Prodavan Sovereignty Crisis
|Prodavan Sovereignty Crisis|
A Ceasian Auxiliary pauses to stroke a stray cat during the 1991 Battle of Ramubad.
|Caledonian Nationalists||Okkamidur (allegedly)|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Septimus Barret||Yusri ibn Khalid al-Jafari|
For the Cornellian equivalent, see: Prodavan War
The Prodavan Sovereignty Crisis (14 March 1991-18 January 1992) was a conflict commonly known as the Prodavan Succession War fought as an armed escalation of the crisis following the death of the last Prodavan Sultan Abu Taiseer al-Shahid. Due to a complicated family tree and succession laws the throne of the Sultanate left the al-Shahid dynasty and the legal successor of the Sultanate became Emperor Dracus Victorius of the Ceasian Imperial House of Julius. Twenty-seven days of violence proceeded riots in the major cities of Prodava, particularly in the capital city of Pomeron and the regional hubs of Akorut and Dedeca, named the National Mutiny. This rebellion led to the formation of the Republic of Prodava and, compelled to take his new throne, Emperor Dracus declared the new government illegal and in open rebellion agains the legitimate Prodavan monarchy. Supported by his brother-in-law, King Edward III of Vionna-Frankenlisch, Emperor Dracus mobilised his forces to pacify the new republic by force.
Abu Taiseer al-Shahid, the Sultan of Prodava took a sudden downturn in his health in late 1989 and eventually had to rule under a regency led by his consort Radwa bint Tariq al-Taha. The regency was incredibly successful and under al-Taha's leadership Prodava prospered under a wave of new economic reforms relating to land ownership and two new agencies, the Prodavan Public Administration (PPA) and the Civilian Public Works Administration (CPWA), the Prodavan economy was bolstered with public spending and unemployment dropped to 2%, the lowest in recorded Prodavan history. Unfortunately, on the 29th of January 1991, Sultan al-Shahid died from a sudden stroke and failed to pronounce a new heir. As he had seven daughters and no sons, in Prodavan successional laws, women can inherit but they are prohibited from inheriting the Prodavan throne. As a result of this, al-Shahid's daughters inherited many of his titles and estates while a team of lawyers worked tirelessly through the Sultan's large and complex family tree to find a suitable legal successor. While not the first in line by northern Europan standards, Draco Victorius of the Imperial House of Julius, the current Emperor of Grand Ceasia, was named by a council of lawyers and the Sultan's former councillors as a legal successor to the throne. Draco was quick to accept and invited the Prodavan aristocracy and the Sultan's immediate family to a summit and ball in Ceasium.
While the grand ball in Ceasium was taking place, rioting over the current situation along with deep lasting dislike of the monarchy by left-wing supporters and far-right supporters alike along with particularly devout Muslims began in Pomeron. In Akorut and Dedeca, other major cities of Prodava, similar riots and protest marches began. In Ramubad and the ancient city of Lascuta protests started for much different reasons, the populace, worried that Emperor Dracus would be prevented from taking the throne and that a Republic would be formed, rioted in the streets in favour of the Sultanate and the succession either of Dracus or one of al-Shahid's daughters. Yusri ibn Khalid al-Jafari, the Chief Commissioner of the Prodavan Police Force, decided against putting down the riots by force, choosing to be lenient and letting the protesting run its course. Alisha Barbara, the Prodavan Home Security Minister, ordered him to enforce martial law. The delay in dealing with the protests, combined with al-Jafari's police of enforcing martial law district by district allowed news to spread and resistance stiffened quickly. The situation inevitably turned to violence.
Twenty-Seven days of violence
Main article National Mutiny
The sad state of affairs only got worse. What had originally begun as rioting, protesting and looting quickly turned to violence and in only two days Pomeron turned to a battlefield. The flashpoint was on the January 29th, 1991 when a group of riot police found themselves surrounded by a crowd of left-wing protestors, a petrol bomb was thrown and in response, the officers opened fire on the crowd with paint guns and shotguns firing baton rounds. The crowd became provoked rather than suppressed and attacked the officers with knives, improvised melee weapons, and improvised projectiles. Three riot officers were killed and the rest were taken hostage by the protesters.
Upon hearing the news, Commissioner al-Jafari ordered paramilitary units to deploy to disperse protesters, by force if necessary. The heavy-handed nature of these units and their efforts quickly turned the small spates of violence into open fighting and rebellion. Following the first efforts of these paramilitaries, there were daily clashes between security forces and protestors. A young Hana Kopaka, now a prominent equal rights activist in Vionna-Frankenlisch, was caught up in the rebellion and was unlucky enough to get caught up in the first days of violence.
On the 4th of February, the previous clashes escalated as the first actual shots were fired. In a demonstration at Remembrance Plaza around seven thousand people gathered to protest the heavy-handed response of the state and al-Jafari ordered his paramilitaries headed by the Bedouins, the state security guards, to disperse the crowd by force. Two Bedouins were hit by shotgun pellets, now believed to be from members of the Mamelukes, the royalist equivalent of the Bedouins who for decades had a fierce and sometimes violent rivalry with the Bedouins. Believing the gunfire came from the protesters, Bedouins armed with shotguns and submachine guns alongside regular police units armed with shotguns and pistols began firing on the crowd. Predicting such an event, members of the crowd had come armed with firearms, crossbows and improvised projectiles. While much of the crowd ran for safety, members of the more politically inclined protest groups took to fighting their attackers. In an attempt to protect the civilians, the Mameluke commander Yusuf al-Salah agreed with his men, a platoon of thirty, turned on the security forces. These mutineers seized a nearby medical clinic and used it to coordinate rescue efforts, evacuating civilians and treating the wounded. Unfortunately, the leftist and far-right militants fired on the Mamelukes as well, either believing they were a threat or simply opposed to them for their monarchist alignment.
Over the next three days, the city of Pomeron was divided through a series of skirmishes. The Bedouins and Police had little common support but had the advantages of good equipment and training, government funding and reserve manpower. The Mamelukes enjoyed the support of monarchists and a fair portion of the citizenry who praised them for their humanitarian efforts, they occupied key areas of the city and were well-armed but were clearly inferior to the Bedouins and their regular police support. The protesters, who quickly came to be referred to as Rebels by the Bedouins and Militants by the Mamelukes, occupied most of the city and had the most manpower and popular support. Their arms and training left much to be desired and they were divided due to their political and religious differences, nonetheless, by force of numbers, they held superiority.
In other major cities across the country, the situation was much the same, in each one a particular side held clear supremacy and the division and fighting of the capital was rare. The north of Prodava, along with the far south, was majorly in support of the monarchy and the south, in particular, supported the Ceasian Emperor's claim to the throne. The centre of Prodava, along the River Khal, support was mainly in favour of a republic and the monarchists and even the anti-government militants found themselves on the back foot. The Mamelukes in Pomeron and the south were commanded by Yusuf al-Salah from his headquarters in the old Sand Palace in Pomeron, in the north they were coordinated from Ramubad Barracks by Sujebar Majeed. The Bedouins throughout the country were centrally commanded by Commissioner al-Jafari in Pomeron. Militant units were incredibly disjointed and as their main basis of support varied from place to place, they had no centralised leadership. In Pomeron they were led by a council which voted on major decisions.
Main Article: Barbara Coup
The fighting in Pomeron took greater shape as the skirmishes continued and each side gained greater organisation and strength. The nominal head of the Prodavan government was Aisha bint Abu al-Shahid, Abu Taiseer's eldest daughter and she commanded the Bedouins and the Mamelukes to make peace and put down the revolt. The Mamelukes, ever loyal to the Prodavan monarchy, attempted to meet with the Bedouin commanders and arrange a ceasefire. Commissioner al-Jafari, acting under Alisha Barbara's directive, ambushed the Mamelukes in an attack which killed their commander, Yusuf al-Salah, and many of their best men. The Mamelukes were now without a leader in Pomeron and greatly hit by the loss of men and material, reluctantly, they pulled out of the city on the 12th of February.
Aisha al-Shahid, now without support in the city, attempted to fortify the Sultan's Palace and dug in with her guards. The defence did not hold for long and al-Salah's Bedouins attacked the palace with mortars and armoured vehicles. They broke in through the front gates and massacred the guards, leaving only three survivors. Most of the Sultan's family escaped but Aisha was killed in the fighting, leaving Prodava without any functioning government. As the Bedouins gained ground in Pomeron, Alisha Barbara went to Remembrance Plaza and read a proclamation. The document was witnessed by hundreds of Bedouins and thousands of the populace. Barbara declared a new Prodavan Republic with her as its first president. She then pulled her ace card. Mohammed Grovsner, commander of the Prodavan First Army, declared his support for Barbara's new government, essentially torpedoing the debate.
The Prodavan First Army was the primary military force in Prodava and was a hundred thousand men strong with tanks and artillery. Grovsner was well respected by his men as a competent commander and as many were not people from the cities of Prodava, most of the city recruits going to the Second Army, but mostly tribesmen from central Prodava, they supported Barbara's supposed plans for a federal government which would allow the tribes greater representation. In the span of four days, Grovsner's men put down the uprising in Pomeron and pacified, with Bedouin support, the militants and Mamelukes that were still holding on in other cities. With one move, Barbara had secured her new position and the Republic was officially legitimised.
Naturally, the Ceasian government and monarchy were not impressed by this turn of events. Dracus Victorus had already begun styling himself as, His Eminence, the Sultan of Prodava, when in company with the Prodavan nobles and officials. These men were understandably annoyed as well by the seizure of their land and government positions by the new Republic. Alisha Barbara was declared an unlawful usurper and, on February 25th, Emperor Victorus called for mobilisation. He had the backing of the Ceasian Imperial Provinces: Circesium and Brigantium and Aecae and Vinovium. Also, due to his marriage to Princess Laura, sister to King Edward III, Victorus had the support of Vionna-Frankenlisch. King Edward authorised his nephew, Duke James, to call a muster in the southern counties and professional troops were moved south. Emperor Victorus was promised a legion each from his Imperial Provinces, and a draft of a hundred thousand men from Vionna-Frankenlisch. By March he had a full number of 420,000 troops.
In Prodava, President Barbara had secured her place as President but had yet to enact most of her promised reforms due to the lingering threat of war with Grand Ceasia. General Grovsner had managed to bring most of the old Prodavan army to his side, allowing those who wished to support the monarchy to go into exile and reduced the service age to 44 from 50. The Prodavan Armed Forces numbered 560,000 and all swore allegiance to the new government. Arms deals were made hastily with other nations and by the tenth, Prodava had a modern, relatively professional fighting force.
On the twelfth, Emperor Victorus was informed that the Prodavan forces had mobilised and seemed to be preparing for war. He was also told that his own Army was mustered and taking up positions on the border. An emergency meeting of the Council of Mars was called which planned for Operation Divine Right. The rather arrogantly-named plan called for an invasion of Prodava through the south, following the coast all the way to Pomeron and the former Kingdom of Caledonia. Eighteen legions were prepped for the operation, a total of just under 100,000 men with air support. Vionna-Frankenlischian High Command planned a variety of minor operations to draw Prodavan troops away from Divine Right, the main one being Operation Towton (also known as the Loukussa Offensive) but other assaults were planned on posts along the border.
Finally, following two days of straight planning by both Ceasian and Vionna-Frankenlischian High Commands, war was declared on Prodava on the fourteenth of March. John Gatwick, the Vionna-Frankenlischian ambassador to Prodava delivered the note personally to President Barbara, the Ceasians having withdrawn their diplomats the week prior. Barbara supposedly replied "And so it begins."
No fighting took place on the fourteenth. Both Ceasia and Prodava had plans to make their first moves on the first day of the war but poor cohesion and miscommunication meant that both sides postponed their movements until the following days. On the fifteenth, Imperial High Command launched Operation Towton and on the sixteenth, Ceasian Command ordered the commencement of Operation Divine Right and the Ceasian Fourth Legion crossed the River Halkar at al-Kesster following a short battle.
Only one Legion remained in Kundakçı, the Twelfth. On the sixteenth of March, Prodavan forces made a decisive move against Kundakçı. Despite being heavily outnumbered, the Twelfth Legion held their position and dug in at Oliv, the capital of Kundakçı. The Imperial-held Hill 451 was now the furthest forward allied position. This hill, held by the Royal Fishersfield Regiment was the site of the most famous battle of the war. On the seventeenth, Colonel Rutherford sallied forward with his regiment after patrols met with Prodavan forces. In the ensuing Battle of Sabier, the RFR met with the vanguard of the Prodavan 10th Division at a tiny village. Rutherford was wounded and the regiment was badly mauled but the gamble bought enough time for the Imperial 8th Army to move XX Corps to the area of Hill 451 and form a defence. This expedition was led by Romulus General Sir Charles Woodhouse and he commanded the Imperial defence during the Battle of Hill 451.
After crossing the River Halkar and establishing a forward base at Al-Kesster, the Ceasian Army's next moves were to split their force into two columns. The First Column was led by the overall commander of the operation, Grand Legate Cornelius Faberio and consisted of 13 legions making up a total of 67,600 men. The second column came under the joint command of Lieutenant General Frederick von Weinmont-Kohen (a Wolfswoodan officer) and Julius Apuliptus Centurium, the Emperor's cousin and future Emperor. The second column included the remainder of Divine Right's number and was made up of five legions numbering a total of 26,000 men. Joining the second column was the Wolfswood Expeditionary Force, a force of three brigades numbering fourteen thousand men.
Immediately, the Second Column moved inland and marched on Kazeraz. Following a short battle with elements of the Prodavan 24th Division outside Al-Fasuf, the Column encamped on the 20th of March only twenty kilometres from Kazeraz. However, this delay was just enough time for Prodavan general Abraham Kavadi to reinforce Kazeraz with the 24th and 19th Divisions. The Second Column moved out on the 22nd, giving the reinforced Prodavans little time to entrench their position. All the same, spearheaded by the 7th (Armoured) Legion and the Wolfswood Expeditionary Force, the coalition forces were bloodily repulsed at the First Battle of Kazeraz. Kazeraz was reportedly the first battle of the war to feature aircraft, despite the well-maintained and relatively modern air forces of both Ceasia and Prodava. With this disappointing result, Centurium was relieved of his command and returned to Ceasia while von Weinmont-Kohen, whose command of the Second Column had been consistently competent, took sole command of the unit.
Faberio and his First Column marched on along the coast. The contingency for Operation Divine Right, decided by the Council of Mars, determined that the First Column should have taken the port city of Assuria and the Second Column should have seized Kazeraz by the 29th of March. By the 28th, neither objective had been reached and Faberio was getting restless. He ordered von Weinmont-Kohen, who had encamped ten miles away from Kazeraz to shell the city and rest his weary units, to attempt a second assault. The 9th (Armoured) Legion and the 10th Legion were charged with going ahead of the rest of the First Column and taking Assuria by 14:00 hours on the 29th.
By a sheer stroke of luck, Mufeed el-Hamid (who commanded the garrison of Assuria), had marched his 6,000 men out of the city in an incompetent and, ultimately, vain attempt to reinforce Kazeraz. Thus, the 9th and 10th Legions were able to seize Assuria with little difficulty. El-Hamid marched his six thousand men, mainly conscripts and city militia, over 40 miles of rough terrain in three days, losing 103 troops to disease, exhaustion and desertion. He arrived just in time to take part in the Second Battle of Kazeraz but did not bring sufficient forces to affect the disastrous outcome of the battle. General von Weinmont-Kohen's plan of battle caught the Prodavans totally offguard and led to one of the more decisive outcomes of the war. Von Weinmont-Kohen's infantry attacked on a broad frontage from the south of Kazeraz while the 7th (Armoured) Legion circled around and attacked from the north-west and the Prince of Wolfswood's Royal Hussars mirrored the manoeuvre to the north-east. Thirty-thousand Prodavan soldiers and a further ten-thousand militia were trapped in the southern half of Kazeraz and forced to surrender after six days of tough fighting and constant shelling.
On the night of 15th March, Operation Towton (or the Loukussa Offensive), began with the 12th Parachute Brigade and 8th (independant) Pathfinder Battalion dropping between Loukussa and the village of Ladlin. 12 Para assaulted Loukussa itself and took the city after two days of fighting with the Prodavan 11th Division. Ladlin, which dominated a ridge and the highway north to Loukussa, was defended by 8th Pathfinder Battalion against an assault by the Prodavan 28th Division. Operation Towton was an embarrassing defeat for the numerically superior Prodavans and was disastrous for them when it came to fighting in Operation Teuton. A great deal of Prodavan military infrastructure and equipment in the Loukussa area was destroyed and, though they were forced to abandon their conquests by the threat of the encroaching Prodavan 5th Corps, the Imperial forces escaped to Grythshead in Operation Pipeline.
A complex system of border defences on both sides kept the Vionnan Front stable for most of the early weeks of the war. It was not until the 4th of May that Operation Teuton was launched. A two-pronged offensive planned to seize Ramubad and retake Loukussa, the aim of which being to liberate the monarchist populations in those locations and form a monarchist Prodavan army to fight the Republicans, inspire rebellion in other parts of Prodava and lend further legitimacy to the Ceasian cause.
The most important, and most well-known, part of Operation Teuton was the Ramulani Line Campaign of the Ramubad Offensive. The Ramulani Line was a complex line of static defences which dominated the roads to Ramubad. Comprised of bunkers, forts and entrenchments, the Ramulani Line was a dangerous foe and 80,000 men were committed against this sector, most of them Vionna-Frankenlischian but the Ceasian 19th Legion and the Prince von Babbenburg's Own Brigade of Horse took part in the campaign too.