The Protectorate Expeditionary Force (A Brief Overview)

29 Sep

Woke up feeling wretched, so did some background stuff.

The Protectorate Expeditionary Force (A Brief Overview)

The Protectorate Expeditionary Force considers itself, with reason, to be an elite formation within the Protectorate Military.  It is almost completely composed of combat lifers, all of whom volunteered for military careers rather than brief terms in the military before transiting into civilian life and climbing the ladder there.  Furthermore, the PEF prides itself on a degree of cross-speciality training and experience that ensures its fighting units remain capable even in the midst of heavy and costly combat.  The PEF has never heard of General Grey, or his statement ‘every marine is a rifleman first,’ but they would heartily agree with the sentiment if they ever did.

The PEF is designed for one role – smashing its way into enemy territory, laying waste to enemy defences and securing the new conquest for later assimilation by follow-up units.  It does not set out to commit atrocities – the Protectorate regards mass slaughter and wanton property damage as pointless and wasteful – but it has very few qualms about using lethal force to accomplish its goals with little regard for the lives of enemy personnel, be they military or civilian.  It does maintain a small Civil Affairs unit – which doubles as an interrogation unit, if the PEF needs to obtain information from unwilling donors – as well as an Intelligence unit, but it normally prefers to leave such matters to other units. 

The PEF, when on deployment, is commanded by a Captain-General (roughly on par with Lieutenant General), who has a small administrative staff to assist him.  The Captain-General is both the force’s commander and the de facto governor of whatever territory the PEF invades and occupies.  Precisely how much he has to play the latter role depends very much on the nature of the deployment; live-fire ‘exercises’ in the Security Zones do not require any political involvement, while operational deployments away from the Captain-General’s superiors allow him a considerable degree of leeway when it comes to exercising his political authority. 

Each individual formation within the PEF is commanded by a Captain (roughly comparable to Colonel).  Captains have dual roles, first as field-grade unit commanders and second as war councillors, with a certain say in how the PEF operates when/if the Captain-General calls a Council of War.  Decisions outside active military operations are made with a surprising degree of consensus; partly to ensure every senior officer is aware of what is going on and why, partly to make it harder for a Captain-General to go rogue in pursuit of glory.  It is possible for a Council of War to vote to remove a Captain-General, but if their superiors feel the councillors overstepped themselves they’d be, at best, dishonourably dismissed from the military.  In actual combat, the chain of command is followed and any attempt to argue orders under fire is regarded as mutiny.

The PEF is broken down into armour, infantry, aircraft, transport and logistics (sometimes used as a catch-all for everything that cannot be neatly filed under the first four).  There are no hard and fast rules, but the breakdown is generally:

  • 3 armoured regiments, each with 200 Cromwell hovertanks and 100 Essex AFVs
  • 5 armoured infantry regiments, each with roughly 2000 men.
  • 2 aerospace combat wings, each with roughly 100 flyers
  • 1 aerospace recon wing, each with roughly 100 remote-controlled drones
  • 5 heavy logistics regiments, each with 50 VTOL transports or 100 ground hovertrucks.
  • Assorted other units (Base Defence, Intelligence, Civil Affairs, Field Medicine, Personnel, etc)

It is a point of pride, amongst the PEF, that nearly every officer they have spends some time in the ranks.  Even the well-connected on the fast lane to the upper levels have to learn the basics and prove they excel first.  Each volunteer is sent straight to basic training, then either permitted to continue to intensive or advised to accept reassignment to a different military unit.  The only major exceptions are flyer pilots and a handful of intelligence staff and they are rarely permitted to rise outside their own formations, something that wouldn’t happen at all if the purists had their way.  Upon graduating, the newly-minted soldier is assigned to his regiment for at least two-four years in the ranks before being invited to attend officer school (if he wants; plenty of lifers are happy to remain in the ranks.)

The PEF cannot afford to fall into rote patterns.  Officers and men are encouraged to use their brains – and debate matters, outside actual combat.  Training is devised to identify men with good instincts and develop them further, then let them test their ideas in (relatively) safe conditions.  They do not always work, but the men are rarely penalised as long as they learn from their mistakes.  (It should be noted that, in Protectorate slang, a ‘Charlie’ is someone who comes up with constantly bad or ill-timed ideas and anyone who has that reputation sticking to them will be politely advised to take himself elsewhere before he gets someone killed in real life.)  There is little need for the dreaded Military Police to keep the men in line.  Discipline is good, generally coming from within.  The handful of troublemakers who make it through training rarely last long enough to become a real problem.

On the offensive, the PEF uses a combination of land thrusts at enemy defences – with the intention of finding weak points if the enemy is too strong to be simply steamrolled – and airborne assaults, spearheaded by armoured infantry and backed up by air-delivered tanks … both supported by long-range air and missile strikes deep into enemy territory.  Its recon drones are very good at spotting enemy positions and tracking down radio transmissions, as well as sniffing out IEDs and other unpleasant surprises.  (Standard doctrine is to target any transmitters within the battle zone, unless they happen to be friendly.)  When dealing with insurgents, the PEF will generally bring massive firepower to the battleground rather than waste time wrinkling out the insurgents without harming innocent civilians.

On the defensive, the PEF tends to stay within its fortress – a formidable structure affectionately nicknamed the castle; different units have fortresses named after different castles – and hold the line until help arrives.  This is not as foolish as it seems.  The fortress is heavily armoured, capable of shrugging off anything short of a nuclear strike, and bristles with plasma and laser weapons designed to shoot down incoming missiles and shells.   

The PEF does not, as a general rule, deploy a naval force.  Its hovertanks are capable of crossing rivers and lakes and, at least in theory, skimming over relatively calm seas.  Its aircraft and drones are designed to hunt for enemy ships and submarines and call down strikes, whenever they are found.  If it requires something more, it will call on support from the Protectorate Navy.

Although technologically formidable, the PEF does have a significant weakness.  It simply does not have the manpower to garrison and patrol a major city, let alone an entire country.  It may claim to control vast swathes of land, but in reality its control is very thin outside the region covered by its guns.  This rarely bothers the Captain-Generals, who see their role as more of smashing up the enemy nation and then leaving the hard work of rebuilding to other – less prestigious – units, but it can lead to rough times for isolated units that suddenly find themselves surrounded by enemy insurgents with bad intentions.

11 Responses to “The Protectorate Expeditionary Force (A Brief Overview)

  1. terrag32256 September 29, 2022 at 1:04 pm #

    I hope you feel better. Get well soon.

  2. Robert Wilson September 29, 2022 at 1:14 pm #

    You astound me more and more.. How the heck do you come up with the details such as listed in the PEF overview?? Surely there must be a template from some existing organization that you modeled this after.. Your imagination is beyond words. As always, thank you for what you provide us readers..Just amazing.. Regards, Bob Wilson


  3. the dude September 29, 2022 at 5:47 pm #

    I’d be a bit careful with this one. This description sounds very close to to the plot of Galaxy’s Edge which is definitely going to draw comparisons.

    • chrishanger September 29, 2022 at 8:41 pm #

      By nick cole? I had a jock look at the Amazon page and it doesn’t seem anything like the same

      Sent from my iPad

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard September 29, 2022 at 8:49 pm #


        What you’re describing here isn’t IMO “Story World Specific”.

        IE There’s nothing really there that points to somebody else’s creation.

        Oh, who was that Game Company that attempted to “copywrite” Space Marines? 😈

      • The dude September 29, 2022 at 10:41 pm #

        Yeah Nick Cole, obviously it’s not exact lyrics the same but the main thing was the last line about an elite force of suppression troops being sent in to pacify a world and groups wind up surrounded by insurgents which is basically the opening plot of the first book.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard September 30, 2022 at 12:32 am #


        I Am Not A Lawyer but that isn’t enough “similarity” to trigger a Lawsuit and if a lawsuit was filed, it would be rejected by any intelligent Judge.

      • The dude September 30, 2022 at 12:47 am #

        Who said anything about lawsuits? Point is it sounds similar, will draw comparisons with a book that already exists and it’s just something to keep in mind as the project moves forward.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard September 30, 2022 at 12:52 am #

        Comparisons can be Good or Bad, but I don’t think that it’s something that Chris needs to worry about.

    • Matthew W Quinn September 30, 2022 at 11:23 am #

      It sounds like a completely different world and storyline though–trans-dimensional technocrats vs. the Empire from the stormtroopers’ POV.

  4. Robert Kaliski September 29, 2022 at 7:53 pm #

    I may have missed it, but are the armed forces co-ed?

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