So I decided to turn this into a series of quick thoughts regarding the weapons depicted in Youjo Senki. Now as a preface to all that, I’m doing this mainly for my own ends, intending to use the work from this series of posts elsewhere, and this becoming a bit of a resource for me.
This entry focuses on the weapons of the Nomajs. The muggles. The Poor Bloody Infantry. Because, as ze Blogfather, Miguel over at Gun Free Zone said: “The best way to cement a fantasy is to have a well-defined reality.”
Edit: I also created the IMFDB page for the series here.
The War in Youjo Senki is in a state of transition from the days of yore. Heavier than air flight has been achieved, with a late 1920s, 1930s design and technological standpoint. Warfare here closely resembles the static lines of the First World War, with entrenched soldiers fighting to retake the muddied and torn fields between the trenches.
The difference being the appearance of mages that can render a whole section of the line destroyed, and act more akin to a Special Forces unit with the tactical maneuverability of attack helicopters. It has been noted that standard mages (basically, anyone that isn’t Tanya or her Battallion) are limited to altitude and speed, unable to match fighter and bomber aircraft in both, but no doubt delivering vastly more powerful firepower on a target than either (so far).
Regardless, while Mages, Aircraft, and even Artillery are quite important, the infantryman is the person that, in the words of Urban Dictionary, gets to hold ground while every other branch of the armed forces shoots at them.
The Empire of this world is analogous to Imperial Germany at the start of the First World War. Considering that the events that would’ve brought about the Great War in our timeline seems to be gone, or at least missing from the anime. No doubt once I start diving into the manga and light novels, I’ll find out more details about the setting, but this is what has appeared in the series so far.
The primary infantry weapon found in the hands of the Empire’s soldiers and the Republican partisans would be the Mauser Gewehr 98. Now, there has not been a great deal of detailed glamour shots of the weapon throughout the episodes aired so far, but the presence of a straight bolt on the rifle suggests it’s a G98 and not its ‘carbine’ derivatives and definitely not the Karabiner 98k.
One thing to note, that while the only sidearm seen so far was in the hands of the Dacia’s invasion force general, Tanya is seen holding a Luger P08 in the ending sequence, taken from images from the Light Novel.
Opposing the Empire would be a variety of nations, the largest of which is the Francois Republic, referred to as the ‘Republic’ in the anime. Seen in the opening minutes of Episode 1, the Republic’s weapon of choice is the Lebel Model 1886 Rifle (also known as the Fusil Mle 1886 M93). A full length rifle in use by the French Third Republic, it gets a few glamour shots in.
Legedonia Entente Alliance
The second country we see that is opposing the Empire is the Legedonia Entente Alliance, a polity consisting of a merger of prime-timeline Sweden and Norway. The infantry weapons utilized by the defenders of Orse Fjord is barely recognizable in the short glimpses seen in the episode, but it stands to reason that the weapon depicted by the responding troops (before they were blasted by the Imperial ship) would be the Gevär m/96, the variant of the Swedish Mauser in use around the time period.
Dacia Grand Duchy
The third country featured on-screen to fight against the Empire would be the Dacia Grand Duchy. Seen only once in the series at Episode 5. They ceased being a threat afterwards. The Grand Duchy’s invasion force is armed with the Mannlicher M1893 rifle, the historical rifle of the Kingdom of Romania from which the Grand Duchy is based on.
Interestingly, the Duchy general is the first one to be seen using a handgun in the series, shooting ineffectively at Tanya.
Without a proper sideview or any other detailed shots, it’s hard to say what weapon it really is though with the profile presented it looks more like the Mars Automatic Pistol. A powerful weapon, it’s probably not powerful enough to pierce through a mage’s shielding without any magical properties applied to it or its ammunition.
The good folks over at IMFDB have identified it as the Roth-Steyr M1907.
A weapon utilized by almost all the combatants though would be the Maxim machine gun. Water-cooled and firing the respective primary caliber of their adopted nation, they’re commonly seen in the western Empire theatre of operations.
The Republic is seen using the Vickers Mk. I while the Empire uses the Maxim MG08 with features from Chinese-made Type 24 Maxim guns. Thanks once again to the folks over at IMFDB.
Another machine gun that was in use in the series is the Lewis gun in its Mk. II form and in a dual gun mounting, located on the nose and engine-nacelle gunner positions on the Blériot 127 bombers. [Extra Source]
As for grenades, Tanya’s company during the Dacia’s invasion of the Empire would employ the Model 24 Steilhandgranate against massed infantry troops forming attempting to shoot down her mages with volley fire. This doesn’t go well for the Dacians who are still operating in a war where cavalry is commonplace. She would then use it on Alliance bombers, using one to destroy the lead bomber in the formation.
Overall, magus forces would be the forefront of implementation of revolutionary small arms. This is probably no doubt to their status as specialist troops, akin to the Stoßtruppen of Imperial Germany or Special Forces of today. No doubt though as the time advances the regular forces will end up gaining access to these advanced weapons or doctrine shapes up to the proper implementation of semi-automatic and select-fire automatic small arms and the birth of combined arms doctrine. Not exactly diminishing the role of the magus, but giving the firepower/rate of fire advantages the magus had into the hands of the nomajs.
I’m going through the Youjo Senki manga now, what has been fan-translated so far, and it’s a bit enlightening what is in those pages. Maybe I’ll also cover those weapons in a segment.