Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Power of The People
Militias in The Alcovian Civil War

Ethnic Iqeni militia stand for a briefing.
Militias will play a heavy part in my Alcovian games. Though I want to use a lot of Russian-style military hardware, I also have a soft spot for the underdog, heroic freedom fighters, and hardened partisans. To this end I have been thinking about just how militias fit into the Crisis in Alcovia setting.

Given that this is a war between the established government and rebel factions of the military it seems only natural that the lion's share of militia troops will be fighting on the side of the rebels. I had already hinted in the early posts that there is an established Alcovian Liberation Front (ALF) which is a name given to a semi-organized army of militiamen fighting alongside the rebels of the Alcovian People's Army (APA). But the militia movement throughout Alcovia is not entirely under the banner of the thinly legitimized force.

Alcovian militia with surplused rifles
Many militias operate under their own independent command or that of a localized grassroots command structure. Other militias are actually cells of fighters with their own agendas, often backed or even sent by foreign powers in an attempt to destabilize Alcovia or to reap some sort of revenge for past wrongs. Revenge, social outrage, hate, racism and even cold blooded murder are motivators for the common men and women of Alcovia who choose to take up arms in this war.

Covert photo of a militia resupply point. Blankets,
 food, toiletries all delivered by the trash bag full.
Typically militia groups are equipped with widely available arms and equipment. General equipment can purchased from nearly anywhere, from surplus stores, to sporting goods shops, and even the Internet. Most of this is not shipped in and each militiaman is responsible for providing his own. In the absence of true web gear, civilian backpacks even book bags and fanny packs can be pressed into service.

Weapons and more specifically military gear is a more difficult matter. Fatigues and boots are easy enough but communications gear and weapons must often be procured through black market means or supplied by rebel forces supporting local militias. Militias are often relegated to using sporting and personal protection weapons or even improvised arms instead of proper military hardware. Fortunately, Alcovia has never had a prohibition on the personal ownership of weapons classified to have civilian uses so rifles, shotguns and pistols are not hard to find. Still, there is a heavy demand for proper military weapons and so organized crime and foreign supporters are turning a tidy trade during Alcovia's strife.

Neighborhood fighters scuttle to a new position while under fire.
Note the lead man armed with video camera.
During the Alcovian Civil War, most local foreign support for the rebel forces come out of Theogonia to the west and Iqenistan to the east. Each of these nations has its own reasons for wanting to see the Alcovian monarchy fall and have gone out of their way to network support to the militias fighting in the civil war. Other sources of support have also arisen, much of it coming in through agents and clearing houses in Trebizon. These lines of support often follow the usual global agendas - jihad, democracy, communism, etc..

The official government stance on militias is one of fair treatment under the established rules of warfare. What this means in actuality is, that a militia fighter that is fighting under the open and obvious uniform, badge or banner of an established and declared militia or military arm is provided with all the rites and protection the law provides to regular soldiers. As few militias have anything of the sort, they are often allowed little in the way of consideration. Even when a militia is fighting under some sort of recognizable symbol these are often ignored when they can be, a policy overlooked by most commanders as a matter of expedience.

Though not necessarily as effective in battle as trained and well-equipped soldiers, militia do have the advantage of flexibility, invisibility and local knowledge. They are also generally fighting for their own homes and have a motivation that far out classes that of a paid soldier. Even members of the rebel APA cannot match the commitment of militias in some cases, fighting for political agendas and loyalty to their comrades instead of hearth and home.


lekw said...

Great post hope the updates keep coming fantastic story and blog!!!

benjamin_starkey said...

I absolutely love this blog site! I am a huge fan of Russian cutlure and hardware, and I love a great Militia and Partisan story! Great work! Keep it up I am actively awaiting more!

Dangerous Brian said...

Journlists in a war zone often hire armed locals for protection. It's how technicals got their name (because of all the technical equipment that journalists carry around with them).

Hmmm. Come to think of it, there's a nice little skirmish scenario for you right there.

benjamin_starkey said...

Hope it doesn't offend you any, Eli, but your story has inspired me to go ahead and post my storyline I have been working on into miniatures and game form. I always built my armies around stories that I had envisioned they fit in, and 15mm allows for that much more...and who knows, others may find my current storyline interesting.

Eli Arndt said...

Thanks folks for the cool comments.

@Brian - That is a good scenario. Check out the free rules system Breaking News for a skirmish level game that makes good use of journalists on the battlefield.

@Benjamin - I am not sure why on Earth I could be offended by somebody being inspired by my work. I look forward to seeing it. Hopefully you'll let us know.


benjamin_starkey said...

I just wouldn't want somebody think that I was stealing their idea is all. I will post asap and let you know!

Rothco Military said...

Hi, this blog is really amazing and provide me answers to all my questions. This is really informative .I really like your blog.Thanks for sharing.


Big Sean said...

Sorry for commenting on something so old, but I just wanted to say that posts like this are what's inspiring me over on my blog.

The president of Bastonia supports the fight against these insurgents.