More Army lunacy

From: Alex Ferguson (
Date: Thu 16 Feb 1995 - 22:38:23 EET

GAWINTER enjoins us:
> Lets talk about the lunar army!
> I know they have officers and grunts. What are the titles of the officers
> and what are their roles?

Tales 12 has several nominations here, though it implies they may be specific to that phalanx, or perhaps to the phalanxes with a formerly (or currently) solar makeup.

> How many men to a standard legion?
> are their Centuries and Dekads as well? (centurions dekurios?)

Tales 12 says "centurion" is a "Yanafali" usage. I take this to mean certain units, the more "modern, Lunarised" ones, work more like Roman legions, than the traditional Yelmic-model hoplite.

A Yanafali legion may be something like this: Every group of 14 men is commanded by a file leader, or Diheptikos, assisted by a half-file leader. Yanafali units tend to be "squarer" than the phalangite norm, though sometimes they do field a phalanx-like formation, one half-file deep.

Seven full files form a maniple, and are commanded by a Centurion. A full legion consists nominally of seven maniples, making them smaller than the average phalanx, though this can vary considerably without affecting basic unit organisation. A battle-ravaged legion could have only two maniples, a hastily reorganised one could have ten.

Each half-file consists of a leader, a monitor, and a designated front-rank man, and four "ordinary" legionaries. A monitor is always designated, even if no particularly skilled magician is available; whichever file member knows the most appropriate magic is co-opted into the role. Elite units always have a specially-trained person in this capacity, however.

The officers are Yanafali also, though belonging to a distinct subcult. Maniple commanders are generally commissioned Centurions, but are sometimes enlisted personnel, and often both are present, the second remaining with the unit and relaying the maniple commander's orders.

For a Traditionalist unit, like Basalt Phalanx, things are more like Greek units. I imagine ten-man files, led by a Dakanumarsh. Ten files are organised into a Square, led by a something-else-o-marsh. (Sorry, failure of inspiration.) Ten squares form the full phalanx. This phalanx lacks both Monitors, and officers directly commanding the smaller unit. Instead, the regimental commander has a moderatesized  staff, containing both a group of magicians, and a number of officers who assist the commander.

The published Granite Phalanx seems a fine model for a phalanx which has been somewhat Lunarised. Seven or eight man files (or half-files, but generally 7 or 8 deep in usual formation), NCO'd by Enomotarchs and Lochagoi commanding respectively about 50 and 100 men. Buy the Book! (Well, magazine.)

> RE Dragon Pass (the board-game) I think there must be a consensus how many
> people make up a unit/chip. How many lunars make up a lunar unit

Tales 12 suggests Granite Phalanx (a DP unit) is about 1200 strong. This sounds about the right cricket oval^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hballpark for most DP infantry counters.

Sandy supplies:
> Okay, lets. All the following is My Opinion Only, and I'm
> practically _eager_ to change my opinion by seeing superior concepts
> in print.

I broadly agree with Sandy's comments, except that we need some more Evocative Terminology. Particularly for "NCOs", whom I'm confident aren't thought of as being "officers" in any sense, to say nothing of the question of "commissions". I could believe that any NCO is (somewhat informally) referred to as a "sergeant", regardless of the formal title accorded by his exact rank and particular regiment.

> In addition, the
> Commander's staff are also special NCOs, plus each Captain has at
> least one NCO to be his own "staff".

I don't know about such staff being NCOs. It seems more likely they are "junior officers", or special assignees not formally within the command structure. Conceivable even a non-soldier; nobles may haul along personal retainers to dogsbody for them. This is also where the Dread Political Officers slot into the overall scheme of things, and medics, etc. Which staff level may vary; Lunar units are likely to be more devolved in this respect, having more of such functions at the maniple/century level than a comparable Solar one.

> >We know from published sources that the Lunar legionairs resemble
> <the roman unit types very strongly.
> Not so. They are _organized_ like the Greeks. However, I
> believe that they are disciplined and trained like the Romans.

To counter-quibble, they are surely _equipped_ like greek hoplites, organised somewhat like the same, though as Sandy and I agreed in private, more flexibly so, the better to deal with all the weird shit seen zinging about the bog-standard Gloranthan battlefield. You'll see them in formations of variable depths (in terms of men-deep files), and both rank and file density, for this reason, I believe.

It's hard to quantify stuff like training and discipline -- "regularness", as it were. I suspect the very best Lunar regiments are comparable to legionaries in this respect (and the Steel Sword may also be somewhat similar in tactics and equipment), while most Heartland units are somewhat better quality than Greeks, mainly in respect of tactical flexibility and well-organisedness.

> Missile troops are needed as skirmishers to harass the foe,
> break up his charge, and guard one's flanks. The Lunar Army's
> standard skirmishers are the Thunder Delta Slingers. There are also a
> few units of peltasts remaining, fossils from the olden days when
> Dara Happa had to field a complete combat force by itself.

I reckon there are quite a lot of non-TDS missile troops around. Eol isn't such a populous area, and I think you'd be doing well to wring 10 DP counters, to cover the whole empire, out of them. Most "peltasts" are probably _not_ Dara Happan, though, but Pelorian Farmer types (Lodrilite spear-chuckers, etc). The TDS mob are probably the most efficient as skirmishers, though, in terms of mobility and appropriately nifty magic, so they'll get used at the front line whenever possible.

> The bottom line is that the Lunar Army does not expect its
> hoplites to win its major battles. [...]
> But the battles are won by the magic colleges. While the
> Cavalry Corps threatens, the peltasts and slingers harass, and the
> hoplites mass stolidly to the front, the Lunar magicians blast the
> foe out of existence with dire magics.

Against most Orlanthi, I bet cavalry is often the decisive offensive arm. Whereas against Praxians or Pentans, the above is probably very true, though a phalanx will be able to make sizeable dents in a nomad force if it acts with its customarily charming strategic naivety. "Charge!" <splat> "Run away!"


End of Glorantha Digest V1 #152

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