5th Bolan Defenders
|Fifth Bolan Defenders|
|Unit Profile (as of 2765)|
|Nickname||The Shiva Legion|
|Parent Formation||Bolan Defenders|
The Fifth Bolan Defenders came into being as a result of the successful Age of War-era conquest by the Free Worlds League of the region of the Lyran Commonwealth that came to be known as the Bolan Thumb. Although the conquest of the various worlds of the Bolan Thumb was completed during the Fifth half of the twenty-sixth century the Fifth Bolan Defenders wouldn't reach full strength until after the signing of the Tharkad Accords in 2558, by which point the borders between the Free Worlds League and Lyran Commonwealth had been formalized and the pressure on the Free Worlds League Military (FWLM) units holding onto the various conquered worlds had reduced.
In an act of appeasement towards the populations of the various conquered worlds of the Bolan Thumb the majority of the personnel for the Fifth Bolan Defenders and its sister regiments were recruited from the worlds of the Thumb, although the FWLM included a sprinkling of liaisons from the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) put in place to watch for signs of subversion.When the NIA confirmed that the Defenders had been vetted for loyalty to the region the brigade was given free rein to police the region as it saw fit. The Fifth wasn't vetted primarily for loyalty to the Captain-General, and this was a distinction echoed somewhat in the nature of the Defenders' place within the FWLM, somewhere between federal and provincial forces.
The Star League
The Fifth and the other regiments of the Bolan Defenders continued to sit somewhere between provincial and federal status throughout the Star League era. With no Free Worlds League province to claim political ownership of the worlds of the Bolan Thumb, the Defenders were officially federal troops, controlled by the Dormuth Council and under the nominal authority of the Marshal of the Tamarind Military District. In contrast with most federal units the Defenders were given a great deal of autonomy and latitude by the Dormuth Council, allowing them to continue to respond rapidly to incidents and incursions within the Bolan Thumb - faster even than the locally-assigned Star League Defense Force garrisons. The Defenders remained very similar to provincial forces in other ways, however; in particular, no regiment of the Defenders ever deployed outside of the Bolan Thumb region or even below the area known as the Bolan Shoulders, the rimward edge of the Thumb region. The Bolan Thumb may not have been a Free Worlds League province but the Defenders treated it as such.
The majority of the personnel serving within the Fifth were still recruited from the Bolan region at this point, and those who joined the Fifth rarely requested a transfer outside the brigade. It was this dedication that was in large part responsible for the Defenders as a whole consistently maintaining one of the highest readiness ratings of any FWLM formation; intimately familiar with the landscape of the region - both political and topographical - the Defenders were effective at mobilizing against threats and responding to or repelling bandit raids consistently faster than their SLDF counterparts.
Like the other regiments of the Defenders, the Fifth began to suffer from the high tempo of activity within the Thumb during the closing years of the Star League; piracy and border raids ramped up sharply from the mid-2740s onward, placing an increasing strain on the Fifth as the weariness of constantly being on high alert began to affect the morale and performance of the units. Also dragging the morale of the brigade down were the persistent rumors that despite the corrupt NIA having been replaced by SAFE the League continued to place SAFE agents within each regiment to search for seditious tendencies. The Fifth remained keen to jump across the Lyran border if required, and were determined to live up to the brigade motto "Ad Respiratio Ultimus" - To the last breath - but the Defenders were increasingly on edge. After the Lyran Commonwealth Armed Forces performed a series of military actions in systems bordering the Free Worlds League and toppled the governments of Al Jafr, Ilzra and Maisons in the early 2760s the Fifth went on high alert for nine months before being stood down.
|Commanding Officers of the 5th Bolan Defenders|
Fifth Bolan Defenders (Regiment/Regular/Reliable)
2786 - 2821
5th Bolan Defenders (Regiment/Regular/Reliable) 
- Note: At this point in time the medium-weight unit was stationed on Malazan. The unit was destroyed during the war. 
- Field Report 2765: FWLM, p. 12, "Bolan Defenders"
- Field Report 2765: FWLM, p. 12, "Regimental Status"
- ’’ First Succession War’’, p. 138