Intel Report PA12076/Arden.
Summary of geographic, political and military assessments of the Claive and the Sarl valley.
For board of ROF eyes only.
Sarl Valley is nestled on a roughly NE to SW orientation between the Sarl Mountains to the East and the Rabon Mountains to the West, comprising rough highland and valley features about 23 clicks wide by 35 clicks long. The river Sarl flows North through the valley, formed from two forks that join beyond Mount Farrow. The South Fork flows past the eastern flanks of Mount Marred from springs and mountain streams in the Sarl Mountains that flow together to form the start of the South Fork two clicks west of Harl. The North Fork flows from springs 5 clicks east of an area between Breemolt and Carron Hill.
The previous rough road net that ran through the valley has been considerably added to by the Claive over its lease in the valley. There are five routes into the Sarl from gaps east in the Rabon mountains, and two from the West and the Sarl mountains. Two main roads north from Arden lead into the Sarl, with one road leading North out of the Sarl into the wastelands of the former Deal protectorate. There are 5 river crossing points.
Twelve principal settlements feature in the valley with Harl, Brand, Carron, Hanolt and Farrow the largest or with most importance. The key settlement is Farrow where the leaders of the movement are based.
In addition to these main settlements there are numerous small farms and individual households scattered all through the valley, mostly along the road nets. Estimates of population is based on satellite tracking of body heat signatures during the assessment period. It would seem that around 20000 individuals are settled in the valley and most will be members of the Claive.
Claive industry is mostly farming within the fertile valley itself. A small mining operation in the heights of Marred yields small levels of ores and minerals which nevertheless provides a considerable additional income.
An estimate of Claive income is difficult to determine, but the record of transactions on produce and livestock sold and the mining operation allow a reasonable operating profit of some 20 million. There has been no time available to track investments but it would appear the Claive do have several investment advisors.
Most trackable purchases are standard consumables and equipment. Energy is mostly self generated from solar and wind systems.
The Claive hierarchy is not clearly understood. The original application to settle in Sarl came from a group of twenty elders who had formed the Claive and when they moved into the Valley they took with them around 1500 followers and set up their first centre in what became Carron Hill.
The Claive social structure is based around regional hubs. Local settlements have elders who provide guidance on living, working, business, everything, who in turn report to the central elder council. Law and order is very good.
A militia system has been in place since the Claive first located to the Sarl. The need to protect themselves from local banditry and especially from raids by the Kresh required a form of para military security. The first militia were volunteers but in time a system of obligatory service was introduced so that all Claive members between 18-30 did a stint in the militia which was named, and remains, the Shield.
The core element of the Shield is the Guard - a unit of up to 10 fighters under a Guard Leader. Each Guard unit is a local group who answer to the local Shield - the basic commanded structure of the Claive forces. A Shield is a regional militia force made up of several Guards who operate in their local area providing security to settlements, patrols and any military response required to protect them. A Shield is commanded by a local elder. Several such Shields in a region are formed into Fighting Groups which provide the Claive with a tactical force to combat more serious security issues and incursions. It appears that Fighting Group commanders receive some form of officer training from a central source.
Equipment is standardised in Guard units with a basic uniform (un-armoured) and the elderly but still useful Hunter T3 Assault rifle. The Hunter T4 SAW supports the Guard. They appear to have quantities of hand held rocket propelled launchers capable of anti personnel and anti armour munitions. We suspect they utilise these to clear Kresh camps and to destroy the caravans of bandit raiders over the Rabon Mountains. These weapons are likely to be Badlin Industries MK II designs - with limited but effective target acquisition systems and capable of penetrating AFV armour.
Claive units are well motivated but training and experience varies considerably. It is likely that against a trained force, the Claive Shields would not stand. Their only chance of success would be in concentration of force against numerically inferior numbers, ambush and counter insurgency. Substantial casualties to the Shields would likely cause the disintegration of the system.
Initial reports estimates 12 Shields in three or four fighting groups based on regional lines. There are no indications of AFV or substantial artillery support.
There are local reports from survivors of bandit groups, and some even less substantive reports from Kresh sources of an additional fighting group known to the Claive as the Hammer. This small combat group is alleged to be well armed, equipped, trained and motivated, but there are no cohesive reports or any substantial evidence of such a unit. It is possible that they have made use of a mercenary unit or perhaps hired deserters from other forces.
Claive religious doctrine is based on the principal of shared community participation whilst waiting for the coming of an event predicted by the original elder. The community is respectful of it’s members and it’s neighbors, deals fairly with suppliers and customers, appears to have a respectful interaction with it’s environment and appears to genuinely believe in its codex. Whilst peaceful, the Claive have no issue with defending their people, homes and lands, and this seems to have been highly successful over the years. Little has been heard of the Kresh or banditry in the Northern Marches of Arden for a generation. The raiding season of the past always brought trouble to the farms and vineyards of North Arden. ROF forces should be under no illusion that initial resistance from the whole community will be stiff. The restrictions of the mandate under which our forces will operate in the valley will put our forces at a considerable disadvantage, being unable to utilise extensive armour, artillery and air support, severe restrictions on combat in built up areas and where civilians are in proximity.
However, in summary, it is the judgement of this report that once the Claive shields have been engaged and bloodied over several engagements, ROF forces will be able to dominate. In particular, it will be important to make use of rapid movement to outflank and encircle Shield forces.