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  1. Spudkirk, May 622 AE Naval intelligence report 6Ab3 Unconventional adversary: The Monomonto Atakebune From our sources in the old world, it is clear that the Monomonto empire has never been strong in ocean-going vessels, mainly focusing on heavy coastal vessels for inshore patrols and support for land combat. This is underlined by the almost complete absence of Monomonto merchant vessels throughout the known world. Hence, the campaign on El Oleonda has posed a significant challenge as Halosian nations take the battle to the seas. Having travelled to the new world on allied Lotus junks, the Monomonto forces have had no independent naval support for their campaigning, their indigenous vessels not suitable for the crossing to Terra Nova. As this challenge has become evident, Monomonto forces have brought shipwrights to Terra Nova, to set up local shipbuilding efforts. This has resulted in locally produced versions of the Monomonto Atakebune as first encountered by Lord Damaximus' expedition a few years back. These are heavily built, cumbersome vessels propelled by oarsmen and armoured with hardwood scantlings, and will pose a challenge to our traditional tactics. They will resist both small arms fire and lower calibre guns in anything but point-blank range, and are next to impossible to immobiliser, having no rigging to cut down. The oar propulsion will add an advantage in the fickle winds of inshore combat or other low wind conditions, akin to the challenges the Royal Navy faced in skirmishes with southern nations and their galleys in the past. Armaments are generally inferior to Halosian artillery, although the main weapon, a large ballista, can hurl massive spear-like missiles hundreds of yards at accuracy matching or surpassing some cannon. Sources claim that these missiles can carry explosives or firebombs, detonating on impact, posing a considerable challenge to Halosion vessels. With no rigging to operate, all deck crew can focus on fighting, and armed with muskets, the barrage can be relentless, fired from behind the armoured shields. They are believed to carry large crews of soldiers, who may prove very troublesome in the event of a boarding. Overall, the Atakebune is not generally considered a threat to the Royal Navy ships operating in the theatre, but in some situations, particularly inshore or in a calm, they may be able to leverage their specific characteristics to great advantage against our fleets. Monomonto commanders and troops are generally known for great bravery and skill, and we have no reason to believe their navy would act differently. We advise all commanders and captains to engage the Atakebune only in favourable weather conditions, opening fire at medium range and targeting first the massive ballista on deck, followed by shots between wind and water, aiming to sink the enemy. The ships are deemed impractical for the Royal Navy and of little value for civilian shipping, and the risks of boarding action should be avoided, at least until more is known about the enemy. In her Majesty's Service -= REDACTED =- Naval intelligence
  2. Clan Amagai samurai and ashigaru on Jinzi Island (El Oleonda) From left to right: 1) Ashigaru musketeer: in traditional Monomonto armies, the ashigaru (literally “light feet”) are basically all the soldiers not belonging to the samurai class, ranging from peasants with clubs and spears to heavily armoured warriors. The introduction of gunpowder turned ashigaru into a formidable fighting force: anybody can learn how to shoot in a few days, and bullets have little respect for courage or nobility. Although not as disciplined as Madrician line infantry, or as the “new-doctrine” soldiers deployed by other clans, the Amagai clan musketeers can be deadly, especially when fighting in tight formations. 2) Naginata samurai: somehow similar the the knights dominating the Madrician kingdoms after the Empire, the samurai are skilled warriors following a code of rules, the way of the sword. They live with honour and die with honour, following their lord to victory or death: surrendering or retreating is not an option, and they consider killing their enemies more merciful than taking them as captives. Even if samurai are mainly known for their swords, their main weapon is usually a spear (yari) or a sort of halberd (naginata). 3) Samurai wearing the Amagai sashimono: Monomonto warriors are extremely heterogeneous in clothing and equipment, even if when they belong to the same clan. Weapons are often taken from defeated enemies, and an armour can change owner several times. To recognise foes and friends, warriors and commanders have therefore to rely on the sashimono, a little flag worn on warriors’ back. 4) Amagai Ieyasu: daimyo (feudal lord) of the Amagai clan. Warrior from tip to toe, hard and inflexible as the steel of his sword, he is seen by many as a living incarnation of the way. He led his men into countless battles, often against stronger warlords, and he always won, becoming a sort of legend. Times are changing fast, however, and famous warriors have already fallen on the island, killed without honour by Carnite grunts. The old warrior is now in front of a difficult choice: embracing some of the foreign innovations, or leading once again the charge of his samurai towards the guns of the enemies, possibly to a glorious death. 5) Amagai Nanako: while almost all the samurai are men, nothing forbids women to follow the way of the sword. Second daughter of Amagai Ieyasu, Nanako is a skilled warrior and a respected leader. 6) Samurai swordsman: a samurai showing his famous swords, katana (the “true” sword) and wakizashi (the long knife); as sharp as razor blades, thes weapons can literally cut an enemy in half. Samurai spend their all life training with swords, and only a very few Madricians could defeat one of them in a duel. 7-8) Tamaco tribe ashigaru: with war raging on Jinzi Island, several of the tribes of New Haven Seas got involved in the conflict, either siding with one of the nations or attacking anyone entering their lands. Several warriors of the Tamaco tribe joined the Monomonto armies as auxiliaries: for them, this is just a different way to continue their ancestral war against the Tyree’De and other rival tribes. The Tamaco warriors can be easily recognised from their red war paint and their helms carved from shark skulls… some of them, however, gladly replaced their traditional equipments with the far more effective Monomonto steel!