Questarian Civil War
|Questarian Civil War|
Freeholders Union |
|Commanders and leaders|
Ahsan Kumar Vasudev |
Abdul Sulung bin Afiz |
|Up to 1,800,000 regulars||
Freeholder Union: 500,000~ |
Malay Federation: 100,000-2,500,000
North Point: 500,000
|Casualties and losses|
|~1 million||~1 million|
The Questarian Civil War, also known as the Questarian Mutiny or the Great Mutiny, was a civil war fought in Questers between June 2011 and February 2013. It began with a series of spontaneous popular uprisings in the first half of 2011, in which Questarian troops disobeyed orders and joined a Syndicalist revolution in west and central Questers, establishing an anarchist polity known as Democratic Industan. After conquering most of northern Questers, the Syndicalist advance stalled near Kuala Pahang, and a Praetonian intervention, combined with a large scale offensive by the Malayan National Forces, forced the Syndicalist troops into a long retreat which ended after Naugarh was captured in 2013. The leader of Democratic Industan, Ahsan Kumar Vasudev, was killed in suspicious circumstances in June 2012, and Field Marshal Gerald Hood became the de-facto leader; his whereabouts are unknown.
More than two million combatants were killed and over six million civilians, with more than thirty million displaced from their homes, making the Civil War the bloodiest Questarian conflict since the Great War. The Civil War significantly affected the balance of power in the Questarian subcontinent: it saw the Freeholders Alliance, which had been in place since the Great War, disbanded and two other institutions take its place; the Malay Federation, which raised the largest army to fight the Syndicalists, and the Straits Confederation. Since the Civil War, activist Legalists have become empowered and more prominent on the subcontinent.
The Nampata-Srativali region has a history of strained labour relations, dating back to the unrest of the 1930s. The formation of trade unions which sought to bargain with owners resulted in forty years of unrest between the 1930s and 1970s, with a period of calm after export-led economic growth. Labour relations began to deterioriate again, with the number of strikes rising in the early 21st-century as wages began to fall in response to cheaper imports from Songia and other countries. Between January and June 2011 widespread labour unrest, including general strikes, assassinations and picket line caused a minor recession in Questers, with impacts on the stock exchanges in Haversham and Jacksonville. Widespread agitation by the Industan Peoples Congress, including calls for revolutionary action, began to increase.
In June 2011, workers at a Wilkinson Fertiliser plant in Naugarh picketed the factory and were fired on by strikebreakers. A workers revolt occupied the city of Naugarh in response and the Freeholders Alliance ordered its troops into the city to disperse the revolt. Between June and July 2011 there was open fighting between the troops of the Freeholders Alliance and the syndicalist revolutionaries. Further cities along the Srativali and Nampata announced their allegiance to the Industan Peoples Congress. By August 2011, more than a hundred million Questarians were under the control of the IPC.
The commander of the Western Border Forces, General Gerald Hood was ordered to move his forces into Democratic Industan. Hood instead turned on the Alliance, pledged his troops to the IPC. Hood's Army was used to put down anti-Syndicalist revolts in the Nampata, and by October was in positions around the Srativali river, where there was heavy fighting between the Freeholder troops and the Syndicate's own militia. In November negotiations broke down and the Freeholder Alliance declared war on Democratic Industan. The Haversham and Jacksonville stock markets crashed, causing the Estates-General and the North Point Company to join the Freeholders in declaring war on Democratic Industan. In response the Lord Protector of Praetonia, George IV, was shot by a syndicalist in Haversham. Field Marshal John Westmoreland was appointed head of the Freeholder Army and ordered to destroy the rebellion.
Historians typically consider the stage of the conflict between June and August 2011 as a general state of disorder, but after the proclamation of the Peoples Congress, and the mutiny of the Western Border Forces, the Freeholder Alliance declared war and with the presence of regular troops and a political authority on each side, the period after August 2011 is usually considered the beginning of the civil war. The thirt-six regular Divisions of the Western Border Forces was the largest and strongest concentration of troops in the Commonwealth, and its mutiny was a serious shock. The Freeholder Alliance mustered only eight regular Divisions, concentrated in the Sixth Freeholder Army, which it committed to battle in September 2011, mainly around the Naugarh area; in response, the Peoples Congress had only militia and irregular troops. The Freeholders called up their reserves, but most equipment was in the Nampata area, and was seized by the Western Border Forces as they advanced towards Naugarh between August and October. In October, the Border Forces were divided into the Third and Ninth Army of the Syndicates. During this time several supply depots of the Estates-General, left over from the 2010 Questarian invasion of Yehud, were seized by Syndicalist forces. Using this as a pretext, the alarmed Estates-General declared war on the Syndicalist mutiniers and dispatched six heavy divisions possessing almost all of their modern materiel.
The Ninth Army advanced towards Naugarh, relieving it and routing the Sixth Freeholder Army in the Battle of Naugarh. The 15th Corps of the Third Army laid siege to Kuantan in late October, and the 11th Armoured Corps advanced through the Panchkula pass. Between October and November 2011, the Freeholder forces in the Srativali area were decisively defeated, and the Ninth Army, bolstered by the freshly raised Fourth Army, advanced on Jesselton. By January 2011, the Freeholders had less than 50,000 active troops, and the recently raised Royal Malayan Forces numbered 100,000. While Praetonia had promised reinforcements, they would not arrive until mid December. Another Syndicated Army, the Second Army, attempted to cross the Pahang river and occupy Bandar Bara and Kota Adang. They were repulsed in the First Battle of the Pahang, but Hood began a simultaneous offensive with the 11th Armoured Corps designed to cut the Malay Kingdom in half. Four armoured divisions advanced to the outskirts of Bandar Bara, but after reinforcements arrived led by General Bumpington-Smyth, they were repulsed by a Praetonian-Malay counter-attack, and the Battle of the Panchkula is considered the first victory of the war for the Commonwealth forces.
After the battle, confidence in the Malay Forces was bolstered, and King Abdul Sulung bin Afiz could secure cheaper loans with which to build an Army. A plan to raise fifty Divisions was put in hand by the New Year. Meanwhile Marshal Smyth, emboldened by his victory, returned to Praetonia and persuaded the new Lady Protector Anne to reaffirm commitment to the war in the face of calls to negotiate a settlement with the Syndicalists or even abandon the Subcontinent entirely. The following month the Oryontic Charter was signed on an Estates' aircraft carrier, solidifying a commitment for the Malays and Praetonians to provide fifty divisions each in a general mobilisation, for smaller forces to be provided by North Point, Tairendia and Axum, and for the five Legalist powers to seek no separate peace with the war aim of total extinction of armed syndicalism on the Subcontinent.
While Malayan forces conducted grinding counterattacks, Marshal Smyth's command was extended to the Estates-General's recently raised New Model Army in the Home Islands. Named after a mythical Questerian river, disinformation was spread that the army would mostly be deployed to the Malayan front with a modest landing on the Oryontic coast to roll up the eastern-most end of the Syndicalist line. Instead, a massive amphibious invasion was launched on the northern Oryontic coast of Questers, deep behind Syndicalist lines. With the Malayan front absorbing all available manpower, this landing was almost unopposed, and the Army of the Sarasvati moved to overrun the coastal defence airfields. During this campaign an Estates' aircraft carrier was sunk. After the airfields were neutralised, however, the Estates Navy entered the Axackal in force and began bombing Syndicalist supply lines and key factories. Naugarh was symbolically bombed on the anniversary of the Syndicalist assassination of Lord Protector George IV, albeit with heavy losses.
Combined with a renewed Malay offensive supported by much less numerous Estates forces in the south, the landings and loss of undisputed control of their internal airspace caused a general collapse in the Syndicalist position in western Questers. The Army of the Sarasvati entered Jesselton almost unopposed while the Malayan front pushed back the Syndicalist army with heavy losses. Although intact Syndicalist armies were able to escape into the north east, hundreds of thousands of Syndicalist troops were encircled and broken up or captured by fast flying columns dispatched across country from the main body of the Army of the Sarasvati. The main bodies of the northern army under Smyth and the southern army under Abdul met south of Jesselton. At this point the Estates-General announced a general amnesty for all Syndicalists in the Subcontinent below the rank of colonel but declared the war "lost beyond hope" for the Syndicalists and that it would treat summarily all "bandits" who continued to resist prolonging "senseless destruction of human life". Syndicalist desertions rose, but significant actions with organised forces on both sides were still to come. The Estates-General also announced the creation of a Straits Confederation to join the war effort and to pacify northern Questers, much to the dismay of the Malays.
As the war ground into the final Syndicalist redoubt it entered a new and even more bloody phase, as Legalist armies with the political position that the war was as good as over and their opponents were capital criminals came face to face with those who had not deserted, the most extreme hard core of the Syndicalist forces. At the same time, intrigue within the Estates' forces began to boil, with Marshal Smyth explicitly repudiating the Estates' description of surviving Syndicalists as "bandits", declaring instead that there was still a "war" until General Hood was captured, and largely ignored his obligation to execute lower ranking Syndicalists en masse without seeking new orders. Around the same time General Hood mysteriously disappeared and Smyth, not waiting for a policy from the Estates, proclaimed "the war will continue until we have Hood and we shall pursue him to the ends of the earth". Unable to explicitly repudiate such statements, especially with a growing yellow press backing Smyth, the Estates-General remained technically at war - at therefore collecting vastly increased Contributions for the maintenance of a mass army - even after the Estates and Malay forces had destroyed the last true Syndicalist formations west of Naugarh.
The friendship between Marshal Smyth and King Abdul blossomed into a conspiracy, and the two men, convinced that decisive and aggressive action was required to restore the prestige of and secure the Commonwealth, planned a joint invasion of Dumanum. This invasion would require the continued full backing of the Praetonian Home Islands, which would be presented as a fait accompli by Smyth to the Estates-General after he launched the war on the pretext that the Dumani were sheltering Hood in the Yehudiland. Smyth's staff had been infiltrated by Estates' permanent political officers, however, and Smyth was unexpected removed from his position by a committee of officers belonging to loyal associations while a fly-past of over a hundred naval aircraft took place overhead. Smyth went into exile in the Tairendiland concession ports and relations between the Estates-General and King Abdul worsened drastically. Marshal Fox, described by King Abdul as a "nincompoop", was placed in command of a reduced Army of Observations in Questers.
- Operation MARATHON - initial air superiority missions over central Questers at the start of the conflict; heavy losses on both sides.
- Operation MARTEL - combat air patrols over Kuala Pahang during the siege.
- Operation HARD TACK - action in the eastern Axackal pitting Commonwealth air forces against Syndicalist air/surface navy units.
War at sea
- Operation EARLY BIRD - recapturing of GulfOil (North Point) oil platforms off Keppelton. NPSC Clearance Divers board and capture three of four objectives but the fourth is heavily damaged by bomb hits and sinks into the ocean, resulting in a major environmental disaster when its wellhead (at 3,000 ft depth) is destroyed during the sinking. Nearly 1.5 million barrels of oil are spilled into the sea requiring a lengthy cleanup operation which is still ongoing. Syndicalist naval units are engaged and destroyed by the North Point Sea Command and Estates Navy, with losses on both sides.
The Great Mutiny, as it is almost exclusively known among Praetannics, profoundly shocked Praetonia, who had regarded the Questerian subcontinent as a reliable hinterland that supplied raw materials and guarded the Home Island's Oryontic flank. The possibility of losing Questers, let alone entering a protracted standoff or even war across the eastern Oryontic, had not occurred to many as possible. In the time between the defeat of Westmoreland and the victory of Smyth, however, this outcome seems very likely and the whole status of the Estates-General as a great power in the world was reassessed. Marshal Smyth summed up the view of many in his Farewell Address to the Subcontinental Army,
Today we consider our victories, and wonder if we should be satisfied. Eighteen months ago, we considered our defeats, and wondered if we would survive. This achievement, above all, is yours. Few realised then, as none today can ignore, how much we depend upon this continent for our greatness and for our safety. Without this continent, our island cannot feed its industry or its people. With this continent neutral, our fleets cannot safely sail as far as Tairendia and Axum, and our Law would not long survive our absence. With this continent hostile, we would be at the mercy of the land powers of Wallasea, and our final court of appeal would find itself in Evian.
We are accustomed to be great, which we ascribe to our virtue. It is the conceit of the lazy sons of conquerors. Greatness is always the product of power. Our Law does not inspire admiration anywhere our armies do not first inspire terror. With Questers we cannot be starved or conquered, nor boxed into our corner and forgotten. She is our farm and our mine, our breastplate and our sword, our doorway to the world. With Questers we are a great nation, and you her rescuers are also the rescuers of our whole Cause, and all that we have been, and all that we are yet to be.