Ninth Pohang Legion, Grand Army of the Republic of Aquitaine

Today’s blog post topic is about the Ninth Pohang Legion: Heavy (Cataphracti)

The Grand Army of the Republic is a ground-based military force fielded by the Republic of Aquitaine. Until recently (The Siege and Conquest of Thuringwell), it was considered a defensive force, intended to protect worlds of the Republic against invasion by forces of the Fribourg Empire, raiders, or native revolutionaries.

This has now changed.

The Grand Army is made up of units called Legions, commanded by a Legate. This generally holds for infantry units, scouts, and armor. Each Legion is made up of five sub-units. For infantry or cavalry, these smaller groups are called Cohorts. For Armor, the unit is called an Ala. (plural: Alae)

At the basic level, the Ninth Pohang Legion is all about tanks. Specifically the Heavy Battle Tank known as Solenopsis, Fire Ants. Each tank has a four-man crew, with the commander either being a senior enlisted man (Decurion), or a junior officer (Lance Centurion), plus a Gunner, a Loader, and a Driver. Three tanks make up a single Lance, the smallest unit in the field.

Three Lances of tanks are organized as a Squadron. These nine vehicles are trained to operate as a three-fingered unit under the command of the most senior officer present.

Three Squadrons of tanks are known as a Patrol. The nominal Table of Organization and Equipment (TOE) will show twenty-seven tanks, if all of them are in the field, plus the addition of a Command Lance.


The Command Element for a Patrol is composed of a modified Patrol Commander model Solenopsis tank, outfitted with better communications gear, plus a Support Lance. This Support Lance is a Recovery Tank, a Logistics Tank, and an Air Defense Tank.

The Recovery Tank is a built on the same hull as the Solenopsis. Instead of the rotating battle turret with the 66mm particle cannon, the vehicle has a small, fixed bridge for the Commander to spot from, and a crane attached to a winch powerful enough to pull another tank out of most awkward situations. Frequently, a Recovery Tank will have a dozer blade on the front to help clear a path to rescue, but actual Armored Assault is the province of a Breacher Tank (see below).

Because the 66mm particle cannon on most tanks uses an expendable ammunition round, the Logistics Tank is responsible for transporting reloads in the field. Like the Recovery Tank, the vehicle loses the turret for a small bridge/cockpit up front, and gains a vented, armored, cargo box on the rear (think pickup truck). It also drags a larger armored trailer behind it, also on powered tracks. The Logistics Tank also has a crane, but one designed to lift the heavy ammunition crates from either of the transport boxes and land them on the rear deck of a nearby tank.

The Air Defense Tank keeps the battle turret of the Solenopsis, but removes the main gun for a pair of autocannons, one on either side for parallax, loaded with a variety of ammunition types. Like the Logistics model, it also has a tracked, armored trailer, but one that is generally loaded with spare autocannon ammunition, to give the crew the ability to be profligate when acting.

Above the level of a Patrol is the Ala itself. This is made up of three Patrols, plus a Ala Command Tank, for a nominal TOE of ninety-four (94) vehicles, of which eighty-five (85) will be Heavy Battle Tanks and nine (9) will be the three Support Lances.

The Ala is commanded by a Cohort Centurion, roughly the equivalent rank to the navy’s Command Centurion. Depending on the unit, they might be quite senior.


Every Legion is comprised, as noted above, of five major formations. These will be four core Cohorts or Alae (numbered 1-4), plus a 5th that is the Headquarters Section. HQ will include a Logistics/Transport Section, an Armoured Assault Support Section, an Artillery Section, and a Pioneer/Construction Section, the latter with dedicated construction vehicles, usually slightly-armored versions of civilian equipment.

The Armoured Assault Support Section usually contains one or moredozer-blade-equipped Breacher Tanks. This is built on the same Main Battle Tank hull, but instead of the 66mm cannon, it is equipped with a demolition gun, which is a form of short-barreled howitzer with an extremely large bore, fired horizontally. The size of the ammunition reduces the number of rounds that can be fired in battle, so the Breacher is used to open a gap for the rest of the unit to exploit, with either high explosive rounds or armor-piercing, depending on the nature of the obstacle that needs to be destroyed.

Another vehicle in the Armoured Assault Support Section is known as the Scorpion. This tank is built on the same hull as the Recovery Tank, but instead of a crane, it has a rear-mounted, articulated arm used to drop fascine bundles. The fascine bundle is made up of several dozen sections of pipe, wrapped up tightly. When a unit encounters a ditch too wide and deep to cross, the Scorpion will drop a fascine bundle into the ditch that other tanks can drive across.

In a similar manner, an Armoured Assault Support Section frequently includes a Mobile Bridge, which is a tank with a folding section of metal that can bridge major gaps or collapsed sections of bridge in a few minutes, to maintain the momentum of the attack.

The Assault Ramp Carrier is a variant of the Main Battle Tank where the turret is removed but not replaced. Instead, the hull is sealed tight, with available snorkels. Hydraulic ramps, several meters wider than the vehicle, are attached at the front and rear. In battle, the Ramp Carrier drives up to a slope too steep for another tank to climb, locks itself down, and deploys the ramps for following tanks to drive up and over a wall or embankment.

Finally, Headquarters Section will come equipped with what troops have traditionally called the Bakery Tractor. Bakery Tractors are used to establish a laager for tanks. This is a specially-built vehicle with a large backhoe that digs up soil and drops it into a hopper. The soil is then mixed with a chemical classified as a Reflectant, which is a plasticizing material that will stabilize the soil into soft bricks that are extremely resistant to both energy weapons and physical impact.

The Bakery outputs standard sized bricks that are scaled to Human (10cm x 20cm x 40cm), Vehicle (20cm x 40cm x 80cm), or Fortification (60cm x 80cm x 120cm), with a hollow bottom designed to lock into nobs that stick out the top. They retain a rubbery, squishy feel, and will stop or slow most small arms bullets, and spread the impact of an energy beam over a large surface, preventing melt-through or super-heating.


The Legion will be commanded by a Legate, who has roughly the equivalent rank of the navy’s Fleet Lord.

In the case of several Legions acting together for an extended campaign, overall command will be designated to a Governor, or possibly a Margrave, with rank equivalent to a First Fleet Lord. Such a commander may occasionally be the senior-most Legate present also being given overall command (see the archaic term Marshal).

While an Armoured Legion like the Ninth Pohang will have four full Alae on paper, and for training purposes, the usual disposition in the field is the three Alae only, with a fourth (any of them) being swapped out to support a different Legion. The new fourth unit will be a different Alae/Cohort that is attached for a campaign or extended mission. Examples include attaching a Rapid Assault Ala (Armored Rifles), or a Heavy Scout Ala (Wheeled or Tracked). Infantry and Cavalry Cohorts are also options, but much more rare, given the nature of the two forces. On occasion, an entire Artillery Cohort has been attached.

The most frequent arrangement is to attach an Ala of Mechanized Scouts (Wheeled or Tracked), depending on the terrain. This formation is a spearhead for an assault, normally used to break up formations where hostile forces have managed to dig themselves in tightly and the costs of an infantry assault may be prohibitive.


  • Legate (Commanding Officer)
  • Primus Pilus (“First Spear.” Second in Command. Field Commander. )
  • Cohort Centurion (Commander of an Ala)
  • Patrol Centurion (Commander of a Patrol)
  • Lance Centurion (Commander of a Lance or Squadron, depending on seniority)
  • Decurion (Senior Enlisted rank)