1736-1741 The Airmobile Corps Takes Shape
The 111th Engineering Battalion was reduced from a regular line to a militia formation, with the bulk of its enlisted and officers to consist of conscript and part-time soldiers. It was the kind of posting that normally spells the end of a military career for a young officer.
But Alykinder maintained close ties with many of the officers from the days of the POW camp, and was eager to see the ideas laid out in “Principles” set into practice. Furthermore he could now rely on his family name to help coordinate the airship support his new tactics and strategies would rely on. It was fortunate for him that Syrnol Chot was the commander of militia in the district, and gave him wide latitude and a brevet promotion.
Within a year, Alykinder had three small airships and a battalion of soldiers trained in parachute insertion. Within eighteen months, he had nine ships, a full Catrawd of airship marines, and two of the berths at Sune Industries were occupied by a pair of monstrous military transports. Christened “Long Walker”, these were lengthened versions of Sune’s most successful freighter design. A core of eager airship designers, crew, and military officers were busy experimenting with tactics.
Early Airmobile trooper. Here depicted in rain gear, with a Dost SMG and carrying a rack of mortar rounds.
At the same time, Alykinder had encouraged merchant clans on either side of the Tok/Barro border to work out informal and lucrative trade agreements. Some degree of trade had always existed between the countries except when war was waging, so the merchant and industrial clans were quick to take advantage of Alykinder’s inducements.
Between Alykinder’s guidance to militia forces in forming the Airmoble Corps, and his work in the Northern provinces, he began to develop a feel for developing political coalitions. By 1740, Northern Tok and Southern Barro cities had formed a loose political alliance. Trading airships went freely between the city-states on both sides, protected by militia forces trained in Alykinder’s principles of airmobile warfare. It was not exactly a rebellion, but rather a strong streak of independence on the part of these city-states. But moving between and among them was Alykinder, and the people of the mountains strongly respected him.
Next: The Miracle of Skar