- This article is about the military of the Earth Kingdom. For other similar uses, see Military (disambiguation).
The military of the Earth Kingdom is the body primarily responsible for the defense of the Earth Kingdom. It consists of an army, navy, air force, and several specialized divisions. It was considered to be one of the most powerful armed forces in the world, as demonstrated by its ability to stave off assaults from the more sophisticated Fire Nation forces for the majority of the Hundred Year War.
The Earth Monarch is the constitutional commander-in-chief, although during the Hundred Year War, the monarchy's power was extremely limited. The main commanding authority is the Council of Five, which is an assembly of five senior generals who oversaw the war effort from Ba Sing Se.
The Earth Kingdom military forces were greater in number but technologically inferior to those of the Fire Nation and United Republic of Nations. In course of the Hundred Year War, the Earth Kingdom was usually able to counter the attacks of the Fire Nation through various tactics and a stalwart defense; however, the latter was still successful in its invasion and subsequent colonization of several areas of the mainland. Despite these setbacks, the Earth Kingdom still fielded a largely competent and determined force of soldiers up until its defeat in the Coup of Ba Sing Se in 100 AG, when only a few small pockets of resistance were left to continue the fight. Following the Hundred Year War's end, the Earth Kingdom military was restored and modernized. It again collapsed during the anarchy in the Earth Kingdom (171 - 174 AG).
The Earth Kingdom Army, also known as the "Earth King's army" and "His Majesty's army", is the largest and most important branch of the military. Similar to the Fire Nation, Earth Kingdom armies consist of benders, foot soldiers, and armored units.
At the era of Raava's end and the beginning of the Avatar's era, around 9,829 BG, early earthbender armies clashed in wars with other peoples, forcing Avatar Wan to intervene. The lands of the later Earth Kingdom became home to warring states. At some point, the rulers of Ba Sing Se unified the continent, founding the Earth Kingdom and unifiying the armies of the ancient states. The early Earth Monarchs were described as "proud warrior-kings", putting great importance in their armies' poweress.
Conflicts of Earth King Feishan's reign
Throughout history, there were many cases when commanders in the Earth Kingdom army revolted and attempted to usurp the throne. Some were successful, but others failed. Around the 5th/4th century BG, General Nong attempted to overthrow Earth King Feishan; the resulting civil war lasted for an extended period until Nong's rebels were completely wiped out at Llamapaca's Crossing. After this battle, it became clear that Nong had been secretly supported by the Fire Nation and Water Tribe, resulting in a diplomatic crisis known as the Platinum Affair.
Years later, Feishan sent several divisions of his army to crush what he suspected was an uprising at Bin-Er. However, the Earth Kingdom soldiers were halted by a series of mysterious, massive explosions at the city borders. Though the army suffered no heavy losses, they ceased their attempts to storm Bin-Er, and left after Avatar Yangchen claimed that the explosions had been caused by a spiritual disturbance.
Era of Kyoshi
In the late 4th century BG, the Yellow Neck Uprising devastated the Earth Kingdom's inner provinces. The incumbent Earth King refused to employ the Earth Kingdom Army in large numbers to destroy the rebels. As result, the Yellow Necks were able to terrorize the people for years until they were destroyed in the Battle of Zhulu Pass by Jianzhu. In the following years, Jianzhu hired veterans of the Earth Kingdom Army as personal guards.
During Chin's war against the Earth Kingdom in around 270 BG, the Earth Kingdom Army failed to stop the ruthless warlord's armies' advance, having already conquered the entire continent with the exception of Ba Sing Se and Yokoya until the latter's death indirectly caused by Avatar Kyoshi.
During the Hundred Year War
Throughout the war, the Earth Kingdom Army fought in numerous ground battles against the invading armies of the Fire Nation, but failed to stop their takeovers and destruction of Earth Kingdom territories. By the late war, some Earth Kingdom Army units defected to the Fire Nation, collaborating to secure occupied territories.
When Ba Sing Se fell to the Fire Nation in a coup, the army disorganized and became small pockets of resistance. Small forces of the Earth Kingdom Army participated in the invasion of the Fire Nation, but surrendered when the Fire Nation Air Force counterattacked and destroyed any chance of escape.
Despite this defeat, remaining Earth Kingdom Army units continued their resistance against the Fire Nation occupation until the war ended when Avatar Aang and his group stopped Phoenix King Ozai and his personal fleet of airships from burning the Earth Kingdom to the ground.
After the Hundred Year War
At the end of the Hundred Year War, the Earth Kingdom Army reorganized and incorporated new technologies into their forces such as the earthbending-powered tanks and the hot air balloon.
During the Harmony Restoration crisis, the army, led by Earth King Kuei, marched to Yu Dao to forcefully remove the Fire Nation colonists from Earth Kingdom territory. However, the Fire Nation Army under Fire Lord Zuko's command had gathered there to protect the colony and the two armies clashed. Their brief conflict came to an end when Avatar Aang and his group intervened and both armies left peacefully.
After the Harmonic Convergence in 171 AG and the subsequent awakening of new airbenders, Earth Queen Hou-Ting ordered the Dai Li to kidnap every single airbender in Ba Sing Se to forcefully conscript them into the Earth Kingdom Army, serving as its First Airbending Regiment. After Korra was declared an enemy of the state for breaking the airbenders out of prison, the military was ordered to hunt down and capture Team Avatar. When Hou-Ting was murdered, and the Earth Kingdom descended into anarchy, the military fragmented. Kuvira subsequently started a campaign to restore order, and gutted the remnants of the Earth Kingdom Army to bolster her own forces which later became the military of the Earth Empire. When Kuvira's attempted invasion of the United Republic of Nations failed and the Earth Empire was abolished, the Earth Kingdom Army was restored. In fact, however, it remained understaffed and weak. As result, it was unable to defeat a militant Earth Empire holdout in Gaoling.
Equipment and uniform
Soldiers, both benders and nonbenders, carry a wide variety of weapons from spears, swords, and other various polearms to more unusual weapons such as hammers, axes, and sickles. Soldiers are typically attired with specially-armored conical helmets, which have also been shown to function in battle as an impromptu shield against fire blasts. Nonbending soldiers wear a headdress underneath this headgear. They also appear to be more heavily protected than their bending counterparts and wear boots, in contrast to bending soldiers who are often barefoot in order to fully utilize their earthbending abilities. Helmets designed for benders are pointed and decorated with the Earth Kingdom emblem. Officers wear yellow armor instead of the standard green variant.
Infantry clothing appears to be color-coded. Nonbenders wear an olive drab green. However, out of bending soldiers:
- Omashu soldiers wear leaf green.
- Iroh's kidnappers wore yellow and light brown.
- General Fong's soldiers wore light green.
- Ferry guards wear brown-on-tan uniforms.
- Ba Sing Se soldiers have more diverse uniforms in black and yellow.
Earth Kingdom cavalry consists of ostrich horses, animals which can carry soldiers over long distances as well as run at high speeds almost vertically for short distances. They are often geared with armor. These creatures either serve as a means of transportation for soldiers or as mounts for nonbending members of the army who are outfitted with spears. By riding on the ostrich horses, nonbenders can quickly avoid projectiles and other forms of attack from foot soldiers.
Earthbenders use heavy circular stones, comparable to the height of an average person, as artillery and catapult projectiles. They are meant to resemble the emblem of the Earth Kingdom, and as such, they bear similarities to the common currency, with the square in the center of the emblem usually carved out. The stones have a variety of other uses, such as lining them up consecutively to create a mobile defensive wall or stacking them to build a makeshift lookout tower. Skilled earthbenders can also use them as a means of transport by "riding" in the square hole in the center of the disk and rolling it with their bending.
The mechanist, a brilliant Earth Kingdom inventor, designed and produced several highly advanced earthbending-powered tanks for the Earth Kingdom to use in what was ultimately a failed attempt to invade the Fire Nation. These tanks are powered by four earthbenders and can carry at least a dozen troops, with side hatches that allow earthbenders to hurtle projectiles at enemy forces. The tanks are multi-segmented, allowing them to bend and flex in a manner similar to the movement of caterpillars. This feature makes it possible for the tanks to traverse practically any terrain, crawl over and even crush obstacles or enemy vehicles, make wide turns, and twist upright should one be overturned. They have exceptionally thick armor that can deflect all manner of fire blasts. These new vehicles were more than a match for the Fire Nation armored forces at the time of their invention and debut in battle.
The mechanist also manufactured a select number of supply trucks for the invasion. These vehicles were designed to carry weapons and bendable elements to be used by the warriors. They move entirely on treads and are controlled by a single driver. Each has a large flatbed that can carry boulders, jugs of water, bombs, and other materials.
A year after the Hundred Year War, the earthbending-powered tanks were officially incorporated into the country's line of warfare. The Earth Kingdom also acquired the specifications for the hot air balloons, which were once Fire Nation exclusives, and incorporated them into their own line of warfare, albeit modified to bear the Earth Kingdom emblem and colors. One such unit was used to carry Earth King Kuei as he led the Earth Kingdom Army to Yu Dao to enforce the Harmony Restoration Movement.
- Council of Five
- General Fong
- General Saiyuk
- Captain Yung
- Earthbender captain
The Earth Kingdom originally had a capable navy, though it was much weaker than the Fire Nation's naval forces. The fleets were extensively deployed to fight the growing number of pirates in the Eastern Sea during the 4th and 3rd centuries BG. Sometime between 305 and 296 BG, however, most of the Earth Kingdom's navy was destroyed by the Fifth Nation pirates in a large naval battle, during which the last admiral of Ba Sing Se was also killed by pirate queen Tagaka.
Even though the navy was rebuilt by the time of the Hundred Year War, it still remained significantly more inferior to that of the Fire Nation. Despite the disadvantage, General How planned to use a fleet of ships to invade the Fire Nation on the Day of Black Sun, even though General Fong had stated any attack by the Kingdom's navy against the Fire Nation Navy would be suicide.
Zhao was promoted to the rank of commander after defeating an Earth Kingdom vessel in battle. Furthermore, the Dai Li deployed several ships on Lake Laogai to search for Team Avatar after their escape from the headquarters with Appa.
Shortly after the Hundred Year War's end, the Earth Kingdom came into possession of the specifications of the hot air balloons, which were previously exclusive to the Fire Nation Air Force. The Earth Kingdom incorporated them into their own line of warfare, albeit modified to bear the Earth Kingdom emblem and colors. The Air Force's only known engagement was with the Fire Nation military during the battle for Yu Dao; an air balloon was used as Earth King Kuei's personal transport during the conflict.
By 171 AG, the Earth Kingdom had acquired airships from Cabbage Corp; although cheaper compared to the ones built by Future Industries, they were less sturdy and easily sustained damage during a fight.
- Main article: Kyoshi Warriors
The Kyoshi Warriors are an all-female group of fighters led by Suki on Kyoshi Island. Their fighting style and clothing mimic those of their founder, Avatar Kyoshi, although the most current fighters do not implement any of the bending arts in their physical movements. Clad in ornate green armor and kabuki-esque makeup designed to intimidate opponents, Kyoshi Warriors use metal fans as their main weapons, but they also employ katanas and wrist shields. Holding the fans like extensions of their own arms, the Kyoshi Warriors aim to turn the strength of their opponents against them, a principle also essential to waterbending. The exclusively female warriors do not take kindly to training outsiders, particularly men, in these uncommon methods, as it is a long-standing tradition that only women from the island may be trained as Kyoshi Warriors. Sokka is the only known exception to this tradition.
- Main article: Terra Team
The Terra Team is an elite platoon of earthbenders under the command of General Sung. During the Hundred Year War, the platoon was stationed in Ba Sing Se for defensive purposes. When the Fire Nation drill attempted to breach the Outer Wall of Ba Sing Se, they were ordered to destroy it. When the earthbenders approached the machine, Ty Lee, who was stationed with Azula aboard the drill, saw the threat through a periscope and was sent along with Mai to subdue them. The earthbenders, defenseless against Ty Lee's chi-blocking, were defeated swiftly. They had to be rescued and taken back to the Outer Wall, where Katara did her best to heal them.
Royal Earthbender Guards
- Main article: Royal Earthbender Guards
The Royal Earthbender Guards of Ba Sing Se are affiliated with neither the Dai Li nor the military and instead serve as personal protectors of the Earth Monarch. Hundreds of these guards keep the Royal Palace under surveillance while others work as the gatekeepers of the Outer and Inner Walls of Ba Sing Se. The guards use specialized surface-to-surface rocks against invaders approaching on foot, but the projectiles also serve as surface-to-air rocks against airborne intruders. They wear dark green armor with a green feather at the top of the helmet.
- Main article: Dai Li
The Dai Li served as the "cultural protectors of Ba Sing Se", meaning they were intended to preserve and defend the ways of the city from upheaval. They were created by Avatar Kyoshi following a peasant uprising that threatened the rule of the 46th Earth King. Their loyalties were questionable; although they were intended to protect Ba Sing Se, the rise of Long Feng as their leader led to their function being warped. Under his command, they began to hide the truth about the War with the Fire Nation from the Earth King himself, as well as using fear and brainwashing to control the citizens. This conspiracy ultimately led to the city's downfall. With orders from Princess Azula of the Fire Nation, they initiated a coup to weaken the city's defenses and personally brought down the walls of Ba Sing Se, allowing the Fire Nation to invade. Some of its members also traveled with Azula to the Fire Nation, where she eventually banished them in a paranoid rage. Following the Hundred Year War, the Dai Li returned to Ba Sing Se. After airbenders surfaced in the city after the Harmonic Convergence in 171 AG, the Dai Li captured them to raise an army for Earth Queen Hou-Ting.
There are some other groups that have very little or no direct affiliation with the central Earth Kingdom government or its military. They are independent movements and fighting forces that are loyal to the Earth Kingdom, though their interests and methods may differ from the interests of the government.
- Main article: Freedom Fighters
The Freedom Fighters were a group of teenagers who wanted to liberate the Earth Kingdom from Fire Nation occupation, even if it meant killing and injuring innocent people. They conducted their schemes under the leadership of Jet, whose parents' deaths at the hands of the Fire Nation eventually led to his desire to fight them off.
- Main article: Omashu Resistance
The Omashu Resistance was a loosely-organized group of rebels that fought to liberate the city of Omashu from Fire Nation rule. Created after the metropolis was captured during the Hundred Year War, the forces were led by Yung and planned their operations underground.
- Main article: Earth Empire
Following the insurrection of the Red Lotus in 171 AG, Kuvira of the Metal Clan was appointed to restore order within the kingdom to ensure Prince Wu would assume his duty as the new Earth King safely. She organized a large army which was partially recruited from remnants of the Earth Kingdom military. When she consequently revolted against the restoration of the monarchy, and established the Earth Empire, the Earth Kingdom Army proved powerless to stop her.
The Zaofu Guard is the primary law enforcement force of the autonomous city-state of Zaofu. It doubles as a police and the city's military. The guard is led by a captain and includes metalbending earthbenders and firebenders.
The Earth Kingdom Army and other groups operated many bases and garrisons throughout the Earth Kingdom. These forts were led by generals and other military officers.
- Do Hwan Fortress
- Fort Bosco
- General Fong's fortress
- Pohuai Stronghold (under Fire Nation control during the Hundred Year War)
List of major engagements