Mercenaries in the GZG Universe
By John M. Atkinson
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Mercenaries - An Introduction
Mercenary Units of Note
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Note: The notation (c) indicates a canonical item, mostly
those mentioned in the Stargrunt II chronology. (For further details
on the GZG setting, see the GZG Universe Background
and the Official GZG Timeline. -Ed.)
If there is one defining characteristic of conflict
between major powers in the 22nd century, it is heavy
use of mercenaries. The mercenary business became an
accepted and codifed part of the Laws of Land Warfare
with the accesion of most major powers and mercenary
groups to a Mercenary Code(c) and the establishment of
the Mercenary Review and Bonding Comission based out
of The Hague (Geneva was considered and rejected based
on heavy Swiss participation in the mercenary
There are a number of categories of Mercenary. One is
the Foreign Legion, where a unit is part of the
regular armed forces of a nation, but recruits from
outside that nation exclusively or almost exclusively.
These are not covered by the Mercenary Code, being
considered essentially the same as Regular units. The
most famous include the Ghurka Rifle batallions (c) of
the NAC, the Colonial Legion (c) of the FSE, and the
Varangian Guard of the NRE. Lesser-known units
include the King's German Legion, a German-manned
force in NAC service consisting of two Panzer
batallions, 2 Panzer Grenadier batallions, an
Artillery batallion, and a recon/aviation composite
batallion. This unit was formed in 2139 to support
the NAC during the First Solar War, in which the NSL
was not willing to participate, but provided some
support to the NAC.
Another category is the Volunteer. These generally
don't fall under the Mercenary Code as they are not
part of recognized mercenary units. "Volunteers" is
generally a flimsy legal fiction for another nation to
get involved in a conflict, typically in the form of
small units of Special Operations Forces to advise and
train. There are also "volunteer corps" which are
units of a nation's military seconded to another
nation's military under a thin legal pretext (see
Chinese Volunteer Corps, during a hot period in the
Twentieth Century Conflict)
Another major category is regular military units hired
out by their government. The Saeed Kaliphate is noted
for this(c), as are the New Israelis (NI mercs are
canonical, that they are regular Zahal formations
hired out was a call by Noam Izenberg, one of
the GZG email-list regulars). Typically, a
government forms a pool of regular units that are
available for hire, and rotates units in and out of
that pool to spread operational combat experience.
These units fall under the Mercenary Code while under
The final category is the traditional mercenary unit,
organized, equipped, and led autonomously which hires
out to the highest bidder. Of course, very few of
these units are as independant as popular fiction
depicts. Many are registered with a particular nation
and do not take contracts against them, in order to
enjoy a safe haven between contracts, and assistance
in replacing equipment (most governments are more than
happy to provide loans and leases for this purpose to
established units, as it is a cheap way of putting
firepower on retainer). Most of these units are light
on or lacking altogether any artillery and aviation,
and typically do not operate grav vehicles or other
high-tech equipment with superior electronics.
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Some of the more noted independant units include:
The Polish Regiments
During the European Civil War in
2101-2103, Poland sided with the EC. To prevent the
need to fight a 2-front war, the NSL partitioned
Poland with the RH again (Note: This would be the
fifth time Germans have partitioned Poland with
Russians. I'm just following a historical
trend - Poland is a nation and a culture with lousy
luck, lots of enemies, and not a single defensible
terrain feature to its name. NSL got back old
Prussia, Brandenburg, and Silesia, RH got the rest).
Elements of the Polish Army escaped and went
Mercenary. These 9 units still consider themselves
the Polish Army in exile. The most famous is the 6th
"Eagle" Interface Division, which is almost unique
among merc units in maintaining a full batallion of
Powered Armor and a platoon of PA in each of its
other BNs. The other units are brigade to batallion
sized. Registered in the FSE.
Albanian light armored batallion.
Unregistered. Bad reputation as undisciplined bandits
Deserters and defectors from Irish
units during the War of the Americas led to the
establishment of the San Patricio Light Infantry
Brigade in the LLAR Army in 2060. It went Merc in
2099, when it entered into a 5-year contract with the
Indonesian Commonwealth in return for extraction from
a NAC encirclement. Registered in IC, vehemently
Loose affiliation of 6 batallions of Finns,
1xArmored Cavalry, 2xLight Motorized, 3xJaeger BNs.
Registered in Scandanavian Federation.
Americans of Scandanavian anscestry
living in the Dakotas and Minnessota are the primary
recruits for this unit. Registered NAC.
2xLight Armored BNs and supporting
elements, recruited from Sioux. Registered NAC
SAS-style unit recruited from various
Apache tribes in the American Southwest. Registered
NAC. (For further details about the Apache Squadron, see the
Apache Squadron TO&E
article in our TO&E section.) ~Ed.
Wild Goose Brigade
Light Infantry Brigade of
Irishmen, Registered (wherever your campaign
background decided to put Ireland, probably either FSE
A generic term for any of seven Scottish
Mechanized Infantry brigades. All are Registered NAC
excepting The Bruce's Own, which is registered FSE.
In 2052, a brigade of Kansas National
Guardsmen held off 2 British Divisions for three
weeks. The British commander was so impressed he
allowed the survivors to withdraw across the border.
Now a mixed Batallion. Unregistered.
Abraham Lincoln Brigade
Raised by private individuals
in North America in 2111 to aid the Oceanic Union in
its war with the Indonesians, this unit remained
active after the war and went truly mercenary. It
recruits about 50% North Americans and 50% OU.
1st Virginia Partisan Rangers
Guerilla band formed
during the Second Civil War. Exfiltrated all the way
to Mexico, where it went Merc rather than work for the
Mexicans. Registered with the New Confederate States,
but still primarily recruits from Virginia. Recently
changed over from Hoverjeep mounted infantry to
grav-bike mounted infantry.
Mixed brigade of Boers, this
unit was formed with an eye to raising funds for the
Voortrek to New Transvaal. Registered New Transvaal.
Formerly a corps-sized unit, this
formation was hired to supplement the defenses of New
Hellas when its Thematic troops were deployed to New
Sofia during the Romanov War. It subsequently
mutinied and siezed partial control of the planet.
After the NRE operation to take back Hellas, only a
regiment remained. The Grand Company is unusual in
that it maintains its own spacecraft, including a
pair of destroyers (Use stats for FSE DDs). Recruited
originally from Spaniards, but after violating a
contract and being banned by the MRBC, has recruited
mostly from assorted criminals, exiles, scum and
degenerates. It stumbles from one illicit contract to
the next, and will probably cease to exist within a
decade or so.
Death's Head Hussars
Raised by a scion of a wealthy
family of industrialists and offered to the NSL's
service during the European Civil War. It was viewed
with skepticism by the NSL command, but they were not
in a position to refuse a full batallion of the latest
high-tech tanks. Claiming descent from a batallion of
Brunswicker cavalry in which the commander's
ancestors had served, the troops painted their tanks
black and wore a variant uniform which was black with
a death's head as the unit insignia (NB: No Nazi or SS
connotations here, folks. This was an old and honored
regiment in the German Army since the Napoleonic era).
Went Merc after the war, now operates a full batallion
of high-tech grav tanks. Registered NSL.
Unlike the mainstream
merc units above, the Sturmpionieren (Assault
Engineers) are a unit of specialists. They focus on
demolition, urban warfare, and assaults on fortified
positions. The unit is parachute-qualified, and has a
number of SCUBA specialists as well. Company sized.
Van Koost Armored Legion(c)
Dutch mercenary unit mentioned in passing in the GZG
Other Canonical Merc References
Turks, Swiss, Japanese, LLAR, Indonesians, Scandanavians.
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