We shall not allow those barbarians to pillage and capture our lands! Should we fall, our land would no longer be ours but ruled by some cruel lord from the land far away, ruled by the law of conquest. Your friends and relatives will all have to serve and obey those who stand here and plan to kill you today! So we fight, and fight, until every last one of them lies dead underneath this hill, and that is the most of our land they will ever get!The Barrnear Sitting occurred on the Barrnear Hill during the War of Mocladian Demise in 801 AE. Several-day battle with multiple engagements, it ended up in a disastrous defeat for the Mocladian army despite their successes in the beginning. The professionalism of the Mocladian forces did not help them against the sheer numbers and dirty tricks employed by the Lleiran army, resulting in the fall of the former kingdom.
The battle was not necessary to start with. The invading armies of the Kingdom of Lleira, though in much bigger numbers than the defenders, were made out of feudal levy and thus were easy targets for ambushes executed by professional soldiers. They have already lost a few thousand men during the first days of the war, including the bloody Battle of Tortone Forest. However, one of the Mocladian ambushing companies was threatened by the enemy cavalry. King Bronn of Moclad decided to go rescue the company, but that resulted in the Lleiran forces closing the gap between two armies to the point where mounted knights could threaten the retreating Mocladian army. Unwilling to let the invaders move freely across the country, King Bronn decided to challenge the enemy on his terms. It was not unusual for the Mocladians to defeat a much bigger army through professionalism and tactical advantage, and Barrnear Hill was chosen as a field of battle. In two days prior to the arrival of the main Lleiran forces, the soldiers prepared the defensive positions on the hills and gathered all available reinforcements.
The Lleiran army
What formation Lleirans would take, you say? Hah! Those empty-headed, stubborn nobles of theirs know only one formation — that of human waves!All three Lleiran columns gathered near the Barrnear Hill by midday on Death 5th. Due to the gaps between columns on the march, they naturally formed the flanks and centre of the army commanded by columns' respective leaders. The main forces, including all mercenary spearmen, were located in the centre commanded directly by the King Jaymond of Lleira. The left flank was commanded by Duke Pawlin of Stush, king's uncle from mother's side, and the right flank was commanded by Duke Lawrence of Fieord. The army adopted a traditional feudal battle formation: archers dispersed in the front, cavalry after them and infantrymen in the rear. Mercenaries were placed closer to the left part of the centre along with the king's banner. There was no apparent order here, just the masses of people and nobles debating over who would stand where and who would command.
The Mocladian army
I heard that there are at least a hundred thousand of those bastards. At least we got some time to prepare, right?The Mocladians were stationed on the hill, commanded by King Bronn and his twelve captains. The fifth to eighth companies were holding the front line on the west side of the hill where the enemy was coming from. The ninth and tenth companies were holding the left and right flanks. The eleventh and twelveth companies were split up into archers and spearmen. The most experienced first to fourth companies were held in reserve. They were further strengthened by all of the army's knights. The cavalry scouts were sent away from the hill, useless in the battle of heavy armoured units. The front line was set in checkerboard formation ten men deep. Within it, companies were split into five squads, 100 men each. Two archer squads were located behind the squad-sized gaps between three spearman squads. The gaps were dug in, and the earth used to elevate the archers' position. The first few metres of each gap were then filled with caltrops and water mixed with mud. The left and right flanks were less likely to encounter the enemy, so they were only five men deep instead of ten. The 400 archers of the eleventh and twelveth companies were positioned on the cliff in the centre of the front line. The 600 spearmen of the same companies split into four squads 5 men deep each and formed a second line behind the central three squads of every company, covering the more vulnerable parts of the line.
The battle occurred on a medium-sized hill of the Barrnear Hill twenty-eight miles away from the Lleiran-Mocladian border which lied west from it. A thick forest was located half a mile north from the base of the hill. On the west side of the hill stood a cliff.
The weather was relatively warm on Death 5th, but it got rainy afterwards. Combined with the magic used the Lleiran nobles, it resulted in the ground turning into a cold, wet mess.
The first dayThe battle started with Lleiran archers moving forward to skirmish with the enemy. However, the Mocladian forces have already struck fear into the hearts with their constant ambush, especially the one near the Tortone Forest. After a few volleys from Mocladian warbows, the Lleirans turned away and ran despite outnumbering the enemy archers.
They are laughing at us! Charge!Outraged at the sight of their archers' cowardliness and hearing the insults yelled by the enemy soldiers, the nobles on the right flank of the Lleiran army charged in. The right column was the one that got ambushed in the Tortone Confusion, and thus they were thirsty for vengeance. In an attempt to save the cavalry, Duke Lawrence of Fieord commanded the full-scale attack by about 10,000 men that were under his command. The results were disastrous. To start with, the charging cavalry stomped their own archers that did not have enough time to move out of the way. Crossing those two hundred yards under constant volleys, twelve hundred arrows released every five seconds, cost them many men killed or wounded as even mail armour was sometimes unable to stop an arrow sent from a warbow. Even more men lost their horses, and the falling bodies disrupted the formation. Finally, many horses slowed down or threw their riders upon reaching the wet mud with caltrops, and those who managed to get past it fell into a lowered area and proved unable to reach reliably the Mocladian archers standing on a raised area. And going on to charge into a defensive formation of professional spearmen in mail armour was not much better. The Mocladian spearmen held their ranks firmly, and after shooting their two dozens of arrows Mocladian archers joined the fray as well, jumping down and attacking the enemy cavalry stuck in the mud. Spearmen would injure the horse and then finish off the fallen enemy while archers were using swords, knives and bucklers to get close and aim at the vulnerable areas of enemy armour. Even the unwarranted charge of many Lleiran nobles only escalated the situation. Most nobles seemed to think that it is better to die fighting than to retreat, ignoring the orders to do so. Meanwhile, King Jaymond sent the left flank with some of his own cavalry and all mercenaries north, to encircle the hill and cut the enemy off the nearby forest. King Bronn saw the movement of the Lleiran left flank, but he was unwilling to let go much of his reserve, fearing that it was just a diversion. After all, more than half of Lleiran forces forming the centre still stood in place, so he only sent a single company to lengthen his right flank. A few hours later, the Lleirans started to lose their spirits and waver, their fighting spirit crashed by the unbreakable lines of Mocladian infantry. King Jaymond then ordered an attack by the forces under his command and, at the same time, signalled the right flank to retreat. When the Mocladian soldiers tried to pursue the retreating enemy, they were hit by a rain of arrows. Under cover of fresh and numerous infantry, the battered Lleiran forces retreated. Hundreds of nobles and men-at-arms lied dead on the field; many more were captured. And while the Mocladians achieved a tactical victory, the Lleirans had a strategic success. Their enemy was now cut off the forest and almost completely encircled by a much bigger force on a small hill. The Mocladians now had to stretch their lines and let the volunteers do the fighting as well.
The obviously want to hold that hill, is that right? Well, they are free to sit there as long as they want then.King Jaymond then sent the reinforced right flank north, completing the encirclement. The Mocladians attempted an attack after attack in order to break the encirclement, but they could not organise enough pressure to get through the massive forces of Lleira. In those battles, Lleiran mercenaries proved themselves invaluable as they managed to hold the line several times. By nightfall, the Mocladians on the hill were completely surrounded. And while they inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy, both repelling the Lleiran attack and during their own attacks, they spent most of the arrows doing so.
The next daysThe next day was rainy and turned all earth into mud. At about noon the Lleiran forces tried to mount a full-scale attack from all sides. The nobles and men-at-arms were going in that battle on foot, as King Jaymond forced them to do so hoping to keep them in control that way. The attack started with the Lleiran archers harassing the enemy infantry. The Mocladian archers were low on arrows, so they rarely responded, saving the ammunition for the enemy cavalry which usually did all the job in battles. After all, usual hunting bows had little chance of wounding a well-armoured infantryman with a shield standing on top of the hill. It then into melee and while the Lleirans fought ferociously, their infantry had to move through all the mud and was tired by the times they reached the enemy. The Mocladians also switched from the checkerboard formation to a solid five men deep circle. The battle ended up in a stalemate, and the Lleirans retreated losing more men than their enemy. Besides, their archers spent much of the arrows as well. The next move made by King Jaymond was a dirty trick although not formally forbidden by the noble codex. While the codex forbids using harmful magic in battle, what harm would be if one was so kind as to give the enemy some water to drink? And so the Lleiran mages started to conjure the enormous amount of water on the top of the hill.
So...cold...Even the Mocladian professional soldiers rarely had a good tent, and they had no wood to make a fire as the army was cut off the forest. The defenders started to fall ill and weak, more and more with every hour. It was not the fighting that was killing the army but the weather. Realising the severity of the situation, King Bronn tried to organise a breakthrough while he still could, but it was no good. The four companies assigned did manage to create a breach, but the enemy reinforcements have cut the advancing Mocladian force in two. Only a few hundred Mocladian soldiers managed to break through and hid in the forest, many fleeing the area right away. The Kingdom of Moclad could not survive without its professional soldiers and training them was slow work. King Bronn started negotiation to achieve peace and save the army even though it would likely mean losing some of his lands, but King Jaymond understood the enemy's intentions well. By putting forward unacceptable demands, King Jaymond tried to play for time. His goal was not to just conquer a portion of Moclad's lands but to destroy its army, leaving the whole kingdom up for taking. Although King Bronn had one trump card in his hand, a few hundred captured Lleiran nobles and men-at-arms that he threatened to kill. When King Bronn got desperate enough to almost agree on the deal on the Death 8th, King Jaymond conspired with some of the Mocladian nobles. King Bronn's tent burned at night, and the Lleiran forces attacked the disorganised and weak defenders the next morning. The Mocladian soldiers managed to break through the encirclement in two places. In one of them, it was done due to the help of the previously escaped soldiers that hid in the forest and the cavalry scouts. In another, knights broke the lines of the Lleiran levy, followed by most experienced first and second companies. Still, only one out of four Mocladian soldiers survived the Barrnear Sitting as the battle was called. They were given no quarter. The Lleirans still paid a hefty price for it, especially as the Mocladian soldiers killed all captured nobles when they were attacked.
Due to the near total destruction of the Mocladian army, the kingdom was left with almost no protection. The death of the king did not help the situation as well. As a result, nearly all lands of Moclad were conquered by the Kingdom of Lleira, except for a few cities and castles that the remains of its army managed to defend.
The long-term effects of the battle were much more important than its short-term effects. Due to the conquest of the Kingdom of Moclad, a war started next year between the Kingdom of Lleira and its now two neighbours, the Kingdom of Esma and the Kingdom of Aspax. That war would eventually lead to the total domination of the region by the Kingdom of Lleira and the formation of the unified Human Empire. Equally as important is the shift in the Lleiran traditions that happened due to the magic. The exceptionally successful use of magic during the battle resulted in the rise of its popularity in the kingdom as well as magic starting to become more present on the battlefield. King Jaymond also incorporated many of the more efficient governing ideas of the conquered country.
- Conflict Result
- The Kingdom of Lleira emerged victorious
7,500-8,500 nobles and men-at-arms
3,000-3,550 mercenary infantrymen
200-300 cavalry scouts
1,200-1,300 nobles and men-at-arms
50-100 cavalry scouts
War of Mocladian Demise
The near total conquest of the Kingdom of Moclad by the Kingdom of Lleira
Battle of Tortone Forest
A devastating ambush during the War of Mocladian Demise
Kingdom of Lleira
One of the Five Great Kingdoms and the predecessor to the Human Empire