From McGraw's Encyclopedia of Military Science, 82nd Edition (New Aberdeen, 2628)

Jarnsveld's Jaegers

History Recruitment Organization Philosophy Equipment

Frystaat military unit, usually in service with the Empire.


As the name “Jaeger” (hunter) implies, this regiment was originally raised (c. 2043) during the early settlement of Frystaat, to protect work crews and settlers from the local predators.  Later it also came to fill a garrison/police role in suppressing trouble among the convicts and political deportees shipped to Frystaat by the CoDominium.

After the breakup of the CoDominium and the virtual depopulation of Earth, Jarnsveld's Jaegers (JJ) found its original functions more and more redundant as the local militias and national conscript army grew in size and effectiveness.  Gradually it assumed a new role as an elite, all-volunteer cadre and rapid-deployment “fire-brigade” unit.  During the era of interstellar anarchy immediately after the Great Patriotic War, it was used with decisive effect in several stellar systems in Frystaat's immediate neighborhood.

The Republic of Frystaat initially followed a policy of limited trade and alliance against any power strong enough to rebuild interstellar unity.  With the rise of the Spartan hegemony, the Landholders decided that a change of tactics was in order.  No possible combination of independent systems could face the former CoDominium fleet, which had transferred its base and allegiance to Sparta.  Instead, the Republic voluntarily offered allegiance and actively assisted Sparta in extending the dominion that eventually became the Empire of Man, in return for a high degree of internal autonomy.

The most potent instrument of that assistance was JJ.  Small, but highly trained and well-equipped, JJ was used not in conventional main force operations but as an instrument of irregular warfare.  Missions ranged from subversion and assassination through counterinsurgency and anti-terrorist work.  The unique characteristics of the settlers of Frystaat made them even more formidable than their high degree of training and esprit de corps warranted, particularly in the small-unit infantry operations in which they specialized.

In the present era, JJ has been actively engaged in attempts to suppress secessionist movements.  They have also acquired the distinction of being the only unit ever to fight a successful ground action against genetically engineered Sauron troops without superiority of numbers or firepower....

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Recruitment to JJ is by voluntary enlistment, or lateral transfer from the regular service of the Republic.  Enlistments are four standard years for other ranks and six for officers.  A term in the Jaegers is considered to discharge all military obligations.

Most of the Jaegers are “younger son” types.  Service tends to be traditional in certain families, and is also attractive to the restless (travel offplanet, otherwise rare for Frystaaters), the eccentric (the regiment is very much a world to itself, and is tolerant of anything that does not interfere with the mission), and the ambitious (those who survive two terms are eligible for land grants and interest-free loans).

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Total strength usually ranges from 2,500 to 3,500 men, with the following table of organization:

Regimental HQ (administrative) company
Three rifle battalions (two in peacetime)
Logistics company
Engineering/special weapons company
Support company (medical, etc.)

The basic tactical unit is the five-trooper “stick.”  Above this level all groups are expected to have “plug-in” capacity, able to combine and shift as need and opportunity dictate.

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Training, Tactics, and Philosophy:

A few typical sayings:
“The guns are clean; the troops are ready to fight; everything else is bullshit.”
“Winning battles by attrition is to the art of war as a paint-by-numbers kit is to the Mona Lisa.”
“You don't win by killing the enemy, but by breaking their hears and making them run.”
“We are not a numerous people.  Our casualties are expenditures from capital, not income.”
“Quality defeats quantity; maneuver defeats mass.”
“Outsmart them.  There's always a way.”
“Win.  If you can't win, cheat.  There are no rules.”

Frystaat military thought holds that the one basic problem of war is uncertainty.  A commander cannot really be certain of anything, from the behavior of his own troops to the accuracy of his maps.  You can never tell what the opposition is going to do.  Furthermore, once engaged no amount of real-time communication equipment will save you from the “fog of war.”  Even if the machinery works with unjammed perfection, it still tempts superiors to risk information overload, which paralyzes decision making.

Historically there have been two approaches to this problem.  One (exemplified by pre-Napoleonic Prussia, the 20th-century Soviet Union ...) attempts to reduce the uncertainty by simplification.  Training and discipline are repetitive and rigid; a tactical manual lays down all the acceptable answers; initiative is forbidden; battle plans are rigidly adhered to regardless of circumstances.  “Nobody thinks, everybody executes” (Frederick the Great).  This system is characteristic of states with small, paranoid elites and large, expendable, but untrustworthy masses of subject cannon fodder.  A typical feature of such systems was the KGB automatic-weapons units that followed Soviet troops into battle, machine-gunning stragglers.  Soldiers, divisions, and even entire armies are treated as fungible goods, like ammunition.

The other approach accepts, embraces, and attempts to use the “fog of war.”  This involves a radical decentralization of command authority, trusting those closest to the information to use it properly.  Plans are treated as a basis for creative improvisation.  Flexibility is cultivated, the capacity to “roll with the punch,” winning by shock and psychological dislocation rather than simply chewing up the enemy's men, machinery, and units.

Certain qualities are implicit in this method:  really good staff work, not mere formula-following; high unit and individual morale; meticulous training in tactics; training that is intelligently understood, rather than followed by Pavlovian rote.  Rarest and most precious of all, the combination of discipline and individual initiative.  Historical examples would include such units as Rogers' Rangers, the S.A.S., and the Long Range Desert Reconnaissance Group.  In terms of armies, the post-Von Seekt German Army and the Israel/Dayan Zahal.  In terms of philosophy, Liddell Hart's/Gerasimov's “indirect approach.”

Forces of this type require a different ethos, a “band of brothers,” rather than “Fear your officer more than the enemy” (Frederick the Great).  It also requires a different type of recruit, people who already have well-integrated personalities and the capacity to work intelligently in groups.  They still require hard training and respond to the traditional motivators (primary-group identification, unit esprit), but not to the hammer-them-flat approach necessary to turn “the scum of the earth, enlisted for drink” (the Duke of Wellington) into reliable soldiers.

This conflict of styles has always existed.  However, post-gunpowder technological and tactical developments have generally favored the second type.  First, increased firepower forces tactical dispersion.  Until the middle of the nineteenth century, armies could literally march into battle shoulder to shoulder.  This kept every soldier under the eyes of his officers, his NCO's, and (just as important) his comrades.  Napoleon's armies were larger than Frederick the Great's, but he could still oversee the entire course of a battle from a hilltop, and battles lasted no more than three days.

Industrial-era productivity permitted armies too large to oversee in the old sense, but the generals were still unwilling to admit the need for dispersal on a battlefield dominated by firepower.  This was not merely conservatism.  They knew that the training system was designed for the traditional battlefield, and there was no way of telling what would happen if the men were turned loose.  Furthermore, they knew that dispersed operations required more and better training.

The turning point was the First World War.  In 1916, the British sent their troops forward at the Somme in long rows, walking upright.  This produced 60,000 casualties an no gains in a single day.  The soldiers were short-term volunteers, and their commanders had no faith in their ability to perform any but the simplest military tasks.  Ironically, these enthusiastic, comparatively well-educated volunteers were better suited to flexible tactics than the slum dwellers and dispossessed Irish peasants of the British regular army!

Later in the same war, the German Army (usually less conservative than its opponents) organized many of its best divisions into “Storm Troops” (a title later made odious by the Third Reich).  These were trained to operate in small, self-sufficient groups, infiltrating the enemy lines instead of battering at them, attacking weakness rather than strength.  Pockets of resistance were isolated and left for the follow-up elements; the aim was to pierce rather than push back the enemy front and reach the “soft underbelly” of administrative and logistics units.  It was an infantry version of what, when mechanized, became known as “blitzkrieg.”

Needless to say, Frystaat has always favored the second type of army, with the Jaegers the distilled essence of the whole philosophy.  An army of aristocrats, self-motivated, they are the product of an environment that has been culling weakness out of its human inhabitants for more than five centuries.  They are also an army of supreme pragmatists, fighting with a cold, intelligent ferocity, uninterested in fripperies or “gallant last stands.”

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Weapons and Equipment:

DZ-7:  Light assault rifle.  Manufactured Armscore works, Martizburg, Frystaat.
Weight:  Three kilograms, loaded.
Length:  One meter.
Method of operation:  Delayed blowback, selective fire.
Ammunition:  7mm X 20mm caseless.  Crystal monofilamonofilamentment core, treated glass sabot.
Muzzle velocity:  2,800 meters per second.
Range:  1,000 meters maximum; 800 meters soft targets; 300 meters hard targets.
Penetration:  In soft targets the sabot undergoes explosive decomposition, producing massive wound trauma, while the penetrator tumbles.  In hard targets at close range the sabot vaporizes, acting as a lubricant, while the penetrator rod will pierce up to 10mm of homogeneous steel armor or 90mm of concrete.
Sights:  Electro-optical; passive light-enhancement, random-variable laser designator, infra-red (with computer display analysis of subsurface structures).  May be programmed for burst selection or slaved to master computer.  See Bonephone.
Construction:  Boron fiber in synthetic resin matrix.
Status:  In service with armed forces of Frystaat Planetary Republic and some Imperial special-forces units.  Also widely used on Frystaat as a small-game rifle.
NA Milrf:  Semi-automatic military/sporting weapon.  Manufactured Angus-na-Og. Small Arms Works, Dunedin, New Aberdeen.
Weight:  4.2 kilograms, loaded.
Length:  1.3 meters (with standard bayonet attached).
Method of Operation:  Gas, simi-automatic.  May be operated as a straight bolt-action if gas ports blocked.
Feed:  Detachable box magazine, 20-round capacity.
Ammunition:  7mm X 55mm metallic case.  Jacketed lead alloy, hardpoint, optional tracer.
Muzzle velocity:  875 meters per second.
Range:  2,000 meters maximum, 1,000 effective.
Penetration:  Soft targets to maximum, light body armor/helmets to 600 meters.
Sights:  Adjustable post-and-aperture iron sights.  Others may be fitted.
Construction:  Stainless steel, aluminum.  Stock wood or fiberglass; parts exposed to gas chrome-washed.
Status:  In service with police, paramilitary, and militia units throughout the Empire of Man.  Also used for hunting.  A sound though traditional design, cheap, easy to maintain, and “idiot-proof,” if not particularly capable.  A heavy-barrel version with a bipod is available as a Squad Automatic Weapon.  Used as introductory training weapon by some regular military forces.
Chameleon Suit:  Protective/camouflage garment.  Manufactured Velpoed Works, Martizburg, Frystaat.
Weight:  5 kilograms.
Description:  Loose-fitting one-piece suit with wraparound helmet/visor.
  1. Protection.  Multiple layers of nemourlon with boron fiber/ceramic inserts at strategic points.  Full NBW protection with filters and overpressure.  Will stop all shell/grenade/mortar fragments, conventional small-arms ammunition, and hypervelocity assault-rifle rounds at more than point-blank range.  Filters effective against spores, etc.
  2. Sensor.  Helmet contains microcomputer, 100mb RAM, AI software, option for direct neural input.  Heads-up display for maps, schematics, weapon aiming points, etc.  Microphone pickup for sounds, directional taps into electromagnetic communications, cyptographic and encoding capacity.  Satellite links.  Millimetric-wave and lase tracing, counterbattery ballistic calculations.  Passive and active nightsight devices.
  3. Concealment.  Fiber-optic surface and computer-scan duplicate background, including thermal output.  Absolute match while still, high degree in motion.
  4. Life support.  Water recycling.  Solid wastes dessicated.  Automatic medication against shock, infection, etc.  Controls circulation in damaged areas.  Diagnostic software.  Stimulants available.
Power:  Integral biological-waste fuel cell, molecular-distortion batteries.
Status:  In service with armed forces of Frystaat Republic, some Imperial special-forces units.  Modified version common Citizen outdoor wear on Frystaat, especially in unsecured zones.  Exports limited due to policy and cost (2,300 Frystaat kyrand, equivalent to 3,000 Imperial crowns).
Bonephone:  Computing-communications device.  Manufactured Atlas Bioelectronics Works, Nieu Nylstroom, Frystaat.
Weight:  .1 gram.
Description:  Featureless ovoid.  Implanted, usually behind mastoid process.  Microfiber link to central nervous system.  Protein circuits.
  1. Communications.  Acts as medium-range radio link — “artificial telepathy.”  Multi-channel with data-linkage capability.
  2. Information Processing.  Limited read-write storage capacity (maps, etc.); can also interface with machinery, mainframes, etc., which have data linkage capacity.  “Picklock” tapeworm program for breaking into other systems.  Can be networked to provide intelligence-enhancement programs.
Power:  Oxidant from bloodstream.
Status:  Implanted in all JJ recruits after completion of Basic Training.  Export banned.
Bows:  Three kinds used by JJ, for hunting, training, and covert operations.
  1. Self-bow.  Classic homogeneous wooden stave.  Fully-trained JJ troopers are expected to be capable of making it in the field.
  2. Reflex bow.  Classic built-up bow, using horn, wood, and sinew.  Also known to have been produced in the field during both training and combat operations.
  3. Compound bow.  Double-stave design.  Extensive use of fiberglass and synthetic resins in Frystaat-manufactured bows.  Large-scale exports for match archery, hunting, and special-forces units prior to the Secession Wars.

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See also Military Units of the CoDominium and Empire of Man Universe.

From War World, Vol. I:  The Burning Eye, created by Jerry Pournelle, edited by John Carr and Roland Green (Baen, 1988).

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