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 Warrior Structure and Tactics

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PostSubject: Warrior Structure and Tactics   Sat Dec 08, 2012 1:09 pm



i. Selection and ranks

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Though Warriors were born in their Caste, that fact alone only provided them the right to become a Warrior. To actually exercise that right, in order to become an active combat member in the service of their city, they were required to participate in a period of training, during which they would prove them selves both worthy and capable of the deed. This fact reminds us of the cruel selective process of the Black Caste or even the exams young Goreans had to pass in order to gain their citizenship and there is also evidence that members of other Castes too, had to pass some kind of training period in order to exercise their profession. Gorean society, through its institutions, did indeed try to pick the fittest for every job.

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Warriors were professional soldiers, they received payment by their city and could also participate in the distribution of the loot of their raids. Their ranks followed pretty much familiar to us ranks. Through out the books we come across the rank of Lieutenant, Captain, Commander, High Captain, Polemarkos, High General and so on. First Sword seems to be regarded more as a title related to skill, swordsmanship, and not as an official rank that could actually command men. It wasn’t uncommon of course for the most skilled swordsman in a unit, to hold the status of the officer too. It has also to be noted that the Red Caste, though the lower of the High Castes, commonly produced the Ubars and the Administrators of most cities and a good explanation, analyzing how that was possible, can be obtained perhaps by the lips of Marlenus him self, when he explained to Tarl that it is the sword that establishes initially an organized society and not the other way around. About their dwellings, we don’t have much information available, but we do learn for example that in Ar, “Towers of the Warriors” (Slave girl of Gor) existed and we can safely assume i believe that the luxury of ones apartment would depend on his rank and status within the city.

The title of the Ubar, meaning war chief, can have its roots traced back to ancient Rome’s title of Dictator. In ancient Rome when the republic faced great dangers, a dictator who would be the supreme military and political authority, could be appointed to command the city while the danger existed. The Dictator was supposed to return power to the people of Rome (Senate and other bodies) but sometimes a charismatic personality could maintain his power and become Emperor. Such was, thousands of years later the case of Napoleon too, the child of the French Revolution, who would be appointed Emperor to save France from the monarchic alliance that was formed through out Europe against her. On Gor, an Ubar was supposed to surrender his office too, when the city was not in war, but sometimes some of them denied to remove their purple robes and where either abandoned by their own Warriors, surrendered to the rage of the citizens or by gaining at first their Warriors support, through their charismatic personality, continued to rule as Ubars. Such was the case of Marlenus and perhaps of others as well.

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ii. Warfare

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Large scale warfare was not unknown in Gor, we do come across large scale wars, when for example Mathew Cabot leads a coalition of forces against Pa-Kur in front of the walls of Ar or when Cos and Tyros launch their large scale invasion against Ar again, but typical Gorean warfare would be the job of small bodies of Warriors counting to few thousand men at the most. Those bodies of professionals would use formations and certain tactics in the combat field, some of which could find their roots tracked back to the ancient Greek phalanx or the Roman legion. One legendary commander, a mercenary captain, whose ideas revolutionized the Gorean war tactics was Diedrich of Tarnburg and a proof of how influential they became, can be find in the mere fact that they were studied and taught in military schools through out Gor. His main innovations had to do with battle field formations, going beyond the two most common formations Gorean infantry used up until then the phalanx and the Torean square, the coordinated use of infantry alongside with tarn cavalries and with the usage of siege weapons in the open combat field.

Apart from that Gorean Warriors also engaged heavily in raiding, either striking caravans or merchant outposts, open fields for their crops or even cities for their free women or slaves. The main raiding weapon for such missions was the tarn, which provided tarnsmen, the so called Brothers of the Wind, with both the mobility and the element of surprise much needed for such operations. Warriors of some cities also used tharlarions, mainly like shock cavalry, charging against the enemy formation during battle. The cities would typically be protected by thick walls and they could also use tarn wire to avoid aerial attacks. The protection the walls offered, often forced attackers, in order to maintain an efficient siege, to use siege weapons such as catapults, mobile towers etch. An interesting fact about sieges is that, as we are told, most cities have fallen not because of a frontal assault or a long lasting effective siege, something difficult anyway for purely logistic reasons, but because of trickery and treason from within. Diedrich of Tarnburg used bribes alot and we even see Marlenus boast that he could take any city in Gor, if he could get his gold behind its walls.

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Gorean warfare didn’t include much hostilities with outlaws or pirates. Though piracy could be a problem in some areas and there were even alliances between cities formed to control piracy (Saleria Confederation or the Vosk League, see books 14-16) and outlaws could band together and pillage travelling caravans, they could never consist a major threat against the security of a well defended Gorean city. They were no match for the members of the Red Caste. Part of Gorean warfare of course were the mercenary companies too but the majority of mercenaries were not Warriors.

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Gorean warfare was cruel. Most of the times male captives, were slain. The conqueror of a given city would have little mercy upon her. Usually the officers of the Red Castes and their families were to be impaled and the same fate was shared with them by a large portion of the male population of the city. Young men could be taken as slaves, free women could be taken as pleasure slaves of the Warriors and any other slave would be free game for the first man that would come across her.

iii. Major military powers.

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One of the most infamous cities of Gor, the city of Treve, for the most part lived out of raids. Having an army of tarn cavalries and fearless Captains such as Rask of Treve, the men of Treve would normally strike almost everywhere their tarns could take them, though over the time their raids in Ar and Ko-ro-ba were heavily reduced and they avoided Thentis too. They provided their city with much needed goods and supplies, a city hidden in a Voltai and protected by a network of outposts who could intercept any incoming aerial threat before it could reach the city. Apart from Treve, famous for their skills it seems were the Warriors of Ar and of Ko-ro-ba. Tarl comments often on the skill of the men of Ar and though he might be a little biased in favor of his own Homestone, Ko-ro-bas effectiveness against the loot raids from Treve, her resistance during a large scale war against the Wagon People one thousand years ago and the role that played in the formation of the grand alliance against the hordes of Pa-Kur in Tarnsman of Gor, can make us believe that Ko-ro-ba had been a respected military power as well. Other respected military powers were Cos and her close ally Tyros but like Port Kar, their strength rested on their fleets, they were mostly naval powers. From the other continental cities, we can pick out Thentis, for her tarnsmen and Turia for its size, second most populated city on Gor, behind Glorious Ar.

(note: the above paragraph is provided “as is” with no bibliographical references for support, for the time being).

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Life was harsh on Gor and the Red Caste, given the training, the means and the tactics its members used, forming a body of professional fighters, a war machine, would be often the absolute reminder of the simple Gorean truth, that in the world of Counter – Earth, only the fitest were meant to survive and only those who had their life and freedom protected by Wa


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