|Th' empire's not one army. It's dozens, hundreds! It's what I strove to knock into that thick dome of yours.|
|- Count Caldwell to Queen Meve, Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales|
The Imperial Army of the Nilfgaardian Empire is, without a doubt, one of the best-trained fighting forces on the Continent. Boasting from the lower ranks to the higher nobles involved within the military, its soldiers, known as the black-clad, are well-versed in the art of combat. Under the complete control of the Nilfgaardian Imperator who leads it through a set of high-ranking officers under a Field marshal.
During greater conquests and invasions, such as the Northern Wars, the army was divided into groups, such as Center Army Group, East Army Group and Verden Operations Group. During the second of the Northern Wars, the army count was ca. 320,000, with 300,000 attacking the kingdoms and about 20,000 remaining in the Empire to keep the peace and defend core provinces in case of an unexpected turn in war.
Unlike the Northern Kingdoms, slavery is commonplace among the Nilfgaardians; slaves, usually prisoners of war, are used not only for manual work, but even during combat, fighting for their freedom, at least according to their masters.
The army uses variety of soldiers like light and heavy cavalry, spearmen, pikemen, archers and crossbowmen.
Created during the early expansion of the Empire, the Nilfgaardian Army first served to conquer local countries, such as Vicovaro and Ymlac. Eventually they conquered so many realms, anywhere south of the Amell Mountains was considered a part of the Empire.
First Northern War
In 1263, the army, led by Menno Coehoorn, passed the Amell Mountains through the Marnadal Stairs, and at the mouth of the pass on the other side, the Battle of Marnadal commenced against the Cintran Army, with the Nilfgaardians winning the battle, and the Cintran King Eist Tuirseach dead.
The army moved north and attacked the city of Cintra, slaughtering and sacking the entire city, as well as causing the deaths of most of the royal family and the suicide of Queen Calanthe. After sacking Cintra, they marched north into Sodden, and took control of Upper Sodden in a battle against a northern army. They then marched even further north, crossing the Yaruga into Lower Sodden and fought against the armies of Redania, Temeria, Aedirn and Kaedwen in the Battle of Sodden Hill. Around 100,000 fought in the battle and after suffering heavy losses, the Nilfgaardian Army retreated south across the Yaruga. Facing a stalemate with both sides facing each other across the river, Coehoorn ordered a retreat into the lands of Upper Sodden and Cintra, which they quickly occupied.
Divisions and brigades