Origins and Early History
The Blackhawk Brigade, also known as the 12th Infantry Brigade, is part of the M’Chekian Army. It is one of many Brigades mobilized to defend M’Chek from the Drotid invaders that overran the eastern part of the country, and is currently one of three Brigades Lord Derrington has under his command.
During the War against the Drotid, the 12th Infantry Brigade originally was assigned under the banner of Lord Derrington and was quartered at Derrington Castle, relegated to garrison duties. Commanded by Brigade Commander Tanners, the 500 officers and men of the 12th served as part of Lord Derrington’s personal guard.
In a series of unfortunate events, Commander Tanners was stripped of his officer’s commission and banished from the nation of M’Chek by War Commissioner Lord Tobias Chasworth. Commander Tanners took part in the infamous raid upon Fort Kasslesstha, acting as commanding officer of a group of foreign mercenaries and a regiment of 200 of his cavaliers. The charges leveled against him include his over stepping his command authority, waging a personal campaign against the Drotid in laying siege to Fort Kasslesstha, and gross negligence in the deaths of nearly all 200 of the men under his command. There is still much speculation as to the level of involvement Lord Derrington had with this matter. At the time of his dismissal from service, Commander Tanners was adamant he was under Lord Derrington’s orders in attacking the fortress.
Command Change and a New Direction
In an unprecedented act of authority and ignoring Lord Derrington’s right to select his own replacement brigade commander, Lord Chasworth ordered Major Thaylis Beign, Chief of Staff of the 3rd Infantry Brigade, to assume command of the remaining 300 officers and soldiers of the 12th Brigade. Promoted to Brigadier, Brigadier Beign was also to receive command of 600 officers and soldiers of Colonel Brittain’s Blackhawk Battalion and instructed to forge the new Brigade into a field command capable of conducting operations against the Drotid invaders. The 12th Brigade adopted the name, Blackhawk Brigade, at Lord Chasworth’s recommendation.
Currently, the Brigade is at 80% strength and consists of 3 Battalions. It should be noted that all members of the Brigade wear the distinctive black uniform of the Blackhawks.
The 1st Battalion, comprised of M'Chek's elite Blackhawks, is commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Justin Watersdown. The Blackhawk Battalion now has a full compliment of approximately 900 officers and men. The core of the Battalion is formed from the men and women who served under Colonel Brittain as the original Blackhawk Battalion and served as M’Chek’s elite special forces unit. Their tenacity and discipline in serving M’Chek is renowned. Additionally, rumors abound that Colonel Fox has spearheaded an effort to supplement the ranks of her Battalion with men and women from the M’Chekian penal system. The soldiers of the 1st Battalion form the foundation of the Brigade.
The Brigade’s 2nd Battalion, referred to as the Sable Lions, is commanded by Colonel Silver Fox and originally consisted of 400 officers and soldiers, with 100 of these siphoned from the 1st Battalion to form the backbone of the unit. Currently, their numbers have swelled to approximately 735 officers and men due to the intensive recruiting campaign, and continue to hone their skills in working as a cohesive unit.
The 3rd Battalion has now been activated and is under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Serria Atterman, with Major Robert Wallace now serving as her Chief of Staff. Called the Onyx Boars, they serve as the Brigade’s primary training battalion. All new recruits into the Brigade will pass through the 3rd Battalion for their indoctrination and training. The primary goal is to instill confidence in the new recruits, instructing them on field operations and battle techniques, as well as getting them on a skill and confidence level equal to the soldiers of the 1st Battalion. The 3rd now has approximately 635 officers and soldiers.
The 1st Battalion is quartered in Finmaegen Keep, while the 2nd and 3rd Battalions maintain their barracks at Derrington Castle. This placement of his major command elements may appear cumbersome to some within the M'chekian military, but Brigadier Beign prefers this arrangement as it allows Blackhawks the ability to deploy rapidly throughout M'Chek should the need arise.
Still undermanned by several hundred soldiers, The Brigade continues an aggressive recruiting campaign to bolster its numbers. At present, the Brigade consists of one full and 2 partial Battalions, with a total number of officers and soldiers for operations at ~2260.
Senior Command Staff
Commanding Officer: Brigadier Thaylis Beign
Adjutant: Captain Florence Hetter
|1st Battalion - Blackhawks||2nd Battalion - Sable Lions||3rd Battalion - Onyx Boars|
|Commanding Officer - Lt. Colonel Justin Watersdown||Commanding Officer - Colonel Silver Fox||Commanding Officer - Lt. Colonel Serria Atterman|
|Executive Officer – Captain SandFireStorm||Executive Officer - Major Alfred Greensham||Executive Officer - Major Peter Russborough|
|Current Strength - ~900 officers and soldiers||Current Strength - ~735 officers and soldiers||Current Strength - ~635 officers and soldiers|
Structure of the Battalions
Each Battalion is identical in structure and follows Colonel Fox's Blackhawk Battalion's organizational plan.
Commanding Officer: Colonel or Lt. Colonel.
Command Staff: Executive Officer – Major or Captain; 2 additional Staff Officers (Major or Captain), Command Sergeant.
The Battalions are comprised of 9 Company’s, each commanded by a Captain.
- 1st Company: Heavy Infantry and support elements. 125 soldiers. ((PC's are placed in this Company, 1st Battalion))
- 2nd Company: Heavy Infantry and support elements. 125 soldiers.
- 3rd Company: Heavy Infantry and support elements. 125 soldiers.
- 4th Company: Reconnaissance (Recon). Light infantry or skirmishers, these soldiers are used for intelligence gathering, reconnaissance and interdiction, etc. 125 soldiers and support elements.
- 5th Company: Demolitions and Artillery. 100 soldiers and support elements.
- 6th Company: Battlemage Company. Normally mages will be distributed throughout the ranks as needed, but nominally they will belong to the 6th Company, allowing them to be fielded as a unit in their own right in special circumstances. Numbers are fluid.
- 7th Company: Reserve Line Company. Infantry with support elements. This will be the Company new recruits will be trained in until they can be transferred to another Company. Can be deployed in the field under special circumstances. 100 soldiers.
- 8th Company: Light Cavalry. 100 men + horses.
- 9th Company: Heavy Cavalry 100 men + horses.
Also included: Logistical and Support staff. Numbers to be determined.
Shortly after the new brigade was formed, Magus Robert Wallace approached Brigadier Beign and offered his services in recruiting mages from the various Orders of the Trust. Magus Wallace was given the authority of an Acting-Lieutenant by Brigadier Beign, and sought out mages who wanted to aid the War effort by serving in the M’Chekian armed forces. Lt. Wallace was successful in recruiting roughly 300 mages; these highly talented men and women were placed in the Blackhawk Brigade, as M’Chek’s special force unit, and continue to augment the Brigade’s ability to fight the Drotid invaders. These mages were distributed evenly amongst the Brigade’s 3 Battalions with each unit receiving roughly 100 men and women.
Additionally, at the onset of the War against the Drotid, the M’Chekian Army lacked sufficient personnel trained in the advanced studies of arcane magic. Identifying and acknowledging this lack of capability, the Blackhawks accepted the generous offers of Magi Vintrinia Carnen, Thienna Hurst, and Micah Ormane of the Trust to train armed forces mages in the advanced studies of Pyromancy, Fatespinning, and Steelcasting, respectively. Several score armed forces mages successfully completed the advanced lessons, and were assigned to the Blackhawk Brigade. Total numbers and distribution within the Brigade are as follows:
- Pyromancy under Magus Carnen: 25 Pyromancers. Divided evenly between the 3 Companies. (9 to the 1st Battalion, 8 each to the remaining Battalions.)
- Fatespinning under Magus Hurst: 21 Fatespinners. Divided evenly between the 3 Companies.
- Steelcasting under Magus Ormane: 50 Steelcasters. Assigned to the 1st Battalion.
Battle Songs of the Blackhawk Brigade
The following songs were written especially for the Blackhawks during the onset of the Drotid War. The half-elven bard, Mahera Trellewin, graciously wrote the two songs, and personally performed the debut of both pieces to a gathering of officers and soldiers. The songs can still be heard to this day, sung with rowdy enthusiasm in the barracks of both Finmaegen and Derrington Keeps.
Sound the Trumpet
Sound the trumpet soldier, we'll sing another song,
Sing it with a spirit that will rally M'Chek on!
Sing it with a will, let your voices ring out strong,
While we push back the Drotid.
Huzzah! Huzzah! Sound the trumpet call!
Huzzah! Huzzah! Rally one and all!
So we'll sing this chorus from Finmaegan to the sea,
As we drive out the Shaahesk.
The slithering lizards said, in their brazen boasts
"Thosssse puny warmbloodsss, they will never retake the coasssst!"
But they did not reckon on such tenacious M'Chek Folk.
And so we will drive out the Drotid.
The Blackhawks of M'Chek
We're the Blackhawks of M'Chek, we're brave without a doubt!
We've pledged to do our damnest to drive the Drotid out.
And what all do we get for this? Seven pints of stout.
You won't forget the Blackhawks of M'Chek!
We'll march along the dusty roads till we can hardly speak,
Into Verrossa's rain and storm, we'll seldom stop to sleep.
Then fight for forty-eight hours a day and fourteen days a week.
Why? Because we're the Blackhawks of M'Chek!
You're welcome in the Blackhawks if you know how to fight.
We've rangers here from the Way, and heroes from Redgate,
We've ganoom and ogre mages, and dragonslayers full of might.
Don't forget that we're the Blackhawks of M'Chek!
We're the toughest gang of soldiers that you will ever meet.
We'll work or fight near anywhere, from the beaches to the Keeps.
We'll take the fight to Drotid's swamps, until they cry defeat!
You won't forget!
Remember us, the Blackhawks of M'Chek!