Army of the Syaran Republic

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Army of the Syaran Republic
Армија на Република Сијар
ASRLogo.png
Insignia of the ARS
MottoIf not us, then who?
Founded10 August 1875
Disbanded1 January 1988
HeadquartersZovahr
Leadership
President of the Syaran RepublicKrunislav Mircevski (last)
Minister of DefenseDako Yordanov Valerieva (last)
General of the ArmyHristofor Razvigorov (last)
Manpower
Military age17–50
ConscriptionYes, during wartime
Active personnel4,000,000 (1918)
7,500,000 (1937)
Related articles
HistorySyaran-Ruvelkan War
Syaran intervention in the Ruvelkan Civil War
Divide War
Siduri War
Granika Border War
Seven Day War
Hayren War

The Army of the Syaran Republic (Syaran: Армија на Република Сијар; Armija na Republika Sijar or ARS) was the unified land and air forces of the Republic of Syara from 1875 to 1988. The ARS consisted of both land and air forces, with the Navy of the Syaran Republic operating as it's own branch; together they formed the Armed Forces of the Syaran Republic. The ASR replaced the various professional and volunteer armies of Syara's realm of the pre-unification era, though remained composed heavily of Makedonian and Galanian officers.

The ARS was officially formed on 10 August 1875, three months after the Conference of Pella. In the early years of its existence the ARS remained largely focused on territorial defense, but the rising instability in neighboring Ruvelka led to the continued expansion of the Army beginning in the 20th century. Following the outbreak of the Ruvelkan Civil War, a Syaran expeditionary force was deployed to Ruvelka to seize control of vital strategic areas. Syaran intervention quickly ended following the outbreak of the Divide War, which forced the ARS to rapidly re-deploy and defend the capital of Zovahr from invading Cacertian forces. Over 4 million Syaran troops served during the Divide War, eventually succeeding to pushing Cacertian forces out of Syara.

In the interwar years the ASR modernized, developing and fielding increasing numbers of tanks, artillery, and aircraft. In 1934 Syara invaded Ruvelka, kicking off the Siduri War. Syara subsequently invaded Quenmin and the Kingdom of Tennai. Syara's usage of the Measured Battle Doctrine, which emphasized slow moving large scale offensives supported by heavy artillery barrages proved unable to cope with Common Axis combined arms tactics, as did the Inner Sphere's industrial capacity. By 1937 momentum had swung wholly against Syara and the Republic was forced to surrender in 1938. Over the course of the Siduri War the Army of the Syaran Republic fielded some 14,000,000 men; approximately half of whom were killed or captured.

The ASR remained the official land and air force of the Republic after the Siduri War and underwent a number of changes, shifting its doctrinal approach to mechanized infantry and armored forces while the Syaran Army Air Corps delved into jet powered aircraft. While the ASR never reached above 500,000 men in uniform, it remained heavily active during the Granika Border War and the Hayren War, which it engaged directly with the Imperial Armed Forces of Ruvelka and the militia of the Hayren Republic. Following the rise of the Wardens many military personnel defected from the army, although much of the officer corps remained loyal to the Monarchies of Galania and Makedon. The ARS was officially dissolved at the end of the Refusal War and along with the Syaran Navy reformed as the Syaran Commonality Armed Forces.

Structure

The Army of the Syaran Republic, along with the Navy of the Syaran Republic, fell under the Republic's Ministry of Defense, with it's commander-in-chief being the President of Syara. Under the Ministry of Defense was the Supreme Headquarters of the Syaran Army, effectively the highest operational command of the ARS. The highest ranking military personnel was the Chief of Staff of the Supreme Headquarters, who led the Supreme Headquarters Staff, composed of the leaders of the various departments of the ARS. This included the Department of Personnel, Department of Forces, Department of Resources (Equipment procurement and design), Department of the Army Air Corps (created in 1914), Department of Operations, Department of Intelligence, Department of Doctrine and Training, Department of Engineering and Construction, Department of Administration and Services, and Department of Judicual and Legal Affairs.

Beneath the Supreme Headquarters, the structure and organization of the ARS varied depending on whether there was war or peace. During peacetime the ARS was divided into regional commands in designated geographic areas throughout Syara. In 1875 shortly after the Unification of Syara this formed four corps in each Realm; this was later raised to six after the Syaran-Ruvelkan War. In 1928 in light of rapid expansion in the lead up to the Siduri War, regional commands were replaced by designated field armies spread across Syara. After the Siduri War the ARS reverted to garrison formations centered around regional commands, a practice that continued until the ARS shattered upon the outbreak of the Refusal War.

During wartime the ARS was structured into Army Groups. Between 1875-1930 these were named after their commanding officers (Army Group Yaponski) out of convienance, but following the revival of Syaran nationalism after the Divide War Army Groups were designated with letters of the Hellenic Alphabet (Army Group Alpha, Beta, Gamma, so forth). Army Groups were composed of several armies and were restructured and renamed during the Siduri War as events progressed; some were also composed of Allamunnic forces as well. Under each army was 2-5 corps, which were each composed of 2-6 divisions.

The Syarans did not follow a consistent naming convention for their divisional and regimental formations, to the confusion of allies and enemies alike. Divisions composed primarily of infantry could be known as an Infantry division, a Light Mechanized Division, a Motorized Division, a Light Motorized Division, or a Heavy Infantry Division with little changes to equipment or organization. The same went for Syaran Light Cavalry, Cavalry, Mechanized, Armored, Semi-Mechanized, or Motorized Infantry Divisions. Another type of infantry, a Sibko Division composed of ethnic Hayern soldiers, were considered among the most motivated and fierce soldiers the Inner Sphere fielded.

Virtually all Syaran divisions were "square" divisions, composed of four maneuver regiments each of four battalions. These were well suited towards intense, extended combat, but proved difficult to man towards the end of the Siduri War and many regiments were reduced to three battalions. Divisions also included an artillery regiment, a signal regiment, a transportation regiment, a medical regiment, an engineering regiment, and a maintenance regiment. Independent regiments of artillery, engineers, medical personnel, and other support staff were also common and typically assigned to the corps and army level as needed.

In the decades after the Siduri War the ARS adjusted its organization, adopting triangular divisions for its armored forces while retaining the square standard for mechanized and motorized divisions.

Doctrine and tactics

The ARS's doctrine underwent several changes throughout history. In the immediate years after the Unification of Syara the ARS was heavily influenced by Makedonian practices exemplified by the Ruvelkan-Makedonian War, where fast moving columns of infantry supported by artillery batteries converged on enemy formations. This methodolgy, which had routed the Ruvelkan Red Army in 1873, proved ineffective against the Ruvelkan Socialist Republic in 1907, where machineguns, trenches, and heavy artillery resulted in an extended war of attrition. Similar circumstances less than a decade later during the Desopya Campaign of the Divide War resulted in a re-evaluation of Syaran doctrine, which led to the development of the Measured Battle Doctrine.

Measured Battle Doctrine rejected the concept of the decisive breakthrough as thought of by the military minds of Cacerta, Acrea, and Æþurheim, believing that modern armies were too large and modern communications rendered a breakthrough doomed to be swarmed by oncoming enemy reinforcements. Rather than attempting to focus on isolated breaches in enemy lines, Measured Battle Doctrine dictated a continuous, steady rate of advance against an enemy force, overwhelming them with firepower and a constant assault meant to wear down their ability to resist. This required much from Syaran infantry, whom underwent rigorous training and practice as a result. Measured Battle Doctrine further posited that the distinction between defense and offense had become blurred as a result of modern tactics and communication, and thus Syaran forces had to be able to switch rapidly between attacking and defending. This required close coordination between Syaran infantry, artillery, and armor, and thus thorough communication was stressed at every level.

Air power and armor were both envisioned in purely tactical, rather than operational or strategic, roles and purposes. Lacking strategic bombers, the Syaran Army Air Corps was primarily focused on medium bombers and fighters meant to support the ARS while preventing the enemy from achieving air superiority. Syaran inexperience with armored operations left Syaran tanks with either two roles, infantry support or tank-on-tank combat. Syaran armor proved poorly suited to either; Syaran infantry tanks were lightly armed and armored and thus were no match for Common Axis armor, while Syaran armored formations were large, unwieldy units of 400 or more tanks that consumed resources and maintenance personnel while remaining operational inflexibile.

As a method of war, Measured Battle Doctrine was outdated by the time it was put into practice. Against the outnumbered and outclassed Ruvelkans, the ARS performed fine, but against the heavily mechanized armies of the Common Axis it proved insufficient. Syaran assumptions that the decisive breakthrough was not possible were proven wrong with the advent of motorized infantry and independent mobile armored formations. Against numerically superior forces the lack of force concentration, and as a result the limited ability to perform a defeat-in-detail, crippled the ARS's ability to inflict decisive defeats against its opponents. As the Common Axis's armored warfare became increasingly tested and refined, Measured Battle Doctrine proved ineffective at combatting the armored spearheads that became the staple of Cacertian and Quenminese offensives. While Syaran infantry and artillery remained potent forces, they could not overcome the inherent flaws in their doctrine.

While they employed a fairly rigid operational doctrine, at the tactical level the ARS was more flexibile thanks to the skill of its officers and soldiers. Syaran infantry were heavily armed due to the responsibility placed on them, and were supplied liberally with rifle grenades, automatic weapons, and anti-tank weapons. Between 60-70% of Syaran infantry were motorized, though the ARS still fielded more than a quarter-million horses. When attacking or defending, Syaran forces were organized into tactical echelons, which would allow either for a rapid adoption of a a defense-in-depth, or for multiple waves of assaults on enemy positions. Syaran infantry rarely advanced beyond the range of their own artillery, and often operated in conjunction with tanks and armored vehicles.

Personnel

Upon its formation the ARS was dominated by a Makedonian and Galanian officer corps, reflective of the two Realm's status as the principle political powers in the Republic. This dominance gradually faded after the Siduri War, but was still present and reflected in the Army's breakup during the Refusal War. Enlisted soldiers tended to more accurately reflect the demographics of the Republic throughout its existence.

Officers earned their comission through attending a military academy or through a reserve officer training course at their university. If the latter was chosen, they were expected to serve in the ARS for at least five years. Enlisted personnel with enough years in service could also be comissioned as officers if they passed examination and attended an appreviated officer academy course. Enlisted soldiers themselves could either enlist voluntarily or be forced to as an alternative to imprisonment. Per the Republic's constitution, conscription could be enforced during war time, though in 1931 it was enacted while the Republic was still at peace.

During peacetime enlisted soldiers entering the ARS trained for up to six months, with noncomissioned officers being selected from those that demonstrated good character and leadership traits; they were given another six months of training to become NCOs. During wartime training schedules were condensced to just three months, although in some instances it was even shorter. Conscripted soldiers were required to serve three years, though their terms of enlistment could be extended if necessary. Once ARS personnel had completed their tour of duty, their names were recorded in a national military registry so that the ARS had a cadre of trained veterans that would be prioritized for drafting in the event of an armed conflict. The ARS's reserve system was regionally based so that soldiers transitioning to civilian life would be in close proximity to their reserve formations.

Although recruits from Hayreniky were allowed to join the ARS with no issues, the Hayren Clans were able to submit their own creche raised soldiers for service in the ARS. These soldiers were assigned to their own divisions, which became known as Sibko Divisions (an ancient Hayern word for warband). Rasied from birth to fight Hayern soldiers were considered the most motivated and ferocious of the ARS, though they were only called upon en masse during the Siduri War. A total of 22 Sibko Divisions were raised during the war, all of them infantry divisions.

History

The Army of the Syaran Republic was operational from 1875 to 1983. By the end of 1983, the Army had effectively dissolved as its formations picked sides of the Refusal War and ceased to be a coherent, unified organization.

Early History

During the Conference of Parilla it was established by the delegations of the Syaran Successor States that national defense would fall to the Republic's central government and that a unified armed forces would exist rather than independent military organizations of each Realm. This would be accomplished by combining the various armies that had fought in the Syaran Succession Wars under a single banner, with a uniform chain-of-command and rank structure.

It was agreed that the organizational structure of the Army of the Syaran Republic would be based heavily on the Makedonian and Galanian armies, given their performances in wars against Ruvelka and Górska. This was also done for the need for standardization. As an amalgamation of four separate national armies, each with their own service rifles, uniforms, and cannons, the need for a standardized set of equipment for the entire army was an immediate priority. This was made more daunting by the fact that the prescribed strength for the Army was 500,000 men, with an additional 250,0000 in reserve, which was considered necessary to match the strength of the Ruvelkan Red Army. As a result, the first two decades of the Army's existence was dominated by efforts to procure a standard equipment set and kit that could be both mass produced and effective for defending the Republic's borders and interests.

It was quickly decided the the ARS would disband with any muzzle-loading weaponry, of which certain types of rifles and cannons were still in use in Hayreniky and Scitaria. In addition, artillery and small arms calibers would be standardized as well, cutting down the numbers of monitions types used by 70%. Breech-loading artillery and rifles would be produced primarily in Makedon initially, but by the 1890s factories in Galania and Scitaria began producing weapons as well. Complicating this standardization and modernization was the rapid technological progress achieved in the latter half of the 19th Century, which forced the ARS to keep pace with developments in order to maintain military parity with the Ruvelkan Socialist Republic. No sooner did the ARS agree to a set range of calibers did the machine gun enter into prominence, forcing the Republic to develop and field its own.

By the 1890s the ARS had finalized many decisions, cementing the usage of 8mm rifle cartridges for the Republic's P-series of rifles, 75mm, 105mm, and 155mm for artillery shells, and the rapid adoption of machine guns across the force. Artillery and machine guns in particular were considered of significant importance for the ARS for dealing with the Ruvelkan Red Army. In 1895 the Army was organized into 20 infantry divisions, five in the realms of Makedon, Galania, and Hayreniky, four in Scitaria, and one in Chryse. Corps had been established for the infantry, engineering, artillery, signals, medical, administrative, and a growing balloonist force. An additional six brigades of cavalry were stood up as well to operate as scouts and dragoons.

Manning the ARS was done principally through conscription, which applied to all males between the ages of 18-45. Training consisted of three months of initiation, during which select soldiers who showed promising leadership capabilities were enrolled in an additional six months of training to become non-commissioned officers. Commissioned officers were required to attend one of the Army's officer academies. There were six in total, two in Makedon, two in Galania, and one in Scitaria and Hayreniky each. Conscripts typically served for three to five years, whereas officers were required to commit to a decade of service. Much of the officer corps of the military was dominated by the Aristokrati, descendants and relatives of the Royal Families of Galania and Makedon. By 1890 around 80% of the officer corps was either Makedonian or Galanian.

Fears of war with the Ruvelkan SR meant that most of the ARS was arrayed against the eastern border with Ruvelka. Semi-annual exercises were carried out that simulated war with Ruvelka, both defensive and offensive operations. Plans for war with Ruvelka usually focused on replicating the success of the Makedonians in the Ruvelkan-Makedonian War. This usually entailed a multi-corps offensive into the North Koryal Plain to capture the cities of Kaposvár and Kunhegyes, spearheaded by cavalry reconnaissance groups. Additional divisions would take up defensive positions in Zemplen and Imeri to prevent the Ruvelkans from attempting to recapture those regions. However by 1895 the prospect of war with Ruvelka had diminished somewhat, despite occasional flare ups of communist-inspired riots and uprisings. With a host of other domestic issues to attend to (standardization of rail transportation, expansion of port facilities, construction of telegraph lines throughout the Republic), defense spending fell from 16% of national expenditures to 12%, then to 8%.

The quality of the ARS forces thus began to decline around the turn of the century, coupled with the retirement of many remaining veterans of the Ruvelkan-Makedonian War. General Angjelko Ristovski commented in 1904 "The average soldier of the Republic scarcely understands the mechanics of his rifle...he demonstrates little aptitude for maneuvers and marksmanship, and squanders his spare time pining for the attention of their local pornai. His officer is scarcely any better, speaking of war in terms of schoolboys fascinated with things he doesn't understand while sneaking off from his formation to witness his Hetaira when he has the chance." Troop numbers also began to decline as conscription began to draw in criticism; Syara's growing economy needed healthy numbers of adult men to fill its factories, farms, shops, and docks, and conscription meant that there was a growing manpower shortage for the civilian economy. As a result in 1898 conscription requirements were diminished and options for deferremnt were increased.

1903 to 1914

Developments both domestically and foreign would soon force a change in perspective. In 1904 the Cacertian Empire went to war with Xevden, kicking off the Cacerta-Xevden War and capping off a period of rapid Cacertian expansion into Siduri. Aware that Syara's strategic position made it a prime target for involvement of foreign powers, Zovahr began pushing for a stronger defensive posture to deter foreign intervention into Syaran affairs. In 1905 the Republic was caught off guard when Górska abruptly invaded Syaran holdings in Chryse, coupled with surprise attack on the Syaran fleet as Sena. The ARS quickly mobilized its forces and dispatched them to Chryse to stem the Górskan advance, which it succeeded in doing so by May.

However in the ensuing months the ARS struggled to make headway against the Górskan army, despite superiority in numbers and firepower. Repeated costly assaults on Górskan lines, defended by artillery and machine guns, incurred heavy losses on Syaran forces. In the end the Syarans pushed the Górskas back to roughly the middle of the island, which was enough to secure peace. The poor performance of the ARS however alarmed Syaran leadership; among the issues highlighted were a lack of innovative tactics among Syaran operations, a lack of initiative among Syaran junior officers, and the increased lethality of modern weapons and munitions. Measures were put into place to rectify these deficiencies, although finding ways to counter the increased proliferation of artillery and machine guns proved more difficult.

This was demonstrated in 1907 with the outbreak of the Syaran-Ruvelkan War. For years Syara had dealt with communist revolts, many of them inspired or supported by the Ruvelkan Communist Party. Suspecting a more overt action was in the works, Syara launched an punitive offensive aimed at rapidly defeating the Red Army and weakening Ruvelka's position vis-à-vis the Republic. Hopes of replicating Makedonian success 34 years earlier however quickly disappeared. Elaborate usage of trenches, heavy employment of machine guns and artillery made mass maneuver difficult. Despite mobilizing over a million-and-a-half men, the Syarans were unable to make headway against the Ruvelkan Red Army, which by 1909 had conquered most of Zemplen. After a failed drive on Kaposvár Syara sued for peace, which was granted.

The Syaran-Ruvelkan War as it became known as war a sharp blow to Syaran national pride, ending over 30 years of relative prosperity. The shortcomings of the ARS had come into full bloom, and despite 1.7 million casualties the Army had failed to defeat the Red Army or protect the sacred lands of Zemplen. Furthermore, the conflict had established that Syara now faced threats on two fronts; in the east against Ruvelka and in the north against Górska. While the threat of a Górskan-Ruvelkan alliance never materialized, the possibility itself was enough for Zovahr to demand rapid change to the ARS. First and foremost was the rapid expansion of the size of the army; in 1912 the ARS was enlarged to 800,000 troops, with an additional one million reservists. However to balance out the increased size with the need to maintain enough men for the civilian economy, the time in service requirement was reduced to just one year.

In 1914 the Syaran Army Air Corps was officially founded. The SAAC was responsible for operating airplanes for the Army, primarily for the purpose of reconnaissance. Eventually distinct fighter squadrons were formed starting in 1916, along with several squadrons or airships. The outbreak of the Ruvelkan Civil War provided Syara with the opportunity to not only test out its new forces, but also seize back what Ruvelka had taken in 1907. Following the 1914 December Uprising, Syara began massing troops along the border. Initially the ARS's main goal was to prevent the fighting from spilling over the border, but once it became clear that the civil war would not be over quickly the ARS began planning for a more direct intervention.

The first intervention planned was the recapture of Zemplen, which was first floated in the weeks after serious fighting began in Ruvelka. By March of 1915 the Army had deployed 150,000 troops across the border with Zemplen. The intensification of fighting across central Ruvelka in the spring of 1915 proved distracting enough to the Ruvelkan Red Army that in May 1915 Syara launched Operation Thyreos, the reclamation of Zemplen and the defeat of the Zemplen People's Republic. With much of the Red Army focused on fighting the Imperial Separatists, there was little left to oppose the Syaran invasion, which had captured Sopron in just six days.

Codenamed Operation Typhon, the plan involved the mass mobilization of between 1-2 million Syaran troops for an invasion of western Ruvelka. The intent behind the operation was to restore Syara's historical boundaries dating back to the Classical Syara. Typhon had an inherent nationalist appeal that made it popular among many senior Syaran officials and officers, but the plan involved several major obstacles. To begin with, it was determined that none of the factions involved in the civil war would acquiesce to Syaran territorial demands. This brought up the potential for the Syaran invasion to act as a lighting rod for Ruvelkan unification, who's warring factions might very well put aside their differences and instead resist the Syarans.

The onslaught of the civil war and the resulting devastation to Ruvelka however gave rise to the perception that the war weary and depleted Ruvelkan factions, consisting largely of lightly armed and hastily trained conscripts, would be unable to effectively resist the better armed and trained Syaran army. Beginning in March 1916 the Syaran army began reinforcing its positions along the border in anticipation for further involvement in the Ruvelkan Civil War. By August 1916 the Army had deployed over 1 million troops to the border.

Equipment