|By Death Star II||Part of the Death Star Universe continuity.|
|" A Royal Guardsman never seeks special privileges, ever. His entire goal in life is to serve the Fire Lord, and the New Order he created. This is his goal in life, and his desire in death."|
|— Anonymous Fire Army officer|
|Fire Lord's Red Guards|
The Fire Lord's Red Guards, also called Imperial Guards, were elite units formed form the Royal Procession several months after the end of The War by Fire Lord Zuko and Colonel Shinu. They were some of the most elite warriors in the Avatar World, and had gone through a year of brutal and intense training. Most Red Guard cadets don't make it through training. Some of the most elite guardsmen's warrior and bending skills rival that of Zuko's. Red Guards have been involved in many operations within and outside the Fire Nation borders. Their job is mainly to defend members of the Royal Family, but secretly they have a second purpose: act as national security. They are often stationed in various towns throughout the Fire Nation and are seen taking down criminals alongside soldiers of the Domestic Forces.
After the Water Tribe Terrorist Crisis, the Red Guards were seen alongside Domestic Forces and Army troops, so several squads of them were placed under command of Domestic Forces General Mung and Army High General Bujing, which Shinu highly disagreed about. No other military force in the world rivaled the Red Guards and after the Water Tribe Terrorist Crisis the Red Guards were feared by many throughout the world. The 53rd Earth King asked Zuko if he could have some of the Red Guards morphed into the ranks of his Royal Earthbender Guards, but Zuko refused.
The Red Guards were kept mostly a mystery to the public, so many rumors were made about their origins. Some speculated that they were somehow created by Zuko in a dark experiment. Others thought that they were Firebending masters who were enslaved or hired by Zuko. Red Guards were silent warriors and had immense respect within the Fire Nation ranks. They worked silently during their missions and mostly communicated with hand signals instead of talking.
The Red Guards were formed several months after The War when Fire Lord Zuko realized that the Royal Procession members were bad at Firebending, were not very skilled fighters, and could easily be defeated by a single master, so he decided to create a new unit, using the members of the Procession. He placed a trusted commander, Colonel Shinu, in charge of the project. The then went to the former airship island and rebuilt it into a headquarters and training area for the Guard. Several weeks into the project, Zuko put complete command of the project to Shinu.
The Red Guards were then first handpicked members of the Royal Procession, the best members. They were brought to the island and given intense and brutal training and made into some of the most elite warriors in the world. The training field was next to the headquarters building and at the end of the field was a large makeshift Fire Nation Royal Palace. After a while, the rest of the Procession was put into the program and the training was successful.
After one year of the project, the first two legions of Red Guards were ready for duty and were transported to Caldera City for their assignment. Several days later, Shinu began to draft squads of Yuyan Archers into the program.
War of Chin the Conquerer IIAbout two years after the War ended, an Earthbender tactician rose up and claimed he was an heir to Chin the Conqueror and the villagers of the town believed him. His armies spread along the coast of the western Earth Kingdom, conquering towns that were still in the process of being rebuilt from the damage they took during the War.
The Fire Nation didn't get involved until Chin II's, what he became known as, forces attacked a small former Fire Navy base where the last of the Fire Nation troops in the Earth Kingdom were packing up to leave. He attacked it and brutally slaughtered most of the Firebenders, but took some of the higher-ranking officers prisoner. He also hijacked the six Fire Navy cruisers that were docked there, and rebuilt the base to use as a naval base for his fleet.
Zuko sent Shinu and a four platoons of Red Guards into the Earth Kingdom to get back at Chin II for killing the retreating Fire Nation soldiers. They were dropped off near the capitol, Chin's village, via airship, and moved into the town. The guardsmen easily took out the unsuspecting and untrained sentries, and stormed Chin II's palace, where Shinu took him prisoner.
Water Tribe Terrorists
Four years after the end of The War, groups began popping up in the Southern and Northern Water Tribe that thought that the Fire Nation should be punished for the war, and massed large fleets crewed by Waterbenders and warriors. Several weeks after their creation, the Northern and Southern Fleets entered Fire Nation waters. The Northern Fleet, the bigger one, was confronted by a Fire Navy patrol group which gave them minor casualties, so they were held up.
Southern Fleet arrived at Caldera City on time and begun their attack on the capitol. Domestic Forces were taken by surprise and the first defenses were taken down within minutes. However, the Red Guards responded and quickly pushed back the Southern troops.
Meanwhile, the Northern Fleet arrived and shot large icicles from a distance, which destroyed most of the Battlements used to keep the ships back. Soon, the Northern soldiers joined the Southern and the Water Tribe lines came to a stop. When the Northern soldiers and benders joined in, it made no difference and both the Northern and Southern warriors and benders were outmatched by the Red Guards, and were forced to abandon the attack.
As they begun their retreat, the cowardly ship captains left the shores before all of the warriors and benders were on board, leaving behind half of the task force. The ones left behind were captured, and the retreating ships were destroyed by a Fire Navy fleet that was rushing to Caldera City to aid in the defense.
Shortly after the incident at Caldera City, Fire Nation rebels, former military members who thought that Ozai should be Fire Lord, attacked the capitol and overthrew Zuko and his family. Being trained to protect the Royal Family, the Red Guards at the palace fought until death against the oncoming waves of the rebel forces. Soon, Admiral Liang's fleet arrived and bombarded the palace, killing most of the Guards there.
Zuko and his family were forced to leave the capitol and retreat to the Ember Island mansion. Meanwhile, Admiral, now Grand Admiral, Liang and his partner, High General Shu, took over the Fire Nation and freed Ozai from prison, and he returned as Fire Lord.
Before Ozai, Liang and Shu could strike at the Earth Kingdom, and task force of Red Guards led by Bujing attacked the Palace, killing the sentries, and made their way into the throne room, where they were ordered by Zuko to attack and kill Ozai, Liang and Shu. They carried out their orders and the Fire Nation was back under their control.
Earth Kingdom Rises
Several weeks after the incident at the Palace with Ozai, Liang and Shu, the 53rd Earth King passed away and a new king, the 54th Earth King, took his place. The 54th Earth King was ambitious and power hungry like Long Feng was, and secretly plotted to invade the world, and started building up and army. He also recruited various mercenaries and local militias. As part of the defenses of the Earth Kingdom, he placed Dai Li agents around the Earth Kingdom towns.
Later during the World Civil War, the rebel leader, Gao, got two Earth Kingdom generals and on admiral on his side. One General and the Admiral got their forces and amassed with the rebel troops around Ba Sing Se, while the third General under Gao's influence kept his forces in Ba Sing Se and had the open the city gates, allowing Gao's troops to storm in. At that time, Zuko was visiting the city so a platoon of guardsmen were present. Aiding the Earthbender Royal Guards, the Red Guards fought back against Gao's forces in an intense battle. Some Dai Li agents also joined the rebellion in the middle of the fight, and a battalion of Dai Li agents took the royal palace and captured the Earth King.
Later on, Zuko and the guardsmen retreated, and Gao killed the Earth King and declared dominance over the Earth Kingdom. He started a new government, and the country was united under him, now the Earth Emperor of the Earth Empire. Gao united most former Earth Kingdom military forces (much Earth Kingdom troops resisted and squared themselves off in small provinces, claiming they were the Earth Kingdom Remnants), under the imperial banner and united them against the other nations. He started the world invasion by assaulting the new Air Nomads, led by Aang from the Southern Air Temple.
Air Temple Battle
When Gao was done with conquering the Earth Kingdom, he assaulted the Air Nomads, which he underestimated. His forces were made up of soldiers from the original rebellion as well as the former members of the Earth Kingdom military. Red Guard spies informed Zuko of Gao's plans, so he was able to send troops to aid in Gao's invasion. Since the Western Air Temple was in the Fire Nation, the Eastern Air Temple was already abandoned, and the Southern Air Temple had the presence of the Avatar, the Northern Temple was Gao's first target. It held thousands of Air Nomads as well as refugees from the World Civil War. Gao lead a force of 4,000 soldiers. He underestimated his opponents, as always, and sent 500 light infantry to attack first. The light infantry force was made up of just untrained peasants from Ba Sing Se and other parts of the Empire, and only a few trained soldiers and Earthbenders. The Red Guards, leading Fire Nation Army and Air Force units, arrived shortly after the light infantry waves attacked. Many Nomads and refugees were slaughtered already, but the Red Guards and Fire Nation military kept them from advancing any further.
A force 2,000 Earthbenders and trained soldiers, led by Gao's second in command officer, attacked, which left 1,500 soldiers with Gao. They attacked the east side of the Temple, which was lightly guarded by Fire Army soldiers. They overcame the soldiers quickly, though a platoon of Red Guards stopped them. Due to the large number of enemies, the Red Guards were defeated. As they moved into the central Temple where all of the refugees and civilians were, they were met with a new force: Red Guard Juggernauts. They were Red Guard elite soldiers that had very large armor. It protected it's wearers against most attacks. The Juggernauts were able to stop the advance of the 1,450 soldiers (50 soldiers perished when attacking the east side of the Temple), and take many enemy lives. The Air Nomads came to aid soon after, and took out the rest of the attackers. Juggernauts were given a good report from the Fire Nation Army commanding officer, and so after the battle more Juggernaut armor was made, and more guardsmen were enrolled in the program.
The training was intense and brutal. The Red Guards were given the best training in the world and were trained to be able to last allot of physical and mental pain. Failure often meant death. Out of a class of fifty recruits, only about ten or five made it through training. Zuko was against the brutal drills, but Shinu insisted that it was what made the elite. They were trained in advanced Firebending, marksmanship, and swordsmanship.
Since the Red Guard training programs are the best in the world, many cadets and recruits from other nations' military elite units come from around the world to receive training alongside the Red Guards, though they don't get as much training as the Red Guardsmen.
EquipmentRed Guards wore the standard red Royal Procession armor, though the highest-ranking officers and the most elite guardsmen got to wear black versions of the armor.
They used a large number of vehicles, including Fire Nation Airships, Tundra Tanks, Fire Nation Cruiser, and were even given an Empire-Class Battleship, usually used for transporting large numbers of troops to and from the island.
- Captain of Guard - The highest rank in the Guard, and was only achievable by one person, and takes orders directly from the Fire Lord or Shinu.
- First Lieutenant - The second best rank, and is achievable to anyone. First Lieutenants command platoons of sixteen soldiers.
- Second Lieutenant - field officers, high ranks.
- Command Sergeant - Command Sergeants are the second in commands of the platoons. There is only one in each platoon. Some are used to command squads.
- Master Sergeant - A high sergeant rank, high ranking squadron member and squad leader.
- Sergeant Major - A medium rank.
- Lance Corporal - Lance Corporals lead squads of eight guardsmen.
- Corporal - A basic rank usually achieved right after training.
- Cadet - Cadet is the rank that is given to Recruits half way through training. If a Recruit doesn't do good enough in training, the stay at Recruit.
- Recruit - The rank guardsmen have during training.
Guardsmen are the main unit of the Red Guards. They are just regular guards stationed at key Royal Family locations such as the Royal Palace and the rebuilt mansion on Ember Island. They are also seen alongside Royal Family members in public presentations. The unit size is roughly ten platoons.
External Affairs is a smaller group that deals with Royal Family related problems outside Fire Nation waters. They get sent to different locations around the world, such as during the War of Chin the Conqueror II, when four platoons were sent with Colonel Shinu to the Earth Kingdom to stop Chin II's armies. They are roughly sized of eight platoons.
The Escort Group is a unit that escorts Royal Family members when they leave the Fire Nation. Not much is known about them, except they once escorted High General Bujing to a former Fire Navy base in the Earth Kingdom.
Assassins were an elite branch of the Red Guards that only the best of the best could get into. They were used secretly by the Fire Lord to take out the Fire Lord's and the Fire Nation's worst enemies. There was only two squads of assassins. One notable unit of assassins was Hidden Terror.
The Engineering Corps specialized in construction of weapons and vehicles and was filled with the best and smartest engineers in the Red Guards. Unlike other members, they more a different uniform. The Engineering Corps members crewed the Airships, Cruisers, and other vehicles of the Guard.
The Juggernauts were an elite unit of the Red Guard, who were given large, heavy, experimental, and very effective armor. The first squad of Juggernauts was used during The Second War, when the Earth Empire's leader, Gao, attacked the Northern Air Temple. Juggernauts broke through his eastern flank and massacred large numbers of soldiers. They remained in charge of the battlefield. After that, they were put to widespread use.
Order of Battle
- Company - The largest unit, can only be led by the Fire Lord or Captain of Guard. Contains one hundred troops.
- Platoon - The largest basic unit, contained sixteen soldiers and led by a First Lieutenant and a Command Sergeant.
- Squad - Contained twelve troops, led by a Command Sergeant.
- Fire Team - Medium-sized squad, included eight men, and was led by a Sergeant Major.
- Lance- A scout and guard unit of two men, led by Lance Corporal.
Firebending is the Red Guards' main fighting style. They are highly skilled at it, and the most elite guardsmen match Zuko's skill. They are known across the world for their Firebending. Many Firebenders join the Red Guard just to learn the elite Firebending techniques, but either don't get accepted or get killed in the intense training.
Energybending is one of their fighting styles, though it remains secret. It is not used as much by regular guardsmen, but Assassins use energybending often to turn themselves invisible. The skill was originally taught to the guardsmen from Avatar Aang, thought mostly the newer generations of guardsmen receive Energybending training from other trainers.
The Red Guards are also skilled with swords, but not as they are skilled with Fire and Energybending. A few of them have been seen practicing sword dueling at the Red Guards Headquarters. Though not as important as most other skills, every guardsman is expected to learn it and be skilled at it. This is the way it is mostly due to the events of the Invasion of Black Sun, on the day of Black Sun, when a solar eclipse causes Firebenders not to be able to use their bending, and in that case, guardsmen would be able to wield swords or other weapons.
All guardsmen are trained in Marksmanship, though it is mostly used by Assassins. Red Guards have never been seen using bows and arrows on their missions. Also, the art of marksmanship was taught in the case that the Invasion of Black Sun was to reoccur in some way, then when Firebending is disabled, the guardsmen would be able to use bows, melee weapons, and other skills instead of Firebending.
Behind the Scenes
This article is based on the Emperor's Royal Guards from Star Wars, due to the author's liking of the Star Wars Saga.
For the collective works of the author, go here.