Continental War

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Continental War
Part of the Volatile Century
Cn.jpg
Clockwise from top: TBA
Date 2 October 1917 - 10 March 1923
(5 years, 5 months, 1 week and 1 day)
Location Eastern and Central Nordania
Result Entente victory
Treaty of Asgård
Belligerents
Concorde

 Ambrose
CradebetianWikiFlag.png Cradebetia
Naval Jack of Bulgaria.svg Lothican State

Entente

 Jorland and Lothican
Wosrac23.png Wosrac
 Vasturia (1918-1923)
 Eibenland
 Vestmannaland
 Northumbria (1921-1923)

Commanders and leaders
Ambrose George Lyall Ward

Ambrose Anselm Sproat
Ambrose Ebenezer Palfrey
Ambrose Alexander Baird
Ambrose Cantwine Beatty Wood
Naval Jack of Bulgaria.svg Edmund Dewar others

Arkiasis Daniel Odell

Crethia A. A. Leslie
Vjaarland Erik Jespersen
Vjaarland Olaf Grønkjaer
Vjaarland Magnus Halvorsen
others

Strength
Austrosia 9,367,000
Ambrose 1,435,000
many dudes
Vjaarland 7,226,000
like seriously many dudes
Casualties and losses
Austrosia 1,624,000
Ambrose 1,095,000
lots lol
Vjaarland 445,000
probably less

The Continental War, also known in some countries as the Great Disaster, was a regional war in Esquarium that was fought from from 2 October 1917 to 10 March 1923. Fought predominantly on the Váli Peninsula of Nordania, it is considered one of the largest and deadliest wars in ever seen in Esquarium. Particularly devastated was Ambrose, which suffered a catastrophic defeat that destroyed the Ambrosian economy and caused a demographic catastrophe, all but ending its status as a great power. It was fought between two major power blocs - the Entente Powers (which eventually grew to consist of Vasturia, Jorland and Lothican, Wosrac, Eibenland, and [[Vestmannaland]) and the Concorde Powers, consisting of Ambrose, Cradebetia, and several puppet states. A conflict that saw one of the largest casualty rates in recorded history, it was marked by several tactical and technological innovations, as well as the widespread advent of trench warfare.

The war was sparked by the Farrcahar Bridge Incident on the Ambro-Vasturian border. However, it was the result of decades of rising international tensions and militarization stemming back to the end of the Great War of the North in 1867, exacerbated by economic troubles and the subsequent rise of nationalist influence within Nordanian politics. Naval arms races and the complicated alliance system, highlighted by the "Northumbrian Crisis," led to a situation which culminated in a series of diplomatic crises in mid-to-late-1917.

more stuff that other people can write

Background

Rising nationalism

Rudolf fon Waldriche, an Austrosian statesman among those politicians blamed for the war

Nordania had been in a state of peace since the near-collapse of the First Vjaarlandic Empire following the conclusion of the Great War of the North in 1879. The Congress of Dundalgan had virtually redrawn the map of Nordania, greatly shifting the balance of power in the Váli Peninsula from the Vjaarlandic west to the Teutonian-speaking center, dominated by the Archduchy of Austrosia and the Teutonic Empire. The peace, however, was fragile, especially due to the rise of nationalist sentiment across the continent coupled with a deteriorating geopolitical situation. The Seewalter stock market crash of 1909 caused much regional disarray, devastating Nordanian economies. As a result of what many perceived as a weak government response to the ensuing panic, radical factions gained influence in politics. Several of these, such as the Ambrosian Nonpartisan League and Rudolf fon Waldriche's National Salvation League in Austrosia, sought to offset this by introducing autarkic and protectionist policies and also by increasing defense spending through expanded militaries. Some of these radicals, who were also ideological nationalists, advocated an immediate seizure of foreign industry and raw material reserves of neighboring states as a way to alleviate the economic situation. Although the financial crisis had largely abated by the mid-1910s, by this point many of these organizations had gained considerable influence in government.

Alliance system

The period leading up to the breakout of war also saw the formation of a vast alliance system in the Váli. Following the Great War of the North, the Coalition and the Grand Alliance both fragmented into internal divisions. Teutonia and Austrosia were left estranged from their fellow victors in 1879 due to profound dissatisfaction with a perceived lack of rightful gains in the Congress of Dundalgan. Following the 1909 crash, Waldriche was appointed Austrosian Minister-Chancellor and helped renew the alliance with Teutonia, succeeding in part because of Karl Franz's marriage to Teutonian princess Anna Elisabeth. Fearing potential Crethian ambitions in the Northumberland region, Ambrose's Nonpartisan League, who made up a large plurality of the House of Burgesses, pressured President George Lyall Ward into signing a defensive alliance pact with Waldriche, creating an alliance system known as the Concorde.

Despite success on their front during the previous conflict, the Grand Alliance's defeat caused Lyonsland to abandon significant association with many of its previous allies, with the exception of Arkiasis, who had proven their military prowess in the Nevan-Arkiasian War of 1899-1901. Unlike the other powers, Tannemark-Rhaeta had enjoyed a relatively long period of peace since the Tannemark Revolution. While the ruling establishment aspired to great power status, it was not interested in territorial aggrandisement and preferred to increase its influence by developing the dual monarchy's industrial power in the midst of the industrial revolution. Nevertheless, it felt increasingly threatened by what it perceived to be the expansionist ambitions of its neighbours, Teutonia and Alemannia, and sought an alliance with Lyonsland and its allies in order to maintain the local balance of power. This faction also pursued friendly relationships with Crethia, particularly Lyonsland, who saw it as a buffer state to both Ambrose and Austrosia. By the outbreak of war in 1917, this coalition had become known as the Entente.

Competing spheres of influence

The different great powers, concerned with the security of both their homelands and their overseas empires, sought to create spheres of influence for both themselves and their allies. Due to the alliance system, these spheres, once managed by adept political maneuvering, were now often being brought into conflict with one another. The Northumberland, a historically-troubled region of Ambrose that shared more linguistic and cultural ties to Germanic western Nordania than to English-speaking Ambrose, was a source of contention between the two power blocs because of perceived Crethian and Lyonese interference. Lyonsland was also in conflict with Teutonia over the territories of Hofsbrine and Mittesburg, which had gained nominal independence from Teutonia since 1879 as Lyonese protectorates. Teutonia maintained that these two regions were integral parts of the Empire, while Lyonsland attempted to assert further control. Vjaarland was brought into conflict with Austrosia and later Ambrose over the ownership of Hyperborean shipping routes, which it maintained were under Vjaarlandic sovereignty as they were important for communication with its colonies in Nautasia, particularly Mburiland and Kinzerdal. Although there were occasional flare-ups, in all of these situations great care was taken not to antagonize the opposing powers, making violence rare and keeping the continent at an uneasy peace.

Militarization

The Ambrosian Hyperborean Squadron in harbor, 1915.

As a result of the tension between these two influential blocs, nearly all major powers turned to deficit spending on their defense budgets as a solution to the economic crisis. This had escalated into an all out arms race in the Váli by 1915. Militaries were built up, conscription wa expanded, and complex mobilization systems were developed, some based off of extensive pre-existing rail networks such as Ambrose and Tannemark. Several nations, particularly Ambrose and Arkiasis, built up powerful modern navies, with Ambrose developing advanced diesel-powered ice-breakers that gave them power in the Hyperborean Sea. This was matched only by the large Austrosian Navy and the navy of non-aligned Vjaarland; the lack of an effective Entente presence in the Hyperborean was a matter of deep concern the Crethian War Ministry. Waldriche in Austrosia was also heavily modernizing the Archduchy's army, however, it remained inexperienced in conventional tactics, the same could be said of the Ambrosian Confederal Army, which continued to be drilled in 1870s tactics. Because of this, only Teutonia, Vjaarland, and Lyonsland had large, well-trained armies in early 1917.

Prelude

  • Karl Franz signs alliance with Teutonia bc wives suck
  • Tensions over Hofsbrine-Mittesburg reach head
  • Alemannia tries to join Entente, Concorde worries this will upset regional balance of power
  • Teutonia sees cassus belli, declares war

Following the Teutonian declaration of war against Lyonsland and Alemannia, many within the Crethian Parliament began to express their concerns over the situation. It soon became apparent that an invasion of Lyonsland was being prepared as Teutonia and Austrosia moved a significant number of soldiers to the Lyonese border. Both Austrosia and Ambrose began to move divisions to the Crethian border. Tom Kennetsen (PKR), the Leader of the Opposition, called on President A.A. Leslie to mobilize the Crethian army in order to mount a defense of the country. However, Prime Minister Duncan Fergusen (Liberal) insisted that the peace would hold. During a confrontation with Kennetsen in Parliament, Fergusen infamously said that “my diplomatic efforts are like no other, and the peace will hold. Our sovereignty will be respected, our diplomats work tirelessly to ensure this”. The Prime Minister threatened to resign if the President moved to mobilize the army. As the political crisis unraveled, Crethia was left without a tangible defense.

Course of the War

1917

General Alexander Baird entering Crethia on 8 October
  • Austrosia, Teutonia invade Lyonsland

Meanwhile, in line with the X Plan formulated by the two in 1885, forces of the Austrosian eastern army name and the Ambrosian Army Group South, led by veteran soldier General Alexander Baird, drove to cut Crethia in two, with the objective of swiftly occupying the country and assisting in the Teutonian invasion of Lyonsland. With the political crisis forcing the Crethian government to a gridlock, the Ambrosian and Austrosian armies were met with little resistance following their invasion of Crethia, which began on 7 October. The Concorde officially declared war on Crethia before the invasion, forcing Prime Minister Fergusen to resign. Soon after, President Leslie invoked the emergency powers of his office and mobilized the army. With the army unprepared to mount a defense of the country, the Crethian high command instead prepared a defensive line in the middle of the country in order to protect the capital and the population centers in the south. Despite pleas from President Leslie, Lyonsland was unable to send troops to Crethia to help defend the country as the Lyonese were forced to commit most of their troops to defending against the Teutons. By 10 October, Baird's corps had swept through the majority of the the Crethian provinces of Kintail and Søborg were occupied by the Concorde powers. The army had managed to defend the mouth of the River Hvid and Angulborg, the provincial capital of Søborg, preventing a full link up between the Austrosian and Ambrosian armies.

The Crethian Navy, which was stationed in Angulborg, was small in comparison to the navies of its adversaries. As the Ambrosian Navy approached Angulborg, which was to be bombarded until it surrendered, the Crethian Navy quickly sent its single battleship, the KFS Cameron to confront the Ambrosian fleet. This was done in order to delay the Ambrosian Fleet and allow the Crethians to scuttle the rest of their fleet in the River Hvid. The Cameron took significant damage during the Battle of Dontopmøde on 10 October and was eventually sunk. However, the Crethians had managed to successfully scuttle the rest of their small fleet and clog up the River Hvid, buying them time to prepare the defense of the south of the country. Without the support of the river boats, the inland advance of the Ambrosian and Austrosian armies was significantly delayed. Pockets of resistance from the Crethian Army remained throughout the north of the country, as the army hid in its river forts.

1918

  • Ambrose-Austrosia link up, cutting off Crethian access to Hyperborean
    • Franc-tireurs in Søborg/Kintail
    • General staff gets spooked, pulls back troops from front lines to deal with insurrection
  • Trench warfare (after passing Crethia's northern rocky terrain) lol
    • Austrosia uses chemical weapons
  • Infringements against Vjaarish whalers in the Hyperborean Ocean by the Ambrosian navy brings Vjaarland into war
    • Launches separate offensive against Austrosia and Teutonia

1919

  • Aerial and Naval bombing of Arkiasian cities by Concorde powers (with blimps and such)
    • Major industrial centres (Aspatria and Conneaut) destroyed, lots of civilian casualties
  • Ambrose tries to break deadlock by offensive turning east into Arkiasis
    • General staff puts almost everything they have into that push
    • Initially get a good ways south along the coastal region
    • After a few weeks the front lines utterly collapse
    • Three months in we're back where we started

1921

  • Crethian offensive links up with franc-tireurs, which in turn pass along weapons to Northumbrian nationalists
    • Oh, did we mention Northumbrians hate Ambrose?
    • And now Ambrose is dealing with a full-scale insurrection
  • Alemannia sues for peace, 11 November, 1921, signs Treaty of Attergau
    • Teutonia gained control of the provinces of Gotania and Wallia
    • Ambrose and Austrosia both gain concession ports.

1922

  • Karl Franz want to pull out of the war and gets couped by Waldriche
    • Regency is established is formed, little political change from the previous de facto military dictatorship
    • The move, although symbolic, proves to be unpopular especially with the elites, and the regime doesn't inherit all the support the archduchy had.
    • Unrest over conscription and rationing reaches dangerous levels, and the government resorts to the use of force
  • Last-ditch Austrosian offensive is launched under the command of General Siegfried Sassenhart in an attempt to break the stalemate and force the entente power to negotiate peace terms favourable to Austrosia
    • The heavy-handed operation succeeds in breaking enemy lines but at the cost of significant loss of life
    • Beginning of the Austrosian revolution
    • Complete collapse of the front line as many units are called back to deal with the insurrection
    • Remaining forces start to requisition more and more from occupation zone civilians to get food because supply lines fell apart too
  • Austrosia signs peace treaty in November 1922

1923

An Ambrosian mutineer being executed by firing squad. In the chaotic retreat in early 1922, kangaroo courts and summary executions were both commonplace.

With the withdrawal of Austrosia, Ambrose was fighting alone on the northern front, rapidly retreating across Crethia back to the security provided by the pre-war Ledlie Line defensive emplacements along the Ambrosian border. Ambrose, which by now was nearly bankrupt from financing the conflict, was faced with severe manpower shortages and a military class that was increasingly disillusioned with the civilian government. Going against the wishes of President Ward, the Army General Staff, hoping to give a the Entente armies a sound defeat to bring them to the negotiating table, ordered the First and Second Army Groups to make a stand outside the village of placename. However, the vast majority of the soldiers, who had believed that peace was imminent, saw the order as suicide and refused to carry it out. From 10 January 1923, elements of twelve different divisions refused their orders to attack, prompting even more panic amongst the General Staff as the Entente armies neared, fearing that any attack would easily break through the lines of the mutinying troops.

A Mark IV tank commandeered by syndicalist mutineers, still in Federal Army uniform

As the Austrosian Revolution continued, several Ambrosian radicals, the activities of which had previously been significantly suppressed prior to the war, saw the opportunity to end the war and overthrow the republic. A number of anarchist and syndicalist agitators crossed the Austrosian border (which had been closed by December 1922) and were trained by the revolutionaries, and returned after a brief stint of combat. In the third week of the mutinies, violence occurred in which forty mutineers were killed. Once the news leaked to the press, the public was outraged, and the Syndicalist Party took this opportunity to declare the Ambrosian Republic of Free Trade Unions, calling workers into the streets. The Black Revolution further crippled the Ambrosian defense, and despite a refusal to remove troops from the front lines to deal with the insurrection, an Entente offensive on 21 February decimated what was left of the Ambrosian army, pushing the few remaining reserves past the Crethian border, at the same time allowing the Entente access to the Hyperborean for the first time in four years.

After reaching the border, Entente forces stopped, as it was obvious that the Ambrosian army in the north and the Teutonian army in the south were incapable of undertaking any offensive movements. On the Northern Front, with increased pressure from Ward's embattled government, General Townsend signed a ceasefire with General X in the Ambrosian border town of Bollworth, followed by a ceasefire on southern front signed near the city of X by the Teutonians the following day, bringing the fighting to an end. A month later, representatives of both the Entente and Concorde powers met in Vjaarland's capital of Strandhavn to bring a formal end to the war. The Strandhavn Peace Conference TBC

  • Entente = victors

Aftermath

  • Versailles but not that harsh but still pretty harsh
    • Northumbria separates
    • Lyonsland gets Teutonic-speaking province
  • Austrosian revolution goes on for two more years, end with a syndicalist victory
  • Nurcan Taylan in Ankoren takes opportunity to launch Ankoreni Revolutionary War
  • War reparations
    • Austrosia nominally agrees to pay but is not really willing to and cannot afford to either
      • Don't expect to get a single penny from the Syndicalists
    • Teutonia doesn't do much either
    • Guess who's left to pay everything
      • Continuous reparations responsible for continued economic crises in Ambrose throughout 20th century, eventually ended with Anopha Accords