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The seas are beating roughly on the concrete and natural abutments surrounding the port which is bedecked in the colors of the nation. The thick monsoon clouds are barely letting any of the sunlight through on this morning and a swift breeze is ensuring that the various flags arrayed on the beaches of Ratnagiri have not a resting moment from fluttering. Most of the crowd of people who have come to the dock have their umbrellas ready and all are trying to ward off the unnatural chill for this time of the year. 
 
The uniformed personnel however did not have that luxury. Several ranks of uniformed sailors and officers of Royal Cochin Navy and Royal Cochin Army Marines were standing in groups based on their deployment ship. The largest groups were those of the crew of the seven Cochin class Aircraft Carriers and the smallest those of the ten Saber class corvettes. Apart from the crew of the commissioning warships assembled are also the base personnel of the Royal Cochin Naval Base Ratnagiri. A base with an exalted history, it was the oldest and largest of Cochin's naval bases built at a time when the old Kingdom was a landbound nation and had leased and developed the territory from Dragonisia it had then become the crown jewel in a constellation of Royal Cochin Naval Bases which at one point stretched from Vladivostok to Rio de Janeiro. Now after more than two decades of neglect RCNB Ratnagiri is once again prepared to be the fleet headquarters of the Royal Cochin Navy. 
 
There were old timers here, standing alongside greenhorns standing together in a moment that would bridge the past and present towards a new future. The old sailors looked in satisfaction at the multitude of gray hulls that lined the coast a few hundred yards from the shore, fifty three warships of the Royal Cochin Navy. They remembered with fondnames the names of many of these warships, ships that had sailed into harm's way flying the pennants of their nation and had proclaimed the power and pride of the Kingdom in seven seas. The fifty three warships now arrayed at Ratnagiri are the entire combat force of the Royal Cochin Navy at the moment. Some of them had sailed over the past few weeks from the Eastern coast of the Kingdom to be part of this great commissioning ceremony. This would be the first and last time that the entire combat fleet of the Navy would be arrayed at one single point. Tomorrow onwards the new warships would be commissioned at their own designated homeports, but today is special. Besides the number fifty three is soon to be changed. The Royal Cochin Navy had a total sanctioned combat strength of 223 warships belonging to various classes. The shipyards of the nation are actively working to equip the Royal Cochin Navy with its full complement of warships.
 
However the pride of the place now went not to the new warships in various stages of contruction and testing, but these fifty three hulls , a mixture of old and new.
 
As the Navy band finished playing the national anthem, the King of Cochin, His Highness Rama Varma rose to address the multitudes in front of him. Despite the overcast conditions the King found himself needing to squint to see the full range of warhips just offshore. He approached the microphone.
 
"Ladies and Gentlmen, citizens of the Kingdom and above all warriors of Cochin," before he could continue however the long overcast clouds suddenly burst forth into rain. While the civilians in the dock struggled to find shade or open and share their umbrellas the thousands of sailors and Marines did not move an inch. A Navy Lieutenant moved to the King to hold an umbrella for him, but Rama Varma bade him halt with his outstretched right hand. With flowing rain water threatening to cloud his eyes he spoke.
 
"This is a good omen. In various civilizations and cultures all around the world, the rains are considered as a curse, an impedent. We in the Indian subcontinent know that the rains are the harbingers of prosperity, the cleaner of earth's filth, the bringer of new life. So it is today. For the past decades our nation rotted in apathy. Our institutions crumbled in neglect and the light that is Cochin was dimming. However we took a new start, a bold new start to rebuild our nation and here we have its fruit today - the fighting warships of the Royal Cochin Navy. Even today at barely fourth of its full fighting strength, the Royal Cochin Navy is more stronger than it had ever been before in its ancient history. And it has all been possible because of you, the warriors of the Royal Cochin Navy. You rose up to the call to the Navy with a zest and energy that made all this possible. With our limited means you rose to the challenges and learned and trained yourself to be finest seamen in the world. I applaud you."
 
"You were led and trained by the veterans of Cochin's wars, our veteran soldiers and sailors who once again answered the call of duty to come out from their retirement to train and teach you. The nation and I can never salute you enough. You gave your past and present so that we may all have a future. "
 
"Last but not the least I would like to thank the brave and tireless workers of our shipyards who put superhuman efforts to ensure that the warships so needed for our nation's defense were swiftly and well produced. You, who build the warships that others command and fight with have been the unsung heroes throughout history, but not from now. Without you there is no Royal Cochin Navy. Without working professionals like you there is no Royal Cochin Defense Forces, there is no Kingdom of Cochin. I thank you from the bottom of my heart and I bow before your selfless hardwork."
 
"I hereby declare the Royal Cochin Naval Base Ratnagiri as fully commmissioned," the King said before raising the Royal Cochin Navy flag on the flagmast near him. 
 
As the pennant reached the top of the flag, Vice Admiral Yusuf Ali Marakkkar bellowed out an order through the microphones,
 
"Sailors, to your ships. NOW"
 
At once the sailors and marines turned about face from their ranks and marched in credence to the numerous ferry boats anchored in wait for them. Fifty at a time, the ferry boats would make several shuttles over the next hour carrying the sailors to their duty ships with each boat carrying 50 sailors leaving the shores every 5 minutes. 
 
As the civilians watched from the shore various warships started powering up their lights and in another hour the lead warhip of the fleet, the Cochin class Aircraft Carrier, CNS Sakthan (A01) gave a loud bellow over its foghorns. At this sign, the King pressed a button which caused an ancient cannon from the time of Shivaji that was painstakingly restored to fire a massive blank charge. This was replied to by a 21 gun salute being fired by all fifty three warships in unison before turning smartly to starboard and sailing away in line astern formation.
 
The Royal Cochin Navy has been born again hard.
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  • 2 weeks later...

An army is never run by the Generals or Colonels, it is in fact run by the Non Commissioned Officers and Sergeants. The fact is as true of Royal Cochin Air Force as any military unit. Compared to other armed forces of the world, RCDF had the disadvantage in that it was expected to built up completely from bottom up in a short span of time, without the institutional heritage and accumulated experience that most armed forces have in the form of their veteran experienced Sergeants. As a more technologically oriented force, RCAF was at a particular disadvantage in its lack of veteran sergeants.

 

The problem was identified early on and a training program, unprecedented in scale and complexity to that seen in armed force throughout history was now happening with the Royal Cochin Air Force. Months before the first combat aircraft of RCAF was coming on line from the GAL flight lines after refurbishing, the volunteers of former RCAF were all grouped into the Training Command and with help of experts painfully brought in from GAL and other industries a massive training program was conducted for the new recruits enlisting to the service. The Air Warrior's School which was formerly located at Yining was hastily rebuilt, albeit shabbily at Hyderabad and it was turned into a factory for NCOs and other enlisted personnel. Trained thoroughly in the technical aspects of the job these recruits soon were assigned to the newly forming RCAF squadrons and regiments.

 

The new GSHQ of RCAF knew that there would be extremely high attrition in men and materiel in the coming years however it was a Darwinian process that could never be avoided. The enlisted men of RCAF were made aware that their actions could and will kill many aviators of the Air Force, mistakes in maintenance are to be expected. However their focus  was to be learning their craft as soon and as dispassionately as possible if the Air Force was to be ready for its purpose of defending the Kingdom's skies. 

 

While the enlisted personnel were being churned out being given extensive training to be vital ground crew a similar Darwinian process was going on in the skies of Agra where the Air Warfare Academy was training the aviators for RCAF. After initial training in propeller driven trainer aircraft the aviators were soon being trained in the old Jadayu Marks 1 and 2 aircafts now being taken out from the National Defense Reserves. Attrition was high. Hundreds of cadets were killed in accidents and mishaps in the first few months as both the trainers and trainees were learning their jobs in the harshest way possible. Not since World War 2 did any Air Force ever have such a war like training program, and like that war the price was often paid in blood and fire. However as months progressed and more and more batches were reporting for training the mortality rates started dropping as the passionate warriors of the Academy started learning fast from their mistakes and Air Warriors worthy of their flags started graduating from the AWA to be assigned to the combat squadrons. While the top rankers went to the fighter squadrons the rest were being processed to the Auxiliary Support Command to fly the transports, tankers and helicopters.

 

The new squadrons started forming up at the various Forward Air Bases across the country as the ground crew, flight crew and the aircrafts started to be mated to each other. The stories at each squadron was pretty much the same. Without the institutional transitioning these warriors had to be molded in a single go by their commanders. The smattering of raw recruits were leavened by veteran sergeants and officers who had answered the calls of duty and remembering and being reminded about the old ways and traditions they started shaping the squadrons. Problems were there, most often due to conflict of egos and ideas but the GSHQ knew that it is a problem that ought to be tackled later. Basic proficiency was the need of the hour, the true elitism that RCAF aspired to would come in due time. As the squadrons started forming the basic exercises also started. 

 

Starting at one on one, two on two, flight on flight, section on section and even squadron on squadron air combat exercises started at each FABs. Again there was a lot of attrition. Scores of aviators lost their lives or limbs in several training accidents and this count has not let up so far. As the weeks passed the training and operational tempo of these combat squadrons rose steadily into a feverish pitch. Aviators who had survived the gruelling training and the month or so of increasing squadron exercises found themselves to be the veterans in a new Air Force and were now instrumental in retraining the new aviators being assigned to the squadrons to fill the gaps left by those who died or quit unable to face the heat. In an Air Force with far too many Lieutenants and far too less Majors and Colonels it is also a time for quick promotions to those who are willing to excel. Below the horizon promotions to Captains and Majors were very common, often at the discretion of Squadron commanders. However in the privilege being extended to the Squadron leaders there is also the inevitable corruption. In a highly dynamic environment corruption is but natural, and this too was turned a blind eye by the General Staff headquarters in the interest of expediency. However though promoted below the horizon the incomptent officers could not however get their squadron billets until they passed through the Command Leadership College, New Delhi. Failure at CLS did not mean depromotion, it did not mean being sent back to their previous squadron - it was instant termination from force. The stringent and unforgiving standards set by the CLS ensured that a modicum of check was placed on corrupt promotion in the squadrons. 

 

As the months turned to years, the Royal Cochin Air Force started taking its shape. It is not unusual to see Colonels and leutenants separated by a bare year or two in age or service duration, because in these tough times the exemplary were very well rewarded. 

 

As the RCDF is now reaching its full combat TOE, the RCAF for once has its full complement of warriors and equipment. However the GSHQ of Royal Cochin Air Force had no pretensions on its combat efficiency. Rampant corruption in promotions, lack of training expertise , all these issues would have to be resolved before the RCAF truly became the kings of the skies.

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  • 1 month later...
2300 IST
FAB Imphal
 
As the clock struck the hour the first of the squadron of HALOBs started taxiing out from its apron. As it lined up for take off it was followed closely on the apron by the rest of squadron of 12 Heavy Transport aircraft. With each aircraft carrying 400 fully combat equipped paratroopers the full combat complement of 10000 combat soldiers would embark in a matter of hours using two squadrons of the HALOBs. The HB31 Regiment's first and second squadron was tasked with carrying the paratroopers while the remaining two squadrons would air drop their heavier equipment. Lifting off from Imphal AFB the regiment fully formed itself 200 NM to the west North of Dhaka where they were accompanied by the RF14 "Otters" regiment of JM4 Tactical Fighters, with the A squadron in the lead, B and C providing flank and D providing tail escort for the formation of transports. 
 
Once the Task Force was fully joined up they turned South as one towards the Port of Chittagong from where they went offshore to a point 200 NM from coast where the Task Force maintained formation on a course that would follow the Coromandel coast cross back to land over Chennai, head towards Cochin and skirting Lakshadweep finally take on a course 300 NM offshore from Cochin coast before making landfall once again over Karachi and then following a course towards Rahim Yar Khan. During this entire course of roughly 2800 NM the Task Force would undergo aerial refuelling 450 NM West of Bombay through HB5, HB6, HB7 and HB8 regiments of aerial tankers. 
 
On approaching the target at Rahim Yar Khan the paratroopers of the 5th Airborne Regiment the "Carnatic Airborne" would conduct an aerial assault on the town of Sultanpur. Under the cover of darkness the two squadrons of Halobs would conduct a LALO airdrop of the paratroopers and then retrace their flight path to Imphal. The soldiers of 5AD would approach Sultanpur under intense fire from the defender force stationed at Sultanpur, a brigade sized force from the XIR from NTC Jaisalmer. With tactical surprise having achieved by the invading Red Force, the soldiers of 5AD quickly manage to barricade their lines and maintain a fireline with the XIR brigade. However they soon find themselves losing ground to heavier equipment of the XIR. Succour comes soon as the remaining two squadrons of HB31 regiment air drop their heavy cargo. Offset by a gap of three hours during the refuelling operation they now have accurate information about the force location of the 5AD so that air drop could be conducted efficiently. 
 
While the majority of the soldiers of the 5AD are involved in fighting out the XIR and barricading the city the combat engineers of the Regiment are busy carving out a rough landing strip so that the reallyy heavy equipment that can't be air dropped could be landed. Blasting their strip through the rocky terrain and defended heavily against the XIR brigade which has now discovered their efforts the combat engineers manage to build a rough strip in a matter of hours. The first resupply units to come to the strip are the GH44s of the GH15 regiment. The quadcopter aircraft have followed a flight path similar to the one followed by the HALOBs from Aizawl with three refueling on their exhausting flight across the Indian subcontinent. They have brought the first of light bulldozers that would be used to clear the strip to land the larger METACs and finally the huge HALOBs. With the GH15 bringing in 20 bull dozers and airfield paving systems the combat engineers are able to speeden up their efforts and finally 36 hours after the first landings a strip capable of accomodating Metacs have been readied. As soon as this is done, the first units to arrive are the JM3 VSTOL fighter regiment, the RF20 "Hawkeyes" along with the RM05 "Flying Lances" squadron of METAC Airborne Artillery Platforms and RA03 "Hell Raisers" squadron of A10 CAS aircraft. As these Close Air Support Aircraft start providing much needed close air support and Air Superiority operations against attacking JM4 squadrons from Blue Force the combat engineers are rapidly building the second and third runways. As the last of the A10s and Metacs arrive in theater the first lot of reinforcements for the much attritioned 5th Airborne would arrive in the form of the Third Infantry Regiment, the "Uighur Rifles". The 22000 strong combat force would be landed at Sultanpur by the MT71 - MT75 Regiments of Halobs and their heavier equipemnt would be landed a few hours later by the MT76 -MT86 Regiments Regiments. As the 3rd Infantry Regiment start reinforcing the lines held by the 5th Airborne Division the XIR Brigade would also start receiving reinforcements from the rest of XIR Regiment and forward elements of the XMD and XACR. There are also marauding attacks by the Blue Force JM4s and Aspers.
 
As the remaining two Metac strips are completed they are turned operational and the first Metac strip is converted to a HALOB strip through the better and heavier equipment now being brought by the Metacs. Thus it is that 96 hours after initial landings the first HALOB transports start landing. The regiments HB40 through HB50 are tasked with bringing the first of many heavy divisions being brought to the theater both to reinforce the Sultanpur combat zone as well as to push back the Blue Force. The first unit to arrive are the 4th Armored Cavalry Regiment, the "Royal Tripunithura Hussars". The ACR's complement of 350 Main Battle Tanks 5500 combat soldiers are attached artillery and mechanized units are landed at Sultanpur over three days and immediately are deployed to support combat operations. While the 5AD and 3IR are involved in holding the line of control the 4ACR is employed in mainly hit and run attaks against massed and organized points of defense. They are prohibited from giving standing battle and bring their speciality as highly mobile armored force into bearing in the theater. The need for heavy fist for the attacking line still exists and for this purpose the Halobs are now bringing in the 4th Mechanized Division, the "Malabar Regiment" with its combat force of 22000 soldiers and independent Armor brigade of 100 T200 Main Battle Tanks. With the 4MD taking care of the armor requirements the Red Force push against the Blue Force defenders with exceeding resolve. The Blue Force now consists of the full XIR, XMD and the XACR with 5 regiments of JM4 MRCAs supporting them. The Red Force consists of the remnants of the 5AD, 3IR, 4ACR and 4MD. As they push the Blue Force on the defensive the final push is provided by the 1st Armored Cavalry Regiment, "Cochin Horse" which has flanked the Blue Force. With the Cochin Horse as the hammer and the Malabar Regiment as the anvil the Blue Force is crushed into a tight combat zone before being saturated by the aerial artillery from A10s, Metac AAPs and the JM4s which are now operating through the 3 Halob runways at FAB Sultanpur.
 
The entire exercise called "Shaurya Abhyas" was a test and validation of the interoperability between the Royal Cochin Army and Royal Cochin Air Force. Even though simunations were used and deaths were dealt electronically in the confusion of battle and natural attrition around 400 soldiers lost their lives, 6 Halobs, 11 Metacs, 4 JM4s and 2 GH11s were lost due to accidents. Despite the losses Shaurya Abhyas turned out to be a successful test of the Combined Services operations of the Royal Cochin Defense Forces.
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  • 1 month later...

The Royal Cochin Coast Guard has announced a nation wide security drill to test its responsiveness and efficiency in cases of coastal piracy and crime. The massive exercise which involves all the Coast Guard commands would see offense operations conducted by the Royal Cochin Special Forces and the MARCOS. The exercise would cover various scenarios like high seas piracy, smuggling, terrorism, counter intelligence, law enforcement and rescue operations. The exercise was designed to occur as soon as the RCCG was equipped to its full designed TOE which was attained three months ago  with the induction of the last Offshore Patrol Vehicle by the Visakhapatnam Coast Guard Station. RCDF and Ministry of Interior studies indicated gross inefficiencies in several areas of RCCGs command responsibilities and duties some years ago, and this exercise would serve as the first of several such exercises for various Zonal RCCG Commands and individual Coat Guard stations to evaluate their performance improvements, The need for reforms got even more seriousness and attention from the Crown after the tragedy that struck some months earlier in which a bulk carrier freighter coming to the port of Karwar in high seas and due to delay in responsiveness and inefficient rescue operations 38 sailors lost their lives. 

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