“We will fight them on the high streets, we will fight them outside Tesco, we will fight them by the bus shelters, we will fight them on the bench outside our local pub, we will fight them in the doorways of banks after 5pm, and we will never, never surrender.”
“Conventional armies need to be fed, led and bred. The Hobo Army only consumes drugs or cider, requires little leadership, and can reproduce asexually. They have us fucked on all counts.”
“I just need a bit of change to get into a shelter for the night.”
The Hobo Army is a semi-independant subset of NATO that exists in most western countries. It is respected worldwide for its skills in infiltration, intimidation and causing economic hardship. They have won many notable battles, with their greatest success being in the 2005 Battle of Crazy Dave's Sleeping Spot against the Salvation Army, and there have been many requests for their aid worldwide. Since President Obama won the U.S. election under the slogan "Change," the Hobo Army has been increasingly affiliated with American forces, though it claims to still be a neutral military power.
The existence of the Hobo Army has been a sore point for some. Greenbulb Van Dashing, Commander of the Stinky Rich Brigadiers, has said "I don't see why they have to bother us other armies. They could easily join a regular force, you know, instead of fighting everyone on the streets. Bloody mercenaries." The Hobo Army has responded to this with the statement "'scuse me, sorry to bother you, thank you for not ignoring me. That's a load of shit. This is the only army that'll have us. Although I'm trying to get into the Prussian Grenadiers, and I'm just a few quid short, so if you could..." at this point the journalist walked away.
The Hobo Army, under various names, has existed as a unit for as long as history has been written. Whether the unit began as independant mercenaries or as an organised force is unknown, though records suggest early barracks existed known as "alms houses." Alms was another word for arms in Old Language. A reference to the Hobo Army appears in the journals of General Tacticus:
“Our legions had crossed into Londinium to fight the menace. Once among the streets we were beset on all sides by shabby warriors who closely resembled the Scots. They badgered our troops with requests for coin, and tales of their sick relatives who required money for hospital treatment. Our men became so annoyed they declared "fuck it, let the English deal with it themselves," and withdrew.”
Similar encounters have been found recorded in many historical sources, including a testament from Emperor Constantine of the Hobo Army battling a thousand-strong force of zombies outside the walls of Constantinople. There is no clear indication of when they were inducted as a professional scrapping force, but it is known that King Henry VII rewarded them for their valour at the Battle of Bastards with a gift of twenty shillings and free access to the village of Nutty Crapstbvbnm,.baff. Some historians have speculated that Henry VII was the first to suggest the idea of the Hobos becoming a united force with his words "you guys are pretty handy in a fight. Shame about the smell. Tell you what, help me kick rebellious ass and I'll make sure you get all the crack you need." Whether this was the first instance of the Hobo Army fighting for simoleons is disputed, but it is known that they helped Henry put down his enemies Lord Ditchwater Roofie II, Mistress Esmereldaledelda and Darth Vader.
The Hobo Army continued to influence politics during the Tudor reign. In the constant fighting between the Catholics and the Protestants they occupied a unique position, summed up by diary entry one Hobo wrote on the side of a pig, stating "what do we care about that fucker who put us here? Spare any change?" This enabled them to fight effectively during the 4,537 different kings and queens who sat the throne during the eight-year Tudor period. The last queen, Elizabeth I, hired an elite corps from the Hobo Army to guard her virginity, which was kept at the time in the Tower of London.
At the same time, the Hobo Army was starting to gain a foothold in America after clinging to the underside of the Mayflower. They remained an underground fighting force for some time, as the USA had not yet developed an industry to manufacture ketamine or small dogs on string, the primary currency on which the Hobo Army operates. During the American civil war, however, the Hobo Army was as divided as the rest of the nation, and could often be founding shouting at each in the streets. Union Hobos felt that the abolishment of slavery would be good for business, as freed slaves sought a fighting force to take revenge on their former masters, whilst the Hobos of the Confederacy didn't want to see the removal of the only group of society they could freely laugh at without being told "at least I have a proper job, asshole." Despite the Union victory, the Confederacy Hobos were satisfied when they discovered it would be another century before it became morally wrong to laugh at black people.
The Hobo Army had a visible presence during both world wars, and were highly visible in many busy towns, particularly on the high streets and wandering around parks. They were particularly valued during World War II for leading many a rousing chorus of Hitler's Only Got one Ball during the blitz. Whilst few could afford the taxi fare to the front line, and therefore were unable to take part in any actual fighting, at least two Hobos were awarded the Victoria Cross and subsequently pawned it. One of these heroes would later recall "they gives me this medal, see, dunno what for, all I did was kill my neighbour, think he was German, or some bollocks, might have been Swiss, I don't know. The medal? Ahh I sold it and bought a horse."
The Hobo Army took little part in the cold war, as they had been cold for centuries and saw no reason to start a war over it, but instead spent their time consolidating links with various nations. Great Britain was the first country to maintain a standing force comprised of Hobo Army troops, as they were cheaper than the previous army, which was made up of lollipop ladies and bank managers. America and much of Europe soon followed suit. Russia also claimed to have a Hobo Army, but this remains unverified as nobody could tell the difference from their regular troops.
The Battle of Crazy Dave's Sleeping Spot
Perhaps the Hobo Army's most famous bout of fisticuffs, this epic struggle saw the full might of the Hobos engaging in a pitched ruckus with the Salvation Army, their long-standing military rivals. Crazy Dave himself was an informant for the Hobo Army, who would pass on information from his undercover position outside the Old Duke pub in Bristol. In the spring of 2005 Crazy Dave was approached by undercover agents working for the Salvation Army and threatened. He would later write about the experience in his memoirs: "oh, horses! I flip-flapped the bellyache in a lickety little movement and OH MY FISH IS THAT A FISH?"
When news of the intimidation reached the Hobo Army general, Lucozade Vigger, he retaliated by severely annoying two Salvation Army hostages, and the stage was set for war. The battle gained its name from the location of the battlefield, down a small alleyway in Stokes Croft with a number of strategically-positioned boxes on hand. The forces were evenly matched, with twelve Hobos on one side and ten Salvation Army workers and a burger van on the other. The battle ended in a resounding victory for the Hobo Army: the Salvation forces were thoroughly bummed and made to run away crying like scared little girls. Crazy Dave praised the soldiers with the memorable speech "you have lambasted your ogglers in copper sulphate! Be well-spun and creamy!"
Current Status of the Hobo Army
The Hobo Army's current troop numbers and reserve forces are classified. Aerial photographs of the desolate car park outside the Ikea in Eastville have suggested a standing army numbering in the tens of thousands, but it has been speculated that this may be a deliberate ploy to throw the Hobos enemies off-balance. It is unknown if they have access to nuclear weapons, but an official report by the CIA implies that the Army has been conducting tests outside an off-licence in Manchester. The Hobo Army's main artillery weapon is the hurled bottle, which consists of a well-aimed bottle half-full of White Lightning thrown towards the face of the target. The weapon is extremely dangerous and has in the past brought criminal proceedings onto anyone using outside of a conflict zone. Hobo Army private Xavier Klashinikoff once used the weapon in such a dangerous manner, and attempts were made to put him under house arrest, until it was realised that this was technically impossible.
Members of the Hobo Army hold diplomatic immunity worldwide, and are free to travel across borders thanks to U.N. legislation that states "we can't keep track of the bastards, fuck it, let them wander where they like." (This legislation was later extended to cover cows and children as well). There are no de facto commanders, and each branch of the Army operates as a independant cell, though various sources claim that Ted "Golden Voice" Williams was regarded as the senior Hobo amongst the infantry element until he cocked it up by getting famous on Youtube and getting a house.
Despite claing to be politically neutral, the Hobo Army has near-universally refused to take part in the Iraq War no matter what payment is offered. Spokesman Britches Jonas has been quoted as saying "why the feck would we do that? There's no cider out there and they don't have any money. Regime change isn't as good as spare change, we don't want anything to do with it." There has been no formal comment from the White House, but an anonymous source remarked "Obama is shitting himself. You can tell by the way his ears move. He doesn't want to keep fighting without the Hobos, it's suicide." The U.S. is currently trying to form its own version of the Hobo Army by making as many Iraqi civilians homeless as possible.
The Hobo Army does not, as a whole, operate as a mercenary force, but individual groups may fight in exchange for money or crisps.
How to Join the Hobo Army
Joining the Hobo Army is not as simple as setting fire to your house and becoming a homeless. They are a respected fighting unit, and will expect their reputation to be upheld by any new recruits. The first step in joining is to find a field officer, which is not difficult as they will usually find you, usually at times when you don't want to be bothered and aren't in the mood to give any spare change to them. Once encountered you will be expected to speak the ritual "joining phrase," which is usually a variant on "fuck off, get a job you bloody scrounger." The officer will then acknowledge this with the phrase "you bloody tight bastard." This is a sign that the officer considers you a potential recruit, and not simply a pain in the arse. If accepted, you will be required to undergo various tests, both physical and psychological, to ensure you meet the required standard for the Hobo army (you will also be required to set fire to your house).
A recruit will be expected to learn numerous elements of Army life, such as stumbling or starting every conversation with the phrase "'scuse me, thank you for not ignoring me..." and mastering these skills is every bit as essential to being a member of the Hobo Army as unarmed combat or grenades. However, once accepted, a recruit will have access to various training facilities to enable swift learning of all aspects of Army life. Once a recruit is considered ready for wartime life, they are sent out into the field (more likely a street) to fight the Armys many battles and catch a disease that will make the public more sympathetic to their cause.
Precisely what the Hobo Army is recruiting for so far remains a mystery. Most military scholars agree they exist purely for fighting and profit, but a rare few tell a different tale. A small cadre of shattered journalists exists who claim to have seen the Hobo Army inner sanctum, and tell stories of strange, obscene rites. These harrowed few have not returned to journalism, instead spending their days drinking and telling anyone who will listen about the "screams, such high screams, echoing from every wall," but they are routinely ignored in favour of the strip club next door.
Hobo Army Veterans
Long-standing members of the Hobo Army, particularly those who have survived multiple wars, become known as veterans and are afforded special privileges such as the right to flubbing and wearing the sacred shamrock of Saint Bear. These veterans are scattered around anywhere that the Hobo Army has a presence. They are usually identified by an indistinct muttering, in fact a highly sophiscated secret language that has been linked with government mind control experiments. Encountering these veterans is considered a great honour, and they should be treated with the utmost respect. Rumours that The Queen of English regularly has Hobo Army veterans round for tea and strumpets are currently unconfirmed.
Notable Battles and Military Campaigns
- The Battle of Red Panties: In this conflict, recorded in the diaries of Samuel Peeping, the Hobo Army was pitched against a tribe of narked-off Scotsmen over the correct colour underwear a lady should wear to effectively snare a gentleman.
- The Wars of the Posers: The Hobo Army took up their weapons in the late 17th century to fight against an uprising of "fake tramps" who had been conning peasants out of their coin. The slaughter was described as "ungodlye."
- 1966 FIFA World Cup Final: A small division of the Hobo Army took place in this conflict, though it grew in fame and is a staple of English folklore. In fact the English rarely shut up about it. Casualties were West Germany two, England four.
- Battle of the Pelennor fields: Summoned by the Steward of Gondor, the Hobo Army manned the front lines against the forces of Sauron and forced them to run back to Mordor with their tails between their legs. Aragorn, son of Arathorn, later arrived with a crew of ghosts and praised them with the words "what the goddamn fuckery happened here?"
- Bumrush! 2009: Initially a private festival for Hobo Army members, Bumrush! descended into chaos when headliner Tom Waits performed his song House Where Nobody Lives, angering the crowd of hobos.
- The Battle of Crazy Dave's Sleeping Spot: You've already read about this one. Twat.