Augustus IX (born Fryderyk August Stanisław Jozef Sask on 17 January 3211) is a Terran nobleman, military commander, and is the 128th and current King of Poland. Descended from the senior Albertine Saxon line of the House of Wettin, whose junior Saxe-Gessaphe line hold the title King of Saxony, August Sask was born into Terran aristocracy as the heir to the Polish royal titles, and was conferred the title Grand Duke of Krakow.
However, he shunned the privileged lifestyle of famed nobility in favour of a military career. Enlisting in the space forces, he attended the Imperial Academy and became an operations officer on a combat craft. He was given command of his own vessel, and later of a destroyer squadron, and proved himself in battle during the Cruxite War and established his reputation as one of the fiercest and most capable combat leaders in the Imperial Space Navy. He was promoted to Rear Admiral in 3238 and Vice Admiral in 3246, among the youngest admirals in the Space Navy.
He served in command of a naval battle group until 3250, when his father passed away. He volunteered for transfer to the Imperial Army to serve in and command the 7th Guards Uhlans, the "Polish Lancers" regiment. He later was made a Major General in charge of the illustrious 12th Guards Cavalry Division. At the outbreak of the Great War, he took command of both the 3rd Cavalry Army and the 99th Strike Flotilla, exerting complete strategic and operational command of the land and space forces of those units. Under his command, they operated as a seamless combined force, which contributed greatly to the Imperial victory at the Battle of Khoz. He continued to command these units until the close of the war, and was lauded as a hero. His style of command and control, the methodology of combined space-ground forces, was implemented as a major operational reform in the Imperial, and later Republic, military.
After the war, he was appointed commander of the 10th Army Group, nicknamed the "Polish Rifles", and commander of the 2nd Fleet, nicknamed the "Polish Fleet". Both nicknames are in reference to their commander's status and title, not to the ethnic composition of their personnel. Both units are a combined strike command with operational capabilities for rapid deployment and action. It was among the first set of units mobilized for combat in the Magellanic War.
Sask is considered an icon of the apolitical Late Empire military establishment, and a capable commander of large strategic forces.
Early life and education
Sask was born on January 17th, 3211 in the Royal Castle in Warsaw, Poland to Princess Frederika of Denmark and King Casimir VII of Poland. He was followed by six siblings, all sisters.
Sask grew up primarily in his family's estates in the Poland province. From autumn 3217 to spring 3225 he attended the Royal Basic School in Krakow, matriculating with high marks in history and the astrosciences. He then attended the Warsaw Crown Lyceum from 3225 to 3227 with a focus in military and history studies and astronomy, passing the local Matura Exam and entering qualifications for higher education under Polish provincial standards.
He enlisted in the Imperial Space Navy upon matriculation in early 3228, and began correspondence studies with the Rhode Island Space Officer Candidate School while attending the Jagiellonian University. He departed JU before he could graduate.
Sask enlisted for military service at age 16 in early 3228. He desired to become an officer in the space forces, but was under the age limit to qualify for attendance at a service academy. So he attended a research university and took distance education courses in an officer training corps program, the courses provided by the Rhode Island Space Officer Candidate School.
In early 3230, he began education in military arts and sciences and in astrophysics at the Space Academy in Cape Canaveral, Florida Province. He attended the Space Academy for two years, while travelling between semesters to Rhode Island to attend leadership courses at the Space OCS as well as specialist classes in weapons, . He matriculated in late spring 3232 with an academic degree in military studies and a commission as a Lieutenant Junior Grade.
Sask began service during the Cruxite War and was deployed on the destroyer ISV Jockey in a 'wolf pack' unit, the 11th Destroyer Squadron, in July 3232. He participated as a junior weapons officer in fourteen combat engagements with enemy spacecraft before being receiving a field promotion to Lieutenant and being made chief operations officer in December 3233. In a skirmish on 11 June 3234, the Jockey was badly damaged and both the ship's captain Commander Mark Prescott, and its first mate Lieutenant Commander Philip Auvergne died during attempts to assist with repairs in engineering from radiation poisoning, severe burns, and decompression injuries. Sask, as the ranking operations officer, was made acting captain of the Jockey. He led the ship for six months before being appointed commanding officer of the 11th Squadron with the rank of Commodore on 25 December 3234 due to the previous commander dying in combat.
Sask commanded the 11th Squadron through the end of the war, and continued to hold command afterwards. He was promoted to Rear Admiral in April 3238, one of the youngest flag officers in the fleet. He took command of the 105th Battle Group for a statutory period of six years, which was renewed in 3244. In 3250, his father Casimir died and he became holder of the Polish royal titles. He was appointed honorary colonel-in-chief of the 7th Guards Uhlan Regiment "Polish Lancers", as per his family's hereditary honors. He expressed a desire to be the unit's commanding officer in fact, not merely through ceremony. In later interviews, he stated that his war experience "soured [him] to empty honours".
On 3 May 3250, he began service in the Army, attending Army Basic Training followed by Armour School and Harsh Environment Training, training until early 3251. He was in the same training class as Rudolph Lanning, his later superior in the Army. He attended the Army Officer School in Zossen, Brandenburg Province until late 3251. He was commissioned a Lieutenant in the Army and was rapidly promoted later the next year to Major and then to Colonel and was placed in command of the 7th Uhlan regiment. He commanded the unit for four years, but never saw combat during that time. He attended the Army Staff College in Berlin and was commissioned a Major General in March 3256. Submitting a request for combat duty, he received an appointment in command of the 12th Cavalry Division, an elite armoured unit stationed in the colonies.
He led the 12th Cavalry during the tumultuous peacekeeping mission in the Outer Colonies and the marches, including the Banat region, in the late 3250s and early 3260s. He was promoted to Lieutenant General in 3260 and General in 3264, but preferred to remain in command of his cavalry division. This situation created some tension between Sask and his equal-rank superior commanders.
Great War service
In September 3265, the Great War broke out between the Terran Empire and its allies and the Soviet Republic and its allies, joined later by the Free Interstellar Group of Nations in a three-way conflict. Recognizing the severity and scope of the conflict, and the duty he had towards the Empire, General Sask ceased refusal of higher appointments. He was appointed commander of the 3rd Cavalry Army, which included the 12th Guards division, and promoted to the rank of Colonel General. In December of that year, he was reinstated to his Space Navy rank and promoted to Admiral in command of the 99th Strike Flotilla. Later that year he was promoted in the Navy to General Admiral, equal to his Army pay grade. Sask undertook an experimental combined arms approach to commanding his battle units, and was tasked with capturing planets. Several times his command doctrine was tested, and he never lost a battle during the war. He instituted the thorough use of orbital artillery in support of ground forces, as well as the integrated use of air assets and brown-water sea navy squadrons to take total control over an area of operations.
He was criticised by some for blurring lines between branches of service too much, and for overextending his personal command. Admiral-General Sask defended his operational strategy with assertions that the only thing revolutionary was his taking of both naval and army commands within himself, and involving himself personally in running the operations of space and ground attacks. He delegated authority to appropriate sub-unit commanders at the Tactical Army level or the Squadron level, but compelled their cooperation. His basic strategy for capturing a planet was to rush in with assault squadrons to completely eliminate an enemy's space defence before seizing orbital satellites and crashing them into surface defence installations, eliminating their ability to 'swat' landing troops out of the sky. His forces would then deploy successive waves of ground troops, including Marines and Army shock troops, followed by armoured units, and then infantry divisions to 'mop up' and control. His doctrine was successful many times, and it is in the Battle of Khoz in the summer and autumn of 3267 that the 'classical' demonstration of it can be seen. Other commanders began adopting his operational doctrine and rapidly saw success in defeating the Soviets by the middle of 3270.
In the second half of the war, his forces continued to be a spearhead unit and were among the first space fleets to employ the Beaumont Doctrine in combat. In the Vryst Campaign from January 3271 to April 3272, the 99th Strike Flotilla conducted 173 orbital bombardments which resulted in the 'glassing' of a planet's surface from combined kinetic impactor, nuclear weapon, and beam weapon strikes. In only thirty of these, soldiers were deployed on the ground; his units suffered the lowest casualty rate of any combat force in the campaign.