The Military History of the Selkie in the Age of the High Kings, which lasted from Times immemorable (or so legend goes) to 550 AD, when the Last High King was killed. The 1st century BCE is talked about seperately.
Generally speaking, the Selkie wore armour when fighting, but which types of armour depended on social standing and role, although the lighter a warrior was rated, the less armour he wore. Generally, and farthest-spread of all the armour styles, was the scale armour of a multitude of materials. While Heavy Cavalry wore first bronze, then iron scaled armour, light cavalry and infantry preferred leather scales. These scales were brought back into service in 2014, with the Armour, Personal, Model 2014, only it being ceramic scales nowadays.
Soldiers from lower financial standings, including militias and farmer rabbles, could only afford quilted armour, made of sheep wool, or a leather shirt. This would later evolve into the Éadach Obaire. Exception from this rule are the Nocht, who fought naked by choice.
Maille was not unknown, but due to the prohibiting costs not far spread.
The most important offensive arms for much of the Age of High Kings were spears as well as bow and arrow. Swords were a rare and expensive commodity, while axes like the Bodmin-Battleaxe did exist, though were not in widespread use.
From around the 7th century BCE, the Selkie began to work iron, first on small scales, then more and more. By the 4th century CE, Casting was developed in the Free Lands and in the early 9th century, shortly before the beginning of the Raiders' Golden Age, iron casting became possible with newly developed shaft furnaces.
Although High King Áed the Hunter allowed formation of the the Orders in the 4th century, thus giving women a place on the battlefield, they had one long before it: Improvised militias often included female citizens, warrior-women were a matter of song and legend, teaching more then the odd hero, women served in auxilliary rules, for example medical positions, for a long time.
As described in the Ancient Gathering
In the account of a visit to Kuruva in 50 BCE, Sírlám the Scribe describes the differences in the organization of Selkie-Warriors and Kuruvan Soldiers,
In the 4th century
By the time of the 4th century, and the rule of High King Áed the Hunter, this organization had changed considerably,
The High King's Muster
Every Liegeman of the High King had, in time of war and civil unrest (which happened surprisingly often), to provide him with troops in order to fight this war/civil unrest,
Records show, that the High King's Muster more or less consistently consisted of around 100 "men of horse" (cavalry, most likely low-ranked landed nobility in one form or the other) and 400 "men of foot" (infantry, most likely part of Fort Stone's City Guard and Militia) for a total of around 500 men and their retinue.
The Infantry was organized in fifty groups of eight, the Tent Communities, who indeed shared a tent, a packing mule with the heavier parts of the equipment and two supply soldiers, lightly armed auxilliary troops, who sometimes possessed special skills as well. These supply soldiers made sure, that their corresponding Tent Community was well watered, the mule well fed and so on. The Tent Community fought together as well, making it an analogue of the modern squad. Eleven Tent Communities together with a Captain and a Signaller were the Company, of which the High King's Muster had four. The last six Tent Companies were a fifth company of light foot-skirmishers with their own Captain and Signaller.
The Cavalry on the other hand was organized in twenty groups of five, called a Rank: Two men-at-arms (not to be confused with the same soldiers of the same designation), two mounted archers and a light cavalry man, who doubled as a caretaker of the horses during the march. This formation, an early form of the later Lance, also had their own pack-horse and a reserve-horse per man to change to in case the main-horse got tired. In combat, the men-at-arms of all ranks were grouped together, as were all mounted archers and all light cavalry men, making them a force of fourty men-at-arms, fourty mounted archers and twenty light cavalry men. Usually, the High King himself led the men-at-arms.
The Kings' Musters
Much like with the High King, the King's had their own musters, which had to follow them - but if they followed the High King in times of war was up to them, or their own Liegemen, who sometimes often decided for their King.
Their Musters were far less stringently organized and only sometimes numbering above 100, but the records are mostly incomplete. From what is there, modern historians have concluded, that the Kings' Musters were usually rather dependent on their area of origin, but most utilized cavalry in one form or the other.
Cities and Towns' Musters
Cities and Towns raised their own musters for defense against raiders,
The 4th century was the time, when women made their presence known on the battlefield in the front lines in a regular army. Before, they were mostly relegated to the rear of any army, into the train, tending to wounded, horses, soldiers and a few other things, or were part of mercenary forces, the Spiorad Ainmhithe or other irregular troops.
In the 4th century, however, the Cults saw it fit to establish their own small forces, the Orders,
The most important orders of the 4th century were the Swordmaidens of Carman Fea and the Arrowmaidens of Lodan Lir, both making quite an impression onto the enemy due to their light armour, an early form of the Geansai, and their abilities with both the sword and the bow respectively.
The Shadowmaidens, however, have a vastly different role and history, being less a battlefield-troop then more of a, as one historian put it, "Selkie-version of the Ninja." As such, they specialize in cover and deceit, as well as, as a chronicle put it, "doing the work of an army with a single dagger."
Not only females, as the name implies, but also men in a more or less equal share, they are spies, assassins, saboteurs and similar occupations. They fell together with the Last High King centuries later, although rumours say, that their last survivors were the founders of the organization, which is nowadays known as the intelligence.
- Weapons and Armour of the Selkie, for the developments since the Dark Ages.
- Military History during the Kyrenaian Middle Ages (942-1463).