Prodigal Empires: Catholic Communard Commonwealth

This started as an imagined human oppositional force for the kind of US Space Marines you see in ‘Aliens’ and the like. It owes a very heavy debt to the ‘Alternative Third World War’ by General Sir William Jackson which featured Christo-Communists from Latin America as one of his ‘Four Horsemen’ of his conflict. Brushed off my Ground Zero Games material recently so might be using these in Full Thrust, Dirtside and Stargrunt battles in months to come. 


It is now one of the weaker major Earth States in the prodigal Empires background where ‘human Space’ is divided between human states evolved from Generation ship descendent colonies and onces froma newly recovered Earth states. The C3 has rvialiries with all Earth powers and also has a pretty scornful attitude to the likes of the Niptish and Holy Stellar Empire. It’s a lonely galaxy out there…  

A brief recent history

Two things lead to the creation of the Catholic Communard Commonwealth.


First the decision at the Vatican V Council to remove the barriers to Catholic Priests getting involved in politics, especially through what was known in the 20th century as ‘Liberation theology.’ In the wake of natural disasters, economic stagnation and a growing feeling that Latin America was falling behind the rest of the World such Priests and their doctrine of Christian Communardism were instrumental in bringing in changes of government to the region. In some cases this was a case of peaceful ‘people & preacher’ power, in others it arose from democratic elections and in some namely the Andean Republics it was through bitter civil war and revolution.


The second thing was the evacuation of Rome by the Vatican City and its transfer to Havana, a move which was made sense as the vast majority of the World’s Catholics resided in South and Central America. The arrival of the Vatican gave a new figurehead for the region and slowly with many fits and starts through the efforts of the national governments and the Offices of the Pope a number of Latin America powers combined to form the Commonwealth.


Such developments were not lost on neighbours. States which remained secular or protestant and economically conservative (namely Brazil and the Norte Americanos but also Spanish speaking neighbours) tried to undermine the C3. A campaign of espionage and propaganda combined with backing rebel movements and fighting limited wars with the C3 failed to break-up the Commonwealth but did inform a siege mentality amongst Communards. Emergency measures undertaken during the so-called ‘Jungle Wars’ are still in place and limit the formation of political parties and other rights.


Relatively late after the ‘Jungle Wars’ cooled down to the current level of tension the CCCC entered the colonisation race. Given population and economic tensions it had missed out on the Generation Ship phase of human expansion (though many Latin Americans were amongst the colonists.)  The need for raw materials and to displace surplus population informed the C3’s colonisation strategy of low tech settlements mainly on earth-like worlds. Coming late to the party meant these colonies were often on the less hospitable portions of these worlds and often had to be won from competing parties.



The political system of the Commonwealth is based on the xxxx Constitution. Accordingly, it is the duty of the Communard Government to furnish all citizens with equal and appropriate opportunities, to provide them with work, and to satisfy their essential needs, so that the course of their progress may be assured.

The system comprises several intricately connected governing bodies. The Pope is responsible for delineation and supervision of the general policies of the Catholic Communard Commonwealth. The Pope is Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, controls the military intelligence and security operations; and has sole power to declare war or peace.

The heads of the judiciary, state radio and television networks, the commanders of the police and military forces and Cardinals are appointed by the Pope. The Pope is elected by the College of Cardinals. The Church Synod is responsible for supervising the Pope in the performance of legal duties.

After the Pope, the Constitution defines the President of the Commonwealth as the highest state authority.The President is elected by universal suffrage for a term of four years and can only be re-elected for one term. Presidential candidates must be approved by the College of Cardinals prior to running in order to ensure their allegiance to the ideals of the Catholicism and Communardism.

The President is responsible for the implementation of the Constitution and for the exercise of executive powers, except for matters directly related to the Pope , who has the final say in all matters. The President appoints and supervises the Cabinet, coordinates government decisions, and selects government policies to be placed before the Assembly. Eight Vice-Presidents serve under the President, as well as a cabinet of twenty two ministers, who must all be approved by the Assembly. Unlike many other states, the executive branch in the Commonwealth does not control the armed forces. Although the President appoints the Ministers of Intelligence & Defense, it is customary for the President to obtain explicit approval from the Pope for these two ministers before presenting them to the legislature for a vote of confidence.

As of 2008, the Commonwealth Assembly is a unicameral body. It comprises 290 members elected for four-year terms. The Assemby drafts legislation, ratifies international treaties, and approves the national budget. All Assembly candidates and all legislation from the assembly must be approved by the College of Cardinals.

The College of Cardinals is appointed by the Pope. The College interprets the constitution and may veto Parliament. If a law is deemed incompatible with the constitution, Catholic doctrine or Scripture it is referred back to the Assembly for revision. An Expediency Council has the authority to mediate disputes between Parliament and the College of Cardinals, and serves as an advisory body to the Pope, making it one of the most powerful governing bodies in the country.

The Pope appoints the Head of Judiciary, who in turn appoints the head of the Supreme Court and the chief public prosecutor. There are several types of courts including public courts that deal with civil and criminal cases, and “revolutionary courts” which deal with certain categories of offenses, including crimes against national security. The decisions of the revolutionary courts are final and cannot be appealed. The Ecclesiastical Court handles crimes allegedly committed by Priests. The Ecclesiastical Court functions independently of the regular judicial framework and is accountable only to the Pope. The Court’s rulings are final and cannot be appealed.

The Church Synod, which meets for one week annually, comprises 91 “virtuous and learned” Priests elected by adult suffrage for eight-year terms. As with the presidential and parliamentary elections, the College of Cardinals determines candidates’ eligibility.

Provinces made up of territorial areas on Earth or amongst the Stars are under a Governor whom is a civil servant appointed by the Minister of Interior or Minister of the Colonies subject to endorsement by the Pope. They liaise with local elected Communards (Councils) which control village Parishes or Municipalities to deliver services.


The military of the CCC is made up of four branches:

Milicia La Commonwealth Católica de Communard 

Armarda La Commonwealth Católica de Communard 

(Including Infantería de Marina de la Armada La Commonwealth Católica de Communard)


Corps de Protectores Pontificales (Papal Guard including Swiss Guards, Palatine Guard, Noble Guard and the Brigadas Internacionales)


The Navy (including the Marines and Naval Airforce) and the Papal Guard are professional organisations.


Milicia La Commonwealth Católica de Communard 


The Militia however conscripts every able bodied male with in the C3. Preparatory training starts through the pelotones preparatorios (preparatory platoons) when children first enter High school aged twelve.  Here male kids get used to weapons, discipline, military training and Milicia doctrine. In total war such platoons are intended to be used as message runners and ammo carriers to the usual Milicia.


On passing out of High School aged 18 men enter the Frontline Militia, Civilian Service or Civil Protection. They serve for 2 years after which they return to civilian life with their personal military equipment and are assigned to local reserve units. The exception being if they then join the Navy, Pontifical Guards, other services or seek promotion in the Militia in which case militia basic service acts as their basic training.


Conscripts who are found to be sufficiently fit for regular military service, but who object for reasons of conscience, are compelled to perform civilian service. This service consists of various kinds of social services, such as reconstructing cultural sites, helping the elderly and other activities removed from military connotations. Civilian service lasts 36 months, 50% longer than a militiaman’s basic service.

Conscripts found to be sufficiently unfit for regular military service, but not for exemption, take part in civil protection, where they may be called on to assist the police, fire or health departments, as well as natural disaster relief and crowd control during demonstrations or events with large attendances. Suspect communities such as 

Miltiia doctrine is based on a nation in arms principal and national resistance. The Militia is not meant to take on opposing forces in a stand-up conventional battle but form the basis for resistance operations. It does have some armoured, artillery and other heavier units which are designed for patrolling contentions frontiers etc;

Reserve Militia platoons forces elect their officers who in turn elect Company Commanders Company Captains who elect Battalion Majors who elect Regimental Colonels. Elected Commanding Officers appoint their seconds in command and NCOs under their direct command. Officers at Division and above levels of command are appointed by the Ministry of the Defence and are usually professionals. Similar reverse service conditions exist for civilian service and civil protection. 

For mobilisation purposes reserve militia are called up in age bands with those nearest their training called up first.  However every militiaman is expected to spend one night a week at the local militia centre refreshing their skills, one weekend a quarter on local exercises and one week every six months on larger scale exercises. They are also expected to keep up a certain level of fitness. Failure to maintain this training or standards results in punishment by fines, and ultimately service in a penal unit.

Penal units are used for hazardous tasks such as mine clearing, assault battalions, clearing radioactive waste etc; Common criminals as well as deserters and other military criminals are inducted. Such units are guarded by heavily armed units of the policía military.


The default Commonwealth Milicia uniform is as follows all ranks wear the same uniform:

The shirt of the Commonwealth Milicia uniform is a long-sleeved flat green shirt with pockets on both sides of the chest. Alternatively an all green T-shirt is utilized by most of the junior members of the Milicia. These are worn with basic flat green trousers utilized by the Army. A parka like green thigh length jacket is available for poor climates with a detachable lining and rainproof ponchos are also available.

On some colonies the green is replaced with a more appropriate monotone.

Kit is either carried in a Y-shaped harness and belt arrangement of an assault vest rig that fits over the standard JL-59 protective curriass. This is usually also in the same shade of green as the rest of the uniform. Soft fabric boots are worn with in a similar shade.

Standard headgear is a JL-78 Helmet (which has a somewhat solar tope appearance like North Vietnamese Pith helmets ) this is replaced with a green soft peaked cap or wide brimmed boonie hat when not in combat.

Distinctive markings are few and far between. Formally rank insignia are work on the upper arm of clothing for both officers and NCOs. Frequently this is not bothered with at platoon or company level as reserve Milicia in the colonies know their leaders well. Frontline Milicia wear a small shield pin on their left shirt collar which is embossed with an arm of service badge. Reserve militia just have a cloth version of the arm of service or military trade badge on a round background stitched in the same place. Frontline Milicia have a battalion number pin on their right collar. Reserve militia have no such identifier (officially some units might have a colony name or similar in breach of regulations.

Military police are an exemption to the rule wearing clear brassards and often white helmet covers to identify themselves. Their penal charges wear black helmet covers and have a large P embroidered on the front and back of all clothing.  


Armarda La Commonwealth Católica de Communard 

(Including Infantería de Marina de la Armada La Commonwealth Católica de Communard)

The Commonwealth Navy is an all professional force (and unlike many Navies all personal have 2 years experience as infantry thanks to the Militia.)

The Commonwealth lacks the technology to have a top of the range Navy. However it has a number of techniques to attempt to overcome its technological backwardness. Namely:

  • ·         A force based on numerous cheaper smaller assetso       Surface and orbital based space fighters of the Naval Airforce (Fureza Aeroarmada)o       Destroyer Missile Carrier Squadrons
    • o       ‘Lurker’ forces – small missile firing vessels that have very little life support systems. There crew goes suited and the units use passive detection technology to identify and target opponents. They tend to lie in orbit around dead planets, amongst asteroids and meteors etc on watch for threats.
  • ·         Surface and orbital based missle and energy weapons batteries (Artilleria Armada)
  • ·         Minefields

The Navy is entirely professional and thanks to the Milicia system it’s personnel are in a much better position than the average Naval crew for boarding actions, guard duty and away parties etc; However the dedication and training of the crew cannot offset the technological and resource inferiority of the Armada. Consequently CCC Naval strategy is based:

  • ·         about making warfare too costly for an opponent to contemplate
  • ·         Concentrating resources around worthwhile targets namely the space around CCC planets.
  • ·         Reducing an attackers advantage giving the Milicia a fighting chance in conventional warfare.

A small fleet of ‘Emancipation’ class Cruisers are the mainstay of the Navy’s exploration force  and attract the best of the best and carry

Infantería de Marina de la Armada La Commonwealth Católica de Communard

Only the Milicia with the field craft, infantry, tactics discipline, fitness and marksmanship scores in the top 20% are considered for the Commonwealth Marines. Only 50% of those who apply make it into a standard Marine Battalion. Men enlist for a 25 year term. After 5 years enlisted men can apply for officer school or one of special detachments ( Space Assault Forces Fuerza de Asalto Espacio (lead drop troops,) Commando Companies Compañías de Comandos(special forces) or shipboard detachments. )

Marines have the same rank insignia and titles as the rest of the Navy.

Marines are designed to back and support Milicia and also give the Commonwealth some offensive capability. For planetary assault the doctrine is for Commandos to infiltrate enemy territory through one man drops, the FAE to come through in platoon drop ships and secure landing grounds which are then occupied by conventional marines in carried in battalion carrying landing shuttles. 

Marines (and the Navy generally) use the same equipment and much the same uniforms as the Milicia and the Papal Guard. They do tend to be smarter in presentation and there are some exceptions:

The Marines arm of service collar insignia is a fouled anchor and it is embroidered. Battalion number or a number followed by Ship name, FAE or CC identifies the parent unit. Shipboard companies wear a pin with the vessel name as do standard naval crew on the right collar.

Standard headgear for all ranks of naval personal is ‘La Grecia’ a Greek fisherman’s style cap usually in the standard olive green. This was apparently chosen for its proletarian style by the founders of the Commonwealth Navy. Marines have been seen wearing Le Grecia and also standard Milicia type headgear.

 Their professionalism and discipline tends to belay the common stereotype of the Commonwealth military as gun toting superstitious peons held by some of their inter-national and inter-stellar rivals.

Corps de Protectores Pontificales

 Papal Guard including Swiss Guards, Palatine Guard, Noble Guard and the Brigadas Internacionales.

Swiss Guards – This is a Battalion of Catholic Swiss nationals and are used for ceremonial functions and routine security functions around Papal Residences.


Palatine Guard – This is a veteran armoured brigade which is used as an addition to the Havana Garrison. It is considered a cushy posting often given to respected regular soldiers and decorated Milicia members.


Noble Guard – This is a battalion. It is actually a national honour and used to reward C3 citizens who have preformed great service to their country. It only parades at state functions in at most Company strength.


Brigadas Internacionales – Six space-mobile brigades exist which are used as crack drop troops in the C3. They are recruited from C3 citizens and foreign Catholics. They form a core of crack drop troops to add weight to Marine operations. The BI also have a special forces and intelligence sections encouraging revolutionary politics amongst Catholic populations overseas.


Their standard dress is they still have standard Milicia uniforms for service dress but with a shoulder title in white and yellow on the upper arm (normally removed for combat duties.) The other dress exception is that they wear berets – dark blue for Swiss Guards, forest green for the Palatine Guard, yellow for the noble guard and scarlet for the Brigadas Interacionales.


The Swiss Guards are unique amongst C3 forces in having a dress uniform based on 16th century  Swiss mercenary uniforms. 

9 comments on “Prodigal Empires: Catholic Communard Commonwealth

  1. […] Earth colonised system of Athena which has colonies from Catholic Communard Commonwealth, Maphilindo Confederation , the United Americas and some minor Earth […]

  2. […] Within the context of Prodigal Empires I’m thinking the invading progressives might be the Christo-Communards […]

  3. […] was good till the Catholic Communards began spreading doctrine of revolution amongst the Grampii slave races. Now several revolts have […]

  4. […] the Catholic Communards liberated all of Latin America there was a brief flowering of an Aztec fascist revival in the […]

  5. […] serenely while they discuss terms. Thelonius notes one of the cult members is Beatriz Miranda, a Catholic Commundard ace ship designer. George through answering a call of nature tries to find a way to hack the […]

  6. […] so serene at the end of the mission. Thelonius notes one of the cult members is Beatriz Miranda, a Catholic Commundard ace ship designer. George through answering a call of nature tries to find a way to hack the […]

  7. […] and Europeans i would lift two powers from my Prodigal Empires background – Maphilindo & Christo-Communard Commonwealth . I also think there is a case for an African and/or south Asian power but i think it would be good […]

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