PE Intelligence

PE Intelligence

GRENADIER INFANTRY

“Soldaten! The enemy will taste our steel and lightning! Vorwärts für den Kaiser!”
Feldwebel Walter Schirmer, 66th Solingen Rifles, at the Fifth Battle of Königsberg

Grenadier Infantry Artwork

The Prussian Empire’s mighty armies have formed the core of its military strength for generations. Even after the introduction first of light and heavy tanks, and then massive Land Ships, the Prussian General Staff continued to place great faith in massed infantry units. One of the four Military Sires, the chiefs of the General Staff, holds responsibility purely for the empire’s infantry and mechanised infantry corps such is their numbers and importance.

Collectively, the Prussian Empire’s standard Grenadier infantry is known as the Reichswehr. Thanks to the Empire’s vast size, enormous population and compulsory conscription even in peacetime, the Reichswehr is vast, numbering in the millions. The infantry regiments serve as fortress guards, garrisons and support troops for the tanks and Land Ships of the Panzer Divisions and the Imperial Land Fleets.

However, infantry regiments sometimes operate autonomously, as they are increasingly being issued with their own integral light armoured support. As conscripts, they perhaps lack the finer skill of professionals like the Britannians. However, they are universally well-armed and well-equipped.

Grenadier Infantry

Unlike the Britannians, the Prussian Reichswehr’s training does not place such a rigorous emphasis upon individual marksmanship. There is a wholly practical reason for this – namely the sheer size of the imperial armies and the vast manpower base that supplies them. Prussian forces also tend to be well-armoured and plentifully supplied with support weaponry to provide additional firepower for the infantry as it advances.

The Mauser-Tesla M1869 pattern Rifle is their primary weapon, a potent and reliable clip fed self-loader. The Pattern 1869 has a deadly sting in the form of an electrified bayonet, powered by a Tesla Battery.

This potent weapon makes Prussian Grenadiers deadly in close quarters combat, as befitting their preference of advancing in dense columns for brutal medium to short-range firefights. Rather than long-range duels, Prussian infantry doctrine focuses on the delivery of intense torrents of rifle fire at relatively close distances, where individual accuracy is not essential, followed by a shock bayonet charge, in which their close columns can easily shatter the thinner lines adopted by many other nations’ infantry units.

Grenadier Infantry

The primary specialist support weapon of the Reichswehr line troops is the infamous Koch-Mannlicher Vierling, purposely designed to complement the favoured Prussian tactics for offensive strikes. This short-ranged but deadly firearm discharges all four barrels in a massive blast when fired.

Only the strongest Prussian Soldaten can handle this brutish gun. Concentrated Vierling blasts can soften up even the toughest opponents, before the stunned survivors are brought down in a rush of trampling boots and sparking bayonets!

Tactical Use:
Sections of Prussian Grenadiers specialise in close to medium range firepower followed by line-breaking Melee Charges. With their Tesla-enhanced bayonets they are more dangerous at close-quarters than most mainstay troops, especially when combined with certain Game Cards.

Standard tactics employed by Prussian Commanders recommend rapidly advancing the Grenadiers in Line Formation, using the Ein, Zwei, Ein, Zwei Game Card to boost their speed whilst they take long range pot-shots.

Grenadier Infantry

This steady advance is maintained when they reach Effective Range, but the intensity of the firepower is increased, especially through the Tesla Storm and Shock Therapy Game Cards.

Once the enemy have been crippled and suppressed by the barrage, the Grenadiers will Charge, preferably with support from the likes of Oberst Hahl or Teutonic Armsmen to completely shatter the opposing forces in Melee.

LIEUTENANT

“There is no profession more honoured than that of the Reichswehr field officer, for you are the cornerstones of His Imperial Majesty’s armies. You are the fires that temper the steel of our soldiers. You are the keys to victory.”

– Colonel-General Joachim von Baden, speech to newly-graduated officers, Brandenburg 1869

Prussian Empire Lieutenant

The officer corps of the Prussian army, unlike those of many other militaries, comes from all walks of life – a consequence of military machine supplied by conscription. Although the higher ranks are often of noble origin, a great many of the Empire’s most capable officers hail from quite humble backgrounds. The Prussians see military service as a great equalizer where a man or woman is judged on ability rather that status or nationality. Given the diversity of the Empire’s population, this is a wise outlook.

The officers of the Reichswehr are systematically and efficiently trained in a large network of academies across the empire’s many regions. Training regimes are standardised, focused on the learned works of such home-grown military luminaries as Clauswitz.

Although renowned as strategically imaginative, the Prussian military prefers to rely on efficient, utilitarian tactics, strong discipline and the application of technology to win on the front lines, rather than anything too fanciful.

Prussian infantry doctrine at the tactical level emphasises aggressive tactics, even when on the defensive – Reichswehr troops will frequently sally forth from even heavily defended positions to drive back their opponents when the opportunity to do so presents itself.

The junior officers of the Reichswehr reflect this approach. They are adept at holding their formations together as the massed infantry columns sweep forward in forced marches that often take the enemy by surprise with their speed and hammer-like strikes.

Prussian Lieutenants and Captains are also hard-fighting frontline officers, leading by example in the field – many are skilled duellists thanks to years of Mensur with fellow students in the military academies in the best traditions of the Prussian Empire.

They marshal their charges effectively at the battlefield level, ensuring that individual units operate at highest efficiency as the army collectively grinds down its opponents, securing victory through skilfully timed attacks and sheer strength of will.

The last man standing

Tactical Use:
The role of the Lieutenants in a Prussian Empire force is to accelerate the advance of the troops under their command, and boost their combat effectiveness through a combination of Command Abilities and Game Cards.

Prussian forces will often advance as a solid block, with the Lieutenant at its core to Force March any Sections which lag behind the push, and spend Command Points to use Game Cards at the right moments.

If a Section can occupy an advantageous position, the Lieutenant can order them to Focus Fire, greatly increasing the efficiency of their Ranged Attacks.

Finally, when the hammer-blow hits home, the Lieutenant can Charge in with his troops, adding an extra boost to their Melee Attacks, and picking off opposing Officers in Duels if the enemy is vulnerable.

TEUTONIC KNIGHTS

“My brothers, steel yourselves. The enemy wishes to see us dead above all others on this field. But we are of the Order. We walk where lesser men fear to tread. We will not be stopped! March on! Fire at will!”

– Felix Ritter von Gerhardt to his comrades, during the relief of Grunwald

Teutonic Knight

The mysterious and powerful Teutonic Order is a shadowy but pervasive force within many aspects of Prussian political and military life. They answer only to their own hierarchy of leaders and ultimately to the Prussian Emperor himself. From their secluded strongholds in Prussian Scandinavia, the Order has been a strong driving force behind many aspects of Prussian scientific advancement over the decades.

As well as its other duties, the Order provides potent armed forces to serve alongside the regular Prussian military. Although few in number, their intimidating battle-prowess and awesome command of destructive technologies gives them a power out of all proportion to their numbers.

Regular imperial officers view the presence of Order forces as a mixed blessing. Although of extraordinary military value, the Order’s forces are outside of conventional command structures, and their role as watchdogs of the Emperor inspires trepidation as well as respect.

The Order’s land forces take the form of powerful manned war robots, but the foundation of their ground forces are the fighting knights themselves, often called Armsmen. They fight in small dedicated strike units called Blades. Although few in number, Knight-Armsmen are highly trained and dedicated warriors, to whom mastering the art of combat is a devotion as well as a profession.

These elite soldiers take to the field in hulking suits of Tesla energised battle-armour. Over ten feet tall, these awesome machines enhance the strength of their wearers by several orders of magnitude. Collectively, Knight-Armsmen can seriously damage even armoured vehicles, and cause terror amongst regular infantry. Each Armsman when fully equipped can take on a defeat several times his own number of regular soldiers.

Towering over the regular infantry, they march forward in an utterly implacable manner, guns blazing and electrical energy playing over them. Although slow-moving compared to regular infantry, they are nearly impervious to small arms fire, and can even stand up to light anti-armour weaponry.

Unlike many of their Blazing Sun Samurai peers, the pragmatic Teutonic Knights do not shun modern ranged weaponry. Each suit is fitted with a heavy calibre Spandau MG71 water-cooled machine-gun, a powerful infantry support weapon that the Knight Armsmen wield as easily as pistols. Their great size enables them to put these powerful weapons to good use even at long distances, laying down covering fire directly over the heads of the regular troops they are supporting.

The appearance of Teutonic Knight Armsmen in a Prussian force often inspires extremes of emotion. On the one hand, there is no doubting the power they lend to forces, especially those about to undertake difficult or dangerous missions. On the other, however, their intimidating presence – and reputation for keeping close watch on the activities of officers and ordinary soldiers alike – is sometimes a cause for disquiet in Prussian regular units.

Clearing the path ahead

Tactical Use:
Although small in number, the Teutonic Knight Armsmen are without doubt one of the most threatening Sections that can be placed on a Game Board. This factor alone, especially given their virtual invincibility compared to regular Infantry, makes them an invaluable asset to a Prussian Commander.

Their main drawback is their relatively slow speed, so many Commanders find it essential to keep a Lieutenant nearby, ready to Force March the Knights each Turn so that they can keep pace with the Grenadiers. Their stature does mitigate the drawback somewhat however, as their height allows them to fire over the heads of any infantry who race ahead of them.

Like the Prussian Grenadiers, the principle tactic is to advance steadily toward the enemy, laying down an ever-increasing barrage of fire as they close range. Then, when close enough, they Charge forward to deliver the killing blow. Given their extreme durability, Prussian Commanders can worry less about the threat of Long Range firepower, but remember, they are not invulnerable. If the enemy is given the opportunity to focus massed volleys in their direction they will begin to crumble – unless their Impervious Game Card is used of course!

When they eventually reach the enemy’s front line, a Charge supported by Teutonic Knights is particularly devastating. The Daunting rule can break the opposition before the Armsmen have even made contact, and failing that, their powerful attacks and thick armour allow them to outlast most foes at close quarters. Finally, they can even cripple tanks and heavy armour, if the enemy allows them to get close enough.

OBERST WERNER HAHL

“What were my impressions of Hahl on the field? Nothing short of a force of nature.”
– Major Heinrich Voller, 14th Solingen Guards Regiment

Oberst Hahl Artwork

Formerly commanding officer of the Wittenberg 56th Infantry, Oberst Hahl is a protégé of Sire Rupprecht Jaeger, Lord of the Reichswehr. As a young Captain, Hahl served as adjutant to Jaeger when he was himself colonel of the 56th before his elevation to the General Staff. A soldier since his late teens, Hahl has devoted his entire life to the Prussian Imperial army.

Hahl’s military career – and his life – almost came to a crashing end during the initial Russian attack on the Prussian Empire, shortly after his promotion to colonel. Hahl was severely injured during the 56th’s defence of the town of Elbing. His wound resulted in the total loss of one of his arms, but somehow the commander managed to pull through, surviving the evacuation of the 56th by sea to Gothenberg.

Offered a prestigious staff posting in Berlin, Hahl refused – he was a fighting officer, and wanted to go back to the front lines. Sire Jaeger therefore used his influence to allow Hahl to undergo reconstructive mechano-surgery with advanced prosthetics.

Hahl was left in possession of a massive Tesla-powered mechanical arm, driven by a Sturginium battery. Cabling from this power supply also snakes around the Colonel’s heart, further empowering it in order to cope with increased rigours of moving his new mechanical limb.

The arm is much more than a simple prosthetic – it is a potent weapon in its own right. Its Sturginium-reinforced digits can rend his enemies like tinfoil. When he needs to, Hahl can also draw upon the power of the batteries to discharge bursts of electricity into his opponents. He does not do this lightly, however – repeated use can sap his energy reserves considerably and cause potentially serious cardiac muscle spasms.

Oberst Hahl

The colonel was back with his regiment in the field in 1870, where he earned the name ‘Hammer-Faust’ – Hammerfist – among the troops under his command. He was soon transferred by Jager to the General Staff full-time, and since then ‘Hammer-Faust’ Hahl has served alongside troops all over the empire’s many battlefields.

Hahl has always had a reputation as an exceptionally resolute officer, fearless of danger under even the most appalling pressure. Many officers with this attitude would be seen by their troops as having little more than a death-wish – indeed, when he voluntarily returned to active duty, some suspected that Hahl had been ‘touched’ by his newly rebuilt limb, in the same way that veteran Tesla weapon crewmen often exhibit odd behaviour.

But while he has undoubtedly grown more eccentric since his injuries, Hahl remains stable enough to discharge his duties, despite remaining under close observation by Reichswehr medical personnel. He tempers his courage with strong-minded common sense and shrewd tactical skill – he does not engage in the pointless waste of the lives under his command.

Consequently Hahl has always managed to inspire the same sense of iron resolve in his men. Soldiers under ‘Hammer-Faust’s leadership are always confident that he will do his utmost to bring them home in one piece. Many times, this resolution has stopped the most powerful attacks in their tracks, as enemy forces run up against an implacable wall of Prussian steel with Oberst Hahl at its heart.

It is not just in holding the line that Hahl excels – he does not hesitate to lead by example on the offense too. Always at the point of the charge, smashing aside opponents with contemptuous ease with his spark-wreathed metal arm, Hahl’s hard-hitting strikes on the attack provide the hammer blows that crush foes on the anvil of the other Prussian forces under his command.

Leading from the front

Tactical Use:
Oberst Hahl is perhaps one of the most able combatants in the world. Armed with a fine Cavalry Sabre, his immensely powerful tesla-powered fist and years of combat experience there is almost no-one who can hope to stand in his way.

Prussian Commanders know well that Hahl is best used in the thick of the action. When he Takes Command of a Section of Grenadiers and charges with them into the enemy line, the chances are that victory will fall on the side of the glorious Prussian Empire.

When facing a particularly tough opponent, or when victory is absolutely crucial, Hahl can play his Special Game CardOverload – cranking the tesla-projector up to maximum power. Any opposition will swiftly disappear in flash of electric violence, although at a risk to his own health.

Although favouring Melee combat Hahl also possesses a powerful Ranged Attack, the ‘Tesla Surge’. This can provide an extra supplement to a Section’s firepower at close range, or even threaten any smaller Ironclads foolish enough to linger in Hahl’s path.

However, it would be wrong to think that Oberst Hahl is a single minded combat machine, he is also a capable Officer. Although not as flexible as a Lieutenant, Hahl’s Command Ability, Hold the Line, keeps his troops fighting in a Melee. This allows them to deliver the hammer-blow with minimal risk, or even stand their ground against dedicated assault troops. When applied to the fearsome Teutonic Order Armsmen under the influence of their Impervious Game Card even Hahl himself would struggle to dent their armour!