The Firestarters, as they are known, are the elite armed forces of Borealis . Highly ideologised. superbly trained and equipped to an unmatched standard, they answer to none but the Queen Alicia and her generals and not to regional dukes and nobles, as do regular levied soldiers.
Formed and financed by Constantine Feuerbrand (with some assistance from the Free Cities of the Far Reach ), the Firestarters, despite early setbacks, were a decisive factor that swayed the turn of the Feuerbrand uprising into the rebels' favour. During the uprising, the terms was generally used to refer to the rebels in general.
Tactics and organisation
Constantine Feuerbrand and Varnava Kain perfected the common tactic of using an armoured core of men-at-arms together with shock and ranged infantry - overall, an "early modern" form of combined arms warfare. During the later part of the rebellion, Feuerbrand's generals moved to relying on highly mobile regiments of crossbowmen, capable of exhausting the enemy and retreating with minimal losses by extensive tactical maneuvring.
The Firestarters are subdivided into legions of 3 to 6 thousands soldiers, commanded by Lord Brigadier. A legion is further subdivided into 1000-1500 soldiers regiments (constables), 300-500 men cohorts (majors), 100 men bands (captains) and 10 men brotherhoods (sargeants). On the other hand, several legions can form a royal legion (usually assigned to a geographical area/section of the theatre), commanded by Lord Generals. Firestarters as a whole are commanded by a Lord Marshal. Queen Alicia officially holds the rank of High Lady Marshal and is the supreme commander of the Kingdom's armed forces.
This organised structure differentiates the firestarters from the archaic companies of nobles' troops, who are generally commanded by the noble and its lieutenants, subject to the overall command of the highest-ranked noble on the field.
While there are much more men among the Firestarters than women, unlike the levied armies of Borean nobles, they are fairly egalitarian and allow (and encourage) women to enlist with them. Around 1/5 of the Firestarters' troops (and 1/10 of their "men"-at-arms) are women.
Men-at-arms (cavalry): lances/winged spears, heavy axes/maces for melee, half-plate w/ crimson cloak (worn in battle) and brigandine underneath, leather boots w/ knee-guard, closed sallet helmets.
Shock/raid (cavalry): pistols, estocs (for armoured engagements)/sabres, brigandines w/ plate handguard, crimson cloak (worn in battle), leather boots, barbute helmets/cavalier hats for further intimidation.
Crossbow infantry (main fighting force): heavy crossbows, handaxes and small wooden shields, brigandines/coat of plates, leather boots, crimson cloak (ceremonial and out-of-combat - except officers), barbute helmets.
Shock infantry: halberds/pikes, shortswords/handaxes, brigandines or buff coats for junior regiments, boots, leather helmets/barbutes for richer legions.
During the Feuerbrand uprising, the Firestarters, commanded by Constantine Feuerbrand and led in the field by his close friend Varnava Kain, former landgrave of Blaustadt and Viceroy of Entfernt, achieved a number of stunning victories over the loyalist forces, most notable of which were:
- the breaking of Siege of Blaustadt,
- Revenge at Wolf's Run,
- complete rout of Grand Duke Himmelheim's (of Weideland) mercenary forces at Port Eminent - probably the turning point of the conflict
- Siege of Volgen and the accompanying assault on Port Erfolg, that enabled its usage as a base for the Crimson Fleet's advance, culminating in the sea battle of Ambersee Bay.
However, the Sack of Weideland, in response to their generals' appaling treatment of shock massacre of captured Firestarters', remains a dark stain on their otherwise glorious history.