Unlike most of the game's infantry, Marines are not your main fighting force : despite their good statistics, their are expensive, and have a relatively low cost effectiveness. They should be considered a support unit, that will fulfill one of the roles your tanks cannot perform : capturing cities, taking out AT missiles... and entrenching.
You should build relatively few of them, and keep them safely behind your tanks, rushing them forward only when needed, to capture an enemy city, or to cut through AT infantry should your opponent field them in numbers. In defense, they will also perform well, due to their good range and armour. Use them with a general, entrench them and support them with a few AT missiles and machineguns, and they will do their part.
Remember, however, that despite what the propaganda may say, Marines are not the best infantry in the world. Though they are more than a match for Mujahideen or Mobile Infantry, and of course child soldiers, Asian recruits and Allah's Martyrs, elite infantry such as SS Truppen or the Guardia Nacional will make short work of them, so keep them close to the tanks and the artillery.
Heritage and foundationEdit
The Russian Empire's Navy, predecessor of the Vidalian Red Fleet, already had a long tradition of sailors fighting during land battles. During the Vidalian Civil War, the very core of the Vidalian forces comprised sailors who distinguished themselves both by outstanding fighting feats, and by their sound political sense and high level of commitment. The invasion of Europe then both demonstrated the might of the Vidalian seamen and the weakness of the average infantryman.
Therefore, when Marshal Tukhachevsky reorganized the Workers' Armed Forces and replaced infantry by tanks as Vidalia's main fighting force, both the Great Leader Vidal and Admiral Kulov insisted that infantry should remain in service, under command of the Red Fleet : the Naval Infantry was born. At first restricted to small-scale seaborne operations, the Naval Infantry's roles and numbers quickly grew, as Vidalian adventures in Asia and Africa throughout the 40s and 50s soon revealed the myriad weaknesses of Vidalian armour tactics. Vidalist intervention in the Horde Civil War and the Egyptian Sudan revealed that massed armoured charges did not necessarily work well in areas where limited geographical objectives could not be established as in Central Asia and Egypt, or in areas which contained plenty of obstacles for defenders to resist, such as in the swamps and riparian theatres of operation in Angola.
Baptism of fireEdit
What was most required was an infantry force to complement the armoured shock tactics which became the hallmark of Vidalia's senior commanders, or, in the crude manner of the Workers' Armed Forces' lower ranks, "something to pull the pants off the quim before you thrust your prick into it." Their first large-scale engagement in a fully land-based operation was the (ill-fated) attempt to hold Mongolia and Krasnoyarsk against a variety of Horde factions. Although the war would end with no objectives achieved, the ability of the marines to hold their own in urban warfare and assymetrical warfare operations by the enemy soon distinguished them well; they were the given the honour of being the first contingent in line during victory celebrations in Novaya Moskva to commemorate the successful conclusion of the Maratha Conference.
Distinction in the 2nd Levantine WarEdit
It was only during the 2nd Levantine War that the Marines came into their own element when, in an attempt to search for and recover professor Oppenheimer, landed on the Black Sea coast of Turkey, in an effort to block off Salviatian forces from reaching Damascus. Colonel Valery Marsky would note:
- Thanks to the Marines, we managed to capture over 11 redoubts in just 3 hours. Trabzon was ours by 12 October, Samsun surrendered without a fight, and we were well on our way to Konya.
Vidalian Marines would also be sent at the request of the Commissariat for War to Angola, where their training helped them fighting and training Angolan forces in equal measures throughout the Congo and the riparian border on Angola's northern frontier, as well as in Central Africa, where they performed well. James Bananius would later note:
- Without the Marines, there would have been no liberation, no joyous shouts of jubilation in Kampala, no proud tribe of Angolan hunters. It was the Vidalian marines who built the roads on which we advanced, and laid the traps that would chastise our enemies when we retreated in their face.
Needless to say, the reputation that the Naval Infantry (which later were repackaged as the Marines during reforms in the 60s) bought often cost a great deal in blood: casualty rates of 50–75% were not unheard of for Naval Infantry platoons in many engagements.
Role in the Vidalian war machineEdit
The Naval Infantry holds a peculiar place in the Vidalian army : although depending on the Red Fleet's hierarchy, it is most widely used in land operations with the Worker's Armed Forces, making their effective command on the battlefield a true issue. Usually, the case is solved by attaching a liaison officer to every Naval Infantry division sent to the front, but troubles persist at smaller scales : it is not rare to see a Mitchman from the Naval Infantry refusing a direct order from a tank forces leytenant, until instructed otherwise by his liaison officer. The Marine's status of "spearhead of the worldwide revolution" guaranteeing them a good treatment from political officers and their hierarchy, such an arrogant attitude is not uncommon amongst them.
Regardless of this coordination issue, Naval Infantry performs outstandingly well on the battlefield in the precise role it is given : advancing behind the tank line, exploiting any weaknesses in the enemy's forces, and eliminating high-value targets. They are also used as the main battle force in precise battle situations, when tanks happen to be more a burden than a help, namely, defensive situations, dense-environment combat, and of course seaborne assaults.
Vidalian Marines are well-known for their very high morale and spirit of sacrifice, and it is part of their oath to hold their positions to the last man. "Not a step backwards!" ("Ни шагу назад !") is one of their most famous mottos, along with "I shall die, but I shall not surrender." ("Умрю, но не сдаюсь.").
Hence, when facing an overwhelming attack by superior forces, many commanders use their available Naval Infantry forces to delay the enemy long enough to muster reinforcements and fend off the assault. Although usually reluctant to take orders from the land army's officers, the Marines accept such tasks with pride, being almost certain to be quoted in the next day's edition of Vidalskaya Pravda, and conscients of their role as an exemple for the rest of the men. "This is the elite's burden", thus declared Kapitan Orlovsky, one of the Naval Infantry's most honored heroes.
Since most of this desperate fighting ending tragically, it is difficult to evaluate the true behaviour of the marines during such rear-guard combats, but Salviatian records often mention "fanatic resistance from a handful of defenders who fought to the last man", and inspiring stories are told to the Vidalian rank and file by their political officers, of heroes such as matros Ilya Kaplunov, who, as he was attempting to launch a molotov cocktail at a Salviatian tank, was hit by a bullet and set on fire and threw himself on the tank, destroying it. The veracity of such stories is at least questionable, but the dedication and stubbornness of the Vidalian Marines in countless defensive situations is not, and many hopeless battles were eventually won thanks to the sacrifice of a handful of sailors.
Dense battle environmentsEdit
Much terrain is just not fit for massive tank deployments, such as jungle,s swamps, mountains and especially urban combat: this is where the Naval Infantry comes in. Highly trained to close-range fighting and equipped with the best ordnance the Free Motherland of the Workers and the Soldiers can provide, and most of all, convinced that the end justifies the means, Vidalian Marines are particularly efficient in such fights. Engagements such as the 5th Battle of Warsaw were eventually won thanks to the Naval Infantry's skills and brutality. They usually leave behind them a devastated, but cleaned battlefield.
Seaborne assaultsEditThe very first purpose of the Naval Infantry, and still its speciality, seaborne assaults are the combat situation where Vidalian Marines are without doubt the best soldiers in the world. Trained specifically to deploy from assault ships as well as co-operating with both naval artillery and naval aviation, the Marines are able to storm even the best-defended shore and establish a beachhead in a matter of minutes. Whenever Vidalia fights on other continents, the Naval Infantrymen are always the first to set foot on enemy soil. Thanks to their attacks, the Red Fleet has been able to secure many bases in otherwise hostile seas, such as the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans.
The Vidalian Marines wear the vidalian navy's distinctive uniform, composed of a striped white and dark blue shirt "telniashka" (тельняшка), black bell bottomed trousers and a black jacket with a sailor collar. They also wear the traditional black "biezkozirka" ("Безкозирка"), or "visorless hat", with the name of the fleet they belong to written in golden letters on the ribbon that surrounds it - usually the Far Expeditions Fleet - Дальнепоходный Флот.
On the field, Marines occasionaly abandon their sailor collars for a more convenient jacket, and swap their biezkozirka for a black beret.In winter, the Mariness wear a black overcoat on top of their jacket , this distinctive piece of equipment having earned them the nickname of "Black Coats" amongst the Workers' Armed Forces, and a dark grey fur ushanka.
When not wearing their distinctive sailor collar, Marines sport a sleeve patch, to distinguish themselves from their comrades of the Workers' Armed Forces.
WeaponryEditMarines are the best-equipped soldiers in all the Vidalian army. They have been the first to be issued the infamous A-47 assault rifle after it entered mass production, and are nowadays the first to have it replaced with the brand-new A-74M. Every troopers also receives a variety of weapon upgrades, such as grenade launchers and even laser sights for the luckiest ; as well as a vast array of light weaponry : tokarev pistol, frag and AT grenades, and hand-to-hand weapons. Finally, during seaborne assaults, Marines are often issued a kevlar vest to help them fulfill their role as an attack's first wave.
As they do not favour close combat over long-range fighting, nor the other way around, the "Black Coats" enjoy a vast array of support weapons, from long-distance ones such as sniper rifles, RPG's or mortars, to short-ranged ones, like flamethrowers and machineguns.
Although reluctant to fight alongside with the land army, the Marines are trained to combined arms warfare, and perform excellently when supported by the Red Fleet's dedicated units. Thus, they are in direct communication with the Naval Aviation, and can ask for air support from the G-68 fighter-bombers with great accuracy. They also enjoy support from various amphibious tanks, and most of all, artillery fire from the mighty Atomic Battleships that deployed them on the battlefield.
Such a support is, however, limited to the Naval Infantry's shorelines operations, and during the land battles that constitute their main task, the Marines do not enjoy any kind of dedicated support, and have to cooperate with the land-based army. Wether or not their support will be effective greatly depends on the structure of the hierarchy : should they be part of a Shock Army, communication is likely to be quick and efficient ; but in the case of a standart operation, it is not rare to see land army and Naval Infantry elements ignoring each other, with disastrous results.
- Their battle cry is "Polundra !", an old russian naval expression meaning litteraly "Watch out !", adressed to the enemy.
- The Naval Infantry has a large variety of sayings and mottos. Amongst them :
- "Где мы - Там Победа" ("Where we are - there is Victory")
- "Ни шагу назад" ("Not a step backwards")
- "Умрю но не сдаюсь" ("I shall die but I shall not surrender")
- «Враги называют нас — «черная туча»,
Друзья называют нас — гвардия флота! А мы же зовемся скромнее и лучше, Красивей и проще — морская пехота!»
Vragi nazivajut nas - chiornaya tucha Druzya nazivajut nas - gvardiya flota! A mi zhe zovyomsya skromney i luchshe Krasivey i proshe - Morskaya Pekhota!
Enemies call us "The black cloud" Friends call us "The Navy Guards"! But we call ourselves, easier and better More beautiful and simpler : "Naval Infantry!"