British Army: 2300AD
'Kaphar hunnu bhanda marnu ramro'
The Brigade of Gurkhas
The Gurkhas are feared and renowned soldiers who have served as mercenaries for the British and others for nearly 500 years. Their loyalty, ferocious bravery and soldiering skills have gone unchallenged for most of that time, but their continued existence has often been threatened by political machinations in Britain and their native Nepal. However with the Kafer War still raging they play an important part of the British and Commonwealth response to the Invasion. Their ancestors once fought bitter battles against Germans, Japanese and Russians, now their modern counterparts fight to the death against the alien Kafers. Today some 12 000 Gurkhas from both Nepal and colonies where Gurkhas have settled serve with the British Army. Thousands more serve as mercenaries in other armies in the Indian sub-continent and beyond.
Lt Colonel Rai waited quietly whilst the Japanese officers ran through their briefing, his face impassive. Nothing betrayed his impatience with the supercilious Imperial officer, even when he smiled unctuously at the Gurkha as he detailed the role his battalion was to play. Like most Gurkhas he was fluent in several languages and had enough Nihongo to pick up the patronising nuance that was being directed toward himself, the Elysian brigadier and the American paratroop colonel. Across from Rai a Japanese Colonial Defence Force officer looked nervous, alert to the offence his superior was causing.
Rai left the command post and was caught up by the colonial officer, who like the Gurkha, had been born on Tirane. 'That man is an idiot,' he mused. 'I have the finest light battalion for 10 light years and that popinjay has no idea of how to use it.' Rai fumed, regretting that the rest of his brigade was now operating in the German colony thousands of miles away. His eyes went flint hard, 'there was a time when Gurkhas liked nothing better than butchering Japanese. I think I understand why now.' The towering officer smiled widely at the now nervous Japanese officer, 'come now, lets see how we can make the best of these… unfortunate… orders.'
The men of B Company were already digging fast in the earth loosened by digging charges as the second wave of tiltwings brought the balance of the battalion in. Behind them below the low, densely forested hills stood the vaulting arch of the bridge which led across the Yakushima River into the agricultural heartland of the colony. The Kafers had been thrown back from the bay of Uwa-wan by a combination of ground and orbital firepower and were falling back to re-group. The bridge behind them was the main axis for the Kafers APCs which would have difficulty swimming the fast running Yakushima.
The Gurkhas of 5 RGR would be the anvil on which the Kafers would be destroyed with the escape route over the bridge as the bait. Small arms fire was already heavy around the perimeter as the first Kafer stragglers began to probe the covering screen. Already a bitter struggle was in the woods as close quarter firefights erupted in the tight confines of the trees. Gurkhas and Kafers alike were overwhelmed by bullets, coherent light and steel.
Lt-Col Rai and his Tac HQ came in with the second wave. The tactical situation was already desperate and the incoming companies would have to fight hard just to establish the defensive position as they came in piecemeal. The Japanese plan was daring but misguided, Rai had complained but had no option but to acquiesce to the plan. To refuse, the Japanese staff had intimated, would have smacked of cowardice and stung, Rai declined to use his national veto.
As Rai ran from the JCDF tiltwing in the depths of the wood a young Gurkha finally slumped to the ground, blood bubbling in his lungs. Around him lay the bodies of his comrades and the aliens. The last decapitated with his kukri as it fumbled to change a magazine. The soldier stared at the ruin of his shattered arm as blood ran out in streams and inside a minute was dead.
The British and the Gurkhas first came into contact when the Nepalese kingdom of Amarsing Thapa began to encroach on northern India territory under the protection of the East India Company at the start of the 19th Century. The resulting war from 1814 to 1816 taught both sides an important lesson about each others skills in battle and a mutual respect grew up rapidly. Even before the end of the Anglo-Nepali fighting British officers impressed by the cheerful robustness of their enemy, were planning to recruit battalions of them. In April 1916 Lieutenant Young, a British officer who had been captured by the Gurkhas during the fighting, received permission to raise a battalion. This he did a Dehra Dun where the 'Sirmoor Battalion' (much later 1 RGR) was created, it was the start of a long and glorious fighting tradition.
During the 19th Century the stocky Gurkhas (at the time known as Goorkhas) slowly became one of the recognised elite forces of the British Indian Army. They fought in almost all of the conflicts and especially on the North West Frontier against the constantly rebellious and warlike Pathans and other tribes of the area, but also in Afghanistan and Burma.
However their greatest fame came as a result of their steadfast loyalty during the Indian Sepoy Mutiny in the middle of the century. Although restricted to one of the three East India Company armies the Mutiny was a severe threat to British domination of the sub-continent. Seriously outnumbered by their enemies the European EIC regiments and the British Army units alongside them were bolstered by the presence of the Gurkhas. Their performance in battle and resitance to attempts to bring them over to the Mutineers reinforced the respect they were held in by their British counterparts. The teamwork of Gurkha units alongside the 60th Rifles led to the adoption of Rifle regiment traditions by the Gurkhas.
The 'Dark Century' was naturally a time when the Gurkhas really came of age. In three World Wars and the Retreat from Empire the Gurkhas were especially valuable. In World War 1 the King of Nepal opened up his land to recruiters and the Gurkha regiments expanded quickly, with more than 200 000 soldiers volunteering to serve with the British. Gurkha units served on the Western Front as well as in the Middle East against Turkey, notably at Gallipoli. On the western front, practical problems emerged as British dug trenches were too large for the diminutive Gurkhas and their tall European officers proved easy prey for snipers. In France Rifleman Kulbir Thapa of the 2/3 Gurkhas won the first of many Gurkha VCs in 1915.
During the Second World War the Gurkhas were again hugely expanded. They fought first in North Africa and Iraq before playing a key role in the campaign against Japan in the Far East with two entire battalions captured at Singapore and four more heavily engaged in the retreat from Burma. The titanic struggle against the Japanese was largely led by officers from Gurkha regiments and in most front-line Indian Divisions 1/3rd of the infantry battalions were Gurkhas. Other Gurkha units served in the famous, if controversial, Chindit expeditions and some were converted to paratroopers. The bravery of the Gurkhas in Burma was reflected in both in their reputation in the eyes of the Japanese and the award of nine VCs. Lastly the Gurkhas of the 8th Army went on to serve in Italy and fought at Monte Cassino and other places. Over 250 000 Nepalese soldiers served in some 42 battalions loosing over 7500 killed and many more injured.
The end of the war saw the Independence of India and the end of the British Raj. The fate of the Gurkhas was uncertain and eventually settled with six regiments staying with the new Indian Army and four regiments becoming an integral part of the British Army. The history of the Indian units is beyond the scope of this article but is briefly mentioned in the section on the Independent Gorkha Rifles. The Brigade of Gurkhas in British service were stationed in the Far East with their training depot at Hong Kong. They served with distinction in the long running Malayan Emergency and in Borneo during the Confrontation with Indonesia winning another VC. Gurkhas also served in the UK and Belize and the 1/7th Gurkha Rifles took part in the Falklands War.
The loyalty and bravery of the Gurkhas inspired immense affection in the UK but the military hierarchy concerned mainly with the Cold War stand-off in Germany often questioned the future of the Gurkhas. However increasing tension in the Middle East and the Sino-Soviet War resulted in a quick expansion of the number of Gurkha battalions in the mid-90s and their future was assured.
The Gurkhas served on three major fronts in the 3rd World War. A single battalion, the 1/2nd Gurkhas fought in northern Europe with the 1st Airborne Brigade. More Gurkhas served in the Middle East in the Persian Gulf region notably during the Battle of Bandar Abbas against Soviet paratroopers. However the bulk of the Gurkhas were deployed in the 'Forgotten War' in China against the Soviets. There the relatively inexperienced battalions were deployed as part of 6th Division and earned a fine reputation in night patrolling in north-eastern China and on the Yalu. However they suffered badly in the nuclear exchanges and eventually returned to Hong Kong after the near legendary 'Long March' across the disintegrating People's Republic of China. Two more experienced battalions also served with Australian and Malaysian led forces against Indonesia. Casualties topped 2000 killed, mostly in 6 Division and 5 more VCs were won.
In the aftermath of WW3 the situation in Hong Kong required the British to provide a garrison, something that the devastated British population could not support. Instead they looked to replenish the Gurkhas that had saved the territory during the war. The situation in Nepal was bad, with its own civil and ethnic war whilst India had disintegrated into warring factions. With no little daring links were opened once again to Nepal and recruitment began again. The badly depleted battalions were consolidated to a strength of four battalions, led by a core of Twilight veterans.
The Gurkhas were once again to concentrate on their Far Eastern role maintaining the integrity of Hong Kong and increasingly in piracy suppression and stabilising the region. Gurkha units were often used in conjunction with the Royal and French Navies in suppressing piracy in the South China Sea area, several vicious conflicts with formed PLA units were undertaken in this time. Several Gurkha units served in the Saudi War rotating through the theatre as part of 16 Airborne Brigade, seeing action against their erstwhile Iranian allies.
However the main threat at the time was the Indonesian annexation of Malaysia and a Gurkha battalion (1/10 GR) under contract to the Sultan of Brunei fought with Malaysian forces in Borneo and was evacuated in good order after the armistice. Anglo-French forces were stood by to intervene during the annexation of Singapore and the Malay Peninsular, but eventually didn't. Relations with Canton were also rocky a times and Gurkhas patrolled the border constantly.
The number of Gurkhas serving with the British increased as the population of Britain continued to fall in the aftermath of the Twilight Era and insufficient numbers of volunteers were available to man the reduced regular army. Consequently reinforcement companies of Gurkhas were recruited and integrated into British battalions. This practise continued until the turn of the century and at one time no fewer than ten companies were serving with British battalions.
The start of the 2100's saw the world finally beginning to forget the horrors of the last hundred years and the French Peace in full flow. The British population had finally recovered and was climbing fast whilst British military requirements shrunk. In the Far East Hong Kong's role as a westernised, loosely British administered trading enclave for Canton had been formalised and its garrison reduced. The future for the Gurkhas was again questioned with cheaper Cantonese and Chinese mercenaries being recruited into the Hong Kong Defence Force.
The four proud Gurkha Rifle regiments were disbanded and the two battalion Royal Gurkha Rifles raised in its stead. One battalion was retained in the Far East whilst another remained in the UK to control the few remaining independent and reinforcement companies. Meanwhile Nepal was undergoing a lengthy period of political instability, resulting in the overthrow of the monarchy and the installation of a republic which took its cues from Manchuria. Some in Nepal wanted the recruitment of Gurkhas by Britain to cease but the financial repercussions would have proven damaging to the state.
However in the late 2130's it became obvious that Indonesia was becoming an increasingly expansionist state threatening the balance of power in South Asia. In response the British decided to increase their garrison in the area, creating a proper manoeuvre brigade to be based in Hong Kong. To man it the Brigade of Gurkhas was revitalised, with each existing battalion creating another to double the size to four RGR battalions. Three of these would provide the strength of the new Gurkha Brigade in Hong Kong. This force trained widely with British allies in the region swiftly becoming a well trained intervention force.
In 2150 Britain and Argentina 'faced off' over Britain's Antarctic territories and the UK based 3 RGR was part of 6 Airborne Brigade flown in to reinforce the garrison of the Falklands. The Gurkha Brigade itself was stood too for further operations but the crisis passed with an Argentine climb-down. However a few years later the Alpha Centauri War erupted but once again all out confrontation with Argentina on Earth was avoided. The aftermath of the war brought about the need to garrison British territories on the new world of Tirane and colonies yet to be opened up. To cope with this the British Army expanded the Gurkhas increased by a further three battalions - 2nd/1st, 2nd/2nd and 2nd/3rd Battalions being formed from the RGR. At this time their links to the historic Gurkha Rifles regiments was restored.
The end of the century saw banditry become an increasing problem in British territories on Tirane. To supplement regular battalions in harsh areas like the Southern Archipelago and Pendragon Mountains the colonial Territorial Defence Forces both employed Independent Gorkha Rifles units and formed their own paramilitary Gurkha battalions. The North Albion Gurkhas and the South Albion Gurkha Rifles were recruited from Nepal but lacked the comprehensive training of the regulars but proved effective in the role given them, and manned no fewer than seven battalions at their height. The commitment of Gurkhas to Tirane saw many of them settle in New Albion which retains a large Nepali descended population.
Gurkhas served in virtually all of the colonies whilst continuing to fulfil their Terran commitments. The 1st and 2nd Rio Plato Wars saw Britain revitalise her armoured and intervention forces and the Gurkhas were also reformed. The Gurkha Brigade was renamed the 1st Gurkha Brigade and changed to the new Light Brigade structure whilst the remaining battalions were formed into the new 2nd Gurkha Brigade. The aim was to retain one brigade with the HKDF and have one brigade in the Light role, either on Earth or under the auspices of the Light Division in the colonies.
Shortly after this re-organisation the RGR was re-organised with the North Albion Gurkhas, now surplus to requirements, brought into line as the 5th Battalion RGR. The creation of 5 RGR caused some dissent in the ranks of the Gurkhas as many of 5 RGR were Tirane born and regarded with some suspicion as members of 5 RGR undertook Mountain Selection on Tirane away from the intense competition of its counterpart on Earth. This was resolved somewhat with the introduction of a unified Mountain Selection on Earth.
In 2240 the RGR was again reformed with the disbandment of the South Albion Gurkha Rifles, the remnants of which became 8 RGR. 2/1 RGR was renumbered as 6 RGR and 2/2 RGR as 7 RGR whilst 2/3 RGR was disbanded and the manpower used to establish the Gurkha Recce Squadrons attached to the 1st and 2nd Brigades. This has remained the structure to the present day.
The brigades settled down to a period of steady soldiering, with the Cantonese-Indonesian War being a cause of major concern to the Hong Kong based units which were frequently called upon to suppress Indonesian backed piracy in the region. 1 RGR was one of the British battalions that operated under the French during the Central Asian War, successfully undertaking counter-insurgency operations in the mountains of the southern parts of the country. Other Gurkha battalions would follow as part of Australian led peacekeeping efforts.
The 2nd Gurkha Brigade returned to earth from Beta Canum in 2297 after 4 RGR had served a tour with the international Treaty of Darwin peacekeepers on Vogelheim. They returned to Hong Kong freeing up 1st Brigade for Light Brigade duties on Earth, where it was intended they remain in role for four years before rotating to the French Arm for a tour of duty. However the Kafer War intervened.
The Invasion on 2301 caused the British to rapidly re-organise their French Arm defences. The main move was to bring the powerful 79th Armoured Brigade to Beta Canum from Joi, however to do so would strip the colony of New Cornwall of all its defences. Consequently the 1st Gurkha Brigade (1,3 & 5 RGR) was rushed up-Arm from Earth in an array of cruise liners before being shuttled to Joi by the 1st Assault Flotilla. There the brigade took over defence duties and began training for war, the brigade commander didn't dream his troops would have to defend Joi but believed they would be used for counter-attacks against the Kafers on other worlds.
However this did not come to pass and the brigade remained on Joi as successive human worlds fell to the aliens. They were stood-to for a possible move to reinforce both BCV and Crater but the danger to Joi was increasing by the day. Finally on the 15th of March 2302 strong Kafer ground assault forces landed on Joi with the main effort directed at Tosashimizu and Halbinsel. New Cornwall was hit by some orbital bombardment targeted at key installations as well as several small commando-style diversionary raids soon mopped up by Gurkha quick reaction forces. The human counter-attack and the defeat of the Kafer fleet on the 20th of March freed up the forces of Britain, Azania, Elysia and landing forces of the fleet to come to the aid of the hard pressed Germans and Japanese.
The Japanese were hardest pressed and were reinforced first by the Anglophone Joint Vogelheim Brigade and soon after by the 1st Gurkha Brigade, with elements of the Elysian Army coming up somewhat haphazardly. These forces went into reserve while Japanese regulars and militia launched an offensive against the faltering Kafer forces threatening the capital. Two days of bitter fighting pushed the aliens back and the reserve was committed in a night assault on the remnants the battle of the 'Pocket' managed to contain and destroy the bulk of Kafer combat forces. The brigade then took part in three further operations before moving across to Halbinsel to counter a Kafer offensive, although 5 RGR remained behind for several more weeks.
Casualties in the operations on Joi were relatively heavy as the brigade was constantly committed to the schwerpunkt in operations in close, infantry friendly terrain where casualties are inevitably heavy. However none of the brigade's units ever lost cohesion and were soon reinforced after the Battle of Beowulf, swelling the brigade to larger than its normal size. It continued to operate in the north, helping to hunt down Kafer remnants and becoming highly skilled in this role. In September 2302 the brigade was transferred to BCV to replace the badly damaged 1st Light Brigade with the Light Division. The brigade has seen near constant operations in the K-Zone and is thoroughly combat hardened.
Gurkha soldiers are recruited from the Republic of Nepal by the British Ministry of Defence. A single recruitment centre at Pokhara is responsible for the screening and selection of volunteers in a process known as Mountain Selection.
The Gurkhas are not the Nepali warrior caste, in fact they are mostly farmers despite their fearsome reputation as soldiers. However the Gurkhas are outsiders within Nepali society being outside of the political and economic elite, in fact only the income they earn from soldiering gives them any political power in Kathmandu. Whilst their soldiering skills and control of the Independent Gorkha Rifles raises fears of potential coups in the minds of some politicians who do their best to see the IGR's battalions are deployed as far away from Nepal as possible.
Mountain selection is run four times a year at Pokhara and young Gurkhas from across Nepal come to try their luck, sometimes up to 40 000 volunteers in a single year. They are screened for any medical conditions and tested for suitability, those that come through the screening enter Mountain Selection proper and undergo a range of punishing physical tests. These usually involve the age old tests of running up and down hills carrying heavy loads and only the cream - less than 5% are accepted. For some failure is a disgrace, although instances of suicide are now few and far between.
The lucky few are then sent to the Brigade of Gurkhas Depot located in the New Territories of Hong Kong. The basic training program lasts for two years, bringing the young Gurkha up to speed in the use of all equipment in use with the battalions as well as giving an more advanced education than usually available in Nepal. It is normal for each intake to be divided into two large companies, one manned from recruits from the east and the other from the west of Nepal. It is a very testing course by British Army standards but the drop out rate is minimal in comparison.
Once the basic training has been completed the Rifleman is assigned to one of the battalions of the Royal Gurkha Rifles. From there they are treated as a normal British soldier and has a vast array of training courses available. The Gurkha will serve with the battalion for at least four years before any other options open up. These include transferring to non-infantry parts of the Brigade of Gurkhas, elite units or leadership training, either as commissioned or non-commissioned officers.
The standard term of service is between 15 and 20 years and most Gurkhas will complete their entire service as a Rifleman. Once this period is up the Gurkha is discharged either with a sizeable pension and returned to Nepal, or if serving on a colony world discharged in place with a land grant. With Nepal increasingly crowded this is a popular choice and most British colonies have small Gurkha communities.
Retention in the Gurkhas is extremely high, and generally either injury or being 'head-hunted' by the IGR will cause a Gurkha to buy himself out of the Brigade of Gurkhas.
There are British soldiers within the Brigade of Gurkhas, but these are exclusively officers. Today the ratio of Gurkha to British officers is in the ratio of 65:35 and many of the British officers are following a family career in the Brigade. The British officers are hand-picked from the Royal Military Academies and those outside the top 20% are not considered and their physical fitness must be superb. On leaving the RMA they attend the Infantry Commander's Course and then a six month training stint at the Depot.
Each of the RGR battalions recruits from different areas of Nepal. 1, 2, 6 and 7 RGR recruit from amongst the Magars and Gurungs of western Nepal. 3 and 4 RGR recruit from amongst the Sunwars, Rais and Limbus of eastern Nepal. 5 and 8 RGR recruit from across Nepal and from Nepali communities in Wellon and elsewhere.
The Brigade of Gurkhas is a force over 10 000 soldiers strong and acts almost as a corps in its own right. The vast majority of troops belong to the battalions and companies of the Royal Gurkha Rifles, the infantry component of the Brigade. However Gurkhas also serve in Engineer, Artillery, Signals and Logistics formations assigned to support the 1st and 2nd Gurkha Brigades.
Below: Capbadge of the RGR on the regimental stable belt colours
1st (1/2nd Sirmoor Rifles) Battalion
1 RGR is the senior-most unit of the Brigade, tracing its history back to the formation of the Sirmoor Battalion from prisoners of the Gurkha War. It was this unit that served alongside the 60th Rifles during the Mutiny and started the Rifle tradition in the Gurkhas. It also took the 60th Rifles' colour scheme of red facings on a green uniform and uses these colours in its distinctive rank insignia today.1 RGR is currently assigned to the 1st Gurkha Brigade and has seen action on Joi and is now deployed in BCV's K-Zone.
2nd (1/6th Rifles) Battalion
2 RGR traces its history to the 6th Gurkha Rifles, a unit that formed from a unit originally made up of non-Gurkhas that only became fully manned by Gurkhas in 1886. This unit served for 80 years of its early existence in the north east of India, however it earned a fine reputation during the 1st World War in the fighting at Gallipoli. It became something of a breeding ground for excellent officers providing most of the generals who ran the Burma campaign of WW2 including Field Marshall Slim. Today it is a part of the 2nd Gurkha Brigade and is stationed in Hong Kong on Earth.
3rd (7th Rifles) Battalion
3 RGR is descended from the 7th Gurkha Rifles and has had a somewhat convoluted administrative history throughout its existence. Uniquely it has served in every South Atlantic confrontation with Argentina since the 1980's. It is a part of the 1st Gurkha Brigade and is stationed in New Africa on BCV.
4th (10th Rifles) Battalion
4 RGR takes the lineage of the 10th Gurkha Rifles, originally raised as a police battalion in Burma in 1887 from ex-Indian Army soldiers, mainly Gurkhas. It was soon regularised due to its excellent performance. The battalion recruits from the eastern areas of Nepal. It is a part of the 2nd Gurkha Brigade and is stationed in Hong Kong on Earth.
5th (North Albion) Battalion
5 RGR is different from the majority of the RGR battalions having no link to the old British Indian Army. Instead it traces its history back only 110 years to units of Gurkhas raised by the North Albion Defence Force for paramilitary service in the Pendragon Mountains of Wellon. The North Albion Gurkhas replaced regular RGR and IGR units in helping suppress banditry in the region and expanded to three battalions. However once the threat had passed the units were due to be disbanded but the British Army stepped in to recruit the cream of the unit to form a regular battalion. It has been seen as something of an interloper by the other Gurkhas and continues to recruit from Nepali communities in Wellon as well as from Nepal proper. The battalion has always had to strive hard for acceptance and is noted for its stringent attitude to soldiering. Its performance in the Kafer War has finally gained it a measure of equality. It is a part of the 1st Gurkha Brigade and is stationed in New Africa.
6th (2/2nd Sirmoor Rifles) Battalion
6 RGR like 1 RGR, takes its traditions from the 2nd Gurkha Rifles. It was formed in the 2150's as the 2nd/1st Battalion, RGR but was re-designated as 6 RGR in 2240. However links between 1 and 6 RGR remain strong and they share the same uniform distinctions. Currently 6 RGR is a part of the international peacekeeping force deployed in the Central Asian Republic where it is assigned to the mountainous and tense southern sector.
7th (2/6th) Battalion
7 RGR comes from the same 6th Gurkha Rifles lineage as 2 RGR, originally being raised as 2/2 RGR. It is currently the British resident battalion on the Sovereign Base Area on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus.
8th (South Albion) Battalion
Like 5 RGR, 8 RGR has its roots in units raised for service on Tirane, this time in Southern Archipelago. The South Albion Defence Force at one time raised no fewer than 5 battalions to serve in the sprawling region in a long running counter-insurgency style campaign. When the Dominion of Wellon formed the force was down to a single battalion, which the British regularised within the RGR. 8 RGR found acceptance a little easier than did 5 RGR but still has a separate culture to the other traditional battalions. It is a part of the 2nd Gurkha Brigade and is stationed in Hong Kong on Earth.
1 Gurkha Reconnaissance Group
1 Gurkha Recce Group was originally formed from a bulk of personnel drawn from the old 2/3 RGR, it continues to take its traditions from that formation, however its personnel now come from across the RGR. It is composed of three separate elements; an armoured recce squadron, a close recce company and an independent REWS troop. In common with the other light formations these take names after their parent formations although they fulfil similar roles. These sub-units are:
These units are controlled by a Group HQ which operates hand in glove with Brigade (and Divisional) operations and intelligence staff. In total there are some 200 personnel, all experienced infantry soldiers. It is responsible for reconnaissance and screening of its brigade between 20 and 150km beyond the brigade's forward troops.
2 Gurkha Reconnaissance Group
2 Gurkha Recce Group has the same roots as its counterpart in 1 Brigade and the same role. However as 2 Gurkha Bde is relatively static elements of the Recce Gp are frequently deployed in support of UK operations elsewhere on Terra. In particular 2 Gurkha Ind Para Coy is serving with 6 RGR in the Central Asian Republic. Its constituent units are:
Training Support Companies
The RGR also supports a fluctuating number of Training Support Companies which are assigned to various British training establishments to act as enemy. Assignment to these companies is usually given to soldiers recuperating from injury and to allow them a period of stability. They are noted for their ability to imitate a number of different doctrines and tactics. No.1 and No.3 Training Support Companies are assigned to the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst and No.2 to the School of Infantry at Brecon.
In addition to the infantry of the RGR the Brigade of Gurkhas also provides the manpower for an array of combat support and service support units. These include artillery, engineers, logisticians, signallers, medical staff and electronic warfare specialists.
No Gurkha can be assigned to these duties until they have finished a 4 year stint in a rifle battalion. They are then sent off to conduct the appropriate training with the Corps they will be working with. This system of re-training rifleman has produced specialists who are much tougher than the ordinary rear area troops. In particular soldiers of 1 Gurkha Logistics Regiment fought off numerous attacks on the lines of communications by Kafers on Joi with an alacrity not usually found in logistics soldiers.
The various combat support and combat service support units differ from RGR units by including a higher proportion of non-Gurkha officers and also non-commissioned solders.
Below: Capbadges worn by A) Queen's Gurkha Engineers and B) Queen's Gurkha Signals
There are two front-line fighting formations composed almost entirely of Gurkhas, the 1st and 2nd Gurkha Brigades. These are infantry formations based on the Light Brigade 2295 Order of Battle shared by Light, Gurkha and Airborne Brigades. The brigades are essentially independent, self supporting infantry brigade groups. As a light brigade all its troops are parachute qualified and have undertaken the Gurkha or All Arms Airborne Courses. Its main units are:
Command of the brigade rests with the Brigadier and his staff, supported by the Brigade Command and Signals Squadron. In addition the brigade had its own small reconnaissance group composed of:
1st Gurkha Brigade
The 1st Gurkha Bde is currently deployed to New Africa on BCV and is under command of the Commonwealth Light Division under V Corps. The Brigade is over-strength due to a miscalculation about casualty rates during the fighting on Joi resulting in an excess of replacements being sent to the formation. The brigade remains one of the strongest on BCV and is rated as an extremely efficient unit following months of patrolling and small actions in the K-Zone in addition to QRF taskings. It has acquired a vast array of vehicles in its time in New Africa and can generate hover-mobile columns of considerable firepower as well as operating on foot or in the airmobile role.
On its formation the Brigade adopted the black cat symbol worn by the 17th Indian Division of WW2, which included many Gurkha battalions. Since the fighting in Toshasimizu on Joi the brigade has been known informally by the title of the Black Cat Brigade or Kuroneko Ryodan, and the Japanese characters have become an unofficial marking on brigade vehicles.
1 Gurkha Recce Group
2nd Gurkha Brigade
The 2nd Gurkha Bde is based in Hong Kong as part of the enclave's Defence Force. It has provided numerous reinforcement drafts for the 1st Gurkha Bde but has now been brought back up to strength with new recruits coming out of the Depot. The Bde is part of the UK's strategic reserve in the area and can find itself operating with UKJRF elements staging out of the UK or exercising with UK allies. In particular the Bde exercises frequently with Australian, New Zealand and American units and less often with Cantonese, Japanese and other forces.
The brigade also finds units for peacekeeping missions. As part of its defence role it patrols the border between Canton and the enclave for illegal immigrants and smugglers. The brigade uses a pair of crossed kukris on a red background as its symbol. It has only just been equipped with Bowman CW's.
2 Gurkha Recce Group
With the exception of 7 RGR (an Infantry Battalion General Service) the bulk of the Gurkha infantry battalions are organised on the Infantry Battalion Light scale. These are versatile front-line combat formations that can undertake a range of operations in all terrain and weather conditions. Light infantry rely on physical fitness and mastery of infiltration tactics to survive on the modern battlefield, yet they also possess the human 'touch' that can be used to great effect in operations other than war. These men are all trained as paratroopers in addition to being skilled in airmobile and amphibious techniques.
Each battalion is composed of the following:
However they also receive assets from the brigade or from other battalions depending on the task and so are normally designated as Battle Groups when deployed. The battalion Commanding Officers are normally very experienced soldiers who will probably have served on Earth and in the colonies and on secondment to a Commonwealth Army. Thus they will have understanding of a whole range of operations and co-operative assignments. Frequently on detached operations the CO will often be the senior British military official on a given world, they are dominating figures in their battalions.
The rifle companies are organised in a fairly conventional manner with each containing 3 rifle platoons and a HQ element. Support from the battalion is usually assigned to the company in the shape of Mortar Platoon forward observers, machine gunners, combat walkers, drones and possibly snipers and pioneers. The resulting Company Group is a potent formation in its own right, capable of undertaking almost any colonial troubleshooting or peacekeeping task whilst also being an effective manoeuvre sub-unit in conventional operations. Companies are led by Majors.
The rifle platoons are composed of three sections and a platoon HQ, each platoon is composed of 29 men at full strength. Platoons are led by either a Lieutenant or a Colour Sergeant if no officers are available, with a Sergeant as second in command (2 i/c). In addition a signaller (electronic/information warfare specialist) and two platoon weapons operators are part of the HQ. The platoon commander with his signaller in tow are in charge of the tactical handling of the platoon. The platoon sergeant and two weapon ops are responsible for administration, ammo resupply, casevac, handling of reserves and co-ordination of fire support. In conventional operations the platoons will always operate as a close, integral part of the company, but in other operations may be dispersed widely down to the section level.
Sections in the brigade are organised to carry a great deal of firepower whilst retaining inherent tactical flexible. Each section has eight soldiers, commanded by a Corporal and a Lance Corporal in support and divided into two four man fireteams. Each fireteam consists of a Commander, Front Gunner, Rear Gunner and Plasma Gunner. The commander is armed with a rifle, the front gunner with a short barrelled VR5 and these two usually work as a team. The rear and plasma gunners are armed with a VR5 and LPW, and are grouped in to a 'Vickers Team'. This structure gives the section immense firepower and flexibility. Although not rifle equipped one man in each section is a qualified Sharpshooter and can be taken out of the section to perform that specialist duty. The battalions of the 1st Gurkha Brigade are over-strength and sections can have a strength of up to ten soldiers.
A dedicated recce company is unique to light role battalions. It consists of three platoons, Reconnaissance Platoon, Patrols Platoon, Drone Platoon and the Sniper Section. Each of which is commanded by a captain whilst the Snipers are led by a captain or sergeant-major. The role of the recce company is to provide timely and accurate data for the CO to control the battlespace and maintain his situational awareness. They can also be tasked with screening duties, flank protection, raids and harassing tasks, in addition to being assigned to brigade tasks. The large concentration of recce assets is due to the large distances the battle group has to cover in many of its tasks. The soldiers of the recce company are usually the most experienced or promising in the battalion, many go on to serve in brigade recce units or to special forces.
Recce platoon is the most mobile using specially equipped Quads to roam far in front of the battalion. Patrol Platoon specialises in foot born recce and covert OP duties, however both of these platoons are essentially interchangeable. Drone Platoon operates a number of air and ground RPV's and also has 1 EOD drone and a specialist operator on attachment from the engineers. The Snipers have 16 men trained in the latest concealment and surveillance techniques. Whilst they are all highly skilled marksmen they are most often used to supplement the patrols platoon and will usually call in indirect fire-support than risk closing on a target for a killing shot.
Support companies contain a battalion's integral support assets. This includes the Mortar Platoon, Direct Fire Platoon, Assault Pioneer Platoon, Anti-Tank Platoon, Combat Walker Platoon and Anti-Aircraft Section. All these units are commanded by Captains, except the Pioneers and Anti-Aircraft who are commanded by Colour Sergeants. All of these units rely on Quads as their prime movers.
Mortar Platoon has nine lightweight 120mm mortars to fire indirect support of the rifle companies, it also has four three man teams of forward observers called Mortar Fire Controllers or MFC who are attached to companies to co-ordinate fire support. MFC's are also qualified to call in artillery, but few have the training to bring in strike aircraft although most would be willing to try given the opportunity.
Direct Fire Platoon is equipped with a mixture of heavy plasma weapons and large calibre machine guns, normally with 12 firing posts with 4 attached to each company. Direct Fire Platoon provides high volumes of fire to support infantry attacks and defensive tasks. Assault Pioneers are trained as combat engineers and provide immediate support to the battalion, if the task is too big for the pioneers then support is requested from the brigade's Royal Gurkha Engineers.
Anti-Tank and Anti-Aircraft units are normally deployed under the command of the CO but as part of a brigade armour and aircraft defence plan. Anti-Tank is a large platoon with some 24 Green Hunter firing posts deployed in 6 post sections. Anti-Aircraft section has six Darter missile systems. Combat Walker Platoon is a powerful asset equipped with 24 Bowman-A combat walkers, a fast, robust and effective weapon system.
HQ Company consists of all the elements required to command, train and administer the battalion. These include a Signals Platoon, Quarter Master Platoon, MT Platoon and a Regimental Aid Post.
To command the Battle Group in action the CO has his Tactical HQ, or Tac 1. This consists of the CO, his signaller/bodyguards, various support platoon commanders, attached specialists and most importantly the commander of the artillery battery in direct support of the battalion. This group allows the CO to operate just behind his forward elements and to see what is going on. Tac 1 operates from a number of Quads but often simply moves by foot.
Tac 2 is organised virtually identically to Tac 1 and is commanded by the Battalion 2 i/c, a Major. If the CO is killed, injured or out of contact then the 2 i/c can take over virtually instantly and continue fighting the battle. The remainder of the personnel man Battalion Main, commanded by the Adjutant which takes care of routine admin for the CO leaving him free to fight his battle.
QM and MT personnel combine to create A and B Echelons which are responsible for collecting supplies and ammo from brigade and getting them up to the battalion. The RAP has a number of highly trained medical orderlies who are responsible for collecting casualties and the getting them to the RAP usually using Quads. The RAP has a number of light automed units however it is brigade policy to get casualties to the Field Ambulance and on to a hospital facility as soon as possible.
Equipment for the Gurkhas is identical to that used by other British Army Light Role troops. The heaviest vehicle being the Craufurd armoured recce vehicle employed by the Brigades' Armoured Recce Companies. The most common head dress is the rifle green beret with unit specific capbadge, although bush hats are also worn.
Dress uniform for the RGR is in rifle green with the Gurkha bush hat, and unit specific collar badges and trim. For example 1 RGR wear old 2 GR collar badges, their distinctive red trim and a patch of their red and black diced band on the side of their hat. 4 RGR have their black trim and the traditional elephant badge on the left arm.
Below: Collar badges worn by A) 1 and 6 RGR, B) 2 and 7 RGR, C) 3 RGR, D) 4 RGR, E) 5 RGR and F) 8 RGR. Members of the Gurkha Recce Groups wear their old battalion badges, except those assigned to the Gurkha Independent Parachute Companies who wear Parachute Regiment collar badges commemorating the service of Gurkhas with that regiment.
The traditional fighting knife/short sword of the Gurkhas is still issued to every Gurkha soldier and has changed little over the centuries. It is also popular with British and other troops for jungle operations and is a common barter item. It is curved with a heavy, blunt back edge and is a superb cutting weapon.
(Bulk = 0)
This is a non-standard vehicle jury-rigged by engineers attached to 1 Gurkha Bde on BCV. It is a conversion of the common Dragoon MAS supply vehicle to allow the delivery of a full section of troops or support a QRF column with heavy close-in firepower. The usual load pallet has been replaced by an open topped armoured box and a number of pintle mounts to supplement the usual mini-turret with LPW and 7.5mm machine gun. The weapons load usually consists of two Green Hunter firing posts, two 12mm heavy machine guns and a 25mm cannon although almost any load can be carried.
The brigade has around ten converted Dragoons but several other units now possess these vehicles. The most common role is to use them as the core of a QRF column including Hover Rovers, Hawkers and other Dragoons carrying drones and supplies. Although they have also been used to insert patrols into the edges of the K-Zone, their firepower increasing the chance of surviving a Kafer ambush.
'... No one would have dreamed of taking offence; it would have been downright cruel, for the Gurkha was as eager to please as a playful grandchild. The thought of quarrelling with one of them never even occured - for one thing, you'd be better picking a fight with a king cobra.'
'Quatered Safe Out Here', Harvill, 1992
The Gurkhas have a unique culture which has become an integral part of their mystique over the centuries. Prime amongst these is the sheer physical bravery of the Gurkhas and their willingness to close with the enemy and engage them hand-to-hand. Quite what motivates these soldiers to the levels of ferocity documented through the years is unknown. Their reputation proceeds them and can demoralise opposition forces before they come into contact. Indeed the Gurkhas of the 1st Brigade are revelling in their confrontation with the Kafers, an enemy they see as worthy of them. What the Kafers think of the Gurkhas is not known.
One characteristic of the Gurkha soldier in the ease with which they are trained and the discipline they demonstrate. During training the young Gurkha recruit will listen and follow precisely the instructions they are given. Once so instructed the Gurkha will continue to use exactly the technique taught and will only modify it very slowly in the light of practical experience. This approach is typical of the entire Brigade of Gurkhas who approach things by the manual and never take short cuts. Whilst usually a strength this rigidity is also a weak point of the Gurkhas as they can be slow to adapt to new tactics and techniques.
The Gurkhas are best known within the British Army for their exceptional physical fitness, especially when compared to the average British soldier. This is a result of the fact that even in modern Nepal most movement is still conducted on foot across the high Himalayas and most goods are carried by hand. The Gurkhas are exceptionally hardy being able to manpack very heavy loads across rough ground at very high speeds. Indeed Gurkha teams have been known to cover 160 kilometres in under 11 hours during speed marching competitions. This fitness is a key factor in the soldiering excellence of the Gurkhas, they stay fresh longer and do not take short cuts in their drills. Gurkhas take maintaining this fitness very seriously and show contempt to any Gurkha who does not do likewise.
The loyalty and humour of the Gurkhas is also well known. The Gurkhas do not let their friends and comrades down under any circumstances. However despite their fearsome reputation the Gurkhas are a very friendly breed with a natural communal comradeship. They remain irrepressible and love horseplay and playing jokes on one another. The Gurkhas also love drinking, something they share with their British comrades. The Gurkhas are Hindus and have their own temples, priests, ceremonies and dietary requirements. Their goat curry is a favourite amongst British soldiers serving alongside them.
In their own ranks the Gurkhas converse in Gurkhali, the learning of which is a must for any British soldier in a Gurkha unit. However they all also learn English during their basic training and must show a reasonable aptitude in it before being posted to a serving unit.
Service in the Gurkhas is a tradition in many families with many now on a tenth or more generation serving in the ranks of a particular battalion. In particular service with specific units within the brigade is desired. Many recruits have also served in the British Gurkha Schools which have been established across the Gurkha areas of Nepal to provide a basic education. Gurkhas generally desire to spend their entire time in the service to qualify for a pension and very few buy themselves out of the service. This is because on their return to Nepal with their savings and pension these soldiers are very wealthy in Nepalese society and can provide very well for their families.
Like all British regiments the Gurkhas have their own bands. The individual battalions, as befits their rifle heritage, have buglers however there are also two Gurkha Bands which are Pipes and Drums in the Scottish tradition. One of these is stationed in Hong Kong, the other was with the 1st Gurkha Brigade on Joi where it has combined its music with their combat role as medical orderlies.
After the Indian Mutiny the 2nd Gurkhas were awarded a third colour in recognition of their valour alongside the 60th Rifles. However with their adoption of rifle traditions (including the 140 paces per minute marching pace) they no longer carried colours, Queen Victoria herself intervened so that the new honour would not be lost. In the stead of colours the 'Queen's Truncheon' would be carried and bestowed with all the honours normally invested in the colours. This tradition passed to the RGR on its creation. The Truncheon is carried by a 'Truncheon Jemadar' who is always a Gurkha officer.
British attitudes to the Gurkhas are very favourable, they are seen as brave and faithful troops and lionised by the popular press. Some are concerned by the employment of mercenary soldiers but these attitudes rarely gain any political support. British soldiers respect their Gurkha colleagues, whilst acknowledging that their own regiments are better, and are glad to serve alongside them.
To generate a Gurkha character the player needs to choose Nepalese citizenship or be a British officer. The potential Gurkha must have an Endurance of at least 12.
Combat Rifleman - 4, Heavy Weapons - 2, Melee - 2, Hover Vehicle - 1,
Stealth - 1, Tactics - 1 and First Aid-1 (Ground Vehicle - 1, Swim - 1
if not chosen as Background Skills)
Author's Note: Although not a part of the British Brigade of Gurkhas a brief note on the Independent Gorkhas will be included here.
The independent Gorkha Rifles are one of the largest mercenary forces in existence and although nominally belonging to Nepal they soldier for the highest bidder. Their history is a long and involved one. They are descended from the Gurkha units that stayed with the Indian Army on Independence, and in the years before the Twilight they expanded strongly and were in the front-line of India's conflicts with Pakistan and China. They were also strongly engaged in the Twilight War, further consolidating their reputation.
However India soon began to break apart, firstly with Punjab succeeding then several other regions. The Gorkhas were in the fore front of the Indian military effort against the secessionists but Indian politicians proved unable to build on the military success of the force and the struggle proved futile. Indeed in the 2030's with Hindu Nationalists in power in New Delhi the establishment turned against the use of mercenaries and disbanded the Gorkhas, offering positions in Indian regiments to the soldiers.
Rather than accept the disbandment of their regiments several Regimental Colonels offered their services to the other Indian States, which were gladly accepted. Soon the various colonels banded together to form the Regimental Council to ensure their units did not end up fighting each other. This body eventually formalised with representatives of the Nepali government sitting on the council to give the body some political legitimacy. They again consolidated their reputations in the fighting between the Indian States, most units served on long contracts with individual states although the any of the battalions stationed in Nepal could be hired at short notice.
In the late 22nd century the Gorkhas began to expand from their base in the Indian States. The British hired a handful of battalions to help police their new colonies when their own forces were overstretched. A further widening of their skills saw an expansion into peacekeeping with some battalions specialising in these operations and being available for rapid deployment. Lastly for more subtle operations from reconnaissance to body-guarding another unit began to specialise in small unit operations.
The Gorkhas operate under the auspices of the Republic of Nepal, which tolerates the operations of these units for the income it generates and employs some battalions. However contracts are only accepted on the agreement of the Regimental Council which will generally turn down any contract which may bring Gorkhas into conflict or may have a prejudicial effect on the reputation of the unit. Britain has an influence on the Gorkhas, both by hiring them on occasions but also as most of the officer corps has been trained in the UK and served with the RGR. Troops are recruited and trained through separate arrangements, and are generally less well trained than their RGR counterparts.
The size of the Independent Gorkhas fluctuates from 7 battalions to over 20 depending on the state of affairs in the Indian States and beyond. This expansion is usually undertaken by mobilising reservists in Nepal, both from Independent and RGR sources, consequently there is only a limited drop in soldier quality. The Gorkhas are purely an infantry formation.
The 1st Gorkha Rifles (Malaun Regiment)
The 3rd Gorkha Rifles
The 4th Gorkha Rifles
The 5th Gorkha Rifles (Royal Frontier Force)
The 8th Gorkha Rifles
8 GR are in a poor financial condition following a near disastrous contract with Madras, which resulted in serious casualties and wasn't paid due to a change in government. As a result the unit is next in line for a contract.
The 9th Gorkha Rifles
The 11th Gorkha Rifles
11 GR was formed in the aftermath of Indian Independence to provide a home for individual Gurkhas from British regiments who opted to stay with India. Today it is a specialised formation providing small recce teams, body guards and paramilitary police squads.
Copyright 2009, D Hebditch