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Volcanologist Squad

There are three facts that must be explained in quick succession when discussing a volcanologist squad. First, that while there are scientist called volcanologists, this is a military unit. Second, they are an artillery type unit and their weapon of choice is a volcano. Third (and this is the point that most outsiders simply give up and protest the whole thing), they are actually a mobile unit that can range all over the globe.



A volcanologist squad consists of around 25-27 people, divided into the following functions:  
  • 1 commanding officer
  • 5-6 target spotters
  • 4-5 scouts
  • 10 ordinary gunners
  • Around 4 volcano monitors who remain at the volcano
  • 1 shooter/button-pusher
There can be others added on, depending on the type of military action being taken, and in some cases, surgical strikes can be conducted with a stripped down unit, but in general this is how many people are in a single squad.


Technically an active volcano is a part of their equipment, but the volcano itself stays where it is. The majority of equipment needed by the squad is monitoring equipment to keep track of the state of their assigned fiery mountain. The spotters require devices to paint their targets in detail, as well as whatever transmitters are needed to send that information back to the volcano.   It's also worth noting that while it usually isn't needed, their uniforms are heavily heat-proofed.


Technically the main weapon is the volcano, they just don't carry it with them, but rather the equipment needed to guide a long-range eruption to the correct target. That being said, every member of the squad is expected to carry and be proficient in the use of some other weapon since it is often difficult to get close enough to their target safely.


There is a commanding officer of each squad, but beyond that each member has a very specific function, so they all function in tandem, with no particular person being more important than the next.


Their greatest advantage is the fact that they usually look like a typical infantry unit until it's too late. So they generally follow tactics that allow them to blend in with whatever military strike is being conducted at the time.   On occasion, they are used for a more surgical strike, moving fast and without warning.


A lot of scientific training is necessary to join this unit. Each person must be very familiar with the use and repair of their specialized equipment, and understand to a rudimentary level the equipment of their fellows in case one of them was brought down. They usually follow along with the engineering corps of the army.   They are heavily trained in infantry tactics as well, to allow them to blend in better. Also, they are taught defensive combat to a greater degree than most such units so that they can survive long enough to complete their missions.


The volcanologist squads are a fairly recent invention, only dating back about a hundred years or so. The technology was developed well before it was used as a weapon.   Interestingly enough, it is not used frequently because most places actually have pretty good defenses against long-range lava blasts. Not because it was specifically developed to stop this particular thing, but because most places have shields against a) long range projectiles, b) heat-based projectiles, and c) things coming from the direction of Prazigal.   Most of the battles where the volcanologists were used, they tended to be rather ineffective, and used more for the sheer amusement of the overlord of Prazigal. It is a rather impressive way to fight.   There was one instance in which the squads proved to be unusually effective, and that was The Battle of Ahkysa, which goes a long way to explain why Ankhenstrom hates Prazigal so much.

Historical loyalties

Volcanologist squads have only ever been used by Prazigal's army. Despite the mercenary nature of most units of most armies, these are essentially incorruptible. Mostly because no one would be foolish enough to commission the use of a weapon where the essential part of it (the actual volcano) must remain within another country.
Overall training Level
Assumed Veterancy
Used by

Cover image: by Aaron Thomas


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