by Max Barry

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The Imperium of
Democratic Socialists

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The Imperial Armed Forces


As befits its ideology, the Imperium has a vast military, called the Imperiale Streitkräfte (Imperial Armed Forces). All citizens who are physically able have recieved at least one year of basic military training. No exceptions based on gender or religion are possible. Conscientious objection is not possible. About 1% of the population serve in the Imperial Armed Forces as professional soldiers in a standing army, currently numbering about 80 million soldiers. A total of 4 billion reservists, aged 19 to 65, are currently able to be mobilised within days, 2% of whom (= 80 million) are doing their mandatory two weeks of yearly retraining at any moment, thus about 160 million soldiers are always at the ready.

The Streitkräfte are organised into four different branches:

  • The Heer (army/land forces) is the largest branch and has a tradition dating back many centuries, with some individual units claiming ancestry reaching back to the Römer. About 60% of all soldiers serve in this branch. The army is heavily mechanized, based around advanced Panzer tank units and artillery. A surprisingly large contigent of light infantry (Jäger) still exists, owing to centuries of tradition. Individual marksmanship is heavily emphasized and celebrated.

  • The Luftwaffe (air force) is vast and mainly built around multi-role fighters and interceptors, with little capabilities for strategic bombardment. About 20% of all soldiers serve in this branch. A strong inter-service rivalry to the newer Raumwaffe exists, with both branches sometimes using the same craft. In principle, the Luftwaffe is responsible for all warfare in the troposphere, while the Raumwaffe rules the stratosphere and beyond. In practice, both branches often fight similar missions, sometimes along each other.

  • The Marine (navy) is huge but still underdeveloped due to Leonism's recent isolation. 15% of all soldiers serve in the navy. Unlike other Lazarene navies, it is still heavily based around battleships, which have been upgraded with advanced anti-air and anti-submarine weaponry to offset their traditional disadvantage against carriers (which the navy also has) and subs. Fusion-powered ships are the pride of the navy and are slowly but steadily replacing gas-turbine or nuclear fission powered ships.

  • The Raumwaffe (space force) is the newest branch, existing only since the 1980s, when it basically consisted of a few leftover aircraft, satellites and a single space shuttle. It has grown heavily in recent years and now employs 5% of all soldiers, fielding very advanced technology such as the fusion-powered R44 aerospace superiority fighter. It has orbital bombardement capabilities through the 100m long fusion-powered L/KRV class corvette starships.


The Imperial Armed Forces follow the Superior Firepower doctrine.

Cornerstone of the military is the training of the individual soldier, which is extensive, especially for professional soldiers. Quality is emphasized over quantity, despite the numerical advantage the Imperial Armed Forces have over practically every other military. Soldiers are organised into small fireteams of ten (Dekurie), which may be subdivided into two groups of five. Responsibility for others and leadership abilities are taught to every soldier from an early stage. The lowest rank with some command capacity is Quinturio, originally the leader of a group of five soldiers (Quinturie). In some cases, this role may even be filled by an Optio.

Formations in the Imperial Armed Forces are still heavily inspired by the Roman system introduced by the Römer in the first millenium. A mix of German and Latin designations for these units exists, similar to the rank names.

The main strategic maneuvering element of the Armed Forces is the Legion, about 6000 men strong and divided into 10 Kohorten of 600 men each. These in turn are further divided into Zenturien of about a hundred men, equivalent to a platoon in other armies. Many different kinds of Zenturie exist, to fill different niches and specialities in warfare.



The Heer, as the largest branch of the IAF, has a theoretical maximum strength of several billion soldiers, if all reservists are fully mobilized. This created a need for very large formations in war time. In peace time, formations above Armee size rarely play a role. The larger formations only exist as a rump, staffed with a few reservists in command functions to ensure that if the formations are mobilized, they can be organised quickly.

Due to the Imperial Leonist culture being a mix of Roman and Germanic elements, both martial traditions are mixed which leads to different names for formations of similar sizes (e.g. Kohorte (Latin) vs Regiment (Germanic))

Sorted by size from largest to smallest.

  • Heeresabschnitt about 10 million men, formed by five to ten Großarmeen, typically led by an Admiral I. Klasse or higher

  • Großarmee 1.000.000 to 2.000.000 men, formed by two to four Armeegruppen, typically led by a Vizeadmiral or higher

  • Armeegruppe 500.000 men, formed by three or four Armeen, typically led by a Großgeneral or higher

  • Armee 100.000 to 180.000 men, formed by three [iorps[/i], typically led by a General I. Klasse or higher

  • Korps 36.000 to 60.000 men, formed by three to five Divisionen, typically led by a General II. Klasse or higher

  • Division 12.000 to 18.000 men, formed by two or three Legionen, typically led by a Untergeneral or higher

  • Legion 6.000 men, formed by 10 Kohorten, typically led by a Legat-Commander or higher

  • Brigade 1.000 to 2.000 men, formed by two to four Regimenter, typically led by a Commander or higher

  • Kohorte 600 men, formed by six Zenturien, typically led by a Tribun or higher

  • Regiment 500 men, formed by five Zenturien, typically led by a Legat II. Klasse or higher

  • Zenturie 100 men, formed by ten Dekurien, typically led by a Zenturio or higher

  • Quarturie 40 men, formed by four Dekurien, typically led by a Quarturio or higher

  • Trenturie, 30 men, formed by three Dekurien, typically led by a Trenturio or higher

  • Staffel, 25 men, formed by five Quinturien, typically led by a Trenturio or higher

  • Dekurie 10 men, the basic tactical element of the Heer. Typically led by a Dekurio or higher

  • Quinturie 5 men, a small fireteam and the smallest formation in the IAF, not used in all branches. Typically led by a Quinturio or higher.


Luftwaffe ground units follow the same concepts as the Heer formations, which is why the following list will only take a look at airborne formations, which have their own terminology and standards.

  • Luftarmee - the entirety of all aircraft in a theatre

  • Luftkampfkorps - 3000 aircraft, three Luftkampfkorps

  • Luftkampfdivision - 1000 aircraft, two Luftkampflegionen - the smallest unit to contain all aircraft types

  • Luftkampflegion - 500 aircraft, three reeinforced Großgeschwader

  • Luftkampfbrigade - 288 aircraft, four Geschwader

  • Großgeschwader - 144 aircraft, two Geschwader

  • Geschwader - 72 aircraft, six Staffeln - the smallest unit to typically field different aircraft types

  • Doppelstaffel - 24 aircraft, two Staffeln

  • Staffel - 12 aircraft, two Rotten

  • Rotte - six aircraft, three pairs of wingmen

  • Flug - four aircraft, two pairs of wingmen

  • Flügelpaar - 2 aircraft, acting as wingmen to each other


The Imperium of Leonism