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|Part of the Divide War|
(Clockwise from top left)
|Republic of Syara|
|Commanders and leaders|
Zoran Milaković |
42 Infantry Divisions|
12 Shock Troop Battalions
(9,600 Shock Infantry)
3 Railway Batteries
(6 Railway Guns)
20 Armored Companies
4 Airship Squadrons
|Casualties and losses|
The Desopya Campaign was a campaign of the Divide War that took place on the Desopya peninsula in the Republic of Syara between 8 April 1917 and 22 September 1918. Following the Royal Navy’s inability to force Syara into a decisive naval battle, Cacertian military leaders decided to launch an amphibious landing of Royal Army components on the peninsula. The aim of the campaign was to eventually capture the Syaran capital of Zovahr and force a surrender, but the Royal Army encountered stiffer than anticipated resistance. After fifteen months of fighting and several attempted offensives, the campaign was abandoned and the invasion force withdrawn. The end of the Desopya campaign was a major Syaran victory and led to the eventual withdrawal of all Cacertian military forces from Eracura.
- 1 Background
- 2 Preparations for Invasion
- 3 Landings
- 4 Land Campaign
- 5 Aftermath
- 6 Order of Battle
Cacertian Strategy and the Desopya Peninsula
Before the plan for a land operation had been conceived, the Cacertians had hoped to draw the Syaran Navy into a pitched battle where superior Cacertian armor and gunnery would likely end in a decisive victory. The Royal Navy, at the time of the launch of the naval campaign, consisted mostly of dreadnoughts characterized for their slow speed and big-gun configurations. Grand Admiral Cianna Davion ordered a large portion of the Cacertian Northern Fleet into the Sundering Sea under the command of her grand-niece Lea Davion as a show of power. When talks with Syara began to deteriorate, the mission shifted from a show of power to a military campaign and Lea was later ordered to engage and destroy the Syaran Navy.
Lea spent nearly two months on the hunt and managed to engage the Syaran Navy in two battles, both of which were inconclusive. The CRN was unable to pursue the Syarans by virtue of the fact that Syaran ships, despite being less armed and armored, were faster and were capable of outrunning the Royal Navy. Lea's initial requests to High Command to launch a ground campaign were denied until the loss of a handful of dreadnoughts to Syaran guerrilla naval tactics prompted a re-evaluation of the Cacertian strategy. Cianna arrived in the Sanguine Sea in November 1917 and reaffirmed the Royal Navy's inability to catch Syaran naval forces in a major battle. Coastal batteries prevented the Royal Navy from entering bombardment range of most Syaran port cities and the restrictive terrain of the Sanguine Sea and the Sundering Sea made it difficult for the dreadnoughts to maneuver.
The difficulties of the Royal Navy had not been anticipated by strategists in the Cacerta and, even after a land campaign had been approved, it would take another several months before Royal Army forces could mobilize.
The Desopya Coastal Plain sits between the Dazin River in the east and the Xhemal River in the west, the latter which flows from the south and leads to the Syaran capital of Zovahr. Desopya forms a slight curve inward, ending in two peninsulas named after their port cities; Korzhany in the West and Lira in the east. The interior of the coast dips further in the Timotej Sound, while the western half of Desopya forms the southern half of the Strait of Syara, while the Lira Peninsula forms the southern half of the Veylo Channel. From the mouth of the Xhemal River, the city center of Zovahr was only 76 kilometers away.
However, a drive towards Zovahr was more difficult than it seemed. Although it reached nearly 20 kilometers inland at it's peak, the average depth of the Desopya Coastal Plain was only 8-10 kilometers (hence why it was alternatively known as the Desopya Coastal Strip). Further inland the elevation rose steadily and the terrain grew more rugged, leading to the Kotev Plataeu and the Nitchov Hills, both of which were outside the range of Cacertian naval gunfire to the frustration of Cacertian planners. Both of these positions, if occupied by defenders, would be difficult to assault. Further south the two areas met in the Andreev Forests, a more than 150 square kilometer area defined by thick brush and woodlands, illsuited towards rapid offensive movements. While the Traikov Valley offered a flatter terrain choice, it led away from Zovahr, forcing a path through the Andreev Woods in order to reach the Syaran capital.
Preparations for Invasion
Cacertian Landing Preparations
Syaran Defensive Preparations
The Republic's political and military leadership were sharply divided on the possibility of a Cacertian invasion of Syara. As early as July 1916 President Zoran Milaković had expressed concern regarding the possibility of Cacertian Imperial Marines landing in Makedon and moving on Zovahr. Defense Minister Zoran Uzelac however had dismissed the idea vehemetly in August 1916, insisting that such a move was beyond the scope of Cacertian intentions. Chief of Staff of the Surpeme Headquarters of the Army of the Syaran Republic, Field Marshal Edward Kralj, originally did not consider an invasion likely, but around December 1916 appeared to have begun taking the threat more seriously, going so far as to relocate his wife from her estate in Makedon to a family residence in Galania.
During the winter the Cacertians withdrew much of their fleet back towards Allamunnika to refuel and rearm. Learning of this, Grand Admiral Cvjetko Dorić of the Navy of the Syaran Republic sallied forth with 15 warships to challenge a flotilla of 8 Cacertian ships that had remained behind. The Syarans were surprised when the Cacertians chose to retreat rather than commit to battle, as even though they were outnumbered Cacertian gunnery was considered superior. News of the Cacertian withdrawal was met with celebration by some Syaran leaders, but others viewed the development as more troubling. Hopes that the Cacertians were withdrawing as a sign of their intention to end the war nevertheless led to small celebrations in northern Syara.
While things remained quiet during the winter, reports from Allamunnic spies in March 1917 of a major Cacertian fleet movement through the Sundering Sea reaffirmed the threat of continued hostilities. Coupled with reports of a large scale mobilization of the Cacertian Imperial Army, fears of a Cacertian invasion once again spread through Syara. On 22 March President Milaković met with his staff and went through possible moves by the Cacertians. Unlike the previous year, the possibility of invasion seemed more apparent, but disagreement over the intended target reigned. Milaković and Field Marhshal Kralj suspected a landing in Makedon, but Defense Minister Uzelac believed an invasion of Scitaria was more likely. It was eventually agreed that Makedon represented the most likely target, but other locations couldn't be ruled out with certainty. Since the Syarans were unaware of the exact size of the Cacertian fleet or how many troops it was ferrying, making accurate predictions proved difficult.
On 28 March Grand Admiral Dorić sailed his Northern Fleet of 33 warships into the Strait of Syara and took up positions throughout the Veylo Channel in preparation for the arrival of the Cacertian fleet. On land, Krajl telegrammed Colonel General Atanas Endekov and informed him that a possible Cacertian invasion was on the horizon. Like many officers of the ARS, Endekov did not believe a large scale invasion was probable due to the logistical strains the Cacertians would be under, and originally questioned whether any major efforts needed to be undertaken. Krajl eventually convinced Endekov to prepare for the possibility of invasion. As Chief Logistical Officer of the Defense Ministry, Endekov, a veteran of the Syaran-Ruvelkan War, was responsible for overseeing the supply and transportation of Syaran Army forces throughout the Realms. On 29 March he dispatched two telegrams, one to the regional commander of Syaran army forces in Makedon, Lt. General Vasil Salevski, and one to Colonel General Bogomil Gorceski, who was overseeing Syaran forces that had intervened in the Ruvelkan Civil War. Neither general took the threat of Cacertian invasion seriously, but agreed to supply reports on the readiness levels of the forces under their command and transmit them to Zovahr.
Lt. General Salevski commanded 1st Corps, which contained most Syaran army troops in Makedon. 1st Corps consisted of the 3rd, 8th, 9th, 11th, and 12th Divisions, with the 103rd and 211th Divisions listed as reserves. This totalled to 110,000 men, along with roughly 550 artillery pieces. Although some of the officers and senior NCOs were veterans of the recent war with Ruvelka, most of the rank and file were recently drafted (Syara enacted conscription in June 1916, but without much need for land forces at the time it had been limited). Only the 3rd and 8th Divisions were located between the Xhemal and Dazin Rivers; the 9th Division was statione further west near the prt of Nemyta, while the 11th Division was at Sena and the 12th Division near Bolevy. The 103rd and 211th Divisions, which were only cadre formations who had only recently called up their reserves, were stationed further east and were mobilizing near Vakhaw.
On 5 April 1917 the Cacertian fleet sailed into the mouth of the Sundering Sea, crossing near Syaran territorial waters. Aware of the impending arrival of the Cacertian main body, Grand Admiral Dorić had placed the Syaran Northern Fleet at the Veylo Channel to block the Cacertians from sailing through the Strait of Syara. The Cacertians continued to sail west and engaged the Syarans during the night of 6-7 April. As was often the case Cacertian gunnery skills and armarments inflicted heavy losses, but Syaran torpedo boats and mines took their toll on Cacertian heavy warships. To the surprise of the Syarans, the Cacertians continued to press the attack rather, and early in the morning of 7 April a detachment of Cacertian battleships and cruisers began shelling the city of Lira along the north-west face of the Lira Peninsula. Although the city had been evacuated back in the summer of 1916, during the winter lull many citizens had returned to their homes. The Cacertian bombardment killed or wounded more than a thousand Syaran civilians, but the barrage was just a distraction; while it was underway a battalion of Imperial Marines landed outside the city and managed to destroy three of the coastal batteries while disabling another two. The Marines continued to wreack havoc until the local defense regiment mustered enough men to repel the Cacertians.
Pressured by the Cacertian naval offensive, the Syaran North Fleet was forced to withdraw west towards the port of Nemyta. The Syarans were surprised again when the Cacertians elected not to follow, but instead moved their fleet towards the Timotej Sound, where the Cacertian battleships dropped anchor on the evening of 7 April. In the early morning of the next day, transports and landing craft began departing from the Cacertian main body and headed for the Syaran coast. The first Cacertian troops to land were Grenadier sfrom the 10th Grenadier Battalion, of the 5th Field Army under BrigGen Lauretta Grimani. By the end of the day the Cacertians had landed elements of the 5th and 6th Guards Rifle Divisions, the 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th Grenadier Battalions, and the 21st and 22nd Rifle Infantry Divisions.
News of the Cacertian landing did not reach Zovahr until the evening of 9 April when radio reports from the coastal town of Pydna (home of future President and soldier Sasko Anastasov) reported the impending arrival of the Cacertians. The news stunned the Syaran political leadership, who despite expecting the invasion seemed shocked that it had actually ocurred. At 18:30 Zovahr time Field Marshal Krajl contacted Colonel General Endekov and ordered him to repel the landings. Endekov, upon learning that nearly two days had already passed since the landing, concluded that the Cacertians almost certainly had a foothold and instead focused on containing their beachhead. At 19:15 he transmitted orders for the 3rd and 8th Divisions to move north and take up defensive positions along the Kotev Plateua and Nitchov Hills respectivly, while he simultaneously ordered the rest of 1st Corps to immediately began moving into the Desopya region. The next day Endekov was given command of all Syaran army forces in Makedon and ordered a full mobilization of all availible reserves.
Although they had encountered virtually no major resistance, the Cacertians had encountered a number of issues with their landing. Because the entire campaign had been decided only after the war had begun, the planning for the invasion relied heavily on ad hoc procedures. Although the Cacertian Army had practiced the landings several times in Allamunnika, they were unprepared for the marshes and lagoons that dominated much of the Desopya coastline. Unexpectedly tidal changes beached two transports, and the landing craft the Cacertians had did not handle rough waters well. Compounding these problems with Division General Bertino Bassadoar aggressive insistence on pushing off the beach as fast as possible to avoid the invasion force being trapped on the beach when Syaran units began to arrive. This decision meant that the Cacertians were already a dozen kilometers inland within three days, but the Cacertians had only established two landing sites and had failed to secure the nearby ports of Ioklos and Pydna. As a result the Cacertian discharge of troops was meticulously slow, and it wasn't until 11 April that the Cacertians began making moves to secure more ports.
By 15 April the Cacertians had managed to get most of the 5th Field Army offloaded and had secured the port towns of Pydna and Ioklos. While this allowed the Cacertians to begin offloading more of the 6th and 9th Field Armies, Div. General Bassadoar was concerned by growing reports of Syaran forces occupying the highlands south of the Desopya Strip. Concerned that if left unmolested the Syarans would be able to fortify their positions and contain any Cacertian breakout effort, Bassadoar ordred Brig. General Grimani to take the Fifth Army and march south to secure the Nitchov Hills and Kotev Ridge. By then the Syarans had rushed forward elements of 1st Corps to seize the high ground at Kotev Ridge and the Nitchov Hills, and had secured the Tyklos Valley between them. The 3rd, 9th, and 11th Divisions held Kotev Ridge, while 8th and 12th Divisions held the Nitchov Hills and the 103rd and 211th were in the valley. The Cacertians assaulted Syaran positions between 16-19 April, but the 5th Army was unable to break through the Syaran defenses. Repeated assaults throughout April and into May failed to break the Syaran grip, leading Bassadoar to call off the effort until the full strength of the first wave could be deployed in full.
Cacertian Summer Drive on Zovahr
Bassadoar had wanted to launch a drive on Zovahr as soon as he was able, but in late April a major stormfront rolled in from Eracura that drenched nothern Syara in more than a foot of rainfall. With the roads turned to mud and the landings of Cacertian troops and equipment made all the more difficult it wasn't until May that Bassadoar was actually in a position to launch a major offensive. On 12 May Bassadoar informed Rear Admiral Lea Davion of his intentions. The Admiral however protested to the proposed plan, which would focus all Cacertian ground forces on breaking through the Tyklos Valley and heading straight for Zovahr. Davion highlighted the precarious position the Cacertian Royal Navy was in; the two exits out of the Strait of Syara forced the Cacertian fleet to contend with coastal batteries at Lira and Korzhany, which when coupled with Syaran mines and torpedo boats were deathkneels for Cacertian heavy surface warships. Bassadoar did not enjoy being ordered to conduct ground operations by a Naval officer, but Lea Davion's seniority in rank meant Bassadoar was compelled to comply.
Bassadoar did not feel taking the two Syaran ports was necessary but under pressure from the Navy and his own subordinates, who were not eager to charge headlong south while allowing the Syarans to control the highlands around them, he relented. The Cacertians by this point had nearly 200,000 troops ashore in Makedon, armed with rifles, automatic weapons, machine guns, mortars, and light artillery. Many of the Cacertian troops, especially the Grenadiers and Guards Rifles Divisions were veterans of campaigns against Lirinya and rebels in Knichus and Allamunnika. The Syarans had by 15 May assembled some 400,000 troops of 1st and 2nd Army, which together formed Army Group Yaponski under the command of Colonel General Mladen Yaponski. Although the Syarans outnumbered the Cacertians over 2:1, most of the Syaran troops were hastily raised conscripts with limited training. While they held the highground, they were also spread out over a wide variety of terrain, some which prevented adjacent regiments and divisions from supporting one another. First Army under Colonel General Martin Mitkov Valchev held the western flank from Korzhany to Tyklos Valley while 2nd Army under Ljupčo Kiosev held the Nitchov Hills to curving north-east towards Lira. While the Syarans were lacking in skill compared to the Cacertians, they had a significant advantage in heavy artillery. Most Cacertian guns that had been brought along were light and pack cannons due to tonnage limitations aboard Cacertian transports
Bassadoar had three field armies, the Fifth, Sixth, and Ninth led by Brig. Generals Lauretta Grimani, Agnola Babigia, and Giovanni Foscarini respectively. Ninth Army, the largest, was the given the task of assaulting Syaran positions along the Kotev Ridge and Nitchov Hills. Bassadoar didn't expect a breakthrough, but wanted the Syaran divisions holding the highlands to be pinned in place so they couldn't reinforce Syaran forces on the flank. Sixth Army, the smallest of the Cacertian Field Armies, would assault Lira in the east, while Fifth Army would capture the more fortified Korzhany. The date for the offensive to begin was originally set for 17 May, but had to be delayed due to transportation issues until the 20th.
As expected by Bassadoar, the Ninth Army made limited progress, but on the flanks events folded out far differently than the Cacertians had expected. Korzhany, centered around an ancient hilltop fortress, fell in just two days, while the First Battle of Lira resulted in a costly slog that the Cacertians were not expecting.
Syaran Winter Counteroffensive
Final Cacertian Wave and drive on Zovahr
Battle of Viserajk
Battle of Rijtek
Order of Battle
Initial Invasion Force
The 5th, 6th, and 9th Field Armies formed the main body of the initial Royal Army invasion force that landed on the shores of Syara on 8 April 1917 and suffered the most casualties of all the field armies deployed as a result.
- Commander-in-Chief, Cacertian Invasion Forces: DivGen Bertino Bassadoar
5th Field Army (61,600 Infantry): BrigGen Lauretta Grimani
- 9th Grenadier Battalion
- 10th Grenadier Battalion
- 5th Guards Rifle Division
- 6th Guards Rifle Division
- 7th Guards Rifle Division
- 16th Rifle Infantry Division
6th Field Army (33,200 Infantry): BrigGen Agnolo Barbigia
- 11th Grenadier Battalion
- 12th Grenadier Battalion
- 13th Grenadier Battalion
- 4th Guards Grenadier Battalion
- 17th Rifle Infantry Division
- 18th Rifle Infantry Division
9th Field Army (90,000 Infantry): BrigGen Giovanni Foscarini
- 8th Guards Rifle Division
- 9th Guards Rifle Division
- 19th Rifle Infantry Division
- 20th Rifle Infantry Division
- 21st Rifle Infantry Division
- 22nd Rifle Infantry Division
The second wave of Cacertian forces made up the bulk of all Cacertian forces deployed during the Divide War. Large regiments of traditional infantry were deployed from staging grounds in Andria supported by heavy artillery, railway guns, and airships. The counter-attacks staged by Syara during the winter required the Royal Army to balance out its expeditionary force between line infantry and breakthrough infantry. The Cacertian Second Wave, under the command of Division General Orsa Calderara, was deployed in April 1918 after the battlelines solidified in the spring.
- Commander-in-Chief, Cacertian Second Wave: DivGen Orsa Calderara
1st Railway Artillery Battery (3 280mm Railway Guns): Col Maffeo Accottato
2nd Railway Artillery Battery (3 360mm Railway Guns): Col Fiora Albergati
The twelve airships deployed in support of the Cacertian Second Wave were commanded by officers of the Cacertian Royal Air Fleet and marked the first major combat deployment of the newly founded military branch. They were led by Aerial Division Admiral Isabella Matelizi from her super-airship Rimini.
- Commander-in-Chief, Cacertian Aerial Forces: AerDivAdm Isabella Matelizi
1st Aerial Expeditionary Bomber Squadron (4 G4 Super-Airships): AerDivAdm Isabella Matelizi
- HMA Rimini
- HMA Ancona
- HMA Bergamo
- HMA Carrera
1nd Aerial Expeditionary Gunship Squadron (4 G3 Gunships): AerRAdm Alesso Gonzaga
- HMA Sanreno
- HMA Ercolano
- HMA Potenza
- HMA Padova
3rd Aerial Expeditionary Recon Squadron (4 G2 Reconnaissance Airships): AerRAdm Stefano Carafa
- HMA Lucca
- HMA Sorrento
- HMA Matera
- HMA Prato
The third and final wave of Cacertian troops landed in Syara in August 1918 and consisted primarily of armored companies consisting of Type 1 assault tanks and Type 2 heavy tanks. Accompanied by several Guard Rifle Divisions and under the command of General of Armed Forces Demetria Marik, the third wave made up the bulk of the Cacertian August offensive and the Empire’s final attempt at breaking through Syaran defenses.
- Commander-in-Chief, Cacertian Third Wave: ArmGen Demetria Marik