RWA Volunteer Unit.

16th Republican Combined Arms Brigade.

Ah....The Grand Republic, Bastion of Freedom and the throwing off the yokes of tyrrany of a oppressing government.... No we are not talking about the former United States, but the newly formed "Republic of Australia", many outsiders adding "Western" to the beginning.

After the primarily industrialized Eastern section of Australia began imposing heavy taxes upon urban agricultural areas, which affected the less developed west many times over than the east, tensions began rising.

In 1935, with the East's protector, Great Britain, became involved in India, the Western Republicans launched their attack, striking crippling blows to the Eastern Commonwealth, before Commonwealth forces halted the breakthrough, and ever since has been holding the lines.

(A little-known fact, is that although Britain is officially un-involved, the Commonwealth (Which supports the British crown) has recieved much covert aid in the form of weapons, aircraft and supplies from Great Britain, as opposed to the more rural Republicans, who favor shredding ties with Britain in favor of building ties with nations such as Texas, Arixo and other Republic based nations)

Since then the Australian war has bogged down, and in it's place, units like the 16th Republican Brigade have soldiered on.

Currently the military units of the Republic are split.  Half being regular Army and Air units, the other half being free-formed regiments like the 16th.  They recieve supplies from the Revolutionary government, but those are far in between, with many in the 16th, pooling their own resources to purchase ammunition and supplies.

The 16th Republican Brigade was formed in 1934 two months before the rebels began their counter-offensive. Amazingly enough it was formed by a native East Australian, a very wealthy industrialist, named Robert Cowlings.  The fact that he virtually disbanded his fortune and threw his lot with the rebels, surprised the West, who welcomed him, and shocked the East, who were quick to declare him a traitor and offer a $5000 bounty upon him.

He formed the unit from volunteer ranchers and farmers from the northwestern provinces, armed the ground troops with what weapons were available, and purchased 4 Hughes Devastators for their air cover.

Since those humble beginnings of 200 ground troops and four aircraft, the 16th Brigade has grown to become one of the best organized volunteer units in the Australian conflict.

The organization has grown from a primarily ground unit with air cover, to a full blown combined arms brigade (Thus the name), with the unit actions along the front, most of the units are not divided by combat status, but by combined air and ground counts, making many units provide their own air/ground support.

It still consists solely of volunteers (Of varying enlistments, ranging from 6 months to 2 years), right down to the pilots, with the exception of a few long-term officers.  

The ground portion of the unit consists of roughly 2600 soldiers, organized into four 600 men battalions.   That of course is only the Australian men.   Interestingly enough, Robert Cowlings unit became the place that many foriegn volunteer units came to call home. 

The 250 man Transvaal Volunteers consist of Dutch Boers, of which many still harbor a grudge against Britain (And thus the Commonwealth of Australia, which they view as a mere Crown puppet), and were quick to volunteer in another conflict with that nation.

Also included is the 400 man, Indian Revolutionary Battalion, consisting of independance movement Indians, who believe that defeating Britain's ally here, will garner them allies for their own fight in India.

The armor unit consists of a mixed bag collection of 38 tanks, including the British Vickers 6-Ton, British Cruiser MK. I, 12 ton tanks, both armed with light cannon, German Panzer I and Panzer II light tanks, with a handful of Panzer III tanks and a pair of Russian T-35 Heavy Tanks, which have been as of late, mass-marketed as export arms by the USSR.  The German Panzers are in the minority however, and how they even reached the Republican forces is a puzzle.  

(Editors Note: Maybe more credence has to be given to Mister Khan of Khan Enterprises, there may be some truth that it was his company that hi-jacked a German cargo zeppelin some months ago in the Mediterranean. He has denied it was his company, but with the appearance of German military hardware in Rebel hands, and with his constant dealings with them....Isn't the answer obvious?)
It's anti-aircraft forces range are a bit more varied, with aging Great War era flak cannons, to newer 8.8CM German flak batteries. They even have pressed some of their 105MM ground artillary into AAA duty, using somewhat faulty flak ammunition.  This is due to the fact of being unprepared for that area, expecting to make do with heavy machine gun mounts and the like.  They even have pressed into service some of their newest artillary pieces, German Panzerwerfer rocket launchers. Intended for ground bombardment, they now were fitted with long-range fuses and being used to target high-flying bombers and to disrupt dive bombers before coming into range.

The 16th's air unit consists of 2 fighter squadrons and 2 ground attack/bomber squadrons along with a 5th transport/bomber squadron.   The fighters are a mix, many coming straight from North America or Europe (Thanks to Kahn Corporations no-ask no-tell policy, which he has exploited rapidly throughout the Australian continent), ranging from Devastators, Furies and Hornets, to Warhawks and Beheamoths. There is even a single Kestral heavy fighter, which currently leads the 2nd Support Squadron.

The 16th defends a broad stretch of Australian desert just north of Alice Springs.  Their territory expands and retracts as other Revolutionary forces are available, at one time the 16th was responsible for territory all the way to the coast north of Alice Springs, a distance of roughly 500 miles, although this was with mercenary reinforcements.

An important cog in the Australian Civil War, the 16th Combined Arms Brigade is sure to continue making a name for itself, and to continue it's fight for freedom.

Notable Units.    Although the 16th Republicans are a combined unit, within it are certain elite, or seperate contingents who deserve differant attention.

Transvaal Volunteers Commando.(TV)
A volunteer group from the former Dutch regions of South Africa.     Although no open trouble has been brewing for 20 years, many Afrikaners still retain a deep dislike for the British, for some Bittereinders (Bitter Enders, soldiers who refused to surrender to the British) the dislike intensified into hatred, many returning to homes and farms completely ruined, their belongings torched and their farmland salted to prevent growth.

With the Australian Civil War a conveniant new front, Bittereinders called upon the masses of Afrikaner men for action against the empire.   In a period of global turmoil, and newfound British expansion in the area, many joined.

Travelling to Australia, they joined on with the 16th Republicans, taking the name of Transvaal Volunteers, at the time a force of only 250 men.   However in a period of several months, the numbers rose to nearly 450 men, not counting officers.   More applied, but were re-directed to other newly forming units.

Currently the Volunteers number 400 men, and are the primary mobile force of the 16th.  Most of the 16th are infantry (Or horse-mounted infantry, fighting on foot, with horses used only for transportation).  However most of the TV is mobile.  The infantry travel light, carrying only a rifle, handgun, ammunition, and moderate food rations, leaving behind much of the standard fare of infantry, enabling a far greater degree of mobility.  

The Volunteers have a number of vehicles and aircraft assigned solely to that unit for it's rapid deployment.  4 Wallaby Autogyros, 16 of the new Willy's Jeep's, several dozen six-wheel drives, and an assortment of other mobile vehicles.  The rest include horse soldiers, and a pair of directly attached Panzer I's and a Panzer II for infantry support.

Irish Independance Commando (Double I's)

For much the same reasons as the Transvaal Volunteers, the Double I Commando, consists fully of Irish Republicans, intent on crushing British influence in Australia, hoping that the effect will wear off on their homeland.

Currently it consists of 350 men.

Although not as mobile as their Afrikaner counterparts, the Irish Commando specializes in hit and run attacks.  Whereas the TV specializes in extended mobile operations, the IIC makes lightning attacks against enemy positions, causing maximum damage and then retreating.

The unit primarily relies on using tanks, and several garage-hashed variants of tracked personal carriers, in addition to normal vehicles for movement.  

Indian Revolutionary Battalion.(IRB)
A volunteer unit from India, they joined the Australian conflict for much the same reasons as the Irish and Afrikaner Commando's.

When the Australian conflict broke out, Britain had a large number of it's Australian forces quelling a Indian uprising, which they used overpowering force in crushing, causing high casulties and enraged feelings in some of the Indian populace.

Although Britain granted a large number of concessions to the Indian people, pleasing many, there is a firm percentage of the population wanting true independance. And the IRB is the military force of that population.   With the Australian conflict being a battle of crown VS anti-crown feelings, the IRB leaders decided that Australia would set an example, meaning that the Western Republic had to win.  

The IRB was formed, and the entire 400 man unit was dispatched to Australia.   Although they had been trained in India prior to their dispatchment (Under great secrecy of course), the opposite nature of the Australian outback, has limited their training in guerrilla warfare, expecially with the set-line type of warfare.   Currently they are serving as standard infantry, although a number of their soldiers are training in tanks and aircraft.

Somewhat surpisingly for the relatively conservative mindset of the Indian religions, the IRB has a number of women serving in the ranks, the pro-independance movement more leniant in that aspect.     Although not a large number, some do serve as foot soldiers, while most are undergoing training as artillery operators, drivers or in the case of two, pilots. 

Unit Rules: All members donate 25% of their pay back to the main headquarters.  This is to pay for fuel, ammunition and spare parts.

Notable  Pilots.

Robert Cowlings.
Stats: 4-5-4-6-5-6

History: Founder of the 16th Brigade, he surprised many by abandong his own wealth, taking as much as possible with him, to join those that his many friends and colleagues were turning against.   His actions have been justified over almost 3 years of fighting on the Republican side. One of his motives may be that when/if the Western Republic is fully recognized, he will regain his status three times over within the new government. If he does it will be well-earned.  Although not a exemplary pilot, he is still a capable one, and a danger to any opposing aircraft.

Aircraft: He is not attached to any aircraft in particular, although he does seem partial to the Hughes Devastator.

Weapons:  A devout proponent of always being prepared, Cowlings rarely goes anywhere without his .38 Webley revolver.

"Jolly" Mel Hunt.

History: A wiry, thin, small pilot, he hails from Newman, where his family had been in the ranching business for three generations. Upon the Revolution launching, he joined the 16th, becoming a natural pilot.    He is somewhat quick on the guns and inaccurate as a result, but his exemplary flying skills make up for that.   He is official commander of the air wing of the 16th. 

Although he does take the mandated R&R allocated to Brigade members, often he remains on the base, tinkering on his personal Grumman Avenger.   He is a dedicated pilot, seasoned from years spent in the outdoors.  He has also vowed to continue re-enlisting until the Commonwealth recognizes the Republic of Western Australia and ceases hostilities against it.

Aircraft: He flies a modified Grumman Avenger. It replaces the 6X.30 arrangement with 2X.50 in the 1 and 2 gun positions. He also added 10 points of armor each to the nose, both leading wings and the tail.

Weapons:  A former Australian Rancher, Mel is quite familiar with firearms.   He is a deadly shot with his .38 super, Colt 1911 handgun.   Whenever more trouble is anticipated however, he carries a Lee-Enfield .303 carbine.

Navi Kohlar.

History:  A member of the Indian Revolutionary Battalion, Navi is one of the two women training as pilots.   In a extremely short time for a novice pilot, she has taken to flying like a bird.   Amazingly, in a matter of only a months training she is already assigned to a combat squadron and flying wing to the flight leader.   

Her reaction times are still behind that of seasoned pilot, but her gunnery skills are exemplary when used in ground attack.   She is extremely short, barely even five feet tall, however it allows her to fit into small cockpits.

Although some in the IRB have criticized her for the high-profile mission, for the most part her success is being proudly displayed as a symbol of the IRB.

Aircraft: Navi is assigned wing 3 position in the 16th's ground attack squadron.  She flies a modified Bell King Cobra. 2 Hardpoints added, and the armor doubled (Up to 180 pounds installed on the nose to protect the engine).  This cost being to remove the .50's and replace them with .40's.

Weapons:  Her gunnery in the air hangs over onto the ground.  However being a small person, she usually only carries a Khan 37 in .380 automatic (Produced by Khan Industries).

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