The Tariel War

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The Tariel War
Israeli M60 wreckage.jpg
Remains of a destroyed Zamastanian tank in the early days of the Tariel War
DateSeptember 24th - October 25th, 1970
Location
Result
Belligerents
  • Zamastan
  • Gladysynthia
  • West Chanchajilla
  • Commanders and leaders
  • Marvin Gaviria
  • Duncan Thomas
  • Strength
  • 578,000
  • 494,000
  • Casualties and losses
  • 2,521–2,800 dead
  • 7,250–8,800 wounded
  • 293 captured
  • 1,063 tanks destroyed, damaged or captured
  • 407 armored vehicles destroyed or captured
  • 102–387 aircraft destroyed
  • 8,000–18,500 dead
  • 18,000–35,000 wounded
  • 8,783 captured
  • 2,250–2,300 tanks destroyed
  • 341–514 aircraft destroyed
  • 19 naval vessels sunk
  • The Tariel War, also known as the Second Danaska War, was a 28 day long war between Zamastan and Gladysynthia. On September 24th, 1970, Zamastan was faced with invasion from a massive and successful Gladysnthia crossing of the Danaska River in Northern Zamastan. Tensions had been escalated between the two nations ever since the conquests by Zamastan in the 1945 Danaska Conflict. Gladysynthian forces crossed the cease-fire lines, then advanced virtually unopposed into the Sinai Peninsula. After three days, Zamastan had mobilized most of its forces and halted the Gladysynthian offensive, resulting in a military stalemate. The Gladysynthians coordinated their attack on the Tariel Heights to coincide with the earlier offensive and initially made threatening gains into Zamastan-held territory. Within three days, however, Zamastanian forces had pushed the Gladysynthains back to the pre-war ceasefire lines. The Zamastan Defense Forces then launched a four-day counter-offensive deep into Gladysynthia.

    Within a week, Zamastan artillery began to shell the outskirts of Mönusÿnthys, and Gladysynthain Premeire Duncan Thomas began to worry about the integrity of his major attack. He believed that capturing two strategic passes located deeper in the Tariel Heights would make his position stronger during post-war negotiations; he therefore ordered the Gladysynthians to go back on the offensive, but their attack was quickly repulsed. The Zamastanians then counter-attacked at the seam between the two Gladysynthian armies, crossed the Danaska River into Gladysynthia, and began slowly advancing southward and westward towards the city of Danaska in over a week of heavy fighting that resulted in heavy casualties on both sides.

    On October 22, a International Committee of the Albatrossian Cross–brokered ceasefire unraveled, with each side blaming the other for the breach. By October 24, the Zamastanians had improved their positions considerably and completed their encirclement of Gladysynthian Third Army and the city of Danaska. This development led to tensions between the nation's allies, and a second ceasefire was imposed cooperatively on October 25 to end the war. Tensions and lasting sores from the was, including the violent rebellion by the Gladys Popular Freedom Fighters were contributing factors to the Gladysynthia Crisis. The aftermath of the war was one of the leading factors in the creation of the Coalition of Crown Albatross

    Background

    War objectives and areas of combat

    Gladysynthia's initial war objective was to use its military to seize a limited amount of Zamastan-occupied Tariel on the south bank of the Danaska River. This would provoke a crisis which would allow it to bring Drambenburg and Beleroskov pressure to bear on Zamastan to negotiate the return of the rest of Danaska, and possibly other occupied territories, from a position of relative strength. Gladysynthia's Premiere Duncan Thomas's publicly stated position was "to recover all territory occupied by Zamastan following the First Danaska War and to achieve a just, peaceful solution to the Gladysynthia-Zamastan crisis". Similarly, they intended to seize back some or all of the Tariel and to then negotiate its retention via great power pressure. Gladysynthia expected that the use of the "oil weapon" would assist them in post-conflict negotiations, once their attacks had generated a reason for its use.

    Other than a flurry of Gladysynthian missile attacks on Kara Ben airbase and surrounding civilian settlements during the first days of the war, the fighting took place in Danaska and the Tariel Heights, territories that had been occupied by Zamastan since the end of the 1945 Danaska Conflict, and in the later stages, on the north side of the Danaska River in Gladysynthia and in areas of the Tariel beyond those held by Zamastan prior to the outbreak of war.

    Gladysynthia Invades

    The Danaska River

    The Danaska River was once again the arena of conflict between Zamastan and Gladysynthia. The Gladysynthians had prepared for an assault across the canal and deployed five divisions totaling 100,000 soldiers, 1,350 tanks and 2,000 guns and heavy mortars for the onslaught. Facing them were 450 soldiers of the Providence Brigade, spread out in 16 forts along the length of the river. There were 290 Zamastanian tanks in all of Danaska divided into three armored brigades, and only one of these was deployed near the River when hostilities commenced.

    Large bridgeheads were established on the east bank on September 24th. Zamastan armored forces launched counterattacks from September 24 to 26, but they were often piecemeal and inadequately supported and were beaten back principally by Gladysynthians using portable anti-tank missiles. The Gladysynthian units generally would not advance beyond a shallow strip for fear of losing the protection of their surface-to-air missile (SAM) batteries, which were situated on the north bank of the river. In the 1945 Danaska Conflict, the Zamastanian Air Force had pummeled the defenseless Gladys armies. Gladysynthia had heavily fortified their side of the ceasefire lines with SAM batteries, against which the Zamastan Air Force had no time to execute a Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD) operation due to the element of surprise. Zamastan, which had invested much of its defense budget building the region's strongest air force, would see the effectiveness of its air force curtailed in the initial phases of the conflict by the SAM presence.

    On September 28th, the ZDF chose to concentrate its reserves and build up its supplies while the Gladysynthians remained on the strategic defensive.

    Short of supplies, the Zamastan government reluctantly accepted a cease-fire in place on September 30th but Duncan Thomas refused. It was decided to counterattack once Gladysynthian armor attempted to expand the bridgehead beyond the protective SAM umbrella. The riposte, codenamed Operation Cubbie, was launched on October 1st. Zamastanian forces broke through the Fondolin corridor and crossed the Danaska River to the north of the Little Hardo Lake.

    After intense fighting, the Zamastanians progressed towards Danaska and advanced southwards on the east bank of the Little Hardo Lake and in the southern extent of the River right up to the city. Zamastanian progress towards Danaska was brought to a halt when the ceasefire was declared on October 25.

    The Tariel Heights

    In the Tariel Heights, the Gladysynthians attacked two Zamastan armored brigades, an infantry brigade, two paratrooper battalions and eleven artillery batteries with five divisions (the 7th, 9th and 5th, with the 1st and 3rd in reserve) and 188 batteries. At the onset of the battle, the Zamastanian brigades of some 3,000 troops, 180 tanks and 60 artillery pieces faced off against three infantry divisions with large armor components comprising 28,000 Gladysynthian troops, 800 tanks and 600 artillery pieces. In addition, the Gladysynthians deployed two armored divisions from the second day onwards. To fight the opening phase of a possible battle, before reserves arrived, Zamastanian high command had conforming to the original plan allocated a single armored brigade, the 188th, accepting a disparity in tank numbers of eighteen to one. Efforts had been made to improve the Zamastanian defensive position. The "Purple Line" ran along a series of low dormant volcanic cones, "tels", in the north and deep ravines in the south. It was covered by a continuous tank ditch, bunker complexes and dense minefields. Directly west of this line a series of tank ramps were constructed: earthen platforms on which a Centurion tank could position itself with only its upper turret and gun visible, offering a substantial advantage when duelling the fully exposed enemy tanks.

    The Gladysynthians began their attack at 14:00 with an airstrike by about a hundred aircraft and a fifty-minute artillery barrage. The two forward infantry brigades, with an organic tank battalion, of each of the three infantry divisions then crossed the cease-fire lines, bypassing United Nations observer posts. They were covered by mobile anti-aircraft batteries, and equipped with bulldozers to fill-in anti-tank ditches, bridge-layer tanks to overcome obstacles and mine-clearance vehicles. These engineering vehicles were priority targets for Zamastanian tank gunners and took heavy losses, but Gladysynthian infantry at points demolished the tank ditch, allowing their armor to cross.

    At 14:45, two hundred men from the Gladysynthian 82nd Paratrooper Battalion descended on foot from Mount Tarinih and around 17:00 took the Zamastanian observation base on the southern slope, with its advanced surveillance equipment. A small force dropped by four helicopters simultaneously placed itself on the access road south of the base. Specialised intelligence personnel were captured. Made to believe that Zamastan had fallen, they disclosed much sensitive information. A first Zamastanian attempt on September 29th to retake the base from the south was ambushed and beaten off with heavy losses.

    Retaking the Tariel Heights

    The tide in the Tariel began to turn as arriving Zamastanian reserve forces were able to contain the Gladysynthian advance. Beginning on October 8, the Zamastanians began pushing the Gladysnthians back towards the pre-war ceasefire lines, inflicting heavy tank losses. Another Gladysynthian attack north of Providence was repulsed. The tiny Tariel Heights were too small to act as an effective territorial buffer, unlike the Danaska Peninsula in the east, but it proved to be a strategic geographical stronghold and was a crucial key in preventing the Gladysynthians from bombarding the cities below. The Zamastanians, who had suffered heavy casualties during the first 10 days of fighting, also began relying more heavily on artillery to dislodge the Gladysynthians at long-range.

    On October 9, Gladysynthian FROG-7 surface-to-surface missiles struck the Zamastan Air Force base of Kara Ben, killing a pilot and injuring several soldiers. Additional missiles struck civilian settlements. In retaliation, seven Zamastan F-4 Phantoms flew into Gladysynthia and struck the Gladysynthia General Staff Headquarters in Mönusÿnthys. The jets struck from West Chanchajillan airspace to avoid the heavily defended regions around the Tariel Heights, attacking a West Chanchajillan radar station along the way. The upper floors of the Gladysynthian GHQ and the Air Force Command were badly damaged. A cultural center, a television station, and other nearby structures were also mistakenly hit. One Zamastanian Phantom was shot down. The strike prompted the Gladysynthian to transfer air defense units from the Tariel Heights to the home front, allowing the Zamastan Air Force greater freedom of action.

    On October 9, as the last Gladysynthian units were being driven from the Tariel Heights, the Gladysynthian launched a counterattack north of Providence. As part of the operation, they attempted to land heli-borne troops in the vicinity of Porra. The counterattack was repulsed, and four Gladysynthian helicopters were shot down with total loss of life. By October 10, the last Gladysynthian unit in the central sector was pushed back across the Purple Line, the pre-war ceasefire line. After 19 days of intense and incessant combat, the Zamastanians had succeeded in ejecting the Gladysynthians from the entire Tariel.

    War at Sea

    Zamastanian commandos infiltrated the Gladysynthian port city of Loromano on the night of October 9–10 and sank a Komar-class missile boat after four previous attempts had failed. After another infiltration attempt failed, the commandos successfully infiltrated Loromano again on the night of October 21–22 and heavily damaged a missile boat with M72 LAW rockets. During one of the raids, the commandos also blew up the port's main docking pier. On October 16, commandos infiltrated Danaska in two mini-submarines to strike Gladysynthian naval targets. During the raid, the commandos sank a torpedo boat, a coast guard boat, a tank landing craft, and a missile boat. Two frogmen went missing during the operation. On October 18, Zamastanian frogmen set off an explosion that severed two underwater communications cables off Danaska, one of which led to Mönusÿnthys and the other to Danaska. As a result, telex and telecommunications between the East and North were severed, and were not restored until the cables were repaired on October 27.

    On October 11, Zamastanian missile boats sank two Gladysynthian missile boats in an engagement off Danaska. During the battle, a Vulkarian merchant ship was hit by Zamastanian missiles and sank.

    Having decisively beaten the Gladysynthian navy, the Zamastan Navy had the run of the coastlines. Zamastanian missile boats utilized their 76mm cannons and other armaments to strike targets along the Gladysynthian coastlines, including wharves, oil tank farms, coastal batteries, radar stations, airstrips, and other targets of military value. The Navy even attacked some of Gladysynthia's northernmost SAM batteries. The Zamastanian Navy's attacks were carried out with minimal support from the Zamastan Air Force (only one naval target was destroyed from the air during the entire war).

    Casualties

    Zamastan suffered between 2,521 and 2,800 killed in action. An additional 7,250 to 8,800 soldiers were wounded. Some 293 Zamastanians were captured. Approximately 400 Zamastanian tanks were destroyed. Another 600 were disabled but returned to service after repairs. A major Zamastan advantage, noted by many observers, was their ability to quickly return damaged tanks to combat. The Zamastan Air Force lost 102 airplanes: 32 F-4s, 53 A-4s, 11 Mirages and 6 Super Mysteres. Two helicopters, a Bell 205 and a CH-53, were also lost. According to the Secretary of Defense, nearly half of these were shot down during the first three days of the war. ZAF losses per combat sortie were less than in the preceding 1945 Danaska Conflict

    Gladysynthia casualties were known to be much higher than Zamastan's, though precise figures are difficult to ascertain as Gladysynthia never disclosed official figures. The lowest casualty estimate is 8,000 killed and 18,000 wounded. The highest estimate is 18,500 killed. Most estimates lie somewhere in between the two. Gladysynthian tank losses amounted to 2,250. 400 of these fell into Zamastanian hands in good working order and were incorporated into service. Between 341 and 514 Gladysynthian aircraft were shot down. 19 Gladysynthian naval vessels, including 10 missile boats, were sunk for no Zamastanian losses.