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Putting Mercs together


From the look of the Mercs offered in Star Mercs they seem to generally have a specialty. Doing combined ops would be difficult, even not taking into account that they might have been opponents in the last contract. Yes we all know about the "no hard feelings code", but still. Not to mention that they probably have things they don't want to tell each other, in case they are lined up against each other again, and so on. It might be interesting to think about how to get Mercs to work together smoothly. If they had been in one service like the Impies it would be different. But Mercs are a few from here, and a few from there, somehow made into an army. Or even the support for the planetary army, another piece. All these pieces have to fit together.
Unfortunately, I don't have that book, but if you take a look at something like Hammer's Slammers or some of the Battletech books, these feature Mercenary "Companies". In this usage, "Companies" has a double meaning: both the military AND the corporate meanings.

A Traveller campaign is usually more suited to small groups of people, like 4-8 members for the company, though they may have some hirelings to help man their ship or something, and therefore (since they're NPCs) they have a level of loyalty.

A mercenary customer is going to hire the right kind of company to suit their job. A large company that possesses numerous combat vehicles will charge a high price and be needed for larger conflicts, or perhaps search and destroy, or even as a diversion. Most frequently, mercs are used as either cannon fodder or for "privateering". I yoink on that because this would be operations where you raid the enemy's rear and cut his supply and communications lines, like raids, but longer duration. Ships may have nothing to do with it.

A small group, like what most PCs are part of (in my experience) is not suited for fighting a large war. You WOULDN'T put together a motley crew of mercs to form a battalion for the exact reasons you stated. You send them out in their normal packaging (that is to say, if they are individuals or small teams, that's how they go out) and they may assassinate some one or try to solve a supply problem in one local area or make a drop somewhere.

Basically, whatever the mission the employer needs, he looks for a company that is the right size to handle that. Of course, a large company need not send every man they have; if it's a one man job, that's all they'll send, if they accept the contract. If the contract calls for 1000 men, then there better be that many showing up. Any more, the company isn't going to get anything more than the agreed upon price, so it's wasted personnel if there are other things for them to do.

The leader of the mercs needs to have business sense, and run his company like a business, or he will go broke, even if he is wildly successful.
When you hire a merc, part of the cost is that you are paying the mercs to let other mercs in your service know their strengths and weaknesses.

Mercs should not be cheap. For a bounce infantry regiment (Battlesuits and grav belts), you can figure at least Cr1000 per day per troop. The suits need replacing every few years, plus you have to feed and pay the troops. Food is about Cr20 per man-day, but add the "2000 days of combat duty" life of a battlesuit, at MCr1.5 each suit... that's Cr750 per day amortizing the cost...
Pay is likewise Cr50-100 per day.

You lay out huge expenses to form the unit. Your employer pays you for being ready to go and being already trained and equipped.

In one game I ran, I had a merc unit of Bounce Infantry being played (PC's as cadre of the unit; senior staff). They charged KCr3 per day per troop. Plus transport, Food, and travel pay. This worked out to be (for a 1/3 staffed regiment) over MCr2 per field day... and they charged way more for drop ops.

Grunt infantry can be had far cheaper, if the environment allows.

You field units like this at the company, battalion, or regimental levels; these units are internally cohesive, and usually long-standing. You put units together under NON-MERC superiors, and then tell the mercs what you want done. The superior DISCUSSES with the mercs who and how, and makes a decision. (Or, if stupid, or arrogant, the supervising officer orders the unt he likes least to do the task...)

A Merc unit that takes significant losses would almost never be "Combined" with reinforcements from other units... Relieved by other units, yes.

IMTU, Merc Units need charters from the SS or Sector Dukes, or in rare cases, the Archduke. This is a charter system. The charter is a two way agreement: The holder gets to have military hardware, and may engage in contract as a unit of mercenaries, for actions within the area or against threats to the imperium. It also requires the unit be trained to the minimum standard, and that, in timme offf war, the unit will be mobilized as part of the Imperial Army.

Becuase of charters, most mercs have long histories... and unit loyalty is seen as a point fo pride.