|Country of Origin||File:RajImage.gif The Raj|
|Trained at||Boot camps across the Raj|
|Key Features|| » FN-42 semi-automatic rifle|
» No 69 Rifle Grenade
» Uniform (Cheap, unarmored)
» Boots (much appreciated)
» Pay (Not as bad as it could be)
- One man a problem, a million men a flood: The Alliance's deepest well of manpower makes its backbone on the humble sepoy who marches off to war with equipment that would have been outdated in the second world war, with a semi-automatic FN-42 and a cloth uniform and perhaps a flak vest for the lucky ones in a battlefield increasingly dominated by armoured soldiers.
- *Ptunk*: While many armies have left the rifle grenade behind for other implements, the Raj's military still sees value in them and hands them out to their soldiers to give them a bit of extra firepower to use against the enemy; bombarding positions with a large number of small explosives all at once.
- Please don't feed to cannons: Sepoys can be deployed with such weight of numbers because they are poorly trained and are poorly equipped by their cash strapped army. Wielding semi-automatic weapons in an assault rifle dominated battlefield and lacking proper body armour while also having low morale means that they will not only suffer against anti-infantry weapons; but require the weight of numbers in combat against most other basic infantry.
- Let me teach you some tricks: The various sepoys who survive long enough to get promoted find that the most valuable tool isn't a new gun or heavier body armor. Instead they learn that the best tool is just more bullets, though non-regulation modifications to their FN-42s to turn them into three shot burst weapons doesn't hurt at all.
"Throw enough [CENSORED] at a wall and some of it will stick"
- - Unofficial Frontier Corps motto
The Raj has long been the source of the cannon fodder for the Alliance. Indeed one could say it has been this way long before the alliance had even existed; where Indian soldiers fought and bled for the British Empire in battlefields all around the world. In a long passed age Indian soldiers even fought alongside Americans, Russians, and the Japanese as friends; during the blood and struggle of the first world war as they toiled against the central powers of Germany, Sweden, Austria, Bulgaria, the Ottoman Empire, Russia, the Senussi, Arabia, and Siam as part of the Entente Powers of Britain, France, Russia, America, Italy, Japan, Portugal, Belgium, Brazil, Greece, the Arabs, and Serbia. In this era of cold wars; it can be hard to believe that at any point did the British consider America of all countries to be a dear friend. However, no one walked out of the first world war without deepset scars. And many sepoys could be found strewn across battlefields from France to the jungles of southeast Asia. In exchange for greater independence; the Indians would bleed for the British Empire. When the war was over; Russia, Iran, and Mongolia would soon become the world's first communist states. America at first survived its "red years" but in just a little more than a decade, they too would join the red tide; and sweep a wave of revolutions all across the new world from Mexico to Argentina.
Suddenly, Britain had a great and pressing need for soldiers. As Mosley staged his grab for power in the thirties in response to the sudden peril of the red menace encompassing what Mosley called a "Red Mongol Empire" encompassing the USSR, Iran, Mongolia, and much of the increasingly communist friendly China and most of the Spanish speaking Latin American nations to the west he looked to the colonies to provide him with more manpower for his "great crusade for civilization". Mosley made his deals with the Indian colonial elites and gave them some manner of a place in his empire; which he force industrialized with brutal programs that cost millions of lives. While Europe itself was being prepared for war under the aegis of his Alliance of Free States, he made a war machine out of the Raj and in this war machine the humble Sepoy would have a new place. Outfitting his Indian and African troops with basic uniforms and equipment dating to the first world war, he amassed the Sepoy for massive assaults that would form a vanguard for his European troops; absorbing losses and allowing the rest of the Alliance army to advance more easily; or holding rear guard actions to free up troops for the frontlines.
Such a life was miserable and would tend to end in enormous casualties between being thrown into the teeth of the assault with substandard weapons or taking the brunt of the ire of the partisans. In places like Canada and North America; many would freeze to death trying to maintain the advance across the enormous Canadian border against an enemy that could afford to send millions of troops to Europe and still keep the Alliance forces trying to attack from Cuba and Brazilian held America and those trying to invade from Canada at bay. For all that was said about the Sepoy's duty to defend civilization and defeat barbarism, most started to feel like they were just being used to die for someone else's glory and the growing discontent in the Sepoys were one of the reasons that Thornley was so eager to broker peace with the Comintern in 1956; fearing a potential mutiny if he didn't take immediate action.
Thornley would come to be remembered as the Sepoy's man by many of the Raj's soldiers, as he took steps to mollify India with the granting of dominionhood and took personal measures to improve the lot of the sepoy. He distributed to them semi-automatic weapons and enough rifle grenades for every sepoy to fire multiple of; greatly increasing the combat effectiveness of the sepoys while also giving them new bayonets and ensuring all were bayonet trained to help improve their confidence in battle. He also implemented programs for every Sepoy to be trained in mechanized warfare instead of relying on fragile trucks and finnicky half-tracks or even worse; horse drawn carriages or simply marching to the battlefield. All these improved the disposition of the Alliance's sepoys, which was combined with programs to better propagandize them and mend the wounds of the memories of being used as cannon fodder and being treated like trash by Mosley's racist armies, with the new Alliance proving to be much more egalitarian and accepting of the Indian way of life and its culture. Continuing to see action around the world; particularly in Asia with the ongoing conflicts in Vietnam, Indonesia, and China, the Sepoy would once again get the call for the offensive in world war three.
This time better equipped, the Sepoys once again marched out in their millions for the crusade against communism as the Raj's sons and daughters filed out to war either close to home to deal with Vanguard insurgencies or to battle the militias and professional armies of the Communist enemy once again to try and draw the comintern into the Capitalist sphere. However just as the tide began to shift towards the Comintern's favor as they began to rally and counter-attack; the war became much less simple. The Empire and its Axis of Powers launched their attacks with their allies such as the Pan-Africans, the Reactionaries; and others while Epsilon proved where its loyalties truly lay as it launched its own invasions and called forth allies in the islamic world in the WLA, in China with Xishan's cronies, and throughout Asia with the insane Circle of Lightning and many mysterious forces bearing a scorpion tail sigil. The Empire brought about an invasion of the very homelands of the Raj as the low tech Raj's armies struggled for their very existence against the high tech legions of the Empire while Epsilon's other worldly forces revealed a vast and secretive army who brought forth means of war and the most ghastly ways to die ever imaginable to the Raj's children.
In the years of war, the sepoys perished in their millions to fight for their freedom from Imperial slavery and against the invasions of the WLA and Epsilon; the latter of whom sought to enslave the world as Geoffrey revealed that in truth he had not an iota of care for the goals or ideology of the Alliance. Against such foes, there was no victory without mass death; and when the chance for vengeance came late in the war with the attacks on Japan and into darkest Antarctica came many sepoys were eager to take part in the final assaults. In the bloodsoaked battle of Tokyo and the assault on Kemp land the sepoy was the most numerous combatant flying the flag of the Alliance. It would be remembered as their finest hour as Sepoys were the first to break into the boundaries of old Tokyo in the face of enormous firepower and as Sepoys of the 501st army were the first to advance past the beaches of Kemp land despite constant suppression fire from Epsilon forces. However at the end of the war, all the combatants were tired and many of the Sepoys were tired enough to side with Manning's coup when he deemed that Thornley's desire to keep the war going until its conclusion would doom the Alliance; engaging in the last battle of the war at Liverpool; though many others were determined to fight with the "man of the Sepoy" to the end. And with Thornley's departure into space, so ended the last drama of the third world war and the guns (largely) fell silent.
Many military forces like to imagine that their soldiers have joined for some kind of reason. The Comintern speaks of the duty to advance the condition of the human species, to fight for democracy and the defense and unshackling of the will of the people and the sharing of prosperity. The Empire speaks of the duties of honor and bushido and loyalty to the hierarchy of the Empire and the commands of the Emperor and his appointed shoguns. Epsilon speaks of the glories to be won by bringing about the transcendence of humanity, the messianic nature of Geoffrey and his sacred teachings that unlocked the power of the mind and body and the debt owed to "great master Geoffrey" that will be repaid when all thoughts are one. Even the WLA uses prayer to instill in their rebels a sense of duty towards Allah and the combating of the imperialists who would shackle the world to false idols. The Commonwealth sepoy, at least according to the press releases, fights for the same reason other Alliance soldiers do; security of the free world, common cause against communism and anarchism and "religious fanaticism", and the advancement of civilization. That's the press release. In truth, it's because the sepoy fighting in the Frontier Corps gets paid on time and the amount they're promised to be paid.
That's not to say the sepoys don't realize just how far their cause has come. Back in the days of the British Raj's greatest excesses and brutal colonialism, the sepoys were considered the expendable front lines of the empire, dying first to keep anyone important from being killed by the uncivilized hordes. They were sent everywhere from the mountains of Nepal to the fields of Flanders, anywhere they needed to fight for the crown. Under Mosley things were as bad as they ever were with racist officers who considered them to be cannon fodder and an enemy that continually sought to fill their heads with propaganda and kept on creating enemy armies made out of POWs who turned traitor. Thornley however gave them greater freedoms and they became able to act of their own accord. Those who had fought as pawns of Mosley and others had risen to become officers and leaders in the new Imperial army of the Raj; managed by Raj commanders and treated as equals in the Alliance hierarchy even if their country was technically another of the "children" of Britain. It was said that the draft was unneeded, as many felt it was their patriotic duty to the Raj, to the Empire, and to civilization to sign up and do their part in the military's frontier corps; the highest level of Indian military service entirely under the command of the Commonwealth's military. There they would be respected and revered as individuals rather than just another cog in the red and black war machine as they would be in the Comintern.
Most Sepoys have a rather more cynical take on this, and would outright laugh if you told them that they were doing this out of duty or that they were loved, cherished, and valued and would be the first to ask "so where's my experimental particle rifle?" if you said that they were valued to the degree a Comintern General Defender was. They either came from a packed, cramped, terrifying mess of a city, or from out in a rural farm where they could barely scrounge enough to pay for the shoes they enlisted in. They wanted to eat at least two meals a day and have decent clothes for a change. To the average sepoy, the risk of death in the field is no greater than the threat of dying from the lack of decent medicine in their homes. Of course some will mention wanting to fight for something more, like their nation or their beliefs in democracy (particularly with the re-transition to full liberal democracy in the Alliance with the downfall of Thornley's grip on politics) or their belief in in the three arrows of "free enterprise, civilization, and anti-barbarism" of the Alliance. The rest are too busy enjoying the use of shoes that aren't falling to pieces and not tilling a field all day.
As far as the Commonwealth is concerned, the average sepoy can think whatever he wants. So long as he follows orders and comments on the enemy's actions more than his commander's decisions, the Commonwealth will continue to pay for their service. After all, what work is there back home?