1e canon places the former Soviet 9th Tank Division in that area - "former" because the unit stopped responding to orders after losing its HQ in late 1999. Intelligence suggests that it's gone marauder. Reported total strength is 1,000 with two tanks (specified in 2e source material as T-72s), but that's likely the sum of several smaller remnant groups rather than a single cohesive unit. The 9th TD was a Category A unit stationed in East Germany, so it had pretty good equipment.
With that in mind, let's say your marauder force is one of the larger elements of the ex-9th TD, formed around the survivors of the division's engineer battalion. Total strength is 125 troops, though they aren't all present in their base camp at any one time. Marauding is a lot of work, and they've placed squad-sized garrisons in several villages around Wielun for "protection" and similar tasks. About half of the force strength is engineer survivors; the rest are a mix of personnel from across the division, mainly other combat support elements (artillery, ADA, chemical defense, communications). Most are Soviets; perhaps 10% are East German or Czechoslovakian stragglers. There are few Poles among their ranks because the band's leader doesn't want to recruit people who might be sympathetic to the civilians he's exploiting.
Rolling on my expanded encounter generator
, using the debug controls to force a "Military Convoy (Engineering)" result and re-rolling until we get a larger unit, gives us this for their leader and largest element:
The 5-ton wrecker and fuel tanker are likely on Ural-375
chassis. We'll say the bulldozer is a captured US Army Caterpillar D-7. The ARV is a BREM-1
, in keeping with the division's former T-72 equippage. The grenade launcher (AGS-17) and machine gun (DShK) are emplaced in bunkers covering the most likely assault approaches to the camp. In keeping with the marauders' engineer roots, the camp has a berm with firing positions, razor wire, and minefields, making a frontal assault problematic for most PCs.
Behind the Name
tells us the leader (don't call him a "commander") is Oleg Sokolovsky. He was formerly a senior lieutenant, but claims no military rank now, fancying himself a "first among equals" pirate captain. A natural liar with an immaculate poker face, he conceals an acquisitive and amoral temperament behind a genial and helpful facade. Sokolovsky was once a good officer, loyal to his men, but seeing those men chewed up in meatgrinder assault after assault led him to resent and loathe the Soviet system and the division's senior officers. When he saw a chance to slip his leash, he took it. He's realistic enough to know that marauding has little long-term future and intends to use his engineering education, and that of his inner circle, to establish the band as pocket warlords, rebuilding just enough local infrastructure to make the local Poles indebted to him and comfortable enough that they'll prefer his rule to the other available alternatives.
The rest of the marauders are spread out across the band's area of control. One of these smaller units will likely be the PCs' first encounter with the band, and that encounter may or may not yield intel about the rest of the band's size, capabilities, and intentions. Some will be in motion, either patrolling or raiding, and others will be garrisoning the villages that furnish the band's food and entertainment. We can generate them as needed with more random rolls on the encounter generator, using either the "Military Convoy (Engineering)" or "Marauders" debug functions as desired.
Clayton A. Oliver
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