Official Motto: Quo Fas Et Gloria Ducunt
|Date of Founding||June 10, 1099|
|Founder||Raymond of Jerusalem|
|Commander||President Elias Abizaid|
|Budget||Lf. 93 billion|
|Doctrine||Global power projection|
The Armed Forces of the Levant are the overall unified military forces of the Levantine States. The Levantine military has an ongoing tradition going back to the crusades, although it has since gone through a number of great reforms. Since the end if the Great War, the Levantine Armed Forces have been built around a doctrine of global power projection, being able to strike around the world using expeditionary forces. This led to the Levantine Marine Corps (LSMC) separating from the Levantine Navy and becoming an independent branch, which has been competing for a number of roles with the Levantine Army, which has been shrinking, at the expense of the Navy, Marine Corps and the Levantine Air Force. The remaining Branch included in the Levantine military are the Levantine Border and Coast Services, which include the Border Police and Coastal Guard, which have been placed in a unified structure.
The Armed Forces of the Levant has grown out of the military forces that stood under the direct command of the first King of the Levant, Manfred. During the initial crusades, while the military force under his command was one of the biggest it was by no means the only one, there were still a number of crusader states, and there were nobles with their own private armies and military orders such as the Knights Templar. The first centuries of the Levantine States were one of ongoing warfare primarily focused on the Shaddadid Caliphate which culminated in the capture of Dimashq in 1300, 2 centuries after the First Crusade. By the 14th Century, the Levantine military had adapted to the conditions in the Levant. Commanders were no longer from the north, but were born and raised in the Levant, some of them Christianized Arabs, others Franks or Catalans. The military had become more centralized and battle-hardened and eventually most military orders not closely aligned with the King were expelled from the Levant, their property and weapons confiscated.
In 1300 as Dimashq was captured mostly due to the hard work of William, who had died two years earlier, the Levantine military was among the strongest of the world. The Shaddadid Caliphate defeated and annexed, and the Bagration Kingdom and remaining independent crusader states soon following, the need for a strong standing army started to wane as the economy became more important. The past centuries of conflict had given rise to a number of wealthy and powerful military families who hoped to benefit out of this, they started powerful mercenary companies who would be fighting for the monarchy if the need was there, but obviously for a price. It would take three relatively powerless monarchs for the leader of one of these families to take advantage of his amassed wealth and private military and to try to take control.
Upon the childless death of Boniface IV, Galeazzo Verucchio, the son of one of the most important commanders in the Siege of Dimashq and just finishing brutally crushing a number of Arab uprisings in the southern Levant marched on Jerusalem. An experienced and respected commander himself, and leader one of one of the most important condottieri families he quickly took control and crowned himself King of the Levant. Between the start of his rule and the fall of the d'Anglano dynasty in 1609 most Kings would be part of a traditional condottieri family. The different mercenary companies were notorious at in-fighting destabilizing the Levant and weakening the Levantine military, which turned into a shadow of what it was in 1300. What mostly kept the Levant together were the prosperous relations with the Talemantine Empire which these Italic Kings established.
It was under King Kristofore II (1617 - 1634) that the condottieri finally fell from power, the heads of some of the most notorious and strongest families assassinated and their properties, estates and weapons confiscated. The Levantine military was expanded, but it's growth and development would quickly stagnate again as the Levant continued to stand in the shadow of the Talemantine Empire, increasingly falling within it's sphere and becoming dependant upon it for it's military doctrines. There was a fairly strong military, but it was relatively backwards. Things would change with the wars of the early 19th century.
The Levant, opposing the Marquettan expansionism under Napoleon constructed a sizeable blue-water navy, the first in the history of the Levant, and a strong and advanced army organized along modern doctrines. The blue-water navy aiding in the isolation of Marquette, the army would eventually land in southern Belmont and aid in the defeat of Napoleon. These events would be the catalyst for the Levant entering the international stage, and the establishment of the Levantine military, which after centuries of stagnancy and operating as an auxiliary force of the Talemantine Empire was now an independent force, both at sea and at land, to reckon with.
The renewed military would have political implications as well. Agustín III of the Levant, himself a veteran of the campaigns was capable of controlling the military commanders, however as he died his son Jaume of the Levant couldn't and within years was toppled by a group of veterans led by Olivier Requena who in collaboration with the Levantine Freethinkers set up a new Republic, and while much of the actual rule of the country was left to the freethinkers, the military was now able to further expand and became nearly invulnerable.
Historically the largest and most important branch of the Levantine military, in recent centuries through the rise of the power projection doctrine putting the focus of the military on the Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force, the role of the Levantine military has degraded and has started to increasingly overlap with that of the Marine Corps, as the Army increasingly focus on expeditionary operations. In 1972, the draft was ended and over the past decades the Army has slimmed, becoming a more professional force with a focus on specialist roles. In 1987, a renewed reservist program was set up for young unemployed males to fulfil duties in the army on a part-time basis and receive combat training, currently several thousands are employed through this program and thousands more have received combat training.
The Levantine military has a specialized Tank Corps, which uses both the indigenous developed Cr-06 Cuirassier and the Cr-94 Caracole which based on the T-72 platform. Most of the Levantine army has been mechanized, and build around doctrines that involve an armored and/or airborne offensive. In recent decades the latter has been especially growing in importance, the Levantine military investing in cargo helicopters culminating in the development of the TH-7X Willow tiltrotor aircraft. Significant investment has also been placed in inter-branch cooperation with the Levantine Air Force, which supports army operations through Tactical and Close Air Support bombers, UAV's and the cB-13 Mars.
Up to the 19th century, the Levant possessed no serious blue-water navy. During the 19th century as the Levant started to modernize and become more active on the international stage, the need for force projection became necessary and under the reign of Lord-Protector Nicolau Fontana the Navy began a large program of expansions which would continue well into the reign of President Emmanuel Mola and would be the first beginnings of the modern Levantine Navy. The Great War was without a doubt the hey-day of the Levantine Navy, as large battleships and aircraft carriers were in the east, and a large fleet of transport ships was built to supply the expeditionary forces.
The Navy retained it's post war-size, considered one of the most important aspects of Levantine international diplomacy, costly nuclear powered cruisers and aircraft carriers being constructed at the peak of the Cold War. In recent years however, the cost to maintain and operate these ships has become a serious strain on the Levantine treasury, and a program of reforms has been devised by the Admiralty to create a more modern navy for the 21st century. This includes the retirement of a number of Cruisers, and coming of planned new classes including the Littoral Combat Ship, and the Arsenal Ship.
Originally the Levantine Air Force, up to 1939 was part of the Army and was in most ways set up to support military operations through tactical bombing, close air support and reconnaissance. The first generations of Air Force commanders hailed from this tradition and would continue to uphold it, teaching it to future generations of officers meaning that these operations continued to be considered the main doctrine of the Levantine Air Force. To this day, the strategic bombing capability of the Levantine Air Force remains under-developed.
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