As my wargaming club continues to embrace Horizon Wars fever, I have begun to properly make army lists; not simply basic documents to aid gameplay by reminding players of stats but proper orders of battle with some imagined flavour text and history for units. A narrative aspect is vital to me in wargaming; devise a reason for the armies to fight, come up with notable characters and make units feel like something more than simply game pieces to be moved about. And so my alternate-history setting continues to gain life.
Imperial Prenzeran Army (Prenzerischer K.K. Landwehr)
Northern Frontier Army Group
Order of Battle (circa Outbreak of the Third Meravian War, 1927)
32nd Infantry Brigade, 25th Regiment, Novis Eger Rifles
2 Battalions of Infantry
Each comprising 3 Rifle Companies, 2 Support Companies, 1 Reconnaissance Company and 1 Special Operations Company
Each Company comprising four Platoons
Each Support Company comprising 2 Field Guns and 2 Machine Gun Sections
1 Battalion of Motorised Infantry
Comprising 5 Motorised Infantry Companies
Each Company comprising two Platoons
Imperial-Royal Arolan Armoured Uhlans
24 Pz.16 Graf Cruiser Tanks (1st – 12th Platoons)
32 Pz.28c Akten Main Battle Tanks (1st – 16th Platoons)
Imperial-Royal Arolan Heavy Armoured Dragoons
6 Sch.Pz III Dran Superheavy Tanks
16th Brigade, Imperial-Royal Arolan Regiment of Artillery
3 Batteries of Sturm Rocket Artillery
2 Batteries of Eklips Anti-Aircraft Artillery
Of these forces, the majority were kept some distance behind the frontier; first contact with invading forces was made by the Novis Eger garrison’s advanced force, which comprised:
Vehicle 4 of the Arolan Heavy Dragoons, the Dran tank Abend
3rd, 7th and 11th Graf Platoons and 1st, 6th, 13th and 14th Akten Platoons of the Arolan Uhlans
Eklips Batteries 1 and 2 and Sturm Batteries 1 and 3 of the Artillery Regiment
The advanced force was led by Andrew Jackson, an Aubanian officer with significant local knowledge who over the course of the initial conflict would become known as “The Thistle of Novis Eger.”
Probably the greatest issue facing the Prenzerans initially was mobilising their geographically spread out forces; the northern border was large and inhospitable, with the majority of the tanks kept behind at strategic railheads. Furthermore, a severe storm prevented the mobilisation of the infantry by disrupting supply lines; while the recon and motorised forces were first to relieve Novis Eger the bulk of the 25th Regiment’s manpower was unable to move.
As the war proceeded, a number of efforts were made to send reinforcements north; Laufpanzer (combat walker) units were sent from the capital, as well as units from the Air Force to assist the understrength fighter and bomber forces at Armir Aerodrome.
A Brief Description of the Main Vehicles used by the KKL
Akten MBT: The Pz.28 Akten (Sd.Kfz 125) was a revision of the Pz.26 (Sd. Kfz 119) by Reinhard Heavy Industries. The majority of Aktens serving at Novis Eger were the Ausf. C version, which had enhanced desert-proofing for operation on the Meravian border and carried a lighter-weight 4.5cm cannon than the Akten Ausf. G used by the Oscanian border armies. This was historically capable of defeating any known Meravian armour – however, the new model army that rolled over the border in 1927 included the Selim-class land battleship, all but impervious to the 4.5cm cannon.
The main improvements the Akten offered over its predecessor were in efficiency and safety; while significant improvement in tank armour would not come until the Pz.32 Aktzer was rolled out in 1929 the Akten had a reinforced engine compartment and a redesigned interior that significantly reduced the chances of a magazine hit. Furthermore, the Akten‘s redesigned turret allowed the mounting of an auto-loader, significantly increasing rate of fire.
Akten: 4/5/5/1 Rapid, Vanguard, Vehicle – P3
Graf Cruiser Tank: The Pz.16 Graf (Sd. Kfz 103) remained in use on the Meravian border long after most Prenzeran armoured units had switched to the more fuel-efficient and mobile Reinford Armoured Car. Its short-barrel 8cm gun was most effective in an infantry support role, and its heavy-duty construction and heavier armour proved invaluable against Meravian tanks
A small number of Grafs were refitted as tank destroyers to try and bring down Meravian combat walkers, but their effectiveness was limited.
Graf: 5/3/3/2 Rapid, Vanguard, Vehicle – P2
Sturm Rocket Artillery: The Sturm (12cm Raketenwerfer) was a twelve-barrelled unguided rocket launcher mounted on a Pz.26 chassis, capable of loading smoke or high-explosive rockets. With ammunition cheap to manufacture and a high rate of fire, Sturm batteries replaced tube artillery in large numbers of Prenzeran artillery regiments at the time of the Third Meravian War.
Sturm units suffered from poor accuracy and limited effectiveness when firing open-sights, and were heavily reliant on forward observers.
Sturm: 3/7/3/2 Indirect Fire, Cumbersome, Rapid, Vehicle – P3
Eklips Anti-Aircraft Vehicle: Another variant of the Pz.26, this one carrying four 2.5cm anti-aircraft guns. A reliable design, it proved highly effective but the high rate of fire of its guns meant it frequently ran out of ammunition, requiring a strong logistical train. As a result, many Prenzeran units were forced to rely on mounted machine guns and local air support as the Eklips batteries had to remain further back while they resupplied.
The devastating power of the Meravian air force necessitated a rapid shift in anti-aircraft strategy.
Eklips: 4/3/3/1 Anti-Aircraft P1
Dran Superheavy Tank: The Sd. Kfz 174 Dran was the apex of Prenzeran tank design at the time of the Third Meravian War, a vast vehicle armed with a pair of 8.8cm anti-tank guns and a 2.5cm flak turret for air defence. More than capable of dealing with any known vehicle, the Dran crews of the Northern Frontier Army Group were shocked to find their vehicles dwarfed by the newly-developed Land Battleships of the Meravians – most devastating of which was the Selim, which mounted a pair of 15cm naval guns or multiple rocket batteries in its main gun nest.
When properly supported by Akten and Graf units as well as artillery, however, a platoon of Drans was the equal of a Meravian superheavy unit due to the superior Prenzeran combined-arms doctrine.
Dran: 3/6/5/2 Assisted Targeting P3
A Brief Description of the Main Combat Armours and Aircraft used by the KKL
Luchs Light Laufpanzer: The LPZ.15 Luchs was the Prenzeran army’s workhorse Combat Armour at the time of the Third Meravian War. Developed from the LPZ.8 Ritter, it was designed to be a lightly armoured, mobile weapons platform with the broader operational capabilities of a walking unit. Prenzeran Armour doctrine was different to most of its neighbouring empires; the Luchs focused on wielded, rather than inbuilt weapons and a design emphasis on mobility rather than resilience. Laufpanzer tactics involved making use of dense terrain for cover, hence smaller, more agile frames – using the Prenzerans’ highly advanced manufacturing capacity – and units acting as close support for infantry and light vehicles.
Numerous refits of the Luchs would be fielded in the Third Meravian War, although initial squadrons sent to the Northern Frontier had yet to be fully refitted for desert usage.
Luchs Ausf. A (Rifle): 4/3/3/3 Assassin Strike P2
Luchs Ausf. A.i (Officer Unit): 4/3/3/3 Squadron Commander P2
Luchs Ausf. B (Rocket Launcher): 4/5/3/2 N/A P2
Luchs Ausf. C (Long-Barrel Rifle): 4/4/3/1 ER (Long) P2
Jaguar Heavy Laufpanzer: The Sch.LPZ 32 Jaguar was derived from the same tactical mindset as the Luchs, but scaled up to carry significantly heavy weapons including an 8.8cm rifle derived from the Dran‘s main cannon; this added a significantly taller silhouette to the unit, and as a result it was felt additional armour could be fitted without compromising stealth. Packing armour comparable to an Akten tank and a sizeable arsenal of both fixed and wielded weaponry, the Jaguar was well-suited to urban or siege warfare, but proved less successful in the desert. As a result, comparatively few Jaguars were sent to the Northern Frontier, with commanders preferring to deploy Dran vehicles for heavy fire support.
Jaguar: 4/6/4/1 ER (Short), Assist Target P3
Lowe Heavy Laufpanzer: While comparatively few Sch.LPZ 28 Lowes still saw service at the time of the Third Meravian War, with the line mostly refitted into the Sch.LPZ 33 Weiss Lowe, those that did still serve proved no less valuable than more modern units. The Lowe had been designed around lighter armament than the Jaguar line of Laufpanzers, instead being significantly faster and more sturdily built. These features proved highly beneficial in the deserts of the Northern Frontier; Lowe units could operate further from supply lines and operated in a harassment role.
The most notable Lowe pilot of the war was Imperial Academy principal Reinhard Muller, who returned to active service when pilots from the Academy were enlisted at short notice into the Imperial-Royal Capitoline Lancers.
Lowe: 5/4/5/2 Assault Rig P3
Valon VF1 Induction-Engined Fighter: While the principles of the Air Induction Engine were devised by a team of scientists at Heim Aviation, it was only when Prince Matthias Valon invested both time and funds into the project that a workable prototype could be produced. The Prince was a keen aviator and motor-racing driver, and as a result had more than a passing interest in aeronautical and mechanical engineering quite belied by his playboy persona. As a result, it was felt he should be the pilot of the first Induction-Engined aircraft in the world. A fighter craft armed with a moderate armament, its true strength came from its incredible speed and agility advantage over Meravian aircraft, particularly their slower strategic bombers.
Valon VF1: 5+5/5/4/3 Panopticon P4
Heim I-20 Interceptor: The new workhorse of the Prenzeran Air Army’s best-equipped units, the I-20 was in the process of phasing out the old I-10 Interceptor at the time of the declaration of war. It was a strict upgrade in all accounts to the original craft, armed with eight machine-guns and capable of turning tighter, climbing higher and diving faster than any other aircraft in the Prenzeran Air Army. It would initially prove more than a match for Meravian fighter-craft, although as the war progressed the technology gap lessened.
Heim I-20: 4+5/4/3/4 P3