Battle of the Slaveiko Bay
|Battle of the Slaveiko Bay|
|Part of the Divide War|
The RS Clarity of Grace explodes after being hit.
|Cacertian Empire||Republic of Syara|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Lea Davion||Filip Kostadinov|
|Grand Fleet||Northern Fleet|
8 dreadnought battleship |
8 pre-dreadnought battleships
4 dreadnought battleships |
4 pre-dreadnought battleships
|Casualties and losses|
1 cruiser damaged |
1 destroyer sunk
1 dreadnought battleship sunk |
2 pre-dreadnought battleships sunk
1 torpedo-boat sunk
1 cruiser damaged
The Battle of the Slaveiko Bay was the first battle of the Divide War, fought between the Grand Fleet of the Cacertian Royal Navy and the Northern Fleet of the Navy of the Syaran Republic on 17 September 1916. It was the first ever battle between dreadnought battleships and ended in a decisive Cacertian victory, demonstrating Cacertian superiority in ship design and naval gunnery over their Syaran counterparts. The battle took place just outside the Bay of Slaveiko, north of the coast of Makedon.
After the Syaran government had broken off negotiations for a Cacertian naval presence in Syaran waters, the Cacertian Empire resorted to gunboat diplomacy to intimidate the Republic into agreeing to Cacertian demands. Syaran refusal led to the dispatching of the Grand Fleet from its bases in Cacerta and Arkoenn, led by Division Admiral Lea Davion and consisting of 8 dreadnought battleships, 8 pre-dreadnought battleships, 6 cruisers, and 10 destroyers. Having not expected the Cacertians to actually resort to force to secure their demands, the Syaran Republican Navy had been forced to hastily throw together a force which became known as the Northern Fleet, consisting of 4 dreadnought battleships, 4 pre-dreadnought battleships, 3 cruisers, and 8 torpedo-boats.
The Grand Fleet appeared off Syaran territorial waters on 15 September 1916 before sailing for the Bay of Slaveiko, situated between the small cities of Brotarsk and Lira, and near the major coastal port of Sena. The Syarans steamed to intercept on 16 September, coming into contact with the Cacertian fleet in the morning of the 17th. Outnumbered by the Cacertians, Admiral Filip Kostadinov attempted to draw in the Grand Fleet closer to the shallow bay where the Syaran torpedo-boats would be more effective. The Cacertians, however, opened fire the moment they were within range, surprising the Syarans who could not return fire due to their shorter ranged weapons.
The Syara-class battleship Salvation in Purpose was hit first by Cacertian shells, suffering serious damage to her forward guns and superstructure. Realizing the Syaran effort to close the distance, Davion ordered the Grand Fleet to turn slightly to starboard to bring the full broadside of her guns to bear, in accordance with Cacertian doctrine. The simple but effective move produced immediate results; the Salvation in Purpose was hit more than a dozen times and exploded, taking more of her crew with her as she sank.
Kostadinov ordered his own ships to turn to starboard to sail behind the Cacertians, hoping to respond in kind, but the better trained Cacertian crews responded swiftly to Davion's own order to turn to port and the Cacertians were able to keep their full arsenal trained on the Syarans. Horrific shellfire continued to slam into the Syaran fleet; only the Syaran dreadnoughts could return fire at this point and the older Republic-class battleships were beginning to fall behind. A flurry of torpedoes from the Syarans managed to temporarily throw off the Cacertians, who soon were directing their fire onto the Syaran battleships.
Clarity of Grace was struck amidships and her magazine detonated, taking all but 24 of her crew with her as she went down in just a few minutes. The Syarans finally managed to strike back with more than just glancing shots at around 10:15 when the Child of Nature struck the Nortosce-class destroyer HMS Polino, sinking the smaller ship. The Cacertian reprisal was swift and violent; By Wisdom's Words was struck just a few minutes later and her engines failed. The pre-dreadnought battleship slowed to a crawl and became target practice for the Cacertian gunners. Further damage to the cruiser Guiding Prophet, which created a fireball of smoke from the ruined ship's turret, proved too much for the Syarans. Kostadinov ordered the fleet to turn hard to starboard and attempt to swing south back into the Bay, where the Syarans would have the advantage of coastal artillery support.
The Syaran torpedo-boats surged forward to cover the retreat, letting loose a volley of torpedoes that proved marginally effective. The Cacertians were forced to scatter to avoid impacts, but the Treviso-class cruiser HMS Catania was hit and began to list, although she stayed afloat. The Cacertians trained their guns on the rapidly retreating Syaran boats and managed to sink the RS Invigorator. Davion originally ordered a pursuit to finish off the Northern fleet, but the Cacertian movements had brought them into close contact with the sinking remains of the Syaran ships, who's smoke and burning oil partially obscured communication between the fleet. Davion instead opted to withdraw and regroup before pushing onto the island of Chryse.
The first battle of the Divide War had thoroughly demonstrated the superiority of the Cacertian Royal Navy over the Navy of the Syaran Republic, in particular when it came to battleships and gunnery. The Syarans were forced to scatter, eventually reforming to attempt to pincer the Grand Fleet at the Battle of the Veylo Channel a few weeks later.