The Great War

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The Great War
Great war OP.png
Top left to right; Cockay infantry in the Carse; Flamaguay cavalry on mobilisation; Zegoran troops head to the front; Prekovy conscripts in defensive positions; the Praetonian fleet sails for battle; Questarian Sikhs on parade; Dumani troops raising an expedition flag.
Date1905-1911
LocationWorldwide
Belligerents
Central Powers
 Prekovy
Zegora and Bogatovia Zaposlavia
Independent powers
 Dumanum
 Sharfland
Commonwealth
 Cockaygne
 Questers
 Praetonia
 North Point
Independent powers
 Sukaria
Wallasean Entente
 Flamaguay
 Saratovia
 Embrea
 Poláčekia

The Great War, also known as the World War, was a global war which originated in Wallasea but spread to all the continents other than Arterus. Most of the fighting was concentrated in Wallasea, but significant theatres, especially at sea, occurred in Crataea and Veridis' surrounding oceans. More than 55 million personnel were mobilised for the war, of whom an estimated 5 million were killed, making it the most deadly conflict in world history. It was the first industrial war, in which mass production radically affected the character of the campaigns. The war caused the downfall of Zaposlavia and the creation of Zegora-Bogatovia and the collapse of the Sukarian Autokratoria into civil war. It also heralded the rise of the Commonwealth, in particular Providentialism, as a global power and confirmed Dumani hegemony of west Crataea.

The war began as a result of ethnic tension in the Carse, an area of Prekovy inhabited mostly by Cockay people. The war expanded then to Embrea, and from there to the rest of Wallasea and finally to Praetonia, whose entrance also brought Questers and North Point to the war. While fighting in Wallasea was mostly resolved by 1908, when Prekovy signed a peace treaty with the Entente; it continued to lose ground to the Commonwealth, who in turn fought the Entente until a general peace with Prekovy in 1910 and Flamaguay in 1911. In Crataea, the movement of tribal peoples across the Yehud and the violation of the 1899 Shiloh Declaration caused Dumanum to declare war on Questers. After pitched battles in the Yehud caused Dumanum to concentrate its forces in the east, Sukaria declared war in an attempt to recapture the territory lost in the 19th-century, but was decisively defeated. Questers and Dumanum established a demilitarized zone in the Yehud in 1911 and finally signed an armistice, ending the war.

The war in Wallasea began on 1st October 1905, and ended officially on 15th February 1910; Wallasean-centric historians therefore often use these dates to define the whole war, although historians elsewhere use the termination of hostilities between Dumanum and the Commonwealth as the end of the war.

The Great War has had lasting and compelling cultural impact on all the countries who participated in it, being a constant reference and focal point in politics, culture, art, international diplomacy and broader society. Across most of Wallasea the war is viewed as a disaster, as Prekovy, Saratovia, Flamaguay and Zaposlavia were bankrupted and lost millions of soldiers during the fighting. However, in the Commonwealth, including Cockaygne, the war is often viewed with triumphalism, considered as a period in which the Commonwealth and its religion victoriously emerged into global prominence. The war is viewed with similar positive feeling in Dumanum, as it finally defeated and then significantly eclipsed Sukaria as a Crataean power.

Background

Prekovy had established itself as the dominant power in northern Wallasea during the Suffering of Trogg. It exerted influence over a wide sphere of nations, including Minua, Polacekia, and Zaposlavia. Prekovy's position began to erode following the Wars of the Covenant. The industrial revolution did not take hold until the late 19th century, so that despite its great size, its industrial output fell behind that of Praetonia and Flamaguay. By the 19th century, Prekovy's decline was clear. The humiliating defeat of Horek's War convinced Prekovar leaders that the Commonwealth would usurp their hegemony over northern Wallasea, unless they re-asserted Prekovite authority over the continent.

Aggressive Prekovite diplomacy secured the support of Zaposlavia. The two countries moved against Cockaygne, which was viewed as a Commonwealth outpost on the continent. They planned to flank Cockaygne through Embrea and destroy it, so that they could focus their attention on subjugating the nations of southern Wallasea.

Fronts

Fronts and major combatants. Common Law polities are in blue, Wallasean Entente co-belligerents in green, and anti-CL states in red.

Events

Wallasea

In September 1905, the Prekovite authorities in the Carse, at this time a Prekovite kraj, began rounding up suspected members of the Sons of Providence. Demonstrations by ethnic Cockays were broken up, until on 27th September 1905 Prekovite troops fired on demonstrators, killing more than 1,230 people. In response Cockaygne mobilised its Army and declared war on Prekovy on 1st October. Zaposlavia mobilised its Army and followed Prekovy into the conflict on October 3rd.

Prekovar cavalry surveys Commonwealth positions during the Battle of the Graves, c. 1906.

By November, the Cockay armies had arrayed themselves against Prekovar forces in the north, leaving their eastern flank vulnerable. In order to make the planned strategic flanking manoeuvre around the Cockays, Prekovy and Zaposlavia invaded Embrea in February of 1906. They quickly forced the Embrean Army to retreat from its defensive positions (Battle of Douro). Fearing an overwhelming Prekovite and Zaposlavian victory, the Eastern Association declared war on Prekovy and began a limited mobilisation on March 15th, followed by the Committee for Parks' Maintenance and other independent Senland associations. Flamaguay and Saratovia also declared war in support of Embrea. The Prekovite offensive continued into eastern Cockaygne in August of 1906, but was slowed by the arrival of the Army of the Eastern Association, and was halted in the Battle of the Graves. The fighting in the south of Wallasea ground down, from an opening stage characterised by mobile warfare to slow, attrition warfare based on trenches and fortified positions. Between summer 1906 and 1907 the war was one of bloody attrition in which more than three million men were killed across the continent.

Poláček assault troops from the 1st Special Assault Division prepare to storm a Prekovar position, c. 1908.

Frustrated by slow progress in Cockaygne, Prekovy and Zaposlavia turned their attention to the southern Wallasean allies. In June 1907, a renewed Prekovy-Zaposlavia offensive gained significant ground in Saratovia (Battle of Rzhesk). Faced with a war of attrition against the Commonwealth, Cockaygne, and the three-nation Entente, Prekovy and Zaposlavia's fortunes began to turn. With the death of Emperor Nikolas II, a strong proponent of armed neutrality, and believing Prekovy's defeat to be imminent, Poláčekia was coaxed into the war with the Entente offering it territorial gains. A successful Flamaguayan offensive forced Zaposlavia to withdraw from Saratovia in 1908 (Battle of Zamora), and then another Flamaguayan victory, despite heavy casualties, forced the starving Zaposlav army to collapse (Eighty Days Battle).

With Praetonian and Cockay troops pushing into its frontier, Poláček soldiers laying siege to one of its major cities, and with Zaposlavia's army in total retreat, Prekovy signed peace terms with the Entente on 7th September 1908. The terms were not generous; Prekovy kept all its territory in the west but had to abandon the territory it gained from Poláčekia in 1833 and most importantly its alliance with Zaposlavia. Shocked, a beaten Zaposlavia capitulated three days later.

Fighting on the continent continued until 1910, with Praetonian and Cockaygne forces advancing steadily into Prekovy; although Prekovy's strategic pressure had been eased by the peace treaties, it had lost its major ally and trading partner, and bad harvests during the war, combined with massive casualties, were causing the Prekovy economy to collapse. The final destruction of the Prekovy fleet by a combined Commonwealth naval force in April 1910 triggered the Treaty of Muckclog between Cockaygne and Prekovy in which Prekovy lost half of the Carse and was barred from basing large warships in its western ports until 1940. Prekovy was also forced to pay an indemnity of 2,151 long tons of gold.

Yehud/Nampataland

Questarian mining concerns began expanding into the Yehud in 1907, to support the Commonwealth war effort in contravention of the Peace of 1899. By the end of 1908, reports of renewed tribal migrations in the Yehud convinced the Dumani Senate to act. Dumanum mobilised its army in March of 1909, placing it under the command of Gnaeus Flavius Probus. In April, Probus crossed the Sange River with 30 legions, citing Questarian provocations in Yehud as their cassus belli. Dumani forces rapidly occupied the much of the Nampataland, taking numerous cities and defeating several Freeholder counterattacks, but poor maps and poor roads caused their offensive to bog down.

By September, Probus’ legions had reached the Nampata River and began to dig in for the rainy season. On his own initiative, negotiations were opened with the Freeholders Alliance in order to settle the Yehudi question, which would later earn him censure at the hands of the Senate.

The following month, the Sukarian Empire launched an invasion of Dumani-held Potamia with the aim of cutting the republic in two and recovering what it considered to be rightful imperial territory. A consular army under the command of Aulus Domidius Hermina was destroyed at the Battle of Agregentorum, with the consul himself perishing in the fighting. The Senate recalled Probus from the Nampataland along with half his legions shortly thereafter; he was elected consul in the place of the dead Hermina in an emergency election, and given the task of driving Sukarian forces from Dumani soil. Command of the Nampata Front was handed over to Octavius Antius Valens who was heavily influenced by the Senate. The Freeholders Alliance, noting the sudden disarray the Dumani found themselves in, terminated negotiations and decided to proceed with the war. The arrival of the rainy season in Nampataland badly strained Dumani supply lines, permitting several successful Questarian offensives (Battle of the Nampata) that drove Dumani forces back into the Yehud. A final Questarian offensive on the Segina river was defeated (Battle of the Segina) and the two armies fought a mobile campaign on the eastern bank of the Yehud (Operation Gladius), which eventually led to peace in 1911 and the creation of a demilitarized zone in the Yehud. Dumani forces under Ultor were then marched westwards to reinforce efforts against the Sukarian Empire, leading to the later's eventual capitulation.

Crataea

A battlefield in Dumani Ubaidia, c. 1910.

With Dumani forces fully committed to the war in Nampataland, the leadership of the Themata was able to convince the Autokrator Descordian III of Sukaria to launch an invasion from its territories in Vekhistan and Elam, hoping to seize the provinces of Quardacia, Subartum, and Potamia, which it had lost during the previous century. The Sukarians were met with initial overwhelming success in early 1910 at the Battle of Argentoratum, where the Consular army under Aulus Domidius Hermina was roundly destroyed, thereby permitting further penetrations deep into central Dumanum. The arrival of the consul Probus with reinforcements from Yehud permitted him to stabilize the front in Potamia, where he was able to prevent further major losses of territory. Though Sukaria would retain something of an advantage on land clear through the end of the war, the Dumani navy would essentially destroy the Sukarian navy in a series of engagements in the Axackal Sea, culminating in the Blockade of Sukaria in 1911. With armies threatening to land at the mouth of the Deos River combined with Ultor's legions arriving from the Yehud, the Autokrator Descordian III was forced to sign a peace. This was seen as tantamount to treason by the Themata, who still believed they could take significant territories from the Senate, and lead directly to the Sukarian Civil War.

War at sea

In the west, Flamaguay's fleet forced the Prekovite Navy to port and kept supply lines open; in the east, the Saratov Fleet kept open the sea lines of communication and trade with Crataea. Flamaguay's navy was able to inflict several decisive defeats on their Prekovite counterparts in the Oryontic in September and October 1906. Saratov naval units and infantry were able to secure part of Prekovy's Ingenic and Leonine holdings, but these were returned to Prekovy following the Peace Treaty, as the Prekovite Navy was still active and most of Saratovia's surviving fleet units had been destroyed or heavily damaged during the fighting. After losing many of its heavy units in the Oryontic, Prekovy moved most of its Leonine Fleet to the Oryontic in summer 1907.

Following its 1907 defeats, Saratovia lost its grip on its colonial assets in Crataea, causing Millenarianist Congregationalists to launch several coup d'etats. Following the peace, a Saratov fleet atempted to recapture its colonies in Crataea, but was repulsed by a North Point cruiser squadron in the Battle of the Motappa Trench in January 1909. The Entente thereafter declared war on the Commonwealth. Estates-General and North Point warships battled the Flamaguayan fleet across the Oryontic and Ingenic. In a series of battles in the Ingenic in 1909, Saratovia's fleet was destroyed, and Saratovia agreed a separate peace in October 1909. Left alone to fight the Commonwealth, Flamaguayan politicians, citing betrayal by Saratovia, agreed to peace in February 1910, despite the survival of their powerful surface units.

Major battles

Battle Date Map Belligerents Outcome Description
Name, with hyperlink In format; 1st January 1905 - 1st October 1905 Map Needs formatting Belligerent tactical victory, strategic victory, draw Commanders of each side, size of forces, casualties
Second Battle of Ivanovo DATE - DATE Map  Poláčekia v.  Prekovy Poláček victory Poláček launches a general assault into the Ivanovo region. Caught unaware and with most of its forces deployed on the Saratov or Cockay front, the few present Prekovar units are quickly destroyed by the Poláček forces, which proceed to reoccupy the area.
Siege of Karskargrad DATE - 7th September 1908 Map  Poláčekia v.  Prekovy Poláček victory Poláček troops lay siege to and occupy part of the city of Karskargrad, battle is declared over when Prekovy capitulates to the Entente.
Battle of the Nampata 20th June 1909 - 12th September 1909 Map  Dumanum v.  Questers Dumani tactical victory; operational and strategic defeat General Gnaeus Flavius Probus (30 legions) invaded the Nampata and pushed out General Winston Raleigh (5 divisions). The invasion of Ubaidia by the Sukarian Empire resulted in the recall of Probus along with a large number of his troops; Octavius Antius Valens assumed command following Probus' recall. Questarian reinforcements slowly arrived and when the monsoon trapped Valens' army, Raleigh's counterattack (25 divisions) caused severe casualties, convincing the Dumani to withdraw to Yehud. Up to 170,000 Dumani and 130,000 Questarians were casualties, including Valens who committed suicide rather than face the wrath of the Senate.
Battle of the Segina 6th April 1910 - 19th September 1910 Map  Dumanum v.  Questers Operational draw Proconsul M. Tarquinius Maximus Ultor (14 legions), reduced in force, was attacked by Marshal Stephen Henderson (27 divisions) and withdrew past the Segina. Henderson made many frontal attacks on Dumani positions and took severe casualties, withdrawing to better supply lines in the eastern Yehud. Questers lost 330,000 men to Dumanum's 75,000.
Operation Gladius 5th November 1910 - 2nd January 1911 Map  Dumanum v.  Questers Dumani tactical victory; operational and strategic draw A reinforced Ultor (21 legions) fought eight linked open-field set-piece battles against Marshal Stephen Henderson (20 divisions), losing 79,000 men to Henderson's 56,000 men. Although Ultor was able to force Henderson's army off its good positions, the arrival of Questarian reinforcements persuaded both sides to agree to a peace.

Aftermath

See also