Great Kesh War
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|Great Kesh War|
(clockwise from top right)
Agrana y Griegro
Alvakalia (until 1954)
Alvakalia (until 1954)
Tiperyn (after 1956)
Lestykhol (until 1954)
Madaristan's People's Army
Kodeshia (after 1956)
|Commanders and leaders|
|Casualties and losses|
The Great Kesh War was a war fought principally in modern Nasiria, Kodeshia, Hydar State, Alvakalia, Beifang and Akiteiwa from 1949 until 1959. In Kodeshia the war is known as the War of Resistance against Selengerian Aggression (Guoyu: 山河间抗東蠻人戰爭; pinyin: Shānhéjiān kàng dōng mán rén zhànzhēng). The belligerents on the western front were the coalition of Nasiri Aravans and Khorasani Yazidis (supported principally by Tiperyn and Kaya) against a united front including the Islamic socialist Madaristan's People's Army (MPA) and the Shia nationalist Mihrani League (supported by Goetia, SiWallqanqa, and Kodeshia). Meanwhile, the eastern front was largely fought between Kodeshia and Selengeria. The alliance of Tiperyn, Kaya, Alvakalia, and Selengeria would be colloquially known as the Crown Concordant by 1951, hearkening back to the similarly composed Crown Alliance of the Grand Campaigns.
Following the fall of the Caliphate in 1925 as a result of the Grand Campaigns, the power vacuum once commanded by a pan-Islamic state including what is now modern day Nasiria and Qataba was quickly filled by several nationalist and leftist insurgent groups who vied for control over territory not occupied by the Tiperyn-backed Aravans of the Nasir River Valley and the Yazidis of the Zagros Peninsula. During the interwar period, the Tiperyn government secretly colluded with the Yazidis and Aravans to defeat the Shia nationalist groups in the south and split control of the former caliphate. Yazidi and Aravan militant groups launched a surprise attack against the nationalists during the Eid al-Fitr celebrations in 1949, beginning the Great Kesh War.
Although Tiperyn and its allies had hoped to leave the fighting to primarily to native Aravan and Yazidi troops, unexpected resistance and substantial support globally from nominally communist regimes forced the deployment of Artemian coalition forces in 1950. The early war was marked by ineffective counter insurgency campaigns on the part of coalition forces, as well as a stalemate along a frontline in the foothills that divided the coalition controlled Grand Nasir Desert from the nationalist-controlled Sabzevar and Karatzhan mountain ranges. This stalemate was broken in 1952 by a massive combined arms offensive by Tiperyner and Kayan forces, spearheaded by airborne, armoured, and riverine forces through the Nasir River Valley that bisected Nasiria. The offensive lead to the splitting of nationalist forces along the Nair River by 1954, continued advances eastward and westward into the heart of nationalist territory, and the eventual destruction of the MPA.
The war in the west came to an end in early 1958, when the conditional surrender of the remaining Mihrani League regular army formations was delivered to coalition forces. The surrender came on 22 March 1958, the first day of Ramadan, and further deliberation would lead to the integration of Aravan and Mihrani areas of what is now Nasiria. Although the majority of soldiers who comprised the Mihrani League surrendered to coalition forces or deserted within months of the armistice, armed resistance continued among ethnic Mihranis throughout the mountainous regions of southern Nasiria that had not come under coalition occupation. Former Mihrani League and MPA fighters formed the backbone of several Mihrani secession and Islamist movements in this region, leading to continued conflict into the present between them against the governments of Nasiria and the North-South Concordant.
Meanwhile, the eastern front fighting was primarily between Selengeria, Kodeshia and Akiteiwa dragged on. While Alvakalia having negotiated a separate peace with Kodeshia in 1954 due to army mutinies, the Kodeshia-Selengeria front remained the last active front of the Kesh War. As Beifang and Akiteiwa all agreed to seperate negotiated peace settlements. While Kodeshia fought on in the hopes of regaining lost territory. This led to an expected endpoint deep into the 1960s and a potential Selengeria defeat threatening the Crown Concordant's position in the west Tethys, so the first atomic bomb was dropped on the Kodeshi city of Wujin by the Tiperyn Realm Air Service on 19 and 23 November 1959 in an attempt to force a peace settlement. A ceasefire was offered by Kodeshia on 27 November 1959, ending the Great Kesh War. However, no peace treaty was ever signed, and so Selengeria and Kodeshia are technically still at war, engaged in a frozen conflict.
The Great Kesh War was among the most destructive conflicts of the modern era, the scale of fighting was enormous. Estimates for total number of casualties in the war vary, because many deaths went unrecorded. Most suggest tens of millions of people died in the war. It incurred the destruction of many of the major cities in Eastern Kesh, many of the civilians died because of deliberate massacres, mass bombings, disease, starvation, chemical and biological weapons. Eastern Kesh became among the most heavily bombed places in history. The millions of bombs dropped on Eastern Kesh rendered the landscape hazardous. In Kodeshia alone, millions of bombs failed to explode and remain scattered throughout the country, rendering vast swathes of land impossible to cultivate and killing or maiming Kodeshis every year. It is estimated that the explosives still remaining buried in the ground will not be removed entirely for the next few centuries. Million of people left Eastern Kesh in the East Kesh refugee crisis. One of the most controversial aspects of the war the use of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. Chemical and biological weapons were widely used in the conflict. Chemical defoliants were used to defoliate large parts of the countryside to prevent the forces from being able to hide their weapons and encampments under the foliage. These chemicals continue to change the landscape, cause diseases and birth defects, and poison the food chain. While sarin gas attacks and release of biological attacks were commonly seen as well. While the single use of nuclear weapons in the conflict by Tiperyn remains among the most controversial with supporters believing that the atomic bombing was necessary to bring a swift end to the war with minimal casualties, while critics argue that the Kodeshi government could have been brought to peace settlement through other means, while highlighting the moral and ethical implications of nuclear weapons and the deaths caused to civilians.
(WIP; reworking) The end of the Grand Campaigns in 1925 led to a delicate armistice that was complicated by delays and ambiguity over control of border territories as the governments in Kodeshia and Selengeria fell apart and the discovery of vast oil fields were left unresolved and would lead to simmering issues of national borders. The Beishan oil fields were opened after years of work financed by the Kodeshian governments. The oil fields were operated by a Kodeshian-chartered company; the area surrounding the oil fields remained sovereign Kodeshian territory. In 1926, as a result of debt and financial crisis following the end of the The Grand Campaigns, Kodeshia was forced to sell its shares in the oil operating company to the Selengeria nationals. They were willing buyers and obtained a 44 percent share in the oil field's operations; this maintained the majority shareholdings of the mostly Kodeshia aristocratic private investors. With the 1927 civil war in Kodeshia, the Selengeria nationals took de facto control of the whole oil field, and its finances and operations. The 1928 Convention of Jiankang declared the oil fields a neutral zone under Selengeria protection. In ratifying it, the ailing Liang dynasty agreed to cede the territory for support in the civil war but anti-imperial forces prevailed. Kodeshia's post-war domestic politics were experiencing a radical change, prompted in no small part by economic instability, inflation, and unemployment. In 1930 the new Kodeshi government unilaterally abrogated the Convention of 1928, but scattered local Selengeria forces refused to withdraw from the area, relying upon its now-defunct convention, as well as the presence of the garrison there. The price of such a course of action was a steady escalation in increasingly violent hostility towards Selengeria and its troops in Kodeshia, which the Kodeshi authorities did little to curb. Throughout the 1930s, the Ündserkheg government of Selengeria pursued a number of policies that would frustrate the government of Kodeshia's aims throughout the region, and result in increasing hostility between the two nations. Kodeshia saw Selengeria's expansionist claims on breakaway regions from the post-Grand Campaigns era, approaches to the newly independent Alvakalia and Imperialist powers such as Tiperyn as very real threats that attempted to contain Kodeshia. This played into the widespread suspicion of the new leadership in Kodeshia that any defence ties with Tiperyn or Alvakalia were merely veiled colonialism and that disunity and weakness among the nations of Kesh was a consequence of Tiperyn machinations.
Foreign aid to nationalists
Course of the war
Eid al-Fitr offensive (July–December 1949)
On the evening of 27 July 1949, militiamen of the Realm Nasiria Rifle Corps, composed entirely of Aravan conscripts, and Yazidi militant groups attacked villages, towns, and major outposts under the control of the Madaristan's People's Army (MPA) in the west and the Mihrani League (ML) in the east. The attacks coincided with Eid al-Fitr celebrations where it was assumed most of them would have been granted leave, assuming they were in organized units.
Counter insurgency and defensive operations (1950–1952)
Nasir River Valley offensive (1952–1954)
During the early years of the war on the western front, the front line had not moved substantially passed the foothills separating the Grand Nasir Desert from Nasiria's southernly mountain ranges and river valleys. This was partly due to the ineffectiveness of local Nasiri forces, nationalist and communist control of major population centres in Mihrani areas, and a half-hearted commitment of large formations to the front line by Tiperyn. While coalition forces invested in static light fortifications and dug in, opting to wear the enemy out via air raids launched from Tiperyn carriers and airfields, the Mihrani League solidified its control over the few agrarian areas of southern Nasiria, securing its food supply, while the MPA amassed over 40,000 soldiers east of the Nasir River in preparations for a large scale offensive. Following the encirclement and destruction of two Nasiri battalions and the bombing of the Tiperyn embassy in Nasir in June 1951, Tiperyn called its ally Kaya into the war. With the intent of breaking the stalemate, Tiperyn and Kaya planned for a major offensive in mid-1952 through the Nasir River Valley to separate the western Mihrani League nationalist groups from the MPA. The initial offensive was dubbed Operation Albion Bend.
Operation Albion Bend
Operation Albion Bend called for a combined arms attack through the relatively mild terrain of the Nasir River Valley. The operation would be spearheaded by an airborne and glider-borne assault around where the Nasir and Aqda Rivers meet. The initial assault would be carried out by six Tiperyner and Kayan regiments inserted by parachute, who would then be supported by four glider-borne regiments supplying additional infantry, airmobile armoured vehicles, and towed artillery once the paratroopers secured their objectives. Objectives of importance included the string of villages that lined both rivers, as well as trails and roads known to be traveled by nationalist forces and river crossings. In concert with the airborne landings, two Tiperyn armoured regiments would assault nationalist forces in the vicinity of Isari with the objective of breaking through and relieving the airborne elements. Until relieved, the airborne's perimeter would continue to be reinforced via airlift, taking advantage of the near absence of enemy airpower. Once relieved, the airborne forces would advance westward and eastward into the mountains, seeking out and destroying nationalist positions. Meanwhile, the armoured regiments supported by riverine patrol boats and air power would continue their push southward along the Nasir River all the way to the Nasiri-Sindhustani border. During the offensive, Tiperyn infantry and armoured regiments stationed on other parts of the front would engage in smaller assaults with the objective of tying down nationalist and communist forces. The ultimate goal of the offensive was to cut off nationalist forces in western Nasiria from their main support base in the east and to isolate the communist MPA from the nationalists. Although the offensive would deplete the nationalists and lead to their ultimate downfall, the operation failed in its primary objective as nationalists were able to find a safe haven in northern Sindhustan.
In the year leading up to the offensive, Tiperyn committed its theatre reserve to the operation. This included four parachute infantry regiments, two air landing regiments, one marine battalion, and two armoured regiments. In addition, Kaya committed several airborne and air landing regiments. Additionally, Tiperyn had taken assumed responsibility for approximately 60% of the frontline in Nasiria, replacing largely depleted Nasiri militia units.
Advances into Mihrani country (1954-1958)
Surrender of the Mihrani League (1958)
Border conflicts leading to war (1949)
(WIP; reworking) The most important dispute was over control of the border regions and oil fields remained unresolved following the end of the Kodeshian Civil War. Control and ownership by Selengeria nationals over the entirety of the oil field were to be established by The 1928 Convention of Jiankang that declared the oil fields a neutral zone under Selengeria protection. The treaty established by the previous Liang dynasty for support in the civil war. The new Kodeshi government sent a delegation to Selengeria soon after the end of the civil war in 1930 and, when Selengeria refused to proceed with negotiations over a new agreement, the 1928 Convention of Jiankang was unilaterally withdrawn by new Kodeshi government. But scattered local Selengeria forces refused to withdraw from the area, The price of such a course of action was a steady escalation in increasingly violent hostility towards Selengeria and its troops in Kodeshia, which the Kodeshi authorities did little to curb as they were busy re-establishing order within the war-torn nation. Throughout the 1930s, the Ündserkheg government of Selengeria pursued a number of policies that would frustrate the government of Kodeshia's aims throughout the region, and result in increasing hostility between the two nations. Many attempts were made to establish a new treaty between the two sides but to no avail. Nineteen years later, on 26 July 1949, the Kodeshi leadership responded to growing tension with Selengeria by nationalising its oil fields and transferring it to the Kodeshi National Authority. On the same day that the oil fields were nationalised Kodeshia also closed its border with Selengeria and forcefully attempted to expel the remaining Selengeria garrison. Kodeshi military forces were forced to engage them militarily and allowing the Ündserkheg to declare the resultant fighting a threat to regional stability as well as their economic interests. Responding to these actions, the Ündserkheg government of Selengeria declared war on Kodeshia and closed its border. Khiyat Suudriin claimed that Kodeshia refused to abide by the stipulations of the 1928 Convention and, therefore, Selengeria would protect its interests with its army which crossed the border, border skirmishes broke out all the way along the border.
Due to the declaration of war, reserves were called in from around Kodeshia to combat Guurkhun forces. One force, Reserve Battalion 675, accidentally crossed the Alvak border with Kodeshia while heading to the frontlines. Once the force made contact with what it thought was a Guurkhun patrol but was in fact an Alvak patrol, it fired. The resulting skirmish, now named the Altis Skirmish, led to the destruction of a regiment and later brought Alvakalia into the war.
Selengeria invasion of Kodeshia (1949-1950)
Selengeria launched a full-scale invasion Kodeshia on 30 October 1949. The primary targets of this surprise offensive were the central oil fields of the plains, Malipo and Zhuji, with the ultimate goal of ending the 1949 campaign near the Dazhong-Guangshen line, from the Tethys Sea to the Great Kesh Dividing range connecting into central Alvakalia. Suudriin 's objectives were to eliminate Kodeshia as a military power, exterminate its native people, and restore the lost territories from the Grand Campaigns and guarantee access to the strategic oil resources needed to defeat Selengeria's remaining rivals.
Although Kodeshi armed forces were preparing for a possible preemptive attack before the war, the invasion forced Kodeshia to adopt a strategic defence. With its forces hastily setting trenches, barbed wire, and minefields along the border. However, these positions were poorly defended, and in some areas incomplete and were overrun in the first few hours as Selengeria forces made significant gains into Kodeshi territory, inflicting immense losses in both personnel and materiel. Facing a dire situation as the front began collapsing down along the southeastern sectors, Kodeshia begins scorched earth policy against the invading Selengeria forces. Kodeshi military forces set fire to hundreds of oil wells, as part of a scorched earth policy while retreating from invading Selengeria forces. Heavy smoke and fumes delay invading forces and denying them access to the oil. The oil fires burned out of control for nearly ten months, because of the dangers of sending in firefighting crews during the war. The fires causing massive rises in global oil prices, massive loss of income to the Kodeshi economy and widespread pollution to the area but crucially delaying Selengeria forces. On the 20 November 1949, Chancellor Armaan Stahlberg of Alvakalia declares war on Kodeshia and Beifang declared war on Alvakalia in support of Kodeshia but for the time being remains neutral with Selengeria. Kodeshia starts a counter-attack against the Selengeria near Zhuji in Beishan province. The smoke screens created by the oil fires allowed Kodeshi armour forces to achieve the element of surprise and successful stall advances in the first battle of Zhuji along with increasing the general fog of war. By the end of the initial Selengeria opening offensive major oil fields, cities and provinces on the border were captured along with heavy losses on Kodeshi military equipment and lives.
The Bakanese invasion of Alvakalia started on New Year’s Day, 1950 after months of inactivity on the border between the two countries. The Battle of Checkpoint Alkett, a massive failure for the group, marked the start of repeated failures by Heeresgruppe Nordost, comprising the 4. and 5. Divisions. These repeated failures would come to a halt at the massive Battle of Neu-Amden. Despite being outmatched in number, equipment, and low in morale, the two divisions, with the help of many Hauptwache forces, slowed down and eventually held back the Bakanese force, who numbered in the hundreds of regiments, until 1951, when expeditionary forces arrived.
With the arrival of several expeditionary forces from Lestykhol, Lusjki, and Helinika in 1951, the odds slowly turned against the Bakanese. Lusjki sent over 10,000 men. Lestykhol sent the Kholak Expeditionary Force numbering at around 10,000 men at the request of Bundespräsident Armaan Stahlberg.
As the Bakanese advance reached further and further into Alvakalia, problems increasingly appeared. The harsh desert climate of the country had made unprepared soldiers (of which many of them were) suffer from heatstroke. A lack of shelter in the occupied areas further amplified the already widespread heatstroke situation. Supply and maintenance issues grew drastically as the frontline further distanced itself from the border. A strain was put on the transport lines since only coastal roads could be used reliably by logistics. The excruciatingly long distance from the border to the frontline put wear and tear as well as fuel shortage as the largest problems for the invading army. In addition to these problems, depots were not forwarded to the frontline, leading to stocks never building up.
The Bundeswehr exploited these issues the Bakanese faced in creative ways. Soldiers would travel in the sand dunes alongside Bakanese logistical lines, eventually ambushing any trucks on them when the opportunity came. These small encirclements slowly crippled the Bakanese invading force. This tactic, named Kesseltaktik (Anglic: cauldron tactics), was especially effective against some of the mechanized units of the Bakanese Imperial Army, which were effectively restricted to the long and narrow coastal roads with virtually no way other than forwards or backwards. Once committed to a road, the Bakanese troops effectively were trapped.
In Goetic the word Kessel (literally a cauldron) is commonly used to refer to an encircled military force, and a Kesselschlacht (cauldron battle) refers to a pincer movement. The common tactic which would leave a Kessel is referred to Keil and Kessel (Keil means wedge). Kessel is a loanword in Anglic texts about the Great Kesh War. Another use of Kessel is to refer to Kessel fever, the panic and hopelessness felt by any troops who were surrounded with little or no chance of escape.
Unlike the motorized and mechanized units of the Bakanese, the Alvak troops could move quickly through the desert on motorbikes and break columns of armoured Bakanese units into smaller chunks (e.g., by planting mines along the road). Once the large column was split up into smaller armoured units, the Alvak forces attacking from within the vast expanse of the desert would strike the weakened column. The smaller pockets of enemy troops could then be dealt with individually by concentrating forces on all sides against the entrapped unit.
A kessel is therefore a double envelopment manoeuvre, using the ability of light troops to travel over rough ground to encircle enemy troops on a road. Heavily outnumbered but mobile forces could easily immobilize an enemy many times more numerous.
By cutting the enemy columns or units into smaller groups and then encircling them with light and mobile forces, such as motorbike troops, a smaller force can overwhelm a much larger force. If the encircled enemy unit was too strong, or if attacking it would have entailed an unacceptably high cost, e.g., because of a lack of heavy equipment, the pocket was usually left to "stew" until it ran out of food, fuel, supplies, and ammunition and was weakened enough to be eliminated. Some of the larger kessels held out until the end of the war because they were resupplied by air. Being trapped, however, these units were not available for battle operations.
The largest kessel battles in the front occurred at the Battle of Altenkirch in late 1953 during the Bakanese retreat after the failed encirclement of Neu-Amden. Five Alvak regiments enveloped and destroyed four Bakanese divisions as well as two tank brigades trapped on a road.
After the declaration of war late September of 1949 after the Altis Skirmish, Alvakalia had a good defensive position to defend from any Kodeshia attacks, especially with the arrival of the Lestykhol National Expeditionary Force to bolster their ranks. However, it doubled as a sort of barbed wire for forces, as it made any advances slow to make. Despite the disadvantage, Kreigsplan Geld (War Plan Yellow/Gold) was enacted.
The plan consisted of two mass pushes; one toward the south as a diversionary attack and one towards Selengeria. The plan had correctly assumed Beifang would join sides with Kodeshia, and a separate subset of plans was made for a northeastern defence or attack, those respectively being Operation Sessel and Operation Bison. Operation Bison would be enacted in the 1952 Weihnachten Offensive; it proved to be partially successful.
Involvement of Lestykhol
The Republic of Lestykhol had previously fought in the Grand Campaigns against the Crown Alliance, mostly in the former Vojiskiy Empire. They also heavily supported anti-communist operations in Goetia, which gained them the admiration of the colony of Alvakalia. After the end of the Grand Campaigns, Lestykhol retreated from the international stage, severing ties with the future League of Free Nations due to disagreements over traditional values. When the Great Kesh War began, the Alvaks requested Kholak volunteers to assist the Crown Concordant against the Madaristan's People's Army and the Mihrani League while also conducting secondary operations on the Eastern Front. After much deliberation, the Duma voted in favor of joining the war, breaking from their isolationist stance. A force of around 10,000 volunteers and conscripts, mostly infantry and cavalry, was assembled for the first wave. Generals XXX and XXX were given joint command of the Lestykhol National Defense Force. Due to the threat of the Kodeshi Navy, the Expeditionary Force be flown across the Eurybian Sea to Alvak soil. Upon their arrival, the force was split in half with one part being sent further west, and the other to remain in Alvakalia. XXX was given command of the west, and XXX in the east. The Kholaks served mainly secondary roles assisting the larger military forces of the Crown Concordant. Although they fought valiantly, the forces struggled adapting to the Kesh environments with conditions like heatstroke and dysentery plaguing their ranks. Also, logistical constraints resulting from Kodeshia taking a harder stance on Kholak vessels led to shortages. Luckily, the Crown nations, especially Alvakalia, donated equipment to the Kholak troops. With the Eastern Front bogging down by 1954, the Expeditionary troops were completely redeployed to the West where they served until 1958. The entire force was again redeployed back to the East in 1959, participating until the war's end. In total, more than 50,000 Kholak soldiers served in the Great Kesh War, with approximately 7,000 deaths. (WIP)
The Eurybian Sea was among the most active waterways for military convoys and arms shipments. As the access point to the battlefront in north Kesh and as a short cut to those in southeast Kesh, confrontations between Crown Concordant naval forces and Kodeshian, Bakanese and non-belligerent warships and shipping occurred in the Eurybian throughout the war.
Battles off the coast of Beifang
During the war, Beifang's navy was spread out over a large area and consisted of 3 main battlegroups. The Iron Battlegroup was deployed to the Jade Sea and Eurybian Straits to aid Kodeshian naval assets against Tipslan forces and blockade Selengerian supply routes. The Steel battlegroup was responsible for patrolling Bakanese waters out west and later blockade Alvakalian waters as well. The Emerald battlegroup, the most elite of Beifang's navy, was responsible for the protection of the Bakanese coastline and coastal cities. Early in the war, Bakanese ships often engaged in open-water combat against coalition ships in the Eurybian. Due to aerial and logistical limitations later on in the war, Bakanese ships played a more defensive role in preventing coalition aid to Kesh. The central Eurybian was out of range, but the eastern straits became the center of several major engagements between Bakanese and Crown fleets. Coalition ships later in the war did manage to reach as close as 3km off the coast of Tsih-Pa Ra, as Bakanese naval forces were stretched thin. Coalition ships, supported by fighters and dive-bombers, engaged the 3rd Emerald fleet Lewchew in the Port of Tsih-Pa Ra.
One major battle, the Skirmish at Tay Song, saw a victorious Bakanese fleet of 2 heavy cruisers and 4 destroyers victorious over a coalition fleet of approximately 3 heavy cruisers and 6 destroyers. Another, the Battle of Mang Chi Island, saw the destruction of over 60% of a coalition fleet by submarines stationed at the Lan Cao Naval Base on the island. Due to the war drawing out into a 10-year conflict, logistical issues and overuse of naval assets led to decreased effectiveness against the coalition. The Battle of Tsih-Pa Ra Harbour would be the closest any enemy warship would reach to Bakanese shores. A pyrrhic victory, the battle ended all chance of further offensive operations by the Bakanese Navy as the 3rd Emerald fleet was outnumbered 4:1 and had suffered 85% casualties.
One confrontation occurred between Marressaly and Tiperyn during the month of August 1950 just over a year after the beginning of the war, and in hindsight as been regarded as one of the most potentially volatile engagements of the war.
The incidents were precipitated by the Marressalic government selling arms to Kodeshia starting as early as two years before the war, though it remained uninvolved in the fighting officially. Although denouncing the shipments diplomatically, Tiperyn had not actively countered the shipments. However, on 4 August 1950, two Marressalic cargo ships loaded with a shipment of tanks bound for Kodeshia were sunk 100 kilometres north of Qataba by two Tiperyn submarines. The action caused outrage from Gardarike and Mero-curgovina, of which Marressaly were close allies with, and threatened to expand the scope of what was hoped to be a quick regional war in Kesh to a truly global conflict. The incident escalated when on 10 August a Tiperyn troopship was sunk by a Marressalic warship at the western mouth of the Eurybian Sea in retaliation, killing 340 soldiers and sailors. Following, Tiperyn gunboats and torpedo boats began actively harassing Marressalic vessels with gunfire, although no casualties were reported as a result of initial attacks.
Tensions only increased when on 13 August the Tiperyn battlecruiser TNV Manjefyk was sunk off the coast of Alvakalia by a Marressalic submarine in what was referred to as an act of war by the head of the Tiperyn Admiralty Board. Almost all hands were lost, with only 17 out of the more than 500 onboard rescued by patrol boats.
Realizing the potential of expanding the Kesh War into Artemia and involving Marressaly's continental allies, Marressalic and Tiperyn leaders met in December 1950 to quell the tensions. The two powers came to an agreement, with Marressaly agreeing to halt its shipments of military arms to Kodeshia, excluding all other goods, and Tiperyn allowing free passage to Marressalic ships and limiting its use of submarine warfare against civilian vessels. Both nations would not completely honour the agreement, however, as Marressaly would continue covert arms sales to Kodeshia while Tiperyn warships engaged Marressalic warships at least 3 times before the war's end in 1959. However, none of these later confrontations would lead to deaths or sinkings, leaving the two powers in a tenuous state of peaceful suspicion.
Although the skirmishes between Marressaly and Tiperyn did not result in armed conflict, they did have an immeasurable impact on the outlook and goals of Tiperyn and Marressaly through the end of the war. It is likely that the incident played a hand in accelerating the development of nuclear weapons programs in Marressaly and Tiperyn, which would also influence the acceleration of Kodeshia's own program. Although it had become Crown Concordant policy as of 1954 to develop nuclear weapons to quell small conflicts like those in Kesh from escalating and becoming prolonged wars, most historians agree that the early Marressalic-Tiperyn confrontations stoked anxieties in both the Crown Concordant (later the North-South Concordant) and what would later become the Pan-Artemian Coalition regarding global conflict between the two blocs. Tiperyn would later be the first to use nuclear weapons in 1959 against Kodeshia to force a peace settlement, as the war was not projected to end until well into the 1960s. Although the nature of the development of these weapons remains obscure, it has been confirmed that these bombs were developed as offshoots of joint Tiperyn-Kaya nuclear weapons programs that had begun in the late 1940s but were accelerated as a result of the threat of the Marressalic weapons programs and the mounting cost of the Kesh War. It was later discovered Marressaly had built and tested the first two nuclear weapons in 1956 and had built four more by 1959 which could have resulted in the escalation of the conflict if the Marressalic government had carried out the plan to arm Kodeshia with nuclear weapons for retaliation in late 1959.
Seizures of Mero-Curgov ships by Tiperyn
From October 1952 to February 1953, the Tiperyn Realm Armada confronted Mero-Curgov-produced warships in transit to Kodeshia in the centre of the Eurybian Sea. Too far for sufficient air cover from either Mero-Curgovina or Beifang, Crown Concordantn warships travelled with virtual impunity in this area of the Eurybian.
On 13 October 1952, the Tiperyn aircraft carrier TNV See Earn was informed at 6:04 a.m. by one of its scout flights of a vessel travelling under a Kodeshian ensign eastward. Although unknown to the See Earn at the time, this was a Mero-Curgov produced destroyer manned by a skeleton crew of Mero-Curgov sailors on a mission to deliver the ship to Kodeshia. It scrambled a flight of four first-generation jet fighter bombers armed with primitive anti-shipping missiles. Spotting the ship at 7:02 a.m., the flight launched a salvo of four missiles at the Mero-Curgov ship. One struck the bow of the ship, causing superficial damage, while the remaining three missed the ship entirely. By the time the flight had returned to the See Earn, the ship was estimated to have been within air cover of Beifang. As the ship was travelling alone and had not engaged the fighters, the captain of the See Earn opted to not launch a second wave of bombers. This incident prompted the Mahtsmarina to begin flying the Mero-Curgov ensign on its ships in transit in an attempt to appeal to its official neutrality. Further, Mero-Curgov ships would begin actively harassing Tiperyn vessels travelling close to its waters with land-based medium bombers performing low passes parallel to Tiperyn convoys with its bomb bays open to display its munitions. Confrontations between Mero-Curgov aircraft and Tiperyn ships became common, with it becoming common practice for Tiperyn vessels to fire its cannons as close as 100 meters in front of the warplanes to force their withdrawal.
The next month on 5 November 1952, a destroyer matching the class of Tiperyn airpower engaged on 13 October was spotted by a Tiperyn flotilla travelling eastward through the Eurybian. The ship was intercepted by two Tiperyn battlecruisers and three destroyers at 12:14 p.m. The Mero-Curgov ship, serial number JAU 5202, was then boarded by a party of 30 Tiperyn Fleet Marines, after which the ship was seized without a shot being fired. The crews were returned to Mero-Curogovina on 10 November, although the destroyer was commandeered—to the outrage of the League of Free Nations—and pressed into the Tiperyn Realm Armada three months after as TNV Sterkhert.
The last incident occurred on 20 February 1953. At 9:10 a.m., Tiperyn scout planes spotted a Mero-Curgov frigate travelling eastward unaccompanied. Presumed to be a ship in transit to Kodeshia, elements of the same flotilla that had captured a Mero-Curgov ship in November 1952 moved to intercept. Upon attempting to board the ship, the Tiperyn boarding party was ambushed by a detachment of naval infantry. Following the November 1952 incident, Mero-Curgov had made it a policy to man its ships in transit with naval infantry detachments as their sailors were not expected to resist boarding parties. Five of the 32 marines attempting to board were killed while another 12 were wounded. When fired upon, the Tiperyn battlecruiser TNV Ûnoerwinlik opened fire on the deck of the Mero-Curgov ship with its 15mm machine guns and 38mm autocannons, killing or wounding several naval infantrymen and sailors. The Mero-Curgov vessel returned fire with its machine guns, forcing Tiperyn sailors to take cover. A Tiperyn naval helicopter that had been launched to provide air cover for the flotilla was badly damaged and was forced to make a crash landing in the sea. The crew of the helicopter was unable to be recovered by either nations' vessels. Once the boarding party's boat returned and was recovered at 11:23 a.m., the Tiperyn warships withdrew. During the incident, the Commodore in command of the flotilla had refrained from turning the ships' main deck guns on the Mero-Curgov vessel. The incident resulted in heavy denunciations from both the Tiperyn and Mero-Curgov governments, although the action did not result in open hostilities. From then onward, the Realm Armada had made it a policy to no longer attempt to board or intercept vessels sailing under a Mero-Curgov ensign.
Impact on geopolitics
The Kesh War is considered by some to be the second most impactful event on geopolitics and international affairs in the 20th century after the Grand Campaigns. It saw the beginning of the use of nuclear weapons as a deterrent and their proliferation among aligned and non-aligned powers in the decades following. Although no League of Free Nations state became actively involved in the fighting, confrontations between Crown Concordant powers and LFN member states further stoked a rivalry between the two blocs that had been forged during the Grand Campaigns. The Kesh War showed how costly even relatively limited regional conflicts could be in modern times. Especially with predicted proliferation of nuclear weapons—as it was known that several LFN nations, Kodeshia and non-aligned nations were developing their own programs—the core members of the ad hoc Crown Alliance of the Grand Campaigns and the Crown Concordant of the Kesh War would come to form a formal military alliance. Thus, the North-South Concordant was officially constituted on 18 November 1960 as a political pragmatic alliance of generally illiberal states with the goal of guarding the interests of its members and ensuring cordial relations between member states. The alliance formed basically along the lines of the Crown Concordant, with the founding members being Tiperyn, Kaya and Agrana y Griegro. Meanwhile, Alvakalia and Selengeria, who were the Crown Concordant's allies, joined the Concordant in the 1960s and early 1970s.