Imperial Civil War (Vionna-Frankenlisch)
The Imperial Civil War was a war fought in Vionna-Frankenlisch between the pro-government forces of the United Kingdom under King Albert I against left-wing groups under the People's Republic of Vionna-Frankenlisch led by the Socialist Party under Marshall Edgar Howell. While particular attention is paid to the two years of organised warfare from 1966 to 1968, it can be argued that the war started two years earlier and ended in 1980 following the end of the Vionna-Frankenlischian War of Restoration. As most historians separate these events under the blanked of the Red Decade, this article will focus on the commonly recognised two years of warfare.
The war started in June 1966 with a general rising amongst the Socialist underground in Vionna-Frankenlisch, quickly followed by an uprising of the Red Brigades which supported the Socialists. Prominent members of the Labour Party supported the rising and were instrumental in securing additional support and slowing the government response. The war marked a major turning point in the history of Vionna-Frankenlisch, the monarchy fell for the first time since the formation of the Frankenlischian First Republic and remained in exile until 1980. It resulted in absolute political turmoil across Magna Europa with a resurgence in leftist politics across the continent with repercussions reaching Magna Terrifica and even Quenmin.
The Rebellions of 1948 left the central Europan nations of Gelder, Wedner and Tristram in a state of chaos from which annexation by Belvania was the only solution. In 1950 this was exactly what happened and the anti-rebel forces in the three nations supported the Belvanian 7th and 5th Armies as they took swift control in Operations Gearbox and Mechanism. The defeat of socialist rebels in the Central Nations led to a great exodus south, the Belvanian forces being to preoccupied with restoring order to care about where the rebels fled to. First they went to Wolfswood, where they were mercilessly persecuted, so they fled there as well, settling in Vionna-Frankenlisch and steadily integrating into society.
The Two Factions that faced each other in the Imperial Civil War were those loyal to the Imperial Government and King Albert I and the Leftists.
Those loyal to the throne were often not monarchists but just loyal to the government or opposed to the Leftist rebellion. The loyalist leaders were mainly nobles and Conservative or Imperial politicians. The colonies were also overwhelmingly supportive of the monarchy and many troops came in from the Commonwealth. In rural counties, the government also saw a great deal of support, particularly in Erin, Teutonberg and Grythshead.
Much of the Imperial Army and the Imperial Air Service remained loyal to the government but, following the initial risings, they were badly disorganised and badly supplied due to the occupation of industrial districts. Luckily for the Imperials, the majority of the military's officers came from upper or middle-class backgrounds with many having aristocratic families and so the officer corps remained almost entirely loyal to the government with only a small proportion defecting throughout the conflict.
The Imperial forces never imposed conscription on the populace throughout the conflict in an attempt to keep the common people on side. Those in National Service, however, were immediately pressed into full service and many saw combat before the end of the war.
The main base of support for the Leftist uprisings came from major towns and industrial cities. Brumley, due to its dense industry and history of Socialism and Vladmamirska due to being influenced by Molvanian politics. Unlike their Imperial enemies, the Leftists relied on conscription to recruit their vast armies. A large difference between the Imperials and Leftists was that the Leftist territory included major cities such as Brumley, South Vladamirska and Ballaeter which they could easily administrate allowing easy access to finance and manpower. The Imperials, on the other hand, were in control of much of the countryside with the major cities under their control often uncompliant with government directives unless they were directly garrisoned.
Many of the Leftist officers were university and college students or volunteers from Molvani. Despite this, in his book Homage to the Lopenland, Gregory Blair (who volunteered for the Red Brigades) describes a High Command "class" of "old men and inexperienced boys". Indeed, the Leftist tactics for much of the war mirrored those of the Reds of the Molvanian Civil War. In the majority of their offensive battles, they advanced in deep, staggered and widely spread ranks against Imperial positions to the tune of music and the waving of flags. Blair described the experience as "Incredibly inspiring, like something out of a history book. Exciting, proud and utterly terrifying..."
Under the direction of Nigel Standhope, the first uprisings began on the 11th of July in Ravenstern and Brumley. The uprising began in the Janosek Glassmaking Works and was quickly followed by uprisings in the Lancaster Arms Works and the Steelmaking district. The situation was eerily similar to the Brumley Rebellion of the late 19th century but the response was not. The police in the residential districts and the commercial district responded quickly and barricaded the streets, preparing for a defence while in the industrial districts much of the Brumley police force surrendered to the rebels. In Ravenstern there was a quick, bloody skirmish and the local police commissioner, Eric Tatten surrendered. A trial in 1980 found him to be secretly in league with Standhope and he was shot.
Howell himself was in Vladamirska at the time to organise the uprising personally. He met with the military authorities in North Vladamirska and received the covert support of Major General Artem Orlov who suggested that his troops could support the uprising. Realising the potential consequences of a war between Molvani and Vionna-Frankenlisch, Howell politely denied but requested Molvanian support units to help the uprising with medical aid and supplies. Orlov also supplied the rebels in Vladamirska with AKM assault rifles. The Vladamriska rising began on the 11th, only half an hour after the Ravenstern rising and quickly occupied multiple strategic locations throughout the city. Cobalt Street Barracks was seized by workers from the JH Molton factory but only a hundred soldiers were captured as twenty were killed and the majority of the South Vladamirska Division was on manoeuvres outside the city or based in other barracks across the city. The Grain Elevator next to the Vista Rail Bridge was captured at noon and the silos lining the riverbank were taken by agrarian workers at one. The General Post Office was reinforced at half one by a patrol from the local Yeomanry who barricaded the doors and windows and defended the position for two days.
In Lawrenceville, the uprising was much less of a success. The local leftist leader, Labour candidate Joseph Linton, organised his rising of twelve hundred men to begin at two in the afternoon. He intended to coordinate the rising to take place at the same time as a march by the fascist National Storm Party who were strong in the area, this was intended to have a positive effect on the morale of the rebels. The intended effect did not occur. Before 1980, militarist marches were allowed to carry firearms under very specific restrictions, the weapons must be bolt-action rifles which were of a design more than a decade old, one clip was allowed per man and live ammunition was banned, bayonets had to be dull. Donald Walker, the local NSP leader who led the march, was well aware of the planned rising thanks to the efforts of various spies and he waived the regulations at the last moment, ordering his followers (of which there were 250) to sharpen their bayonets and he secured a shipment of ammunition captured from Wolfswood during the Second Europan War for his men's M1895 rifles. The rising began in the poor district of Lawrenceville and the police were distracted with clearing a path for the NSP march so the rebels were able to hastily construct barricades and defences across Wilton Street where Walker was due to march. When the NSP marched they were pelted with rocks and eventually fired upon with pistols and shotguns. They returned fire and the rebels, some armed only with rocks and clubs, were defeated early on. 68 rebels were killed, 101 wounded and 789 captured by the police and shipped to Arkalan where they remained until the 1980's.
The Erin uprising was large and also encompassed Ballaeter, where it had far more support. The mostly Conservative Andyist or Christian population resisted the uprising and there was fighting in the streets of towns such as Darry and Coefort. The Imperial Erin Constabulary valiantly resisted the uprising and the fighting reached a fierce intensity until Owain o'Gladaich, the rebel leader was killed by paramilitaries. In Ballaeter the uprising was met with less resistance and was actually incredibly successful but neither the Erin rising nor the Ballaeter rising had the power to support each other so in Erin the uprising of 5,000 rebels was defeated with many escaping to join their comrades in Ballaeter.
The Imperial Government resolved immediately to mobilise the Reserve Divisions for war and the reaction was surprisingly quick as many of the divisions were already raised in preparation for the annual muster. Initially, the regular divisions of the Imperial Army were confined to barracks and it wasn't until the Battle of Nabury that they were formed for action. Some historians believe that, had the regular divisions been prepared immediately and sent in to crush the uprisings, the Civil War as a whole would have ended very differently. Howell himself expressed relief that the 11th (Armoured) Division that was based nearby to Vladamirska was restrained from action.
The very first battle of the war took place in the Leftist Saxondale Offensive. Davey Muircanon, the commander of the Ballaeter Group, was met with bad news of the Erin uprising's failure and, emboldened by the reinforcements he received from the failed rising, he decided the best course of action would be to strike while he still retained an element of surprise. His group, numbering 8,000, lacked decent equipment and had almost no heavy weaponry, Muircanon decided therefore to seize Fort Innstein which was, at the time, headquarters and commissary for the Saxondale Division. His group met the division in the Battle of Laflin which, while it cost the Ballaeter Group 600 casualties, was a Leftist victory and the Saxondale Division retreated to Innstein in disorder where reinforced by more emigres from Erin, he fought another battle. in the two attacks, Muircanon's Ballaeter Group pushed the Saxondale Division and an assortment of Imperial militiamen back to Saxondale itself and inflicted over double their own losses including killing the Saxondale Division's commander, Lord Yates. They then launched a major attack against Saxondale itself but despite using the same aggressive tactics that had led to their previous successes and now rearmed with Imperial Army equipment, Muircanon met his match. Brigadier General Archie Luckmann, reinforced by the Edrington Division, formed a strong entrenched line hugging the River Saxon. With nowhere to retreat to and with the Leftists baying for blood his men fought to the last. The gambit paid off and Luckmann won the battle, pushing the Ballaeter Group back to Fort Innstein. The Imperials had to withdraw from Saxondale despite their desperate victory as their supplies of ammunition were dry but nonetheless the victory, ending the Saxondale Offensive in a steady draw, bolstered morale for the Imperials when they were in a particularly fragile state.
Leftist Marshal Nigel Standhope assembled 30,000 in the Brumley area to invade the Lopenland which he perceived to be the weakest target. He also hoped to gain a land border with Belvania whom he hoped to purchase arms and equipment from. Standhope outfitted his men well, yet they still were almost entirely devoid of armoured vehicles. Nonetheless, he launched his offensive as early as possible, the 17th of July.
He met his first resistance at the small town of Nabury. At the Battle of Nabury, the Baron Nabury and the Earl of Lopenfort successfully halted the Leftist offensive and counterattacked. However, despite the tenacious fighting of the disorganised Imperial troops, they were themselves counterattacked and pushed back at the following Battle of Shaffenstein.