Battle of the Sarma

Battle of the Sarma
Part of the War of the Velaran Succession
Date27 July 1769
Location
river Sarma, Retikh
Result Miróist victory
Belligerents
Isles of Velar Trellin-sympathetic Velaran rebels  Isles of Velar
Commanders and leaders
Isles of Velar Yisren Araikon Isles of Velar Kúfet Heruyel
Strength
3,600 6,500
Casualties and losses
600 dead or wounded 400 dead or wounded

The Battle of the Sarma was a land battle fought during the War of the Velaran Succession, in July 1769. It saw a Miróist army under Kúfet Heruyel overwhelm a Trellinese-sympathetic rebel army in southern Retikh, on the east bank of the Sarma about halfway between Kyeret and Forit.

Background

After Atnas Laidakon's humiliation at the Battle of the Fords of Flotir, the Miróist Velaran armies in Retikh and Pelna had been playing catch-up with their Trellinese and Ja'ekhan opponents. Landholding nobles throughout the Velaran possessions on the mainland had sided with Trellin in the ongoing conflict, and generals Laidakon and Heruyel attempted to consolidate the eastern half of that territory at the same time as Kenti of Ja'ekha was making rapid westward progress. Zarthalin had fallen to the Ja'ekhans alarmingly quickly, and Laidakon's attempt to recapture it was rebuffed. Laidakon moved north to Pelna, waiting for reinforcements.

Heruyel, meanwhile, was making substantial gains between Zarthalin and the Flotir. Konoros had sworn loyalty to the Miróist cause without incident after previously conceding to the approaching Ja'ekhan armies. Heruyel subsequently enjoyed a string of minor, but morale-boosting, successes as he moved westward to Zarthalin to join with Laidakon. He crossed the Sarma in mid-July and fought a battle at Kyeret against a leading Trellinese sympathiser, Pirai Timraet. Following this victory, Heruyel received word of an enemy force assembling forty kilometres (25 miles) to the east under the command of one Yisren Araikon. He once more crossed the Sarma, approaching the enemy camp by 27 July.

The battle

Araikon's outriders informed him of Heruyel's approach the evening before the battle. Araikon had his men move their camp a mile to the north, leaving a token force of fifty men behind to distract the main Miróist force. His own army was comprised primarily of volunteers and militias; they had little formal training and he harboured significant doubts about their combat ability and morale. Nevertheless, he gave a rallying speech on the morning of the 27th which "[he] felt, stirred in the men some new glimmer of hope of victory."

Heruyel was much more confident in his rigorously-drilled professional army. He also possessed a significant numerical advantage and knew that Araikon was not a soldier. Those close to Heruyel saw no indication that their commander expected anything less than a complete victory.

The battle was a relatively straightforward engagement. Heruyel led his army towards Araikon's former camp shortly before dawn, hoping to "accept his surrender before sunrise, or to force it from him, that I may promptly take my morning leisure." He was surprised to discover only the token force but could not properly gauge its numbers; he quickly reversed his course and left five hundred men to hold that position. Almost immediately, the brunt of Araikon's attempted rear assault collided with Heruyel's regrouping army. The flanking manoeuvre had gone awry and Araikon found himself outnumbered almost two to one. A line of Miróist bayonets ruthlessly pushed back the assault, and the rebel army finally collapsed in on itself and was routed.

Aftermath

Heruyel was surprised by the casualties inflicted by "a ragtag band of dreamers, farmers and fishmongers" on his professional army, but he refused to accept the battle as anything but the victory that it was and his soldiers' morale was buoyed in spite of the continued news of Laidakon's difficulties in Pelna.

Araikon had intended on joining with either Kenti of Ja'ekha or the Duke of Emla. His defeat saw his army disperse across the province, depriving the Trellinese of several thousand potential soldiers. Nevertheless, it was to be one of the last major Miróist victories of the Retikan campaign. Heruyel's later battles, fought together with Laidakon, would all end in defeat, which he chose to blame on Laidakon's recklessness.