Battle of Tortone Forest

Out of all possible unwelcomed topics to discuss with someone from the former areas of the Kingdom of Lleira, the Tortone Confusion is undoubtedly one of the most painful ones. Even the decisive victory in Barrnear Sitting could not fully wash away the shame of that defeat.
— Imperial Academy, discussion club at the Culture branch of the Department of Sociology
Also called the Tortone Confusion, the battle occurred soldiers from the Kingdom of Moclad ambushed the company of invading Lleirans in 801 AE. Due to the lack of proper communication among forces of Lleira, it resulted in many hundred killed and wounded on the defending side while the attackers had little to no casualties.

The Conflict

Prelude

The soldiers from the Kingdom of Lleira were advancing in three independent columns. Normally, the column will move as a single unit with most of the high-level nobles riding in its head, but sometimes a company of glory-seeking young nobles and their soldiers would move ahead of the main force. They would also support the foraging parties and engage in the majority of small fights.   A group of Mocladian soldiers spotted such company on the right flank of advancing forces. It was moving too far away from the rest of the column, making it an easy target, so King Bronn of Moclad approved the large-scale attack on the enemy.

Deployment

The Lleiran company was slowly marching into the Mocladian territory, numbering up to two thousand men. There were fewer men-at-arms but more nobles than usual, as the company mostly consisted of poor nobles aiming to prove themselves. They were moving about two miles ahead of the main column.   Meanwhile, about half of Mocladian soldiers in the nearby area gathered together to launch an attack. They were further reinforced by a full company of 500 soldiers from the main force, bringing the total number up to 800-1,000 professional foot soldiers. A place for the ambush was chosen to be a several miles long site where the Tortone Forest came close to the road.

Battlefield

The battle happened closer to the far end of the site, 13 miles deep into the Mocladian territory.

Conditions

The area around had a lot of forests in it, with just a few major roads going through the plain parts of the land and numerous small pathways going through the woods. Due to the late time of year, it had already started to get cold and rainy. Nevertheless, the road that Lleiran forces chose to use was relatively dry and solid.

The Engagement

The ambush

I would have gladly told you more about how the battle went or how many enemy soldiers were there but... I do not really remember much, to be honest.
— Baron Nichol of Fieord
The Lleiran scouts were few and did not go deep in the forest, and so the attack was a complete surprise for them. A rain of arrows fell on the head of the company, where all the nobles and men-at-arms were. Most Lleirans had their helmets removed and shields on their backs, easy targets for Mocladian professional archers armed with warbows. Dozens of them fell right away, and before anyone could realise anything, a second volley was fired.   Although Mocladians did surprise their enemy, it only gave them time to fire a few arrows each before Lleirans reacted. Baron Nichol of Fieord, company's commander, was eager to attack. After sending a magic message to Duke Lawrence, the company charged in.   The cavalry charge was of little success as trees disrupted their line, allowing the Mocladian spearmen to relatively easy hold off the attackers. The Lleiran infantry only added in more chaos, unable to inflict much damage upon the enemy in heavy armour. Meanwhile, the main column quickened the pace and sent its cavalry forward, rushing to save the company.  

The confusion

Our vanguard has been attacked! Quick, men, aid our soldiers and my nephew against the enemy!
— Duke Lawrence of Fieord
The Lleirans did not have much fighting spirit in them, especially after seeing their commander fall during the charge. Baron Nichol was still alive, merely losing his consciousness and breaking two ribs after an arrow hit him in the helmet and knocked off the horse, but the men did not know that. Soon, they started to waver and run.   When the Lleiran cavalry approached to help the company, they spotted infantry running from the forest in their direction and shouting. Mistaking them for the enemy, they charged in with lances ready and started to slaughter their own retreating infantry that tried to warn them about Mocladians in the forest. Believing that they were attacked by enemy cavalry, Lleiran infantrymen tried to fight back, and some even decided to run back into the woods, forever disappearing there.   By the time everyone realised what is going on and the battle stopped, the field was full of blood and bodies. No Mocladians were to be found around, as they gathered their fallen and safely retreated deep into the forest, safe from cavalry pursuit.

Outcome

You missed them? All thousand of them? Missed soldiers hiding on the very edge of this forest? Are you stupid or just blind? Silence! Do not talk back at me, young man! It was your mistake, and you will have to take responsibility for it before our king. As for the enemy hiding in this forest... Men, burn it down!
— Duke Lawrence of Fieord lecturing his nephew
The right flank of Lleiran forces lost up to 10% of its soldiers in one battle, including a rather high number of nobles, the prime target of the enemy archers. The column also had to slow down its pace out of fear of being ambushed again. At the same time, the event gave birth to the concept of burning down all forests near the roads, which soon spread to the whole army of Lleira.

Aftermath

The battle dealt significant damage to the will to fight among Lleiran forces, playing a significant role in the devastating results of their first attack during the Barrnear Sitting. It also caused Lleirans to give no quarter to Mocladian soldiers, as revenge.   The attitude of the fallen soldiers' relatives towards many nobles was significantly deteriorated for the killing they have done. In return, those nobles were angry as a number of them died during the clash caused by confusion. The hostility was so high that those peasants would even willingly fight in numbers against the infamous nobles trying to conquer their lands.

Included under Conflict
War of Mocladian Demise
Conflict Type
Battle
Battlefield Type
Land
Start Date
Death 3rd, 801 AE
Ending Date
Death 3rd, 801 AE
Conflict Result
Humiliating and costly defeat for the Kingdom of Moclad

Belligerents

Strength

800-1,000 regulars: 300-400 archers
500-600 spearmen
1,500-2,000 total:
400-500 nobles and men-at-arms
500-700 archers
600-800 infantrymen   Reinforcements of about 500 nobles and men-at-arms

Casualties

Unknown, estimated no more than 50 soldiers
750-1,050 total:
About 150 nobles and men-at-arms
200-300 archers
400-600 infantrymen

Objectives

Destroy the Lleiran company.
To defeat the enemy and prove their valour.
War of Mocladian Demise
Military Conflict | Apr 16, 2019

The near total conquest of the Kingdom of Moclad by the Kingdom of Lleira



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