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128px-Padlock-olive.svg Earth Kingdom emblem Kuvira's army icon
This article is about the military of the Earth Empire. For other similar uses, see Military (disambiguation).

The military of the Earth Empire was the unified armed force of the Earth Empire, consisting of an army of infantry, tanks, mecha suits, and an air force of airships. Originally assembled in 171 AG as a unity movement by ex-Zaofu captain and interim leader of the Earth Kingdom, Kuvira, the military had a diverse membership ranging from nationalist volunteers to forcibly conscripted ex-bandits.[1][2] They also employed agents and spies lurking in the United Republic of Nations.[3]

With the kingdom descending into chaos since Earth Queen Hou-Ting's death in 171 AG, Kuvira sought to reunite the war-torn nation and restore order with military force.[1] By 174 AG, the army had united all of the Earth Kingdom. During Wu's coronation as Earth King, Kuvira claimed the Earth Kingdom to be no more and renamed it the Earth Empire under her rule, which she would forcefully defend with her army.[4]

Believing the United Republic of Nations' land to have been stolen from the Earth Empire by Avatar Aang and Fire Lord Zuko following the Hundred Year War, Kuvira marched her army in to the republic and attempted to annex it.[5] After her defeat, however, she surrendered and ordered her soldiers to stand down. The Earth Empire's activities ceased and its land was returned to Earth Kingdom control.[6]

History

After the anarchy in the Earth Kingdom following the assassination of the queen at the hands of Zaheer in 171 AG, Kuvira traveled to Ba Sing Se with Baatar Jr., Varrick, and a selection of Zaofu's security team and few wealthy elites, they stabilized the situation there.[2] This action earned Kuvira the trust of the world leaders and she was appointed as the internationally recognized interim president of the nation and further amassed an army with which she embarked on a campaign to end the chaos in the Earth Kingdom. In the process, she recruited Bolin to aid in her cause and gathered many followers who were dissatisfied with the Earth Kingdom Royal Family.

Traversing the Earth Kingdom for years, Kuvira managed to nearly stabilize the nation by 174 AG by having ninety percent of the states under her control. Although she initially brought wealth and stability to the states that accepted her protection, her mercy eventually wore off and the citizens were forced into slave labor to acquire resources to maintain her armies, while those that resisted, as well of people not of Earth Kingdom ethnicity, were sent to reeducation facilities.[2][3] While traveling toward the state of Yi, the army's advance was halted by a bandit-erected blockade. Although troops had been dispersed, Kuvira gave the order to call them back and she took care of the bandits singlehandedly, forcing them to pledge their allegiance to her.

Annexation of the State of Yi

Main article: Annexation of the State of Yi
Conquering the State of Yi

Kuvira's army ultimately took over the state of Yi.

Upon arrival of the army at the capital of Yi, the governor was not pleased to see the military force, even though his state was overrun by bandits. In a private audience, Kuvira offered him the chance to submit to her rule in exchange for the full protection of her army. Dismissing Kuvira's attempt to help as a move to conquer all the states, the governor told the army to leave his state. Before the force retreated to the border, Kuvira gave the governor a day to reconsider her offer and after bandits stole even more supplies from the state despite the efforts of Kai and Opal to help, the governor signed Kuvira's offer and the army returned. Soldiers and mecha suits swamped the premises and food supplies were handed out to the hungry townspeople. The people cheered for Kuvira and her army while the former declared Yi to be under her protection.[1]

The army train made its way to Republic City the day before Wu's coronation as the new Earth King. With a small delegation of officers, Kuvira traveled to the Republic City Four Elements, where they claimed the Presidential Suite for their own, even though it had been previously occupied by Wu. The following day, Kuvira and her officers attended Wu's coronation ceremony, where the officers applauded their leader when she denounced the newly crowned king's authority and dissolved the Earth Kingdom in favor of the Earth Empire under her own rule. The world leaders were warned that anyone who tried to oppose them would be met with military counterattacks.[4]

Fall of Zaofu

Main article: Fall of Zaofu
Ikki searches for Korra

Though left behind to guard the Earth Empire, a soldier of Kuvira's army helped Ikki locate Avatar Korra.

The army set course toward Zaofu, as it was the last state to be annexed under Kuvira's rule in order to truly have the entire Earth Kingdom under control. Only a few soldiers were left behind to guard the borders of the Earth Empire. Two of these guards encountered and captured Ikki, believing her to be a spy. When they discovered that she was Tenzin's daughter, traveling with her siblings, Jinora and Meelo, the two planned to capture them all, believing Kuvira would reward them with a promotion if they did so. However, the two soldiers bonded with Ikki instead, resulting in them helping her to discover where Korra could possibly be hiding out. As they planned on releasing the young airbender, they were ambushed by Jinora and Meelo, who knocked them unconscious with their bending against a wall.[7]

Arriving at the home of the Metal Clan, the army made camp at its gates, where they would give the city twenty-four hours to surrender. During this time, Bolin's loyalty to Kuvira wavered and he deserted together with Varrick and Zhu Li in three mecha suits. Their escape had not gone unnoticed, however, and Baatar Jr, together with two soldiers, gave chase. After a fierce battle, he managed to force the deserters to surrender and brought them to face Kuvira. The military leader sent Bolin off to a rehabilitation camp and forced Varrick to continue his experiments with the spirit vines under military supervision, while she pardoned Zhu Li, after the assistant had pledged her loyalty to her.[2]

Kuvira is victorious

After winning her duel with Avatar Korra, Kuvira declared Zaofu to be theirs, much to the army's pleasure.

At night, the army set up a trap, as Kuvira predicted Suyin Beifong would attempt a sneak attack, and as such, they managed to arrest the Zaofu matriarch and her twin sons, who had infiltrated the camp. At dawn, the army assumed battle formations in order to invade the city if the remaining leaders would not surrender. However, when Korra declared she would intervene, Kuvira and the Avatar faced off in a one-on-one battle to decide the fate of Zaofu, which the army commander eventually managed to win due to Korra still suffering from hallucinations. As Kuvira moved in to finish her off, she was blown back by Jinora and Opal. Considering their intervention broke the peace agreement, Kuvira ordered her troops to attack, though they were held at bay by a powerful whirlwind created by the two airbenders. When the mecha suits started to make their way through the storm, Korra and the two airbenders were evacuated on Pepper by Meelo and Ikki, leaving Kuvira to announce that Zaofu was theirs, causing the soldiers to burst out in cheers.

Meanwhile, Baatar Jr. and a few other soldiers accompanied Bolin and Varrick on their journey away from the city. After being tricked by the inventor, however, who had turned the spirit vine project into a bomb as opposed to continue working on it, Baatar Jr. and the soldiers were forced to abandon that wagon, lest they would die in the unstoppable explosion. Though Baatar Jr. doubted Varrick and Bolin survived, Kuvira took no chances and issued wanted posters of them.[3] Despite the loss of Varrick's research, Baatar Jr. was convinced that he could restart the project with Zhu Li's help.[8] To that end, Kuvira, Baatar Jr., and a battalion of mecha suits made their way toward the banyan-grove tree to procure new samples of spirit vine.[3] They met some resistance from the spirit vines that attacked them, though with their chainsaws and metal cables, the Earth Empire mecha suits managed to overpower the vegetation and procure the samples they needed.[9]

Defending the border

Earth Empire border

The borders of the Earth Empire were heavily fortified and defended to keep enemies from entering and traitors from leaving.

With the Earth Empire completely united, the army fortified and patrolled its borders. One of these checkpoints encountered Varrick and Bolin, who had forged an alliance with a group of reeducation camp fugitives. Although the guard post soldier initially refused to let them pass, unwilling to open the gate without Bolin being able to produce the necessary transport orders, he relented when Varrick threatened to relay his unwillingness to cooperate to Kuvira. As the group passed through the gate, however, one of the soldiers recognized them as wanted fugitives and the guards sprung to action, quickly surrounding them. Although they met some resistance from the benders, the four mecha suits pressed the fugitives hard and managed to corner them. As they were on the verge of winning the battle, Varrick fabricated an electromagnetic pulse device and defeated the suits. Despite this loss, the border guards refused to give up and kept pressing the group of fugitives back, though they too were defeated when Bolin intervened and forced them to retreat with his lavabending.[3]

Reclaiming the United Republic of Nations

Spirit energy cannon firing

The troops stationed at the factory and reeducation facility near Zaofu witnessed the demonstration of their new super weapon, a spirit energy cannon.

Under Baatar Jr.'s leadership, the army completed weaponizing Varrick's spirit vine technology in the form of a spirit energy cannon that was strong enough to blast a hole in a hill. While attending the demonstration of the weapon, the troops stationed at the factory were attacked by the Beifong family, who aimed to take down Kuvira and destroy the cannon. Although they were fiercely assaulted, they managed to overpower Lin, Suyin, Wei, and Wing, though were defeated due to the intervention of Toph.[10]

The troops at Zaofu gathered on the city's main square, where Kuvira addressed them. Thanking them for all their hard work, she noted that their quest to truly reunite the Earth Empire was not yet complete, as they still needed to reclaim the United Republic of Nations, believing the land had been stolen by Avatar Aang and Fire Lord Zuko after the Hundred Year War.

After attaching the spirit energy cannon to an enormous mecha suit, Kuvira marched her army into United Republic territory and down to Republic City, where they encountered the United Forces. Although both armies were said to be equal in strength, the spirit energy cannon gave the military of the Earth Empire an edge and forced Raiko to surrender his nation by demonstrating its destructive power by sinking several United Forces battleships.[5]

End of the empire

Having forced Raiko to surrender, Kuvira marched her army into the city and ordered her mecha suit platoons to sweep the perimeter and arrest everyone they came across. One of these platoons tracked down a last group of evacuees underneath Central City Station, though they were defeated by Prince Wu's badgermoles.

Meanwhile, Baatar Jr. was on his way to Air Temple Island to present President Raiko with the terms of the Earth Empire. He never arrived, however, as he was kidnapped by Korra, Tenzin, Bumi, Jinora, and Kai, who brought him to a Future Industries warehouse to force Kuvira and the Earth Empire to back down. The plan backfired, however, as Kuvira was willing to sacrifice her fiancé in order to have a chance to kill the Avatar and fired her energy cannon at the factory housing the group.[5]

Kuvira shoots at Wei and Wing

In her quest to claim Republic City, Kuvira and her army laid waste to the city's buildings and the resistance.

As Kuvira ventured further into the metropolis, laying waste to the buildings, she found several of her mecha suit platoons shut down by an electromagnetic pulse, created by Varrick. Tracking its source down to Future Industries Tower, she made her way toward the building, fighting off Team Avatar, the Beifong family, and several airbenders of the Air Nation in the process. Her advance was halted, however, when two hummingbird mecha suits assaulted her own mecha suit, trying to cut a hole in the platinum armor. Although she managed to shoot down Varrick and Zhu Li's suit, she failed to crush Asami and Hiroshi's before they managed to cut through; while Asami was ejected in time, Hiroshi was crushed to death by Kuvira at the moment he succeeded to cut a hole in the suit's armor, giving Korra, Mako, Bolin, Suyin, and Lin a point of entry.[11]

While Suyin and Lin disabled the loading mechanism of the spirit energy cannon and Mako and Bolin destroyed the suit's power core, causing it to explode, Kuvira battled with Korra in the cockpit. With the suit's destruction, Kuvira sought refuge in Republic City's Spirit Wilds, where she found the discarded spirit energy cannon and fired it at Korra. The cannon drew too much power from the surrounding vines, however, and when Korra risked her life to save Kuvira's by energybending the cannon's beam away from her, the culmination of energy exploded and tore a rift in the separation between the human and Spirit World, creating a new spirit portal. Thrown in the Spirit World, Korra told Kuvira about the ways in which they were similar and finally got through to the metalbender, which led to her surrender.

Handcuffed Kuvira

With Kuvira's surrender and subsequent arrest, the Earth Empire was dissolved.

As they returned to the physical world, Kuvira told her soldiers to stand down and surrendered herself formally to Suyin and Lin, who escorted her away to be tried for her actions. The seat of power of the Earth Kingdom was officially returned to Wu and the Earth Empire was dissolved.[6]

Army

Infantry

Kuvira's infantry consisted of enlisted soldiers, guards who defected from Zaofu,[2] and conscripted ex-bandits, including earthbenders as well as nonbenders.[1] However, according to Suyin, most of the soldiers were forced into service.[8]

Uniform

Kuvira's army uniforms

Concept art details the differences in uniforms depending on the position in the army.

The official military colors of Kuvira's army were green, viridian, and metallic gray and the uniforms reflected those. There were small differences depending on the position in the army, but the uniforms were predominantly dark green, with a lighter green front panel on the jacket. A gray belt centered the uniform around the waist. The pants were made from a tight fabric in a shade of olive green and the boots were black and sturdy. Officers donned metal shoulder plates and wore their chevrons on the left arm. A sergeant sported two stripes on the cuffs, one at the top, one at the bottom, and an additional trim on the front panel of his jacket while a corporal only sported a single stripe on top of his cuffs. The number of chevrons appearing on the left sleeve of an officer or on the left arm of his mecha suits also indicated his rank: one for a private, two for a corporal, and three for a sergeant. Kuvira did not wear any rank insignia other than her unique uniform while Baatar Jr. wore a unique and modified sergeant insignia as her second-in-command.

The infantry also wore helmets and a metalbending soldier additionally wore gloves, a face-covering metal mask with green-glasses goggles, and metal bands around the arms and calves, as well as spools with metal cables on their hips and metal shoulder plates. A regular foot soldier merely wore the helmet with a piece of fabric covering the lower half of the face. Mecha suits pilots were donned in a jumpsuit that is colored in different shades of green and their suits were colored depending on the rank of its pilot: gray for privates, green for corporals, and black for sergeants.[12]

Equipment and weaponry

Kuvira's army tanks

Kuvira's army had multiple mecha and other tanks at its disposal.

Kuvira's army utilized a wide variety of heavy vehicles and advanced technology to help them achieve their goals.

  • Airships - Her army also possessed several airships, similar to the ones used in Zaofu.
  • High-speed maglev train - Designed by Varrick to serve as Kuvira's personal transport that travels at high speeds on a rail. It housed many of her soldiers and their equipment.
  • Metal strips - Metalbenders used strips of metal from their uniforms to attack and bind their opponents.
  • Mecha suits - Thanks to the modifications made by Varrick, Kuvira's army had hundreds of mecha suits equipped with a wide array of weapons and abilities.
  • Spirit energy cannon - A piece of heavy artillery carried around by an enormous mecha suit that shot spirit energy beams powerful enough to blast a hole in a mountain.[5][10]
  • Tanks - The army also had a large supply of tanks, reminiscent of the Fire Nation's tundra tanks, at its disposal. 

List of known members

List of known Inner Circle members

  • Kuvira (leader; prisoner of war; incarcerated)
  • Baatar Jr. (Second-in-command; prisoner of war; defected)
  • Varrick (Corporal; deserted)
  • Bolin (Corporal; deserted)

List of known officers

List of known privates

List of agents

Military emblem

Kuvira's army icon

Originally the symbol of the Metal Clan, the Earth Empire military emblem is a stylized gray octagon with the Earth Kingdom national emblem, a square inscribed within a circle, in the middle. Around the circle are straps which form a cross.

Trivia

  • The metalbending soldiers that served the Earth Empire were designed to resemble the Stormtroopers in the Star Wars franchise.[13]
  • The tanks deployed by Kuvira's forces bore resemblance to British heavy tanks of the First World War, sharing the same rhomboid form, sponsons on the hull's sides and wide, and uncovered continuous tracks. However, their high protruding turrets were more similar to early tanks of the Second World War.
  • Kuvira's supporters were people who followed the ideology of the army, donning military uniforms and haircuts, though they were not officially a part of it. They distributed "Great Uniter" propaganda, viewing Kuvira as a more adequate leader for the Earth Kingdom than the legitimate Prince Wu.[14]
  • The heavily fortified border and the task of the soldiers guarding it resembled both the Iron Curtain and the Berlin Wall in design – a constantly patrolled wall directly on the border crowned with barbed wire and checkpoints equipped with heavy weaponry allowing its crossing – and purpose – to contain the citizens in their own state and prevent an invasion.
  • The Earth Empire military shared a number of similarities with the military of Nazi Germany during World War II:
    • Kuvira's purge of non-ethnic Earth Kingdom citizens by locking them up in camps was similar to Adolf Hitler's ethnic cleansing of what he believed to be a pure Germany with his concentration camps.
    • The spirit energy cannon was based on "Dora", a railway gun used by the Nazis in World War II.[15]
    • The privates' uniforms heavily resembled those of the armies of World War-era Germany. This is most evident in the design of the helmets, which resemble the German Stahlhelm, and the nearly knee-high boots.
  • Female soldiers were designed for the army though never used.[16]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Hamilton, Joshua (writer) & Heck, Colin (director). (October 3, 2014). "After All These Years". The Legend of Korra. Season 2. Episode 14. Nick.com.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Hamilton, Joshua (writer) & Graham, Ian (director). (October 31, 2014). "Enemy at the Gates". The Legend of Korra. Season 2. Episode 18. Nick.com.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer) & Heck, Colin (director). (November 14, 2014). "Reunion". The Legend of Korra. Season 2. Episode 20. Nick.com.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Hedrick, Tim (writer) & Zwyer, Melchior (director). (October 17, 2014). "The Coronation". The Legend of Korra. Season 2. Episode 16. Nick.com.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Hamilton, Joshua (writer) & Heck, Colin (director). (December 12, 2014). "Kuvira's Gambit". The Legend of Korra. Season 2. Episode 24. Nick.com.
  6. 6.0 6.1 DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer) & Zwyer, Melchior (director). (December 19, 2014). "The Last Stand". The Legend of Korra. Season 2. Episode 26. Nick.com.
  7. Mattila, Katie (writer) & Heck, Colin (director). (October 24, 2014). "The Calling". The Legend of Korra. Season 2. Episode 17. Nick.com.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Hedrick, Tim (writer) & Zwyer, Melchior (director). (November 7, 2014). "The Battle of Zaofu". The Legend of Korra. Season 2. Episode 19. Nick.com.
  9. Hamilton, Joshua (writer) & Graham, Ian (director). (November 28, 2014). "Beyond the Wilds". The Legend of Korra. Season 2. Episode 22. Nick.com.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Hedrick, Tim (writer) & Zwyer, Melchior (director). (December 5, 2014). "Operation Beifong". The Legend of Korra. Season 2. Episode 23. Nick.com.
  11. Hedrick, Tim (writer) & Graham, Ian (director). (December 19, 2014). "Day of the Colossus". The Legend of Korra. Season 2. Episode 25. Nick.com.
  12. A look at the different uniforms/ranks in Kuvira's military.. IGN.com (October 9, 2014). Retrieved on October 10, 2014.
  13. Moore, Ben (October 9, 2014). The Legend of Korra Season 4 NYCC Panel: The Creators & Cast Say Goodbye. Screenrant.com. Retrieved on October 10, 2014.
  14. NYCC Panel.. youtube.com (October 11, 2014). Retrieved on October 11, 2014.
  15. Bryan Konietzko on the DVD commentary for "Operation Beifong".
  16. Bryan Konietzko on the DVD commentary for "Kuvira's Gambit".

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