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by Pete Grey
The Zhodani Military was traditionally divided between Consulate and local planetary forces. Consulate forces include the Consulate Navy and the Consulate Guard, planetary forces were local armies and navies.
Like the former Imperial Navy, the Consualate Navy consisted of front-line and reserve fleets. Unlike the Imperial Navy, the two categories were hardly exclusive, nor were they necessarily both present at the same time. The Consulate had a couple of secure borders, so the need for an everpresent naval force was less stressed, especially in spinward sectors.
Most subsectors not facing the Imperium or the Vargr mixed tech levels, and old and new vessels freely. In wartime, however, newer units were apt to be stripped for the front, leaving the older stuff behind. This permitted a rather well trained reserve fleet, but often undermined unit cohesion in frontline units. The Zhodani fleet was also correspondingly lighter than the Last Imperium's, in keeping with the Zhodani doctrine for speed and lightning raids.
Zhodani task forces did not follow the Imperium's segregated squadron structure, mixing naval units in a complementary manner reminiscent of Black War units. The Zhodani usually link together a couple of heavy cruisers (70,000-90,000 tons) a handful of light cruisers (10,000-45,000 tons), a lot of destroyers, frigates, a few scouts, and always a couple of carriers or fighter porters. Battleships are the only exception to the mixed squadron rule, and are always deployed in mass with their own kind. Battle Tenders are rare in Zho service, as the slow pace of rider recovery are anathema to the Zho's past-paced naval tactics. And when carriers are deployed, they carry smaller airwings than are normally associated with them. However, the Zho's had lots of carriers, ranging from the Shivva Patrol Frigate, to some 250,000 ton behemoths.
Supplementing the Navy were specialised Tavrchedl patrol units that monitored civilian shipping and kept an eye out for pirates, Imperial intruders and Vargr corsairs. Tavrchedl units were mostly 300-500 ton gunboats and sloops, with minimal armaments but extensive sensors and accomodations for psion monitors. A number of "customs" craft are actually Tavrchedl manned, and a fleet of 600 ton recon craft, similar to the Imperial Donosev class, were deployed for listening missions in remote territory, both friendly and hostile.
Lienjqiets Light Cruiser (10,000) (4g,4j)
Echtovr family Cruisers (5,000) (3g,4j)
Heavy Destroyer (4,100)
Vlepchakl Strike "Cruiser" (2000)
Light Destroyer (1,200)
Shivva Patrol Frigate (600) (2g,5j)
Zhdits Destroyer Escort (400)
Yatstafl Courier (200) (3g, 4j)
Chitl Scout Leader (150)
The Consular Guard were the epitome of the Lighten up, hit fast, hit hard philosophy. CG units were mostly drop or lift infantry, supplemented by their ubiquitous combat robots, light MRLs and 5-8 ton attack speeders. Battle Dress armored about 50% of these troops, and grav belts were common. Tanks were only half as common as in equivalent Imperial formations, and the infantry was heavily airmobile dependent for its mobility. Equipment TLs varied within the TL12-14 range, with frontline equipment or the most critical of weapon systems being of the highest levels, while secondary systems are cheaper lower-tech models.
Zhodani Psionic Commando units were preciously rare, and never deployed above company level, and even then only for the most critical of missions. The cost of training and equipping these personnel rivaled TL8-9 fighter pilots, making them loss sensitive. Normally these units were coordinated with ortillery/artillery, other drop troops, or were sprinkled in with other units to conceal them. Ironically, their most effective use wasn't in a direct attack role, but as FOs for air and artillery attacks. Given the effective mobility of 'porters, and the ability of directors to detect hidden units, these troops were handily effective during orbital assualts, especially in supressing enemy air defenses, and spotting ambushes.
Zhodani battle robots were one of their few significant contributions to battlefield technology. The "Light" robot, copied by LSP as the PRS-317, was first deployed in the Fifth Frontier War. The "Medium" and "Mantra" robots began to arrive just as the war ended. A "Heavy" robot was under development prior to the 1119 Rebellion, and it is thought that a small number were deployed during that war. The SCR is actually a large class of decoy, demolition and reconnaissance units. The Mantra is especially noteworthy. Designed to be the space equivalent of ancient minisubs, the unit is a 0.5 to 5 ton displacement hull rigged for infiltration and sabotage of vital facilities and orbiting spacecraft. Most are fitted with a nuclear or conventional demolition charge, though a few carry lasers or missles for defensive operations. Equipped with CG lifters and a fusion cell, these craft were designed for autonomous operations in gas giants or ocean depths, hunting down refuelling spacecraft or concealled SDBs. Another model has been deployed since the Collapse, a 0.7 to 8 ton defensive unit designed to protect LZs and backup high guards.
4.88mm Gauss Rnd. (Pis, BR, SAW, VRF)
8.9mm Gauss Rnd. (BR, VRF)
8.53*78mm ACR (Lapua Zhodane)
2.2cm TL 14 Laser Rifle And Pistol.
4.6cm TL 14c Man-Portable Fusion Gun.
5.0cm TL 13 Plasma Gun.
6.6cm Man Portable C-PAW (Zip-Gun)
4.3cm RAM Grenades.
Zhodani Combat and Battle Armor.
Qiknavra I and II MBTs.
Type 26 and 30 MBTs
Type 40 and 42 APCs. (Zho APC in 101V and GT is the Type 40)
Type 49 Weapons Carrier series. (As written up in Striker II)
Type 181 Grav Sled series. (Also SII)
9 MJ "Towed" Fusion Fun (Mule Gun)
11.8cm Artillery MD.
Princely Lord and Silent Grasp Attack Speeders.
Light, Medium and Special Combat Robots.
Mantra class space attack robots.
Bane robotic AFV/CEV class.
Type 9 Orbital Gunship/Assualt Dropship. (School Bus)
Some of the above weapons, in particular Zhodani attack speeders and combat robots, were copied by Regency/Imperial megacorps prior to the Civil War. Since the Spinward Accords, many of these systems were exported or manufactured under license for use by Regency Planetary forces, and by a number of other spinward states. Regency military designers managed to acquire Guard battle dress for use as a template in designing armor for psionic Regency Ranger and S-3 units.