, shortswords, shields and crossbows.     The reason for these choices is down to cost and training. Equipping soldiers with spears and short-swords is much more cost effective that equipping them with longswords, with both being relatively easy weapons to teach recruits to use. Likewise, the ease of use and the much smaller amount of training required to teach someone how to use a crossbow has made them the ranged weapon of choice for Provincial Army troops.       With regards to their armour, most Provincial Army troops are issued with ring-mail or chainmail hauberks, with leather armour additions such as bracers and greaves, though occasionally Provincial Troops, especially are recently recruited ones will only be issued with leather armour as it is more cost-effective.


Whilst occasionally a Provincial Army might commandeer the services of a ship or a Firewing for a very specific purpose, in general as military entities they do not make use of vehicles as part fo their standard practice. As they predominantly act as town and city guards, it does not make economic sense for a Provincial Army to maintain a fleet of vehicles as they would rarely be used.


All of the Provincial Armies have the following command structure:   Provincial General – The Commanding Officer of all of the troops within the Provincial Army in question. They are generally based within the Province's capital and coordinate all of the activities of the Army's detachments throughout the Province.   Provincial Colonels - Though the rank still exists within the hierarchy, few Provincial Colonels are appointed. The reason for this is that the rank only makes sense within the context of an army of Provincial Troops within the field, as a Provincial Colonel would be appointed to command the force in battle. However as no Provincial Field army has been mustered in a very long time in any of the Provinces, the rank has become all but theoretical.    Provincial Majors – Theoretically Provincial Majors have an important role to play when a Provincial Army is deployed in the field en masse, commanding smaller detachments so that the orders of the Provincial Colonel can be more effectively carried out. However, since this very rarely happens, Provincial Majors predominantly occupy an administrative role, ensuring the smooth running of the Provincial Army across the Province they are based in.   Provincial Captains – Act as commanders of Provincial Army Garrisons.   Provincial Sergeants – Help Provincial Captains run the garrison they are assigned to and take on more of the day to day coordination of the garrison's troops so that the Provincial Captain's time is freed up for more time consuming, generally bureaucratic matters.


Because training troops is time consuming and takes the soldiers themselves away from their core activities, Provincial Armies will generally provide only a bare-bones level of training to their new recruits as standard; enough so that they know how to hold their shields and which end of the spear should be stuck into their adversary.     Beyond that, it is up to the soldiers themselves to maintain and enhance their skills in their own time, and naturally, some Provincial troops will be more diligent at doing this than others. Generally, the amount of training that a garrison of Provincial Soldiers will undertake will be driven by the Provincial Sergeants that helps to command it, with Sergeants that value more training and drill forcing the troops under their command to engage in more training for their own good.    Even with an enthusiastic Provincial Sergeant goading them on, it is very rare for Provincial Troops to learn more than basic self-defence and attacks, which means that should a body of Provincial Troops ever have to fight in the open, in formation, their skill level would not be up to the task of keeping them alive except against a very inexperienced or ill-disciplined adversary.


Logistical Support

As most detachments in the Provincial Armies tend to be based within in settlements, where they act as town and city guards, there is generally little need for them to have a fully blown logistical support system to maintain them, as they can get predominantly get all of the resources they require from within the community under their watch.    Whilst this system undoubtedly saves money for the Imperial Provinces, it does mean that whenever sections of a Provincial Army are ordered away from their home base, they are more susceptible to running out of provisions, more often than not due to the fact that they squander what they should instead conserve. This makes them relatively easy targets if they have been away from civilisation for more than a few days, as notoriously, the tireder and hungrier a Provincial Army unit becomes, the more ill disciplined they become as well.


Occasionally a force of Provincial Army troops will be bolstered through a levy of militia troops provided by the inhabitants of the area that they are fighting in. However, this is only done in times of extreme emergency, and most of the times a Provincial Army has levied militia from a local populace it is to defend a town or community from an attack that would otherwise threaten to overwhelm its defences.


Unlike the The Imperial Drakes, the recruitment criteria for the Provincial Armies is much less stringent, and is generally based on willingness to serve rather than any inherent martial skill.    For many people, especially those from the poorer echelons of society, joining a Provincial Army is seen as a good way out of poverty, as even a regular soldier receives a wage much higher than most labourers would receive, often provides them with a cushy posting acting as a guard in a town and allows them to throw their weight around, generally without repercussions.


Historical loyalties

Notably, each Provincial Army swears loyalty to the Satrap that governs their province of origin, not the Emperor of Turelion and Kelbonnar. The reason for this is thought to be rooted in the formation of the Provinces following the War of Imperial Formation, with Machestaro I wanting to give the newly conquered regions of the Empire of Turelion some semblance of autonomy by allowing them to have their own armies, that were seemingly outside of the direct influence of the Emperor and the Imperial Court.   Whilst the tradition of Provincial Army units swearing loyalty to their Province persists, the form of their oath is of little concern to the Emperors. Despite their larger numbers, their ill-discipline, poor equipment and lack of training means that no Provincial Army would be a match for the Emperors own military force, The Imperial Drakes, and the presence of a detachment of Imperial Drakes in each Provincial Capital is insurance enough that should a Satrap begin to get a bit too big for their boots, the Imperial Court would very swiftly be able to seize control of a renegade Province's main bureaucracy and more importantly, its treasury.
Overall training Level
Assumed Veterancy

Cover image: by Chris Pyrah


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