The IV Legion (Mountain) "Marseille", often shortened to just "IV Legion" or "the Marseille Legion", is a light infantry brigade in the Tysoanian Army that specializes in mountain warfare. Originally established as the 3rd Infantry Brigade and intended to operate in the Pyrenees and the plains of southern France, it evolved into a mountain warfare unit as it became devoted to operating primarily in the Alps. It received its designation as a mountain warfare unit in 1899, as part of a larger military reorganization that also saw its name changed to IV Legion (Mountain) "Marseille".
Its main garrison is in its namesake city of Marseille, in the foothills of the Alps, and it has many small outposts and fortifications throughout the Tysoanian Alps.
The IV Legion was first established in 1714 as the 3rd Infantry Brigade. The disastrous First Battle of Montpellier had shown the weakness of the Army's heavy reliance on paramilitaries and reservists, and so the Army was reorganized to create its first professional units, with the 3rd Infantry Brigade being one of these. Due to its being outfitted with poorly-maintained and outdated equipment, the 3rd Brigade was tasked with providing defensive support to other units in southern France and patrolling the Pyrenees border between that region and Tysoania.
The brigade first saw combat during the siege of Lyons, when royalist forces attempted to break out of the Marcelist encirclement of the city. A regiment of the 3rd Brigade had been supporting the siege when the Marcelist lines to the north of the city were shattered by a concentrated cavalry and artillery attack, which threatened to unleash an enemy breakout and escape from the siege. Although the reserve lines of Tysoanians were spread thin to surround the entire city, quick reaction by the commander of the regiment meant that the force blocking the enemy were quickly brought up to full strength and a counterattack launched. The counterattack made contact before the enemy had regrouped, and this routed the enemy cavalry. Now lacking mobile forces and with the city-based artillery unable to quickly reorient its fire, the royalist infantry was caught up in the panicked retreat of the cavalry and also fell back to the safety of the city. The regiment thus recaptured the Marcelist lines and manned them until the surrender of the city in six days.
A3H in desert camouflage
The news of this engagement, along with a string of victorious small skirmishes, impressed the Tysoanian command, which began to view the 3rd Brigade as one of the most combat-effective units in the Tysoanian Army. The 3rd Brigade was redeployed to the front lines as an offensive force and given priority for weapons and supplies, which enabled it to rack up more victories as the royalist French army began to collapse as the fall of Paris drew ever closer.
With the installation of the Marcelist government and the end of royalist-democrat hostilities in late 1717, the 3 Infantry Brigade was withdrawn to Tysoania. However, while other units were demobilized with the end of hostilities, the 3rd Brigade was retained as border forces as a result of its prestige. As a result, when southern France revolted, the 3rd Brigade was the first of the Tysoanian forces to intervene. When the war ended with 1719 with Tysoania victorious, the 3rd Brigade was assigned to the Alps foothills to protect the region from border incursions and to suppress riots or attempts at independence.
As the threat of internal disturbances becoming less and less of a threat in the years following the end of the war, the 3rd Brigade eventually became more centered around the defense of the Alps. Because of the difficult nature of movement and combat within the Alps, the 3rd Brigade evolved into a mountain warfare unit with distinct training and weapons that were better suited to the mountainous environment of the region. Although this unique supply situation had become a de facto policy within the Army by 1750, it wasn't until 1843 that the brigade was formally authorized to design or choose new weapons as required for mountain warfare.
In 1899, as part of the Romanization campaign in Tysoania, the Army was reorganized to modernize and upgrade its structure and forces, with the new Army's units being named along Roman lines. The 3rd Infantry was relabeled the IV Legion (Mountain) "Marseille", after the home of its primary garrison. As part of this refocus on specific mountain warfare in the Alps, the IV Legion became more demanding in its needs for special equipment, and an import-substitution scheme by the government successfully sparked the creation and rapid growth of a niche industry catering to mountain warfare requirements.
With the outbreak of the British Civil War in 1951, the IV Legion was mobilized for a possible intervention into northern Scotland, but the selection of coastal raids by the Airmobile forces reduced the Marseille Legion to training friendly forces for mountain warfare. The IV Legion was instead deployed to Tunisia during the outbreak of an insurgency there in 1974 and took part in many skirmishes against enemy insurgents in the eastern Atlas Mountains. However, the Legion has not been deployed in any significant operations at the Legion level since then, with it instead being stationed in the Alps as border defense and patrol forces.
Border outpost overlooking a valley
The IV Legion is divided into the following cohorts:
- 5th Infantry Cohort "Frozen Fifth"
- 17th Infantry Cohort "Sespair's Skiers"
- 31st Infantry Cohort "Concrete Cohort"
- 32nd Infantry Cohort "Alpine Lightning"
- 1st Scout Cohort "Avalanche"
- 2nd Scout Cohort "Rome's Fist"
- 17th Artillery Cohort "Alpine Thunder"
- 2nd Field Support Cohort "Draft Horses"
Although the various cohort numbers are assigned based on lineage, each cohort's nickname is chosen by the unit's troops, with most names reflecting an aspect of the unit's history or role. An example of this is the 31st Infantry Cohort, commonly referred to as "The Concrete Cohort". This is because this unit is the only one primarily tasked with manning the various border fortifications, most of which are made of reinforced concrete.
Border Patrol soldier in Alpine uniform
Marseille Legionnaires wear the standard army fatigues when in garrison at Fort Marseille or stationed at coastal outposts. When stationed at Alpine outposts or in the field, IV Legion troops wear a parka and snow trousers, both white with a white-grey digital camouflage; security forces have red armbands and epaulettes, while officers wear yellow ones. When at high altitudes, troops wear breathing masks and use personal oxygen canisters.
The IV Legion uses the AK-47W and P-226W, which are winterized and updated versions of the AK-47 and P-226 small arms that are the staple of the Army. In addition, troops are also issued crampons and an ice axe for mountain climbing. All soldiers are trained in the use of skis, but only specially-formed ski companies within the scout cohorts are permanently assigned skis, due to the nature of long-range reconnaissance in the Alps.
The Legion's motor pool is relatively small, compared to its infantry counterparts, as it is not intended as a mobile force outside of the Alps. The Legion primarily uses the A3 truck for its transport needs, with the A3H halftrack variant being widely used in the higher altitudes of the Alps. The Legion does not have any armoured assets, with this gap being filled by 228 towed artillery system, which are better suited to the static fortifications of the region. There are no air attack assets and only 6 air transports, these being the Ka-50 helicopter.