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Solarian League Gendarmerie

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Solarian League Gendarmerie
Post by Sigs   » Mon Jul 31, 2017 9:40 pm

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Basically I have been re-reading the series and in the last few books the League Gendarmerie is presented as a group of thugs who are barely considered anything other than a bunch of thugs even by many in the League.

MY question is this, am I misunderstanding the series or are the sector governors sending a Gendarmerie Battalion or two as reinforcements to the systems that are revolting against Frontier Security or their own corrupt governments. In most cases the systems in question would have tens of thousands of soldiers and police officers backing the system government. What good would a battalion or two of Gendarmerie do if the tens of thousands of soldiers and police could not do much?

If we were talking about Special Forces or elite infantry or something along those lines then maybe they would be influential but we are talking about thugs and only a few thugs to begin with. So when in the books the various governments were talking about how once the Gendarmerie Battalion(s) arrived they would save the situation. If the Army and Police could not save the situation what would a handful of Gendarmeries do?
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Re: Solarian League Gendarmerie
Post by Daryl   » Mon Jul 31, 2017 11:10 pm

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Thuggery and competence aren't necessarily incompatable. Hitler's SS had a good reputation as soldiers and a bad reputation as human beings. If the bad guys were always hopeless life would be easier.
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Re: Solarian League Gendarmerie
Post by Weird Harold   » Mon Jul 31, 2017 11:35 pm

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Sigs wrote:If we were talking about Special Forces or elite infantry or something along those lines then maybe they would be influential but we are talking about thugs and only a few thugs to begin with.


The Gendarmerie is better equipped than most verge police/armies. They're also often backed up by FF ships with Orbital Bombardment capability.

Sigs wrote:So when in the books the various governments were talking about how once the Gendarmerie Battalion(s) arrived they would save the situation. If the Army and Police could not save the situation what would a handful of Gendarmeries do?


The Gendarmes are also living off the reputation of the Solarian League as being invincible. Combine Ruthless Thuggery, KEW strikes on rebel strongholds and a reputation for Invincibility, and you multiply the effectiveness of a Gendarmerie Battalion by an order of magnitude or two.
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Answers! I got lots of answers!

(Now if I could just find the right questions.)
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Re: Solarian League Gendarmerie
Post by Fireflair   » Mon Jul 31, 2017 11:39 pm

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I think there are a couple of passages, not that I can research them at just this moment, where previous Gendarmerie people discuss or think of their background. My feel was that they are a mixed bag. Some good, some bad, but just soldiers.

The way they're viewed comes from the uses they've been put to. Sector governors seem to frequently use them to prop up their corporate masters in the verge and shell.

For some people joining the Gendarmerie is the only way off their home planet or to get anywhere in life. In many places there's not a lot of national/planetary identity to be loyal to.

As for how much good they can do, my impression is that what makes them more effective than the existing military or police on whatever planet they're being sent to suppress/support is that they have better material support. Weapons, armor, etc. Space based support and KE strikes. Not to mention a good history and plenty of experience as oppressors of the down-trodden!
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Re: Solarian League Gendarmerie
Post by Jonathan_S   » Mon Jul 31, 2017 11:51 pm

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Weird Harold wrote:
The Gendarmes are also living off the reputation of the Solarian League as being invincible. Combine Ruthless Thuggery, KEW strikes on rebel strongholds and a reputation for Invincibility, and you multiply the effectiveness of a Gendarmerie Battalion by an order of magnitude or two.

And at some point if winning a revolt looks truly impossible a kind of Stockholm Syndrome can kick in, where the more the goons wreck the place going after the resistance the more the general population hates the resistance for "provoking" them.

That can cut the legs right out from under a home grown resistance movement. (Even ignoring that superior tech and firepower, with just a little luck, can produce real wins against home grown resistance movements.



If the agitators were perceived as having a chance those kinds of tactics would hurt the Gendarmerie and those in power; provoking a wider uprising. But with that impression of invincibility you mentioned...
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Re: Solarian League Gendarmerie
Post by John Prigent   » Tue Aug 01, 2017 8:34 am

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Very true, but would you all please remember that this only applies to long-service SS volunteers. Plenty of conscripts were sent to the SS without necessarily being thugs or even Nazi Party members.

Cheers, John

Daryl wrote:Thuggery and competence aren't necessarily incompatable. Hitler's SS had a good reputation as soldiers and a bad reputation as human beings. If the bad guys were always hopeless life would be easier.
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Re: Solarian League Gendarmerie
Post by Theemile   » Tue Aug 01, 2017 4:31 pm

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Jonathan_S wrote:
Weird Harold wrote:
The Gendarmes are also living off the reputation of the Solarian League as being invincible. Combine Ruthless Thuggery, KEW strikes on rebel strongholds and a reputation for Invincibility, and you multiply the effectiveness of a Gendarmerie Battalion by an order of magnitude or two.

And at some point if winning a revolt looks truly impossible a kind of Stockholm Syndrome can kick in, where the more the goons wreck the place going after the resistance the more the general population hates the resistance for "provoking" them.

That can cut the legs right out from under a home grown resistance movement. (Even ignoring that superior tech and firepower, with just a little luck, can produce real wins against home grown resistance movements.



If the agitators were perceived as having a chance those kinds of tactics would hurt the Gendarmerie and those in power; provoking a wider uprising. But with that impression of invincibility you mentioned...


In addition to the above, the Gendarmerie also has several more, subtle, but important advantages over local troops.

First, the Psychological: they are the Gendarmarie, The SL, neckbreakers. What you see before you is the faceless enforcement mob of the SL. Sure, maybe you can defeat them - but that will only cause more to be summoned, in greater numbers. just knowing that you face an unending enemy is has a major demoralizing value.

Second, they are Fresh troops: the local cops couldn't hold the rebels back, the secret police couldn't stop them, and the military was bloodied to a stalemate. At this point in a conflict, both side's major forces are a fraction of what they once were. Sure, the civilians may have risen up to back the rebels, and some military units may have joined them, but all sides are tired, and shadows of the military force they once were - armories have been emptied or destroyed, communications disrupted on a grand scale.

Now comes the Gendarmes to the call; everyone of them rested, with high tech, working communications, intact formations, and ships full of ammo, equipment and supplies. Units which could have taken them on, no longer have a chance.

Third, they are not from here: they are not fighting their brothers or worried if their sister is in that building. They do not care if that is the national cathedral or who that statue is of. Nothing they see is sacred to them - everything is a target, unless command says so. They have seen this before and will again on a dozen planets. Soon they will leave both this planet and the consequences of their actions behind. Nothing will stop them. Eggs will be broken to make this omelet - all of them.

They might be small advantages, but they are real to those they oppress.
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Re: Solarian League Gendarmerie
Post by Sigs   » Wed Aug 02, 2017 1:09 pm

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The equipment might be better than the Armies and Police forces in the verge but ultimately how much difference could it be? We are not talking about guys armed with muskets and elite modern mechanized infantry. To me the Gendarmerie has been demonstrated on several occasions to be pure thugs who could not face up to regular military opposition. Throw in the small number of Gendarmeries compared to the total area of responsibility in protectorates and the verge.
The Frontier Fleet is the ultimate weapon of control but everyone seems to focus on the Gendarmerie as the cavalry and even when FF shows up there has to be a limit to how many people even they would be willing to kill to crack any particular nut.
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Re: Solarian League Gendarmerie
Post by Jonathan_S   » Wed Aug 02, 2017 3:32 pm

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Sigs wrote:The equipment might be better than the Armies and Police forces in the verge but ultimately how much difference could it be? We are not talking about guys armed with muskets and elite modern mechanized infantry. To me the Gendarmerie has been demonstrated on several occasions to be pure thugs who could not face up to regular military opposition. Throw in the small number of Gendarmeries compared to the total area of responsibility in protectorates and the verge.
The Frontier Fleet is the ultimate weapon of control but everyone seems to focus on the Gendarmerie as the cavalry and even when FF shows up there has to be a limit to how many people even they would be willing to kill to crack any particular nut.

Probably plasma cannon and pulsers and tribarrels rather than slug throwers (or maybe basic pulsers). The Gendarmerie seem to have power armor which is probably pretty rare in Verge militaries (much less police).

They've probably got pretty good hacking tools and remote sensing drones (not the mention the sensors on their power armor)

Combine that with the sensors and observation satellites and supporting FF warship could deploy, ability to call for orbital bombardment and (I assume) fire support and assault drops from the FF pinaces, and that's plenty more power and observation ability than most Verge systems would have for their militaries.

That doesn't mean they can use those advantages optimally, or that a good military couldn't stand up to them (if the orbital bombardment wasn't a factor) but it's enough to stomp hard on a whole lot of systems.
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Re: Solarian League Gendarmerie
Post by kenl511   » Wed Aug 02, 2017 8:00 pm

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SL Gendarmerie Song!

Butchers, Thugs and Thieves,
The people of the Verge, they call us these.


Semi serious comment:
When being brutal is part of the job, the worker becomes brutalized. Peep State Security Guards became quite brutalized even to the point of becoming little more than moral zombies.

After WWI in many of the conflicts that broke out the various veterans led the way into greater brutality. This even when other soldiers decry the brutality.

Japan's Kwangtung Army substituted brutality for discipline, HQ in Tokyo frequently was highly critical of the excesses of that Army, to no avail until near the end.
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