14 May 2012

Reginald's Regiments of Renown, Issue #12

Luftschiffetruppen:
The Kaiser's Aether Marines

History

   The Kaiser's General Staff realized there was a need for troops in the Empire's off-world colonies even before those colonies were established. A temporary levy of line troops was sent with the original colonists to Venusstadt, but they proved inadequate for a variety of reasons: equipment failures, heat prostration, and poor familiarity with jungle maneuvers all led to less than satisfactory results when dealing with threats from local natives and wildlife. A new solution was needed, and a young officer named Oskar von Goster had it.

   Von Goster took advantage of the Kaiser's new holdings in equatorial Africa to train a new kind of soldier. These troops were to be prepared for service aboard airships and in colonial Venus, and were given the unique designation of Luftschiffetruppen, or "Airship Soldiers." Equatorial Africa provided the Germans with a long period of acclimatization to tropical conditions similar to those that would be encountered on Venus. It also provided the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of jungle fighting, so different from the tactics of open field warfare taught to the line infantry. The emphasis on small unit tactics and low level leadership initiative was quite different from the iron discipline of the Prussian line regiments and the esprit de corps of the hussars and uhlans. Service is entirely voluntary, the troops coming from any line regiment. Because of the extended training, Luftschiffetruppen will serve an additional two years with the colours before transferring to reserve status.

   One year of jungle and small units training is followed by four additional months of shipboard training with two small training vessels built especially for the task - another first in military history. The K.As Midgard and K.As Asgard were launched in early 1872, and are used to train the Luftschiffetruppen in airship landing assault, aerial assault, and aerial boarding techniques. The training vessels are also used to train the Aetherbattallions and the sailors of the Kaiserliche Aetherflotte. They are based in German Southeast Africa, at Wilhelmshafen.

   The first battalion of Luftschiffetruppen was ready for service in August of 1872, and embarked upon K.As Loki for transport to Venusstadt. A second battalion was entering the second phase of training at that time, and a third was just beginning the first phase. The training schedule called for three battalions to be at various stages of training at one time until a full regiment was built. An additional regiment was authorized by the General Staff, to be created at a reduced pace over the following five years. There are currently two regiments of Luftschiffetruppen serving in various capacities for the Kaiser's Imperial ambitions. The First Regiment is stationed permanently in Venusstadt Kolonie, the most important of the German off-world colonies. Second Regiment has a battalion stationed on Mars, and a second one serving as marines aboard airships on both Mars and Earth. The third battalion provides security troops at the Imperial German airship fields all across Earth. In addition, there is a training battalion that feeds new men into both the service regiments.

Service History

   The Luftshiffetruppen have fought in every major off-world battle since their deployment. Innumerable small conflicts with Venusian natives and Martians have been settled. Possibly the most famous of their battles was the Second Defense of Venusstadt. A large force of Venusian lizardmen - the largest recorded host of the vicious brutes - attacked the walls of Venusstadt at dawn on 21 July 1878. Luftschiffetruppen at the downport responded by stampeding a herd of domesticated dinosaurs through the foe, then opening fire with their Mausers. Additional support from a Gatling-armed walker and some special weapons of the Aetherbattalion contingent were also instrumental in halting the scaly warriors' advance against civilization on Venus.



[Editor's Note: It's been a long time since I last posted a Reginald's Regiments. This one has been sitting for a while. I decided it needed to be put out there, finally.]

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