[Prepared by Gardner Riis, Precentor of Rasalhague, 3050]
The origins of the Free Rasalhague Republic date to the mythic age when interstellar travel was so new that only the adventurous or desperate dared try it. After the Second Soviet Civil War, Scandinavia was left with the double burden of paying assessments to rebuild the Soviet States while dealing with the influx of more than a million Soviet refugees. The Federal Democratic Republics of Sweden, Finland, and Norway coped stoically, though the war-damage taxes continued until the mid-23rd century. When the levy finally ended, many citizens decided to emigrate, selecting a planet far from the oppression and bureaucracy of Terra. Within 60 years, these Scandinavians had colonized and heavily populated Rasalhague and its eight nearest neighbors.
In the late 23rd century, the people of the region created the Rasalhague Consortium, a joint government to oversee the further development of their worlds. The Consortium included all the varldherren or world lords, and members of powerful families. The highest government official was an elected Prime Minister. As the Consortium came into contact with neighboring states and associations, it evolved into the Principality of Rasalhague, headed by the Elected Prince.
The people of Rasalhague became known for their isolationism, being more concerned with expanding and developing their own worlds in a way least damaging to the environment. Despite Rasalhague's political neutrality, the Draconis Combine harassed it, attacked it, and eventually conquered the Principality in 2330.
After being incorporated into the Combine as the Rasalhague Military District, the region changed little. Though Combine leaders encouraged Asians to emigrate to the newly created district, these colonists never outnumbered the Scandinavian majority, nor were they able to dilute the native customs. Before the Fourth Succession War, the official language of the region was Kuritan Japanese, but the vast majority continued to speak Swedish. Even from the earliest days of Kurita rule, secret societies attempted to foment rebellions, but all failed because of the lack of coordination among rebel groups.
In 3029, the Lyran Commonwealth invited Rasalhague resistance leaders to a meeting on Tamar. The Tamar talks lasted for three weeks, during which time the rebels learned of the existence of the Tyr Regiment, a unit of assault 'Mechs sponsored and trained by the LCAF but manned by Rasalhagian exiles. The unit shared the name of the underground movement in the Rasalhague Military District. The secret regiment had made a stunning appearance on Kirchbach, prompting a revolt among the people. At the Tamar meeting, the Rasalhague resistance leaders coordinated plans for uprisings with projected LCAF invasions. Archon Katrina Steiner also signed the Intention of the Free Rasalhague Peoples, a document that recognized the Tyr as the official Rasalhague government-in-exile.
During the Fourth War, Tyr members provided the Lyran military with details on terrain, targets, and enemy location. Its members also undertook hundreds of commando missions deep behind enemy lines to disrupt DCMS communication and logistics. The Tyr BattleMech regiment played an equally important role in the Commonwealth's war effort.
The war's end did not bring about the creation of a free Rasalhague, as the Tyr had hoped. For one thing, the Lyrans had not conquered all the worlds the Tyr wanted, including Rasalhague. Indeed, many Tyr members believed that the Lyrans had stopped short of conquering all the former Principality worlds purely to prevent the rebels from forming a sovereign state.
The disgruntled Tyr members became even angrier when Lyran planetary administrators arrived on the conquered worlds. Under orders from Duke Selvin Kelswa of the Tamar Pact, they took over from the military administrators without acknowledging the Tyr or its claim to rule. In their frustration and anger, several extremist Tyr groups bombed government buildings on seven worlds in February 3031, injuring one planetary administrator. Despite objections by Commonwealth officials, Duke Kelswa reacted by ordering the arrest of the Tyr leaders, most of whom were on Tamar at the time. He then ordered mass trials, in which the Tyr leaders were convicted in a mockery of the Lyran judicial process.
By the time Archon Steiner learned of the situation, the trials were over. The Tyr leaders had been languishing in Tamar jails for a week while the aggressive Tamar Pact police forces brutally mishandled demonstrations and riots on the conquered worlds. Infuriated, the Archon freed the Tyr leadership, publicly berated the Duke of Tamar for overstepping his authority, and apologized to the Tyr in hopes of salvaging some good will.
The damage caused by Duke Kelswa could not be undone, however, and the Archon saw that the newly conquered Rasalhague worlds would never consent to join the Commonwealth. The best she could hope for was to continue negotiations with the Tyr so that the leaders of a new Rasalhague state would lean more toward the Commonwealth than toward the Draconis Combine.
[EDITOR'S NOTE: Though the report by Precentor Riis does not acknowledge ComStar's role in bringing about an independent Rasalhague he surely must know about it. As a close ally of Primus Waterly and the most powerful ComStar official in the area, Precentor Riis almost certainly played a key role in the arrangements, if not the actual negotiations, that gave birth to the Principality.]
When the Draconis Combine found itself fighting against its own people as well as the Lyran Commonwealth during the Fourth War, Kurita leaders began to look for a solution to the problem of Rasalhague resistance. They found one and it was ingenious. By supporting Rasalhague independence, the Draconis Combine simultaneously removed a thorn from its side, embarrassed the Lyran Commonwealth into giving up most of its captured worlds, and created a buffer state between the Combine and the newly formidable Lyrans.
On March 13, 3034, Haakon Magnusson, a Tyr political leader, declared the creation of the Free Rasalhague Republic, affirmed its independence from either the Draconis Combine or the Lyran Commonwealth, and announced that he would be its Elected Prince. ComStar immediately recognized the new realm, and the Draconis Combine followed suit the next day.
That House Kurita would willingly give up so many of its star systems was a shock to the whole Inner Sphere, and it also left the Steiner government in a poor bargaining position with the Tyr. Archon Steiner felt obliged to turn over to the Free Rasalhague Republic most of the Rasalhague worlds the LCAF had captured during the Fourth War, though it infuriated the already- angry Duke of Tamar.
The withdrawal of Combine troops from its former Rasalhague Military District did not go smoothly. Many Combine soldiers refused to leave because of their violent disagreement with the decision to cede worlds to the FRR. Others refused to abandon citizens of Oriental heritage to the danger of backlash from the Scandinavians, a threat that became a reality. Other unit commanders felt that too many Kurita troops had died defending these worlds to now just give them up without a struggle.
Seeing this military insurrection as a direct challenge to his future rule of the Draconis Combine, Kanrei Theodore Kurita declared all disobedient units ronin, Japanese for "masterless." With Prince Magnussen's permission, he led a force of loyal regiments back into the Republic to battle the ronin units.
The Ronin Wars, as they became known, were a series of short, violent clashes between the ronin, which added up to about eight regiments, and the allied forces of the Rasalhague KungsArme (The Royal Rasalhague Army) and DCMS units led by Warlord Theodore Kurita. The KungsArme, just weeks old, received its baptism by fire defending its homeworlds and cities from ronin units, many of which were skilled and experienced. The KungsArme fought better than expected, due in part to assistance from Combine and Lyran officers present in the Republic to help build the military. On many occasions, these visiting officers stepped in to assume command of Rasalhague units against the ronin at a crucial moment.
Even more violent were the clashes between troops loyal to Warlord Theodore and the ronin, most of whom were led by officers loyal to General Marcus Kurita (banished from Luthien for a failed coup attempt) and Warlord Ivan Sorenson of the Rasalhague Military District, who was assassinated at the beginning of the ronin rebellion.
The Ronin Wars created a deep hatred for mercenaries among the FRR's citizens. Because of poorly negotiated contracts, some mercenaries refused to enter battle because they claimed the requirements of their contracts had already been fulfilled. Though the mercenaries were usually within their rights, the people did not see it that way. Ironically, the FRR later had to hire more mercenaries, some of whom made huge demands on the government, to combat growing pirate activity on the Republic's border with the Periphery.
The Ronin Wars ended with the withdrawal of the last DCMS regiment across the border into the Combine's new Alshain Military District in December 3035. For the first time in its short life the Free Rasalhague Republic was peaceful. Prince Magnusson turned from military to political concerns. Based largely upon the the former Principality of Rasalhague, the FRR government had a strong democratic element, which the Scandinavian majority deeply appreciated after the centuries of having their fate decided for them.
Still, many people took out their long resentment against everything and everyone Oriental in a burst of riots and lynchings. The government finally calmed the situation, and the whole matter is rarely mentioned today.
In 3044, Prince Magnusson requested and was granted another term in office. He has maintained a middle course between House Steiner and House Kurita, a policy that has allowed the KungsArme to grow stronger.
The KungsArme has recently been more active. Pirate activity along the Republic's Periphery border, always an annoyance, has increased so dramatically in the past five years that the government has had to resort to hiring even more mercenaries to protect part of its border.
The structure of the Free Rasalhague Republic government closely follows that of the Principality of Rasalhague of the 23rd century. Political power is loosely divided among the Elected Prince (the Riksforestandare), the Parliament (the Riksdag) and the individual rulers of worlds (the Varldherren). The citizens elect local officials every four years and representatives to the Riksdag every ten.
Prince Magnusson is a shrewd politician who has been careful not to anger any special-interest group. Among his most ardent supporters are the men and women who fought alongside him in either the Tyr rebellions before the Fourth Succession War or in the Ronin Wars. One of these people is Tor Miraborg. The two met when both were serving time in a Combine prison for attempting to incite riots in 3022. After their release, the two went on to become key members in the Tyr. When Magnusson was angling for Rasalhague sovereignty, he contacted Miraborg, who began building support for him. After the creation of the Republic, the grateful Prince appointed Miraborg as Military Commander of the Radstadt Province. At that time, he also was elected Varldherre of his homeworld of Gunzburg. Varldherre Miraborg remains one of the Prince's staunchest supporters and an iron-fisted ruler of his world.
Despite his attempts to maintain support from all sides, Prince Magnusson's government is notable for the lack of Tyr members from the "Lyran Half," worlds conquered by the Lyran Commonwealth during the Fourth Succession War. Whether this is a coincidence or a deliberate snub is not known.
Those who oppose Prince Magnusson have formed the small Motsatt Stalining Parti, or Motpart for short. This party consists of members of the Riksdag who oppose the Prince on principle or who were once Tyr members from the Lyran Half.
The leader of the Motpart is General Christian Mansdotter, the ranking officer of the KungsArme and the Landtmarskalk of the Riksdag. Born and raised in the Lyran Commonwealth, Christian Mansdotter was an LCAF officer who requested and won the right to command the newly formed Tyr BattleMech regiment. The fame he won as regimental commander and his leadership skills should have made him the obvious choice for head of the new Rasalhague state, but then came Haakon Magnusson's bombshell treaty with the Draconis Combine.
Prince Magnusson could not simply ignore Christian Mansdotter's skills or his popularity, and so he appointed the general to command the KungsArme. The Riksdag appointed him Landtmarskalk in 3042, a post he still holds.
Mansdotter and the Motpart are suspicious of the Draconis Combine's motives for helping Rasalhague achieve independence. Fearing that the Kuritans will return one day to claim their lost worlds, the Motpart seeks closer relations with the Federated Commonwealth, even at the risk of provoking the Combine. For General Mansdotter and his followers, the Federated Commonwealth is the only guarantor of Rasalhague's independence.
Motpart members advocate a stronger military to defend against the Draconis Combine, while the Elected Prince is wary of expanding the KungsArme for fear of offending House Kurita.
The Free Rasalhague Republic is composed of the three provinces of Skandia, Radstadt, and Rasalhague. The political climates on worlds within the provinces varies widely. During the Ronin Wars, most worlds were placed under the control of a Military Governor. Most of the military governors have long since stepped down, but some still hold their powers, suppressing civilian government. Others were military governors during the war and became Varldherren afterward.
Because the FRR is wedged between two great Houses with no love for one another, the Elected Prince is well aware that his political actions toward one realm could be misconstrued by the other. This makes it vital that the Prince maintain strictly equal relations with House Kurita and House Steiner, while attempting to maintain the political neutrality of his ancestors of the original Principality.
Members of Motpart are vehemently opposed to this policy. They believe that trying to appease powerful neighbors interferes with the only way of guaranteeing the continued existence of the Free Rasalhague Republic: strengthening the military and seeking out an alliance with the Federated Commonwealth, the state whose society and government is most like their own.
Rasalhague KungsArme (Royal Rasalhague Army):
The Royal Rasalhague Army fields almost 150 BattleMech, tank, and infantry regiments. The KungsArme also controls 62 militia regiments and five mercenary 'Mech units.
The KungsArme consists of 12 departments patterned after the Lyran Commonwealth Armed Forces. They are the Command Council, Administration Department, Medical Corps, Warriors' Ombudsmen, Mercenary Relations, Reservist Readiness Department, Strategy and Tactics Department, Intelligence Department, Transportation Department, Quartermaster Department, Justice Department, and Military Education.
The Headquarters of the Rasalhague KungsArme is in the Citadel, the large military complex built by the old Principality and then expanded when the Draconis Combine took over. Regional headquarters are on Skandia and Radstadt.
General Christian Mansdotter is the Chief-of-Staff of the Command Council. The General is technically the aide to the Prince, who is Overbefalhavare, or Commander-in-Chief, of the KungsArme, but the Prince does not take an active interest in the military.
The General's immediate seconds are Generalmajor Margrethe Minuit, commander of RRA forces in Skandia Province, and General Gustaf Mannerheim, commander of RRA forces in Radstadt Province.
Ranks (and their English equivalents):
Pilots of 'Mechs are called Kavellrists, ancient Swedish for cavalry soldier. The Swedish word for Regiment is Regimente, Battalion is Bataljon, and Company is Besattning.
The KungsArme currently fields 15 'Mech regiments. The Gunzburg Eagles is the only assault BattleMech regiment. The Drakons are heavy 'Mech regiments, and the Freemen are medium. The Hussars are light but potent regiments, and the Kavalleri are designed primarily for scouting and mobility.
The KungsArme has trade agreements with the 'Mech manufacturers in the Draconis Combine and the Lyran Commonwealth. As a result, Rasalhague BattleMech regiments include machines common to both states, with a few BattleMechs on loan from ComStar. The sight of a Kurita Dragon fighting alongside a Lyran Zeus or a Kurita Panther to cover the advance of a Lyran Commando might be startling to outsiders, but it is a common one in the KungsArme.
There are 32 tank regiments, composed mostly of Hunters and Manticores, but also many Demolishers, Schrek PPC Carriers and Behemoths from Aldis Industries on Terra, During the Republic's first year, General Mansdotter contacted representatives of Aldis about buying a modest number of tanks. In response, Aldis offered to sell the FRR many of its best tanks at bargain prices and to send engineers to service them. The deal gave the KungsArme some of the best equipment in the Inner Sphere, while Aldis got the chance to analyze the performance of the latest tanks as they got their baptism by fire in the Ronin Wars.
The KungsArme has 97 infantry regiments, more than half of them mechanized, with hovercraft as the most common troop carrier. The training of infantry regiments is both heightened and hampered by the Republic's deep nationalism. While it instills pride in the Nordic majority, the resulting prejudice keeps many skilled soldiers buried in the rank and file because they happen to be of Oriental heritage.
There are 62 militia regiments in the KungsArme. The training of the militia regiments is apparently rather poor, probably because the KungsArme is young and concentrating on its front-line units.
Considering its relative youth, the KungsArme has shown notable skill in the field. During its short history, the KungsArme has had to face renegade DCMS units and innumerable attacks by pirates along its border with the Periphery.
Being barely a week old and only a few regiments strong, the KungsArme was obviously at a severe disadvantage against the ronin forces of the DCMS. Yet, the Rasalhague units showed themselves proud in instances such as the Battle for Predlitz, where Bravo Company, Second Battalion of the Tyr 'Mech regiment, defeated two ronin companies from the Eighth Rasalhague Regulars. In another incident, Charlie Company, Third Battalion of the First Kavalleri, stood up to a combined battalion of ronin armor and infantry outside the city of Thessal on Goito. The KungsArme also had help from military advisors from the Combine, many of whom stepped in and commanded Rasalhague units during the height of battle.
During the withdrawal of Lyran troops from captured Rasalhague worlds, several incidents occurred between the more emotional members of both militaries. The most serious was the confrontation between Captain Schmelling's Company of the Eighth Donegal Guards and Bravo Company, Second Battalion, of the First Drakon 'Mech regiment.
It is the struggle against the Periphery pirates that has given the KungsArme most of its experience. Right from the start, pirates targeted Rasalhague worlds as easy targets. At first, the KungsArme could only protect vital cities and industries, depending on mercenaries to hunt down and punish the pirates. As the Arme has grown, so too has its ability to defend against pirate raids. The 'Mech regiments, in particular, have become adept at countering the tactics favored by Periphery scum. In small-unit actions of companies and smaller, the KungsArme is the equal of any Inner Sphere military.
Where the RAA's ability falls short is in larger, multi-regiment actions. With the exception of those who served in the Tyr regiment during the Fourth War, few in the Rasalhague military have experience with large-scale combat. General Mansdotter has attempted to remedy the situation by holding numerous military exercises, the latest against the Precentor Martial and the Com Guards.
The KungsArme's biggest problem is its negative attitude toward and poor treatment of mercenaries in its employ. To meet the threat of ronin units just after the creation of the FRR, Prince Magnusson knew he had to hire mercenaries to supplement his military capability. Ignoring General Mansdotter's experience with mercenaries, the Prince negotiated the contracts himself. Pressured by the worsening military situation and his need to conserve the new realm's monetary resources, he hired as many mercenary units as possible for the shortest possible contract periods.
The result was contracts that did not contain such standard agreements as the Emergency Action Clause, which obligates mercenaries to assist their employers in times of emergency, even if other contract obligations have been fulfilled. Thus did the KungsArme find itself high and dry in several crucial battles, calling in vain for mercenary assistance from a unit that had just carried out its orders and refused those not mandated by its contract.
Vinson's Vigilantes, for example, refused to come to the aid of the First Kavalleri because their contract stipulated that they were under no obligation to fight once peace was declared on Radstadt, which had occurred just days before. The incident created a hatred of mercenaries among the Rasalhagians, even though the ComStar Review Board later cleared the Vigilantes of wrongdoing. Despite their distrust, the FRR was again forced to hire mercenaries to help combat pirate activity along the Periphery. Some of the more unscrupulous mercenaries demanded, and won, huge contracts from the desperate Republic government, which deepened the hatred against mercenaries.
Because of these and other incidents, the FRR has taken its bit of revenge by making the lives of mercenaries as difficult as possible. All mercenaries are confined to small military areas called reservations, which they are not allowed to leave without a gaggle of passes and papers. Though this protects the mercenaries from an unsympathetic population, it allows the government to force the mercenaries to buy supplies at exorbitant prices.
When the FRR was created, it inherited the New Oslo BattleMech facility of Gorton, Kingsley, and Thorpe Enterprises. The factory has since been expanded to produce Archer and Panther 'Mechs. It is expected that a second GKT BattleMech factory being built on Rasalhague will be completed in 3051.
Benson and Bjorn, the Republic's second largest weapons manufacturer, is located on Spittal. It has expanded its line of personal weapons and armored vehicles to include the Axel (Swedenese for ax) Marks I and II. These are internal-combustion-engine versions of the not-exactly-secret Rommel and Patton designs of the Lyran Commonwealth.
Though Prince Magnusson has bungled mercenary relations, he has proven to be shrewd at dealing with the business community. Establishing extensive state control over the business world, the Prince found innovative ways to increase production. He gave workers better conditions and pay, coupled with severe penalties for those who did not respond to the new incentives. To please management, he made many positions hereditary, in addition to awarding corporate executives seats in the Riksdag.
Metals of the Earth is the huge mining, chemical, and synthetic conglomerate located on the planet Nox. MOE has adapted well to the new Rasalhague government. Though half its products still go to the Combine, according to an agreement between the two states, the other half has gone a long way to repairing war damage on many FRR worlds.
The attempt to transform Amau Electronics' major plant at Silvaton into a manufacturer of military electronics as well as a producer of its many low-budget consumer items has been less successful.
Under Combine control, Swedenborg Heavy Industries, manufacturer of large industrial robots, was forever in debt and faced with almost constant labor troubles. Under FRR control, its factories have almost tripled their output. Reports that the firm will enter the military industry by constructing a 'Mech or AeroSpace facility on Kirchbach remain unconfirmed.
The Even Scale Policy is Prince Magnusson's term for his economic relations with the Draconis Combine and the Lyran Commonwealth. Ever mindful not to give preference to one neighbor's products, the Prince has ordered a strict one-to-one relationship between imports and exports with the Lyrans and the Combine. The number of traders from both realms is strictly controlled to ensure that neither side has an advantage. Every ton of food, every crane or holoset imported from one neighbor obligates the FRR to buy something of equal value from the other. Though this may be reasonable in theory, it is a nightmare in practice. Just keeping tabs on imports from the Commonwealth and the Combine is beyond the capabilities of the FRR's beaurocracy.
This nightmare of red tape is one reason the government has begun to trade with other states. Indeed, trade with the Free Worlds League and the Federated Suns has been brisk over the years. Trade with the Federated Suns may be complicated in the future, however, as that realm becomes more closely joined with the Lyran Commonwealth.
Swedish is the official language of the Free Rasalhague Republic government and most major universities. With a small minority of only about 15 percent fluent in the language, Swedish is not the language of everyday life.
In the street and shops of the FRR, Swedenese is the tongue most often heard. A mix of Swedish and Standard Kurita Japanese, Swedenese has been slowly evolving ever since House Kurita seized control of the old Principality. Though difficult to learn because it requires a good knowledge of the two p parent languages, it is amazingly rich and has produced a respectable body of literature.
The Lutheran Church-Radstadt Synad is the state religion of the FRR, yet only one-third of the people are active members. Other Christian religions, Hinduism, Islam, and Buddhism all have substantial numbers of followers. The Republic is also host to minor sects, including the One Star Faith and a growing curiosity called Modern Norse, which attempts to update the beliefs and customs of Scandinavia's ancient polytheistic religion.
While blatant racism has disappeared, a subtle bias against people or things Oriental still exists. Prince Magnusson and General Mansdotter have strenuously opposed racism, but people of Oriental heritage rarely achieve positions of importance.
The major goal of the Free Rasalhague Republic is to survive and grow to the point where its neighbors no longer consider it a military target. The Even Scale Policy is probably a major stumbling block to this goal, but the policy is not likely to change as long as Prince Magnusson is in power.
Some Motpart members would like to oust Magnusson before he is to step down in 3054, but their numbers are small. If this seed of discontent takes a strong enough hold, it could lead to a civil war that the FRR is not likely to survive.
In the years since the 3050 summary of the FRR, a great deal has taken place. The Clan invasion has taken the majority of the worlds of the Free Rasalhague Republic, leaving it a shadow of its former self. If not for the actions of ComStar at Tukayyid, the Republic, along with the whole of the Inner Sphere, would currently be under Clan control.
This data file was originally obtained from the BattleTech 3056 MUSE. It was originally converted to HTML by Michael J. Flynn of The Company Store and Team SPAM! who believe "Information is in the noise!"
Some graphics obtained from Leigh "Mad Dog" Brunk's page, Giant Robots Blew Up My Website! Many thanks to him for the generous permission to use them on this site.