The Royal Black Watch Regiment

The Western Alliance

In 2014, following the Second Soviet Civil War, the United States of America stood unopposed as Terra's strongest nation. When the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom called for "a new alliance of Western nations," the Western Alliance was born. One of the new government's first acts was to create the Western Alliance Armed Forces, a military that would differ from previous multinational armies. The WAAF was conceived as a single military under a single command structure and supplied with standard weapons and equipment produced by all member nations. Because the time was relatively peaceful, and in an effort to further bolster the new Western Alliance and WAAF, most member nations continued downsizing their own militaries. By 2086, with more than 80 percent of Terra's population represented under the Western Alliance, its name was formally changed to the Terran Alliance. In that same year, the universal downsizing of militaries that had gone on for several decades was almost complete; the WAAF had become the military for virtually all of Terra. All the Scottish regiments save for the Royal Black Watch Regiment and the Highlanders had been disbanded, and the two surviving regiments were hardly more than parade units barely fit for combat.

Royal Black Watch Regiment

After Ian Cameron became First Lord of the Star League in 2571, his first acts was to create a unit that would, in his words, embody the traditions, heart and soul of the ideals of the Star League." With this in mind, he unveiled the Royal Black Watch regiment, which he had built around the core of the original unit same name. For centuries, Lord Cameron's family had kept the Black Watch alive and intact, attaching Black Watch, members to their personal guards. These soldiers' undying loyalty to their own traditions and to the Cameron family-to whom they had sworn fealty- convinced Lord Ian to form a new Black Watch regiment.

The announcement of the new unit's existence startled, on Northwind, none more than the existing Highlander regiments. They had kept the oral histories and traditions of Scottish past very much alive, and remembered the long history their ancestors had shared with the original Royal Black Watch. Memories long dormant sparked to life in many Northwind Scots, and many who joined the SLDF served in the Black Watch, which was soon to become the most famous of units.

Throughout the Star League era, mutual respect between Black Watch and the Northwind Highlander regiments grew. Overcoming several centuries of separation, members from all regiments of the Northwind Highlanders eventually served in the Watch. Stuart's Highlanders in particular proved to be kindred spirits with the Black Watch, and those two regiments exchanged an unusually large number of warriors.


The Pact

During the First Succession War, when greed and vengeance drove the leaders of the Inner Sphere's Great Houses to unparalleled levels of barbarism, a select group of warriors within the Northwind Highlanders formed a pact to embody the high ideals of the vanished Star League. Though all of the Highlanders consider themselves upholders of those ideals, to the extent that some regiments even fly Star League colors under their own, these particular individuals were among the Star League's most fanatical devotees. All of them came from Stuart's Highlanders, the regiment that had shared the greatest number of beliefs and practices with the Royal Black Watch regiment. They formed a secret organization of sorts within the Highlanders, considering themselves members of the Black Watch regiment and holding themselves ready to step forward and proclaim themselves as such when the Star League was re-established.

The sometimes obsessive secrecy that cloaked the organization arose from this same devotion to the pure ideals of the Star League. Members of this pact wanted only those with similar beliefs to know of their existence, rather than scatter proverbial pearls before swine. In accordance with this desire, new members could be chosen and inducted only it all the current members agreed to accept that candidate. A chosen candidate came under intensive scrutiny to verify that he or she would never betray the trust of the Black Watch. Throughout the centuries from the swearing of the pact to the present day, this secret Black Watch never had more than a dozen or so members at any one time. Though almost all of the Highlander regiments' senior commanding officers knew about the Watch's existence, only a select few became members of it.


The Darkest Hour

During the Second Succession War, the Highlanders saw their dreams of returning home destroyed. In 2841, finding only Stuarts Highlanders and the Third Kearny Highlanders on Northwind, the Federated Suns launched a massive assault on the planet. Though the Highlanders fought to the last man 'in defense of their home, they were outnumbered badly, and the planet quickly fell to the AFFS.

With the capture of the planet and the complete destruction of the two Highlander regiments deployed on it, the Highlanders' self-imposed exile became an exile in reality. This, combined with exaggerated Capellan accounts of AFFS soldiers mistreating the planet's population, sparked an enmity between the remaining Highlanders and House Davion that continued for almost two hundred years. Additionally, though this would not become common knowledge for centuries, nearly every member of the secret Black Watch was killed in action during the capture of Northwind. If not for the fact that a transfer had shifted one of the Black Watch members from Stuart's Highlanders to the Second Kearny Highlanders, the Watch might have ceased to exist. Since then, members carefully have arranged for their numbers to be spread throughout the remaining four regiments to ensure the Watch's survival.


Homecoming

In 3028, during the Fourth Succession War, Prince Hanse Davion sent Lieutenant General Ardan Sortek, to Northwind to secretly meet with the Clan elders. The result of these talks was the Northwind Agreement, which took effect on 13 December 3028. Under the Northwind Agreement, the four regiments of the Northwind Highlanders renounced their allegiance to the Capellan Confederation, swore loyalty to Prince Hanse Davion and the Federated Suns, and joined the Armed Forces of the Federated Suns as mercenaries with certain unique rights.

On Highspire, Ningpo, Jonathan and Elgin, the Highlanders quietly began preparations for returning home. As the Highlanders, their families and their belongings materialized in the Northwind system, they wasted little time in helping to end the fighting on their world. Though the world's Davion defenders were hard pressed by attacking Kurita forces, the arrival of four regiments of Highlanders tipped the odds dramatically in House Davion's favor.

When the fighting was over, the people of Northwind rejoiced as families parted for generations were reunited. Among the most moving incidents was the entrance of Colonel Fiona Chattan and the Highlander regimental commanders, each carrying his or her regiment's claymore into the grand Hall of Castle Northwind. They passed a huge wall-mounted scabbard that bore the two claymores of the Third Kearny and Stuart's Highlanders. As each commander stood before the scabbard, Colonel Chattan proudly read off the regiment's name, and its commander placed his or her sword in its appropriate niche. The Highlanders had finally come home.


Independence

After the Truce of Tukayyid, the Federated Commonwealth found itself short of quality military units with which to garrison its borders against the Clans, as most of the AFFC's elite troops had been destroyed fighting the Clan enemy. By 3053, seeing no alternative, the AFFC High Command finally turned to the Northwind Highlanders. With assurances that Clan border assignments would be brief-just long enough to buy the Federated Commonwealth time to produce more front-line units-three of the four Highlander regiments were given orders that would carry them far from their home planet.

Though the Highlanders were still an elite fighting force, thirty years of peaceful garrison duty had taken away some of their edge. Even with three years' worth of knowledge about the Clans' superior technology and battlefield prowess, the differences between Clan and Inner Sphere opponents still caught the Highlanders off guard. During their initial year of garrison duty at the Clan border, all three of the regiments saw intense raiding that took a heavy toll. Stirling's Fusiliers took particularly devastating losses; by mid-3054, Clan raids had reduced the unit to a single battalion.

By the year 3057, the three Highlander regiments were still on the Clan border, and they no longer believed Davion assurances of a return to Northwind "soon." Additionally, the AFFC liaison to Northwind had taken great pains to demonstrate to the Highlanders that they were part of the Armed Forces of the Federated Commonwealth whether they wished to be so or not. Adding insult to injury, the regiments still had not received the promised reimbursement by the Federated Commonwealth for the Highlanders' extensive repairs after Glengarry. None of these events alone would have caused trouble with the regiments, but all three combined left the Highlanders extremely dissatisfied with their Davion employers, and led them to declare their independence from any and all powers.


A New Hope

At the Whitting Conference in 3058, it was Victor Steiner Davion vision-to eliminate the Clans' threat to the Inner Sphere by taking the fight to their homeworlds, forming a new Star League to accomplish this task-that provided the impetus for the political and military leaders who gathered on Tharkad in September of 3058. While the military advisors created a plan for sending a message to the Clans that they could not possibly misunderstand, the political leaders hashed out the goals and parameters of the new Star League.

Near the end of the Conference, Precentor Martial Focht arrived bearing the Exodus Road - the path Kerensky forged hundreds of years earlier that ended at what would become the Clan homeworlds. Armed with this unexpected information, the military quickly shifted gears and planned a second assault, this one aimed at Clan Smoke Jaguar's homeworld of Huntress. When the leaders of the Great Houses of the Inner Sphere signed the Star League Constitution in November of 3058, they reestablished the military arm of the Star League as well. Charged with the task of completely destroying Clan Smoke Jaguar as both a military force and a political influence, the new Star League Defense Force began gathering its troops.


The Black Watch Reborn

When word reached the Highlanders that a new Star League had been formed and a new First Lord chosen, the members of the Black Watch at first refused to believe this momentous event had come to pass. Almost as soon as they received confirmation of this thrilling news, however, the Watch found itself divided over what course of action it should take. One faction immediately wanted to present the Watch to First Lord Sun-Tzu Liao as the personal guard of the office, based on that company's historical role. A second faction argued that the First Lord had no basis from which to judge the merits of the current Black Watch. Captain Neil Campbell, the current leader of the Black Watch, believed that the Watch should prove its worth before appearing to the new Star League and asking to resume its duties.

Campbell soon convinced the rest of the Black Watch to accept his plan: to join MacLeod's Regiment and join in the attack on the Clan homeworlds as part of Task Force Serpent. The Black Watch then travelled to the Smoke Jaguar world of Huntress, where they clashed with that Clan, hopefully, to prove themselves worthy to act as the First Lord's personal guard. Indeed they distinguished themselves, and upon return to the Inner Sphere, they proceeded with all haste to the First Lord's location in Xian. They made their first public re-appearance as the First Lord's guard at the 2nd Whitting Conference on Tharkad.



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