Home > KFS, World Background > All along the watchtower: KFS defensive strategy

All along the watchtower: KFS defensive strategy

The Kentucky Free State has a major strategic problem: its military forces are too small to defend its border from raiders.   The five Infantry Regiments can man a few forts along the rivers that mark the KFS borders – but this does not allow them to prevent attacks and infiltrations.   The KFS cannot even rely on these forts to make successful counter-attacks.

Therefore the KFS  had to set up a border security strategy that was much, much more complex and efficient than a simple “keep out!” defence.  It was also relatively cheap.
The strategy includes four major elements:
  1. mark the border to solidify the claim on land, control it
  2. trade and ally with nearby communities/towns/tribes as the “carrot” part of “carrot and stick”
  3. lower the expectation value for net raid profit
  4. use punitive expeditions as the “stick” in “carrot and stick”

As mentioned earlier, the forts and the natural barriers represented by the rivers aren’t capable of stopping many raiding party infiltrations. Their greater value is in the difficulties posed for the exfiltration (return) of a raiding party.

In theory, the border troops would be on “alert status” by the time of exfiltration, the raiders would be  hunted (by armored cavalry and ground-attack aircraft) and they would likely be encumbered  with loot and captives .  Only really strong raiding parties would have a chance of making it out alive and retaining their booty.

In other words, raiders can raid/attack INTO the KFS.  In fact, getting in is fairly easy – but getting out again is difficult, highly risky and probably unprofitable
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Categories: KFS, World Background
  1. Tim McFadden
    April 26, 2010 at 3:13 am

    You’ve got a good explanation and one that could be used. However, the explanation put into the expanded KFS/Bullets and Bluegrass module will be that the KFS employs bands of mercenary horse cavalry “Borderers” to augment the army garrisons. The garrisons, btw, are the five rifle regiments. Each regiment staffs four company forts, with one rifle company each, and one regimental fortress, where they keep the HQ company, cannon company and Cav Troop. You’re absolutely right, this does stretch them thin and leaves them with little tactical flexibility- to strengthen one area, they must strip another.
    The original module mentions that there are no communities outside the Free State for about 40 kilometers. This is because, while slave hunting is illegal within the Free State (other than by legal action) once you’re over the border, anyone is fair game. Communities close to the border of the Free State were either hunted to extinction or fled the constant raids of slave takers.

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