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Battalion Lineages

Greetings, reader, this is General Schmidt again, with yet another addition to my Father's Journal.   This time, we will be looking at one of the more strange and archaic traditions in the Army, the Battalion Lineages system. This system has a long, rich history, going back longer than the United Commonwealth Army itself, in fact. It is regarded as the grand cornerstone of the Army, and one key source of its effectiveness by some, and as a backwards, outdated tradition unfit for modern times by others.    

History of Battalion lineages

"The Medford Fusilier's been fighting for the Commonwealth since before there was one!"
I think that, in order to best explain what this particular phenomenon is, it would do us well to take a look at how they started off.   Back in the early days of the U.C., what is now know an the United Commonwealth Army did not yet exist. Instead, the various Nations in the Commonwealth kept their own, independent Armies and Navies, with their own traditions, leadership, and systems of control.   While these independent Armies were generally able to function together in war time, under the moniker of the United Army of the Coalition, everything from language barriers to differences in ammunition types led to several near fiascos, when seperate units either refused to help each other, ran out of their own usable ammunition, or otherwise fell prey to issues caused by the disjointed nature of the force.   In response to these issues, a decision was made during the 70s A.S. to fully integrate the military structures, civilian and professional, of the Nations of the U.C. into a single organisation, directly within the United Commonwealth, and funded, administered and managed by it. Of course, the national Goverments would get some say over most things, but otherwise most power was handed over to central control. These changes are often referred to as the Powell Reforms, named after Alfred Powell, who suggested andimplemented them as the first Secretary of War of the United Commonwealth, a position now replaced by that od the Director of the Army.   However, while the political leadership, and eventually most of the public, agreed to the arrangement, more traditional members of the Army's being merged raised no small hell over the matter. One of the major objectons the old Generals had was that their Armies had long, honoured histories and legacies, that would be desecrated by any merger with those of their allies.   Still, despite their objections, the unification of the Armies of the United Commonwealth was going to happen, but measures would be taken to preserve as much of the unique legacies and heritage of the constituent Armies as possible. After much deliberation, it was decided that the primary Formation that would be in charge of carrying on the legaciesof the old Armies woud be the Battalion. The two reasons for this were that most of the old Armies had units that were roughly equivalent in size to Battalions already, and that a Battalion had already been considered to be the smallest Formation capable of limited independence.      


As I had stated above, one key motivator for the creation of Battalion Lineages was the preservation of the unique cultures and histories of the now combined Armies and their military formations.   One key part of this was the affiliation of these now joined units to their previous alliegiances. While the prioritisation of these old loyalties made some doubt the loyalty of the new Army, the results would show that the linking of their past with the new Army could lead to greater esprit de corp, trust between comrades in arms, and a general increase in the fighting spirit of the Army.      

National Affiliations

While normally entirely able to fight in the defence of any Nation as well as for that of any other, it is sometimes said that these Battalions with National Affiliations trend towards being more loyal to their Nation of origin than to a foreign land. While this has never particularly appeared to affect cmbat performance, I still take this as an unfortunate phenomenon, reflecting various similarly unfortunate realities, and slightly fear that these mixed loyalties may have dire consequences in the future.   Or, more likely, I'm just being paranoid, and making my own "side" look good.
Owing to the multi-national histories of the Army, most Battalions have links to thier original Nation of Origin, and the Nation whose Army they once served in. In the case of the older Battalions, this would be the Nations they originally served before the Powell Reforms. For newer Battalions, a National Affiliation generally is drawn from the country it was raised in, or from one where the majority of its personnel hail from.   National Affiliations also have certain social aspects. It typically makes National Headlines when a Nation's Battalions go of for overseas deployments, be it for actual combat or Training Exercises. And of course, various National Holidays often showcase military parades and displays.      

Regional Affiliations

The Battalions with Regional Affiliations, which is to say most of them, have always seemed to have a particularly pronounced "Old Boys Network", so to speak. Of course, these things exist across the Army, but it always seems to me that two officers who hail from the sameRegional. Battalion more often than not will stand by each other, over any others
Of course, most Battalions don't have the name of their Nation of Origin directly in their Title. Instead, a Battalion's Title may include the name of a specific geographical region, be it a city, a village or town, a small hamlet, a county, or other such regions. In such cases, the region in question is typically the one they draw most of their recruits from, and which may contain other civil support assets of even a Battalion Museum.   One example of this system in action can be seen in the Medford Fusiliers, which is affiliated with the nation of the Kingdom of Albion, and which recruits and staffs its units more or less entirely from the county of Medford, in eastern Albion. Every now and then, they return to Medford for training, or community affairs, the finer details of which the Army itself typically leaves to local decisions.    Regional Affiliations also have certain social aspects. For example, schools have been known to showcase the Badges of their local Battalion, and Battalions may parade during particularly important local events.  

Royal and Aristocratic House Affiliations

I've met quite a few folks from these kinds of unit. "Royals" is a common nickname the rest of us give them, along with a presumed air of arrogance and pure parade square skills. Personally, I'd say that the Officers and Ranks of these Battalions are no more stuck up then any of the others, are just as capable under fire as the others, and do, quite frankly, look much better than the rest of us on Parade. 
In addition to a Battalion's National and Regional Affiliations, a Battlaion may also be affiliated with a Royal or Aristocratic House. These Battalions tend to be older and more prestigious, and examples of some of such Battalion's names include "The Duke of Sharnwick's Dragoons", a Cavalry Battalion, or "The Count of Oudberg's Rifles", a Light Infantry Battalion. In these Battalions, the Monarch or Aristocrat in question is often given the title of "Colonel Commandant" of the Battalion, as well as the right to engage with the Battalion in ceremonial duties. However, the actual running of the Battalion will still fall to the Lieutenant Colonel in charge of it.   These Battalions, while tending to be slightly more skilled than average, are still broadly indistinguishable from any of the other conventional Battalions. One distinction, however, is that a Battalion with a House Distinction may be more likely to be picked to participate in the various Ceremonial events that the Army may be called on for. These can include anything from a Royal marriage, to the funeral of an important individual, to the annual Remembrance Parades. These Battalions are also more likely to have Battalion Bands than most other units, which can be tasked with playing at various notable events.  


Now I might be biased in this regard, but I'll always consider the most loyal, competent Battalion, regardless of time or place, to be the International. We, having no Nation of Origin ourselves, or at least none at the time of our joining the Army, are simply devoid of the occasionally nationalistic tendencies of our comrades, who occasionally seem slightly less likely to defend a Land other than their own. In conrast, my fellows and Ihave fought on every continent of every World, and we'd fight on them again.
While an exhaustive look at the unique nature of the International Battalions will have to wait for another time, in short, the International Battalions refer to those Battalions that not only lack a definitive Nation of origin, but are mostly staffed by individuals who are not citizens of the United Commonwealth at the time of their recruitment. Over the decades, these Battalions have harbored escaped or freed slaves, refugees, foreigners joining for glory, gold or citizenship, and others who are simply lost souls, looking for a chance to do something with their lives.   There are roughly 15 Battalions of the Internationals, taking up the numbers of the 180th to 190th Infantry, and the 30th to 35th Armoured. I myself hailed from the 183rd Infantry Battalion, the 3rd Internationals, which is for recruitment and administrative purposes is officially based in the Kingdom of Albion. International Battalions have played a part in the Army since the times before there was one, serving under the banner of the United Army of the Coalition. Ever since then, the amount of these Battalions in existence has increased drastically, along with the histories, traditions, and quirks of these Formations.      

Record Keeping

The responsibility for maintaining records of Battles, Battle Honours, Commendations and Awards, and other aspects of a Battalion's Lineage falls on the Battalion Headquarters, the Army Lineages and History Centre, and various National Civilian agencies, which work together to record the Battlion's storied histories for posterity, remembering the sacrifices and triumphs of these units.   Despite our lack of National, Regional, or House Affiliations, International Battalions still keep their own long and storied Lineages. The responsibility of maintaining the records and symbols of our Battalions fall upon the Battalion's Headquarters, in my own case still based in Albion, in conjuction with the Directorate of the Army Lineages and History Centre, whic does similar work for other Battalions.   The keeping of accurate records and histories of Battalions not only helps memorialise the sacrifice of the thousands of souls who have fought before us, it also serves to remind those in active service in the unit of the granduer and importance of their duties, of how much their forebears have done, and how much they themselves are capable of. These records are also often brought up in the various Educational Institutions of the Army, in both historical lessons and in helping Officers choose their future careers.    

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