Jingdaoese Fleet in the Sandy River Estuary, Southern Eura
|Kingdom of Constancia
Dozan Bovic Church (Natopia) (12 May 2016)
|Commanders and leaders|
Kattei Emperor †
|Constancian Armed Forces
|Casualties and losses|
|x1 frigate (all hands lost)|
x9 naval trawlers
|x1 Northman Corvette
Cessna 172 x4
The Euran War, begun in 1636 AN, saw the small Kingdom of Constancia plunged into war against the far larger and militarily aggressive Jingdaoese Empire. It was a David and Goliath struggle from the outset.
A faux pas unprecedented in modern diplomacy
The conflict derived from the sudden deterioration in relations between the two states in early 1636 AN, particularly after the passage of the International Recognition Act by the Synklētos, the legislature of Constancia, which charged the Borders Control Agency to compile a list of recognised states based on three identified criteria, these being:
a) Constitutional Government;
b) The holding of a recognised territorial claim on the map of Micras;
c) Reciprocal recognition of the Kingdom and the ruling Basileus.
The manner in which this information was collated was deemed by some foreign governments to be somewhat insensitive, and queries were raised in Natopia and Craitland about the implicit unilateral alteration of the previously established diplomatic relations between their respective countries and Constancia. The Grand Chamberlain of the Court of the Calm Waters, the Natopian Foreign Minister, went so far as to hint at the potential for the repudiation of their recently signed 'Pact of Perpetual Friendship' after being insulted with the receipt of a box tick form to complete. However the most extreme reaction occurred in Jingdao, where the Emperor immediately responded to being labelled a fascist by conferring 'Hun' status on the entire Kingdom of Constancia. This was rather more serious than it sounds as under Jingdaoese law and custom the hun are impure and may be killed or even consumed with impunity. Following this, the Kattei Emperor, Heinrich Rasmus, commanded his nobles in the Imperial Assembly to debate ways to "bring down Constancia". After more outlandish proposals to use atomic weapons to irradiate the land and render it uninhabitable were discounted, debate turned to the prospect of occupying and colonising the small inland Kingdom on the Continent of Eura.
The first act of the Imperial Jingdaoese Navy, two days prior to the declaration of war, was to dispatch a force of twelve corvettes of the Imperial Navy to the estuary of the Sandy River, a mega river that flowed from Lake Erik in the southern central portion of Euran continental landmass, southwards into the Southern Ocean. Their mission was to identify a channel in the river deep enough for Jingdao's ocean-going capital ships to use to navigate up into Lake Erik and from whence they could roam at will attacking Vey, the lakeside capital of Constancia, as well as other military and civilian targets.
The secondary objective for the reconnaissance force was to install a boom defence cable across the river to interfere with Constancian shipping and inhibit their use of the river.
The Jingdaoese Declaration of War, made on the 8th of May, in an emergency session of the Imperial Assembly, by Chancellor Joseph Myksos, cited a fear of encirclement by regimes hostile to its objective of purifying the continent of Apollonia. Whilst not naming those regimes, there could be no doubt that the Imperial Republic of Shireroth, former ruler of Kildare (the largest territorial component of the Jingdaoese Empire) was foremost on the Chancellor's mind as a spate of provocations, such as a poisoning plot and staged terrorist attacks in the Landsraad (the Shirerithian parliament), had led to Kaiser Hjalmar terminating all forms of diplomatic relations with the Empire. The Constancian diplomatic misstep therefore provided Jingdao with an opportunity to sidestep this rebuff by striking towards Eura instead.
"Our Empire, for its existence and self-defense has no other recourse but to appeal to arms and to crush every obstacle in its path." - Chancellor Myksos
Amongst other, less reputable, acts was the decision of the Emperor to violate the usual customs of diplomatic immunity to order the seizure of the Constancian envoy and diplomatic staff for the acting out of a macabre ritual where half the delegation was executed and fed to the other half.
Meanwhile, on the evening of the 8th of May, the the Batavian Royal Navy, an auxiliary fleet of one of the Empire's subject states, joined the main fleet of Jingdao at sea en route to the Euran continent. The aircraft carrier HLS Vermeylen, the battleships HLS Gradus, HLS Goburin, HLS Yuandi and HLS Germania's Justice (the Batavian flagship) and the frigates HLS Dietsland, HLS Transingel, HLS Nedergermania and HLS Pentapolis comprised the significant task force.
On the 8th of May, Basileusa Megaliótate Cleo, Autokrateira of Constancia, made an address to the Kingdom that was broadcast on the television channels and over the national radio service. In it she reciprocated the Jingdaoese declaration of war with a declaration of her own. In so doing she reminded her subjects that they were a kingdom of free men and women now faced with war against an empire of slaves. During her short, but emotion-laden, address she predicted that Jingdao would 'never ever come to dominate over the freedom-loving peoples of Micras' and that the war would 'restore Constancian authority on the world scene'.
This was followed on the same day by the publication of a decree ordering the mobilisation of the Constancian Navy.
With the assistance of foreign advisers, the Constancian Army began preparing so-called 'infernal machines', improvised explosive devices in waterproofed containers and attached to a buoyancy device, typically a barrel, disguised as drifting weed clumps or debris. The improvised naval mines were fitted with proximity fuses and or remote control detonators and were floated out onto the Sandy River to help impede Jingdaoese access to the inland sea known as Lake Erik.
The following day, on the 9th of May, the Basileusea issued letters patent authorising the destruction of any and all Jingdaoese combat units or 'private aircraft' encountered within Constancian territory. Otherwise the first full day of the war passed without any meaningful activity by either party to the conflict.
On the 10th of May, the Constancian Army began making a series of deployments towards the city of Portus Felix as part of a strategy to defend the Constanican stretch of the Sandy River from Jingdaoese incursions. On the same day the University of Vey announced the formation of a student militia and the creation of the University Air Squadron, a collection of jet prototypes and donated civilian aircraft which would be converted to provide close air support for the Army.
The Constancian Armed Forces had only been created three months previously, and as such found, on mobilisation, that it was suffering from severe deficiencies in organisation, stores, materiel and heavy weaponry. Only the Home Guard had undergone serious expansion since the creation of the armed forces and yet it was primarily concerned with area defence and equipped with light infantry weapons, where these were available.
The Constancian government, as a consequence, began casting around for overseas assistance in securing arms, ammunition and advisers. The two most prominent deals were with the ESB Group, for the transfer of ex-Goldshire surplus weaponry and with the Shirley Stock Fund of Passio-Corum for a significant quantity of new arms, ammunition and even custom built warships.
|Northman Class Corvette||15||Shirley Stock Fund|
|P62 Rifle||15,000||Shirley Stock Fund|
|P62 Rifle W/ Grenade Launcher||11,250||Shirley Stock Fund|
|P62 Commando||9,783||Shirley Stock Fund|
|P62 Covert||9,000||Shirley Stock Fund|
|Shirley 9mm Pistol||22,500||Shirley Stock Fund|
|P29 Sniper Rifle||5,625||Shirley Stock Fund|
|Vickers Machine Gun||400||ESB-Jörmungandr Group|
|M252 81mm mortar||800||ESB-Jörmungandr Group|
|FIM-92 Stinger MANPADS||800||ESB-Jörmungandr Group|
|FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank missile||800||ESB-Jörmungandr Group|
|FN MINIMI||460||ESB-Jörmungandr Group|
|Bren 7.62x51mm Light Machine Gun||460||ESB-Jörmungandr Group|
|Type 87 (automatic) grenade launcher||46||ESB-Jörmungandr Group|
|9K115-2 Metis-M||1,830||ESB-Jörmungandr Group|
|Glock 9x19mm Pistol||3,600||ESB-Jörmungandr Group|
|Bolo Knife||3,600||ESB-Jörmungandr Group|
|AKM 7.62mm assault rifle||5,960||ESB-Jörmungandr Group|
|M67 fragmentation grenades||26,200||ESB-Jörmungandr Group|
|7.62mm ammunition||90,000 rounds||ESB-Jörmungandr Group|
|9mm ammunition||100,000 rounds||ESB-Jörmungandr Group|
After the ESB-Jörmungandr Group acquired the lease on two Natopian Defence Ministry Dingo variant Shuttles, most arms and ammunition was shipped into Constancian territory via an air bridge that linked the Constancian capital Vey with the ESB administered Shirerithian colony of Ura'Bos. Chartered commercial airliners also flew cargo flights into Vey from ESB depots in Goldshire and Elwynn, however these were more vulnerable to interception and thus were relegated to carrying less mission critical items of equipment. The ESB-Jörmungandr Group mission to provide ongoing logistical support to the Constancian Armed Forces was known as Operation Ithaca.
On the early morning of May 10th, the High Council of Calbion announced that it would militarily support Jingdao and would send two aircraft carriers, the CNS Llywelyn V and the CNS Owain I, to the Euran continent. The vessels were deployed that same day, proving support for a Jingdaoese invasion. In addition to this, the High Council also decreed a partial mobilisation of all Calbain males under the age of 28.
The High Councilor for Foreign Relations further denounced the Constancian nation as "a force of evil" and accused their government of warmongering.
After several pleas of high-placed officials, and the Basileusa of Constancia herself , to the Pentheros of the Dozan Bovic Church in Natopia, the Bovic Church decided to support the war efforts of the Constancians with the establishment of the Naval Phalanx. On the 12th, the Phalax joined the fighting at the Constancian side .
The Battle of Portus Felix
By the 11th of May, the capital ships of the Imperial Jingdaoese Navy, after being delayed by the need to improvise mine-sweeping operations, had reached firing positions in the deep channels of the Sandy River from whence they began a sustained cruise missile bombardment of the Constancian military airfields and radar installations.
The bombardment was intended to suppress the Constancian defences as a prelude to a riverine amphibious invasion led by the Jingdaoese Marshal Xi.
This attack was met by a desperate counter-sortie by the Constancian Navy's reserve of light attack boats, mounting effectively a suicide charge against the screen of armed trawlers and corvettes protecting the Jingdaoese capital ships. Although wreaking havoc upon the escort ships, the attack ultimately failed to penetrate through to the heavy warships or to the troop transports, and this proved to be crucial, as from these the invasion forces now disembarked and, on the 12th of May, began to land in large numbers north of Portus Felix. The resistance of the Home Guard Banda assigned to protect that stretch of the river was spirit and inflicted heavy casualties on the landing forces, however ultimately the Jingdaoese were ashore in divisional and eventually in corps strength formations with armour and artillery in such numbers that the defenders were swept aside and their defences literally bulldozed. From this beachhead the Jingdaoese staged a deft sickle cut southwards isolating the town from the rest of the Kingdom.
Only by desperate fighting was an armoured thrust by the Jingdaoese Fifth Panzer division prevented from breaching the city walls and breaking into the centre of the town.
The most successful attempt at breaching the defensive perimeter around Portus Felix occurred when Tyrenian special forces, posing as deserters, set off a series of bombs in front of the headquarters of the 49th Bandon of the 9th Infantry Tagma in the Constancian Army, thereby killing around forty-five soldiers. .
After a bitter struggle which cost the Jingdaoese around 10,000 KIA along with the destruction of five panzers and the loss of a frigate and nine trawlers to losses in the region of 13,000 KIA for the Constancian garrison, together with twelve Scorpion light tanks destroyed and the loss of forty-nine fibreglass attack boats, the survivors of the Constancian Army and its auxiliaries abandoned the town, which was subsequently fire-bombed, on the 15th of May 2016. The survivors of the regular infantry, although successful in fighting their way clear, were now in some considerable disorder and had been obliged to abandon or destroy most of their heavy equipment as fuel and ammunition ran short.
The Logistics war
The Jingdaoese were quick to exploit their advantage, devising a plan to land heavy cargo aircraft onto hastily prepared dirt runways, aiming to reinforce the precarious bridgehead with up to 5,000 infantry, together with ammo and stores a day. The Constancians estimated that the invaders would need 500 tons a day, including food and medicines, in order to keep an army of any size in the field.
The Constancian Home Guard in the meantime was able to rely on interior lines of communication and to augment their rations by living off the land. At the same time the Constancian peasantry was tasked with herding livestock northwards to Vey and to destroy any crops in the fields or the granaries that were liable to fall into enemy hands.
The Constancian Armed Forces, regrouping after the first hard battle, began to focus on isolating the invaders from reinforcement and resupply by reducing the bridgehead and interrupting the supply chain.
After the declaration of war, the Constancian Armed Forces began to cast around for arms and munitions, this included the investigation of options to purchase warships to augment the riverine element of the Constancian Navy, which prior to the war lacked the means with which to conduct blue water maritime operations. Contact with the Greater Pallisican Trade Association resulted in the purchase of 15 Northman Class Corvettes, modified at the request of Strategos Metaxas to include anti-ship missile launchers. Although the Constancian Navy was able to fly crews out to take command of the vessels, the first of which was dispatched to the Shirerithian island of Ura'Bos, where the ESB Corporation had established a colony, the Jingdaoese domination of the lower reaches of the Sandy River and subsequent occupation of Portus Felix, precluded their return to the home theatre.
The decision therefore was made to utilise these new vessels in conjunction with the letters of marque issued by the Constancian Government to the ESB Corporation to wage a campaign of commerce raiding against Jingdao and its allies.
The Bridgehead established
With a bridgehead secured, the Grand Secretariat ordered the mass deployment of the National Protection Army into Constancia. 5,000 infantrymen and tank crews were scheduled to arrive at the airport on a daily basis along with ammunitions, food supplies and even more panzers.
The agents of the Tegong also set to work recruiting from the neighbouring barbarian tribes and nomads for a force of local levies, known, with an eye for propaganda as much as anything, as the 'Imperial Constancian Volunteers.' This force was to be led by a disaffected minor royal, Prince Alexius of Constancia, who was reportedly being groomed by the Tegong to serve as a puppet ruler.
Following the defeat of the small regular Constancian Army in the Battle of Portus Felix, mitigated only by the success it had in fighting its way clear from encirclement on the 15th and 16th of May, the burden of the fighting would now fall squarely on the 1,500,000 strong Home Guard, as well as any ad hoc militias and resistance groups raised as the war wore on.
The Home Guard plan was to have 600,000 men divided between the Basileusoi Army in the Prosgeiosi Basileus (Crown Lands), the Army of Eura at Ad Pontes in Coele-Eura and the River Army at Portus Felix. The remaining 700,000 men formed the Army of Vey, responsible for the defence of the city of Vey and its surrounding Thematic province of the same name.
The rapid isolation of Portus Felix from the rest of the country had forced the River Army to establish its headquarters and mobilisation centre at the city of Elaion in the Theme (province) of Vey. The Exubitors were thus obliged, from the outset of the invasion, to rush Home Guard detachments south from Petros and Vey which coalesced into the 1st and 2nd Home Guard Corps on the 17th of May, as they arrived and took up positions facing the leading edge of the deployment zone of the Jingdaoese National Peoples Army.
On the 18th of May, at 6am in the morning, Autokrator Metaxas directed the 1st Corps under Strategos Alexios Paxos and the 2nd Corps under Strategos George Maniakes to go onto the offensive. The 1st Corps comprised of 124 infantry banda (49,600 men) and 400 specialists trained by the ESB who were assigned to operate 'Pexihans Funnies' a contingent of 100 improvised armoured vehicles, equipped with a forward firing 290mm Petard mortar and carrying the Hedgehog device which could fire 24 spigot mortars simultaneously, lobbing a barrage of mortar rounds in a salvo ahead of the armoured vehicle, The 2nd Corps comprised of 125 infantry banda (50,000 men) supported by the remaining Eurocopter EC135 helicopters of the Constancian Air Forces Gamma Squadron, which dropped barrel bombs packed with scrap metal and high explosive and chlorine cannisters onto the positions of the 1st Army of the NPA. Both Corps were supported by the ESB's Directorate of Security which had set up 72 improvised Hell Cannons, that hurled explosive filled gas cannisters over a distance of one and a half kilometres, into a series of batteries to pulverise enemy trenches and gun emplacements.
Their objective was to disrupt the deployment of the NPA and, if able, to push on to the original landing zone north of Portus Felix.
The 1st Corps of the Home Guard advanced along the main road that ran parallel to the river, and met fierce resistance from the Jingdaoese who had survived the previous aerial and artillery bombardments, but finally the Guardsmen cleared the ridge with a bayonet charge which left the road to Portus Felix open. The armoured 'funnies' were not able to advance much further in support of the operation as they now began to fall in the range of the long range cannon of the battleships of the Jingdaoese fleet and were obliged to withdraw before their range could be found.
The 2nd Corps of the Home Guard had cleared the village of Panaghia Ereithiani by the 19th of May and commenced a dual advance from the north and east to the south, pressing into the heart of the Jingdaoese NPA's 1st Army. Although the 1st Corps of the Home Guard was pressing southwards towards Portus Felix, hopes of encirclement were frustrated by the lack mobility affecting the Home Guard.
On the 20th of May, when the 1st and 2nd Corps of the Home Guard met, the Jingdaoese had fallen back towards Portus Felix.
To prevent their escape, the Home Guard was ordered by Autokrator Metaxas to advance on Portus Felix.
The offensive exceeded expectations, and a thrust towards Portus Felix was only halted on the 22nd of May by a concealed Jingdaoese suicide mission detonating an air fuel bomb as the Home Guard's vanguard pushed through the village of Krini, which was situated in a narrow pass and acted as a bottle neck for the forces of the 2nd Home Guard Corps. This allowed the Jingdaoese First Legion to mount a strong counter-attack, which stabilised the position of the 1st NPA Army.
The remnants of the regular Constancian Army, inland and due east from Portus Felix on the Constancian left flank, was in no position to join the offensive, being heavily depleted after breaking out of the town; their moral and cohesion shattered by bitter fighting. The best that could be expected from the division strength ad hoc formation was that they held the line long enough for reinforcements from the Home Guard's Army of Eura reached their positions.
Natopian air strikes
Resistance in Portus Felix
The Constancian offensive had achieved localised success but by failing to breakthrough against the 1st NPA Army, rapidly lost momentum and when the 4th NPA Army broke through the remnants of the regular Constancian Army on the Jingdaoese right flank the two Home Guard Corps were obliged to disengage and retire northwards to avoid encirclement and rejoined forward elements of the River Army on the morning of the 26th of May.
With the rout of the regular Tagamata in the south, and the pursuit of the survivors eastwards by nomads and mercenaries of the 'Imperial Constancian Volunteers', the new front line in the east was fixed on the River Styx where the Euran Army of the Home Guard was now entrenched.
The Constancian offesnive against the bridgehead, which had been with such success, petered out and resulted in a net loss of territory after the Jingdaoese breakout in the sector held by the weakened regular army. From this point onwards, the Jingdaoese were able to rapidly deploy ashore the 2nd, 3rd and 5th Legions which had hitherto been held in reserve.
The total number of dead from the battles of the bridgehead was estimated to have cost the lives of 11,700 Jingdaoese soldiers, 2,100 'Volunteers' and 14,000 Constancians.
Battle of Dromosker Island
On the morning of the 18th of June, a strong force of eight Constancian Corvettes approached Dromosker Island, which was occupied by the Jingdaoese protectorate known as the Maritime Free Republic and surprised the two armed merchantmen, the Bucentaure & Trinidad which guarded Trader's Bay, the main colonial settlement on the island.
The Bucentaure and the Trinidad received reports at dawn of four corvettes from the Constancian 9th Flotilla moving up the straits between two islands occupied by Lostisland and the Greater Pallisican Trade Association to their east. Having sailed out of harbour to meet this threat, the two merchantmen were then surprised by the arrival of the 1st Constancian Flotilla which had sailed round to the west of the Pallisican island and which struck the Bucentaure with a Harpoon anti-ship missile, causing fires on the ship that burned uncontrollably and forced its abandonment. The Trinidad continued on towards the reported location of the 9th Flotilla where it in turn came under long range missile fire. However the Trinidad was fitted with a purloined Bofors 40 mm autocannon as its main armament which doubled as a close-in weapon system (CIWS) allowing it to defeat the incoming harpoon missiles - the unfamiliarity of the Constancians with the weapons system they were operating also played a part as only one of the missiles launched came into a range where it was engaged by the onboard CIWS. The Trinidad and the 9th Flotilla continued to close until they came into visual range.
The Trinidad found itself isolated and cut off from Trader's Bay by the arrival of the 1st Flotilla to its rear which closed at speed and began engaging the vessel with their main batteries, a pair of 40mm autocannons mounted on the superstructure of the corvette towards the stern of the corvettes. The Trinidad, although pounded and heavily raked by combined fire power of the far larger opposing force was a converted merchantman that carried an irregular variety of heavy weapons, such as TOW missile launchers and recoilless rifles. more conventionally seen used in land warfare, mounted at various points on the ship and covered in improvised armour. As such it was able to give a good fight.
Captain-General Walter Poldark, the governor of the island, meanwhile had learned of the burning and abandonment of the Bucentaure and received word of the dire predicament of the Trinidad, obliging him to put to see with the full force of the Captain-General's Flotilla, a full blown naval battle ensued.
|MFRS Jahangir Plan||Urga Class Submarine Tender||Captain Lewis||Damaged|
|MFRS Random||Modernized Ironclad||Captain Roderick||Sunk|
|MFRS Roheline||Modernized Ironclad||Captain Flaxen||Damaged, returned to port|
|MFRS Trinidad||Armed Merchantman||Captain Nestor||Surrendered|
|MFRS Bucentaure||Armed Merchantman||Captain Ryujo||Abandoned at Sea|
1st Flotilla, Constancian Navy
|Navarchos Miaoulis||Antiploiarchos Georgios Kondylis||Northman Class Corvette||bridge destroyed by TOW missile. Command crew killed. Vessel recovered under tow by the Lemnos.|
|Georgios Averof||Plotarchis Vasilefs Konstantinos||Northman Class Corvette||Superficial damage|
|Lemnos||Ypoploiarchos Athanasios Eftaxias||Northman Class Corvette||Undamaged|
|Kilkis||Ypoploiarchos Theodoros Pangalos||Northman Class Corvette||Undamaged|
9th Flotilla, Constancian Navy
|Hydra||Antiploiarchos Pavlos Kountouriotis||Northman Class Corvette||Damaged.|
|Psara||Plotarchis Alexandros Zaimis||Northman Class Corvette||Heavily damaged. Scuttled at sea. Crew recovered.|
|Spetsai||Ypoploiarchos Michael Kourtikios||Northman Class Corvette||Light damage from small arms fire.|
|Elli||Ypoploiarchos Eumathios Philokales||Northman Class Corvette||Undamaged.|
Disturbances in Walstadt
|Disturbances in Walstadt|
|Part of Euran War|
|Greater Walstadt||ESB-Jörmungandr Group|
35 Babkhi Merchants
40 Goldshirean Mariners
|Casualties and losses|
|43 militiamen, 12 fishermen, buildings of the House Walstadt and the Unified Church burned to the ground||75 Benacian Cossacks, 35 Babkhi Merchants, 33 Goldshirean mariners, 1 Trading Barque (The Seahawk) sunk|
On the 17th of May, Heinrich Rasmus, the Kattei Emperor, announced his intention to visit Walstadt (a self-governing demesne of Natopia) on the continent of Cibola for the purpose of meeting his father, the Great Enlightened King, Welf Blutwasser-Ayreon-Kalirion, to discuss unspecified matters. Before the visit, Welf had revoked the right of Heinrich to inherit the throne of Walstadt and designated Heinrich's brother Theodor as the new heir to the throne. The Emperor was assigned a suite of rooms at the Zauberförde under the protection of Lord Adam Ayreon-Kalirion whose mother, Noor was Queen of Goldshire and a patron of the ESB-Jörmungandr Group. At the time of the Emperor's visit, Noor was in residence at the Zauberförde visiting her son who was enjoying a brief respite from the rigours of the Youth Boarding School of Walstadt's Jugendinternat regime.
Walstadt, like most of Natopia, was officially neutral in the Euran War, although its government had taken the strongest stance in condemning the decision of the Dozan Bovic Church to join the Euran War and in this it was matched by the Unified Church of Walstadt which denounced those acts it saw as inflaming tensions between residents of Walstadt who followed the divergent Jingdaoese and Natopian religious traditions.
On the 21st of May, a Goldshire registered trading barque, the Seahawk, owned by the ESB Group entered the Whaling Harbour of Walstadt with the stated purpose of buying up provisions for the company's southern-hemisphere outpost on the obscure Shirerithian island of Ura'Bos. The refusal of Welf to acknowledge letters of credit offered by the company resulted in protests by the visiting mariners which saw the residence of the King, House Walstadt, pelted with petrol bombs and subsequently burned to the ground. In the ensuing mêlée, a Shirerithian sailor was stabbed in the back with a harpoon wielded by one of the King's guardsmen.
After a night of arson, looting and mayhem, the sailors moved on from the ransacked warehouses and customs house, where they had left letters of credit nailed to the rafters, to lay siege to the Zauberförde.
The residence of Queen Noor at Zauberförde proved to be undefended and fell without a fight on the night of the 22nd of May. The house was then ransacked until Heinrich, the Jingdaoese Emperor, was discovered in his chambers, dressed in cashmere trousers and a smoking jacket and armed only with a sword cane. This he used to some effect, killing one man and wounding four others, before he was overwhelmed and jostled from the room. The Emperor was dragged by the mob out into the street where he was thrown down into the muck of the gutter. He was set upon by a man in an old cudgeller uniform who knocked him back to the ground, where he was stamped and kicked. He managed to regain his feet, but the crowd rushed him to the edge of an embankment where street grading was being done, and flung him onto a pile of rocks at the bottom. Once more he struggled to his feet, only to be captured once more by the mariners and led away.
During the course of the evening, the captain of the Seahawk, Avid Jaggery, was approached by two self-declared clerics of the Dozan Bovic Church who asked for support in taking over the town and purging Walstadt of the influences of Sisera. The captain declined on the grounds that the formation of a new administration would properly be an entirely domestic matter. Nonetheless the pair of clerics were sufficiently encouraged that they subsequently began a purge of the Unified Church of Walstadt, beginning with the main church building itself which fell prey to an arson attack, witnessed by a significant crowd of Walstadt's Bovic Congregation.
Members of the Unified Church, who were known to follow the Jingdaoese influenced Path of Sisera, were dragged from their homes and taken to Mandible Hill, where a dozen or so were brutally decapitated after a perfunctory denunciation.
It was on Mandible Hill that the Jingdaoese Emperor met his fate during the long night of the 22nd of May, decapitated and nailed to a cross.
By the 23rd of May, King Welf had gathered together a following of loyalist hunters, whalers and feudal retainers. Armed with automatic weapons taken from government depots, this ad hoc militia quickly recaptured the town and the harbour gun batteries in a brisk fire fight with the Cossack contingent landed by the Seahawk. With the naval artillery back in play, Welf's forces were quickly able to finish a massacre of the surviving members of the Seahawk's crew. The only immediate exceptions being the Babkhi contingent who had transferred their allegiance to Queen Noor.
On the afternoon of the 23rd, the Babkhi and Queen Noor, who were attempting to make their way out of Walstadt towards Zauberförde, were discovered and intercepted by the town militia. In the ensuing gunfight, the 35 Babkhi along side a similar multitude of militiamen were killed. After the fighting had subsided, the King, angered by the violations of guest right which had led to the death of his son, ordered the expulsion of Noor and her son from the Demesne, with a period of 24 hours grace in which to depart.
After the demesnal government had restored order in Walstadt, it accused the federal government on Tapfer that it had maliciously neglected the safety of Walstadt. Regent Ivo Angus apologized for the lack of action undertaken by the government at first. But later he put much of the blame on Walstadt, as did Grand Chamberlain Kurai Darkmoon. In response, King Welf declared that Walstadt would from that point onwards behave like it was a sovereign nation. In addition, he proposed an amendment to the Caprine Code in the Frenzy to enable demesnes to be granted independence. Without support from the federal government, Walstadt turned to the Blackrock Pact for help. The Batavians sent the 2nd Battle Fleet to protect Walstadt from further attacks and the Jingdaoese Empire sent a container ship with humanitarian aid.
Operation Tián-tián Quān
On the 26th May the Jingdaoese troops had secured a significant territory in southern Constancia. Green light to proceed with the military operations was given in an effort on the part of the Jingdaoese to recover the initiative, especially following the death on the Jingdaoese Emperor and the attempted assassination of the collaborationist Prince Alexius of Constancia on the 19th May.
Operation Tián-tián Quān, called after the sweet taste of victory, began on the 26th May after a week-long build-up of military personnel and supplies. Around 200,000 soldiers, divided among four Legions, and the Volunteers with around 4,000 men (largely tribesmen whom were promised land for their service), received the order to start the attack simultaneously. The objective of the offensive was to defeat the River Army and the Army of Eura in detail and to seize the city of Arbington by a rapid armour advance across the desert.
During the same week the River Army had advanced southwards along the River Road into the Phelixian Theme and had taken up defensive positions along a series of ridges and outcrops that overlooked the narrowest point between the main road north from Portus Felix and the Sandy River.
Battle of Ridge 71
(Summary to be elaborated)
28/05/2016 First Phase - AM: Constancian victory. Three Cohorts of the 2nd Legion (1st NPA Army), equating to 1,080 legionnaires, 360 drivers and gunners in a convoy of 120 armoured personnel carriers, attempted to storm a Home Guard observation post. Outpost is approached from a dirt track road, across a small cantilever bridge and up a winding narrow hill track.
28/05/2016 Second Phase - PM: Jingdaoese Victory. Jingdaoese Panzers on Ridge 71 provide suppressing fire allowing dismounted infantry to advance, clearing the road up to the observation post of improvised explosive devices.
Although holding its own, the River Army was soon obliged to begin an withdrawal northwards by events occurring further to the east which left its left flank increasingly exposed.
Battle of the Styx
(Summary to be elaborated)
28/05/2016: Stalemate. The Volunteers in the east who were ordered to cross the Styx were confronted with determined resistance of the Army of Eura. With the bridges over the Styx, the Volunteers had to cross over with improvised and volatile built rafts. Within an hour, over 856 soldiers lost their lives. The Fourth Army was ordered to adapt to the situation and four legions (around 20,000 men) were ordered to cover the Volunteers as they retired to the western banks of the Styx. The Fourth Army was also obliged to divert its heavy artillery to the Styx to prevent a counter-attack by the Army of Eura. The aggressive use of artillery broke up the Home Guard formations that were forming up to mount a cross-river assault but was not sufficient to dislodge them from their original defensive positions, and indeed provided more, as the survivors spread out amongst the ruined landscape of shell craters.
The Thunder Run
28/05/2016 to 02/06/2016: Jingdaoese 3rd and 4th NPA Armies spearheaded by the [insert numbers] Panzer Divisions advanced towards Abington over desert and wilderness terrain in the under-developed back country. The town itself was secured by the Army of Vey, which had been in receipt of the majority of the modern anti-tank weapons received from the Goldshire arms shipments organised by the ESB Group. However the Home Guard lacked in general lacked true off-road mobility and thus was obliged to keep to the towns and roads, this opened a gap between the River Army in the west and the Army of Eura in the east which the Jingdaoese were able to exploit as the main thrust of their advance on Vey.
The Battle of Arbington
On the 1st of June 2016, lead elements of the Jingdaoese NPA crossed crossed from the Phelixian Theme into the Theme of Vey, the most densely populated part of the country defended by the largest concentration of Home Guard armies, the 700,000 strong Army of Vey.
The Army of Vey deployed forward on the 2nd of June to secure positions anchored on the city of Arbington only to discover, on the night of the 5th of June, that the Jingdaoese planned to outflank their positions, encircle their forces, and drive directly on into Vey. As the battle opened on the dawn of the 6th of June, the Constancian Home Guard was forced to draw back the bulk of their forces to avoid encirclement, leaving the entrenched 4th Home Guard Army isolated in a salient formed around Arbington. The decisive battle of the war was at hand.
A day after the Jingdaoese air raids on Vey targeting civilian food distribution centres, the Army of Vey began to move into its forward positions to meet the advancing Jingdaoese Panzers.
The 4th Home Guard Army was assigned the task of securing the strategic town of Arbington which sat astride the road eastwards to Ad Pontes and would open up the interior of the Theme of Vey to the invaders.
On the left flank of the 4th HG Army was the 5th Home Guard Army whilst on the right was the 8th. The 7th HG Army was assigned to the right flank of the 8th with the intention of keeping the lines of communications open with the River Army which was regrouping at Elaion after the Battle of Ridge 71. The 6th HG Army meanwhile was held in reserve at Vey, whilst the Basileusean Army moved into the city to take over garrison duties.
The main striking force of the 4th HG Army was the 3rd HG Corps, comprised of five infantry divisions, into which had been funnelled most of the equipment and war material donated by the ESB Group, it was also reinforced with an Independent Armoured Brigade formed around one hundred land cruisers, Constancian cross-country exploration vehicles, modified by Marcellus Paixhans and the ESB into heavily armed infantry support tanks, supported by a fleet of around 1,900 commandeered SUVs and gun trucks providing force mobility and a consignment of 120 improvised rocket launchers to provide indirect fire support.
Each Division of the 3rd Corps had an ESB supervised anti-tank regiment assigned and as the corps cut through to the town of Arbington, forcing refugees and deserters off the roads lest they be crushed under the tracks of the speeding land cruisers, these regiments peeled off from their parent divisions and began to commandeer the residential and commercial buildings that would form their defensive strong points.
The infantry divisions themselves, the 79th, 112th, 127th, 128th and the 132nd, pushed beyond the town into the orchards and plantations of the surrounding countryside, entrenching and setting up firing positions dispersed amongst the hedgerows and ditches that marked the divide between the reclaimed lands of the Theme and the desert wilderness beyond, that extended all the way south and east to the borders of the Kingdom itself. Each Division's Heavy Weapons Tagma took pains to situate their concealed machine gun nests in such a way as to ensure interlocking fields of fire, whilst the fire teams of the Rifle Tagmas settled into their individual foxholes and sent out section strength patrols to reconnoitre the lie of the land and to liberally scatter IEDs amongst the farm roads and herders tracks of the countryside.
Each divisional headquarters held in reserve the 6 mortar batteries assigned to their command, and had teams of civilians and deserters rounded up to dig mortar pits and entrenchments in the town itself. Women, children and the elderly, once they had contributed what they could to this labour, were dismissed and told to walk overland towards Northwich. As for the remaining men, after one in ten of the deserters were shot as an example to the others, the remainder were formed into auxiliary fire-fighting detachments, issued with gas masks, shovels and water buckets and told to be ready to assist the 3rd Corp's engineers in whatever tasks they might require.
Arbington then represented a commanding salient, held by the 3rd Corps whilst the remaining corps of the 4th Army, from east to west, the 5th, the 6th and the 7th HG Corps, fanned out to deploy a line of pickets extending along the front, connecting the salient with the armies to the east and west.
As the Jingdaoese blitzkrieg into the Theme of Vey began to gather pace, so too did their supply lines extend. With the reappearance of the Raven strike aircraft over Constancian air space for the first time since the suicide air strikes on Portus Felix, the slower Constancian aircraft and helicopters, shifting between roads and improvised runways in fields, were henceforth restricted to night-time flying and kept under camouflaged tarps during the daytime.
Flying from dirt roads and relying on mapreading for navigation (radio silence being strictly enforced), the remaining Cessna aircraft operated as night intruders, harassing the enemy by dropping small bombs and grenades. These operations, whilst not always achieving that much, by virtue of the small bomb loads carried, did nevertheless act as an abrasive on the nerves of the Jingdaoese and their barbarian collaborators.
A favourite target was Jingdaoese supply depots, tented encampments and the lorry parks of the vehicles keeping the Jingdaoese panzers fuelled, fed and armed. In addition to their light payloads of fragmentation bombs and re-purposed mortar rounds many pilots had their co-pilot navigators carry panniers of hand grenades in the cockpit which they could then toss out as they flew low over enemy troop concentrations. When hitting fuel dumps, pilots would resort to the simple expedient of tilting the aircraft and dropping a flaming petrol bomb onto the stacked gasoline drums presenting themselves below.
The night harassment attacks usually were carried out against selected targets chosen by the local resistance cells or picked after being overflown by commercial drone or microlight and identified as a target of opportunity. The pattern of these attacks were randomised as much as possible to make it difficult for enemy air defences to predict where or when the low-flying hedge or dune hopping aircraft might appear next. Certainly once a sortie was launched, the stretch of road or field it was launched from was swiftly abandoned, the aircraft returning instead to a pre-arranged b-site from whence they would relocate after re-fuelling to the c-site where they would be concealed during the day until repeating the exercise against another sector on the following night.
The helicopters meanwhile, aside from carrying out the occasional tip-and-run barrel bombing attack on Portus Felix, were held back and underwent conversion into air-mobile machine gun platforms.
Meanwhile, in the east, faced across the Styx by the remnants of the Imperial Constancian 'Volunteers' and assets stripped from the 4th Legion, the Army of Eura began to thin out its lines and withdraw back to Ad Pontes, once again the luckless survivors of the regular Constancian Army were being left as a rear-guard.
Tactics also were changing, instead of trying to attack across the river and risk being pummelled by massed artillery, the Home Guard were forming into small guerrilla bands, even as their units were withdrawing northwards to join the looming battle for Vey.
Crossing over by coracle by night, small raiding parties would seek to gain the western bank of the river, quietly knife to death any patrolling sentries they might encounter, and infiltrate into the Phelixian Theme to plant bombs and conduct assassinations amongst the rear-echelon formations of the Jingdaoese Army.
Forewarned by resistance scouts that the Jingdaoese panzers were on their final push towards Vey, Metaxas put the entire army group onto alert on the 4th of June. In an atmosphere of high tension the Home Guard stood to with their weapons. Ammunition stocks were checked, weapons examined, maps pored over. For the last time, officers took their men through the methods learnt on Ridge 71 and at the Styx for stalking the NPA panzers. Like a litany, the weak points of the Panzer were recited. The ESB advisor, Marcellus Paixhans, had demanded that the Constancians learn these lessons by rote until they knew them better than the Lord's Prayer itself. This was more than adequately fulfilled. Although still critically bereft of artillery, air support, heavy weapons and armour, the Home Guard was far removed from the hastily mobilised and amateurish militia that had first assembled at the beginning of May.
The heightened sense of anticipation that all their preparation had brought, was rendered the more uncomfortable by the heavy, sultry heat which hung like a pall over the whole region, not even relieved by the occasional rain squall rising off Lake Erik. The past few days had seen intense aerial activity, with the Jingdaoese Imperial Navy's air arm launching air raids during the day and the depleted Constancian Air Forces retaliating at night, both targeted the others lines of supply and communication. All the signs pointed to the imminent arrival of the legions of Jingdao before Arbington. Strategos Apokapes, the commander of the 3rd Home Guard Corps, awaited any indication as to where the hammer blow would fall.
On the evening of the 5th of June, Apokapes obtained what he needed. A patrol had come across a team of Jingdaoese sappers clearing IEDs from a path leading across the irrigated fields of Arbington. One of the prisoners turned out to be a colonel of the NPA and, under interrogation, he had much to say as, one by one, his fingers and toes were surgically removed. The man's tongue and a transcript of his confession was sent by motorcycle courier to Metaxas in person, who read the report and fed the tongue to his pet Euran sablehaired wolfhound.
It would appear that the 1st NPA Army would strike from the west, rolling up the flanks of the 8th and 7th Home Guard Armies, and sweeping round to the rear of Arbington while the 3rd HG Corp, and the 4th HG Army in consequence, would be fixed in place by a frontal assault from the 2nd NPA Army, meanwhile the 3rd and 4th NPA Armies would drive through Coele-Eura and smash the left flank of the Army of Vey, bypassing Arbington altogether and driving onto seize Vey and Northwich.
Moreover it transpired that the attack would begin at 0330 hours the following morning, that of the 6th of June. Apokapes gave orders for the rocket launcher, hell cannon and mortar units in the 4th HG Army sector to open fire on the Jingdaoese forward positions, which they did at 0220 hours.
To the assembling Jingdaoese units, this completely unexpected hurricane of Constancian fire raised the disturbing possibility that the barrage was the precursor to a pre-emptive spoiling attack. For more than 15 minutes the barrage ranged across the Jingdaoese forming up areas, causing considerable disruption in the assembly positions and delyaing the Jingdaoese attack for an hour.
At 0430 the Jingdaoese artillery of the 2nd NPA Army opened up against the Constancian positions and by 0500 the forward observerers of the 4th HG Army reported heavy attacks against their front supported by panzers acting in the role of infantry support. Overhead, Ravens peeled off, plummeting earthwards to fire off their rockets and cannon at known Constancian psotitions. By 0530 the Jingdaoese had committed along the entire 25 mile front of the Arbington salient. Within an hour the strength of the Constancian forward defences had become apparent and the Jingdaoese infantry had been forced to take shelter behind their panzers or in ditches, where some had fallen prey to concealed poison-tipped stakes, whilst their commanders called up artillery or air strikes to blast out the machine-gun nests and concealed snipers that the Constancians had put in the way of their advance.
When news of the enemy's plan had fallen onto Autokrator Metaxas' lap, along with a bloodied severed tongue, which he had flung, in disgust, onto the floor only for it to be hungrily devoured by his pet dog, he had seen all too clearly the threat posed by the enemy plan to his dispositions. He had hoped to have been able to attack from the flanks while the Jingdaoese battered away at Arbington, to encircle and destroy the enemy expeditionary force in one terrible battle. Instead he was threatend with envelopment and destruction himself. There was nothing for it, he would have to back peddle. During the night, frantic orders were passed along the line to all armies save for the 4th, they would have to back peddle, leaving only the lightly defended pickets of their forward position and allow the enemy to roll forward along their axis of advance. Then they would have to improvise, this would have to be a battle of movement.
Meanwhile the fallout of the collapse in relations between Natopia and Jingdao after the events in Walstadt continued to be felt. Both parties felt that a red line had been crossed. For the Natopians, the episode marked the moment when Welf Blutwasser became a persona non grata. For Jingdao - the hostile reaction to their manoeuvring proved to be the final straw and they initiated 'Jexit', the abrupt departure from the Bastion Union. In the words of the late Haderik Widukind, Jingdao was "inclined to just ignore that this ever happened".
This left Constancia with an unexpected victory. Now Basileusa Megaliótate Cleo took to the field and, after 11 days of campaigning, by the 28th of June she had regained full and total control over all Constancian territory. All collaborators who had taken part in the war on the Jingdaoese were either shot down or arrested for treason and war crimes. Most did not live to see July. Those Jingdaoese who had been left behind were expelled into the desert to either perish or make their way home to Jexit as best they could.
12th of May 2016: Jingdaoese Panzer Division uses non-combatant prisoners as human-shields in attack on Portus Felix . Constancian refugees abducted by Imperial Jingdaoese Navy.
13th of May 2016: Grand Marshal Xi delivered an ultimatum  threatening the use of thermobaric (air-fuel) bombs against civilian population centres if Portus Felix continues resistance. Constancian Army uses chemical weapons in an attempt to break siege of Portus Felix.
14th of May 2016: Tyrenian Special Forces, from the Gladio Unit of the Tyrenian Navy launched a suicide bomb attack against a Bandon (roughly equivalent to a Battalion) command post on the outskirts of Portus Felix, killing forty-five men in addition to the six man attack squad. Constancians respond with a shoot to kill policy towards Jingdaoese troops attempting to surrender.
15th of May 2016: Jingdaoese Naval Aviation deployed three combat jets on a kamikaze mission to attack Portus Felix with thermobaric weapons. The attack inflicted mass casualties on the civilian population and garrison and caused a collapse in the command hierarchy and communications network of the forces encircled in the town.
16th of May 2016: More reported abductions of captured civilians by Jingdaoese forces operating in the Portus Felix area. Many of the civilians are forced to cooperate with the authorities or undergo severe punishment by having to listen to the Eurovision song of Ukraine .
Late June/Early July 2016: Death march of Jingdaoese prisoners of war expelled from Constancia into the Euran interior.
- Bringing down Constancia
- Declaration of War
- Imperial Union of Constancia
- The fleet approaches Constancia
- Leaked memo to Marshal Xi
- An ultimatum has been sent to Portus Felix (13/05/2016)
- Reinforcing the airstrips near Pontus Felix (16/06/2016)
- Pontus Felix, Itl Airport (16/05/2016)
- Operation Dragon, Constancian Counter-Offensive (18/05/2016)