View of the Texacoran coastal defense line at Port Wagner from the communications trench position of Company E, 7th Heartland Militia Regiment (The Apache Fusiliers), Hudson's Independent Militia Brigade. In the foreground from right to left stand a brevet first lieutenant, a corporal, and three privates of the Apache Fusiliers.
An outlying redoubt of Fort Meridian, the key to the northern flank of this salient in the line, is visible in the background, along with several 406mm Nova Pattern coastal defense guns of Battery Veracruz, 28th Heavy Artillery, provisionally attached to Hudson's Independent Militia Brigade.
Located in the tidal mudflats of the Southern Hemisphere, the Port Wagner defenses mark the southernmost stretch of the fortified land and sea border between the Texacoran core territories to the west and the Kommersant's agricultural subsidiary states to the east. Although the Kommersant is nominally at peace with the Texacoran nation in the Southern Hemisphere through a complex arrangement of formal treaties and non-aggression pacts, memories and mistakes of the last War Between the Fleets remain fresh in the minds of the Texacoran general staff, which has expended vast amounts of resources in fortifying the border zones with hundreds of submerged minefields and countless kilometers of sturdily constructed entrenchments and fortifications concentrated about the key border ports that control entry to the shallow coastal waters of the Texacoran heartlands.
As the creme de la creme of the Texacoran amphibious divisions has been almost continuously deployed to the colonial territories and frontier of the Northern Hemisphere since the conclusion of the last War Between the Fleets, the so-called Seven Day Line that delineates the border between Texacor and Kommersant in the Southern Hemisphere is almost exclusively garrisoned by second-tier militia units of the Texacoran nation, augmented by seasoned detachments of picket treadnoughts, regular artillery batteries, and just a mere sprinkling of the veteran marine and field infantry regulars whose martial valor is the pride of the Texacoran armies. Should the Kommersant ever inaugurate a new War Between the Fleets by sending its armada of mobile squadrons and massed conscript divisions against the Seven Day Line, the beleaguered and outnumbered Texacoran defenders know that they need only hold out for the eponymous seven days required for the Texacoran general staff to redeploy its amphibious divisions, with their fleets of formidable treadnoughts, for the relief of the heartland defenses.
While the strength of the Seven Day Line is often credited to the ingenuity of the Texacoran general staff's Corps of Engineers, which labors to constantly reconstruct and improve entire sections of the Line in response to the reshaping of terrain features during the equatorial storm season, the militia units which garrison the line enjoy the sympathy, if not the complete confidence, of the Texacoran citizen-soldiery despite the average militiaman's tactical inferiority relative to the average marine or field infantryman.
The enlisted ranks of the militia regiments are drawn from the first sons and daughters of the farmsteading Texacoran yeomanry, who are tied to their inherited agricultural plots by the seasonal demands of planting and harvest. Seasonal militia enlistment thus enables the firstborn sons and daughters of the yeomanry to both tend to their lands and satisfy the obligations of the national service levy via deployment with the local militia regiment to the nearest stretch of the Seven Days Line, often just one day's journey by steamer from the militiaman's home territory. Meanwhile, the landless second and third sons of the yeomanry provide a ready source of volunteers for the regular regiments of the Texacoran amphibious divisions.
In the commissioned ranks of the militia, the phenomenon is reversed: militia units are largely officered by the second and third sons and daughters of the Texacoran hereditary officer corps. While all scions of the hereditary officer corps are guaranteed a place in the Texacoran War College, the highly coveted field commissions with regular regiments of the Texacoran amphibious divisions are necessarily limited in number and availability. Especially during peacetime, when the traditionally high battlefield casualties among the regular officer corps are at a relative low, openings for officers in the regular regiments are few enough that they can only be granted to one son or daughter per family (typically the firstborn) in the hereditary officer corps. Those second and third sons and daughters unable to secure a commission with the regulars, in addition to those disgraced firstborn sons and daughters who prove unable to hack it in the regulars, are granted a commission in the less desirable militia regiments. In the militia, unlike in the regular regiments, the privileges of the hereditary officer class are substantially curtailed due to the bloated size of the officer corps within the militia and the political strength of the landed yeomanry who constitute the bulk of enlisted militiamen. Officer rank within the militia cannot be inherited and in most regiments is actually subject to the vote of the enlisted men, who prefer for the regimental colonelcy and company commander postings to go to more experienced militia officers or disgraced former regular officers rather than fresh faced and green War College graduates.
In spite of the undesirability of a militia commission, militia service provides many a Texacoran hereditary officer with enough basic experience of field command and tactical maneuver such that he or she can confidently slip into the role of a regular officer should such a commission become available. Indeed, the frequent field exercises of the militia regiments keep the martial skills of all ranks relatively fresh and practiced, if not exactly drilled to the degree of perfection demanded by the parade-ground instructors of the War College or the seasoned veterans of the regular regiments.
In the last War Between the States, the Texacoran militiaman developed a well-deserved reputation for steadfastness in the defense of fortified positions and entrenchments, alongside a naive gallantry in the headlong bayonet charge. In general, the militiaman exhibited poor fire control and even sloppier tactical maneuvering, owing as much to his indiscipline and unfamiliarity with combat drill as to the lack of personal radios among NCOs and even junior officers, which severely diminished the advantages conferred by the much vaunted Texacoran tactical comms net. Under sustained enemy fire and in the open without cover, the Texacoran militiaman would often waver and break, especially in the face of unexpected casualties, and in amphibious landing operations on a hostile shore, the militia regiment was invariably reduced to a disorganized and muddled rabble. Since those days, not much has changed to justify a substantial reassessment of the martial character of the Texacoran militiaman, especially since he has had practically no opportunity to reaffirm or refute his historical prowess on the modern battlefield.
The political strength of the landed Texacoran yeomanry ensures that the militia regiments in which they serve are never deployed far from their home territories in the Texacoran heartlands. Even a temporary or emergency deployment to the frontier fringe of the Southern Hemisphere is considered something of a hardship by the farmsteading yeomanry of the militia, and a deployment of any kind to the colonial territories of the Northern Hemisphere is completely unheard of and would undoubtedly be met with a state of unrest approaching mutiny. Thus the militia regiments have spent the past few decades exclusively involved in garrison duty and field exercises, with the occasional confused and inconclusive border skirmish with Kommersant picket squadrons or privateers, which is often decided by the attached regular artillery or treadnought rapid reaction force rather than the indifferent hyper-velocity musketry of the Texacoran militiaman. As a result of his sedentary and seasonal deployment to the static defenses and trenches of the Seven Day Line, with its semi-permanent bivouacs and field kitchens, the militiaman has earned the derisive monikers of "Seven Day Soldier", "Mud Lizard", and "Dugout Dweller" from the dismissive Texacoran regular of the Old Salt regiments.
In addition to freeing up the bulk of the regular regiments for extended length deployments in the colonial north, the militia's service in garrison duty has also tremendously relieved the strain on the Texacoran Quartermaster Corps's perpetually overtaxed logistical network. The militia regiments largely provide their own homegrown food and are content to receive secondhand or obsolete arms and armor. Indeed, few among the militiamen possess any sort of modern ceramsteel ballistic armor, instead trusting to the strength of their field fortifications and entrenchments to shield them from enemy fire should the threat of full scale war with the Kommersant arise. Even the smartly painted helmets of the militiamen are simply common stamped-steel copies of the forged ceramsteel originals worn by their counterparts in the regular regiments. Offering moderate protection only against glancing shrapnel hits, the much derided "tin pots" are often clipped to the belt by carefree militiamen, who prefer the more comfortable enlisted man's forage cap or officer's slouch hat for everyday headwear, or painted with unique personal markings by those yeoman farmsteaders who believe in the superstitious effect of lucky charms.
In field uniforms as well, the militiaman often lags a full generation behind the smartly dressed regulars of the Texacoran field regiments. Many veteran militiamen still proudly wear the blue-grey trousers of the old battle dress, since phased out for a subdued khaki in regular service and bright khaki in militia service, as the striking image of the "Blueleg" militiaman is inextricably tied to the glories of the last War Between the Fleets. Boot gaiters, only now regaining favor in the regular field regiments, never went out of style in the "backwards" militia regiments, and many militia officers still sport uniforms and rank insignia bearing the old branch-of-service colors, which were updated after the last War Between the Fleets to eliminate the distinction between the hereditary officer corps and the enlisted citizen-soldiery of each branch.
In armaments, the Texacoran militiaman also presents a contrast from his regular counterpart. Nearly all militiamen are armed with the Pattern '53 Port Faulkner rifle-musket, a weapon that is no longer in service with any regular regiments. Even hereditary officers, who in regular regimental service are often seen brandishing ancient auto-carbines and compact particle-beam rifles of pre-Collapse vintage or bespoke luxury revolvers of modern manufacture, are armed with the plain and unsophisticated Pattern '53 rifle-musket when serving in the militia, as the second and third sons and daughters of the hereditary officer corps are unlikely to inherit prized family heirlooms. In militia service, the Pattern '53, a single-shot, anti-personnel breechloader, has been retrofitted in recent years with a breechblock conversion that enables the weapon to fire modern muzzle-loaded, hyper-velocity, armor-piercing slugs, granting the militiaman a degree of anti-armor/anti-fleet capability. However, as the Pattern '53's basic breech mechanism and barrel were never designed to withstand the immense pressures and temperatures inherent to modern hyper-velocity musketry, accuracy and penetration with modern armor-piercing slugs is suboptimal compared to the performance provided by the updated Pattern '57 rifle, while the lifespan of the older Pattern '53 when employed in the capacity of modern hyper-velocity musketry is correspondingly worse. Indeed, each season, militiamen are only permitted to fire a handful of hyper-velocity rounds from their older Pattern '53s on the practice range for fear of subjecting the rifles to a catastrophic failure during the heat of combat.
In addition, the militiaman's choice of cold steel is similarly dated. The Pattern '53 rifle is only compatible with the older Model A-series of spike-socket bayonet. Shorter and less useful both in and out of combat than the Texacoran regular's modern sword-socket bayonet, the older pattern of bayonet has almost certainly never seen combat action since the last War Between the Fleets. About the only good thing that can be said of the older bayonet in comparison to its modern counterpart is that it weighs slightly less and is thus less likely to interfere with the already dubious offhand marksmanship of the average militiaman when it is clipped to the muzzle of his rifle. Even the steel alloy of the older bayonet is inferior to that of the modern sword-socket bayonet, to the extent that militiamen are discouraged from using it as a skewer for roasting their field rations for fear of weakening the already brittle steel by prolonged exposure to the heat of a flame.
The last visible difference between the Texacoran militiaman and his regular counterpart lies in the absence of the iconic mameluke saber among the ranks of the former's officers. The famous curved saber is a revered symbol of the Texacoran hereditary officer corps, and is issued to every graduate of the Texacoran War College to commemorate the ancient ICA Aerospace Marine tradition from which the aristocracy of the Texacoran nation claims descent. However, as a concession to the democratic and egalitarian sensibilities of the Texacoran enlisted yeomanry, militia officers are prohibited from wearing the saber as a badge of rank and must content themselves with the ancient Eagle, Globe, and Anchor emblem as their only visible token of aristocratic descent.