by Anders Blixt
The Germany military became interested in establishing a presence on Mars at the end of the 1870s, when they saw what advantages the British had gained from the Red Planet, like liftwood airships that could topple the military balance in Europe. The General Staff wanted bases close to the Astusapes, an area with the precious liftwood.
Western Dioscuria with the cities of Dioscuria, Protonilus, and Ismenilus seemed to be a proper place in which to place troops and airships. It was reasonably close to Astusapes, while it at the same time did not belong to the sphere of influence of some other major political actor. In the mid-1880s Bismarck offered the three sergals (city princes) protection against foreign enemies together with domestic autonomy in return for German base rights, control over the cities' foreign policies, and trade advantages. The three cities were relatively weak and their sergals feared that they would involuntarily drawn into the triangular power struggles between the Boreosyrtis League, Great Britain, and the Oenotrian League. They saw clear advantages with the German offer and accepted it gratefully; in 1887 the Schutzgebiet Westdioscuria was formally established by the signing of three protectorate treaties.
Each city, headed by its autocratic sergal, rules itself in
all internal matters, but the jurisdiction is somewhat limited for German
nationals. For instance, German military personnel is not subject to local
law, but to German military law. The cities are very similar in culture and
share a common language, the sibilant Dioscurian, making things easier for
the Germans. The German Colonial Ministry appoints the senior German official,
der Reichskommissar, residing in Dioscuria, with responsibility for
military matters of the protectorate and its relations to other political
entities on Mars. He has of course also a significant influence on domestic
matters and the three sergals usually listens carefully to his advice. The
current Reichskommissar is Curd-Friedrich Count von Wartburg, appointed
The Germans are very attentive to what uses their industry may have for the resources found in their colonies. Like the United States and unlike Great Britain, Germany is right now in a period of almost explosive industrial expansion at home. No other European country has a faster growth in GNP. The goal is to overtake Great Britain as the biggest industrial power in Europe soon after the turn of the century. The resources of Venus and Mars play a very important role in this process. One facet of the German plans is the extensive mapping and mineral surveys conducted on Mars. German surveyors, commonly escorted by soldiers, turn up in the most surprising locations.
The military and political establishments in Germany are dominated by the Junker nobility and the ambitious individuals of the rapidly growing bourgeoisie have few opportunities there. Instead they can make their careers in the colonies, where the emphasis is put on competence rather than on heritage. The Colonial Ministry and the military can pick the best from the multitude of applicants that want to go abroad. This has given Germany the most well-run colonial administrations and military forces in the solar system.
The Germans have also choosen to deal with the natives in their own languages. The official language of the administration of German East Africa is Swahili and in Westdioscuria the German use Dioscurian. All officers and NCOs of the native units and all officials in the protectorate administration must have an adequate skill in Dioscurian. They are also expected to learn about the native culture and how the Martians think, simply because such knowledge makes it much easier to run the administration. Some of the causes for the Sepoy mutiny in India in the 1850s were due to the lack of understanding the British had for their Hindu and Moslem subjects. The Germans do not wish to repeat that mistake.
This flexible attitude should not be mistaken for softness.
The Germans are fully prepared to deal harshly with any attempts to destabilize
or threaten their presence on Mars. Since they have guaranteed armed protection
to their cities, it will also be provided in doses strong enough to deter
any potential trouble-maker. The Hill Martian tribes surrounding the protectorate
learned that lesson in the second half of the 1880s, when their raids on
outlying Canal Martian villages were avenged with impunity by German forces.
The particularily vicious Karshekoat tribe was hunted almost to extinction
in 1888 and its scattered remnants had to flee to the Syrtis Lapis area to
1. Schlesischer Jägerbataillon: This Prussian infantry unit was transferred to Mars to secure German interests already in 1882, before the establishment of the protectorate. The uniform is green with red cuffs and includes an Australian style bush-hat. All soldiers and officers carry a zivios, a Dioscurian machete with an ornate hilt, as their special mark of recognition (the officers wear it instead of a sabre).
1. Marsischer Husarenbataillion: This light cavalry unit, mounted on gashants, was established in 1887. It is trained for reconaissance missions in the harsh Martian wilderness. The uniform is of burgundy color with silver embellishments and belongs to the traditional style of German hussars. The sabre is in Martian style.
The Martian flottilla of the Imperial German Navy is led by Kapitän zur See (navy captain) Diedrich Fritze. The cruiser Hamburg (commanded by Fregattenkapitän (commander) Lothar Berger) and the gunboat Marienburg (commanded by Kapitänleutnant (lieutenant) Johann Prien) are based in Dioscuria. The kites of the three cities are also under German command. Since there is no naval infantry in the German navy on Mars, jäger units are assigned to the ships when necessary.
The Marienburg is a brand new ship. She is small, unusually fast and look somewhat like the British Aphid class. There are rumors that her steam engine is of a novel design.
The German army and navy units on Mars are organized together
in the Wehrkommando Mars under major-general Helmut Sauerwein in
Dioscuria. He takes his orders both from the Reichskommissar and from
the General Staff in Berlin, something that has caused serious friction both
between the General Staff and the Colonial Ministry and between Count von
Wartburg and Sauerwein personally. Further, the navy officers dislike being
commanded by an army officer and that has also been the source of some
GERMAN PLANS FOR THE
The Martian airship flotilla will increase in size during the next few years; the energetic and imperialistic emperor Wilhelm II does not want Germany to lag behind Britain and France in any aspect. The main limiting factor is the lack of liftwood and major-general Sauerwein plans to send expeditions into the Astusapes to deal with the High Martians and to secure a good supply of the precious timber.
Copyright © 1996 Anders