Gladysynthian troops surrender to Zamastanian forces on the Angenta Friendship Bridge between Danaska and Angenta on 3rd November, 2018
|Commanders and leaders
|Casualties and losses
The Gladysynthia Crisis, also referred to as the Third Danaska War was a military conflict between the forces of Gladysynthia and a military coalition consisting of Zamastan, Allieu, Noravia, and Sontre, which was fought from October 24th-November 6th, 2018. Stemming from tensions complicated by an interconnecting series of events in the decades prior, including the First Danaska War and the Second Danaska War, built the prelude to the outbreak in fighting. The conflict began when a group of pro-Gladysynthian insurgents commandeered the GMS Lockwood and fired on the city of Lower Tariel, Northern Isle. In response to the attack, President Castovia Jr ordered retaliatory airstrikes on Gladysynthian airbases and GPFF outposts alike, but the shootdown of Zamastanian pilot Yan Randolph led to a ground incursion into Gladysynthia from the south and the northwest. Within two days, Zamastanian forces captured much of the city of Danaska, while Coalition forces entering from Sontre seized border towns in an attempt to capture Zeramon. The conflict ended after the CCA negotiated a ceasefire, and the parties involved eventually signed a peace deal in Mönusÿnthys moderated by Cadairi delegates.
The conflict was met with mixed responses from the international community, including condemnations towards each side, as well as support for the operation for the settlement of refugees in southern Gladysynthia. The nations who joined the alliance against Gladysynthia became observer members of WEDA, ultimately becoming full members nearly four years later on September 18th, 2022. The conflict muddled the popularity of Castovia's presidency, as intelligence reports released following the outbreak of fighting made his decisions appear rash and ill-informed. The deaths of nearly 750 Gladysynthian civilians, mostly in Danaska, prompted anti-war demonstrations against Castovia. Castovia resigned the presidency two months later as a result of the Delavian scandal, though impending charges into Secretary of Defense Curtis Fondaden likely played a role in his resignation. Likewise, the governments of Allieu, Noravia, and Sontre faced domestic backlash for their involvement in the conflict. In contrast, Premiere LaFlaunce saw gains in his domestic popularity for his conduct during the conflict, with many crediting him with quelling the fighting widely seen as Zamastanian aggression.
The Northern Isle is a province of Zamastan. Despite what the name suggests, the Northern Isle is not an island, simply a large geographical and topographical anomaly carved by wide rivers in northwest Zamastan. The majority of the province's population live on the coast of Horseshoe Bay in metropolitan areas like Providence and Lower Tariel, while the rest of the province consists of deep temperate rainforests in the west; mountain ranges in the west, central, northeast, and far southeast; and a semi-arid basin region in the east, central, and south, given over to intensive agriculture. For years, Gladysynthia and Zamastan contested the sovereignty of the territory, but after the discovery of the massive Picotheca oil sands, Gladysynthia made it known through an annexation of an uninhabited island on the Danaska River in 2011 - deemed illegal by Zamastanian courts under international law - that the land was officially theirs. The area has been known for historical conflict between native peoples of Gladysynthia and Zamastan, as well as the 20th century conflicts in the form of the 1945 Danaska Conflict and The Tariel War and smaller, less note-worthy skirmishes.
Gladys Popular Freedom Fighters
In June of 2012, the residents of the lower Danaska area declared secession from Gladysynthia. The separation was not enforced by the government of Gladysynthia, and the revolution became violent. Protests soured southern regions of the nation, and for the next six months several bombings in Danaska, a city of 400,000 people, resulted in the deaths of 23 people and the maiming of hundreds more. Martial law was put in effect in December, and the military began a counter-terrorism campaign to root out rebel forces. The counter-terrorism unit and allied local militia became known as the Gladys Popular Freedom Fighters (GPFF) and forcably put down the revolution, though some furiously patriotic (pro-Gladysynthian) fighters within the group melded into the wilderness of northern Zamastan and the Northern Isle territory, seeking to annex areas for Gladysynthia. Premiere of Gladysynthia Amanda Marsden met with leaders of the GPFF movement and declined any further government support for covert cross-border operations, rather saying that any aggression deemed threatening to Zamastanian citizens would be condoned. In early 2013, Zamastan placed tariffs on Gladysynthian exports and blocked the importation of many of its' own goods following violent protests across the nation regarding the GPFF's occupation of uninhabited islands on the Danaska River, with President Cassious Castovia calling on Gladysynthia's government to "reign in the rebellious extremists within its military."
The rejection of the Gladysynthian government's support caused a rift in the GPFF, and in addition to the continuing Gladysynthian military buildup according to declassified documents, was the fore-fronting reason for the eventual commandeering of the GMS Lockwood which led to the crisis beginning. The subsequent Toleruna Insurgency, which began in 2015 and ended in November 2020, further increased tensions between Zamastan and Gladysynthia as border skirmishes became frequent. On June 5th, 2018, two Zamastanian soldiers were killed in a cross-border misfire accident by Gladysynthian forces, leading President Zacharias Castovia to close diplomatic relations further and Premiere Seswitch LaFlaunce closed off all flights from Zamastan and WEDA nations, as well as neighboring countries like Sontre and Noravia, and even nations with whom Gladysynthia had friendlier relations, like West Chanchajilla and Nual.
Commandeering of the GMS Lockwood
At 9:22 AM, 16 sailors aboard the GMS Lockwood who had formerly been fighters of the GPFF, commandeered the vessel off the coast of Danaska. Using an improvised EMP device, they disabled the ship's radar and took the bridge, holding captive the remaining crew. While the following events are not entirely clear, it is believed by both Gladysynthian and Zamastanian intelligence that the remaining crew refused to participate in the planned assault, and the GPFF-loyalists subsequently killed the hostages, tossing their bodies overboard. The leader of the loyalist group, Conall Cearnaigh, called the office of Premiere LaFlaunce and declared to an aide who answered; "we are setting course for Zamastan. We're going to sink their fleet in Lower Tariel. Have troops ready. We are taking back our land tonight." Gladysynthian Armed Forces did not realize the ship was missing until 1:37 PM, by which point the ship had already crossed into Zamastanian waters.
Upon recieving confirmation of the authenticity of Cearnaigh's call, Premiere Seswitch LaFlaunce ordered jet fighters scrambled to intercept the hijacked vessel. Zamastanian military officials noticed the sudden military movements, and scrambled their own Z-14 Ospreys. Unknown to both parties was the location of the ship. Gladysynthia's communications failed to let the Zamastanian military know that there was a rogue ship, so the Zamastanians were reacting solely to the action for possible retaliation. There was no warning of the take-offs either, leading to a rapid escalation of assuming military preemptive strikes.
Attack on Lower Tariel
At 2:42 PM, the GMS Lockwood turned port with that side facing the Zamastanian coast, and about 5 nautical miles away was the port city of Lower Tariel. One of the forward skud cannons on board fired three shells towards the city. Believed to be aiming towards the three warships anchored in port at the time - the ZMS Collier, ZMS Adnet, and ZMS Elmhill - the shells exploded within a half mile radius of each other, one destroying a significant portion of a boardwalk along the shoreline, one hitting an open field in a beachside park, and one exploding on a street corner, destroying a light post. No one was killed, but 43 people sustained injuries, including a man whose arm was blown off. The Lockwood completed its turn and 180'd back towards Gladysynthian waters, with transmissions from Cearnaigh confirming that he believed he had struck the warships. Two Zamastanian Z-14 Ospreys intercepted the ship but were ordered not to fire, simply pursue. At 5:23 PM, the GMS Lockwood sailed across the international boundary and the jets pulled away as is required by maritime law.
At 6:26 PM, a Gladysynthian helicopter dropped a team on special operations soldiers onto the Lockwood, where a short gunbattle ensued and the ship was retaken. Two of the GPFF loyalists were killed, while Cearnaigh and the rest of his men were captured.
Following the reports of explosions in Lower Tariel, President Zacharias Castovia ordered a two-hour period of cruise missile strikes on multiple sites in Gladysynthia, including a military airbase in Mönusÿnthys and naval and oil facilities in Danaska. Added increased political dissent following numerous bombings in Tofino in the month before, as well as the attack on Lower Tariel, led to the decision by President Castovia to make a preemptive strike. Zamastan had sent an additional three naval vessels, including the ZMS Aebutius aircraft carrier out of Cunningham Naval Base and to the Northern Isle as a retaliatory statement. Admiral Percy Tavoka controversially spoke to the Tofino Times cameras aboard the ZMS Harodia as the ships headed towards the conflict zone:
"We're fully prepared onboard the Harodia and all of our additional ships for war, if indeed that ends up being the case. We have jets performing quick reflective supersizes around the clock, and exercises are being performed consistently. Should we be provoked, we have full authorization to strike preemptively and secure the territory. Hostile action has happened in the region before, but not to this extent."
President Zacharias Castovia formally declared that a state of battle was existing between the two nations from the Gaviria Press Room at the Zian Presidential Mansion only moments after the missile strikes extremely early in the morning at 1:38 AM, while many Zamastanians were still asleep. His address was as follows:
“Greetings, Zamastan. A few minutes ago, I ordered a coordinated airstrike on two airbases in Gladysynthia. Our two nations have historically never been friendly, and escalating tensions since last month’s political dissident-motivated bombings in our capital ultimately culminated this early Thursday morning when our intelligence confirmed military buildup on the Gladysynthia border with our Northern Isle territory. To add to the worrying threat, we believe strongly that Gladysynthia was preparing preemptive strikes on Zamastan naval vessels in the Lower Tariel Port and off our northern coast.
I can confirm tonight that we have struck these airbases on heavy providential and informational decisions. My military officials and I will be working around the clock to keep the nation up to date as this situation unfolds, and we ask for cooperation and solidarity from other allies in the region. We demand that Gladysynthia stands down from their military stance and leave our Northern Isle, as well as the inhabitants of the city of Lower Tariel. Thank you, and God Bless Zamastan.”
The Zamastanian 2nd Navy Fleet was sent out directly following President Castovia's announcement, consisting of the carrier ZMS Aebutius, three frigates; the ZMS Clift, ZMS Birchwood, and ZMS Harodia, two cruisers; the ZMS Monserrati and ZMS Dorburn, and the destroyer ZMS Gounelle. The fleet began running sorties with fighter jets, conducting bombing raids on air fields and oil basins. Stationed twenty miles off the coast of Danaska, they were out of range of artillery fire but susceptible to Gladysynthian missile fire. In the first 24 hours of the conflict, roughly 60 airstrikes took place against military and industrial targets around and in Danaska.
Fort Yost Airstrikes
Fort Yost, a Zamastanian military base 15 miles south of the PCZ (Perceived Combat Zone), came under Gladysynthian aircraft fire during a torrential downpour, making any retaliation extremely difficult. Two Z-14 Osprey's from the Gladysynthian Southern Dispatch strafed the base early in the morning, hitting two turret posts and a barrack, killing 12 soldiers. This was the first Gladysynthian attack on Zamastanian soil since the Lower Tariel strike.
At 11:03 PM on October 28th, 80 Zamastanian Special Forces troops landed on the grasslands 14 miles east of Danaska. The first squad of SpecOps Horseshoe settled into a building from an obscure alley two blocks off of the tide-wall in southeastern Danaska. About one and a half hours earlier, the team had landed 14 miles away on the grass hills overlooking the city and the ocean. The building, three stories with small windows, a warehouse, and boxes upon boxes of ammunition and explosives, had been used by Zamastanian covert intelligence agencies in the months prior to the war.
Yan Randolph shootdown
During a sortie mission of October 25th, four Z-14 Ospreys Zamastanian fighters bombed an oil field in Danaska, destroying the target but activiating anti-aircraft response systems, one of which fired rockets towards the fleeing jets. One of the planes was hit and decompressed mid-air, and the pilot, Captain Yan Randolph, ejected. He fell behind enemy lines and avoided capture for several hours before being arrested in a village outside Danaska. His capture didn't make news headlines until the conflict was almost over, as Zamastanian intelligence was not able to determine whether or not he had even survived since his transponder was damaged upon ejection. President Zacharias Castovia said in his address later that night:
"Zamastan, you have my word. We will be doing everything we can to get Captain Randolph back to us, just as we will be doing everything we can to keep up the assault until Gladysynthia stands down. We will fight in the air like tonight, raining hell down upon the enemy until they can't fight us on land or sea. We will win this war one way or another. And Captain Randolph, we will get you home. Goodnight, and God Bless."
Battle of Danaska
Sinking of the GMS Rastonia
Six hours after the shootdown of the Zamastanian Z-14, at around 2:00 AM on October 26th, the Gladysynthians lost the Type 42 destroyer GMS Rastonia to fire following an Exocet missile strike from the Zamastanian 2nd Naval Air Fighter/Attack Squadron. Rastonia had been ordered forward with two other Type 42s to provide a long-range radar and medium-high altitude missile picket far from the Gladysynthian carrier operating in the region. At 1:00 AM, the ships were fifteen miles from the Zamastanian fleet, and by this point, the order to fire retaliation shots. She was struck amidships, with devastating effect, ultimately killing 20 crew members and severely injuring 24 others. The ship was abandoned several hours later, gutted and deformed by the fires that continued to burn for 2 more days. She finally sank outside the Maritime Exclusion Zone on October 28th.
Striking of the ZMS Clift
A missile launched by the GMS Kinsla struck the ZMS Clift around 4:30 AM. 3 of the Clift's 75-man crew died in the incident, and the damage to the ship's engine room rendered the ship immobile, forcing it to be towed to port.
Fighting begins in Danaska
During the night of 31 October, the Zamastanian Amphibious Task Group under the command of Commodore Gerard Foss mounted Operation Aching Pelican, the amphibious landing on beaches around Danaska Waterhead, on the southeastern coast of the downtown boardwalk section of the city. The bay, known as Bomb Alley by Zamastanian forces, was the scene of repeated air attacks by low-flying Gladysynthian jets.
The 15,000 men of 12 Commando Brigade were put ashore as units from the ZAF Artillery, ZAF Engineers, etc. and armored reconnaissance vehicles were also put ashore with the landing craft. Rapier missile launchers were carried as underslung loads of Sea Lion special forces for rapid deployment.
By dawn the next day, they had established a secure beachhead from which to conduct offensive operations. From there, Admiral Percy Tavoka's plan was to capture the boardwalk and Asaria Park before turning towards the center of Danaska. Now, with the Zamastanian troops on the ground, the Gladysynthian Air Force began the night bombing campaign against them using Canberra bomber planes until the last day of the war.
At sea, the paucity of the Zamastanian ships' anti-aircraft defences was demonstrated in the sinking of patrol ship ZMS Neari Carroll on 1 November along with a vital cargo of helicopters, runway-building equipment and tents. The loss of all but one of the TAH-60A Vulture helicopters was a severe blow from a logistical perspective. Also lost on this day was ZMS Leroy McCarty, a sister to Neari Carroll, whilst in company with ZMS Williamson after being ordered to act as a decoy to draw away Gladysythia aircraft from other ships at Danaska Bay. ZMS Kitto and ZMS Byrne were lightly damaged. However, every major surface ship escaped being sunk because of weaknesses of the Gladysynthian pilots' bombing tactics. To avoid the highest concentration of Zamastan air defenses, Gladysynthia pilots released ordnance from very low altitude, and hence their bomb fuzzes did not have sufficient time to arm before impact. The low release of the retarded bombs (some of which the Zamastanians had sold to the Gladysynthians years earlier) meant that many never exploded, as there was insufficient time in the air for them to arm themselves.
A simple free-fall bomb in a low altitude release, impacts almost directly below the aircraft, which is then within the lethal fragmentation zone of the explosion. A retarded bomb has a small parachute or air brake that opens to reduce the speed of the bomb to produce a safe horizontal separation between the bomb and the aircraft. The fuse for a retarded bomb requires that the retarder be open a minimum time to ensure safe separation. The pilots would have been aware of this—but due to the high concentration required to avoid SAMs, Anti-Aircraft Artillery (AAA), and Zamastanian fighter jets, many failed to climb to the necessary release point. The Gladysynthian forces solved the problem by fitting improvised retarding devices, allowing the pilots to effectively employ low-level bombing attacks on 5 November. Thirteen bombs hit Zamastanian ships without detonating. The Gladysynthians lost 22 aircraft in the attacks.
From early on 1 November until the next day, 4 Para, (approximately 1,000 men) with naval gunfire support from ZMS Chalke and artillery support from 8 Commando Battery, ZAF Artillery, approached and attacked the boardwalk and Asaria Park, which was held by the Gladysynthian 12th Infantry Regiment. After a tough struggle that lasted all night and into the next day, the Zamastanians won the battle; in all, 217 Zamastanian and 347 Gladysynthian soldiers were killed. In total 961 Gladysynthian troops (including 202 Gladysynthian Air Force personnel of the Danaska lower airfield) were taken prisoner.
Capture of South Danaska
On the night of 2 November, after several days of painstaking reconnaissance and logistic build-up, Zamastan forces launched a brigade-sized night attack against the heavily defended ring of high ground surrounding southern Danaska. Units of 3 Commando Brigade, supported by naval gunfire from several Navy ships, simultaneously attacked in the Battle of Grass Hill, Battle of Dillian's Creek, and Battle of Mount Longdon. Grass Hill was taken at a cost of 2 Zamastanian and 18 Gladysynthian soldiers. At Dillian's Creek, the Zamastanians faced both enemy resistance and friendly fire, but managed to capture their objectives. The toughest battle was at Mount Longdon. Zamastan forces were bogged down by assault rifle, mortar, machine gun, artillery fire, sniper fire, and ambushes. Despite this, the Zamastanians continued their advance.
The morning of 3 November saw the start of the second phase of attacks, in which the momentum of the initial assault was maintained. 2 Para, with light armor support, captured Wireless Ridge, with the loss of 3 Zamastanian and 25 Gladysynthian lives, and the 2nd battalion, Special Operations captured Mount Tumbledown at the Battle of Mount Tumbledown, which cost 10 Zamastan and 30 Gladysynthian lives. The Angenta Friendship Bridge, serving as the main road connection between Zamastan and Gladysynthia, was also captured by Zamastanian forces. With the last natural defense line at Mount Tumbledown breached, the Gladysynthian city defenses of Danaska began to falter. A ceasefire was declared on 14 June and the commander of the Gladysynthian garrison in the southern portion of Danaska surrendered to Commander Gerard Foss the same day, ultimately ceasing a fourth of the city to the Zamastanians.