My thanks to Roger Sanger, the copyright holder, for granting me
permission to host this article on my web site. To quote him, "I was looking
for a new home for DGP's 2300 AD articles, and naturally I picked the best fan
sites on the Web for that purpose. Kudos to Pentapod's World! Enjoy!"
- Kevin Clark
- January 31st, 2000.
Disclaimer required by Far Future Enterprises: This item is not authorized or endorsed by Far Future Enterprises ( FFE) and is used without permission. The item is for personal use only. Any use of FFE's copyrighted material or trademarks in this file should not be viewed as a challenge to those copyrights or trademarks. In addition, this item cannot be republished or distributed without the consent of the copyright owner ( DGP).
Raoul Newmark, the only son of a naturalized American, French-born family, disappointed both of his parents' career ambitions for him. After a single calamitous year at law school it was clear he was not cut out as a lawyer, and as a genetic engineer he was obviously a nonstarter. What he discovered he could do, and do well, was fight. He joined the American Marines and soon earned a commission, rising to command one of the elite Pathfinder Recon scout companies. Able and ambitious, he was an excellent soldier, but soon became impatient with the constraint and red tape of army life which contrasted so glaringly with the excitement and drama of the combat he so relished.
As it became clear to him that he was unlikely to rise much further up the chain of command, he followed the example of so many frustrated soldiers before him, leaving government service and striking out on his own as a mercenary.
By dint of military success, natural vigor and shrewd financing, Newmark
has been able to build up a full company of reconnaissance troops which
has acquired a reputation for elan and ability, as well as unconventionality
and, at times, needless brutality.
The Company is a specialized formation and will accept only those contracts playing to its strengths and coinciding with its intended role. Most importantly, it is not primarily a fighting unit. Lightly armed and armored, lacking in heavy anti-air and anti-tank firepower, it relies on its mobility and stealth to avoid serious fighting. Instead, it is a reconnaissance spearhead designed to identify enemy deployments and intentions as well as the optimum route and tactics for the allied attack.
In a pinch it will fight ( though it could -- and has -- followed the time-honored mercenary practice of "calling white" and going neutral, sacrificing its fee and guarantee bond, but saving its valuable vehicles and its invaluable personnel), but this is often seen as the last option. Then, of course, it will fight well and nastily -- the Company is more suited both temperamentally and materially to the ambush and the double cross rather than the "heroic" charge into the teeth of enemy guns.
As an entirely hover-mobile formation, the company will not fight on airless worlds or in unsuitable terrain such as forest or jungle. Nor, due to the expense of pressure-suiting and air-sealing, will it contract to serve in non-breathable atmospheres.
Mercenary units are never cheap, but the relatively small size and light equipment of Newmark's force keeps fees reasonable, and ensures that it does not require oceans of fuel and mountains of provisions. As a force multiplier, it is most attractive to several main sorts of employer:
Unlike most mercenary units, Newmark's Scouts do not sport uniforms based mainly on those of their founder's parent army. Barracks dress is a simple pale blue-grey tunic and trousers, with a matching forage cap for officers, berets for other ranks.
In combat they all wear pale grey low-visibility coveralls, with high boots and belts carrying pouched medical supplies, hand radio, combat knife, respirator, and infrared goggles. Vehicle crewmen and specialists wear padded gray nylon helmets and gray non-rigid flak vests with rank pips on the left breast pocket. They all carry Traylor 57 automatic pistols and some may be issued with Traylor Model 10 riot guns for close-in defense ( characteristically with the stock removed and replaced with a nylon pistol grip to make it less cumbersome).
Combat troops wear combat helmets and pale grey inertial armor vests, again with rank insignia on the breast. The standard weapon is the US M-2 assault rifle, though a certain amount of latitude is allowed; shotguns and pistols for short-range defense are frequently carried. A few Quinn Optronics Restraint Carbines are issued on a case-by-case basis for the purpose of capturing prisoners for interrogation. One soldier in every team will also carry a pack, with four rifle grenades which can be fired up to 200m from the muzzle of an M-2.
The unit's badge is a very simple red roundel with a leaping white wolf
in the middle. This is painted on the sides of vehicles in muted
"tactical" tones, and is woven into the bright pennants which fly from
vehicles' whip antennas when not on the field.
The actual command section itself consists of a suitably equipped N36-R hovertruck ( see below), five support staff ( two drivers, three technicians), and the troika of Cpt. Newmark, Lt. Singh, and First Sgt. Kline. Another N36-R fitted with communications and electronic warfare systems is used by the signals team: two drivers and four techs under Lt. Serly. Their role is threefold: to keep the command team in touch with the rest of the Company, to maintain secure contact with the unit's employers and allied military forces, and to provide the company with some -- albeit limited -- jamming and anti-jamming capability. The bulk of the platoon, though, consists of two small scout teams used for special purposes and consequently comprising the best of the company: six men mounted on one-man Metzger Aerosport hovercycles for infiltration and courier duties, and 12 men in two Warbird hovercars ( two drivers, two gunners for the pintle-mounted machine-guns and two teams of four men each). They are used for all sorts of duties, including the seizure of enemy prisoners for interrogation.
These are identical and represent the main recon assets of the company. The basic element is the team of a Warbird, driver, gunner, and four soldiers, with a Hornisse surface-to-air missile carried in each hovercar. The command element consists of a Warbird fitted with NBC sensors to detect radiological, chemical, or, to a lesser extent, biological hazards and a satellite uplink dish/maser communications system instead of a gun. Along with the driver it carries a technician, the platoon commander ( Lt. Daley in the First Platoon, Lt. Christian in the Second) and four soldiers. The two recon squads are made up of two Warbird-mounted scout teams each, while the support section again rides in two Warbirds. Whereas one is a standard team carrier, the other mounts a Striker antitank missile launcher, two gunners, two soldiers, and five reloads.
The First and Second Platoons are fast and light, and will avoid combat if possible. Sometimes though, this is just not practical, or the Company needs to mount a reconnaissance in force. Then Newmark's pride and joy, his seven French-built ABR-76 armored cars, prove invaluable. One vehicle is fitted with extra communications gear and serves as Lieutenant Dyer's command vehicle. The other six form two sections of three ABR-76's each.
The Combat Support Platoon is a small formation in which are lumped the Company's remaining battlefield assets. The maintenance workshop is a custom-converted M312 chassis with five technicians. Equally modest, the medical team is a driver and two medics in a Songbird hovercar fitted with a single automed. The artillery squad is also small but is disproportionately useful. Although the Company relies on its mobility more than its firepower, and depends on its backers' artillery to provide fire support should it be needed, sometimes the need is for immediate and accurate fire and here the artillery squad is used.
Although primitive by modern standards, the mortar is an effective weapon,
able to lay down a heavy support barrage while light enough to be easily
portable. Of the Section's three Warbirds, two carry 105mm mortars
with computerized fire-control systems and one carries extra rounds.
The complement is three drivers, four gunners, and three loaders.
Rounds carried are typically a mix of WASP, concealment and anti-radar
chaff. On occasion, Newmark has invested in a few IR-homing anti-tank
munitions dispenser rounds when fighting armor-heavy forces; but the expense
precludes their frequent use. The mortar carriers must be grounded
Most of the time the Company is not in the field, and in this period it must retain its fighting edge, look for business and new recruits, and, above all, continue to be a viable economic enterprise. Off the field, then, a very different organization is adopted.
Newmark's closest aides and advisors decide policy, handle recruitment, and finalize and approve the contracts the Finance Team comes up with.
Lt. Singh commands this small team which administers the payroll and finance, liaisons with the unit's investment advisors ( a branch of Credit Francais), and also advertises the Company in the usual outlets. It runs the "Nighting" scheme. Many mercenaries unofficially take night jobs as bouncers or bodyguards. Newmark has decided to formalize this both to ensure that the men get "extracurricular" experience to keep in form and to take a cut for the Company. Employers apply to Lt. Singh, and would-be Nighters risk draconian punishment if they take on jobs not through the Finance Team.
Lt. Christian is in charge of the CTT, a small collection of experienced noncoms who plan and run the numerous training programs and competitive assignments.
This comprises the workshop ( augmented with three to six local civilians hired on a monthly basis), the medical team and the artillery section.
This is largely made up of civilians -- as often as possible either family or relatives of Company soldiers, or would-be scouts still too early in training to be let onto the field.
This is the unofficial name for the bulk of the combatants of the Company.
They are billeted by platoon and work as teams: training, keeping their
equipment in good condition, drilling, and taking part in the very frequent
competitive assignments on which most of their leave entitlement and sometimes
sizable cash bonuses rest. These can get very fraught, but certainly
keep the men on their toes. At any one time at least three teams
will be on guard duty.
The workhorse of the unit is the Warbird, a militarized version of the Bridgeport Swift Songbird. It is distinguishable by the addition of a small winch in the back hull, and a pintle mount on the overhead crossbar. In the Company, this typically bears a DunArmCo Mini-12 machinegun. In addition, every vehicle has auxiliary fuel tanks mounted to the rear and infrared headlights for night operation, as well as a radio set. Teams are encouraged to customize their "Tweeters", though, and there may be a number of other features such as storage racks, spotlights, improvised armor, or, increasingly, Pentapod air filters.
The Metzger Aerosport one-man hovercycle is described in the Ground Vehicle Guide. They are not armed and are used more often to scout areas ( such as dense forest) impassable to the larger Warbird units. Radios and extra fuel tanks are fitted as standard, but none have the rear-firing 30mm AGL favored by some users.
The Company also possesses seven ABR-76 wheeled armored cars, useful little vehicles with good cross-country mobility and decent firepower. All have additional fuel drums mounted at the rear, and Lt. Dyer's also features a satellite uplink dish and maser communications suite.
Both the command staff and the signals section are mounted in Braley Automotive's N36-R ACVs, large hover vehicles similar in size and role to the Explorer ATV, but with appropriate internal equipment and a roof hatch with a ring-mounted DunArmCo Mini-12. Being militarized versions they are capable of limited jump jet flight ( to about 3m up) at the cost of 15 minutes' fuel per minute of flight.
Finally, the field maintenance team works from a specially built vehicle
on a Maurice-Fenderman M-312 combined wheeled/air cushion chassis.
Fully enclosed, it mounts a small auxiliary generator, a diagnostic computer
workstaton, a wide range of tools and spare parts, and an extending visual
and infrared camouflage canopy to cover a a vehicle being worked on from
the elements and satellite/aerial recon. Along one side is lashed
a special piece of equipment, essentially a grid of iron tubes mounting
a wheel at each corner, used to allow easy towing of a disabled hover-vehicle.
Player characters may want to join the Company, but it is a brutal, vicious unit and this is not to be encouraged unless the character is of a like temperament.
It is more likely that they might meet with one or several members of Newmark's Scouts while they are carousing or working as "Nighters".
Newmark's men are likely to be involved in the Kafer War. On Aurore, for example, they would be excellent troops to supplement Tanstaafl's Rapid Response "Ramrod" Teams, or to fight alongside the Ukrainians in the swamps and tidal flats. War brings strange bedfellows, and by accident, necessity, or design, the player characters may be exposed to the Company's distinctive nature. Newmark would, for instance, have few qualms about using civilians as bait -- how would the PCs react?
This is not a typical force; it weaves back and forth across the generally
recognized laws and norms of military behavior. Thus governments
and fellow soldiers will treat it with mingled suspicion and appreciation
of the value of such a unit. To some, it is the ultimate instrument
for "deniable" operations of dubious legality or morality, to others a
barbaric atavism to be watched carefully and disbanded at the first opportunity.
Newmark is the commander, founder, and to many, inspiration of the Company.
He is in his late forties, broad and tough of body, shrewd rather than
intelligent, known for his quick-thinking ability to cope with the rapidly
changing situations of modern war. With a heavy-handed efficiency
and pragmatism that frequently borders on the cruel, he is in many ways
a symbol of his unit's reputation: it gets the job done, but don't inquire
too deeply into the method. Cpt. Newmark is an Elite NPC.
Motivation: Ten Clubs: a violence and confrontation oriented approach. Six Hearts: a strong sense of commitment to his own group and little concern for anyone else.
Newmark's ADC is in many ways his complement. A Punjabi Sikh, bloodied
in the savage internecine wars of the Indian subcontinent, he met Newmark
while on a course in the US, and when he heard that his old acquaintance
was mustering a force, left to enroll. To him, war is the ultimate
crucible of the human soul, and he sees -- incorrectly -- Newmark as the
embodiment of his martial ideal. He glosses over the callous brutality
and allows himself to see only the tactical brilliance, the unflinching
zeal. Singh is constantly perfecting both his ( already considerable)
military skills and his ( equally good) coolness and flexibility.
Lt. Singh is a Veteran NPC.
Motivation: Queen Hearts: he has committed himself to serving and emulating Newmark and if necessary would sacrifice himself to this end. Queen Clubs: his inflexibility is extraordinary and having decided that Newmark is his ideal role model, it will take a lot to change his mind.
The senior NCO of the Company is an amiable and mildly corrupt individual,
who gets away with a lot for two key reasons. First of all, he is
a very good soldier once the firing has started. Perhaps more importantly,
though, his relative humanity tempers Newmark and acts as a valuable buffer,
keeping the mood of the unit happier. He is an ex-Marine NCO with
a wealth of experience. First Sgt. Kline is a Veteran NPC.
Motivation: Five Diamonds: interested in money and always amenable to a little "harmless" bribery. Two Hearts: relatively easy-going and amiable.
Serly is American, a Marine who left with Newmark. His importance
in the Company is not so much due to his role as a communications officer,
but to his other function: chief interrogator. A rangy, hard-bitten
man, he knows all the tricks of the torturers' trade, and can do things
with a few bits of wire or some pliers which is better off left unsaid.
This hardly makes him the unit's most popular man. Lt. Serly is an
Motivation: King Clubs: a sadist; Five Spades: a burning desire to do well, to be given responsibility.
Lt. Daley, an adequate officer, owes his post as commander of the First
Platoon to his having once saved Newmark's life in battle, rather than
to military brilliance. He realizes this, and seesaws from a glum
awareness of this fact ( reacting violently to perceived slurs on his competence),
to a wry acceptance of his limitations and an effort to do his best regardless.
Personable and fairly handsome, he would rather be in a desk job, but it
is not in his character to defy fate, just to roll with the punches.
Lt. Daley is a Green NPC.
Motivation: King Hearts: honest to a fault. Three Hearts: pleasant and helpful.
An anomaly in this overwhelmingly Anglo-Saxon unit, Christian is a tough,
Neanderthal-looking ex-French Marine. As brutally efficient as Newmark
himself, he does not take kindly to Daley's assumed seniority to him or
to his ironic nickname "Smiley". Lt. Christian is a Veteran NPC.
Motivation: Jack Spades: an arrogant and self important man. Nine Clubs: he loves a good fight, indeed, only seems happy in the midst of battle.
Dyer was a British officer who tired of the Royal Calvary after one too
many of the feckless minor sons of noble families got promoted over his
head. He is eternally rumpled and unkempt, and cultivates an inverse
snobbery which can sometimes be very aggravating, but at heart, he is essentially
decent. The problem is that he is so self-centered that it takes
a lot to get through to him. Lt. Dyer is an Experienced NPC
Motivation: Five Clubs: he is a soldier and adopts a soldier's confrontation-centered approach to life. Two Spades: he is also a bit of a boaster and his tall tales are infamous in the unit.
Newmark's Scouts is almost wholly of Anglo-Saxon make-up. Many are US marines, but a fair number are British, Australian, and Texan. All have had military experience before enrollment, and they are quite a motley, dangerous crew. They have something of a name for independence and audacity on the field, and undisciplined behavior and criminality off of it. Hazing, strict pecking orders, and regular ( officially banned, unofficially tolerated) challenges and intersection ( team on team, etc.) fights keep the men in condition, but also prevent them from ever having that total trust in each other that characterizes the very best of mercenary units. All are male.
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