The Great War

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The Great War
Maschinengondel eines Zeppelin-Luftschiffes - Felix Schwormstädt 1917.jpg
A Quiberic zeppelin crew after a successful mission over Praetonia
Date1899-1910
LocationWorldwide
Belligerents
 Sixth Empire of Songia
 Dumanum
 Quiberon
 Fanta
 Sharfland
Template:Country data Sandirius
Template:Country data Mbeyanchi
 Nachmere
 Zegora and Bogatovia
 Questers
 Praetonia
 Cockaygne
 North Point
 Flamaguay
Commanders and leaders
Dumanum Ultor
Dumanum Octavius Antius Valens
Questers Andrew Hayes
Questers Mark Canter
North Point Charles Forbes

The Great War was a global conflict lasting from 11 February 1899 to 1 July 1910, which involved most of the world's nations, and all of the great powers. Historians view the Great War as an ideological battle between the common law and a widely disparate group of states. The victory of the common law side ensured the continuance of their ideology, and began a prolonged period of political and military tensions between the former adversaries.

Over the span of the decade, several ongoing conflicts in Crataea and Wallasea were joined into a global war. Hostilities in Crataea began in February 1899, when Songian Empire demanded that Questarian enterprises put an end to opium smuggling. Without a government to negotiate with, Songia decided to invade Questers. After making rapid gains, Songia entered a secret agreement with Dumanum in the winter of 1899 in which Questers would be split between the two countries; Dumanum mobilised for an attack and invaded Questers across the Yehud in early 1900.Conflict spilled over into Tairendian sea, where Quiberon took the opportunity to press claims against Praetonian traders in Tairendia. Songia, Dumanum, and Quiberon agreed to cooperate against the common law countries.

Songia was decisively defeated in the Battle of Aberdare in August 1900, causing global anarchist uprisings known as the Century Revolt: as a consequence of these uprisings, the remainder of Crataea declared war on Questers.

Between 1900 and 1903, Questarian forces were repeatedly pushed back on both fronts. In 1904, the Questarian military organisations formed the Freeholder Alliance and openly requested aid from Praetonia and North Point. The Praetonian associations agreed to provide a volunteer force of moderate size through the Estates-General, but not all associations agreed to contribute. In the same year, however, fundamentalist common law Cockaygne invaded Quiberon and was rapidly pushed back. Although Praetonia had frosty relations with Cockaygne and initially ignored the attack, in 1905 Cockaygne began to collapse under a Quiberonnais counter-offensive and the Estates-General redirected its new army to the continent under an agreement called the Second Covenant. Fighting continued for another three years before peace terms were agreed with Quiberon, leaving Cockaygne partially intact.

In Cratea, the Freeholder Assembly adopted the Southern-first strategy, and resources were directed to fighting the Songian forces. During the 1905-8 war with Quiberon, Estates land forces were distracted on the continent and sea communications disrupted by fighting with the Quiberic fleet. In 1909, a Estates-Freeholder offensive combined a large Freeholder land offensive with Estates landings on the Songian coast. The Freeholder army broke through the lines of the weakened Songian army. With Questarian and Praetonian troops 100 miles from Yianshi, Songia capitulated in September. Dumanum continued to fight until 1911, when the Reims Agreement was signed in Quiberon and the war ended.

Causes

Songian opium smokers.
(Should also address underlying causes of a global war - imperial rivalry, trade conflict, ideological differences, etc.)

Between 1815 and 1855, the South Seas Company, headquarted in Haversham, expanded into southern Questers, which was mainly uninhabited. By 1856 it was the wealthiest enterprise listed on the Haversham Exchange and by 1899 owned more than 1,250,000 square miles of land in southern Questers, on which it farmed cash crops, including opium, which it began to export to Songia in 1833. Between 1821 and 1899, Questarian enterprises smuggled large quantities of opium into Songia. Songia banned opium completely in 1845, but the South Seas Company and other companies in southern Questers continued opium trafficking operations. By 1889 between 10% and 15% of Songians were addicted to opium. Heavy internal pressure was put on Songian Emperor Cao Niǎo to act, and after three appeals to the South Seas Company, he declared war on 11 February 1899, citing lawlessness in Southern Questers, violatins of the Songian law, and insults to the Songian people as justifications for war.

A maritime rivalry had existed between Praetonia and Quiberon since the 17th century, with both countries claiming possession of the Channel and making a play for dominance in the Oryontic. This rivalry considerably intensified with the foundation of the regular Estates Navy in 18xx???. A naval arms race between the two countries took place in the decades leading up to the Great War. War broke out between the two countries in ??? because ???.

<ADD STUFF ABOUT TENSIONS IN DUM AREA>

Fronts

Songian front

General Hayes addresses the troops, Battle of Aberdare. The diversity in the Company's army is visible.

Between 11 February 1899 and 23 February 1899, the Songian Eastern Banner Army launched an offensive over the Shangani river, which Songia had long viewed as its native border. They laid a token force outside Fort Fox (which capitualted on 29 May). On February 14, the Songian forces occupied Hollandia, and on February 22, Clarkstown. There they executed representatives of the South Seas Company by death from a thousand cuts. The South Seas Company did not have a formal army except for naval warships and marines, and began to raise mercenaries. Songian forces continued to advance along the coast, occupying Canberra and Anchorage and laying siege to Auburn. At a meeting of the Board of the Company in Haversham, the decision was made to raise an Army and recover the lost territory. The Board offered ten acres of land for volunteers, which could be inherited by their children, and an additional ounce of silver for the boots of a Songian soldier. By December 1899, as Songian troops advanced on Aberdare, the Company had raised 150,000 volunteers and equipped them with gatling guns, bolt-action rifles and modern howitzers. The Songian Army was defeated at the Battle of Aberdare in August 1900. By telegraph this victory was broadcast around the world.

Between 1900 and 1903, the South Seas Company Army, led by General Andrew Hayes, fought a guerilla war against General Zhēn Bàng Huān, declining to fight a major engagement, but giving up land, as the South Seas Company mobilised a larger and larger Army. In the north of Questers, Questarian troops were in retreat against the Dumani-led invasion; in 1904 the Questarian military organisations united into the Freeholders' Assembly, raising funds for an Army by promising land to volunteers and subscribers. Appeals to the Estates-General were finally heard in 1905, and the Estates joined the war in 1906, blockading Songia and occupying several of its larger islands. Zhēn Bàng Huān was relieved in 1906 and replaced with Dà Lǎoshǔ. Unaware of the strength of the Freeholder Army, Lǎoshǔ launched a general offensive, which was defeated in a series of battles between 1906 and 1907. Hayes launched a counter-offensive and by 1909 Questarian troops were within 100 miles of Yianshi. Elderly and sick, and under financial and economic pressure from a Praetonian blockade and potential amphibious landings, the Emperor was persuaded by his court to capitulate.

The southern front was characterised by several stages; first, complete Songian victory, in which Songian forces led by Zhēn Bàng Huān rapidly overwhelmed the Questarian settlements; then a period of relative calm where both sides were unable to bring each other to decisive battle and successfully declined engagements which were not in their favour. Zhēn Bàng Huān was recalled when his brother attempted a coup d'etat and he was replaced with Dà Lǎoshǔ, who was favoured by the Imperial court for loyalty, but not by the Army general staff. The last period, 1906-1909, is characterised by large conventional battles which saw mass infantry attacks by both sides, operational-strategic level manoeuvres, sometimes resulting in encirclements, breakthroughs, and routs, and some of the first uses of modern weaponry like machine-guns and aircraft. By the close of the conflict, Songia had lost more than 1.5 million men and Questers 770,000.

Yehud front

Between September and October 1899, Songian representatives urged the Dumani goverment to join the war and invade Questarian Nampata through the Yehud. Dumani co-consuls Ursinus and Hermina declined initial invitations to war, but the state of Questarian defences in the Yehud, the increasing influence of the West Nampata Company, and internal concerns about legalist anarchists persuaded the Dumani government to intervene. Dumanum mobilised its Army, led by Proconsular Legate Marcus Tarquinius Maximus and invaded through the Yehud in January 1900; Dumani forces rapidly occupied the Yehud, but poor maps and poor roads in the West Nampata region caused their offensive to bog down. In August 1900 the Century Revolts broke out across Crataea, including a Gzelk uprising in western Dumanum. Anarchists shot and killed both Ursinus and Hermina and the Senate recalled Maximus and several legions and requested that he put down the Revolt. Qarabid and Vekh invasions in the same year caused the Senate to call a mass-mobilisation. Command of the Yehud Front was handed over to Octavius Antius Valens who was heavily influenced by the Senate.

Between 1901 and 1903, the front became static around the Nampata river, with neither side being able to mount a major offensives; limitations on supply lines, the heavy flooding of the 1902 monsoon, and the inability of military engineers to ford the wide Nampata created static conditions. The Senate urged Valens to act and in 1904 he launched a major offensive in the southern Nampata region, finally breaking the siege of Chandigarh and occupying the city. The Senate demanded further offensives, and Valens' troops crossed the southern Nampata in December 1904; heavy floods in February 1905 broke the banks of the river, destroying many of the temporary bridges, and a Questarian counter-offensive at the Battle of Stanford's Crossing destroyed three highly-experienced Corps of the Dumani Army trapped on the eastern bank of the Nampata. The Battle is history's bloodiest, with Dumanum suffering nearly 370,000 casualties and Questers 455,000. Between 1904 and 1906 repeated Questarian offensives, despite heavy casualties, pushed the Dumani Army back to the border. At the border, Freeholder General Mark Canter was pronounced Marshal. He re-organised his forces into the Army for the Liberation of Crataea. Canter received reinforcements and the Freeholder forces laid siege to Cularum and approached Nemusa. With the situation growing desperate, Maximus was proclaimed Dictator by the Senate, suspending its own authority for the duration of the conflict.

The Qaro-Vekh invasion was repulsed and revolts crushed by 1907 by Maximus, who had earned the honorific 'Ultor' for his swift and merciless repression of the insurrectionists. Ultor moved his veteran II Western Front eastwards to bolster the dwindling Dumani forces. In a series of skirmishes around Mons Aenea and Mons Argenta, he correctly judged the dispositions of Questarian forces and in a massive offensive encircled and defeated the First and Fourth Questarian Armies in the Battle of Mons Argenta, using chemical weapons and armoured cars. Further battles between 1908 and 1910 drove the Questarian forces back to the border of Yehud. In 1911 the Reims Agreement was signed and Dumanum and the Freeholders Alliance made an agreement not to station military forces inside the Yehud. This agreement was renewed for another 50 years in 1961; it lapsed in 2011 and has not been re-signed since.

After the Century Revolt, numerous Crataean countries declared war on Questers; Sharfland, Sandirius, Mbeyanchi, Nachmere and Angyika sent expeditionary forces to assist the Dumani campaign, although by 1908 most of these had been destroyed and the southern Crataean countries were not capable of raising further forces.

Naval war

Wallasean front

Flamaguayan reservists in action.
  • 1904(?): Cockaygne invades Quiberon and is repulsed strongly into own territory. Praetonian forces land on the continent, Flamaguay joins as a co-belligerent against the Quiberonnaise offensive in Cockaygne.
  • 1906: Counter-offensive recovers considerable Cockaygne land, Flamaguayan forces push into Quib proper on their front.
  • 1908: CL forces in Wallasea peace out with Quiberon. Zegora joins war.
  • 1909: Flamaguayan forces pushed out of Quib. Quib-Zegora front-wide offensive begins.
  • 1910: Quiberonnaise and Zegoran forces break through, pro-war government collapses. Treaty faction sues for an armistice.

Outcome