Friday, December 31, 2010

Civil War Moves Into the New Year -
An Interview with Minister Rudolf Rudnost

December 31, 2010
It is quite clear that the unrest in Alcovia is approaching total civil war, but will the new year see the end of the monarchy?

The following interview between ENN Reporter Valya Luvonya and Alcovian Minister of the Interior, Rudolf Rudnost delves into the current conflict, it's origins and the future of the country.

ENN: Minister Rudnost, thank you for agreeing to speak with me today.

Minister Rudnost: You are quite welcome, my dear. Thank you for having me.

ENN: Now, minister, surely you must know that you have been invited here to speak about the Civil War in your country.

Minister Rudnost: Please, please Miss Luvonya, do not call it that. There is no was in Alcovia, simply a disagreement between political factions, one of which happens to be led by a military commander.

ENN: A diplomatic and, dare I say euphemistic, response. So do you see this disagreement leading to the end of the monarchy in Alcovia?

Minister Rudnost: The Alcovian people have long adored their kings and princes and it seems unlikely that such a beloved institution will be easily or readily abandoned. Centuries of devotion to a throne that has
supported its people and looked out for the welfare of its subjects will not dissolve in only a few decades of trouble.

ENN: Hmmm, a diplomatic answer again. And you do not think that the people have seen a change in the monarchy's ability to maintain the nation? With the dissolution of the national threat posed by Alcovia's traditional enemy, Iqenistan, isn't it possible that the thoughts of your nation's people are better able to focus on internal conflicts and issues?

Minister Rudnost: Let us be honest, Miss Luvonya, The end of the Iqeni threat is an opportunity for Alcovia to begin looking inward at its own problems. There is will undoubtedly be a period of adjustment as resources and infrastructure are retooled and re purposed for less...mmm..military needs.

ENN: But what of the increased immigrant population following the flu epidemic and the resulting financial crash of the Iqeni economy? Isn't Alcovia now under it's greatest economic burden in almost a century? This on top of the ongoing financial drain that has resulted from the occupation of Theogonia for the better part of a century, has left Alcovia itself on the edge of economic collapse for over a decade now.

Minister Rudnost: My dear, Alcovia is a resilient nation with a strong people full of pride in who they are and their long history of self-determination guided by the loving hand of their king. The majority of the people still see King Ullo as a guiding force with a strong moral compass and a paternal desire to see them flourish and succeed. The minority, as vocal as they may be, that opposes him, is not to be considered a true representation of the people of my nation.

ENN: If I may be blunt, minister, your answers do seem a bit naive and rhetorical? Aren't you turning a blind eye to your people's plight in favor of idyllic fantasies about an aging monarchy's ability to govern in a very modern world?

Minister Rudnost: You could think of them as such, if you wished, but ideology and dreams are what hope is made of. I have faith that current unrest in Alcovia will be over soon and that, once this anger and emotion is behind them, the Alcovian people will be able to see the error of their actions and get back to building Alcovia into a 21st century nation.

ENN: Well then, perhaps we should get onto some more specific questions. What is the government's official stance on the "unrest" in Alcovia?

Minister Rudnost: The official stance from the ministry of defense has been and continues to be one of containment and suppression. It is not the desire of the king and his generals to allow the situation to become one of open maneuver and rolling battlefields. This would needlessly endanger innocent civilians and private property.

ENN: But haven't recent engagements between rebel and national forces proved contrary to this policy?

Minister Rudnost: No, I do not think so. There have been several instances where fighting has spilled over into population centers, but this has been due to the tactics of the rebels. They have often positioned themselves around towns and villages, claiming they are sympathetic to their cause and wanting protection or offering support.

ENN: And national forces are not punishing these communities?

Minister Rudnost: Not at all. That is a very villainous characterization of both our troops and government.

ENN: I meant no disrespect, but isn't there always the danger of soldiers in the field taking out their frustrations or acting on their own political views? We have seen it before in other conflicts.

Minister Rudnost: It is pointless to dwell on the possibilities of such a conflict. While it is true that any military has soldiers who are less adept at maintaining their professionalism than others, the entirety of the military and the government should not be condemned by these individuals. Such individuals will of course be dealt with by the proper authorities and punished for any crimes they commit.

ENN: Will the national army be mobilized into a full offensive if the APA were to establish a control zone within the nation?

Minister Rudnost: I am not qualified to comment on the possible tactics that might be used by the NAA. I can however say that the government is committed to the maintaining the whole of the nation. If the rebels push this conflict to an open military conflict, I have no doubt that the necessary measures will be taken to address such a development.

ENN: Won't this mean the loss of civilian lives and property?

Minister Rudnost: Undoubtedly, but this would not be our choice. If blame should need to be placed, it would lay on the shoulder of the rebels and not national forces.

The remainder of the interview went on to discuss the economic status of the nation. Though he readily answered any and all questions, Minister Rudnost maintained a very careful, diplomatic stance and all times.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

94th Anniversary of the Bread Riots

On December 29, 1916, Alcovian common folk in the cities and townships rose up in angry protest against the discovered practice of mixing flower with sawdust and other fillers such as ground chaff and even chalk. This recent practice had been the handiwork of bakers who themselves had been victimized by corrupt government grain suppliers who demanded steep kickbacks for the grain they provided.

After three months of on and off again protests and riots, government officials were forced to take action and rooted out at least a dozen corrupt officers from the Department of Agricultural Management. The DAM officers were later found to have amassed a considerable sum of money which, due to the illicit manner in which it was collected, had been shielded from taxation. This elevated their crimes to that of a crime against the state and they were summarily tried and hanged for their "treason".

Newspaper illustration of an attack on a small bakery

In the following months the government dispatched bread trucks throughout the country delivery complimentary loaves of bread to townships and within the major cities. Civil order was restored but only after hundreds were killed in the unrest. The Bread Riots, as these events became known, marked a major change in government policies concerning the control of national resources. It should also be noted that rural Alcovia was relatively untouched by these events as local access to quality grain and other agricultural goods left them unaffected by the corruption of the DAM officers.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What Miniatures to Use?

One of the things that made me decide to do this project in 20mm instead of my usual scale of 15mm was the availability of miniatures for the setting. 15mm has a good selection of miniatures up to the 80s but that is where the selection begins to thin out. Now, if I wanted to wait a few years, I'm sure 15mm would catch up to 20mm, but I don't want to wait.

It is clear that for this project, Liberation Miniatures through Rolf Hedges is the way to go. This line is full of Russian, Balkan and generic insurgents. This gives me a well-stocked pallet for the three main forces involved in the Alcovian Civil War. I have yet to get my hands on many of the codes but the figures I have seen all look nice and gives me a good idea of what to expect.

It should be obvious that the RUS codes are the starting point. Most of Alcovia's military forces on both sides of the conflict will be armed much like late 20th century Russians. For most of the troops, I'll likely go with a combination of "H" codes (M40 helmets). I can mix in a smattering of other code variants like the "B" (forage cap), "D" (fur cap), and "J' (leather jump cap) codes for variety. There are also some "V" (netted helmets) codes in the specialist figs that would be cool. I'll avoid berets and bush hats for regular army forces. The standard selection of Russian hardware will prevale here - AKs, RPKs, RPGs, etc.

For National Alcovian Army (NAA) elite Lifeguard units, I'll be going with the ultra-modern Russian figures. Because I like variety and that campaign look, I'll likely mix and match various headgear in the same unit. I will likely avoid the "S" codes as they are the newest Russian headgear and likely too modern, even for Alcovia's favored units.

Alcovian People's Army (APA) forces will likely use the same codes as the lesser NAA forces but with more variety mixed in to show that they will have been fighting with less support and tighter supply lines. The SER, CRO and EER codes could be mixed in for that added volunteer look. For these units, I can mix in a few odd weapons on the alternate codes to show that BYOG (bring your own gun) volunteer look.

For the Alcovian Liberation Front (ALF) is made up almost entirely of militias and militant activist cells as well as some hired guns. The Urban Terror Range (URB) is perfect being mostly fighters in civilian gear with a variety of equipment. These along with figures from the Multipurpose (MUL) range, armed with light kit, webbing and Russian style weapons, and perhaps even a smattering of figures from the PLO, Insurgent (INS/STS), Arab Militia (ARA) lines for added variety and to show the mutli-ethnicity of some of militias fighting (Iquenistan, etc).

Liberation has such a wide variety of figures that I am sure that I could even extend some of the variety by adding in figures from other AK-armed ranges like the African or even non-AK armed figures representing mercenaries and militias armed with black market weapons.

I do have some helmeted Russians that are wearing no tactical gear, carrying a bread bag sort of satchel that I am trying to figure out a use for. I had been considering using them as police, but even the poorest police in the world these days have tactical gear. I wonder if I could model web gear onto them?

Anyhow, this should give you an idea of where I'm going with the figures here.

Take care,


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Fighting in Tugoi

December 18, 2010

Open fighting in Tugoi.

After several days of tense posturing, NAA forces opened fire on APA forces deployed in the area surrounding a northern Alcovian town of Tugoi. After an initial barrage of heavy ordinance fired from mobile artillery and helicopters, the NAA advanced on the entrenched APA motor infantry forces who had spent the last month building up defensive positions on the perimeter of the township.

The APA 51st Motorized Infantry Company, equipped only with light armored personnel carriers and limited artillery assets was quickly overrun by the NAA's 151st Motor Guards who pressed their advantage and brought the rebel forces to a surrender. This was accomplished after several hours of intense and heated combat, leaving much of the town devastated and hundreds dead or inured.

One civilian caught in the fighting, a shopkeeper, said that the royalist forces fought with incredible care for the town, but when the rebels were outmaneuvered or retreated that little regard was shown for the civilian property and safety by the APA forces. This seems to conflict with the rebel claims to be a force for and by the people for the freedom of Alcovia and also contrary to recently highly publicized stories of rebel generosity and civil service.

The commander of the 151st Motor Guards made himself available to reporters in the aftermath and had this to say,

Today's victory has been bittersweet. These rebels who defy their king in the name of change and defense of the people are nothing more than traitors, hiding behind those same people they swear to be protecting. If nothing more, today's fighting has shown the true character of the enemy.
Words said with great conviction...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Escalation Continues

December 1, 2010
Isolated attacks continue since the sporadic onset of hostilities between rebel and national forces. Despite official public protests from leaders on both sides, military units continue to exchange fire throughout the nation in an ever escalating series of raids and counterstrikes. Rebel forces claim provocation by national forces who in turn claim retaliation and self-defense as the reason for their hostilities.

APA forces, having moved out of their bases to establish security perimeters, continue to keep up a good public appearance - helping local citizens, providing unofficial police services, etc.. These zones have become heavily patrolled by forces of the NAA, a situation which has resulted in increased tension, a likely cause for the increasing outbreaks between factions.

The most recent attack occurred in the town of Kuzblat ion the southern region of Kuzbania where rocket artillery from rebel forces was used to attack NAA troops that had moved in to sweep the town for militia cashes an to check on the general well-being of the citizens following the recent pullback of APA troops. A total of fifteen rockets struck the town, killing ten civilians and injuring many more. NAA casualties were proportionately fewer with only one dead and two injured. Several NAA vehicles were damaged and one destroyed, but it was not occupied by its crew at the time. Helicopter gunships were dispatched to the area where the artillery strike originated from where they met a small amount of resistance from APA anti-aircraft before dispatching the attacking artillery units.

APA command declined to comment on the strike, but NAA force commander, Colonel Ilya Kraponya did have this to say,

"These continuing acts of unprovoked aggression from APA forces only serve to show the people of Alcovia just how little General Kusatya and his traitors truly care for the nation they so boldly claim to be liberating. Fortunately, the valiant forces of King Ullo and the NAA are ready to answer all challenges to the rightful rule of the monarchy and its beloved stewardship of Alcovia's beloved citizens."
A very politically charges comment, to say the least, but it does indicate the degree of commitment among national forces in these very trying times.