Battle of Netter
The End of the Sarzin Conflict
Never forget those brave bastards in Aussel who gave their lives to delay the enemy! If it weren't for that uprising, we'd already be licking Kilas' boots.
PreludeFollowing his victory after at Neittinge, Chancellor Kilas ven Leiberge-Kattel returned home to Rueken for his forces were severely depleted and unable to exploit the situation. The serfs of Nordhei had grown restless and unruly during his absence and putting an end to their uprising required the chancellor's immediate attention. The distraction gave the armies of the peasants’ republic the additional time they needed to recruit new men to replenish their battered forces. The Ruekish army tried its best to amass as many men as they could as well, going as far as forcefully conscripting more than was generally accepted. Kilas claimed it was both a punishment for the serfs’ treasonous actions and a way for loyal young men to prove their worth and their dedication to their duke and homeland.
Rebel ContributionsThe Nordhei Uprising had received aid from Aussel, and while the revolt failed to achieve some of its intended goals, it succeeded in the objective that mattered, causing a lengthy distraction. Even after the rebel forces had been defeated, Kilas and his ally, Duchess Czylle ven Mierholz of Valleren, were forced to hunt down the last of the insurgents for several months. The general unrest that the uprising caused throughout Rueken and a lack of morale among her soldiers had eventually forced the duchess to return home to deal with domestic issues. Some of the rebels who had survived the uprising and escaped ended up picking up arms once more to serve in the Ausselian army in hopes of seeking vengeance and earning their right to live a free life in the republic.
Deal with the DukeDuring the lull in direct conflict, the Ausselians had made preparations to counter new naval invasions. Their forces were deployed along the shores, but that had left the east unguarded. Count Gawin Aue of Pessen, and ally of Aussel, was still in the country as well, but his retinue was distracted in the north, keeping the border safe from any new mercenaries his enemies might hire. Kilas III made a deal with the Grand Duke of Aitwenk early in 1542 AA, allowing for his armies to have access through the neighbouring country. From there they could march toward either Altrek or Lipsig, whichever seemed more vulnerable. The chancellor's army had to march through Pesberge to set on their journey. The city was home to the Count of Pessen and they were reluctant to give passage, but after weeks of threats, the local government to give in to Kilas' demands.
The gall of these heretics! Have they no regard for the boundaries of sovereign realms? Ready yourselves brothers, we’ve got a great journey ahead of us.
Assault on AusselThe march towards their enemy in Aussel led the Ruekish forces through lands that had been recently claimed by the newly established Order of the Knights of the Marcher's Path, a Hillenist military order dedicated to eradicating heresy and assisting their brothers in faith such as the Ausselians. Under the leadership of grandmaster Matthias Saloi Rebbe, the order sought to seek out the Ausselians after hearing news of the Ruekish host encroaching on their soil, but Kilas’ forces had found the order’s fledgling army. The ensuing onslaught left most of the Pathsmen bloodied in the grass and their leadership slain. With that hinderance dealt with, Kilas had reached the borders of the peasants' republic. Altrek, a quiet town on Aussel's southeastern border was the first target for the Ruekish army. The local garrison put up a stiff resistance, but just as with the knights in the prior tuffle, they were ill-eqipped to deal with such a foe. Once all the defenders had been taken care of, Kilas allowed his forces to sack the settlement. Many of his soldiers had expressed doubts about the war and he hoped that fresh loot would raise the morale. The plundering did, however, slow down the army's advance and word had quickly spread to Elbel Vehlow-Boerk, son of the Ausellian chancellor and the recently appointed general of her armies.
The Gathering StormBy the evening of the 26th of Gihppēh, Kilas and his forces had reached another major town, Netter, but a handful of soldiers had deserted from his ranks on the journey, running off in the night along with their treasure. When he entered the settlement, he found it devoid of life. His men began looting once again and there was little Kilas could do to prevent it from happening. While the Ruekish pillaged, the locals, along with the entire Ausselian army, prepared a few miles to the northeast, waiting for their opportunity to put an end to the ravaging menace that threatened their freedom. Once the Ruekish had learned of their foe’s presence, Kilas prepared to move in for an attack, confident that he would repeat the success he had enjoyed in previous battles.
The BattleGeneral Elbel Vehlow-Boerk had amassed a greater force than that of the Ruekish and that realisation sent shivers down the invaders’ spines. Chancellor Kilas noticed the fear in his men's eyes and reassured them that not only were the men of Rueken more skilled and courageous, but their arms and armour were also of superior quality. Whether he himself believed those statements or if he was simply in denial remains uncertain. The Ausselian men and the Ruekish rebels among them were eager for battle. An opportunity to put an end to the conflict and to protect their friends and loved ones from servitude stood before them. The two sides clashed early in the morning during a clear day on the 2nd of Tielaqteril near the outskirts of Netter. General Elbel had hoped to secure positions on some hills in the area, but Kilas sent word that he would burn down the whole settlement if the Ausselians refused to make the first move. Hopeful that his army would achieve victory even without the advantageous terrain, Elbel ordered his forces to attack.
Down the HillWitnessing his enemy down the hill, General Elbel noticed how the invading forces readied themselves between tense woodland terrain where cohesive movement and coherent fighting would have been folly. The Ruekish had to rely on the trees to create a chokepoint to make up for their numeric inferiority. Light cavalry would be fast enough to go around the foliage in time to hit the enemy from behind, and both generals were well aware of that. Elbel order his cavalry to move out first and as soon as he saw the Ausselian horsemen ride, Kilas ordered his own units to do the same, hoping to intercept and repel the threat. Both sides also sent their archers forth so that they could exchange volleys, along with lightly armed infantry units who could fill the gaps between their fellow countrymen and the trees so that their rear would be inaccessible. Many of the archers and the infantrymen who formed the vanguard of the Ausselian force were former serfs once, bound in servitude to a lord and their land. After the failed uprising, they were perhaps a bit too eager for revenge and marched on towards their hated foe with determination, anger, and the sadness that came with remembering all those they had lost.
Perhaps the boys and I just got a bit carried away. We had a singular purpose in mind and that blinded us from noticing how far ahead we had gotten.
Volley of DeathDelighted to see the enemy getting so close, the Ruekish marksmen let loose a volley of arrows towards the centre of the Ausselian line. As their comrades began to fall around them, several dozen of them either burried in the grass or whailing in pain, the zeal that had ensnared the soldiers vanished. The shock of it brought them to a halt and they stood there for a few moments before Heins of Gilbrenen, a former rebel leader, commanded them to fall back. As chaos reigned among the archers, the Ausselian cavarly was having a better time eliminating the Ruekish forces that had been sent to intercept them. They suffered a few dozen casualties as well, but with the Ruekish units routed, their enemy's rear was now exposed.
Splintered SpearsOnce the archers had gotten a hold of themselves, the Ausselian soldiers proceeded with caution. They had enough men to ensure that their lines stayed formidable and that nothing could break through them. The Ruekish situation wasn’t quite as rosy. In his attempt to ward off any hostile units that might flank him, he had divided his force in three groups with the flanks comprising pikes, light infantry, and archers, while the burden of holding the center was up to him, his heavily armoured infantry and some relatively fresh footmen. Eventually, the Ausselians had to throw aside their caution as they had reached dangerously close to the enemy marksmen and so they charged forth, hurling their javelins with as much strength as they could.
Was charging head on into the fray a bright idea? I'd say so. If we were going to stand around there all day just staring at the enemy, we'd have died of boredom instead.
Cavarly ChargeWith the battle increasing in intensity, the Ausselian cavalrymen who had so far stayed behind the foliage, rode forth to hit the Ruekish in their rear. Anticipating such an action, a light infantry unit pulled away from the front lines to intercept the cavalry. Despite their best efforts, they failed to catch them, but the horsemen were at least close enough for their javelins. Horse after horse fell as their riders screamed in agony, but that didn’t stop the rest of them from riding on and noticing that the Ruekish had left some of their archers exposed. Knowing well that a charge into the enemy lines could lead to them getting surrounded, the soldiers took that risk, knowing that it would provide a valuable disruption in their opponent’s ranks. The pikemen on Rueken’s right flank tasked with preventing such a disaster from occurring had instead found themselves warding off javelins and battling Ausselian infantry in hand-to-hand combat. Their actions kept the marksmen guarded from the front, but they were helpless against the lances shining in the morning sun that impaled them from behind. On the other flank, a similar interception move was made, and the Ruekish hurled their foes with javelins, but unlike with their right flank, these Ausselians lacked the zeal to do as their brethren had done.
Daring DecisionsBoth of the flanks bore the brunt of the brutal clash of swords and spears while in the center, Ausselian bowmen let loose volley after volley on whoever they could. The Ruekish archers were of little use as the unit that had been devastated by the cavalry charge scattered and the remaining archers on the other side faced a horde of furious peasant men who seemed undeterred by the arrows that flew past their heads embedding themselves deep in the flesh of their fellow friends and countrymen. Loss only fuel their rage. Desperate to put an end to the peasants’ archers, the commander of the light infantry unit that stood guard at the core of the Ruekish force ordered his men to charge head on into battle. The hope was that such an act of madness would have brought terror into the hearts of the enemy, and they did force some of the archers to flee, but their own spirits couldn’t hold up for much longer. The Ausselian forces did suffer a setback, however, when the cavalry detachment that had routed the archers found itself beset by foes on all sides. Knowing that their role in the battle was over and that putting up a fight would have meant their senseless slaughter, most of the men fled, outrunning their unsaddled pursuers. The other cavalry unit stood idle, unsure of what to do and where their skills would be of most use.
Such indecisiveness could have cost us the battle. I can understand a desire to keep your own men safe, but your countrymen were in a fight for their lives not far from where your horses stood! Thankfully, you and your men served admirably when eliminating the intercepting squadron and for that I can be grateful.
Flight of the RoutedAs the battle raged on, the idle cavalrymen noticed the fleeing Ruekish archers. Seeing them as a safe target to harass, they crashed through their ranks, piercing and slashing all of them until there were none left standing. The other unit of Ruekish archers broke under the pressure that they had been put under, disengaging in a chaotic mess, leaving dozens of their companions bloodied in the rough grass. Some of the Ausselians had reached their limit as well. A group of infantrymen who were one of the first to enter combat made the choice to retreat as they were exhausted and weary of their losses, especially when seeing additional enemy forces approaching their line, some of whom were clad in the best steel money could buy. Over at the centre of the battlefield, Ausselian heavy infantry, the general's personal bodyguards, drove off the assailing infantry force that routed some of their archers and Elbel ordered his pikemen to assist the flanks.
The Final ClashWith little in the way of opposition, the Ausselians tore through the center, using the gap in their enemy’s line to overwhelm their foe and flank them whenever possible. Eventually, the Ruekish right flank collapsed as their men understood all too well that all hope was lost. The left flank was crumbling as well, forcing some of their more agile infantry to slip away and flee while their pikemen found themselves encircled. Ausselian cavalry continued to harass routed units, mercilessly slaughtering whoever they could get their hands on. The whole unit seemed lost in a fit of rage from which there was no escape. The last of the Ruekish to stand their ground were the surrounded pikemen and Chancellor Kilas’ own elite heavy infantry. Without a miracle, there was no hope of victory anymore, yet they still fought. Eventually the chancellor had found himself up against the best that the peasants’ republic had to offer, the general’s bodyguard.
Don’t give in to thoughts of cowardice and dishonour! You are men of great valour, sons of distinguished men whose ancestors performed feats unimaginable. If you give in now, you’ll have brought shame to your whole families!
- Lipsig Defense Force
- Tilnessen Retinue
- Nordhei Army
- Lipsig Defense Force
- Tilnessen Retinue
- Nordhei Army
- Lipsig Defense Force
- Tilnessen Retinue
- Nordhei Army
Political Situation in AusselCilie Vehlow, the chancellor and wartime dictator of Aussel, faced lots of criticism from opposing political parties who demanded her resignation after the Battle of Neittinge and during the pause in hostilities, but despite those concerns, she held the country together. When Kilas and his army returned, however, her popularity began to plummet. The free peasants of Aussel were devastated to hear of how Altrek was sacked and they demanded action. Some of the advisors in her Independent Monarchists of Aussel party had suggested waiting for a while longer so that more of the invading forces would have a chance to desert, but that risked her government from being overthrown. Instead, she sent orders to her son, Elbel Vehlow-Boerk, who gathered his forces to take the fight to the enemy and drive them from the republic.
Battle of Teuholz
The Battle of Teuholz of was a small conflict waged between the forces of Rueken and the local Ausselian militia on the island of Sarzin. It kicked off the Sarzin Conflict.
Battle of the Lipsig Hills
The Battle of the Lipsig Hills was the second major fight in the Sarzin Conflict. It involved the allied forces of Aussel and Pessen who defended against a horde of Ualish mercenaries.
Battle of Neittinge
The Battle of Neittinge was a decisive engagement and the third major battle between the forces of Aussel and Rueken during the Sarzin Conflict in 1540 AA
The Nordhei Uprising was a failed insurgency organised by the serfs of Rueken along with Ausselian support during the Sarzin Conflict.
Peasants' Republic of Aussel
Aussel is a small nation with an unique form of government, surrounded by religious enemies and allied to their ideological rivals.
Aristocratic Republic of Rueken
The Aristocratic Republic of Rueken is an aristocratic republic with a powerful fleet and excellent natural defenses.
Order of the Knights of the Marcher's Path
The Order of the Knights of the Marcher’s Path is a Hillenist military order dedicated to fighting heresy that has established its own state in the Mettelagen region.
AftermathThe immediate concern for the Ausselians following the surrender of the remaining Ruekish forces was the near-dead chancellor that lay before them. While there were many who called for his head, General Elbel Vehlow-Boerk was hesitant to give in to such demands. He was worried that executing Rueken’s head of state would be an outrageous offense to all the other lords in the aristocratic republic who had remained neutral during the war. The Duke of Nordhei alone was enough of a hassle to threaten Aussel’s existence, they didn’t need a few dozen more of his ilk marching on Lipsig again. Elbel, instead elected to bring the battered man to Steendern, the capital of Aussel, where the defeated chancellor would be paraded around for all to see. Once he had been sapped of all his dignity, the Chancellor of Aussel, Cilie Vehlow, would release him back to Rueken, but not before a treaty could be signed in which he publically declared that the established borders of Aussel would be respected and that the Ruekish held no claims to the peasants’ land. The soldiers that had accompanied Chancellor Kilas to Aussel were allowed to leave in peace immidietly after their leader had been locked up and sent to Steendern. Some of those that had fled from the field of battle and escaped capture ended up repenting for their actions in the conflict by converting to Hillenism and assimilating into Ausselian society. Most of those soldiers had been forcefully conscripted serfs for whom life in Aussel seemed like a distant dream that they had found themselves in. Gerat, the man who had called upon his comrades to stop fighting, received an offer to settle down in Aussel and to be pardoned of his past crimes against the country and its people, but the Ruekishman refused. He claimed that no matter how flawed it may have been, Rueken was his home and he had to serve it as best he could. General Elbel seemed to respect the decision and allowed him to escort the injured chancellor back home.
Treaty of Steendern
The Treaty of Steendern was a peace treaty that was signed between the Duchy of Nordhei and the Peasants' Republic of Aussel that put an end to the Sarzin Conflict.
Another great conflict article from you :) Really good read If I may ask, how did you make the battle map at the end? its cool :o
Oh hey there, I see you sneakily found this before I had shared it :D I didn't get around to proofreading last night so some mistakes have been fixed since now. The map itself was quite simple, I was hoping to get a bit more artsy with it this year but since I got around to writing this so late there wasn't any time. I have a whole system I developed for playing out battles, you can look up battle system in the search here (although the rules aren't all too well written down) Once I've played out the battle I get the casualties that you see in the sidebar and then I just try to cut what had happened into several stages and then I write and map out each of those stages, sometimes changing a few smaller details from when I played it out. The map itself is just photoshop, some rectangles and crudely drawn lines.
Maker of Maps
Yeah, was looking up other entries into the conflict category and saw yours and I had to read the master of conflicts article ;) Thanks, that system will probably come in handy next time I have to write a battle :)
That's awesome! \o/ So many details!
Thank you! :3
Maker of Maps
Oh btw. the map should maybe have a legends of who's red and who is blue. The descriptions explains, but I think it should be visible right there, too. :)
Oh right, I forgot to add that. Thanks for the heads up!
Maker of Maps
The way you use the maps and layers to illustrate the battle development is fantastic, and makes me think of those sort of historical battle channels on youtube. I really enjoyed the level of detail you put into the fighting, and the characters (and how their faults and virtues influenced the battle). One question; were everyone just let go, or was there any sort of ransom exchange, or exchange of prisoners? :O
Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
Andrew Belenkiy aka Teyvill Dost
Woah! I loved the conflict, it's written like in a good academic history book! :) It seems a bit reminiscent of Crecy/Agincourt with some 30-years war vibes?) I loved how this is not a massive full-scale assault, but a carefully-described operation (by both sides) with maneuvers and reactions in order, all in a realistic for a Medieval-inspired world 2-3k combatants scale. I also commend you on the design and formattine, the sidebar with the entire conflict presented in a series of articles in chronological order, and the battle diagrams. I was reading the article and I was thinking - "the only thing the article lacks are the diagrams like in a book", and lo and behold - there they are in the end of the article! :) Amazing, just amazing :)
Great work, as always, Dhelian :)
Your formatting and content are unrivaled when it comes to conflicts! I love reading these types of articles from you <3
Co-creator of the TTRPG System Storybook
This is simply fantastic; the detailed amount of the battle and the events before truly show the depth that has been placed into this world, and the design alone, with maps, images, and other articles, makes it looks like an actual war that could have existed. So give yourself a pat on the back my friend because you deserve it.
My knowledge of military conflicts is pretty poor, but after reading this article I feel I gained some understanding of how to handle this and similar articles. :D
The short one-paragraph introduction with the flags was enough for me to get hooked. Once I entered the Prelude the different sides of the growing conflict provided some understanding of the background of the situation. Then finally I got to know how that pressure grew from both sides, inevitably leading to a battle around Netter.
I skimmed through the article before the thorough reading so I saw the map with different layers/parts of the battle. :D It did not spoil the fun, though. The details you put in each subsection of The Battle section made it all very real — the coarse and turbulent flow of the Aussel army, which despite the greater numbers lost roughly one every five people. People freezing from shock on the battlefield gave it a fair pinch of realism, too. And then, after everything, the political outcome. I still can't understand why would someone go so far into the enemy's territory. Looting a city sounds like smoking a cigarette for breakfast — short gain with the problem postponed for later and possibly intensified. Was Kilas really that blind to his men's low morale? I wonder what were his drives made him like that?
Thanks for a wonderful article and a short intro on the structure of military conflicts!
I learned a lot just reading this! The next time I write a military conflict, this is the gold standard example to learn from!
My world and three articles have been nominated for World Anvil's Worldbuilding Awards 2022. Please look over the candidates and I'd love your vote if you like my work!