Author Topic: Commonwealth of Merina  (Read 2320 times)

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Offline Dijel

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Commonwealth of Merina
« on: August 08, 2018, 09:19:57 PM »
« Last Edit: April 17, 2020, 08:27:05 PM by Dijel »

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Re: Commonwealth of Merina (WIP)
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2018, 10:04:09 PM »
Merina At a Glance

Full Title: The Commonwealth of Merina
Common Title: Merina

Population: 183,750,000 (2010 estimate)
Demonym: Merinan

Capital City: Katamba
Currency: Merinan Shilling (s)

Government Type: Presidential Republic
Legislative Assembly: Suspended
Current Head of Government: President Olumbe Nguessa
Current Head of State: Vacant

Drives on the: Left
Internet TLD: .ma
« Last Edit: January 13, 2021, 10:00:03 PM by Dijel »

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Re: Commonwealth of Merina (WIP)
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2018, 03:15:30 PM »
Former Nguessa Reigime - An Overview

The regime of the former President Nguessa, himself a former warlord, was driven from the capital by the National Alliance though still retains a degree of unity and not insubstantial military forces constituted from the remains of the Merinan Armed Forces. The core of the Nguessa regime is formed around the so-called "council of twelve" - close advisers of the former dictator in the spheres of politics, economics and civil administration, although the choicest seats on the council have always gone to the soldiers, preferably those with familial connections to Nguessa, such as the current chief of staff, Major General Alium Deumi, who is a cousin by marriage to the former president.

The Council of Twelve

Marshal of Merina Alium Deumi - Chief of Staff

Major General Mvondo Falemi - Army Operations Chief

Air Marshal Nana Atananaga - Air Operations Chief

Admiral Njondi Kwedi - Naval Operations Chief

Bertrand Tomou - Head of Intelligence

Matthew Kaham - Chief of the National Constabulary

Dani Maa Song - Director of the Secret Police

Mathurin Mbuta - Head of the National Labour Corps

Ibrahim E'tabe - Chief Accountant

Bernard Akkoto - Head of the Border Protection Corps

Etienne Ekeke - Head of the Civil Service

Christian Atandje - Director of the Foreign Service

The former president, Olumbe Nguessa, is not a part of the council, though they are each individually and collectively answerable to him. When in power, an ancillary organisation - the Merinan People's Assembly - existed, from whom the members of the council required approval, providing a measure of democracy to the process, although polling for the MPA was inconsistent and said to be riddled with corruption, with local assemblymen often becoming embroiled in the bitter back-and-forth of inter-clan politics and feuding. The Merinan Armed Forces formerly incorporated a core of long-service professional officers and NCOs - including a variety of foreign mercenaries, nominally 'advisers' - around which the forces were brought up to strength with young men undertaking national service. The exception to these were the 'elite' formations; the Impera Brigade - the presidential guard before their defection - and the Kaedweni-styled Paracommando Brigade are volunteer-only throughout. Regardless, the Merinan Armed Forces swore allegiance directly to the President, who styled himself as the father of the nation, as well as the head of the armed forces.

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Re: Commonwealth of Merina (WIP)
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2018, 08:55:32 PM »
Semper Fi - Forces of the Nguessa Reigime

While the National Alliance has been able to co-opt many former Merinan Armed Forces members to its side, the core of the old armed forces has remained loyal to the former President Nguessa, especially amongst the ranks of the navy and air force, whose conscript soldiers typically enjoyed better pay and conditions then they could have expected receive in civilian life, with technical specialists having been particularly prized. Therefore, where desertions from amongst the ranks of the MNA's conscript soldiers have been made good with reorganization and the incorporation of loyalist militia units into the ranks, the Nguessa Regime has retained the in the main its capability to field heavy and complex weapon systems, including tanks and aircraft, which the rebels of the National Alliance cannot really match.

Merinan National Army

Despite being driven from the capital, and the defection or dissolution of several formations wholesale, including the much-vaunted Impera Brigade, the Nguessa Regime retains a large if unwieldy fighting force in the field. From the seven divisions of the pre-war National Army, three 'new army' divisions have been created through reorganization; oftentimes this has required the incorporation of loyalist militia forces into regular army formations, therefore giving many MNA formations a rather less professional appearance and mixed equipment, though many are no less effective for it.

A Merinan National Army Brigade typically fields three 'line' battalions, one 'light' battalion - the 'light' troops typically being regarded as a cut above the 'line' infantrymen - in addition to a headquarters company, artillery battery, air defence battery and other ancillaries. The three full strength divisions remaining under Nguessa's banner constitute the bulk of the available government manpower, although IOG Mbeku is in all likelihood the most powerful formation still available to the former president, being almost wholly composed of career soldiers and having the pick of the foreign mercenaries still on Nguessa's payroll.

2nd Division
100 Brigade
101 Brigade
102 Brigade

3rd Division
103 Brigade
104 Brigade
105 Brigade

7th Division
106 Brigade
107 Brigade
108 Brigade

Independent Operational Group Mbeku
Paracommando Brigade
109 (Light) Brigade

Brigade Group West
110 Brigade
Naval Demi-Brigade

Armoured Battle Group Katamba
111 Brigade
Independent Armoured Battalion Katamba

Armoured Battle Group Qarkhoi
112 Brigade
Independent Armoured Battalion Qarkhoi

Equipment Includes:

AKM Assault Rifles
RPK Light Machine Guns
RP-46 General-Purpose Machine Guns
KPV Heavy Machine Guns

AGS-17 Automatic Grenade Launchers
RPG-18 Disposable Rocket Launchers
RPG-7 Rocket Launchers
SPG-9 Recoilless Rifles
Malyutka Anti-Tank Guided Missiles
Igla Man-Portable Air Defence System

82-BM Mortars
D-30 Howitzers
BM-21 Grad Multiple Rocket Launchers

M151 Light Utility Vehicle
'Technical' Armed Trucks (Various)
Ural 4320 General Purpose Truck
ABC-79M Armoured Reconnaissance Vehicle and Personnel Carrier
BMP-1 Infantry Fighting Vehicles
BMD-2 Air-Mobile Infantry Fighting Vehicles (Paracomando Brigade Only)
T55 Main Battle Tanks

Merinan National Army Reserve Forces

The reserve component of the Merinan National Army, activated as an emergency measure in March 2020, the Reserve Forces consists of part-time soldiers who undertake periodic training in peacetime, but can be called up to serve in times of war, or sometimes to assist the civil authorities in times of need. Merinan Army Reservists are something of an intermediate force on the battlefields of the Merinan Crisis, being better trained and equipped than the various militia and volunteer units that have sprung up since the war began, but generally less effective than the full-time professionals.

Many pre-Crisis reservists have, indeed, found themselves living in areas no longer under government control, with some even enlisting to fight for other causes, though in the main they have remained true. Some have even undertaken great feats to join their units for mobilization, crossing many miles and even frontiers to answer the call to arms. One complete reserve division has been formed, along with three smaller formations, utilizing the same organisational structure as the regular Merinan National Army:

20th (Reserve) Division
201 Brigade
202 Brigade
203 Brigade

Reserve Mountain Command Qast
204 (Mountain) Brigade
205 (Mountain) Brigade

Reserve Armoured Battle Group Kholda
206 Brigade
Independent Armoured Battalion Kholda

Reserve Armoured Battle Group Makasa
207 Brigade
Independent Armoured Battalion Makasa

In terms of equipment, the Reserve units are generally similarly equipped to their regular counterparts, albeit with a lower priority for modernization programmes. In activating the reserve armoured units, the Merinan National Army has put its last reserves of T-55 tanks into service, though does retain a good number of possibly serviceable T-34-85M medium tanks (and similar equipment phased out of service over the decades), which may be bought into service to make good losses until an appropriate foreign supplier may be found.

Merinan National Air Force

With their higher pay, better conditions and lesser proportion of conscripts, the MNAF has retained much of its effective fighting strength thus far. Two aviation groups - III and V - have been dissolved due to losses, though these have mostly been incurred on the ground as airbases have been overrun. In addition to flight crew, the MNAF fields a full compliment of ground crew - including foreign technical experts (some of whom are rumoured to be 'ground' crew in name only) - service and support personnel.

The basic administrative unit of the MNAF is the Squadron, each consisting of three Wings of three aircraft each, giving one Squadron nine aircraft in nominal strength, although true availability rates can be lower, particularly for units engaged in heavy or prolonged combat duties. So long as the MNAF is able to retain its technical personnel and supplies of spare parts - the latter being no mean feat, given the variety of airframes in MNAF inventory - however, this should be no greater issue than it is for any other of Mundus' air forces.

Air Group I (Fighter) - Three Squadrons with L-39 Albatross

Air Group II (Fighter) - Two Squadrons with F-7 Airguard

Air Group IV (Attack) - Two Squadrons with A-5 Fantan, one with BAC 167 Strikemaster

Air Group VI (Attack) - Three Squadrons with EMB 314 Super Tucano

Air Group VII (Attack) - Three Squadrons with EMB 314 Super Tucano

Air Transport Command - Two Squadrons with C-119 Flying Boxcar, one with An-26 Curl

Rotary Aviation Command - Three Squadrons with Mi-8 Bee, three with UH-1 Huey, two with Mi-24 Hind

Merinan National Navy

While the MNN has long languished in terms of equipment, the vast majority have remained loyal to the former president. An unintended consequence of the obsolescence of much of the MNN's fleet is the capability of many of the low-tonnage vessels, particularly among the Navy Escort Group, to navigate relatively far upstream on Merina's inland waterways, allowing their obsolescent naval artillery to be brought to bear in support of ground operations. Further to this, many MNN vessels have received substantial modifications over the course of their long service lives, and now sport guided weapons systems and helicopter handling equipment.

Destroyer Flotilla
MNS Anansi
MNS Kwaku Ananse
MNS Nyame
MNS Asase Ya
MNS Chiwara
(Lost in action against FSS Hotspur off Urhano, 12/04/2020)

Navy Escort Group
MNS Aha Njoko
MNS Ahmadohia
MNS Ikenga
MNS Ekwensu
MNS Onyeaja
MNS Agwu

Submarine Flotilla
MNS Roog
MNS Koox
MNS Kope
MNS Kogh Kox
MNS Takhar
MNS Tiuragh
MNS Pangool
MNS Jengu

Riverine Patrol Force
A mixed force of light riverine patrol craft and marine infantrymen approximately battalion-sized utilized in operations on and around Merina's complex network of inland waterways. Available watercraft include:
Hurricane Aircat
« Last Edit: April 17, 2020, 05:41:36 PM by Dijel »

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Re: Commonwealth of Merina
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2019, 01:38:11 PM »
Merina 2019 Update

Following the events of Breaking the Cycle, the state of Merina is now divided between five armed factions, with general lawlessness and banditry prevailing in between. In brief, these factions are:

Olumbe Nguessa's Merinan National Armed Forces - Having rallied his troops following the loss of the capital last year, President Nguessa's Merinan National Armed Forces (MNAF) have consolidated their positions as the rebel National Unity Council collapsed. A dictator with a penchant for brutality, Nguessa remains unpopular across most of the country, though he has pledged to hold elections once government control is restored to the whole country.

Diakame Bemba's National Liberation Army - The former commander of the presidential guard, Bemba's forces are largely comprised of deserters from the MNAF complimented by allied tribal militias. With the fragmenting of the National Unity Council, Bemba's forces have been left holding the capital - Katamba - and its environs, but little else of the country.

Ike Ezana's Pindari Fedayeen - A tribal nobleman from the eastern region of Pindar, Ezana's forces are comprised of untrained - but by now including some highly experienced - tribal fighters from a loose alliance of clans from Pindar and neighboring regions. The Pindari Fedayeen desire independence for their homeland, though deep grudges are also held against the former regime.

Sony Muamba's People's Army of Merina - A communist firebrand before the war, Muamba's men are proud volunteers, mostly recruited from the slums and factories of Merina's big cities. Having amassed a large and highly motivated force, if under-equipped and poorly trained, the People's Army commands massive support in Merina's cities, though their reformist zeal has made them more than a few enemies in more rural regions.

Sir Andrew Carmichael-Smyth's Merinan Free State - Merina commands vast reserves of natural resources - including oil, gas and precious metals - and several substantial industrial concerns exist with vested interests in the security of the extraction of these. The MFS commands a mishmash of mercenaries and local militiamen strung out across half the country, and have eked out an enclave around their coastal export terminus. 

((OOC: Will flesh these out later on. Might even stretch to a map))
« Last Edit: April 20, 2019, 11:19:16 AM by Dijel »

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Re: Commonwealth of Merina
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2019, 11:18:08 AM »
Faction Overview: Merinan Free State

History: Merina's abundance of natural resources are as lucrative as they are dangerous to exploit. Banditry, corruption and tribal violence have all plagued the country for decades, and as a result foreign businesses operating in the country have a long history of employing soldiers of their own - both locals and foreign mercenaries - to protect their interests, and, on occasion, engage in corporate warfare of a more literal kind.

With the start of the most recent civil war, all factions have - either as policy or through low-level acts of banditry - taken to appropriating private assets as a means to raise revenue. As a result, business interests began to overcome old rivalries and band together to pursue collective interests.

Intent: The re-establishment of law and order for the facilitation of normal business to resume.

Current Position: The Free State currently holds very little in terms of geographic territory, and that which they do hold consists of disparate enclaves around pre-war installations. The largest enclave is around the coastal city of Donze, long the principal export port for Merinan ore and petrochemical products, which also forms the Free State's headquarters and principal base of operations.

Leader: Sir Andrew Carmichael-Smyth

Forces: The Free State Forces (FSF) consist primarily of mercenary soldiers, alongside allied militiamen and local commanders. The core of the FSF consists of around 5,000 men, mostly lightly armed but highly experienced Kaedweni mercenaries. Heavy equipment is rather lacking, though helicopters, light vehicles and watercraft are all available to support FSF operations.

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Re: Commonwealth of Merina
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2019, 11:46:17 AM »
Faction Overview: Pindari Fedayeen

History: The remote eastern region of Pindar has a long history of conflict, even moreso than Merina as a whole. The fractious Pindari tribes have a history largely of their own, are largely of a different faith and largely view them selves apart from other Merinans. Though much the same could be said of a plethora of tribal and ethnic groups within Merina - particularly those in the highlands - the Pindaris are the largest and most independent such group.

'Fedayeen' translates as 'those who sacrifice themselves' - for Pindaris, this is more than a moniker, and Pindari Fedayeen have historically been uncompromising and hardy warriors. The present self-styled Fedayeen, drawing on this tradition, had been engaged in sporadic fighting with local government forces before the beginning of the civil war, aggrieved by corruption and brutal suppression of Pindari language and culture.

Intent: The creation of a free and independent Pindari state.

Current Position: In control of Pindar and some of the surrounding territories, with the exception of small local holdouts.

Leader: Prince Ike Ezana

Forces: The core of the Pindari forces consists of around 10,000 battle-hardened guerilla fighters, provisioned with a hodge-podge of light weapons and equipment. Though motivated, they are sorely lacking motorisation or heavy equipment. These are supported by a force of irregular Pindari militia, though these units suffer from an even greater shortage of equipment. A nascent Pindari air force does also exist, though this can field only a handful of captured government aircraft, and has thus far been hamstrung by a lack of fuel, spares and trained personnel.

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Re: Commonwealth of Merina
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2019, 07:35:36 PM »
Faction Overview: National Liberation Army

History: Guardsmen have often been the kingmakers in Merinan history, with Nguessa himself having formerly commanded a brigade of republican guards before becoming President. Diakame Bemba is the latest to take part in this long and storied Merinan tradition, having switched sides to join the National Unity Council as their uprising gathered momentum, bringing with him the elite Impera Brigade, among a handful of other former Merinan National Armed Forces units. Following the collapse of the NUC, Bemba has carved for himself a fiefdom around the old capital, bolstering his initial troops with deserters from Nguessa's forces, along with allied tribal militias and fresh recruits.

Bemba rules as a military governor; although severe of aspect, his administration is functional in Katamba and its environs. This, along with the degree of popular support which such effectiveness has yielded, has been used by Bemba to justify his rule. Although he seems to be rather less brutal than Nguessa, and remarkably forward-thinking for a Merinan warlord in many regards, few would stake a great deal on his pledge to permit free and fair elections once the war is over.

Intent: The unification of Merina under the National Liberation Army banner.

Current Position: In control of Katamba and some surrounding territory.

Leader: Marshal Diakame Bemba

Forces: The National Liberation Army fields a combined-arms force, with infantry, armour, artillery and aviation assets, although these are somewhat variable in quality. The Impera Brigade are arguably the best heavy formation fielded by any faction in Merina, in terms of equipment, training and motivation, although the combination of deserters and fresh recruits with which many other units have been brought back up to strength has left their effectiveness rather more in doubt. The equipment of the NLA is much the same as that of the MNAF.

The field forces of the NLA are bolstered by local volunteer and tribal militias, as well as a highly militarized internal security apparatus. Likewise to their regular counterparts, these units are of a mixed effectiveness, with some fighters being highly motivated while others are barely willing to fight. These disregarded, the National Liberation Army commands the following formations:

Impera Brigade Group:
Impera Brigade
61st Independent Armoured Battalion
Long-Range Reconnaissance Group

1st Division
12th Brigade
7th Brigade
32nd Brigade

2nd Division
3rd Brigade
19th Brigade
26th Brigade

Airborne Brigade Group
16th Airborne Brigade
Independent Pathfinder Battalion

Aviation Brigade
Fighter Group
Attack Group
Transport Group
Helicopter Assault Group

Offline Dijel

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Re: Commonwealth of Merina
« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2019, 08:33:50 PM »
Faction Overview: Peoples' Army of Merina

History: Communism in Merina - and Sony Muamba's Merinan Peoples' Party in particular - was banned under the former Nguessa reigime, though enjoyed a not insignificant following amongst the urban poor, with the dockers and factory workers of Qarkhoi being infamously militant. The Peoples' Army existed for a decade before the outbreak of war, acting as the paramilitary arm of the trade unions, and engaging in running battles with police and private security forces during numerous industrial disputes over the years. This pre-war Peoples' Army has served as something as a cadre force, allowing a rapid mobilization of trade unionists and breakroom socialists in the big cities once it became clear that the government's days were numbered.

Intent: Establishing Merina as a socialist state and hence liberating the workers from the shackles of capitalism.

Current Position: Controls the major cities of Makeni and Kholda; engaged in heavy fighting with government troops over the port city of Quarkhoi, which the Peoples' Army considers to be its spiritual home. Cadre forces in place across the rest of the major cities preparing to launch a general rising.

Leader: Sony Muamba

Forces: The Peoples' Army is poorly organised and lacks heavy equipment - save that captured from government units and depots - but possesses many tough and determined soldiers and leaders, many of whom are hugely committed to the cause. Many are former soldiers and militiamen, though most are urbanites with little understanding of the world outside of the big cities. In terms of strength, the Peoples' Army can reliably call on some twenty-thousand men under arms, in a variety of ad-hoc formations.

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Re: Commonwealth of Merina
« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2019, 08:41:54 PM »
Map of Merina

Spoiler: Old Map • show

« Last Edit: June 05, 2020, 01:52:09 PM by Dijel »

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Re: Commonwealth of Merina
« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2020, 10:21:31 PM »
International Association for a Free Merina

The International Association for a Free Merina is organisation of Merinan exiles dedicated to marshaling the many Merinans who have fled their nation's many wars, providing a network of mutual support and seeking a better future for their country. The organisation is an old one, tracing its origins back at least three-hundred years to the fraternal organisations of Merinans abroad, fleeing the excesses of the monarchs of the day. In its modern form, the Association was created in 1973 in Belmont, Kaedwen, by refugees fleeing the warlord Nguessa's newly-minted Presidency. In the last eighteen months, the Association has seen a steady swelling of its membership, now in the tens of thousands, and has been heavily involved with providing means of escape, shelter and provisions for refugees from the current war.

The Association also has a network of supporters within Merinan society, though these tend to work more discreetly for fear of retribution from one of the warring factions or another. Most prominent of these are the Most Reverend Eduard Hassisi, Archbishop of Katamba, and the Chancellor of the Merinan International University, Professor Chole Bital.

The Association possesses an elected President and executive branch, making it in many ways the organisation with the greatest democratic mandate currently active in Merinan politics. The incumbent President of the Association is Charles van de Mar-Ekembitoto, a former diplomat in exile since 1976. In a strange twist of fate, Charles is in fact the half-breed bastard grandson of the last King of Merina, though he has never publicly acknowledged this.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2020, 10:42:06 PM by Dijel »

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Re: Commonwealth of Merina
« Reply #11 on: March 28, 2020, 10:49:35 AM »
Merinan Crisis: Flashpoints

The Merinan Crisis, being a multifaceted conflict between a variety of armed groups, possesses a number of key battlefronts being contested with varying degrees of intensity between two or more of the combatants. Unless otherwise noted below, none of these is particularly secretive per se, and their general progress would be common knowledge to anyone with the wherewithal to take a particular interest in the conflict, although, naturally, exact troop dispositions and the fortunes of individual contacts and skirmishes would be subject to the same fog of war that hangs over any such situation.

Active Flashpoints:

The following are, at the time of writing, considered to be active and currently contested. The degree of severity in the fighting is noted in brief, and the intent is to explore these in greater depth in the narrative proper.

  • The Pindar Valley Campaign – The Pindar Valley, along the axis of the N’gal Tsata-Qandaris road, has been a key flashpoint in the Merinan Crisis to date. The eastern Pindar region, in addition to parts of remote adjacent Xhol, have a long history of rebelliousness, being home to primarily Odinist populations in an overwhelmingly Catholic nation. Historic bouts of pogroms aside, the most prominent living Pindari leader, Ike Ezana, headed the short-lived National Unity Council and has since led his Fedayeen in resisting attempts by the Merinan National Army to recapture Pindar’s principal city, Qandaris.
  • Western Pindar Campaign – The hills of western Pindar, historically a major Pindari stronghold and currently under Fedayeen control, have seen small-scale skirmishing between Merinan National Army units to the north, National Liberation Army to the west and the Pindari Fedayeen in the middle.
  • Pindar-Qast Operational Area – The eastern end of the National Liberation Army’s front is anchored on mountainous Qast in the north, and the hills of western Pindar in the south. This area has seen intermittent fighting between NLA forces and Merinan National Army troops, with rumours circulating that government units are preparing for a major offensive in the area.

Inactive Flashpoints:

These flashpoints have been concluded, at least for the time being, and are no longer the scene of fighting of any particular note.

  • Operation Thunderbolt - The coup-de-main operation launched against Katamba by the then-allied triumvirate of the National Liberation Army, Pinadari Fedayeen and Peoples' Army of Merina against the Merinan National Army. The action was successful insomuch as allied troops were able to drive government units out of the capital, and well to the north before they were able to stabilise their lines, though it was unsucessful in its ultimate objective - to break the power of President
  • The Siege of Qarkhoi - Merinan National Army and Free State Forces press in around the sprawling mega-city of Qarkhoi on the Strait of Shaw, held by elements of the People's Army of Merina. MNA units hold some positions within the city, as do FSF troops in the north, while the PAM and remaining civilian population are largely trapped. Fighting generally fairly static in nature, punctuated by small-scale actions of surprising ferocity.
  • The Battle of the Drakkenbjorg - The main point of contact between Merinan National Army troops and Free State Forces lies across the Drakkenbjorg pass in central Urhano. Fighting generally consisting of small-to-medium scale skirmishing, punctuated by limited set-piece actions to take and hold ground. Limited quantities of heavy equipment brought to bear by both sides in difficult terrain.
  • The Donze Blockade - Merinan National Navy maintains a lukewarm blockade of the Merinan Free State enclave around Donze. Free State Air Forces succeeding so far in maintaining their tenuous maritime supply routes, with air-sea combat punctuated by small-scale marine actions over coastal islets and maritime extraction platforms.
  • The Battle for Makeni - Firmly held by the People's Army of Merina, the Makeni area has seen sporadic fighting between the Merinan National Army and PAM. The front has largely stagnated, however, with the MNA unable to make serious headway against the PAM's defenses, while PAM units lack the mobility and fieldcraft to break out in significant numbers.
  • The Mbuni Front - The southern region of Mbuni - and in particular the Kholda-Katamba axis - is contested between the Perople's Army of Merina and the National Liberation Army.
  • The Bataar Front - Across the centre of Bataar province lies the front line between the Merinan National Army, in the north, and the National Liberation Army in the south. The area has seen significant fighting between opposing regular and irregular troops, including the largest conventional clashes of the war so far. Of particular note is the fighting over the fortified town of Ikolma, north of Katamba, which is seen by both sides as the key to controlling the capital.
  • The Siege of the Mikroyan - An exclave under the control of the Merinan Free State located a short distance south of Katamba, the Mikroyan is an extensive planned development largely populated by foreign professionals and contractors. The danger of causing international incident has so far protected the small FSF garrison from serious assault by the National Liberation Army, who control the surrounding territory, though the situation remains somewhat tense.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2020, 09:46:27 AM by Dijel »

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Re: Commonwealth of Merina
« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2020, 08:25:28 PM »
Religion in Merina

For the people of Merina, as a general rule of thumb, religion features heavily in both daily life and the sense of identity and belonging. The religion of the vast majority of Merinans is Catholicism, and the Merinan Catholic Church is an immensely influential institution, with its head - the Archbishop of Katamba - enjoying a large degree of latitude under the nominal suzerainty of the Pope. The Catholic Church has provided many Merinans with a social framework, security and services which their lay overlords have not; in many ways, in fact, the Church operates as something of a shadow-state, collecting its own Tithe, albeit only on a voluntary basis, and even fielding its own paramilitary force, the Order of the Holy Sepulcher.

Many Archbishops have sought to wield this latent influence over lay politics, though the incumbent - the Most Reverend Eduard Hassisi - has largely remained aloof of the present Merinan Crisis, at least publicly. Some have blamed this inaction on his advanced age, while others maintain that this is the wisest course of action. Certainly, there are those within the Church who would have the evildoers smitten from the world by the avenging sword of Christ, though they have so far been on the losing end of the Church's internal debate.

The Order themselves are worthy of note. What would be a most unusual institution is a normal country have become something of a fact of life in Merina over the last half-century. Their roots lie in the knightly orders of old, introduced into Merina for the protection of Catholic missionaries during the middle ages, via the traditional ceremonial guardians of Merinan Catholicism. With the rise of warlordism and instability in Merina, however, these men gave up their halberds for rifles, and have morphed into a very real protector of the Church and her corporeal interests in Merina. Thus, the Order have almost come full-circle, deploying armed detachments far and wide to deter and defend against violence directed at clergymen and their flocks.

There are two notable exceptions to this primarily of the Catholic faith, however. The most significant is the strong presence of Odinism in the eastern regions of Xhol and Pindar, where it arrived over the mountains in the days of old from the lands of the Nords. Pindar, in particular, has an Odinist majority and has something of a history of secessionist agitation, though this is as much due to their divergent cultural and economic interests, as well as defensible geography, as it does with religion. Certainly, though, being a staunchly Odinist region in an overwhelmingly Catholic country has long been a bone of some contention for many Pindaris. This is somewhat true of Xhol, though to a lesser extent as the region is more equally split, and the sparse population leaves little opportunity for inter-communal friction.

The other exception is the native Jewish population, largely focused around coastal Biathala and Urhano, and in particular the great trading port of Donze. Unlike the Odinist Pindaris, however, this distribution is not so much the result of an accident of geography, but of years of aggressively discriminatory policy and occasional bouts of bloody pogroms, though these have become mercifully rare in recent decades. Medieval religious rules restricting one's professional opportunities created a significant imbalance of Jews in the mercantile professions in the early-modern period, drawing many families to the great trading ports on the coast, though discriminatory laws and practices - such as Qarkhoi banning the Jews from living within the city limits in 1783 - did much to create neighborhoods and settlements of undeniably Jewish character.

If one is willing to look back far enough, none of these may be considered the 'native' faith of Merina - insomuch as such a thing is possible - though the spirit-worshiping folk religions of old, what would be characterized as 'paganism' by the Catholic Church, are all but dead in Merina. Some clans, up in the deep mountains, do still cling to their ancient traditions, or have blended them with Catholic mythos to a socially-acceptable degree, though these are fewer and further between these days, particularly with growing urbanisation increasingly drawing young folk to the cities in search of jobs and opportunities.

Spoiler: OOC Disclaimer: • show
It is not my intent to cause offence nor distress to anyone in my depiction of religion in this, entirely fictional, setting. I do not pretend to suggest that there is such a thing as 'right' or 'wrong' in whichever faith you so choose to observe peacefully, and fully support your right to do so, as I am sure you reciprocate. While I may, at times, depict characters of various faiths in negative situations, this is done solely for narrative reasons, and should in no way be taken to suggest that these characters and situations reflect negatively upon the wider communities associated with any given faith or religious movement.