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Operation Penitent

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Operation Penitent was a large-scale operation of the Benacian Continental Theatre Command, for which preparations began on 11.VIII.1716 AN prior to commencement on 24.IX.1717 AN, and actions associated with the operation continued up to 24.XV.1718 AN. The establishment of the Union-State's protectorate in Kalgachia would, contrary to initial expectations, prove to be remarkably bloodless, falling far short of the widely prophesised worst-case scenarios. In large measure this owed to the willingness of all parties to compromise on almost all of the key issues at stake. Kalgachia would be integrated into the security infrastructure of the established order in Benacia, but would retain self-governance and, most crucially, preserve its distinct cultural identity and heritage.


The purpose of the Operation was to oversee the implementation of the terms of the Treaty of Oktavyan and the Treaty of Fort Ermingander, both signed by the Benacian Union in that year. To that end the objectives were as follows:

  1. The establishment of the Protectorate Regime within Kalgachia;
  2. The introduction of an allied garrison into the strategic fortifications of the central Kalgachi highlands;
  3. The reorganisation of the Military of Kalgachia into the Kalgachi Grouping of Forces;
  4. The disarmament of the Church of Ketherism and its partisan forces;
  5. The independence of Northbloom from its previous protectorate regime with Kalgachia, and its assumption of formal sovereignty, both within the Mondosphere and in alignment with the Raspur Pact;
  6. The transfer of certain arcana into the possession of Mondo;
  7. The establishment of secure north-south lines of communication, facilitating the completion of the preceding objectives.

The fulfilment of these objects was assigned to the Central Banner Group of Benacia Command, which comprised predominantly of formations raised by the Benacian Union Defence Force.



  • 20.V: Benacian Union and Kalgachia sign Treaty of Oktavyan. Makes explicit the protectorate status that would henceforth define Kalgachia's relationship with its Archonic-Humanist neighbour.
  • V–VI: Factional strife grips the Kalgachi state. Whilst the Kalgachi Defence Force, Directorate of Public Works and the Directorate of the Tumultuous Wastes regard the treaty as the last hope for the survival of the Garden, the Troglodyti, the Prefects, and the Church of Kalgachia instead advocate for the emulation of the example of the Deep Singers, namely a retreat further into the depths and a sundering of all residual contacts with what they now regards as a wholly fallen world. The organs of state begin to turn upon oneanother.
  • 20.VII: Benacian Union and Northbloom sign Treaty of Fort Ermingander. Northbloom repudiates protectorate status, majority of Mondosphere realms align with the Raspur Pact
  • 11.VIII: Benacia Command commenced planning for Operation Penitent
  • 31.XV: A spate of executions inflicted upon corrupt and negligent officers appears to indicate that the preparations of the BUDF are approaching their culmination point.


  • 12.I: Forty-eight entrained BK-III Verteidiger main battle tanks, accompanied by rail wagons loaded with fuel, munitions, spare components, and engine crews arrived in Highbloom from Pozdam for collection by the agents of Mondo.
  • 12.II: Chryse Conference of the Benacian Security Council.
  • 17.II: Mobilisation of the State Guard of the Unified Governorates.
  • 24.VI: State Guard ersatz divisions complete pre-deployment training. Kossar regiments complete their concentration at Litkov in Siyachia.
  • 24.VII: Ersatz divisions and their attached Penitent Labour Brigades finish deploying to their concentration areas.
  • 1.IX – 23.IX: 94,800 BUDF troops, 172,800 state guard, 86,400 penitents, assembled in forward deployment areas in Siyachia and the Governorate of Upper Lywall ahead of commencement at dawn on High Roqpin.
  • 24.IX: The Penitential Day (High Roqpin) – BUDF forces cross the frontier into Kalgachia-proper. The Military of Kalgachia and the lieutenancies of the Garden face the moment of decision on whether to cooperate with or oppose the protectorate regime.



Destroying the Garden of Kalgachia had been the cherished goal of successive Humanist hegemons, as far back as Waldemar Zinkgraven in the mid seventeenth century after Norton. Whilst the apocalyptic fantasies of Endsieg had been tempered by pragmatic economic considerations, as embodied by the Octavian Import-Export Corporation and Pachadsberg Special Recreational Zone, the desire to bring the Kalgachi strategic autonomy to a close remained paramount. Whilst the treaties signed in 1716 brought this prospect closer, the consensus of Benacia Command's general staff was that the objective would not be realised until a BUDF garrison had been formally introduced into the mountain fortresses of the Oktavyan mountains, and the strategic arsenal of the Garden firmly placed under a lock and key held by Benacia Command itself.

The ability of Benacia Command to get a read on the internal situation of the Garden, particularly of the subterranean portions necessarily concealed from the Raspur Pact's network of orbital Natopian imaging and ground mapping satellites, was reliant upon the Benacian Union's legation at Fastenborg Keep, the commercial agents ensconced in the Pachadsberg Special Recreational Zone, and the Military Coordination Council in Stonetree. These sources, combined with the debriefing of such personnel as who had successfully transited the permitted transit corridor during its periods of operation, succeeded in bringing a picture of conditions in Kalgachia that was partial, subjective, and in the most literal sense surface-level in its detail.

A period between VIII & XV 1716 was assigned to bringing the forces within the Central Banner Group (CBG) area of operations to a full state of readiness, with an 80% availability of manpower and equipment mandated by CBG area command. A number of high ranking officers in the BUDF commissariat, along with their subordinates, who had failed in their obligation to meet these minimum targets, were transferred into the custody of the Magisters-Carnifex for exemplary punishment and execution. Notices of the executions were carried in the Chryse Chronicle as well as the Register of Woe as a warning to all BUDF personnel of the consequences of falling short of expectations during the forthcoming deployment.

By 21.I.1717 AN the Central Banner Group was able to report the availability of a majority of all weapons systems assigned to its area of operations.


Equipment On-Hand Assigned Depot total Percentage availability
Small Arms - - 632,279 99
M1686 assault rifle (7.62×67mmB) 572,844 567,115 - -
M1690 machine pistol (9x19mm) 59,435 58,840 - -
Squad Weapons - - 13,590 80
M1703 Wren MK II general purpose machine gun (7.62x67mmB) 13,590 10,872 - -
Troop Weapons - - 3,323 76
Polybolos 12.7 mm HMG 952 723 - -
M1700 82 mm Recoilless Rifle 2,371 1,801 - -
Squadron Weapons - - 1,119 89
M1701 14 mm sniper rifle 1,119 995 - -
Helmets and body armour - - 313,595 84
M1639 Stahlhelm 313,595 263,419 - -
M1671 composite armour and plate 27,072 22,740 - -
Artillery (Towed) - - 2,193 98
M1681 105 mm howitzer (towed) 444 435 - -
M1701 158mm MLRS (towed) 1,749 1,714 - -
Artillery Self-Propelled - - 560 75
HK-III M1675 155 mm mobile gun (wheeled) 493 369 - -
HK-IV 155 mm self-propelled howitzer (tracked) 67 50 - -
Air Defence System - - 27 97
System-2 Missile Complex 27 26 - -
Armoured Fighting Vehicles - - 4,100 99
BK-III Verteidiger 330 326 - -
BK-IV Bastiat 369 365 - -
CV-56 Horjin 3,329 3,295 - -
HK-IV M1707 Stalker 11 10 - -
Rz.Kfz 1714 Razkampfwagen 61 60 - -
Support Vehicles - - 55,503 97
Pod Personnel Carrier 1,668 1,617 - -
Snatch Land Rover 36,427 35,334 - -
Truck, Light 16,839 16,333 - -
Truck, Medium 31 30 - -
GV(MCB)-7 Leviathan 1 0 - -
Große Dampfzugmaschine 537 520 - -
Combat Aviation - - 346 80
B-67 Shahrukh 12 9 - -
F-9 Ashavan II 256 204 - -
F-9 Ashavan III 67 53 - -
F-17 Axarana 11 8 - -
AEW / Patrol Aviation - - 9 80
AEW-1 Floret 1 0 - -
AEW-1 Buscadora 1 0 - -
P-2 Navegador 4 3 - -
P-3 Bailiff 3 2 - -
UAVs - - 136 92
Javelin M-2 Dragoon UAV 11 10 - -
VT-UAV 1 Tadpole 125 115 - -
Transport Aviation - - 159 84
GAV-4(U) Jackalope 141 118 - -
TR-279 Dront 18 15 - -
Attack Rotorcraft - - 34 91
AH-75 Cobra 7 6 - -
R-2 Krähenwürger 27 24 - -
Cargo Rotorcraft - - 42 97
CH-276 Camel 16 15 - -
UH-76 Dromosker 26 25 - -
IRBM - - 721 97
S-3 Schlächter 721 699 - -

On 12.II.1717 AN the Benacian Security Council met at Chryse in order to hold its first high level conference regarding the pending operation, for which a provisional commencement date of Roqpin 1717 AN had now been set by Benacia Command. Complicating matters had been the steady arrival of delegations from around the Union-State to begin making preliminary negotiations and hostage exchanges ahead of the fifth Congress of Chryse. The 1717 Chryse Conference, convened at the New Residency ziggurat, was attended by the Szodan of Benacia, Daniyal ibn Daniyal, the Commander-in-Chief of the Benacian Continental Theatre Command, Zurvanudin Miran al-Osman, the Commissioner for War, Zacharias Avon-El, and the Commissioner for Foreign Affairs, Ayesha al-Osman, the Director of Benacian Operations for the Honourable Company, Brugen Aldef, and the Commissioner for the Sacred Treasury, Soroush Karimi. The main decision of the summit was to call up 1% of the population of the Unified Governorates of Benacia in a partial mobilisation, so as to ensure that the BUDF would be ensured of sufficient manpower to meet its requirements for the forthcoming operation.

In 1717 AN, 339,648 subjects in the meritorious categories of the Table of Grades and Ranks of the Benacian Union within the governorates of the UGB were called up by the draft lottery and sworn to public service in the State Guard of the Unified Governorates for two years. This mobilisation yielded 283 regimental trained bands, which, between II.1717 and VI.1717, were mustered, drilled, and guarded by officers of the Public Order Forces of the UGB at assembly areas in Litkov, Sansabury, and Stonetree. In VII.1717 the regimental trained bands were assigned to 23 Ersatz Divisions divided between the 11th, 16th, and Siyachier armies of the Central Banner Group of Benacia Command. Six ersatz divisions apiece were assigned to the 11th Army and the Siyachier Army for combat operations, whilst the balance were placed under the 16th Army in Lower Lywall to constitute a pool of replacement manpower, to be called forward as required.

Situation inside Kalgachia

As the day for the BUDF intervention loomed, with the approach of High Roqpin, the support of the Kalgachi Defence Force for the intervention began to waver, with the Church mounting a campaign of preaching and subversion aimed at swaying junior and mid-rank officers to the cause of patriotic defiance. As such formations now had to be assessed separately for their reliability at the divisional level.

Stances of the Kalgachi before the Penitential Day

The KDF, civil administration, and church formations were assessed individually and graded according to whether they would offer resistance or acquiesce to the passing of BUDF forces:

  • Active resistance (1-2)
  • Passive resistance (3-5)
  • Neutrality (6-8)
  • Passive assistance (9-10)
  • Active assitance (11-12)

KDF posture

I (Inner) Corps
Formation Stance
1st (Oktavyan) Division 10
8th (Oktavyan) Division 8
4th (Jollity) Division 7
II Outer Corps
Formation Stance
2nd (Abrek) Division 4
3rd (Katarsis) Division 12
5th (Schlepogora) Division 8
6th (Bergburg) Division 5
7th (Lithead) Division 4
Independent Units
Formation Stance
Fortress Division 8
Fire Division 2
Special Purpose Regiment 7
Black Brotherhood 6

Lieutenancy stances

The stance of the lieutenancy would affect the stance of the KDFR forces within their area.

Lieutenancy Stance
Abrek 8
Bergburg 4
Lithead 12
Jollity 8
Katarsis 6
Oktavyan 8
Schlepogora 11

Church stances

The degree of militancy in the church would determine the stance of the partisans within their area. Assisting partisans (whether passive or active), were they to be encountered, would voluntarily disarm upon making contact with advancing BUDF forces.

Lieutenancy Stance
Abrek 9
Bergburg 8
Lithead 3
Jolity 7
Katarsis 7
Oktavyan 7
Schlepogora 11

"The Penitential Day" (High Roqpin)

On the eve of the crossing of the frontier, the General Inspectorate of Benacia Command had conducted an evaluation of the prospects of the Siyachier Army and the 11th Army if they encountered meaningful resistance on their respective lines of advance towards Octavyan. The feedback did not make for encouraging reading amongst the command staff of the Central Banner Group.

Operational Ability of Forces assigned to Operation Penitent
Formation Score Prognosis
Siyachier Army 4 If resistance manifests, it will be formidable and highly organised. If the lead elements of the Siyachier Army encounters stiff resistance, it will be unlikely to have the wherewithal to bypass key-choke points and therefore fail to make significant progress beyond that point, even significant air support and reinforcement.
11th Army 3 In the event that resistance is strong and well-organised. The 11th Army will experience a difficult time making progress without significant air support and reinforcement.

The plan, such as it was

As it was, the first forces across the frontier faced the further handicap of being charged to only use force in self-defence and on the occasion of encountering resistance. KDF and other paramilitary formations assessed as not offering active resistance were to be by-passed by forces assigned to the first echelon in preference of pushing onwards. The priority for the advancing force was to reach Octavyan, and establish contact with those elements on the Council of the Perfecti committed to the Protectorate Treaty, as well as to secure Gravelbottom Airport and the strategic weapons systems in the possession of the Fortress Division.

Both the 11th Army and the Siyachier Army had formed up three echelons for their main lines of advance. In both instances the Motorised Infantry Regiments of the legions attached to both armies would lead the advance, albeit with the Siyachier Army enjoying the additional support of seven regiments of light cavalry, acting as scouts and intended to deter the Black Brotherhood from interfering in the transit of the Siyachier Army over the Upland Confederation.

Once the Salb III, under the command of Salbnan Royston Merrick IV, advancing out of Litkov, had linked up with the Salb IV "Aurangzeb", commanded by Salbnan Valdemar Einhorn al-Osman, at Lepidopterum both legions were to proceed directly to Gravelbottom Airport.

The two legions attached to the 11th Army meanwhile, had concentrated north of Stonetree and were tasked with securing Tealsburrow and proceeding hence to Schlepogora via Oktokamensk.

The first echelon forces would pause at those locations in order to gauge the reaction of the Kalgachi military to the incursion before continuing to converge upon Octavyan. The intention was to enter the highlands of the Oktavyan mountains in conjunction with KDF forces who had declared themselves loyal to the Protectorate, linking up with these in order to ensure that Benacian forces arrived at the surface entrances of the Kalgachi capital accompanied by a significant native contingent, so as to assuage any fears amongst those yet to reconcile to the new order.

The second echelon, following in the wake of the legions, would comprise of the assigned BUDF divisions of Elwynnese extraction. These would secure the Benacian Union Kalgachia Aligned Corridor Exchange, and attend to the task of disarming any KDF forces which had been bypassed but which had not taken a supportive stance (active or passive) in favour of the Protectorate.

The third echelon, consisting of the levies taken from the State Guard of the Unified Governorates and the Benacian Labour Reserve, would have the duty of garrisoning the lines of communication, of establishing garrisons at key points, and the disarmament of the Church Partisan formations.

Whilst expected to reinforce each other, as needs be, the three echelons were expected to focus primarily on their assigned mission goals.

The Commissariat and General Inspectorate of the BUDF, as distinct from the commissariat and general inspectorate of Benacia Command, would then be expected to establish the necessary depots and lines of communication and supply with which to sustain the deployed force, utilising the Benacian Union Kalgachia Aligned Corridor Exchange and Gravelbottom Airport as the key transit corridor and logistics hub.

Litkov to Lepidopterum

Stonetree to Tealsburrow

Summation of the Penitential Day

Characterised by the divided and muted response of not-only the KDF, but also, more surprisingly, of the partisans who the Church had hoped would defend the interests of Kalgachi sovereignty to the last, the most notable success enjoyed by the Benacian forces had been the wholesale defection of the entirety of the 3rd Reserve Army to the cause of the protectorate, accompanied by two divisions of the regular KDF. The entry of the 11th Army into the Lieutenancy of Lithead had been wholly unopposed and the entirety of the south-east of the Garden was seemingly poised to pass into the hands of the Protectorate, opening the way for a rapid advance upon Oktavyan. In the west, the Siyachier Army had been surprised by the lack of resistance offered by the redoubtable Black Brotherhood, who had bested the Benacian legions as recently as the War of 1712. That the Laqs had been sullen in their acquiescence had hardly mattered, since by remaining within their fortresses, they had allowed the road to Lepidopterum to be opened, and thereafter the way was clear for the advance to continue upon Gravelbottom Airport. Yet it would be at this place, the culminating objective of the first phase of the advance of the Siyachier Army that the KDF's "Fire Division", an aggressive, disciplined, and well-trained airmobile formation, appeared to be, alone for the moment amongst the once vaunted KDF, preparing a determined resistance.

The lowlands campaign (1.X.1717 – 24.XV.1717)

The Jolly Concordat


Whilst the Jolly Concordat was being negotiated. Advance elements of the Western Column had approached Gravelbottom Airport, where the KDF Fire Division had taken up defensive positions. As kossar cavalry in Benacian service, and Kalgachi Whirdlebirbs espied one another, a tense standoff was prospectively in the offing. Whilst the legatine commanders of the Siyachier Army pressed for an immediate advance upon the airport, so as to test the resolve of the KDF, which had appeared so flaky in every other regard that it seemed impossible that one division would hold its nerve now, whilst all others were shying away from a confrontation, the magister, Farzad Riahi, however was still concerned by the dire predictions of the General Inspectorate as to the likely outcome of a direct clash of arms. Accordingly his initial orders on dawn of 1.X.1717 AN was for the Mavet and Baruch regiments of kossars to screen the approaches to the airport whilst the Salb IV Aurangzeb and the 3 Kossarfördelningen "Siyachia" were to form three streïkruppen, capable to taking the site by storm if needs be.

As this would take a couple of days to organise, and as his division was being broken up into battlegroup contingents, Rasoul Jahangiri, the legatine division commander of the 3 Kossarfördelningen "Siyachia" was given the task of negotiating with the Kalgachi garrison whilst conducting a further surreptitious reconnaissance of the site. If Jahangiri could not talk the KDF contingents there into surrendering or acquiescence, he was to at least ensure that the negotiations continued long enough as to permit the streïkruppen to be brought up before the Kalgachi could respond. At midday Jahangiri returned to his command post, attached to the 57 Taktiska Kommando Regemente, and there assembled a party of 158 volunteers, 24 NCOs, and 4 junior officers to accompany him towards the airport under a flag of truce. Another two hours were unfortunately lost trying to chase down sufficient vehicles for the contingent, but in the end a Snatch Land Rover, an armoured personnel carrier, and fourteen trucks were assembled in convoy. By three pm, the convoy had passed Gravelbottom Aiport and was approaching the airport. Jahangiri, situated in the "Pod" armoured personnel carrier, was able to radio back to the 57 Taktiska Kommando Regemente that the convoy had not been engaged at this point, previously identified as a prime ambush location. The convoy, white flags still clearly flying, pulled up on the approaches to the airport's terminal building, and the APC, with Jahangiri still aboard and white blankets tied to its side, approached the gates to the airport parking lot. Again a moment of tension passed, as the vehicle was permitted by its guards to pass through after a cursory conversation with a surly Grizzler who had kept a bazooka trained on the Pod for the entire duration of its approach. Curtly, the driver of the Pod was directed to pull into the entrance of an abandoned taxi rank, and from there Jahangiri was led under guard towards the KDF cantonment area.


By the close of 1717 AN the BUDF contingents introduced by the Central Banner Group of Benacia Command were firmly established in Litchead and Schelpogora, whilst the enigmatic "Tiny Banner Group", organised by Mondo had achieved a major coup in securing Jollity, albeit at the cost of now being confronted with the challenge of establishing direct lines of communication between Jollity and Northbloom via Abrek or Katarsis. Although condemned for allowing the Fire Division to escape into Bergburg unopposed, the divisional-legate Rasoul Jahangiri had succeeded in his mission to secure Gravelbottom Airport, and did so with the facilities being taken intact and without a shot being fired in anger. For this reason, in spite of the risk of censure hanging over him, the solution negotiated by Jahangiri had been accepted by higher command. With the securing of the gateways into Kalgachia, and the establishment of the authority of the protectorate now seeming more viable by the day, the arrival of second and third echelon forces as reinforcements appeared to set the seal on what had been thus far a more peaceable and orderly transition of power than many had reasonably feared.

With the turn of the year into 1718 AN the time would come for the remaining KDF formations to now set aside their neutrality and firmly declare whether they stood for or against the protectorate.

Normalisation (1718)

Owing to the evolution of circumstances on the ground during the course of 1717 AN, namely the Jolly Concordat, responsibility for the defence and security of Kalgachia would be divided between the Central Banner Group and the Tiny Banner Group organised by Mondo. The Lieutenancy of Jollity, along with such KDF contingents there which as had been persuaded into the service of Mondo and Lord Toastypops, came under the protection of Northbloom, whilst Lithead, Schlepogora, and Oktavyan, had passed fully under the authority of the Benacian Union aligned protectorate council. Bergburg, which bordered onto Shirerithian Batavia, remained unreconciled, whilst the remaining lieutenancies were effective under no over all control, with all parties running supply columns and patrols to and from their respective outposts.

Skirmishes had been infrequent and of low intensity, allowing the BUDF to contemplate the withdrawal of its first and second line forces, leaving responsibility for security in the hands of the State Guard of the Unified Governorates and the Kalgachi Grouping of Forces.

The fate of the Kalgachi strategic deterrent (I.1718 – IX.1718)

Under proposals circulated by the General Staff of Benacia Command in the first month of 1718, the Fortress Division of the KDF, and control thereby of the Kalgachi strategic deterrent would be vested in an allied strategic command, consisting of representatives of the Tiny Banner Group (representing Mondo), the Central Banner Group (representing the Benacian Union), and the Kalgachi Protectorate Council. Authorisation from all three representatives on the command council would be required for the authorisation of a launch. The Fortress Division would be placed under the operational command of a senior officer of the Ransenari Grouping of Forces in order to ensure that no conflict of interests would occur in the execution of orders.