After doing my analysis of The Lord of the Rings, I decided to continue my tactical foray through the Inkling authors with another favorite series of mine, “The Chronicles of Narnia.” My favorite of these books happens to be Prince Caspian. As I thought through the plot line, I noticed similarities between the Pevensie children’s adventures into a foreign world, and a modern Special Forces A-team: Send in a small, highly trained and equipped team to build up a resistance movement against a hostile government.
(Author’s note: No, I have never been in a special operations unit, but I did stay in a Holiday Inn.)
Here’s the skinny;
Jolly Old England during World War 2 has a limited ability to wage war on multiple fronts. Ze Germans are taking up all of their conventional military resources, but there is a growing problem in one of England’s previous strongholds of Narnia. Prior to the events in Prince Caspian, England had waged a very successful proxy war by inserting a small four-person team to overthrow the White Witch’s regime. The British forerunner to the modern model of special operations was their Special Operations Executive, or SOE, along with their venerated and much-copied Special Air Service, or SAS. Using this type of asset saved them from dedicating massive amounts of troops and money, and was the very definition of economy of force.
Now they’ve decided to try again.
Narnia Division, Briefing Room
64 Baker Street, Central London
01 November 1940
Aslan – “Very good, very good, are we all here? Let’s take a roll call, shall we?
Captain Peter ‘The Magnificent’ Pevensie, Team Leader.
Aslan – “Jolly good. Right, I know it’s been over a year since your last assignment, but after you lot went rogue for the better part of twenty Narnian years, it took a bit of cajoling to get you re-assigned back to SOE.”
Peter – “Well if we’d only had a better extract plan…”
Aslan (interrupting) – “…REGARDLESS, a new mission has come up. The kingdom of Narnia has been re-conquered and ruled by a government hostile to British interests. They’ve taken to calling themselves the Telmarines. The king, Miraz, is a strong dictator who continues his people’s tradition of genocide against the indigenous Narnians.”
Edmund – “Did they build a highway?”
Aslan – “A highway? A highway to what?”
Edmund (chuckling) – “The Danger Zone!”
Aslan slowly shakes his head.
Peter – “Edmund, you tit!”
Aslan – “Anyway…The nephew to the warlord/acting king is one Prince Caspian, the Tenth of his name. Some of our people have recognized that there is an impressionable government agent to be turned, so we sent an undercover agent as an advance force operator to be the young prince’s “tutor.” Much like the start of communism in Russia via the German planting of Vladmir Lenin, the “tutor” created a sympathetic streak in the prince, and gradually turned him to the Narnian side. Here is a recent photo of Prince Caspian.”
Aslan – “…okaaaaay…A series of unfortunate events led Caspian into the wilderness, where he not only linked up with an indigenous Narnian tribe, but began to organize and train it to be an effective insurgency.
Edmund (whispering) – “…should you choose to accept it…”
All – “SHUT UP, EDMUND!!!”
Aslan (continuing) – “Is to link up with the pro-Narnian forces and help them out.
‘Mission: No later than 26 November 1940, Team Pevensie will insert via magic portal at grid 11S MS 1234567890 in order to link up with local insurgent commander, 1Pr Caspian. Team Pevensie will then conduct Unconventional Warfare Operations with local militia in vicinity of grid 11S MS 234567 and drive all enemy forces out of area. Mission has priority.’ Questions?”
Peter – “Are we inserting like last time, or can we get some vehicles?”
Aslan – “The insert point is at the King’s Cross train station. It will be a bit unusual, because our usual point at platform 9 3/4 is undergoing some reconstruction for…future purposes.”
Aslan – “Affirmative. There are weapons and equipment cached in an underground catacomb on site. You should recognize it, because it used to be part of your old castle. No, we won’t be sending Corporal Lucy in alone this time. Upon insertion, you will link up with a local guide.”
Lucy (hopefully) – “Could we get someone besides a faun this time?”
Aslan – “Affirmative. We believe that this one is a dwarf.”
Lucy begins sobbing
Aslan – “Sergeant Susan, you need to keep in in your pants this time! You had only been a queen for two years before that fiasco with you, Mr. Beaver and Mr. Tumnus almost tore your team apart…”
Lucy- (whispers) “…and Mrs. Beaver…”
Aslan– “Mrs… Really?”
Aslan – “Captain Peter, I swear if she so much as FLIRTS with one of the Narnians, ESPECIALLY PRINCE CASPIAN, you two are never getting another Narnia mission until the end of time!”
Peter and Susan – “Yes sir.”
Peter – “Sir, what are the enemy capabilities?”
Aslan – “They rely mostly on heavy infantry, almost in a phalanx paradigm. They are well-trained pike-men and swordsmen. They have three batteries of heavy artillery and a company of medium archers. Logistically, they’re well established, though they’re spending a lot of time attempting to build a bride over Beruna to lengthen their supply chain. This is a weakness you can exploit with your sabotage capabilities.
They are quite defensible, particularly in their city. Doing even a small raid on their headquarters castle is a bad idea, so don’t sodding try it!
If attacked, they will likely reinforce with any number of the infantry regiments in the area.
They attack often, but mainly in wide open areas to utilize their heavy infantry. Don’t get sucked into a pitched battle with these guys, stick to your raid tactics.
They won’t withdraw, unless I can get the trees to help you out.
If they are losing a battle, they will delay any pursuers with the use of their artillery, blowing their bridge, and leave-behind elements.”
Edmund – “We’ll have to nuke them from orbit…”
All (simultaneously) – “It’s the only way to be sure…”
Aslan hangs his head in exasperation
Peter – “I’m seeing a repeat of last time. Small rodents for message carrying and comms, focus on raids utilizing the predatory animals and centaurs, and harassment carried out 24/7 with the birds. We still have air assets, right?”
Aslan – “Yes, but it’s limited. Griffins are in short supply, and we only have a couple of eagles. The upside is that it’s more than the enemy has. The downside is that any hope for Close Air Support is out, because none of those assets can carry a decent payload. Look to utilize them mostly for reconnaissance and insert/extract platforms.”
Susan – “And no artillery, support units, or adjacent units of any kind, as usual, probably. Can we at least get some Rangers for a Quick Reaction Force? I love Rangers…”
Aslan – “Again, I’m working on getting the trees worked up into a QRF of sorts for you, but don’t rely on them until late. You know how hard they are to wake up once they fall asleep.”
Edmund (muttering) – “…sorta take the “Q” out of the “QRF,” doesn’t it…”
Aslan – “We’ve taken the liberty of having DARPA add some modifications to your equipment. Sergeant Susan, your horn is now a combination of an HF radio, a VHF radio, and SatCom, plus your bow has arrows that track moving targets. You literally can’t miss.
Captain Peter and Staff Sergeant Edmund, your new shields will be all carbon fiber, and your armor will be a chain mail made of the same. Edmund, you’ll also be issued a million candlepower LED light capable of disabling Helen Keller. Don’t lose it. Corporal Lucy, in addition to your usual fireflower elixir, we’re issuing you a full medical kit. It’s essentially enough Motrin and fresh socks for the entire insurgency. You should be able to treat any serious combat injuries with those two things. You’re welcome.”
Peter – “Look, I hate to bring this up again, but…”
Aslan (interrupting) – “I’m going to stop you right there, Captain. You’re still not allowed to carry Thompsons, grease guns, Carl Gustovs, or any kind of firearm into Narnia. Why? Waaaaay above my pay grade, but I’m pretty sure that dickwad Churchill has something to do with it.”
Susan (grinning) – “What about ROE’s?”
All glance at Edmund
Edmund – “What?!”
Aslan (slowly and deliberately) – “Staff Sergeant Edmund, we all admire your skill and enthusiasm in battle. We really do. What we don’t admire is you bloody tendency to scalp all of the enemy bodies. The last thing we need is another international incident. Cutting off heads and ears is a definite no-go even if they are enemy fighters, and no more teeth necklaces!”
Edmund unconsciously reaches down to his cargo pocket. It rattles slightly.
Peter – “You’ve got to admit, the look on the Tisroc’s face when he showed up in Tashbaan wearing that ogre-skin belt with wolf-balls dangling in front was amazing!”
– “All right, lock it up. Now the PM asked for my best spec ops team in SOE. God help me, it’s you four. This is a straight-forward unconventional warfare mission, people. There’s no room for error, what with all of our resources tied up by the bloody Huns. So no skinning enemy (glares at Edmund), no banging the friendlies (looks at Susan), and no setting yourself up as the dictators of your own “Apocalypse Now” movie (stares at Peter)! Get in, help out our interests overseas, get out. Any questions? Good. You have a few hours of prep time, but I want a 200-slide PowerPoint ConOps in two hours. Good luck.”