THE ORGANIZATION OF THE FOLERAN FIRST
click here to return to the About section
The kallisteriate system provides not only the organization of political power, but it also is the backbone for the Foleran military. Folera pays a majority of it's tithes to the Imperium with military forces. To meet this requirement, the king levies military tithes on the kallistariate, and so forth. This giant amalgomation of tithing is collected into a giant organization known as the Foleran First.
The First, which represents the entirety of the Foleran tithe army, is thus a hodge-podge of imperial equipment which, given that it's rate of re-formed-based turnover every two solar year or so, is a chaotic beast, at best. At the highest level, the First is organized by the Imperium into Armies which usually represent a single planetary strike force (although, in some occasions, several armies have combined together, representing a very large majority of Foleran forces). Below this is the "division" or "locale", which is a more manageable sub-chunk that can be given large, though, definable objectives.
Below the division, is the "line". Lead by a Magistrate or Commander Marshall, this is the default unit of the First. Lines are often given specific objectives such as taking cities or holding geographic locations. A line is the highest level of forces that can be commanded by a member promoted from the general marshallate, and commanders at this level will usually retire after a term of service (though some will go on for further schooling to earn the ability to command larger forces). Given that, like everything else in the First, the size, missions, composition, and effectiveness of the line is dependent entirely on the personal charisma and personal connections of the marshal, the definition of a line is vague, at best, but can usually be related to a force of roughly the size of a "regiment" of other armies.
Below the line, the commanding marshal will have a collected pool of lesser marshals. He will then sub-divide his line as he wishes and assign his forces into "groups" or "teams" based on mission types, marshal capabilities, or, more often, personal preference. These teams are lead by marshals of any rank from Commander Marshal, second class (like Melchoir), who are authorized to run the entire line, in the case of emergency, all the way down to an Officer Marshal, second class, which is the only level of marshallate which does not require marshal training to achieve, and can only ever control a platoon.
It should be noted that successful marshals (and, more importantly, those who can positively cultivate their public image, and their image to their superiors) are often promoted to a point where they are forced to retire, as popular military leaders have, on numerous occasions, directly threatened the power of higher level government positions, with marshals even occasionally holding the title of king though force or coercion. This, combined with the hodge-podge and quasi-voluntary way of collecting the forces in the first place (much less the fact that it is so frequently completely re-formed), leaves the First a dynamic, and fluid military force. Note that the other aspects of the Foleran Army, such as the PDF and the limited Foleran navy tend to be much more stable than their off-world counterparts in the First.
That being said, junior level marshals are often little better off in pay or position than non-marshals (while usually assuming more risk), and thus there is little incentive to both become a marshal, AND not stick around for awhile. Given that a marshal's wealth and power are based on a mix of how well he performs and how deep his networks run, most marshals will tend to stick around until they are forced to retire, or are killed in battle.
When a marshal is particularly poor performing, or performs so well, and is so well connected, that they are perceived as a threat to those above them (usually in the government side, but sometimes to those in higher level marshal positions) a marshal may be forced to retire. This usually comes in the form of a series of general threats from a superior that they will be discharged. At this point, a marshal has one of a few options available.
Firstly, they could just take a discharge. In this case, a lump some is paid as a pension (or bribe, depending on how you look at it) along with a notice of honorable discharge with a condition saying that the officer can not re-enlist for a certain period of time. Most of the time, this causes the ex-marshal's network inside the military to dissipate as old acquaintances die or retire, while new, upcoming marshals pick away at the rest. On rare occasions, marshals have successfully come out of retirement, but usually those sufficiently motivated individuals will choose a different option.
The second option available is to apply for a staff marshallate position. Staff marshals are basically officers who get to stay in the system, but lose all of their power. This option is usually extended to the poor quality marshals that the upper echelons want to sweep away into a desk job, or those who the military wants to keep around as advisers, but are becoming fearful of both the potential power grab of said marshal, or the repercussions from simply discharging him.
The third, and usually least chosen option, is to make a transfer from a certain level in the military to a similar level in the government's bureaucracy. It is not that uncommon for a high-ranking general to retire from his post and take on a position as a secretary of state for a principality, or for the central government. This option is usually only exercised by those who wish to hold onto power, or those who can gain a position of roughly equivalent salary with decreased risk.
Of course, a marshal can always resist the call to resign. In which case a political battle of wits will begin. If the marshal is more popular with stronger connections and a higher threshold for risk and loss, he might be able to beat the threatener (whether it be from the government or the marshallate). On the off-chance that the threatened marshal wins, the higher level marshal is usually forced to resign his position to the one he tried to force to retire.
So, all that being said, the longevity of a marshal is dependent on him not getting shot or stabbed, and the extent of his will to continue being an officer.
Equipment and training of soldiers in the First varies considerably dependent on when and, more importantly, from where, the forces were drafted. Generally speaking, more dominant principalities (especially those furnished by the principality whose reagent is also king) tend to provide better equipment and training. As well, they will tend to outfit their soldiers with differently camouflaged field blouses, all-weather gear, and the like. Although few soldiers remain in the first to gain any real degree of specialization, some forces may take on attributes similar to the doctrine system found in the Codicum Imperialis.
There are a few things, however, that will generally be found among any particular batch of Foleran Firsters. The first is that, though camouflage patterns will vary, each soldier will be given a set of desert fatigues, in the off-chance that fighting should ever break out on Folera itself (though foreign invasion is very rare, civil wars over kingly succession are known to take place from time to time). As well, given that equipment is frequently recycled, while good training is often in short supply, it is far more common for commanders to focus mostly on fielding men and vehicles with lots of guns, rather than trying to scrape together more elite forces. As well, given the client-patron system and popularity contest that permeates both the military and politics, it is not rare for commanders to be particularly well-equipped with decent weapons, and a good support entourage to be able to regale stories of their greatness to others.
For most of its history, the First was re-formed every year. After the Torfan incident, soldiers were required to fight under contractual obligation for a term of 5 years at the minimum. Furthermore, given that foreign commanders would tend to ignore term limits to military service of Foleran soldiers, the Foleran navy was re-formed, comandeering vast resources from private shipping in order to provide transportation for Folerans to return home after a reformation of the Off-World Army. Soldiers are allowed to leave by the ministorum under an agreement that Foleran ships used in this way are also woven into the logistics of any major operation in which they operate.