Refusal War

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Refusal War
RefusalWarPic.jpg
Wardens during the Battle of Tren Krom Break
Date15 December 1983 - 4 October 1987
Location
Result Warden Victory
Belligerents

Wardens

Supported by:

Royalists

Supported by:

Commanders and leaders
Saša Mlinarić
Marin Josipović
Keghart Pashian
Taniel Kasajian
Sivo Hadjiev
Zlatko Bogdanov
Veton Spegelj
Naso Dinev
Dusko Trcpevski
Strength
3.5 million (peak) 1.9 million (peak)
Casualties and losses
822,491 killed
1,849,121 wounded
695,601 killed
1,713,459 wounded

The Refusal War, known commonly as the Syaran Civil War, is the name given to the civil war that took place in Syara between 1983 to 1987. The war pitted the nationalist, Zobethos fundamentalist Wardens against the conservative monarchists known collectively as the Royalists after the Warden dominated Syaran government attempted to strip the royal families of Makedon and Galania of their titles and estates. The refusal of the Royal Families to recognize the authority of the Syaran government that had convened after the death of President Krunislav Mircevski in late October 1983 led to the conflict being known in Syara as the Refusal War, whereas it is more commonly recognized internationally as the Syaran Civil War.

The war was the culmination of decades long strife between the nationalist, fundamentalist Wardens, so called due to their ideology being derived from the Warden Way, a treatsie on political and social affiars by author and philosopher Serovpe Boyajian, and the conservative monarchist tendencies common in Galania and Makedon. The Wardens, who had grown in power throughout the Broken Years, sought to undermine and overthrow the control of the Royal dynasties of Makedon and Galania, which they held as responsible for Syara's defeat and subsequent decline following the Siduri War. Based primarily in Scitaria and Hayreniky, the Wardens steadily grew to control the Senate of the Republic of Syara and many of the Realm's political office. Rising tensions between the Wardens and the Royalists led to a series of attempted constituional reforms intended to limit the power of the Royalists, which President Mircevski attempted to mediate. His sudden death in an automobile accident in October 1983 led to accusations of assasination, and the convening of the Warden dominated Senate led to the formation of a new federal government without input from the Royalists. The Realm Governments of Makedon and Galania refused to recognize the new government and seized control of the Senate House in Zovahr, which resulted in the outbreak of fighting between Warden and Royalist supporters on 15 December, 1983, which is generally held to mark the beginning of the war.

Both sides mobilized large conscript and volunteer armies in, and intense combat resulted in the deaths of nearly 2.5 million Syarans. The war ended with the surrender of the Monarchist armies at Zildejov. The surviving members of the Makedonian and Galanian royal families fled the country shortly thereafter. The Republic of Syara was officially abolished and replaced with the Commonality in 1987. The philosophy of the Warden Way became Syara’s de facto ideology as the national religion of Zobethos came to wield greater influence in Syaran politics and society. The Warden philosophy continued to dominate Syara until it’s defeat in the Zemplen War.

Background

Syaran history had been strongly influenced by the royal families of Makedon and Galania dating back as far as the Makedonian Empire. Although it had endured numerous trials and problems, the Zelusian Dynasty still held the throne in the Makedonian Realm, and had forged strong ties with it's Galanian counterparts the Baligov Dyansty. Together the two Monarchist factions had played significant roles in Syaran history after the fall of the Arkoennite Empire, leading two separate wars against Ruvelka. The Monarchists generally approved of the Conference of Pella in 1875 which officially created the Republic of Syara, under the auspice that their influence in Syaran politics would remain constant. As Syara modernized and industrialized in the late 19th and early 20th Century the royal families maintained a singificant degree of influence within Syaran politics, and were strong supporters of Syaran nationalism. The outbreak of the Divide War, and the Desopya Campaign itself which occurred entirely on Makedonian soil, was a major component in the nationalist imagery portrayed by the Monarchists. Syara's unexpected victory in the conflict led to a surge of Syaran national prestige, and propped up by a rapidly growing economy Syara's armed forces rapidly expanded. By 1933 Syara boated the largest army in Tyran, and the third largest navy by number of ships (4th by total tonnage).

Although officially a representative democracy the royal families prominent role in Syaran politics led to their common identificaiton with Syara, and their imagery and likeness was often used to represent Syara in art and commentary. Encouraged in part by King Antonij of Makedon and King Kaloyan of Galania, Syara began gathering support for the newly founded Inner Sphere, intended to be a pan-Siduri alliance against external imperialist powers (namely Cacerta. Most other states however identified the effort as principally a way for Syara to expand it's influence at the expense of others, and in the end only Fascist Allamunnika ultimately joined. In 1934 the two states invaded Ruvelka, sparking the Siduri War. As had been the case before the war, the likeness of the Makedonian and to a lesser extent, Galanian royal families, were used heavily in propaganda by both sides. Common Axis propaganda in particular highlighted the notion of Syara wars of conquest were continuations of centuries old imperialist efforts, which often struck a cord with former subjects of the Makedonian Empire including Quenminese and Ruvelkan forces-in-exile.

Syara's decisive defeat in the Siduri War saw it burdered with massive reparations, in turn stunted the Syaran economy in the post war years. Psychologically the war was a massive blow to Syaran national pride and prestige, leading to what has been termed the Broken Years, the post-war period between the 1940s-50s that saw Syara flounder amid economic recession and uncertainty. Some relief was had in 1955 when Cacerta and Syara signed the Transactional Credit Agreement, which alleviated some Syaran economic woes by opening up Syara to Cacertian loans and investments, in exchange for some debt relief. As Syara slowly rebounded in the 1950s and 60s however national attention turned away from economic concerns to matters of politics and national identify. The Transactional Credit Agreement had been widely unpopular with the Royal families of Makedon and Galania, largely due to the liquidation and transfer of large sums of Syara's gold reserves to Cacerta; most of Syara's gold reserves had effectively been the personal property of the royal families. Tensions between the Monarchist factions of the government began steadily increasing in the 1960s following the publication of the Warden Way by author and philosopher Serovpe Boyajian. Although mainly concerned with economic and ecological matters, the Warden Way had offered sharp criticism against the royal families, accusing them of subverting Syaran national interests for their own gain.

The anti-Monarchist sentiment within the Warden Way found widespread popularity among Syaran youths and veterans who were frustrated by the grandoise inequality between Monarchist affiliates and commoners. In particular Zobethos fundamentalists and revolutionary nationalists found themselves at odds with the conservative Monarchists who favored a weaker central government and greater autonomy for Syara's Realms, whereas most Wardens favored a strong central government and subservience of the Realms. It's perhaps no surprise that support for the Wardens was strongest amid Syara's younger, non-royalist realms Scitaria and the Clans, against traditionalist hotbeds in Galania and Makedon. By the 1970s a major cultural war was ongoing in Syara between the nationalist Wardens and the conservative Monarchists. While not officially part of any political party, both Wardens and Monarchists were represented by various political parties within the Senate. As time passed however popular sentiment increasingly favored the nationalist Warden cause, and by 1980 it was clear a major paradigm shift had occured within Syaran society and political atmosphere.

Complicating the domestic situation was the Republic's long running territorial dispute with neighboring Ruvelka, resulting in the decades long Granika Border War. Although the conflict remained largely low-intensity for most of its 17 year duration, fighting had flared up twice into major confrontations, with the Seven Day War in 1969 and the Hayren War (1974-1980), the latter which resulted in a brief struggle for regional control between 1979 and 1980 before an armistice was signed. The Hayren War in particular highlighted the growing divide within Syara; many Syaran Hayren who embraced Zobethos fundamentalism saw the destruction of holy sites and temples as an outrage. This view was not shared by the more conservative aristocracy of Makedon and Galania, who had opposed armed intervention into the conflict.

Prelude

The 1982 Syaran Senate elections saw widespread gains for the pro-Warden National Unity Party, tipping the balance of political power firmly into the Warden sphere of influence. The election results were viewed with significant alarm in pro-Royalist areas of the country, who feared that the Senate would move to strip the Royal Families of Makedon and Galania of much of their power and wealth. Not long after the election these concerns were validated; in September 1982 members of the Warden Caucus led by Senator Dino Markušić declared an intention to strip mentions of Royalty from the Syaran Constitution. While Markušić publicly insisted that the move was largely superficial since it carried little legal weight, many Royalists saw the act as part of a subversive campaign to steadily remove any remaining legal protection for the Royal Families.

Scandals further stoked the flames of political divide. In November 1982 Prince Dako, fourth son of Galanian King Dimitar, was arrested in Durova for public intoxication and released a few hours later. His fifth arrest in three years, the failure of the Galanian Court System to reccomend a harsher sentence than the three months of probation he recieved caused an uproar among Wardens, who cited the event as proof of the double legal standards reserved for members of the Royal Families. Just a few weeks after the story broke, pro-Warden members of the National Unity Party announced their intention to bring forth legislation that would strip Royal Family members and associates of their titles and estates if found guilty in a court of law. Royalists decried the act as politically motivated and a breach of government oversight.

The annual celebration of the Winter Solstice did little to alleviate national tensions between the two sides. Speaking in Zovahr during the celebration, Senator Yeghya Gulbenkian openly chastised the Royalists for their failure to support the Syaran faith of Zobethos, accusing the Monarchists of placing "themselves and their estates above worship of the All-Mother". The elaborate celebrations held in the Royal Estates of both royal families compared to many Syarans who were struggling through the aftermath of a recession following the Hayren War further inflamed resentment and contributed to the brewing political and social gap as the country entered 1983.

President Krunislav Mircevski, in his New Years Address, urged the Syaran people to heal the divide and embrace "selfless citizenry". Entering his seventh year as President, Mircevski had become increasingly isolated as his more moderate stances aliented him from Wardens and Royalists alike. Future Executive of Syara Saša Mlinarić was quoted as saying "[Mircevski] was like a lost prophet, trying in vain to be heard above the chorus of souting that surrounded him". Mircevski's warnings that Syara would face ruin if the political and social divide wasn't healed would indeed prove prophetic, but in early 1983 the President faced an increasingly unstable political environment. Events in 1983 would only further damage the increasingly fragile peace the Republic was operating under.

On 8 March 1983 Senator Florijan Požgaj of Iani suffered a stroke and died foru days later. Požgaj, a moderate member of the National Unity Party, was replaced by Viceroy Ivo Butković with Warden hardliner Zoran Kolonić. The turn of events startled the pro-Royalist Free Realm League, as the National Unity Party was just one Senator short of a supermajority. Fears that the Wardens would attempt use a supermajority to pass radical legislation led members of the League to close ranks and attempt to consolidate their power as the opposition in the Senate while urging moderates across the aisle. Further disaster struck the Royalist cause in July when Senator Senko Yankov Tsvetanov became embroiled in a tax evasion scandal that forced his resignation, leaving a gap in his home province of Korzhany.

Per Syaran law, it fell to Viceroy Ljupco Varnaliev of Makedon to appoint an interim Senator until elections were held. Varnaliev, originally seen as a moderate, had become much more of a hardline Warden by 1983. News that Tsvetanov stunned the Royalists, who realized they were in danger of being forced under a Warden supermajority in the Senate. Various legal actions were taken by the Royalists to attempt to impede the appointment of Stoile Uzunovski, Tsvetanov's likely succesor. Ultimately it was Makedonian legal procedure that proved the most significant; on 20 July King Vasko of Makedon refused to grant permission for Uzunovski to assume the position of Senator.

The refusal of Vasko to grant his blessing kicked off a massive legal debate within Syara. Wardens immediately claimed the Makedonian King was operating outside legal protocol and insisted that the Royal Blessing typically bestowed on government appointments was purely ceremonial. Royalists countered by pointing out the Royal Blessing was written into Makedon's constitution, which had been accepted as legal when Makedon joined the Republic during the Unification of Syara. Protests broke out in the streets of major cities across Syara both in favor of and against King Vasko, some of which devolved into violence. On 26 July Uzunovski attempted to gain entry into the Chambers of the Senate in Zovahr, but local Makedonian law enforcement denied him entry. A fistfight nearly broke out on the Senate floor in response, forcing the chamber to close early and many Senators to leave the city.

Amid an increasingly unstable political environment, President Mircevski attempted to handle relations between the two increasingly discordant sides. Early efforts to achieve some kind of settlement with Tsvetanov's replacement, such as a more moderate appointment, were met with rebuke from Wardens and Viceroy Varnaliev who accused the President of attempting to interfere with Senatorial affairs. Mircevski's assurances to the Royalists that he would not support efforts to strip them of their status did little to reassure the Royal Families of either Galania or Makedon. In August Mircevski finally took a more firm stance, stating that King Vasko did not have the authority to prevent the appointment of a Senator by a Viceroy. However the President also stated his opposition of any abolishment of Monarchy by the national government, insisting that the matter was the affairs of the individual Realms.

The solution satisfied neither party fully. Uzunovski assumed office on 10 August and the pro-Warden elements of the Senate immediately set upon calling for the abolishment of the Royal estates and their powers. In order to do so the Wardens needed to request a Senatorial Constitutional Referendum, which could only be authorized by the President. Mircevski refused, but heavy pressure from pro-Warden elements within the Senate and the Syaran government began to harass Mircevski at every opportunity; the President's private home in Galania was picketed by Warden and Royalist supporters leading to clashes and fights.

Tensions continued to rise in the late summer and early autumn. In September mass protests took place over Warden-dominated urban areas and districts calling for the Senate to move to strip the Royalists of their power. Under constant pressure Mircevski attempted a number of negotiations between himself and Warden hardliners to placate Warden sentiment, arguing that it would be impossible to revoke Royalist titles without touching off mass civil unrest in Makedon and Galania. The Warden response was not comforting to the President. Mlinarić, one of the premier pro-Warden Senators, sympathized with Mircevski's plight but insisted the authority of the Senate had to be respected while warning that failure to do so would only touch off more issues with the increasingly Warden-aligned populace.

Mircevski entered into October attempting to work on a deal that would remove some legal protection and recognition of the Royal Houses while preserving their autonomy within their respective Realms. It was a complicated legal matter owing to difference between national and local law and constitutional provisions and consumed much of Mircevski's time in office. When not in Zovahr or travelling across Syara attempting to mend bridges and clamp down on discontent, Mircevski spent most of his free time at his personal estate. It was there that he would perish in a car crash on 13 October, sparking a succession crisis within the Republic.

Refusal Crisis

Mircevski's death stunned the nation. The unexpected demise of the Syaran President immediately set off a wave of accusations back and forth between the Royalists and Wardens, both sides claiming the other had assassinated Mircevski. The political climate prevented a truly neutral investigation from occurring, and despite the initial police report indicating little evidence of foul play, both Warden and Royalists supporters quickly convened their own councils and investigation teams to produce evidence that the other side was guilty of the crime.

The immediate political fallout of the President's death quickly overshadowed the details of his demise. Per Syaran law, the task of selecting a new President fell to the Senate, who would appoint an interim President until an election could be held. Royalist fears immediately rose that the Warden-dominated Senate would appoint a hardliner who bring forth the necessary constitutional session to end the recognition of nobility. Sensing the impeding issue, Royalist supporters in the Senate switched tactics and began declaring that an interim President didn't posses the authority to call for a constitutional session. The vague text of the Syaran Constitution did not specify what exact powers an interim President posssed, only that he would "carry out the necessary roles of the office of President".

Despite Royalist objections, the pro-Warden factions made clear their intentions when the Senate nominated, then approved, Robert Križan, a hardline Warden from Scitaria, as the interim president of Syara on 12 November. Despite no support from any Royalist-affiliated Senator, the Warden supermajority was enough to push Križan through. Križan immediately began the process of forming a Constitutional session where the Senate could move to strip the Royal Houses of their titles and estates. The announcement provoked an immediate outcry among Royalist supporters who claimed the act would be illegal and would not be recognized by the Realm Governments of Makedon and Galania. Križan and the Wardens responded by stating that federal dictation would be applied and held supremacy over Realm legislation, which prompted open legal debate across Syara over the legality of federal intercession into Realm affairs.

Privately, major Royalist figures worried that the Warden-dominated civilian government could not be stopped from passing their constitutional decree and stripping the Royal Families of their estates. On 22 November King Vasko met with Field Marshal Sivo Hadjiev, supreme commander of the Armed Forces of the Syaran Republic and avowed Royalist, to discuss the possibility of the armed forces preventing the passage of amendment. Hadjiev agreed with the possibility but warned that a significant portion of the armed forces, especially among the enlisted ranks, were Wardens or sympathetic to their cause. Vasko suggested that on the eve of the vote that the army seize control of the Senate, justifying the act as necessary to prevent the illegal act by the Warden Senate. Hadjiev agreed with the idea but was worried about the feasibility of the plan, as Minister of Defense Dako Yordanov Valerieva was a Warden. Hadjiev insisted that with the support of King Dimitar of Galania, enough Makedonian and Galanian officers and men would be able to retain control of the armed forces.

The date for the constitutional session was declared on 28 November; the date chosen would be 15 December. The announcement immediately triggered what became known as the "Royalist Refusal"; every Royalist Senator declared the act illegal and announced their intention to boycott the session. The announcement was ignored by the Wardens, who stated that their actions were in accordance with the Republic's constitution. Within the Royalist camp, senior officers of the armed forces loyal to the Royal families began gathering military forces near Zovahr. The Royalists largely hoped that a quick seizure of power would prevent a civil war from breaking out, but at some point during the planning military personnel loyal to the Wardens became aware of the plan. How and when it still not certain, as the alarm was not raised during the planning.

On 15 December the Warden Senators began arriving in Zovahr during the early morning. Scattered protests from Royalist supporters disrupted the proceedings and prevented the session from beginning until the afternoon, but by 15:00 local time the Senate had begun the proceedings. As expected, none of the Royalist Senators were present, but this did nothing to deter the Warden Senators. By 17:00 Royalist troops had begun moving into the city towards the Senate building, but did not immediately move towards the Senate building, possibly because they were attempting to first surround major roadways out of the city. At around 18:30 the vote began, earlier than the 19:00 vote that was originally expected. The news reached the Royalists while they were still preparing their positions and forced Hadjiev to hastily order the forces to take control of the Senate building. At some point prior to their arrival the Senators inside the Senate were made aware that Royalist forces were on their way to attempt to seize control. At 18:50 the Senators began to evacuate the building, and shortly thereafter Royalist troops arrive in the Senate Plaza.

By this point the plaza was filled with civilians who had gathered to watch the event, which complicated the situation and added to the confusion. At some point a call had been made to the Zovahr Police, who also arrived on scene around the same time. As Royalist troops attempted to force their way into the Senate building they were opposed by the Senate security service, which eventually led into an exchange of gunfire. A firefight broke out which was then joined in by the Zovahr police, briefly creating a three way firefight before the police realized the situation they were facing and pulled out.

Inside the Senate building, the Senators scattered upon order by Saša Mlinarić. Mlinarić and two other colleagues escaped from the building through a service tunnel and ended up two blocks away from the Senate building and just 160 meters from a Royalist tank. Mlinarić later stated in an interview that he hailed a taxi for himself and his colleagues, and handed the driver $2,000 worth of Syaran drachma with the request to "get us the hell out of here". The taxi ended up taking them all the way to Scitaria. Other Warden leaders managed to escape as well owing to the confusion and chaos unfolding outside the Senate building. The first Royalist troops entered the Senate building in 17:20 to find it mostly deserted; only 17 Senators were arrested, although an additional 21 were captured trying to flee Zovahr. Over 60% of Senators managed to make it out of Makedon owing to the incompletion of the Royalist roadblocks.

Dissolution

The seizure of the Senate building by the Royalists ultimately resulted in five deaths and more than thirty more people wounded. The operation had ultimately failed; most of the Warden Senators successfully escaped into friendly territory. The night of the seizure King Vasko appeared on Makedonian television to state that the military had prevented an illegal endeavor by the Senate and urged Syarans to remain calm. Most of the Wardens regrouped in Slocova, where Mlinarić appeared on television and radio to denounce the Royalist effort and labeled it an "attempted coup". Acting President Križan made similar statements and ordered the armed forces to mobilize to restore legal rule, but by this point the armed forces were disintegrating along political lines. The Royalist dominated officer corps largely pledged to support the Royal dynasties, but most of the enlisted personnel elected to back the Wardens.

Throughout December and early in 1985, both sides laid claim to be the legitimate government while mobilizing military forces within their controlled territory. Within a few weeks an unofficial dividing line formed between Scitaria, Hayreniky, and Royalist holdings in Makedon and Galania. By March 1984, the Republic had effectively ceased to exist as a functioning state, with both Wardens and Royalist forces preparing for civil war. The Republic of Syara had fallen apart just two years shy of its centennial anniversary.

Combatants

Foreign involvement

Both sides of the conflict received support from various nations across Tyran. Support varied considerably between nations, with some providing directly military support in the form of airpower or ground forces, while others provided supplies in the form of food, fuel, medical equipment, or spare parts for machinery.

Support for the Wardens

Æþurheim

Cacerta

Cacerta's involvement during the Refusal War was initially dictated by the administration of Prime Minister Piero Naldi. Although the Unitarian government under Naldi primarily focused on domestic affairs, internal pressure from the Ultranationalist Party—who saw the conflict in Syara as an opportunity to open bilateral ties in western Siduri—resulted in the first shipments of food and medical supplies to the Wardens. In mid-March 1984, flights carrying resources from Cacerta's JOC, Andria began making routine trips to Warden-controlled Kylacky. These flights would continue throughout 1984, but Cacerta did not initially plan to expand its participation in the Refusal War.

Following Cacerta's general elections in September 1984 which resulted in a more globalist Marana Tierno being appointed as Prime Minister as well as other internal political changes, the Kingdom's foreign policy regarding Syara and the Refusal War began to shift greatly. Under Tierno, Cacerta broadened its support of the Wardens and suspended flights in favor of larger shipments of supplies via sea. The introduction of Ossorian and Acrean support for the Royalists resulted in fear that the supplies to the Wardens could potentially be targeted and a large naval fleet was assembled under the advice of General Alessandra Quintilian to defend the supply convoy. Task Force Aspis sailed from Andria in mid-October 1984 and consisted of GC-VII and SC-XI.

Cacerta's backing of the Wardens was later expanded to full military support beginning in December 1984 with the dispatch and later arrival of a carrier strike group to assist in an anticipated Warden offensive.

Quenmin

Tennai

Support for the Royalists

Acrea

Acrean Marines deployed to Syara in 1985.

Operation Tveegget, the codename for Acrean military support to the Syaran government in the event of a civil conflict, began in January 1984 in accordance with a mutual cooperation agreement between the government of the Republic of Syara and Acrea. Concerns over rising Warden nationalist ideology in Syara led Acrean officials to open back channel communications with Royalist aligned officials in 1979. Although traditionally adversaries due to Acrea's longstanding close relationship with and support for Ruvelka, both parties recognized the Wardens as a mutual threat; the Acreans assessed that the Wardens would heighten threats to Ruvelka and increase the risk of major war breaking out, while the Royalists feared the elimination of their political influence in Syara should the Wardens seize power. While discussions over potential strategies to suppress Warden ideology in Syara were ongoing throughout 1980, a contingency was formed in 1981 in the face of increasingly aggressive Warden rhetoric and increasing political instability in which Acrea would provide material and military support to the Royalists if military action became necessary to manage any Warden threats to the Royalist power base.

Mircevski's death and the subsequent outbreak of violence pushed the Acreans into deploying military support to assist and advise Royalist forces. Chancellor Wolfgang Matthes deployed an expeditionary force consisting of ground forces, aircraft, and a carrier battle group as part of Operation Tveegget. Although Acrean ground troops saw very little combat, as they were deployed primarily as a security force, RAAF and Navy aircraft conducted an intense and prolonged air campaign in support of the Royalists.

Ossoria

High King Nevan III quickly declared Ossorian support for the Royalists and initially offered to support their efforts with military supplies as well as logistical support. Over time, however, this support escalated and elements of the Eighth Fleet were deployed to expand Ossorian involvement in the conflict to providing air and naval support. Deploying units of the Royal Ossorian Army to Syara was occasionally discussed within the Chiefs of Staff Committee as well as with the wider Privy Council, but no such deployments occurred, though unconfirmed reports that elements of the Fianna, Ossorian special forces, were deployed to the conflict have persisted over the years.

Following the collapse of the Royalist cause in Syara, the Royal Families of Makedon and Galania and their supporters were evacuated to Ossoria aboard the carrier LR Tiomanta of the Second Fleet.

Ruvelka

Ruvelkan Support of the Royalists was restricted primarily to accepting and housing Royalist refugees displaced by the conflict. Both Chancellor Maia Sabauri and the majority of the Federal Assembly had no desire to involve the Imperial Armed Forces in Syara's civil conflict, given the tenuous relationship between the two states. Units of the Imperial Army and Territorial Defense Forces were deployed to the border to ensure the conflict didn't spill over into the Principality, but no shots were exchanged between the Wardens and the Ruvelkans.

Course of the War

The first incidents of armed combat between Warden and Royalist-aligned forces broke out across the various military installations of the Armed Forces of the Syaran Republic, which quickly dissolved as a unified fighting force as military personnel and formations picked sides. Approximately 50-60% of Syara's officer corps defected to the Royalists, while approximately 60-70% of all enlisted troops aligned with the Wardens. For much of the winter and spring of 1984 neither side was able to conduct a major unified operation owing to the still uncertain political environment and continued disintegration of the Republic. Interim President Robert Križan attempted to maintain the powers and responsibilities of the office of the Presidency, but with Zovahr in Royalist hands it was difficult to effectively organized political support across Syara. The Wardens relocated their effective "capital" to Slocova on the western coast, where Senator Saša Mlinarić made an official declaration that denounced the attempted Royalist Coup and called upon the international community to condemn the act.

International reactions varied by state and involved long time Syaran partners, historical adversaries, and otherwise unaffiliated nations. The governments of Acrea and Ossoria declared support for the Royalist cause and began coordinating support for the Royalists, which would later be escalated to military intervention and an air campaign against the Wardens. Syara's traditional rival Ruvelka declared its neutrality in the conflict, though would eventually provide minor support for the Royalists. Mansuriyyah would also provide limited support to the Royalists over the course of the conflict.

Æþurheim declared support for the Wardens and began providing large quantities of military hardware to assist the Warden armies. Tennai declared support for the Wardens in February of 1984 and began supplying intelligence, armaments, and aerial reconnaissance. Cacerta declared nominal political support for the Wardens, which gradually escalated into direct military involvement. Quenmin declared political support in November 1984, and later and later supplied arms for the Wardens beginning in February 1985.

A Royalist tank early in the war.

By March-April 1984 a rough "border" between the two sides had been established, with Warden control of Scitaria and Hayreniky while the Royalists held positions in Galania and Makedon. Despite some hopes for a peaceful resolution to the conflict, Royalist forces attempted to force a premature end to the fighting by seizing the Warden "capital" of Slocova. Despite successfully crossing the Vitmira River and capturing the city of Ghinnari, the Royalists were decisively defeated by the Wardens during the Battle of Slocova, ending Royalist hopes to squash the Wardens in their den. Defeat at Slocova was followed up by another Royalist defeat at Molochansk on the convergence of the Dulin River, preventing the Royalists from cutting off Slocova from the rest of Warden territory in Scitaria. Subsequent counter-attacks by the Wardens forced the Royalists to withdraw west towards Seredeyma and Ghinnari, eliminating the immediate threat to Slocova.

Despite the defeats, Field Marshal Hadjiev desired to keep the Wardens on the back foot and prevent them from counter-attacking into Makedon or Galania. Operation Branimir as it became known was focused on seizing control of the Jetika River, which if captured would cut off southern Scitaria from the Wardens and leave the city of Hrerodok on the South Dulin River exposed to Royalist attack. The Royalists managed to mobilized some 300,000 troops backed up by nearly 1,500 armored vehicles to support their offensive, opposed by some 400,000 more lightly armed Warden troops. Despite superiority in firepower, the Royalists were stopped outside Lerok and subsequent counterattacks by the Wardens along the southern and northern banks of Jetika rapidly unfurled the Royalist position; by the end of October 25,000 Royalist troops had been surrounded in Dymyzova and surrendered.

An elderly Syaran woman passed by a Warden soldier.

Both sides suspended major operations during the winter, in large part due to a need to rebuild and rearm their forces. The year had ended on a poor note for the Royalists, who despite holding advantages in equipment and firepower had been unable to achieve a significant battlefield success. The Wardens on the other hand were flushed with success, having successfully defeated two major Royalist offensives. Warden victories in 1984 were a major motivation for foreign powers to begin backing the Wardens, who would see an influx of supplies and armaments beginning in 1985.

1985

Beginning in 1985 the Royalist leadership was forced to reassess it's strategic posture. Having suffered three major defeats over the course of 1984, Field Marshal Hadjiev wanted to adopt a defensive posture across the Royalist forces. Hadjiev believed that, given that 70% of Syara's munitions and armament factories and production facilities were located in Makedon and Galania, the Royalists could "starve" the Wardens out of supplies and ammunition and achieve a victory through attrition despite the superior numbers of the Wardens.

A Royalist soldier in Scitaria.

The idea was not well received by King Savo of Makedon and King Dimitar of Galania. Savo cited a number of concerns, namely the fact that the Wardens controlled over two-thirds of Syara's coastline, including all of its deep water ports on the Nuadan Ocean. With Warden victories helping to galvanize international support, and many of the former vessels of the Navy of the Syaran Republic., a blockade of Warden-controlled ports seemed infeasible. Said concerns about Warden shortages of ammunition, fuel, and medical supplies proved to be resolved by material support from Æþurheim, Cacerta, Tennai, and Quenmin which began arriving in earnest in early 1985.

By late March the Warden armies had been re-supplied by their foreign backers and were prepared to go on the offensive. Between volunteers and conscription the Wardens fielded somewhere around one million men under arms, divided between Hayreniky and Scitaria. Linking these two forces was considered a major strategic goal of the Wardens, as it would allow for the transfer of forces and supplies across land while denying the Royalists the coast of Galania. The Wardens were further bolstered by the arrival of elements of the Cacertian Royal Navy, which had arrived in strength following the September 1984 general election.

Backed by Cacertian naval and air support, the Wardens began the Warden Coastal Offensive, a joint invasion of Royalist held Galania by two separate Warden armies out of Hayreniky and Scitaria, numbering around 400,000 men in total. Between March and June the Wardens successfully captured the cities of Kopvy, Fralont, Vyerzhany, and Zorad, driving the Royalists from the coast and seizing control of Syara's entire coastline with the Nuadan Ocean. The offensive had also placed Warden forces in good position to threaten Royalist positions north of the Thanor River, including the major cities of Koziativka, Myzova, and Cuprasi.

Warden troops march down a muddy road.

The offensive took the Royalists by surprise, namely the contributions by the Warden forces in Hayreniky. Despite the fervent nature of many pro-Warden Hayren, most Royalist planners had considered the Realm of Hayreniky, the least populated and poorest, to be of secondary concern to Scitaria, but the success of the Warden forces in Hayreniky caused Royalist leadership to re-assess its position. Recognizing the threat Warden forces south of the Thanor River posed to Royalist-controlled Galania, (and at the insistence of King Dimitar, who was growing increasingly concerned of Warden threats to the Galanian heartland), Royalist forces re-oriented towards Hayreniky.

Massing around 340,000 troops, the Royalists struck south in October 1985, crossing the South Thanor on 11 October and driving the Wardens back across the Komir River with the backing of Acrean and Ossorian air power. Unable to make much headway in eastern Hayreniky owing to the rugged terrain of the Matra Mountains, the Royalists focused on capturing the city of Dateva, the largest city in the region. Dateva was defended by 150,000 Wardens under the command of Keghart Pashian, who had refused orders to abandon the city and retreat to more defensible terrain, declaring "For us, there is no land beyond Dateva". While the Royalists surrounded and besieged the city by 22 October, and allied air power bombed the city, Pashian and Dateva refused to surrender. Images of the destruction caused by the Acrean, Ossorian, and Royalist bombardment of Dateva played poorly in the international media, leading to criticism and public protest against the siege. Despite outnumbering the Warden defenders, the Royalists were unable to break the siege, and by winter had been forced to settle into a loose perimeter around Dateva by 19 November.

Aided by fresh supplies from Cacerta and Tennai, and exploiting the rugged terrain of Hayreniky, the Wardens were able to deploy nearly 200,000 men to the region around Dateva throughout November and December. Warden forces were able to escape surveillance and observation by Royalist forces and their allies through night marches, elaborate deception efforts, and frequent misdirection attempts. At the same time, Warden forces in Scitaria mobilized for a drive against Royalist forces west of the Lazrim River, with the goal of recapturing Ghinnari and Seredyma. The operation, code-named Gabrijel was launched in the winter to take advantage of the poor weather's negative impact on Royalist air power, beginning on 27 December.

A Royalist convoy in Hayreniky.

In Hayreniky the Wardens rapidly broke the Royalist siege of Dateva, fulfilling Pashian's declaration that the city would not fall. Subsequent Warden operations continued to push the Royalists north, eventually reaching the banks of the Thanor River on 16 January and threatening Royalist positions in central Galania. Concurrently, Warden armies in Scitaria successfully launched to major operations, one north-east in the direction of Makedon and one directed against the city of Durova. Supported by the Cacertian 5th Guards Mechanized Division, the Wardens succeeded in capturing the city in the Battle of Durova. The victory allowed the Wardens to exercise complete control of the Malonrana River, while also threatening all Galania forces between the Vitmira, Amant, and Malonrama Rivers.

1986

By the end of Operation Gabrijel in early 1986, the Wardens had successfully made inroads into Galania while had largely pushed Royalist forces out of Scitaria. After months of heavy fighting and frequent defeats, Royalist leadership hoped to rest and refit their battered forces in preparation for another year of fighting. Through mass conscription across Galania and Makedon the Royalists were able to press nearly 2 million men into uniform, however at the same time the Warden armies surpassed more than three million men under arms. Of greater concern for the Royalist was the increased complexity and sophistication of Warden operations, previously an area in which the Royalists had enjoyed superiority.

In a meeting between Royalist leadership and Acrean and Ossorian liaisons on 16 March 1986, Field Marshal Hadjiev outlined his plan for a reversal of Royalist fortunes. Rather than attempt a direct drive at either Slocova or Dateva, the two centers of Warden command and control, Hadjiev proposed an offensive aimed at southern Scitaria with the aim of capturing Moddra, a major point of supply for the Wardens. With Moddra in Royalist hands, the Royalists could then proceed in both the north and south against Warden holdings in Scitaria and Galania, separating them into two forces again. It was hoped that a decisive victory at Moddra would not only reinforce the flagging morale of the Royalist armies, but also position Royalist forces to threaten Cacertian naval forces operating off the Scitarian coast.

Warden soldiers near Zorad.

Before any Royalist offensive could be launched however, the Wardens unleashed a sudden invasion of Galania on 18 April 1986. With nearly a million troops involved, the invasion was the largest operation of the war and involved three Warden armies converging on Royalist forces in central Galania. The first major push came from Warden forces south of the Thanor, who broke through Royalist lines along the South Thanor and within a few days had reached Valadubice. Another drive across the Amant River positioned Warden forces around Koziativka, while the third offensive against Royalist forces around and south of Drobeland resulted in Royalist troops retreating back across the Vitmira.

Reeling from the unexpected offensive, the Royalists pulled back east of the Vitmira, hoping to anchor their southern flank by holding the city of Myzova. Myzova was of particular importance for both sides, as it connected the main Galanian road and rail networks which ran north into Makedon. A Warden capture of Myzova would give the Wardens a straight shot into southern Makedon, threatening the entire Royalist homeland. Both sides rapidly poured in troops to the region, with Warden armies assembling along the banks of the Thanor while Royalist troops racing along the Tavrita-Myzova highway to reinforce their defensive positions along the city's outer limits.

Supported by Acrean and Ossorian air support, the Royalists were able to reverse the first three Warden assaults on Myzova, repulsing the attacks while inflicting heavy losses on the attackers between 3-7 May. By the 10th however increasing Warden pressure began to crack the Royalist defenses, and by 18 May much of the city was in Warden hands. Hoping to avoid a complete encirclement, the Royalists ordered a belated withdrawal, but many troops were unable to escape before the Wardens closed off the highway, resulting in heavy losses among the Royalists.

Warden troops in Myzova.

The loss of Myzova, coupled with Warden advances in Galania, effectively marked the end of Royalist aspirations for a victory. Sensing the impending defeat, many Royalist allies began withdrawing their support and their forces, with the Royalist armies themselves began withdrawing to new defensive lines across Galania and Makedon. Hopes for a stalwart defense that might bleed the Wardens white were dashed by Warden offensives across Lazrim River in the north, allowing Warden troops to enter Makedon for the first time in the war in a significant capacity.

Despite the immense success in the spring and summer, the remainder of 1986 was largely absent of major operations due to the costly fighting in Galania. By the winter the Royalists had reformed their defenses along Cuprasi, Tavrita, and Kedziebryzch in Galania, while the Vitmira River in Makedon formed the northern salient. With nearly three-quarters of Syara under Warden control, Royalist morale and motivation plummeted.

1987

An unexpectedly harsh winter meant for the first time since 1984 there were no major offensives during the months of December through February. Having established themselves in the superior position and victory close at hand, Warden leadership led by Saša Mlinarić hoped to avoid unnecessary damage to Syaran infrastructure; speaking to Warden officers in Slocova on 21 March, he stressed "Everything we destroy now is another thing we will have to rebuild later". Unlike their previous campaigns, major Warden operations during 1987 would be defined by smaller scale and lower-intensity.

In the Royalist camp, defections began to mount throughout January-March, resulting in the loss of nearly 150,000 troops. Relocation of the Galanian Royal Family, first to Zovahr then to Sena, was followed shortly thereafter by the Zelusian Dynasty. King Savo made a series of final rounds through the Royalist lines in March and April hoping to stir up support and motivation, but found many Royalist troops to be burdened with a seemingly hopeless situation.

A Warden machine gunner fires on Royalist troops.

In April the Wardens crossed the Vitmira River and captured Kona, following by Buchet and Nemyta the following month. Despite a surprisingly spirited defense of Tavrita by the Royalists, the city fell to the Wardens in May and Cuprasi surrendered three weeks later. Rather than risk being isolated, the Royalists abandoned Kedziebrzych and withdrew to Tomakow and Zildejov. In July the Wardens entered Zovahr in triumph; the city was abandoned by the Royalists and was therefore spared significant damage. With the fall of Bolevy and Parjov the same month, the Royalists attempted to reform their lines along the Xhemal River, ceding most of Galania save for Zildejov and Tomakow.

With foreign support quickly drying up and the increasing number of Warden-allied aircraft, the Royalists were unable to prevent the fall of Korzhany as the Wardens began moving along the Makedonian coast. On September 2nd the Wardens assaulted Tomakow. Royalist reinforcements rushed to defend the city, but by the 8th it was in Warden hands. As desertions became rampant, the only saving grace for the Royalists was a momentary reprieve caused by heavy rains in late September that temporarily halted the Warden advance. When they resumed the offensive on 1 October, the Wardens reached Zildejov and Patom, prompting the Royal Families to evacuate aboard the LR Tiomanta of the Ossorian Second Fleet the next day. The remaining Royalist forces requested a ceasefire to discuss terms of surrender, which was signed on 4 October at Zildejov, signaling the end of the war.

Aftermath

Legacy