Sunday, 11 April 2010

Balkrunia - Gateway to the East: Part 3

Of the provinces that make up the so called 'Eternal Empire'; Balkrunia is by far the largest and as a result controls a substantial part of the Duma - the collective assembly that dictates overall policy in the region. There are three other significantly sized provinces - Serotia, Grebania and Albenegro - and a host of smaller principalities; each of which are usually under the nominal suzerainty of one of the four major factions. The Duma has representatives from each province and the military obligation of a province is in direct proportion to the number of representatives sitting on the high council.

The Balkrunian General Staff also contains members from each province to ensure that provincial interests are represented when planning military operations. This can be a disadvantage as decisions tend to be arrived at only after much debate (often quite heated and some staff conferences have been known to come to blows) which means that numerous military operations have been compromised simply by the apparent lack of action by the forces in question. This trait is usually absent when Balkrunia is under attack as the natural tendency of the region's inhabitants to unite against a common threat usually holds sway. Only during the usually ill-fated attempts to expand into the territory of the Karagozian Sultans does this internal squabbling appear to the detriment of military operations.

The Balkrunian Navy is largely free from the command difficulties that beset the army simply because it is a purely Balkrunian force. The only coastline the empire possesses belongs to Balkrunia herself and her navy, whilst small, is very efficient in its role of coast defence and support for the army. It has in recent years taken on a much more aggressive stance and the acquisition of a number of new and powerful vessels has been seen by many observers as a direct challenge to the traditional naval superiority of the Karagozian Empire.

The Balkrunian Air Force is a rather grandiose title for a formation that as yet does not even formally exist. A number of reconaissance machines are operated at corps level by the army and the navy has made use of floatplanes and dirigibles for similar purposes. The Duma recently sanctioned the acquisition of a number of single seat fighter planes to be used as required, again at corps level, primarily as escort and protection for the reconnaisance flights. Following the advice of the noted aerial theorist Lord Brabazon-Short of Eastchurch, the aircraft of choice was to be the Bristol Fighter and so a modest order has been placed to acquire a squadron of 12 machines with 2 spares.

Balkrunia is at the present time very active in the secondhand war material market and her staunch neutrality during the recent Great War has ensured that her economy has avoided the worst effects of the global financial trauma. With many nations attempting to reduce defence expenditure as quickly as possible since hostilities were ended, the expectation is that much war material will be available at a greatly reduced price. This is the hope of the cash rich but extremely frugal Duma!

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