The Tokapé (more commonly Tokape; sometimes Tokapae; pron: toh-KAH-pay) is the name of both an elite, brigade-strength special forces unit of the Utanian Army, and the name of elite Imperial Utani soldiers that served and reported directly to the Utani Emperor.
Imperial Tokape Edit
The Imperial Utani Tokape, as they are now known, were an elite military unit that both served and reported to the Emperor, acting as both his personal emmissaries and specialist personal body guards. (The Golden Arm soldiers were officially the Emperor's personal body guards but did not report to him.)
They were formed to counterbalance the increasing powers of the Imperial Council, acting as direct diplomats of the Emperor, but also specialist soldiers. They were not only his personal guard, but the elite "problem solvers" of the Empire, schooled in military, philosophical, scientific and political matters. It is widely accepted that the Tokape operated as the assassins for several Emperors, though it was, in context of the times, the noble way of removing nobility that were at times immune from prosecution.
They also functioned as counter-insurgency operatives, including specialist, small-force infiltrations into enemy camps to kill enemy commanders or rescue prisoners. This latter purpose stemmed from the kidnapping of members of the Imperial household and failed rescue that followed. It is for these purposes that the modern Tokape force was so-named.
Modern usage Edit
The Tokapé today refer to the special forces of the Utanian Army, specifically, the 12th Brigade of the IInd Corps of the First Utanian Army, commanded by Brigadier Peter Kovacs. The force was formed by President George Okarvits on month 99th, 300ap, and made Brigade-strength on June 13th, 302ap.
The Army is reluctant to state the exact size of the Tokape Brigade though in 302ap, the new budget specifically stated it would "double" the then-700 man force. It is known that the majority of the unit are not specifically combat soldiers but fulfil a wide variety of roles in the Brigade.
To release any documentation regarding the operations, members, size or bases of the Tokape without explicit permission is a violation of the Utanian State Secrets Act that also covers the intelligence branch of the government, UPIA. Such violations may also be interpretted as Acts of Treason, which officially carry the death penalty.
The unit was formed specifically as a special forces unit, counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism, to combat the perceived threats from smaller non-national fighting groups that proliferated on Vexillium following the collapse of several nation-states, particularly the Gronkian Commonwealth and the Guwimithian Empire.
Brigadier Kovacs warned a Parliamentary Committee on June 19th, 302ap, that Utania more likely faced a threat from small forces or terrorist groups than from full-scale invasion, thus justifying his unit's existence. He described the Tokape's purpose as to fight those who were too small for the Army, too strong for the police.
The Tokape, though under the command of the Chief of the Army, is meant to serve as special forces operatives for the entire Utanian military, and Tokape soldiers are regularly stationed aboard naval vessels for specialist sea-based operations.
Admission into the Tokape Brigade is currently available to any male, enlisted member of the Utanian armed forces, aged 22 to 32 and with more than three-year's service, though most have more than five years service when admitted.
Selection is reputed to be the most demanding military training course in the Utanian Armed Forces with a reported pass rate of less than 15%. Candidates are limited to a maximum of three attempts, with personnel failing being Returned to Unit.
All candidates must pass a series of physical and mental tests to assess their capabilities and readiness to join that run over a period of four weeks. While the Brigade says nothing about the content of those tests, to keep prospective joiners in the regular forces unaware of them, broad aspects of the candidacy tests are widely known to include a series of basic training tests that test the soldiers' physical endurance, navigation and combat capabilities. These initial tests reportedly have a roughly 80% pass rate.
Passing does not guarantee admission, with a further five month probationary, training period that provides the candidates with in-depth training in evasion, escape, interrogation endurance, weapons and vehicle training, demolitions and small unit patrol tactics, plus long navigation exercises in hot, humid and snow conditions with increasing backpack loading and map difficulty.
Those seeking to technical roles will endure the same tests, though in lessor depth or intensity depending on the requirements of their roles. Instead, they will be tested with specific tests commensurate with their skills that will include "endurance technical operations", such as being forced to perform their craft under hostile fire or in blizzard or jungle conditions.
All candidates are furthermore subjected to in-depth psychological assessment throughout their first six months.
Finally, upon passing all tests and assessed as acceptable, soldiers are placed on a further twelve month probation. As they are effectively "starting over", all soldiers are demoted to rank of Private, though their rank on admission will be recorded as a shadow rank and be restored if they are returned to their original unit. Despite a possible reduction in rank, Tokape soldiers receive significant allowances, which make them among the highest paid soldiers in the Utanian military.
They will be required to serve a 3 year term of service. Having served two terms of service, Tokape soldiers will then be eligible to join the permanent staff and become eligible for promotion into the Sergeant and NCO ranks.
The admission process for Officers is quite different as officers do not perform field roles. Officers are therefore not recruited for their physical abilities, and will not undergo the same testing. Instead, officers are tested extensively on their strategic and administrative capabilities, knowledge and understanding. Officers must have the rank of Captain or above to be eligible for admission.
Skills and Training Edit
General Kovacs is on record for boasting that a single six-man team of Tokape "could outmatch" a platoon of regular army soldiers. However, he also conceded the Tokape were "not designed for open field, face-to-face combat".
Several training facilities have been specifically built for the Tokape Brigade for specialist training purposes, though these estimated 35 facilities are also shared with the regualr Army.
The Tokape currently have no cross-training agreements with other special forces units around Vexillium.
The Tokape Brigade has lost more men in training than in combat operations, due to the nature of their training regimen.
The first activity of the Tokape when only Battallion-strength, was the successful rescue of 99 hostages aboard Flight XXX in Lochboer International Airport.