17 Royal Guards
As Frederick entered the Capital, tired and worn out, he noticed there were significantly more guards on patrol. His Royal Guards were far too distinctive and as such he had been recognised as soon as he got to the gates. Every patrol team would clear the way and stand by the side of the road after bowing their heads once.
These guards in the Capital were his own men. He had taken over the military forces under Crown control a month after he arrived in this world. His father had begun to deteriorate and could no longer handle both military and civil affairs, as a result he had passed on those duties to him.
(Almost two years ago)
Frederick had at first thought it would be great to be in control of an army, but he soon found out that it was not much of one. It was incredibly disorganised and had many layers of bureaucracy, in fact there seemed to be more non-combatants than actual soldiers. As for what they were equipped with, well, it was probably an overstatement to say they had equipment at all. Only the elites, the Royal Guards were fully equipped and were trained like professional soldiers.
As for the rest, they were more so militiamen than anything else. They were still equipped with pikes and bows, there were a few that had leftover muskets. It was frankly quite embarrassing. As a result, Frederick had conducted a complete overhaul of the military under his control. Although it would cost a large amount, fortunately the treasury was well stocked after the decades of peace and economic prosperity. Since the failed invasion by Svea, the central administration in Erlangen had cut down on military spending as the successive Prime Minister's had called it wasteful and needless after all, the Counts all had their own militaries and they were perfectly well equipped. The only threat to the Crown lands came from the pass that connected Styria and Erlitz but that did not need too many men and Styria was on rather friendly terms with Erlitz.
As a result, the military had been neglected for the past few decades. As for the Royal Guards, they were maintained and continued to be improved, after all they represented the Royal family and upheld their reputation. As a result, they had been expanded from the original thousand men, to the current ten thousand men. They were equipped with the latest weapons and were the strongest military force in all of Erlitz.
This was where Frederick had begun his plan to reform the military of Erlitz. He took this opportunity to experiment and work out the best way to implement his ideas. His plan was to create a template locally that he could then upscale and replicate nationally the day he became Grand Prince and managed to abolish landed titles.
The first thing he did was to gather up all of the soldiers in Erlangen which included the Royal Guards and the garrison. For a city with an estimated population of one million, there were actually not that many soldiers. In fact with the Royal Guards sized at ten thousand and assigned to defend the Royal Palace and a further eighty-thousand soldiers to defend the outer walls and patrol the city, the military did not even take up a tenth of the population of the city.
In comparison, Prusenberg, the capital of Pruse had a population of two million but a garrison force
of over two-hundred and fifty thousand for the city alone. These were not militiamen but actual trained and fully qualified soldiers, Pruse was the first nation across Agenor to adopt a purely professional standing army and every soldier was drawn from their extensive military training camps. It seemed a little excessive but since Pruse could maintain such a large force from the city alone, it seemed a wise move, after all it was a significant deterrent.
Frederick had similar plans in the future, he too wished to turn the current hodgepodge military into a professional standing army. He had the framework in the form of the Royal Guards, but he now needed to expand that across the nation. But first he would change the forces in his own lands first.
Frederick stood on a stage erected on the parade grounds and before him were the ten thousand Royal Guards formed up perfectly. They stood tall and straight and he could see the discipline they had been instilled with.
On the other hand, the rest of the men were a mess. Although they stood in their ranks, many of them were slouched and some even sat on the ground. Their uniforms were untidy, some were rather worn out. Frederick felt some of them looked more like thugs than guards.
Frederick did not even both to say anything out loud, they would not be able to hear and neither they did they looked like they would care. So, he decided to save his breath and everyone else's time. He immediately called over Erhart, who brought over a brigadier general and his colonels.
They were all from the Royal Guards, the highest rank in the garrison force was only captain, in fact a single captain looked after the entire force. Frederick also had him called over. The man that came over was only in his mid-thirties. He had been a guard for almost twenty-years and had only been promoted to captain two years ago, after the previous one decided to retire due to health reasons. The only reason he had been selected was because there were no others in the force that were suitable nor willing to take up the strenuous work.
"Soldier, what's your name?" Frederick asked in curiosity.
"My name is Jeff, Your Highness." The man calmly replied.
Frederick gave Jeff a once over before he nodded in approval. It was no wonder that this man had been promoted, he remained calm and collected despite the presence of those that far outranked him. Frederick took an instinctive like towards Jeff.
"So, Jeff, what do you think about your men?" Frederick emphasised the 'your' in his question.
"Umm, Your Highness, the men are in my honest opinion not worthy of their position."
"Oh, so what have you done about it since you took the job?"
"Nothing, Your Highness, it shames me, but I have been unable to make any changes." Jeff admitted with a downcast tone before he continued.
"At first, I thought that if I merely put in effort, if I could change a few of them, those that were closest to me at the top, then it could bring about effective change. But, none of them listen to me. None of them care, they only care about ensuring they are paid and that the people are well protected. Since their motivation contained no ill intent, I eventually gave up."
Frederick listened to the confession from Jeff and felt a little sorry for him. It seemed he had tried in the first few months of his appointment to instil some discipline in the garrison. According to Phillip's report, Jeff had thrown out a few rotten apples from the force and had the rest undergo some extra training. He also requested more funds from the government in an attempt to fix up their appearance, especially the poor uniforms.
However, the Prime Minister with his fiscally conservative mindset refused to allocate more funds to the garrison. The rotten apples then banded with some of the members who were discontent with the extra training to stir trouble. Eventually a vocal enough minority forced Jeff to reconsider his plans and with failure after failure, he simply gave up.
Frederick looked over at Erhart and the other colonels, they looked at Jeff with empathetic eyes. Had he decided to join the Royal Guards as opposed to the garrison, then his life would have been very different. His outlook and mindset were the exact type the Royal Guards were after, in fact it would not have been surprising for him to be among the ranks of the colonels before him. Alas one could not change the past.
However, Frederick now saw a great opportunity to reform the garrison. He had Erhart hand out a document to each of the colonels present. It contained the new structure and ranks of the military Frederick had envisioned. The document read as follows,
Military Ranks/Army composition
- Field Marshal: Leads multiple armies
- General: Leads an army (up to 300000)
- Lieutenant General: leads a corps (25k to 50000)
- Major General: Leads division (10k to 25000)
- Brigadier General: Leads regiment (5000)
- Colonel: Leads brigade (1000)
- Lieutenant Colonel: Leads battalion (500)
- Captain: Leads company (100)
- Lieutenant: leads platoon (50)
- Sergeant: leads squad (10)
- Corporal: leads fireteam (5)
- Private: lowest rank
In brackets were the number of men that the rank could command as well as the maximum number of soldiers in that composition.
Frederick believed this systematic approach to the military held clear advantages over the current ad hoc organisation, that had been plucked out of thin air over the years. First off it created a clear hierarchy and promotional structure. It also clarified how many men a rank could command, and it also attached names to certain groups of soldiers. Calling a group of one thousand men, a brigade sounded much better than the former.
The colonels quickly disseminated the new structure and were clearly happy with it. After all they could now clearly see just how much further they could go. It also made it a lot easier on them to know exactly what the upper limit of men they could command was, after all none of them here wanted to get into a situation like Captain Jeff. As according to this new structure the captain rank was only qualified to lead one hundred men, yet in reality he was overseeing eighty-thousand men.
They all once again shot sympathetic looks at Jeff. The colonels were all smart enough to see where things were going and so they all once again gave their attention to Frederick. Frederick smiled and then gave out his orders.
"Now that you have seen the new structure, I would like you all to gather up five thousand men each, you are all to be promoted to brigadier general, effective immediately. Brigadier General Wendel you are to be promoted to Lieutenant General, also effective immediately. Erhart, let me reaffirm your position in these new rankings, you're a general. From now on the Royal Guards will be the only military force within Erlangen. You are to train up all five thousand men under your charge to the standards of a Royal Guard within six months. You have free reign over the men, you can promote, demote to your hearts content. However, depending on your performance, you may be demoted back to your original rank or further down, on the contrary you may even be promoted, I suggest you see this as a test to prove that you deserve the promotion."
"By your command, Your Highness!" The ten colonels, now brigadier generals shouted enthusiastically as they hurried off to pick five thousand men each. This left Erhart, Wendel and Jeff all looking at Frederick awaiting further orders.
Frederick still had thirty thousand men left over. He decided to expand his experiment further.
"Wendel call over the captains in the Royal Guards."
Wendel immediately shouted out to the Royal Guards who were still standing before the stage. Not too long after, a large group of men stood before Frederick. In the old structure, each colonel had two captains beneath them. However, in the new system there would be ten.
Frederick took a good and hard look over these twenty men before he decided to go with his new idea. He had Erhart bring out another twenty of the same documents he had shown the colonels earlier. They quickly read it before they once again cast their attention back at Frederick. Having seen the enthusiasm displayed by their superiors earlier, they could guess what Frederick's plan was.
"As you can probably guess, all of you are now promoted to colonel. You are to each pick one thousand men after the other brigadier generals have finished. Your task is to train them up to the standards of a Royal Guard within six months. You have free reign over them, you can promote, demote, even discharge them if you see fit. However, you must ensure that your brigade complies with the new structure. I expect at the end of the six months for there to be one thousand men waiting for me, two lieutenant colonels, ten captains, twenty lieutenants, one hundred sergeants and two hundred corporals. Understood?"
"Yes, Your Highness!" They too shouted with great enthusiasm before they hurried off to pick their men.
"Your Highness, what will you do with the remaining ten thousand?" Wendel asked in curiosity.
"Oh, they're all yours, Lieutenant General. We can't have you left out of the competition, now can we? That would be too unfair on your subordinates. Here I will even throw you a helping hand, Jeff, you're promoted to major general and will be placed under Wendel's command, understood?"
Wendel and Jeff both gave Frederick a salute before they responded enthusiastically, "Understood!"
Frederick watched the two men introduce themselves as they walked off to pick up the leftovers and he was happy that he could make use of the talented Jeff. They would have the hardest task but with their boundless experience it should not be too difficult for them. Wendel was in his mid-forties and had been a Royal Guard for over twenty years and together with Jeff, Frederick had high expectations for them.
Frederick and Erhart left the parade grounds as he needed to inform his Father and the Prime Minister of his actions. After all, the new organisation would need an injection of funds.