Fourth Brush War

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Fourth Brush War
4Brush War.jpg
ArKav forces recapture Fort Nijmegen near the beginning of the war.
Date 26th October 2016 - Present
Location Sheera (Kavo)
Result Conflict is ongoing.
Belligerents
Sheeran Union

 Sheera (18th January 2017 - Onwards)

Supported by:

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SUSa
Army of Kavo

 Kavo (Until 18th January 2017)
 ArKav (18th January 2017 - Onwards) Supported by:
Various White Militias

PRA

 Araabyne (18th January 2017 - Onwards)
Supported by:
Various White Militias

Commanders and leaders
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/ Sheera
Kavo/ ArKav
 Araabyne
Strength
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122,000+
Sheera 355,000
Kavo/Kavo#Military 220,000
Araabyne 62,000
Casualties and losses
Military dead
68,000
Military wounded
22,500
Military missing
3,250
Total
93,750 KIA, WIA or MIA
Military dead
16,500
Military wounded
20,250
Military missing
7,100
Total
43,850 KIA, WIA, or MIA
Military dead
150
Military wounded
2,200
Military missing
120
Total
2,470 KIA, WIA, or MIA
*Marcus van der Veld was ousted from power in Kavo and subsequently established the PRA.

+These forces were folded into the Sheeran military upon its founding, thus the overall total is 355,000.

The Fourth Brush War is an ongoing conflict which is taking place in the disputed territories of Sheera (Kavo). Defined as both a civil war and an ethnic conflict, the Fourth Brush War started on 26th October 2016 when the armed guerrillas and paramilitary forces of the outlawed pro-Black Arabekhi political faction SUSa, crossed over the southern border of what was at the time the collapsed state of Aramatheria, into territory claimed by ArKav as part of the Commonwealth of Kavo. In January 2017 the conflict escalated and entered a second phase after Marcus van der Veld was ousted as President of Kavo and fled south to form the Provisional Republic of the Araabyne; this coup d'etat brought an end to the Commonwealth of Kavo, and resulted in the proclamation of the People's Democratic Republic of Sheera in Lanchester, by SUSa on the 19th January. The territory which made up Kavo is now claimed in its entirety by Sheera and partially by the PRA, while ArKav forces continue to fight to restore the Commonwealth under the command of military dictator Richard Dawkins.

The war has its roots in the Apartheid regime which ruled over Kavo from Port Arthur and the Black Arabekhi freedom movement; the territory had come under the control of ArKav in 1958 after the former local government issued UDI and used the colonial military and local white militias to seize control of the former colonies. In doing so the Kavoene state was born, which would be ruled by a white minority government from 1958 up until its collapse in early 2017. Disputes between the white minority government and black independence and anti-Apartheid groups broke out immediately and shortly after the UDI was issued the Third Brush War began, which would last from 1958 until 1980, when ArKav defeated the armed branches of the various black independence movements and forced them into hiding. This defeat of these groups, which included SUSa, did not bring an end to their activities and after an extended period during which the built up their military capabilities and infrastructure SUSa moved back into Kavo from the north.

During the early stages of the conflict the situation was very one sided, with Kavoene forces, supported by a modern air force and tanks, achieving numerous victories and expelling SUSa from captured areas; by December 2016 SUSa's military capability within southern and central Kavo had been eliminated. However, a series of economic sanctions including trade embargoes by nations including Aquidneck, Glanodel, Midrasia, Oserland, tir Lhaeraidd, and Ternca crippled the Kavoene economy and supply chain, resulting in dire shortages of fuel and heavy munitions which grounded much of its air force and rendered its tanks and artillery largely useless. By January 2017 the tide had turned against Kavo resulting in the Port Arthur Coup d'Etat, on the 18th, which in turn triggered the collapse of Kavo as a state.

History

Colonial Background

In 1857 Lieutenant-Colonel Julian Vogens of the Aquidish North Arabekh Company arrived in on the coast of Sheera with a force of two thousand infantry and one hundred cavalry as well as two batteries of gallop artillery to establish the trading post of Port Arthur for the exploitation of the local populations and resources. With its rich supply of ivory, copper, iron, tin, gold, and coal the region was and ideal site for trade with the NAC bringing in metal tools and textiles to trade with the native peoples. Initially the trading post co-existed peacefully with the peoples of Sheera, however after foreign powers started to broker treaties with the surrounding natives, threatening trade, Lt-Col. Vogens was ordered to take a sizeable portion of his military force and take the Sheeran city of Ur several miles north; Ur was the seat of the Shuhuntu King and the centre of their society.

Ur fell with shocking rapidity and the Sheeran royal family was exterminated; a series of efforts by Shuhuntu, Ashimi, and Zuhal tribes to regain control of the land caused the NAC to increase its commitment within the region, until eventually in 1863 there were some ten thousand NAC soldiers deployed there marching in various directions. By 1866 all of the major tribes had been subjugated by Vogens' command prompting the ANAC to seek a formal charter of colonisation from the government which was ratified in 1867. A brief revolt by the Dhwente tribes of the coastal regions served as the catalyst for the cementing of colonial authority in the newly formed Colonies of Kavo and Araabyne; the extermination of the Dhwente people by the ANAC's naval forces and soldiers was one of the region's largest examples of colonial genocide and built the foundation of fear and subjugation upon which colonial control would be established.

The extermination of the Dhwente led to the mass migration of Asuran and Rohstian colonists into the twin colonies and several new settlements were established throughout the land around strategically important positions or locations where valuable resources had been located. In 1890 the ANAC was declared bankrupt and subsequently the control of the colonies fell to the government who, in order to pay the ANAC's debts sold vast tracts of land to various mining and farming interests; this move further increased the number of white settlers moving into the colonies and provided the basis for the development of the colony as an industrial centre in its own right. The discovery of oil in 1887 further fuelled white migration and made the colonies economically significant at a stroke, however by this time the long term white inhabitants of Kavo and Araabyne had developed their own culture and with the adoption of the Araabyner language they came to resent future white settlers as interlopers.

Rise of Araabyner Nationalism

In 1893 the local Araabyner rose up in protest against the mass settlement of white Asurans into their lands; arming themselves with locally produced firearms and equipment they initiated the First Brush War against the colonial government seeking for themselves independence. After a brief campaign which resulted in the capture of Port Arthur, Fort Hamill, and Lanchester, the three major seats of colonial power in Kavo and Araabyne, the Araabyner proclaimed the Araabyne Free State (Araabyne-Vrijstaat). The Port Arthur Accords saw the Free State gain recognition from its former colonial master, however their independence was short lived and in 1896 under the pretext of security during the Great War the Second Brush War was declared. The Free State was invaded from the sea with the seizure of Port Arthur, Port David, and Port Michael; this early denial of the major trading ports crippled the Free State's ability to supply and fund itself, however despite lacking the means to supply a regular army Araabyner militias known as the Commandos and Voortrekkers formed to resist the invasion. The Second Brush War would last for fifteen years until the Free State was forced to surrender at Fort Haber following the extensive use of internment camps and fortified block houses by the colonial military.

Following the defeat of the Free State in 1911 the Araabyner whites were stripped of their power and though allowed to return to their farms and businesses they would be excluded from the governance of the colonies until independence was declared in 1958. Small scale efforts to rebuild the Free State were made throughout the following three decades, but all failed to gain popular support; that said it was widely recognised that Araabyner nationalism remained a powerful force within the colonies and increasing numbers of white Asuran settlers came to identify with the subjugated culture, as a result when the UDI was issued in 1958 the government identified itself more with the Araabyner culture than that of the increasingly ostracised white Asuran settler culture which had previously dominated the colonial government. In 1949 in an effort to retain some degree of control over an increasingly prosperous and economically independent colony the twin colonies were merged in the Colony of Kavo and the Araabyne Coast; with large Nuwe-Araabyner influence in the region and well ordered police forces controlled by Araabyner appointees the colony gained Responsible Government in 1952. A growing surge of democracy globally throughout the period between 1939 and 1970 gave rise to increasingly ardent calls from among the Shuhuntu, Ashimi, and Zuhal peoples of Kavo to turn away from the white minority rule and open up the elective franchise; early scepticism by the Aquidish government was eventually turned into resignation when it became clear that a costly war would need to be fought in order to maintain the status quo. Thus in 1957 the Aquidish government declared that it would be transferring control of the colony over to a government elected by an open franchise in 1958; the response was swift, with numerous government bodies and officials within the colony calling on the colonial government to abandon the plan and set back the date of transfer. However with the prospect of a costly war on the horizon, as well as a strong belief in the patriotism of the white settlers in Kavo, the government was convinced that no ill could come of forcing majority rule upon Kavo.

The UDI

In March 1958 the Home Office, Foreign Office, Police, and Militia Office of Kavo held an open conference which included hundreds of local representatives from Araabyner communities as well a senior civil servants, military officers, and even the Chief Minister in Port Arthur. At this conference the gathered delegates agreed to issue an ultimatum to the government and Governor that sovereignty of the newly independent nation of Kavo be handed over to them; a twenty eight page document was signed and sent to the homeland to this effect, but was firmly rejected. Numerous further attempts to negotiate a settlement were made, during which time the conference attendees organised themselves into something more closely resembling an organised government; finally on 29th August 1958 the Aquidish government issued its final refusal and ordered the dissenting parties to disband. Four days later the Conference, now referring to itself as the Government of the Republic of Kavo, issued a UDI and took control of the government of Kavo. The transfer of power was relatively smooth as the vast majority of senior government officials, police, and military officers were a part of the Conference; however the Governor had to be forcibly expelled from his residence and deported.

Third Brush War (1958-1980)

Immediately following the UDI the four major pro-democracy and pro-independence movements declared a state of war on the new Republic of Kavo, each proclaiming itself to be the just and legitimate government of Kavo; these movements coalesced into the Pan-Sheera Alliance (P-SA), the Socialist Union of Sheera (SUSa), the Ashimi Independent Front (AIF), and the Zuhal Alliance for a Free Arabekh (ZAfaFA). The P-SA started to seize control of key sugar and cotton producing regions, encouraging the black inhabitants to join their cause in a peaceful way; however P-SA was the only peaceful independence movement and while this meant that they were spared being declared as 'dangerous rebel elements' like the other three it resulted in their early collapse after the Army of Kavo (ArKav) under the command of Colonel Arman de Wet retook the lost plantations in a sweeping police action. The bulk of P-SA's supporters fled either south to join up with one of the other groups, or across the border into refugee camps. SUSa was the first group to initiate armed resistance to the Port Arthur regime, with a series of guerrilla raids against white farmers and settlements within the western and central regions of the country. ArKav force responded in force with airstrikes and helicopter mounted assaults on SUSa compounds, forcing the rebels to retreat further and further into the deep brush and jungle of the interior. It is unclear when the first atrocities commenced and by whom they were first perpetrated, however as the conflict spread so too did the stories of wholesale slaughter, torture, and rape. The war between SUSa and ArKav was brutal with SUSa forced to rely upon makeshift weapons and tactics while the ArKav took what was described in foreign media as a 'devil may care approach to jungle warfare' with flamethrowers and incendiary bombardments commonplace. A deadly back and forth would continue between SUSa and ArKav for the next two decades, until ArKav finally located an destroyed the 'nerve centre' of SUSa's operations at a location known at the time as Ant Hill; in a well reported and televised battle which took two weeks ArKav forces broke into the complex of tunnels and bunkers at Ant Hill and systematically put the entire place to the torch, killing thousands and taking many more prisoner.

While the war between ArKav and SUSa was isolated within the west and centre of the country the conflict between AIF, ZAfaFA, and ArKav was anything but; both the AIF and ZAfaFA were well supplied and trained and capable of great mobility, and both shared a mutual hatred which resulted in a bloody three way war throughout the rest of the country. At first ArKav tried to pinpoint the enemy positions and eliminate them with precision and force, however when it became clear that the AIF and ZAfaFA were too well organised to fall so easily a significant rethink in strategy took place. In 1968 on the anniversary of the UDI General Richard Thomson announced that ArKav forces would now be engaging only in defensive operations around key economic and populated areas. The result of this policy was a sudden and drastic drop in ArKav casualties, while the AIF and ZAfaFA continued to suffer from horrific attrition rates as they fought each other and ArKav's well prepared defensive positions. By late 1969 the second phase of the Thomson Plan was put into effect, small elite units started to penetrate deep into AIF territory and struck at supply dumps and command centres, effectively crippling their ability to operate as a cohesive fighting force, causing ZAfaFA to gain ground rapidly against them.

By weakening the AIF in specific areas ArKav were able to predict where ZAfaFA forces would be advancing and would then launch brutal air and artillery strikes against them. The Thomson Plan was widely successful and left both the AIF and ZAfaFA weakened and unable to pose a real military threat. However for all their success on the battlefield ArKav were unable to strike a decisive blow against the rebel forces during this period, and the result was that a series of raids and terror attacks throughout ArKav held areas would shake the newly formed nation's morale. Under ever increasing demands to end the violence ArKav seized power over the government in a coup in 1976 and installed Andrew Dalton, a retired navy Captain, as President; with absolute power over the nation and itself defence under Dalton ArKav embarked upon the 'Desolation Policy'. The unrestricted use of incendiary weapons was authorised and suddenly where before flamethrowers and incendiaries had been used only as a defoliant, they were now authorised as a means to strike directly at the enemy. ArKav laid waste to hundreds of miles of jungle and farmland as they swept through AIF and ZAfaFA held territories.

Unable to sustain their military movement and with increasingly harsh reprisals being enacted against captured soldiers and their families both the AIF and ZAfaFA were forced into surrender with the leaders finally brought together in 1980 to sign the Fort Anders Accord which restored peace to the region and signalled the end of the Third Brush War.

Aftermath of the Third Brush War

Armed conflict between the black movements and the Kavoene government had ceased, however the leaders of these groups continued to operate in exile overseas as activists and resistance leaders. While laws in Kavo became more favourable to the black majority than they had been the democratic franchise was still elusive and a major point of contention; black leaders such as Dr Truman Kumbukani travelled widely with support from various governments, giving lectures and lobbying governments. In this sense the Third Brush War never ended as numerous activists, some using quite violent means, continued to operate on a much more subversive level.

The break up of armed resistance to the white government deflated the morale of the black majority and left them feeling defeated. For many years after the peace various armed uprising attempts came and went, each failing to achieve popular support among the black community, who feared that they were doomed to failure or that the reprisals against them would be severe. This defeatist sentiment allowed the white minority government to focus upon economic development, and also resulted in a political lethargy with regards to the issue of ethnic conflict in Kavo, and while restrictions of black citizens were slowly lifted in a civil sense this failed to address the most critical issues within the country.

The constitution of Kavo specifically stated the intention to move towards equitable government when the black population were "...ready to undertake that burden..." a fact which subdued and appeased many black activists; however thirty years after the conclusion of the war, with no tangible moves towards this eventuality occurring the growing sentiment became one of aggressive nationalism.

Causes

The primary cause of the Fourth Brush war was the white minority government's continued lethargy with regards to the constitutionally mandated move towards majority rule. The Kavoene constitutional amendments in 1976 stated specifically that the goal of the government and state was to develop the nation and bring the black majority into a position where it could assume the responsibility of government without the oversight of the white minority. This constitutional statement of course stems from what is now considered to be a racist view, which was held by many Araabyner nationalists at the time, that the black majority was incapable of safely and civilly conducting itself and operating a modern developed nation state. This opinion comes from the general ideology of colonial paternalism, and the concept that imperial expansion was a civilising force.

Despite the constitutional pledge to move towards black majority rule, which was placed into the 1976 constitution freely by the white minority government, no moves were made after 1980 to ensure that this pledge was upheld and several successive Presidents failed to address the issue or set a timetable for the transition (indeed many simply ignored the issue altogether). In 1999 Marcus van der Veld became President, and though his policies were broadly liberal in nature and improved the civil and economic rights of the black majority they failed to address the topic of a transfer of power to a fully democratic majority system. In point of fact nowhere in his manifesto, or subsequent cabinet documents, did van der Veld make any mention of the topic, even in passing and it was therefore concluded by many black political rights activists both in Kavo and overseas that yet another President was content to simply move on with the status quo.

Early liberal reforms, including several economic and tax reforms appeased much of the black community but were consistently criticised as insufficient by black rights activists; ultimately the decision by van der Veld in 2015 to focus on gender equality and sexuality issues rather than addressing the racial elephant in the room led directly to the war in 2016, when SUSa fighters crossed into Kavo from Aramatheria from the north.

Outbreak

Lanchester Riots

On 12th October 2016 the Port Arthur government announced the news that it had received intelligence that the Socialist Union of Sheera (SUSa) was once again active within the country; though it did not specify where in the country this activity had been detected on the 22nd a series of violent protests in Lanchester broke out which left a total of around five hundred people dead. Official statements claimed that only seven people were killed however it later emerged that the government had only included white civilians in this count and not the protesters and police who clashed there. Following these running protests the police mobilised in force and arrested 248 known SUSa members in connection with the seven reported deaths, as well as the deaths of several police officers, and at the request of the local police force the BVL, a paramilitary force under the control of the government, was deployed to the city to suppress the violence.

Only a day later the head of the BVL units in Lanchester, Lieutenant-Colonel Jaan Smidt, conceded that the situation had escalated beyond his ability to control and with the local police chiefs implored the Port Arthur government to deploy military forces to the area. Under increasing pressure both from the Lanchester authorities, and the legislative in Port Arthur, President van der Veld ordered the mobilisation of ArKav forces into the city to put an end to the unrest and violence once and for all; at the same time fourteen ringleaders from the 248 arrested SUSa members were hurriedly tried and executed on charges of treason which inflamed the situation further and prompted SUSa guerrilla and paramilitary forces hidden in Aramatheria to cross the border on the 26th October.

On the 28th October the fighting in Lanchester was declared over after Colonel Jonas de Wet, the commanding officer of ArKav forces in the area, completed full scale military operations against the city which included a 'sweep and destroy' strategy. Protesters, rioters, and armed SUSa militias were engaged with full force and eliminated, with everything from tanks to artillery being employed against them. After a brief sixteen hour siege of the City Central Library the SUSa ringleaders in Lanchester surrendered and were taken into military custody; the majority of their fighters had not been so fortunate and were either killed in combat or summarily executed on de Wet's orders. The riots came to an end with the surrender at the library, but the city had been devastated in the short period of violence.

At this point de Wet sent a report to Port Arthur, which was made public on January 18th 2017, stating that the SUSa affiliated forces in Lanchester "Could not possibly have been in direct contact with the central organisation; their equipment, dress, and doctrine showed an amateurish, civilian approach which indicates a lack of funding and supply from a larger militant organisation. I suspect that these were in fact little more than disgruntled youths and local dissidents using the SUSa name and flag to inspire some form of concern amongst the forces arrayed against them. In the short term these forces presented no military threat to our forces, however captured communications do imply that they have attempted to get into contact with some greater force that we are not yet fully aware of. I must therefore warn the government and military command to expect some form of organised counterattack by either insurgent, terrorist, or guerrilla forces in the immediate future."

The First Battle of Fort Nijmegen

At the same time that Colonel de Wet's forces were in the last stages of ending the conflict in Lanchester a large contingent of SUSa fighters crossed the border into Kavo, led by a vanguard of ageing tanks, and attacked the town of Fort Nijmegen. No military forces were in the area at the time to repel the attack and it subsequently became clear that the Port Arthur government had no prior warning of the attack or even of SUSa's military capabilities, resulting in a government and military which was singularly unprepared to meet the threat. Like most isolated provincial and brush towns in Kavo Fort Nijmegen had its own local white militia, which primarily served as an outlet for bored youths and a means to protect the town and local farms for bandits and wild animals; this militia managed to mobilise in time to meet the SUSa contingent.

A series of running battles between the local militia and SUSa forces and by the end of the 28th October the outnumbered and outgunned militia were forced to abandon the town and routed southward. While the fall of the town led to criticism of de Wet and van der Veld by the political opposition parties within white Kavo, the President defended his own policy and Colonel de Wet, leading to a split in the military and public opinion of the government. Poorly worded statements over the next 24 hours would lead to outrage among the white community in the north of the country, forcing van der Veld to order a military contingent to retake Fort Nijmegen, despite the fact that he was already receiving reports from throughout the north that larger forces were moving in elsewhere.

Kavo's Tactical Position

At the outbreak of the war Kavo's armed forces were largely untested in combat since the conclusion of the Third Brush War in 1980, with the exception of a few small skirmishes and insurgencies which had swiftly been put down. The military command structure, which in theory engendered efficiency, was in practice a confusing morass due to neglect and a system of issuing brevet ranks to senior officers while they held a specific post; as a result an officer who was a General in April could be a Lieutenant-Colonel the next when his appointment expired and he was replaced. The result was significant confusion regarding who had precedence and who was in command. When de Wet's force was sent to Lanchester the government did not anticipate a wider conflict and was not overly concerned by the systematic confusion in its own military arm; content to appoint de Wet commander of the force sent with him and leave the matter at that. By the time it became clear that the government faced the imminent threat of civil war on multiple fronts it was already too late to enforce order. The brevet ranks at the beginning of the conflict were upheld, meaning that the military was now in the command of political appointees, rather than officers who were effective or senior.

Beyond the command situation the military was suffering from a difficult supply situation; because it had seen a long period of inaction, which in turn had engendered lethargy and complacency among the logistical branches, the materiel and munitions simply were not available to support an extended conflict or a military force which would inevitably expand in size in response. The military as a whole did not have sufficient stores of ammunition to fight a protracted guerrilla conflict against a force of any size, and the fact that the intelligence services had utterly failed to identify the size of the threat no efforts to remedy this would be made until SUSa forces laid siege to Haag at the end of October. As the entire military was mobilised to meet the threat the logistical situation became serious; arms warehouses and civilian suppliers were now raided for ammunition and equipment to arm and supply their forces.

At the outset of the war the standard Kavoene soldier was well equipped, well trained, and highly motivated. Most were regarded as consummate professionals, equipped with high quality modern equipment. The supply issues however meant that they would soon run short of the necessary ammunition and materiel needed to maintain and use their equipment. To compound this problem military commanders in the field were not informed of the tight supply situation, meaning that no efforts to conserve ammunition or minimise maintenance needs were made. New units which were being raised at this time were hit the hardest; while their training continued to be of an excellent standard they were no longer being issued with body armour or the standard issue battle rifles of the existing army. Instead they were issued with a uniform, helmet, webbing, and whatever rifles could be obtaining in sufficient numbers to arm their entire unit.

International sanctions would increasingly bite in the wake of war and despite the involvement and support of Rohst the Kavoene forces would soon find themselves short of ammunition and fuel, and unable to buy in more in sufficient quantities to make a difference. By the end of 2016 ArKav was being forced to abandon many of its support vehicles so as to conserve fuel for the most essential units, such as tanks and helicopters.

SUSa's Tactical Position

Under the command of Dr Truman Kumbukani, who assumed control of SUSa in 1996, SUSa had reformed itself. Between 1998 and 2008 Kumbukani developed the organisations internal infrastructure and structure, modelling it on the framework of a political party with a defined hierarchy and command cadre. In 1999 with the election of Marcus van der Veld in Kavo and the easing of the strict laws which had inhibited black political movements SUSa began a covert program of recruitment, seeking to attract both peaceful activists and those who would be willing to fight for their cause. Initially most of their new recruits wished only to be activists, promoting the faction's ideals and peacefully opposing the regime; however with the Kavoene governments increased lethargy towards the subject of racial equality and black rights more and more young people in black communities became disillusioned with the idea of peaceful protest.

From 2004 onward Kumbukani developed SUSa's armed branch, basing himself within the politically collapsed state of Aramatheria, to the north of Kavo, he used the Aramatherian civil war both as a smokescreen to hide his activities, and as a training ground for his armed forces. Kumbukani's SUSa became a highly developed and ordered paramilitary organisation, thriving on donations from abroad and the grassroots support of black communities both in Kavo and Aramatheria; not only this but he had succeeded in gaining funding and arms deals with private companies based in neutral tir Lhaeraidd and Sagite. Controversially a number of Lhaeraidh banks secretly extended loans to SUSa which started to engage in black market activities inside Kavo so as to pay back investors.

The growth of SUSa in Aramatheria went unnoticed by the Kavoene authorities who viewed the civil war there as just another black insurrection, this ignorance was not helped by van der Veld's isolationist attitude with regards to ideological issues. The blind spot SUSa inhabited allowed it to build and train its forces, using hired mercenaries from Asura to train them in guerrilla and shoestring warfare. By 2010 it is estimated that SUSa could field one hundred thousand soldiers and two hundred ageing tanks purchased in bulk from various Asuran powers. However the major weakness of air power remained; SUSa was unable to purchase effective air capabilities partial due to cost and partially because of the fear that having and using aerial units would attract attention. This lack of air support would dog SUSa throughout the conflict.

Further Kumbukani planned for the long term conduct of a conflict with Kavo; not only did he develop his own forces at his bases in Aramatheria, but he also developed militia and insurgent sleeper units within Kavo itself. Lightly armed groups of soldiers who would wait until a certain order was given before mobilising. These sleeper units would account for the vast majority of his forces, but would not come into play until a later phase of the conflict. Despite their orders many of the sleeper units would begin hostile activity prior to instruction by Kumbukani; while initially this seemed a disaster ArKav's quick defeat of them around Browney resulted in a confident declaration by ArKav that the south and centre of Kavo were secure, further helping to obfuscate the existence of SUSa forces in these areas.

War

The Fourth Brush War is a conflict marked by rapidly shifting loyalties and constant fluctuations in the fortunes of the major factions involved. Initially a conflict between the government forces of Kavo and the rebel forces of Sheera the war evolved in early 2017 when the coup in Port Arthur brought an end to the Kavoene state and formed the catalyst for the creation of both Sheera and the Araabyne and pseudo-states within Kavo's former territory. After the coup d'état Kavo as a nation is widely considered to no longer exist, with the military forces responsible for this fighting under the flag of ArKav, with the stated goal of restoring the fallen Kavoene state and its apartheid government.

With the declaration of the People's Democratic Republic of Sheera, and the Provisional Republic of the Araabyne came a shift in the goals of each side of the war. Where Kavo had been fighting to preserve the status quo and halt the rebel advance across the border from Aramatheria, its successor ArKav has the stated goal of restoring the Commonwealth, taking the political position that Kavo collapsed as a state due to the perceived failure of President van der Veld's government. The PDRS, which is both SUSa's successor and ally, meanwhile fights in order to secure all of the territory it claimed when their country was declare where SUSa was fighting to bring down the apartheid regime in Kavo and form a new state. The PRA meanwhile which is another successor of Kavo, fights to secure a voice for white communities within the context of a new nation, as well as for reconciliation and peace between the white and black Araabyne communities.

Mobilisation

From the outset Kavo was slow to mobilise its military, initially believing the unrest in Lanchester to be a civil concern, and later that the rebel attacks on Fort Nijmegen were simply an armed evolution of this unrest. Though military forces were placed on standby and even ordered out of their barracks this was primarily in preparation to deal with a civil unrest issue and to quell unrest, rather than as a full scale military measure and most troops at this point were only issued with two magazines of ammunition for their rifles and three for their sidearms. This seems to be in spite of substantial intelligence received as early as the 12th October that a significant force of rebel fights was planning an attack.

The Kavoene military did not start mobilization to a war footing until the 25th October, almost two weeks after the riots had begun. Even as weapons and SUSa fighters covertly entered Lanchester the Kavoene government and military commanders continued to deny a link between the violence in Lanchester and the SUSa activity and advance further west. Only the ArKav forces sent to Lanchester were fully equipped and mobilized for war, and this only at the insistence of Colonel de Wet's field commanders who claimed that their forces would need armoured vehicles and a full complement of equipment in order to minimize casualties.

On the other hand SUSa rebel forces were already fully mobilized and well prepared having built up supply dumps and hidden weapon caches, as well as a pre-arranged mustering points hidden inside the northern regions of Kavo. By 25th October an estimated 20,000 armed and trained rebel soldiers were already assembled and ready to move south into Kavo at a moment's notice, while a further 10,000 were already in Kavo having gathered at their muster points. The only hiccup in SUSa's mobilization efforts was when a local field commander ordered his troops to enter Lanchester in an effort to aid the rioters there, despite orders to hold position and advance in line with other forces. Then by the 28th, when ArKav had defeated the last vestiges of resistance in Lanchester, they had around 90,000 troops in position with a further 60,000 rapidly being called up from reserve.

ArKav appeared to be totally unprepared for the sudden mobilization and advance of troops into Kavo and sent out warnings to local white militia groups that attacks from a foreign or rebel force may be pending. The result of this warning was the mustering of between fifteen and twenty five thousand white militiamen who prepared to defend their towns and homes from the suspected attack. It was one of these militias which would fight the first battle of the war outside Lanchester, in a desperate but doomed attempt to prevent SUSa from occupying the historic town of Fort Nijmegen. Within days of the news of Fort Nijmegen's fall the number of white militiamen rose to about forty thousand nationwide as fears grew that ArKav would not be able to cover the entire front in time to prevent a rapid advance by rebel forces.

By November 2016 ArKav was almost fully mobilized with weapons and munitions stockpiles becoming significantly depleted as equipment was issued to troops and reservists in preparation for the further conduct of the war. SUSa too had managed to gather its full strength but held a significant portion of it in reserve north of the border. It is impossible to gauge how well mobilized the numerous local militias supporting ArKav were at this point as no effort had yet been made to organize them on a national level, however their numbers at this time were significant, but larger groups started to find that their ammunition stockpiles were being requisitioned by ArKav forces, which weakened their ability to operate effectively even once mobilized.

Early Stages (October - November 2016)

The initial stages of the conflict, in the aftermath of the ArKav victory at Lanchester and the rebel victory at Fort Nijmegen, was defined by the rapid movement of ArKav forces to counter SUSa vanguards. This stage was further defined by the significant early successes of ArKav who managed to defeat SUSa by a considerable margin in every major engagement until Vijters on the 29th November.

At Fort Nijmegen a force of 422 white militiamen who belonged to the Wittiere organization led by Oliver Grey, a retired dentist, attempted to hold of a rebel attack by forces they believed to be poorly equipped and led. However despite their desperate effort to defend the town the Wittiere were massacred, suffering 267 killed wounded or captured, more than half their total strength. The casualty reports appalled members of the Port Arthur government and press who rapidly called for revenge attacks. The principal source of anger was that the Wittiere had been misinformed by the local military commander about the strength, equipment, and capabilities of the rebel forces that were about to attack the town and many of Wittiere's surviving members have since claimed that Grey never would have encouraged his men to fight had he known that their defeat was inevitable.

The early victory at Fort Nijmegen would for a time by SUSa's only decisive victory, ArKav forces were by November all but fully mobilized and conducting an extensive defence and counterrevolutionary operation in the north of the country. The capture of another town, Sunny Croft, which allowed SUSa forces to reach the outskirts of the city of Haag, was an embarrassment for ArKav and the Kavoene government, however in this case the local militia had been better informed and prepared - choosing to retreat rather than fight an overwhelming enemy force. In real terms the loss of Sunny Croft was of small importance to ArKav who were confident that the small, well equipped force defending nearby Haag would be sufficient to bog the rebel advance down, an assessment which proved accurate. Elsewhere the rebels were suffering significant losses with very little gain.

ArKav meanwhile was internally bolstered by the victory of de Wet's force north of Lanchester in which SUSa were dealt a decisive defeat forcing their eastern vanguard into a humiliating and punishing retreat north. De Wet's rapid counter advance succeeded in forcing SUSa forces to abandon much of their heavy equipment and materiel including tanks and trucks full of ammunition and other supplies. The victory at Hijn's Ford provided a huge morale boost and sealed de Wet's reputation as a brilliant tactician and battlefield commander, his overall strategy would set the tone for many of ArKav's future operations with the extensive use of coordinated air support backed up by heavy armour. In retrospect however these victories and the highly successful strategies were only short term solutions to the wider conflict. The tactics employed were resource heavy and were rapidly draining Kavo's reserves of ammunition, manpower, fuel, and other supplies; in the long run they were unsustainable.

Hijn's Ford

On the 29th October 2016 reconnaissance elements of Colonel de Wet's Northern Taskforce encountered a large SUSa vanguard advancing south towards Lanchester. The force was reported at the time to consist of several squadrons of tanks as well as a considerable number of mechanized infantry, and was believed to have been part of an effort to support the armed protestors in Lanchester that had been delayed. In actual fact the force was completely separate and had its own objectives. On the morning of the 30th October de Wet's advanced guard engaged the SUSa vanguard a small distance north of the city's outskirts at the village of Hijn's Ford.

The SUSa battle line consisted largely of outmoded Terncan tanks and armoured vehicles, supported by masses of mechanized infantry being transported on trucks and technicals, they numbered approximately 2500 - 3000. By comparison the ArKav force consisted of the 5th Armoured Grenadiers, mounted in modern Krygsman AFVs and supported by tanks from the 2nd Dragoons using the state of the art Uitdager II, in total ArKav personnel on the field numbered 912.

Hijn's Ford was a typical example of a modern army supported by good intelligence and a sound knowledge of the terrain, engaging a less organized invading force. De Wet's tanks established a base of fire allowing infantry units to move forward and occupy the eponymous 'ford' a narrow creek running west to east across the battlefield; once in position the infantry set up a firing line which ultimately shredded the oncoming light vehicles while the tanks and air support targeted the enemy armour. After about four hours of repeated SUSa attempts to break the ArKav lines at the ford, which mostly consisted of rapid advances by light vehicles, the SUSa forces had exhausted their supplies and were forced to retreat.

The repeated assaults on de Wet's positions had cost SUSa some thirty four tanks, the entire complement they had fielded, and around 70% of all other vehicles, as well as countless rounds of ammunition, and over one thousand dead, captured, or wounded. By comparison ArKav lost no tanks and suffered fewer than one hundred casualties. The stunning victory, as well as the low cost involved in winning it, cemented de Wet's reputation as a great commander within Kavo and allowed him to issue several stark warnings to the government which included predictions of future SUSa successes if moves were not made to bolster ArKav's strength.

Hijn's Ford would be ArKav's greatest victory over SUSa in the northeast for the remainder of the war.

Sunny Croft

On the 30th October 2016 the SUSa forces under the command of Arna Nguela pushed south with considerable armoured and artillery support, crossing the border from Aramatheria and cutting through the local white militias who remained the only major source of resistance. Following the central motorway running towards the major industrial and commercial city of Haag they first arrived on the outskirts of the farming community of Sunny Croft, where they encountered prepared positions defended by the town militia.

The initial stages of the battle went poorly for Nguela's forces as only a small vanguard of three hundred soldiers had reached the outskirts; despite orders not to engage the militias until the main force arrived Major Michael Kosaffa ordered an attack on the roadblocks preventing access to the town proper. This rash decision meant that Kosaffa's advanced force of three hundred were attacking a militia force of unknown size without support weapons or heavy armour, and casualties were high. Within the hour however the main force led by Nguela arrived and began a series of staged advances with tanks and artillery which saw the town cleared within just seven hours.

Militia forces in Sunny Croft initially believed that Kosaffa's force represented the enter attacking force and rushed men and materiel to the northern barricades, away from their reserves. This left much of the western approach to the town lightly defended and allowed the flying columns which advanced with Nguela's arrival to swiftly cut behind the militia's defences and break into the town proper. With their barricades and roadblocks left ineffective by the flanking maneuver the militia forces began a fighting retreat southwards towards a prearranged muster point at the carpark for a local supermarket where they then resolved to withdraw from the town and regroup with ArKav forces deployed in Haag further south.

Throughout eight hours of fighting SUSa lost approximately 87 militants, while militia casualties are believed to number around 150.

The capture of Sunny Croft by SUSa allowed Nguela's forces to concentrate and move south toward their primary object, the city of Haag. By 22:00 that night SUSa forces hed reached the outskirts of the city and snipers and mortar teams had begun to operate in the area to test ArKav's defences and analyse their strategies.

Browney Insurrection

On 28th October 2016 protests began on the streets of Browney, however unlike those in Lanchester these never reached a violent level and both SUSa and ArKav discounted the possibility that the protests were linked to SUSa operatives in the area. These spontaneous protests among the local Black Araabyne population did however allow SUSa militants and guerillas to move supplies and manpower into strategic positions around the city unobserved. In all the SUSa operations in Browney up to this point had been extremely well prepared and planned, so well planned that the Kavoene government was unaware of the depth of SUSa's involvement in the city, or that they were in fact preparing for an armed insurrection.

Matters first started to go poorly for SUSa when, fearing that the unrest in Browney would get out of hand as it had in Lanchester, the government deployed both the BVL (the Commonwealth's notorious 'Special Police') and the Army Reserves to the city in an effort to minimize destruction of property and harm to the populace. Though neither the BVL nor the Reserves knew of the SUSa presence both were more than capable of dealing with it in terms of manpower and resources. The second major blow to SUSa's planned insurrection occurred on the morning of the 30th October when a cell leader, 'Commander' Lucien Umswe, mobilized his cell in an effort to protect protestors who were by now being contained by riot police.

Unswe's decision to start the attack came a full six hours before planned, and went against the instructions he had been given by the overall leader of the operation Gordon Kulaka. As a result his cell struck alone and were swiftly crushed by BVL units deployed in the rear supporting local riot police; this was not only damaging for the loss of an entire cell before operations had began, but also because it revealed the presence of armed insurrectionists within the city. A twenty minute gunfight between Unswe's cell and BVL forces resulted in the deaths of twenty eight SUSa militants, three riot police, and one BVL officers, and the capture of twenty two others, including UNSWE himself.

Once in military custody Unswe swiftly confessed and revealed full operational details of the SUSa plans for the city, and identified several citizens within the city who were involved. Within an hour of his capture BVL units raided a number of locations and effectively pre-empted the bulk of the insurrection before it even began. A number of BVL units were fired upon by SUSa militants as they approached to raid their base positions. Ultimately the majority of SUSa militants had been killed or captured by 20:00 when the military commander in the city declared that major combat operations in the area were over, though a series of sporadic firefights would continue to take place until the 3rd November when the hostilities concluded with a series of special forces operations.

The Second Battle of Fort Nijmegen

Lieutenant Colonel Stanger, under orders from Port Arthur, engaged in an incredibly successful rapid advance aimed at cutting through the western vanguard of SUSa's advance so as to retake Fort Nijmegen. Stanger adopted the same general strategy employed by de Wet and to great effect; his troops were able to outgun and rapidly overwhelm the rebel forces around Fort Nijmegen despite the fact that Stanger's forces were significantly outnumbered. However once again this victory came at an incredible cost in materiel with many tanks concluding the engagement with fewer than five shells remaining for their main weapons. The Second Battle of Fort Nijmegen was the last major victory for Kavo and ArKav forces prior to the coup in January.

The Battle began in the early hours of 31st October 2016 when special forces entered a number of plantations in the outskirts of the town and secured them in rapid stealth operations against the occupying rebel forces. After a series of brief and hugely successful special forces operations Stanger ordered the bulk of his force to attack the SUSa positions inside the town. The battle proper began when the front armoured units of Stanger's advance engaged an armoured column directly outside Fort Nijmegen's urban centre, the following exchange between the two sides' tanks was ultimately one sided with Stanger's armour clearing the threat with ease. With SUSa's tanks disabled the rebel commanders managed to hold out for a further half day before surrendering (though the bulk of the combat was over in less than forty minutes).

In total ArKav lost two soldiers killed, eight wounded, and two Krygsman transport vehicles disabled. Precise numbers for the losses suffered by SUSa have never been established however ArKav estimates place the figure between five and seven hundred militants. A clear disparity was also demonstrated in terms of equipment, with the SUSa forces abandoning tanks and vehicles as they retreated from the town. These factors made Kavo's political establishment confident that ArKav would be able to conclude the conflict swiftly and cleanly, causing some degree of complacency in the upper echelons of the command structure for whom the Second Battle of Fort Nijmegen seemed to reinforce their belief in the natural superiority of their troops and officers.

Vijters

On 1st November 2016 Colonel de Wet was given orders to take the bulk of his forces from Lanchester and move west towards Haag, so as to engage Nguela’s forces besieging Haag and relieve Lt.-Colonel Tavar’s forces defending the city. De Wet rapidly organised his own mobile infantry and armoured forces and initiated a sweeping advance across the countryside in an effort to cut through the many smaller SUSa units, thus resolving two issues in one move.

By midday on the 2nd November de Wet had successfully moved as far as the village of Vijters with his advanced guard and decided to stop so that his rear echelons had a chance to catch up with the main advance. Having spent the last day sporadically engaging small SUSa raiding and reconnaissance forces de Wet’s units were prepared for combat, however they had sacrificed the element of surprise as retreating SUSa units retreated west and reported to Nguela.

On 3rd November Nguela’s forces engaged those of de Wet for the first time. In these initial stages of the battle de Wet’s forces proved superior and successfully halted Nguela’s forces several miles west of the main Vijters farmstead. However after advancing beyond the protective cover of their artillery the ArKav forward units were halted in their tracks and then pushed back by a concerted effort from the numerically superior SUSa force. De Wet then set up his command post in the farmstead at the centre of the Vijter’s area and ordered his troops to prepare defensive positions in readiness for a continued assault by Nguela’s troops.

After assessing the losses her forces had suffered Nguela decided to wait for further reinforcements; de Wet’s ArKav forces were already outnumbered but their superior equipment and experience was making up for the difference. The consequence of this decision was that de Wet’s forces had time to complete their defensive preparations and to bring up their artillery. All of these factors would combine to result in a battle of attrition which would continue relentlessly until the 29th November almost four weeks later.

The numbers involved in the battle are well documented, with ArKav fielding around eight thousand soldiers supported by tanks and artillery, while SUSa threw thirty thousand soldiers into the fight with proportionally fewer armoured vehicles and only light artillery. Ultimately de Wet was forced to retreat blaming the high level of material attrition for the decision; during this battle ArKav forces had expended an unsustainable amount of ammunition and had lost more aircraft and vehicles that it could replace. Additionally by the end of the battle the economic sanctions on Kavo were starting to have a significant impact in terms of materiel and the mentality of ArKav commanders.

ArKav retreated from Vijters towards Salisbury in good order having suffered 446 dead and more than 1800 wounded. By contrast SUSa is believed to have lost around 3500 soldiers and some 5000 more wounded. De Wet was not reprimanded for the defeat and would continue to lead the Northern Taskforce after his own losses were replaced with elements of Colonel Anselm’s Reserve Taskforce North.

Escalation (December 2016 - January 2017)

By December 2016 it had become clear to both sides that the war would be a long term struggle. ArKav had been disavowed of its belief in its on innate racial superiority at Vijters, and the van der Veld administration had lost faith in the ability of the military commanders to resolve the situation. Meanwhile SUSa's leadership was struggling internally to maintain control of its disparate units in the field, and to maintain morale when every battle came at such a heavy cost.

Despite clear warning signs regarding the supply situation ArKav officials continually misrepresented the figures they were sending to President van der Veld, even when it became obvious that under the pressure of numerous trade embargoes and a crumbling economy the current rate of attrition in terms of materiel was unsustainable. As a result the President was increasingly resented by ArKav field commanders who believed that he was complacent and had failed to act to order the stockpiling of munitions and the conservation of supplies. Van der Veld's deteriorating popularity among the hardcore right and white supremacist factions in Kavo led to a sapping in confidence in him generally among the media and the regular troops on the ground.

For its part SUSa was continuing to suffer from ideological differences among the party leadership which in turn led to severe disagreements on the conduct of the war. Kumbukane was taking an increasingly hardline approach and had announced publicly that he would fully condone the use of any weapon or method in minimizing the casualties his forces were suffering, even at the expense of the moral high ground. Meanwhile Arna Nguela who was hugely popular with the soldiery was calling for more subtle strategies that made use of SUSa's strengths, most importantly their mobility and guerilla experience. These differences would eventually lead to Nguela being forced to use white phosphorous to target the population and defenders of Haag by Kumbukane, and her subsequent departure.

During this phase of the war its nature and dimensions shifted violently when a retired army officer named Richard Dawkins successfully incited a military coup against the van der Veld government. This coup led to the splitting of Kavo in two, between the ArKav controlled centre, led by Dawkins, and the newly formed PRA in the south led by van der Veld. Not only this but SUSa used the coup and the collapse of Kavo as a state as a pretext to proclaim the formation of the Sheeran State. Not long after this Nguela would defect from Sheera to join van der Veld and the PRA.