07 February 2009

Neues Sudland

"Imaginations" are a fictional nations, generally set in the period 17C to early 19C, depicting imaginary nations used for wargames campaigns. Their main purpose seems to be to give an outlet for a gamer's creativity, allowing them to design armies free from the historical constraints for the design of uniforms, organisation, etc.

It's an interesting and fun way to spend some time. I've toyed with the idea of "Republic of Neues Sudland" for a while, spurred on by Henry Hyde's articles in Battlegames Magazine and the writings in Charles Grant's and Peter Young's books The War Game and Charge, respectively.

So far I've designed a few flags and have the basic uniform ideas set down. I haven't worked out the political details, etc, as yet. And the whole idea sits behind finising my SYW historical figures in terms of priority. But here's some of the things I've done. The templates for the uniforms are available from the excellent Not by Appointment blog. David, thanks for putting that on the net.

The Nation

The Republic of Neues Sudland is on the Indian Ocean, in the NW corner of New Holland, with enclaves in the east. Settled originally by the Dutch and Irish, it has since been traded between "great powers". In 1702, after their British masters offered to trade the nation as part of an abortive plan to avoid the War of the Spanish Succession, the people got sick of being pawns and broke away from their colonial masters. So the influences are German, British and Russian, with the language spoken being a mix of English, German and various Asian languages, due to the mix of people living there.

Having claimed the whole continent, despite the small population, the RNS is not happy that their claims have been ignored. In fact, the whole notion of "Unoccupied Territories" may surprise several colonial powers in Europe and Asia and particularly the Holy Kingdom of New Wales, which actually covers far more territory on the continent. The area the nation occupies is larger than Europe. But 50% of the 3 million citizens live within 20km of the capital, Ekaterinsburg, and 20% of the population lives in the Eastern Marches. So the population density is very low. The generally arid nature of the country exacerbates this low population density, though the Eastern Marches provide good, arable land and the NW of the continent supports large rice and cotton growing areas, due to the high seasonal rainfall.

The people themselves, being great fans of a cold beverage on hot days, like to believe that the name of their nation actually means "New Beer Land", so therefore believe that drinking beer is a patriotic duty. The RNS is a secular nation with no state religion. In fact, the RNS contains the largest proportion of agnostics and atheists in the civilised world- much to the horror of that civilised world.

The main income for the treasury comes from two sources- renting regiments out to other nations and from the metals gained from the many mines in the nation. The government is not adverse to renting units to both sides of a war and, in the past, regiments have fought against each other under foreign masters. Unfortunately this has led to some deeply entrenched rivalries and certain regiments cannot be garrisoned in the same area, for fear of brawling or even outright combat.

In particular the 1st Horse and 3rd Dragoons have to be separated by the width of the continent. So deep is their hatred of each other (since the 1st chased the 3rd off the field of Blasthoffen- and thereafter dubbed the 3rd Dragoons "The Sprinters") that over the past 15 years more men from these regiments have been killed in duels than have died in battle. Similarly, when the Longhai Regiment of Foot found the 2nd Regiment of Horse crossing their front during the action at Launceston, they took the opportunity to exact revenge for a previous occasion, during a war when the regiments were in the employ of the opposing Princelings, when the cavalry had charged them, causing no small number of casualties and capturing the regiment's Parliamentary Colour. The volley they fired was very effective, emptying most of the saddles of the two nearest squadrons. It was unfortunate that, at the time, the regiments were both in the employ of the Grand Duchy of Van Demon's Land. That fine, but inappropriate, volley saw the Duchy defeated and forced to join the Holy Kingdom of New Wales.
The nation is supposedly a parliamentary democracy. However, as the candidates for parliament are chosen by vested business interests, not the members of the political parties (Conservatives, known also as "The Big End of Town", and the People's Party, known as "Corruption Central"), the reality is far removed from the theory. It is this emphasis on profit at all costs that sees the RNS troops serving anywhere, at any time, if you have the cash.

There is no bar to anyone of any ethnic background serving in the republic's army. Indeed, if a regiment has been hired for service then anyone, of any nationality, is likely to be "persuaded" to join the colours. The bar on wearing traditional items of clothing or facial hair, such as Sikh turbans or beards, has restricted the availability of some recruits. Citizens of European background are preferred for the cavalry and artillery while natives and those of Pathan, Turkish or Afghan extraction are most often found in the infantry. Despite the relaxed relations between the races in the republic, the majority of recruits are still of Irish, Scots or Germanic extraction, lured by the promise of land at the end of their service.

The RNS is unusual in that one infantry regiment, the 3rd "Townsville" Regiment of Foot, is composed entirely of female soldiers. All the officers, of course, are male and service in this regiment is very sought after, despite it offering little social advantage to the ambitious officer. The regiment has gained a notorious reputation in battle, generally offering no quarter to captured enemies and being particularly tenacious when defending their ground.

Officers are usually chosen on the basis of political favouritism or by buying a commission. As membership of certain regiments allows entry into the highest social circles, commissions are sought after and traded like any other commodity. The only prerequisite is that the officers are fluent in at least German and English, that they are literate and that they have sufficient income to pay their mess bills. Once commissioned, the ambitious officer must serve a minimum of three years in that rank before purchasing the next higher rank. Once at the rank of Major, promotion can only be attained by passing examinations and being recommended by the Council of Generals, which consists of all retired general officers who may still be considered to be of sound mind.

Although RNS will hire to any nation, they still maintain a certain sympathy for the nations of southern and western Germany, from where many of the leading families have come. There is also a deep affection for serving with the United Kingdom, as many young English gentlemen find commissions to be both cheaper to purchase than in His Britannic Majesty's army, and service far more profitable.

After 10 years service an officer is granted a "selection", of 25 to 150 acres (depending on rank), on which they may build a house and farm. Any troops that survive 25 years service may also apply for a 10 acre land grant, should they have honourably served the army.
Any man or woman who captures a colour (not an RNS colour, should two regiments meet in battle) or general officer is granted 50 acres of prime land in the Eastern Marches.
Domestically the RNS is often involved in skirmishes with neighbouring territories. The RNS' refusal to recognise any sovereignty over the continent, other than their own, is a constant source of conflict.

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