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The following is an excerpt from the Book of War generated by Justine Warspeaker, a Lankhor Mhy initiate from Jonstown. The document was written in the year 1613 following the Starbrow Rebellion in an attempt to document the styles and organization of the armies present in the region.


In marked contrast to the Lunar armies, the Sartar armies are non-professional. Outsiders tend to view the barbarian army as an undisciplined mob of body-painted farmers and herders. Such a notion is foolish, and to ignore the organizational and tactical advantages of the Sartar army invites disaster. While organization and make-up of a particular unit will vary, the following is an overall description of the Sartar armies.

The Individual Soldier:

The princes and their thanes form the cavalry soldiers of the Sartar army. The nobles and well-off citizens are normally the only people with the means to support the horses and equipment necessary to form this arm of the army. The nobles are constantly training on their horse while hunting, scouting, chasing down bandits, etc. This constant training has made them into an adept cavalry arm.

The individual infantry soldier in the Sartar army mostly consists of farmers and herders brought up by the call of their clan chief. Man for man, the ordinary Sartar soldier is a better fighter than most of the enemies he faces. Years of clan and tribal conflicts, continuous raids from outside forces, harsh living conditions, and constant threats from wild animals have battle hardened, both in courage and in combat ability, the individual barbarian warrior. The Lunar soldier relies on his fellow soldiers, his leaders, and his armies organization to win the day. The Sartar warrior relies on himself and his courage.

Weapons among the individual soldiers vary greatly, but the most dominant weapon is the spear due to its low cost and common usage in hunting. Sun worshipping warriors almost exclusively use the spear. Storm worshipping warriors use a mixture of swords, axes, and spears. Most warriors carry at least a shield, while armor on the individual soldier varies greatly depending on the individual's wealth and status. The princes, clan chiefs, thanes, and housecarls are normally equipped with full battle gear and armor.

Army Organization:

The Sartar army is divided into three tiers of organization. At the highest level are the units drawn up along City Ring lines. The City Ring unit forms a cohesive and administrative body associated with the major cities of Sartar. The cities provide a place for the armies to assemble and a place to gather the necessary craftsmen and support personnel needed for a successful long military campaign. It is rare that such a unit at this level is formed, as formations at this level are only needed in cases of massive raids or invasions from foreigners. Leaders of such a unit are selected by popular vote from among the nobility of the various tribes represented in the ring.

The more common formation seen is along tribal lines. The City Ring units, when drawn up, are further organized along the tribes of the ring. The tribes are lead by their princes, with minor princes leading the infantry and the king or head prince of the tribe leading the cavalry. This level of organization is similar to the Lunar legion/regiment in most respects. It is at this level where the magical troops normally operate. Each tribe will have its contingent of priests and healers who normally are intermingled amongst the tribe (normally between the clans), providing both offensive and defensive support. While the Lunar magicians will stay in the rear of the battle lines, it is not uncommon to see priests and spell casting troops in the forefront of the battle in the Sartar army.

The tactical unit is the Sartar clan. This unit is in most respects equivalent to the Lunar maniple/cohort and can be distinguished on the battle field by the unique clan tartans. The clan unit is led by the clan chief and his contingent of housecarls, and is an extremely close-knit unit. I have heard whispered that Lunar centurions envy the control and discipline the clan chief seems to automatically receive from their clansmen. A Lunar officer must earn the same kind respect of his subordinates through several battles and several years of military service with his troops. The chief's control over his clan translates into an extremely cohesive and functional unit. There is no questioning of orders from the clan chief. When the chief says attack, the clan attacks. When the chief says withdraw, the clan withdraws. Note: At this level, it is very common to see non-combative woman involved in the combat casting healing and defensive spells. Offensive minded warrior women normally are grouped in auxiliary units.

The number of troops supplied by a particular clan varies greatly. Clans can only expect to summon about a quarter of their adult male population for any battle. Since the total population for any clan numbers between roughly 500 to 1500 persons, a clan infantry unit will only number from 35 to 100 warriors, while the clan noble cavalry contingent will number from 15 to 50 warriors.[1]

Army Tactics:

The army tactics are simple, but effective. The infantry units are brought to bear lined up in square formations with cavalry normally placed on one or both sides of the infantry. In front of each clan are the chiefs and their housecarls. In front of each tribe are the princes and their thanes. To the uninformed observer, this formation tends to look like a triangle, but is in reality more of a square formation with the leaders forming a point to the square giving this triangle appearance. The entire thrust of the Sartar strategy is the initial impact of the troops against the opposing enemy. All effort and emphasis is placed at breaking the enemy quickly and decisively. Part of the tactic is to bellow out deafening battle cries in an effort to diminish the enemy's resolve and morale. The eerie bagpipes used by many Sartar tribes have similar effects. Only a disciplined army can normally withstand such an all-out attack, as green or inexperienced troops will normally break upon impact. Critics of this strategy point out that a disciplined army need only withstand this initial assault, as the organization of the barbarian horde will soon disintegrate after the initial push. Fresh reserves can then be called in to counter-attack. While this is certainly the case, the Sartar army's tactics are the most effective for a non-professional army. Also, even experienced troops encountering this tactic for the first time have been know to flee upon impact.

In order to implement this strategy, the Sartar armies place their best-equipped and most experienced troops in the forefront of the army. Since the Sartar army is a people's army, a variety of weapons and armor will be found throughout any clan/unit. Those with the most experience and those with the better armor and arms are needed in the front lines to increase the force of the initial clash of arms with the enemy. The warriors in the rear lines normally provide weight and depth to the formation. The rear troops can also be used to cast offensive and defensive spells on those in front. If the front lines should falter, the battle is normally lost, as the rear lines are not equipped for sustained combat.

Another advantage of this all out attack is the speed in which the Sartar army closes on its enemies. While lunar and traditional hoplite armies close slowly and uniformly, the Sartar army's mad rush brings the battle to melee action rather quickly. Such tactics negate the use of powerful long-range magic as the two armies become intermingled and the action becomes more localized. This tactic also helps to minimize the effects of enemy missile troops as the time to travel to melee distance by the Sartar troops normally is too quick for archers to fire, re-load, and fire again.

Auxiliary Troops:

As in any army, the Sartar armies can, and occasionally do, consist of several auxiliary troops. These troops range from expert bowmen made up of hunters from various regions around Sartar to heavy infantry units drawn from Humakti mercenaries to units of Ducks (and possibly other non-humans). These troops can be found at any unit level and are drawn into conflicts by money or by persuasive leaders. It is in these specialty troops that warrior women are normally seen, acting as scouts, raiders, setting up ambushes, etc.. There is no limit to the number or type of specialty troops that may be found with any army. Their organization varies depending on the type of unit and the situation.

[1] The percentage of able-bodied men able to be summoned was determined from Real-World numbers. It appears that in early medieval times, only about 25% of the men would actually be called up (or respond) from the general population. For the numbers, I assume that 50% of the population of the clan are adults and 50% of the clan are males. The math comes out to be that roughly 6-8% of the entire clan population can be summoned for a battle. These numbers, of course, vary greatly. Nobility numbers were calculated assuming that the number of cavalry units seen in Glorantha tends to be a half of the number of infantry soldiers seen (See Sun County, military information on the Garhound Clan).

Last Updated on December 10, 1997
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