|Ground Forces Command|
|Lesser Coat of Arms of the Imperial Military Service.|
|Country||Empire of Barrayar|
|Part of||Imperial Service|
|Headquarters||Imperial Service Headquarters|
The Barrayaran Landing Forces Command (LANFORCOM) is a military branch of service of the Imperial Service. First formed just before the Invasion of Komarr as Imperial Marine Corps, the force undertook significant spaceborne operations, both in the two major wars (Invasion of Komarr and the Escobaran Campaign) and in other, smaller military operations.
Being a spaceborne organization, the Landing Forces are attached to forces assigned to Space Forces Command: there is at least one infantry brigade permanently attached to each of the major fleets. The Barrayaran military doctrine calls for the Landing Forces to be used as shock troops spearheading an assault that would be followed up by ground forces.
Its primary wartime missions is to seize and hold strategic places and to make spaceborne tactical landings behind enemy lines as well as defending critical basing areas. They are troops intended for landing, or which have already landed on enemy-occupied territory for the purpose of conducting combat operations. According to the space-planet transportation method used, a landing force may be amphibious, airborne, or combined; and according to its scale and purpose, such a force may be strategic, operational, or tactical. In carrying out operations, the Landing Forces unit commanders are given a broader power to evaluate and make decisions based on their own observations and calculations. A Landing Forces unit commander has similar decision powers to a starship commander. Units deployed aboard a starship operate under a similar method: in addition to reporting to the command in which the battalion or company serves, the Landing Forces Detachment Commander reports directly to the ship's commander. A starship-bound Landing Forces Detachment receives orders in much the same way: long-term and broad tasks are assigned by the Detachment's LF command, while the vessel's commander is responsible for assigning short-term objectives and goals.
The Landing forces formations are equipped with armoured fighting vehicles, artillery and anti-aircraft guns, trucks and off-road vehicles. Thus LF units and formations possess superior mobility and fire power with these vehicles. Each division has all three regiments equipped with them and their derivatives.
In 3000, the Landing Forces Command had around 250,000 active duty soldiers, being the smallest of the combat branches of the Imperial Service. Officers have a higher proportion of ex-NCOs in them than is average for the Imperial Service.
Landing Forces Command tracks back its history to the short-lived Imperial Marine Corps. The IMC was founded in 2895 upon request of then-Imperial Fleet Commander Admiral Aral Vorkosigan planning the Komarran Conquest. He was in need of a specialized military corps, planetary-landing capable and well integrated with the Navy structures. The then-Imperial Army opposed this view, supporting the idea that planetary landing was to be entrusted to standard ground forces.
Despite the Army staunch opposition, in late 2893 the Vorkosigan-Vortaine Landing Plan was approved and preparations for the Marine Corps started the following year. By the end of 2894 ten Army light-infantry divisions were separated and formed the core of the new service combat element; similarly, a fleet of troop transport and landing spacecrafts was drawn from the Navy and constituted the hearth of Marine fleet. Up to the following six months four more divisions were recruited and on Midsummer Day, 2895, immediately before the Imperial Military Review, the Imperial Marine Corps was created as an autonomous spaceborne service, receiving his war standard by the hands of Crown Prince Serg Vorbarra.
The excited phases of the Komarran Conquest proved the necessity of better co-ordination between Marines and Navy, as well as a deeper integration and amalgam between experienced Army-drawn and newly-recruited units, although the initial riots were harshly suppressed also by IMC units.
The success of the campaign overexcited the War Party and pushed Emperor Ezar to support it, allowing most bellicose Generals to plan the following steps of Barrayaran foreign policy, and manoeuvring them against Escobar. In mid 2898 the Vorbarra-Vorrutyer Plan was approved with few opposition, and Imperial Fleet Commander Ges Vorrutyer was given power to reorganize the invading forces. In order to gain the full support of Imperial Navy, which was still populated by some supporters of then-Captain Vorkosigan, he assigned the Marine Corps to the space hierarchy: it became an autonomous branch of the Navy and Marine officers ranks shifted to the naval nomenclature while small detachments of Marines were assigned to every warship.
During the 2899 Escobaran War the landing of part of Marine forces was completed successfully, but during the consolidation the spacecraft where Crown Prince Serg Vorbarra and Admiral Vorrutyer were on was hit by an Escobaran ship, putting into chaos landing forces. The steady retreat ordered by Commodore Vorkosigan avoided worse losses, but Escobaran ground forces took more than 11,000 POWs. The exchange of prisoners was completed in early 2900.
The leadership of the Imperial Marine Corps, allied with Minister Grishnov, was massively purged by Imperial Security immediately after the Loyalty Riots: cadres were formed by young officers, strictly loyal to Emperor Ezar and enthusiastic admirers of Admiral Vorkosigan. The Vordarian's Pretendership saw the recently-purged Imperial Marines on Barrayar strictly adherent to Emperor Gregor's side; detached in outer posts there were some pro-Vordarian units, but none raised its standards against Emperor Gregor.
As soon he returned to power, Regent Admiral Vorkosigan started his most important military reforms: the merging and unification of all military services in a single, new Imperial Military Service. The military reform was intended to ensure an higher level of control over the military hierarchy, and lasted two years in order to enter into force. The merging was staunchly opposed by the two major services, i.e. Army and Navy, but met some opposition also within the former Imperial Marines, now renamed Landing Forces Command. The effects of the unification, however, did not show themselves until the late 2906, after the suppression of the Komarran Revolt, the last major engagement of the Landing Forces Command: during the worst phases, rebels occupied some domed cities, which were reconquered by space-ground landing of the former Imperial Marines.
Following decades saw a minor use of Landing Forces in military actions in favour of a more intensive use in security actions, often in coordination with the Imperial Security and Special Forces. The only significant military engagement took place in 2961, when the landing forces were engaged in the bar the way to Pol raids on the ground of Komarr.
In the late sixties the Thirtieth Century increasing instability and the increase of the need for reliable political forces, caused more extensive use of the landing forces on the planets of the Empire, especially on Komarr, but also on Barrayar. In the campaign against the Republic of Black Mountains were also deployed elite units of the landing forces alongside Rangers. Despite the lack of preparation in this kind of war, they distinguished themselves in the capture of Ravnopravigrad, the village home of the rebellion.
Because of the progressive disuse of command, it went through alternating phases: from the thirties to the fifties it was considered as a "elephant graveyard", which allocate problematic senior officers. From the sixties to the eighties the LF Command instead was re-evaluated and received some of the best senior officers: in this period even the Chief of the General Staff was often drawn from the ranks of the Landing Forces.
In recent decades the command followed the general calm, even if the actions and safety of low-intensity intervention were more numerous than in the first half of the century. The 2998 military reform moved permanently the command from ground hierarchy to naval hierarchy.
As the whole Imperial Service, the Landing Forces Command places a high institutional value on physical readiness, preparing the individual's body for the difficulties of combat; the Landing Forces Command is known for placing even greater emphasis on physical fitness. The mandatory participation in four hours weekly of physical training is considered a minimum starting point; further fitness is rewarded by evaluation scores. Chronic lack of physical fitness can be grounds for punishment or discharge. The Landing Forces also have a strong esprit de corps, and retain some distinctions from the Imperial Service: unlike any other Barrayaran unit, the motto of the Landing Forces flags is not "Honour and Duty" but "Honour and Fidelity".
Although the Imperial Service is a fully unified operational command, LANFORCOM retains some responsibilities about the planetary landing-related issues, but with concern the logistics and transport. The Central Command of the Landing Forces structure is centred around the Chief of Staff of Landing Forces, who is part of the High Command.
- Chief of Landing Staff
- Ground Forces Central Command
- Commander of the Ground Forces Headquarters
- Operations Division (detachments from Operations Command of General Staff)
- Organization Department
- Strategic Reserve Command
Strategic Reserve Command Edit
The Strategic Reserve Command is the LANFORCOM subdivision which operates elite and reserve units and formations and serves as central hub for providing additional LANFORCOM assets to the various Regional Command (BARCOM, KOMCOM, SERCOM, EXPRES-FORCOM) as needed. Although it is not a Regional Command-based organization, the Strategic Reserve Command functions as a depot for unit training and maintenance while not required or needed by an individual Numbered Fleet or even spaceship. While all Landing Forces component command, including those theoretically assigned to reserve duties, are employed in battle-ready roles, the Strategic Reserve Command allows the LANFORCOM presence on Imperial Service starships, as well as the existence of several of units and formations ready to be employed to augment any Fleet Brigade.
The Strategic Reserve Command is directly commanded by the Chief of Landing Staff.
Ready Reserve Forces Command Edit
The Ready Reserve Forces Command is the operational body which gathers, handles and administers forces ready to be inserted in any of the Landing Forces or in any of the Numbered Fleet Brigades. Forces under the Command are kept under a Rear Admiral, and therefore formations higher than Brigade do not exist. Under the Command there are 118,000 soldiers.
Landing Detachments Edit
The Strategic Reserve Commands provides embarked Landing Detachments for SPAFORCOM spacecrafts; currently, there are 60,300 embarked LANFORCOM soldiers (officers and troops), subdivided into Platoons and Companies:
- 490 Destroyer Platoons: 24,500 troopers and officers
- 135 Cruiser Augmented Platoons: 9,450 troopers and officers
- 35 Battlecruiser Companies: 8,750 troopers and officers
- 15 Battleship Augmented Companies: 4,800 troopers and officers
- 40 Battle-station Augmented Companies: 12,800 troopers and officers
Each detachment is only administratively managed by the Strategic Reserve Command, while functionally and operationally depends on the spacecraft's commanding officer.
Landing Force Edit
A Landing Force is the largest type of a Landing Forces formation. A LF is the largest building block of Landing Forces combat power. Each Landing Force is assigned to a Regional Command: therefore there are four fully equipped Landing Forces, one for each major Command (LANFORBAR - BARCOM, LANFORKOM - KOMCOM, LANFORSER - SERCOM and LANFOREXPRES - EXPRES-FORCOM). Landing Forces are led by a Rear Admiral each. Each Landing Force consists of a ground combat element and a logistics group as the Force Landing Fleet, which is made up of landing spacecraft under its own jurisdiction and command. The Landing Force also is the training section component for the subordinate units. The Landing Force also contains its immediate reserve forces.
- Landing Force
- Force Staff
- 5-6 Force Combined Regiments (reserve forces - the LANFOREXPRES deploys 6 reserve regiments)
- Training section
- Force Landing Fleet (Logistics and spacecrafts)
- Fleet Brigades (ground combat element)
Fleet Brigade and Force Combined Regiment Edit
Fleet Brigades are the standard operational level, and contain the combined forces needed in order to operate: each Brigade consists of 2 Tank Battalions, and 5 Mechanized Infantry Battalions. There are 9 Fleet Brigades, each assigned to an individual Numbered Fleet, which gives the ordinal number to the Brigade (e.g. the First Fleet always has the First Fleet Brigade). Fleet Brigades are almost-pure combat elements: they are led by Commodores and depend on the relevant Landing Force (e.g. the First Fleet Brigade depends on Landing Force Barrayar - LANFORBAR, which in turn depends on Barrayar Command - BARCOM).
A Force Combined Regiment consists of 1 Tank Battalion and 3 Mechanized Infantry Battalions; there are five reserve Combined Regiments in each Landing Force, commanded by Captains (Naval); the LANFOREXPRES deploys six Combined Regiments.
The Mechanized Infantry Battalions have the same order of battle:
- Command and Support Company
- Vanguard Company
- Explorers Platoon
- Reconnaissance Platoon
- Sniper Platoon
- Demolitions Platoon
- Mechanized Company
- Mechanized Company
- Support Company
- 2 Mortar Platoons
- Anti-Tank Platoon
- Reconnaissance Platoon
Combat Assault Battalion Edit
The Combat Assault Battalion is a mechanized battalion directly reporting to the LANFOR-BARCOM. Its primary weapon system is the Hovering Assault Vehicle and various engineering vehicles.
Its mission is to conduct and support space-air-sea-land amphibious landing operations and other operations as required by landing and transporting to objectives the surface assault elements and their equipment, from space to air, to sea and finally to land, conducting close support. When task-organized with infantry, tanks and other forces, the battalion conducts combined arms operations as a separate maneuver element.
Special Purpose Battalion Edit
The Special Purpose Battalion is a Battalion reporting to LANFOREXPRES under EXPRES-FORCOM. It is a self-mobile, self-sustaining force of approximately 700 ground soldiers and sailors, capable of a variety of missions from full-on combat to humanitarian assistance. The unit is specifically trained to sustain Barrayaran interests throughout the Nexus, to include support to non-combatant evacuation operations, embassy reinforcement, and tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel. It is commanded by a Landing Forces Captain (Naval).
The Special Quartermaster Company is a bulk fuel company designed to provide semi-portable storage for large amounts of fuel and to provide distribution of fuel to the Special Purpose Battalion while deployed overseas. The SQC is the only bulk petroleum company in the Landing Forces. The Company is organized with a Headquarters platoon, three petroleum supply platoons, and a maintenance platoon.
Relationships between the Landing Forces and other Commands Edit
While the Landing Corps has far fewer installations primarily assigned to it than the other branches, many ground bases and space stations have a LF presence.
Ground Forces Edit
The Landing Forces combat capabilities in some ways overlap those of the Ground Forces, the latter, as Imperial Army, having historically lost jurisdiction over landing operation with the creation of the Landing Forces Command (at the time Imperial Marine Corps).
Doctrinally, Landing Forces' focus is on being expeditionary and focused on planetary assault, and places emphasis on landing mobility; these focus make it a much lighter force than many ground units: LF operate as expeditionary units and are completely space-borne. The Landing forces often leverage the Ground Forces' acquisition of ground equipment, and the research is carried out by the same departments, training resources, and other support concepts. The majority of vehicles and weapons are also shared with Ground Forces.
Space Forces Edit
The Space Forces and Landing Forces have a close relationship. Cooperation between the two Commands really begins with the advanced training and instruction of Landing Forces soldiers, while LANFORCOM drill instructors contribute to training of officers in the Space Forces advanced training structures.
Training alongside each other is viewed as critical, as the Space Forces provide most of transport, logistical, and combat support to put landing units into the fight. Both Commands operate a network security team in conjunction.
Landing vessels Edit
Although the Landing Forces do deploy a number of their own space vessels, the main operations and insertions instruments are Combat-drop shuttles, Hawk-class dropships, Medved-class gunships and Medved-class transporters. Each Regional Landing Force maintains its own fleet of landing spacecrafts. Barrayaran landing vehicles often look clumsy, but are sturdy and durable.
Despite the fact that most vessels are also used by other branches of the Imperial Service, the Landing Forces Command is traditionally held responsible for the whole operational adivices to the Logistics Command for renewment of the orbital/suborbital fleet.
Combat-drop shuttle Edit
A combat-drop shuttle is a military space craft that is able to land on a planetary surface. It has sufficient shielding for some protection against at heavy space weaponry (plasma, for example) and carries a sufficient number of people to be worth sending down into a battle. The combat-drop shuttles used by the Barrayaran Imperial Service are able to hold up to 200 people.
Medved-class gunship Edit
The Medved-class gunship is a multi-use aircraft in wide use by the Imperial Service Landing Forces Command, nicknamed the "Workbear shuttle" (a joke coming from the merging of workhorse with "Medved", i.e. the Russian word for "bear").
The Medved is armed with a large number of weapons, though the configuration varies. Its primary weapon is fitted on a limited traverse dorsal mount and can mount either a plasma cannon, useful enough to strike down heavy mobile targets with an accurate shot, or a modified battle cannon useful for air-to-ground strikes on fixed targets. It also has two laser cannons and at least four heavy plasma guns in hull-mounted twin-linked sponsons, with room for four additional heavy plasma arcs under the main wing tips. In addition each wing has three bomb pylons for a total of six missiles/pods or eighteen bombs. Medveds can alter the type of payload carried depending on which specific mission they are tasked to accomplish, making it a multi-purpose weapons platform.
The gunship crew and gunner is all located in the gunship's flight deck above the forward hold and in front of the upper hold. The navigator and co-pilot also control long-range communications, the sensor array and electronic counter-measures. The navigational equipment also transmits information to command units, while an emergency location beacon will automatically begin broadcasting if the gunship is shot down.
Armour for the Medved is constructed on a multi-layers basis, giving it an high level of protection, including highly sophisticated ceramic materials. These armour layers makes the Medved very well-protected and resistant to plasma weapons. In addition to its armour, Medved is also equipped with a decoy flare launcher.
At full capacity, a Medved gunship can carry up to 50 soldiers, or 20 soldiers in full battle armour, divided between the upper and forward holds. It can also carry a single assault tank. Embarked troops can enter and exit through a forward assault ramp or two access doors on either side of the forward hull. With the ability to carry a full Platoon with precision, the Medved is used to insert soldiers into the thick of battle. Medved gunships are not only used for ground attacks, but also for limited and near-orbital space attacks.
Hawk-class Dropship Edit
The Hawk-class drop-ship is an extremely versatile aircraft used by all branches of the whole Imperial Service mainly for the pickup and transportation of various personnel, vehicles and equipment, but also as a powerful support gunship. The primary role is rapid insertion and extraction of ground troops. They can deliver vehicles and equipment to the battlefield when required. It is fully capable of sub-orbital flight and can land almost anywhere. Therefore the Hawk-class is widely used by all combat commands related to ground operations, including the Imperial Security and Ground Forces as a whole, in turn including the Internal Troops.
The Hawk is also capable of limited orbital flight, which the Imperial Service uses as a primary method of delivering troops to the surface from orbit. Standard armament consists of one plasma gun at the bow of the craft, and another plasma gun mounted at the rear, in the crew area. These weapons are usually controlled by the pilot's helmet so that it would aim in the direction of the pilot's view. Missile pods can be mounted under each wing to engage more maneuverable targets and a plasma grenade launcher can be mounted facing out of the rear cargo hatch; weapons are folded flat against the roof of the internal bay when not in use.
There are also more heavily armed variants, with multiple and more powerful weapons, as well as Internal Troops versions, specifically equipped for riot control.
The Hawk drop-ship is capable of carrying passengers and cargo using a combination of internal and external methods. The large aft overhang gives an attachment point for additional cargo and ordnance.
Medved-class Transporter Edit
The Medved-class Transporter is the logistical variation of the normal Medved gunship. It has many of the same basic design features as the original but is armed with only four twin-linked heavy plasma guns. The most noticeable difference is that it is its being equipped the normal transport holds found on the Medved gunship, being instead equipped with four massive magnetic clamping arms mounted on runners underneath the fuselage. These allow the Transporter to carry two infantry fighting vehicles or one tank-sized vehicle, or an under-slung pod for carrying ammunition, fuel and other supplies. These items can be loaded and unloaded in quick order, minimizing the amount of time the Transporter is vulnerable while one the ground.
A Paragrav is a small, backpack-size anti-gravitic device that allows troops to float safely to the ground on a column of anti-gravitic force from almost any height. A Paragrav contains a generator that emits suspensory fields that can counter the force of gravity at the particle level and two small thrusters on each side of the pack that provide directional control as well as contribute to the Paragrav's effect. A Paragrav is used to drop troops directly into combat from either a low-flying aircraft or from a vehicle operating in a planet's upper atmosphere. If required, a Paragrav can allow a soldier to hover above his target for one minute at a time. In many ways, a Paragrav is intended only to control a fall that is already in place, rather than lifting a person's entire weight up some altitude into the air as in the case of full battle armours propulsors.