Capital Defence Force

Capital Defence Force
中尉軍, trjung-′judh-kwjer
Flag of the Capital Defence Force
Flag of the Capital Defence Force
Active557 (557) – Present (Present)
BranchArmy (post-1931)
Roleterritorial defence
Size3,500 (5th c.)
2,844 (801)
14,000 (1390)
8,870 (2019)
Part ofMinistry of Defence
Marshal of the
Demesne (ceremonial)
A. B.
Aircraft flown

The Capital Defence Force (中尉軍, trjung-′judh-kwjer) is a statutory part of the modern army, historically a standing land force that defended the capital city of Kien-k'ang and the region surrounding it, the Inner Region. While structurally similar to the militia forces that were raised in all prefectures, the CDF was always in combat formation and placed in various defensive positions around the Inner Region. In modern use, the CDF is no longer an operationally-independent part of the Army, though the designation is still used for troops stationed within the region.


The very first Demesne Marshal (中尉) was appointed in the 1st century CE, but he managed a militia force like other prefectural marshals. Professional soldiers first appeared in the 5th-century conflict, due to the coup d'état in which the Sungh replaced the Tsjinh. It is unclear how large this professional force was, but it existed in parallel with the militia system. On the one hand, since the Inner Region was much more populous than the prefectures, it seems the Demesne Marshal may have commanded the largest of militias; on the other hand, the paucity of historical records mentioning the CDF, especially as a professional army, suggests that it only played a minor role. In 470, the position of Demesne Marshal was split into two, the Left Demesne Marshal (左中尉) and Right Demesne Marshal (右中尉); the former commanded two regiments of professional soldiers, while the latter administered the Inner Region's militia. The system was inherited by the Rjang state, which renamed the Right Demesne Marshal to the State Marshal (邦尉) and reverted the Left Demesne Marshal to Demesne Marshal.

The Meng monarchy, having arrived in 542, both strengthened state forces at the expense of aristocrats' armed retainers and undid some of the centralizing reforms of the Rjang, which were perceived as extreme in some quarters. In 571, an edict was issued to "reinforce the capital city", quadrupling muster quotas in the Inner Region. This edict was soon rescinded due to finance and public discontent. During the Mrangh dynasty, the CDF was first described as a standing force, having several garrisons around the capital city; this is corroborated by the issuing of salaries to soldiers in coinage rather than grains. The CDF sometimes possessed an expeditionary character—they were recorded as having participated in battles in Maverica and areas then not under Themiclesian control. Surprisingly, the militias of nearby prefectures were not mustered, and the CDF would have marched hundreds of miles to the battlefield. On the other hand, there were also cases where militias were called up when the CDF was not occupied.

In the Battle of Clarkestown, the CDF along with the militias of several other prefectures were annihilated by a coalition of Hemithean natives. It was soon rebuilt starting in 904, when the country's finances permitted it. In the 14th century, the CDF bore the brunt of the siege of Kien-k'ang by Yi-Menghean forces. The 6,000-strong force secured the city for a year and seven months, before the government capitulated and negotiated terms of peace with the invading general. One of the reasons why prefectural militias did not appear to aid the defence was that the Yi cavalry surrounded the city so rapidly, messages for reinforcements were yet unsent as the siege began. Lacking instructions, prefectural marshals did not mobilize their forces.

The CDF were heavily reformed following the protracted yet ruinous defeat in Maverica in 1796. Outdated branches, such as chariots, were not carried over during the reforms, in which the CDF was often the epicentre of the introduction of new regulations and tactics. While the CDF often received new equipment ahead of other units, this is not to be understood as favourtism; most Army workshops were located in the IAR, and in testing it was more convenient to equip the CDF due to proximity. During this era, the distinction between the CDF and prefectural militias progressively blurred, as the latter gradually professionalized, and both adopted a more modern reserves system. The CDF as an operationally-independent organization disappeared in 1935, when the last of its units were deployed to halt the Menghean incursion in the Pan-Septentrion War.

Modern era

With the sudden loss of both Solevent and Norfeld, Maverica,



The CDF, at inception, was divided into six specializations according to specialization:

  • Infantry (步, bagh)
  • Cavalry (騎, gjai)
  • Chariotry (車, kl′ja)
  • Crossbowmen (弩, na′)
  • Archers (射, mljagh)

Three more were added, after the arrival of the Menghean monarchy in 542:

  • Signals (都)
  • Light Cavalry (輕騎)
  • Engineers (寺工)

At the introduction of firearms in the 16th century, it seems various units adopted it at different times, though no new branch was added, specific to its use. By the 18th century, it is known that the Crossbowmen branch had been completely reliant on firearms for some time, though some of its tactics show influence from previous centuries. The Longbowmen branch usually fought in concert with Cavalry, and it seems likely that they were firearm-equipped during this era as well. The Infantry branch also used firearms, though they were known to retain melée weapons as sidearms into the 19th century. The Chariot branch specialized into horse-drawn artillery well before the modern period, but the chariots themselves waned as a close-combat branch fairly early. They survived as far as the 1800s due to their prestige and function as guards for senior officers.

Mixed formations

The above-mentioned specializations possessed independent leadership, and thus it is possible to speak of the cavalry, etc. as a unit. However, it is also known the CDF had floating officers who normally did not lead any single branch. These are later streamlined into the "Left Capital Brigade" and "Right Capital Brigade", both of which apparently possessed a mixture of units in the branches above. Historically, it is not unusual for only a single specialization to be deployed, or for several branches, under their respective leadership. Yet mixed formations were also built from portions of all or some of these branches. The precise cause for choosing one system over the other is unclear.

Civilian functions

The CDF historically acted as a back-up to the militias under the direction of country magistrates, who were charged with stopping bandits and pursuing fugitives. For this purpose, detachments could be deployed legally without prior permission from the Council of Correspondence, but normally its assent was sought anyway. Until recently, the Inner Region's borders were strictly secured by the CDF against the import of firearms and other weapons; historically, this was meant to prevent the formation of armed mobs that may threaten the security of the region. In other regions, households were permitted to keep certain weapons for defence against wild animals and hunting parties.

Relationship with other formations

With the Royal Guards

In the concentric model of the defence of the monarch, the CDF was seen as the outermost layer. The Royal Guards (衛士) were formed by militiamen drawn by lot from the prefectures, resulting in a non-regional force that was deemed politically reliable. While the Royal Guards were stationed within the palace walls and outside the halls, the CDF guarded the Citadel, the city, and the Inner Region beyond it. The Royal Guards were at one point the focal point of the monarch's security, but in consequence of diminishing militia attendance since the mid-19th century, the CDF became progressively important to royal security, especially since the reign of Emperor Tjang.

With the Navy

The Admiralty co-operated with the CDF in the 19th century to train its marines. In 1850, Parliament legislated that only graudates of the Army Academy were eligible to receive new commissions, giving rise to the renowned alumni connection between the two forces. The Marines imitated CDF uniforms and badges, attesting to its prestige not only in the rigour of its officers' education but also the social background whence they arose. This amicability somewhat chinked in 1909, when the Admiralty found favour with the new Liberal government as primary defence against Camian aggression, for which it planned a wholesale reform for the Marines. Through the alumni network, CDF officers encouraged the Marines to protest their regimental independence, provoking the Supreme Court in 1915 to uphold the 1850 commissioning law for the Marines. While the ruling could not ultimately prevent the Admiralty from extricating the Marines from the alumni network, especially after experiences from the Pan-Septentrion War, it was deemed a Conservative victory in military policy. The CDF's role in the affair was held in the Admiralty's institutional memory for decades hence even after it effectively disappeared as an institution after 1940.

Current CDF units

  • 402nd Armoured Brigade Wind-Riders

Noted engagements

In media

Elite army

The CDF was considered the elite amongst the forces of metropolitan Themiclesia since the 17th century, when the Colonial Army, recruited from Themiclesian communities in the colonies, became increasingly influential in defence of Themiclesian power in the Halu'an and the Subcontinent. The royal court consistently provided the CDF with the most-improved weapons, and generally demanded a higher standard of competence from its petty officers and men. Unlike the Colonial Army, which officers promoted from the ranks led, the CDF's officer corps consisted of mostly civilians. In the 18th century, the two were joined by the Royal Signals Corps and the Marines to compose the "four armies" that Themiclesians spoke of.

In popular portrayals, CDF soldiers are frequently depicted as haughty, though historically this was not a consistent stereotype. Though, as they joined for a term of 20 years, officers made them aware of their status as professional soldiers and expected them to behave in ways that would not reflect poorly on their leadership. This included aggravated penalties against looting and mistreatment of others, though career prospects was perhaps a more powerful motivation for CDF soldiers to exhibit good conduct. Sound discipline became a popular characteristic of the CDF in the 18th century and was frequently contrasted by contemporaries with the alleged vagaries of the Colonial Army.

Historians point to two contrasting projections that have been used to motivate soldiers in battle. One, used by the CDF, focused on collective effectiveness and the policy of the state rewarding them for good performance, telling them, "if you fight your country's war, your country will reward you according to its promises." The other, found in the Colonial Army, sought to inculcate a personal affinity in their conquest, that "you fight for your family's safety, your discharge entitlements, and your honour as a soldier." The Colonial Army was raised from communities settled by generations of soldiers and consistently defended far-flung, vulnerable territories that they themselves settled, so any defeat was more than a strategic setback for a faceless government in which participation was all but impossible due to his meanness, but a personal loss and indignity. On the other hand, since soldiers were often settled on the very land they conquered or defended, military success translated into personal superiority over their enemies, creating a very personal or visceral interest to military success.

Contra the CDF's projection, which fundamentally was a relationship based on salary for service. Though it was surgical and impersonal, the CDF developed its own pride as humble, conscientious workers who demanded nothing but a regular salary. In the 1700s, when the two forces first started fighting together, the Colonial Army's responded to the CDF's deportment, which was also metropolitan smugness, by challenging them to battlefield effectiveness. The Colonial Army may not have believed the CDF could do "the dirty work" as well as they did, if they truly felt so little for the emotional appeal for battle and victory. Whatever the impact of these mentalities, history had it that the CDF and Colonial Army were about equally effective in the late 18th century, significant superior to the militia, but neck-to-neck to each other. The CDF sneered at the Coloial Army's warrior mentality, while the Colonial Army trumpted the view that they had fought all the difficult battles.

Relative to the state, the two forces also differed. The CDF was described as slightly servile in this regard, simply doing the state's bidding, strictly detached from the country's fate. On the other hand, the Colonial Army was certainly told that Themiclesia depended on their services. This difference may be explained by the images of Themiclesia as felt by the people that made up these forces. The CDF recruited from the Inner Region, the seat of a bureaucracy more undying than any king, more all-powerful than any mind to an unhistoried man, something that force of arms has never been able to challenge: if no enemy of flesh and blood could challenge it, how could their flesh and blood be that hold a candle its survival? On the peripheries where the Colonial Army's soldiers came from, Themiclesian control of every inch of soil was ever-contested, the shadow of its administration so feeble, that soldiers were magnified in importance. Moreover, through the government's ceding and reconquest of territory, or threat thereof, the efficacy and necessity of violence was made manifest in their minds and histories.

All these formed the Colonial Army's unique spirit that gave rise to its image in the 1700s. Camia's "love affair" with its armed forces, in many ways, continues the old relationship of Themiclesian settlements and their Colonial Army. This "military nationalism", or a common appreciation for the value of the armed forces in the face of a real or imagined enemy, may have been instrumental in overcoming cultural differences between citizens of Tyrannian and Themiclesian origins.


The CDF is the first Themiclesian force to have a representative standard, which was a square split into four equal columns, coloured red, yellow, green, and blue. The symbolism of this flag, if any, is unclear. The flag, like other pre-modern Themiclesian flags, was hoister vertically like a ship's sail, with battens on the top and bottom edge of the flag. From 1820, the flag was horizontally hoisted, resulting in its modern layout. In 1832, the four rows of colours were changed to six rows, representing six departments of the CDF.


Uniforms of the CDF

The CDF's uniforms varied between branch and unit. Most units donned frock coats in charcoal grey for official activities, while cavalrymen instead wore tailcoats of the same colour. The lapels were usually contrasting velvet in summer and fur in winter. Each CDF regiment appointed its waistcoat to have a distinct colour and pattern. Some officers and men added an under-waistcoat according to the fashion of the day, which personalized their uniforms and expressed taste and sophistication. In each case, a white shirt was worn against the body, with its collars closed by a cravat. The style of the cravat was not regulated, but informal rules stipulated that cavalrymen should tuck the ends of the garment into the collars, which allowed the waistcoat to be buttoned-up to the neck, providing more warmth while riding. Other members of the CDF followed contemporary fashion in tying their cravats, most often in a bow, and left their waistcoats' upper buttons open, to accommodate said bow.

While frock coats could be colourful in the first half of the 19th century, they trended towards black or other dark colours in the second. The fashion affected most units, the CDF more so, given its visibility in the capital city. With respect to its prestige amongst regiments, its adoption of a dark frock coat in 1857 began the trend in military circles. While off-white shirts were tolerable in earlier times, a pure-white shirt became mandatory in the CDF in its attempt to emulate the upper-class ability to launder frequently. The cream trousers were changed to grey, chequered trousers, and leather dress shoes were replaced by the blue army shoe, an experimental footwear that provided superior protection with antiseptic treatment. The under-waistcoat gradually disappeared from portraiture and photography in the 1850s, though surviving uniforms suggest it simply was worn behind the waistcoat, without peeping out as was the former fashion.


See also