May 3, 2019

Warfare on Maruzar

Maruzarian tactics are shaped by the arid environment, the strong fortification of cities, and the limited availability of aerial transport. On the defense, airships form the first line to detect the enemy from afar and  prevent their landing troops in the city. If the enemy gets into the city, they are met with all available ground forces. If they mass outside to lay siege or scatter to raid the plantations, the ground forces sally out and may fight a pitched battle outside the walls. 

Pitched battles rely on a complex interplay of combined arms. The usual object of the defender is to destroy the enemy artillery or command. To do this, infantry and artillery are used to fix the enemy while cavalry first destroy or rout their counterparts, then assault the foe’s main body with the aid of warbeasts. It is usually these titans which actually destroy or capture the enemy artillery. While all this is happening, the aerial forces of both sides do what they can in support; if one side gains aerial superiority, they can bomb the other’s ground forces and artillery.

On the attack, Imperial generals prefer to make surprise aerial landings aided by agents within the target city. When a landing cannot be made at acceptable cost, and no other means of assault is feasible, the attacking commander may try to lure out the foe by raiding their herds and plantations, or if he has enough artillery, lay siege with his heaviest cannons and catapults. 

As Aryamehran and Inland Kingdom cities have strong walls, and the Inland Cities are often built in highly defensible locations, the defense always has a formidable advantage. Moreover, sieges are limited by the availability of aerial transport. A single siege cannon can weigh more than a thousand men, and so takes the largest airships to transport.  Only when an attacker has enough of the ancient heavy weapons to destroy the defenses does a siege stand good chances of success.

The pace of warfare on Maruzar is suprisingly fast despite the archaic weapons used due to air transport. Surprise is truly achievable, and large forces can be massed quickly by airship. Likewise, airships can ferry supplies far and fast, and can only be stopped by other airships. Even when the whole army cannot be transported by air, shipping supplies by air allows for much more rapid marches.

Not all warfare though is against opposing armies. Small units of cavalry must periodically sweep the deserts and nearby ruins to seek out and destroy dangerous wildlife, particularly feral humans and Swarmlings, as well as bandits and raiding nomad bands. The jerdars of both the Empire and the Inland Kingdoms consider this a sport, going out in gay parties bedecked in rich trappings, followed by their children, concubines and retainers on floater-chariots or on ranagors fitted with luxurious howdahs. 

In the meantime, a grimmer kind of campaign is always going on in the Undercity, where infantrymen must hunt dangerous subterranean creatures in the dark. No warrior can ever keep his sword sheathed for long on Maruzar.
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