NATION

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Second Tarao War [Istoloa | IC]

A staging-point for declarations of war and other major diplomatic events. [In character]
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Second Tarao War [Istoloa | IC]

Postby The Macabees » Mon Aug 23, 2021 9:52 am

OOC thread: https://forum.nationstates.net/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=507258

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Red dots represent capital cities, names given below. Dark grey are played countries. Light grey is new claim territory, not part of this RP.


TENIZA, IRAT

"Your choices so far have put us in an uncomfortable position, senhor presidente." The suited man took a long drag from his cigar, the tip burning and peeling back the chocolate brown paper, and then let out a long cloud of smoke. "Our government wonders if had been wise to...intervene in your rise to power at all. You are certainly making us start to regret that decision. Should we be regretful? Or, do we have it all wrong?"

President Junipero Lola eyed the man warily. He gently swirled the honey-colored liquor in the lowball glass in his right hand. "What would you have me do, Bernardo? Tell them 'no?' How much of their trade am I supposed to sacrifice for a pátria? How much of Irat's wellbeing should be held as collateral to my supposed debt to the Istoloan government? So, I have joined WEDTAG. That does not make me an enemy of Istoloa, nor does it mean I forgot who my benefactors are. I've simply made the choice that's best for my country. Rest assured that Irat will remain neutral in your war against Ladero and that, behind the scenes, a pátria will always be able to count on me as an ally and loyal friend." He took a sip from his glass.

The man named Bernardo threw his head back and let out a howl of a laugh. When he finally came back he said, with a smile on his face, "Istoloa didn't put you in power here for you to be neutral, Junipero."

"This isn't the 1980s anymore, Bernardo," replied the Irati president. "We won our war against you. I fought in that war, when I was but a wee lad, remember? Consider it a significant...improvement in relations that you can even consider a country like Irat an ally. Your people left us in ruins. You pillaged our homes, defiled our women, and did your best to erase our history. Now you want me to forsake our Tarao brothers in your sake?" He paused for a moment, taking another sip of liquor, savoring it in his mouth, and only then finally drinking it fully. "Tell me, Bernardo, what happens when my people start to think of me as a lapdog to Istoloa? Do you think they will still want me as their president? A man who licks the boots of the very people who once sought to chain us down like slaves? No, they would drag me out to the streets and put me to the sword if they knew the truth."

The Istoloan's gaze sent chills. "That is why, ultimately, the only people you can rely on is us. Anyway, don't you worry about the Irati people. They die easy, trust me, an Istoloan like me should know."

His eyes enlarging in rage, Junipero put his drink down on the side table, stood, and outreached his arm to point at the Istoloan in accusation. "You insolent pig of a—"

"Now, now," interrupted Bernardo, calmly, "don't say anything you might regret. The only thing between you and your demise is knowledge, is it not? Ending your political career would be easier than stealing candy from a baby. So, stow away your pride, presidente, and listen closely. Neutrality is not an option. You are to open hostilities with Sorofi, with the intent to annex the country. With Istoloan backing, you will be the first president of a unified country of Tarao."

Bringing a hand to his head, the Irati president sat back down with a thump. "A unified Tarao? Invade? Annex? Are you mad?"

"No, just ambitious," replied the Istoloan.

"How can you ask that of me?" asked Junipero, still dazed by disbelief.

The Istoloan shrugged. "Look, the times are changing. The war between Ladero and Istoloa will intensify, and that presents itself as an opportunity to you because Ladero will be distracted. If they're distracted, they can't intervene in your invasion and Sorofi will be alone in its struggle. With our aid, the annexation will proceed smoothly and Irat will be more powerful because of it. Maybe then you won't be the most junior partner in Tarao, but an equal partner with the ambition to be the master."

"Ambition has been the ruin of many men," answered the president.

Again, Bernardo shrugged.

Sighing, Junipero said, "I suppose that at the end of the day you will leave me with little choice. My demise will come now or later. You will at least allow me to do this my way. The Irati military is in no condition to invade Sorofi, let alone annex it wholly. We will be fighting a different kind of war, a longer, more protracted kind of war. One that might not result in the spectacular victory you seem to want, but one that will nevertheless bring about the result you seek."

"Whatever," replied the Istoloan, waving the Irati's words off. "Just make sure you get what we want done." He stood and walked out of the room without another word said.



SAMBOSA, SOROFI

News came from the south weeks ago that not all was good in Irat. Problems over immigration policy had come to a boil and militias in the north were striking out against immigrant communities and authorities alike. The Irati military deployed the bulk of its forces to that area to suppress the violence. The maneuvered had backfired, as the Irati militias were well prepared and simply melted across the border with Sorofi, taking advantage of the Irati military's inability to operate on the other side to use Sorofi as a safe haven for their attacks. This assumption, that Sorofi was a safe haven from the Irati military, proved to be false. Before either the rebel militias or the Sorofi government had time to realize what was going on, the Irati army had already punctured through the border and commenced their invasion of their northern Tarao neighbor.

In the future, analysts, scholars, and armchair "enthusiasts" alike would question whether the Irati rebel militias were rebels, or even militias, at all. Their appearance had been too sudden, their initial success to easy, and their retreat into Sorofi too convenient. The speed of the whole thing lent itself to skepticism. It seemed more like a thinly veiled excuse to declare war on the Sorofi government, and declare war President Junipero Lola did. Citing the willing harboring and abling of anti-Irati terrorist cells, the Sorofi government was accused of decaying and collapsing in entropy under the extended presidency of Marbalo Tutto.

A "rectification" was in order, including the dissolution of WEDTAG and the rehabilitation of PANTEU. In accordance with this, President Lola withdrew Irat from the former, although there were no initial moves to enter into an alternative trade bloc. Nevertheless, a 'lightning' military agreement was signed with Istoloa, which agreed to provide foreign aid, weapon and ammunition stocks, as well as thousands of "advisors" who would fight along the Irati military.

Along the border sat the town of Sambosa, the houses arrayed in blocks around a tall central hill on which sat perched the remains of an old walled city. A castle half in ruins was adjoined by the pillars left of what were once great temples. Below, in the modern town, the streets were bustling with action despite the news of Irati militias and war on the other side of the border. There was little expectation of the conflict crossing into the country, which had enjoyed a long period of peace since the end of the Tarao Wars in 1997. People bought fruit, vegetables, and protein for the day's meals, traded and bought wares of manifold varieties, and went about their lives as they would any other day of the week. Children were at school, parents at work, and any border activity consisted of the usual movement of migrants, workers, and truckers looking to cross the frontier in one direction or the other. When the first Irati mechanized columns entered through the south, quickly subduing and isolating the various Sorofi border patrol and municipal police units in the area, the city was predictably taken by surprise.

About three kilometers northeast of Sambosa was Campo Sambosa, a large Sorofi army outpost responsible for this stretch of the frontier. It was rapidly surrounded and besieged, its garrison waiting behind the base walls and subjected to an artillery bombardment that would continue until the outpost's surrender. All the while, the Irati advance continued north. By the end of the day, the invaders had covered some 12 kilometers and the Sorofi military, state, and people were in a state of complete disarray and shock.



BARBARO, SOROFI

The capital was in chaos. The enemy was still hundreds of kilometers away, but it was as if the Irati army was right at the city's gates. That, at least, was how everyone was behaving.

Truth was, there was more to the chaos than just the invasion. The Marbalo Tutto regime was reaching its final years. The president had first come to power in 1998 and he was well into his 80s now. His face was seen very little by the public and even most bureaucrats couldn't claim to have seen the man. Instead, he ruled from behind the screen, monitor, and display. They said he had lost his vision from macular degeneration long ago, but one couldn't tell from the two cold blue eyes with bright rid rims along their edges that looked out from behind the glass of the display. Artificial, his new eyes were said to give him vision better than perfect. It was as if he was 20 again, according to sources close to Tutto. Most doubted that that was the only enhancement done to him and few believed that he was nearing his natural death. But, his regime seemed on its last legs for other reasons.

A thick cloud of distrust and lack of confidence pervaded the bureaucracy. Since Tutto's fateful election, belonging to the government was more a game of surviving the internal politics than of governing the people. Men had lost their lives for saying little, whether through premature death or simply through isolation from the rest of society. Those who had experienced the "struggle sessions" of some communist states would recognize Tutto's tactics for what they were. Someone blacklisted might as well be dead, because their friends were now their enemies, their family now strangers, and everything and everyone they once loved now no longer interested in them. The perpetual stress, anxiety, and depression had become more than just character traits, but part of the overall culture. While Sorofi was externally and internally stable, as far as its security, Tutto was always able to keep his friends close and his enemies closer. Those he deemed threats to the regime were eliminated in one way or another; those willing to chain themselves to Tutto as his dogs survived and saw rising careers, at least until they got on his bad side. After more than 30 years of his rule, most had had enough.

As different police stations, power stations, telecommunication headquarters, and other important points of Barbaro were occupied by security personnel loyal to the coup, a separate column of armed men entered the presidential palace the day after the Irati invasion. For the most part, palace security surrendered immediately, except for a few heroes who were quickly neutralized. The president was found in his quarters; the old man was with two young women, all of them fully naked. The two women were taken to another place. No one would see them again. Tutto was arrested, given an ad hoc tribunal in the palace proper, and then hung for crimes against the Sorofi people. The Tutto regime had fallen and as the capital was in chaos, the Irati invasion continued.

In Tutto's place rose General Aleixo Florencio Sequeira, who in his mid-40s was young, charismatic, and had the loyalty of the military thanks to his position as Chefe do Estado-Maior-General das Forças Armadas (Chief of General Staff). Promising democratic elections as soon as the Irati invasion had been repulsed and the war tidily concluded, he took on the temporary title of Ditador de Emergência and immediately began reorganizing the country's defenses.

Later that same day, General Sequiera gave a televised speech to the country and the world:

People of Sorofi, we all sit in collective grief as our country suffers both the indignity of foreign invasion and the loss of our leader. But, rest assured, the invader will be driven back, defeated, and forced to accept terms that will set these injustices right. Our armed forces already prepare for a counterattack which will send the Irati armed forces back over the border and toward their capital. Our crusade against their grave crimes will end in our absolute victory. To accomplish that we are determined to rid our government of the rot that has beset it over the past 30 years. For too long we have accepted tyranny as the price for freedom, but that is not an exchange the people agreed to and it's not an exchange we can stand for. Marbalo Tutto has broken trust with his people by taking advantage of their good will to build himself a corrupt dictatorship with which to feed his fancies. That corruption is no more. Now we look forward to victory, prosperity, and the achievement of national happiness. Glory to Sorofi!

As the short televised speech ended, Tutto's cold body was slowly lowered into an unmarked grave somewhere outside of the capital city.

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Postby The Macabees » Fri Sep 17, 2021 1:30 pm

SOUTHERN SOROFI

"Sabrao, take point," commanded the barrel-chested officer.

The young Irati soldier he was apparently directing himself to quickly did as told, sounding off a well heard, "Yes, capitão."

Their company sat on the outskirts of Bimbaboso, a small town of mayhaps twenty-five thousand people. Together with the entirety of their battalion, they were to take it by the early afternoon. As best Sabrao understood, which as a simple soldado wasn't much, inside Bimbaboso spanned three strategically important bridges over the River Panoga. They were able to carry the weight of the heavy armored fighting vehicles needed for the spearheads of the offensive. Problem was, Sabrao hadn't seen a tank in days except for the smoldering steel carcass of armored vehicles knocked out by the enemy. He saw Sorofi counterparts in equal state, but what was important was that the Irati army no longer seemed as triumphant-looking as it had days before. Besides, the pace of their advance had slowed down and the fighting was getting heavier. No matter, it wasn't Sabrao's place to think, at least not about things like military strategy. He kept his mouth shot, arrived at the head of his company, and then along with an infantry squad moved toward the narrow, winding road that disappeared into the town. It was the route he was to lead the squad through.

Surprisingly enough, when he reached where the road first entered Bimbaboso, he wasn't shot right then. The squad continued inside. No resistance made itself evident, and so another soldier from the squad signaled to someone where the rest of the company was, and at that point the captain ordered the rest of his men forward. One squad entered through a smaller street further to the west and another further to the east, while the last twelve-man squad remained outside the town in reserve. Elsewhere, the battalion's other companies were doing the same.

Through each of their channels, each squad moved deeper and deeper into the town. Still, there was not a peep heard as far as resistance. Neither was their evidence of civilian life. Had the town been evacuated before the arrival of the Irati army? Or, were the people simply hiding in cellars or inside bomb shelters? The boys started to think that everyone had left Bimbaboso and the Sorofi had left it undefended. If it wasn't for their sergeants and officers telling them to keep discipline, half the Irati soldiers would probably already be drinking in celebration. Indeed, it seemed there was more drinking, singing, and dancing being done than fighting. Perhaps that was the reason the invasion no longer seemed to be moving as briskly as it did on the first day. The young Sabrao paid the rest of the men no mind, though. He kept his eyes sharp, as he had been chosen as point man and that was a job not to be taken lightly. If he did it well, maybe just maybe he'd get a promotion and perhaps even be chosen as team lead. His family back home would be proud of him, their little boy having made himself a hero of the war.

Turning around, he saw some of the other soldiers enter into the flanking buildings, probably looking for signs of the enemy or the town's inhabitants. Before he had a chance to have even the thought of a thought, someone tugged him by the shoulder and pushed him toward the door of a house. "Open it, Sabrao." It was Turros, the team lead. "Go on, man, the faster we clear the house, the faster we eat lunch."

Sabrao checked the door frame for any booby traps first, but found nothing. Breaking the door lock, he pushed it open, and walked in. Just inside there was a long, thin wooden table against the right wall with a mirror hanging above it. There was a plate for keys, which were gone. The hall ended on the other side with a door. A window within it betrayed what was on the other side, a small garden surrounded by a wooden fence. On the right, there were two doors. One led to the kitchen, Sabrao saw. The other into a dining room connected with the kitchen through the adjacent wall. Opposite the dining room, on the other side, was a door to a living room and behind that a narrow staircase that headed upstairs. Tapping on his shoulders, that's where the team led pointed Sabrao to continue toward.

He did just that, heading upstairs by his lonesome so that he could declare it cleared. Then, they'd probably lollygag in the house, loot anything and everything they could, and not leave until someone came to get them or they felt they had wasted enough of the day's time doing little of value. Irati soldiers were content staying put, rather than risking death by moving on to the next town. This one seemed cozy enough for the night, anyway.

Upstairs, there were three bedrooms and a bathroom. He walked by the first two and peeked inside, seeing nothing. They were smaller, for the children supposedly. The next one was much larger and had a bathroom of its own, he saw once he poked his head inside. It too was empty, but if there was any jewelry or anything else of value, then Sabrao would find it in this room. He began rummaging through the drawers, first in the nightstand, then to the larger clothes dresser, and after finding very little he finally turned to a large armoire that stood from the floor to the ceiling.

Slowly, he opened the armoire's right door. There were jackets that hid his view from the rest of what was inside. So, he opened the left door. He saw the shaking barrel of the gun just as it squared on his face.

The bullet went between his eyeballs and Sabrao died a quick death, his brains spilling all over the bed behind him and the blood pooling on the floor on which his corpse landed.

The sound of the round being fired alerted those below and outside, but just as they turned to look at the source of the commotion an even larger problem began raining down from above. Shell after shell poured in on them, as if from the heavens, exploding gravel, brick, and human tissue alike. As Irati soldiers ran for cover in the streets, the shutters in the buildings up above suddenly opened and from them the enemy began to open fire. Irati died below in droves, bullets ripping through their uniforms and bodies. The living jumped over their dead and wounded brothers in a savage quest to stay alive.

Order among the Irati broke down quickly. The captain was dead. Half of his company was dead or in the process of dying. The rest were quickly headed in the same direction. Without anyone willing to rally them, the Irati infantry company broke into a full-fledged rout as anyone who could ran back out of Bimbaboso and into the countryside. Behind them, they left their comrades who had suffered from the worst of it.

The young Sabrao, with two holes in his head, looked out into space. He would not be returning home the hero he thought he was becoming.



TENIZA, IRAT

"Mr. President, the offensive has all but stalled," reported the general. He looked somber and not exactly thrilled to be delivering the news. Rumors had it that the president had been losing his nerves over the past few days. The war against Sorofi, which at first seemed so promising, was going awry quickly and nobody in the capital knew what to do to fix it. Regardless, the president had to be told the truth.

For his part, Junipero Lola seemed older than he ever looked before. The dark bags under his eyes were as heavy as ever. And if his hair was graying already, it now looked fully grey. Of course, such a transformation cannot happen so quickly in a man, but that he looked it was a testament to how tired Lola must have felt. The frustration sounded in his voice. "That's no good, general. No good. Get the offensive moving again. We must strike the enemy capital quickly, then the war will be over."

"We don't have the men," said the general. "Our progress has gone more slowly—"

"I KNOW THE OFFENSIVE IS GOING MORE SLOWLY THAN ANTICIPATED," yelled Lola, who was evidently tired of the same 'ol story. "I'm the one who set the army's objectives. I know when they are not being met. Why aren't the objectives being met? That's the question. Are they too ambitious? Perhaps, but you and your general friends told me otherwise when I first asked about our prospects. You said the war would be over in weeks. Now it looks as if we'll be lucky if it's over in months. I think you're doing a piss poor job of doing what I ask, general. That's what I think. I hear the trumps are drinking on the field and having parties, when they should be sober, disciplined, and always moving toward the next objective. I hear that sometimes units are delayed by as much as 24 to 48 hours in moving from objective to objective, and not because of combat. What is going on, general? Are you participating a conspiracy to commit sabotage?"

The general suddenly seemed afraid of something. "No, no, president, no sabotage. The troops are greener than we thought, sir. We didn't realize they would atrophy after so many years since the last wars."

"So, what? What is that you're saying? What do you need in order to complete what I ask?" asked the president.

"More troops," said the general. "Simply, we need more troops."

President Lola turned away to think, clasping his hands behind his back. He walked to a large window that faced out of the presidential palace and toward a large square below. There were hundreds of people organized around the fountain with signs in their hands, chanting against the war as they walked in circles. "This war will be our ruin, general. Unless you and the military win it. That is our only hope. Otherwise, they will get rid of all of us, not just me." He nodded toward the protestors below. "How many troops do we have in reserve?"

"700,000, of which perhaps 100,000 is truly combat-ready," replied the military man. "Another 100,000 are almost combat-ready, the rest are hardly any better than a militia. It will take time to turn them into a fighting force capable of going on the offensive. But, with the 100,000 we have, that will be enough to tip the initiative back in our favor. We can use them for a drive on Barbaro, the capital."

"Do as you must, general," said the president, who was still looking out the window in worry.

"Mr President," said the general, tentatively.

Lola turned. "Yes?"

"When we surge our offensive, I recommend you reach out to the government in Barbaro and propose a peace." With that, the general came to attention, saluted, and left the room.

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Postby The Macabees » Tue Sep 28, 2021 1:15 pm

SOUTHERN SOROFI

As more Irati troops flowed into Sorofi, the offensive operation picked up its pace. But, success was fleeting and it was quick to stagnate again. Blame lay everywhere, at every level of both the Irati military and civilian administration, as corruption, incompetence, and negligence infected each and every person involved in the war. Even the foot soldiers were lazy, cowards, and more likely to withdraw than to persist in an attack.

A few anecdotes are enough to illustrate the problem —

An infantry division was tasked with taking the Sorofi city of Rebongos. Two of its battalions formed the initial attack force, entering Rebongos from two opposite directions. The resistance allowed both battalions to penetrate deeply into the city, so much so that at one point it was believed that its taking wasn't being resisted by the Sorofi military. What an error that line of reasoning was, as soon later all of Rebongos was alight with gun- and artillery fire. Ambushed and in full panic, the two battalions began a wholehearted rout and when elements came upon each other, believing the other one to be the enemy, they opened fire and killed each other. Thus, the first assault on Rebongos ended as not only an utter failure but also as a tragic embarrassment resulting in thousands of friendly-fire casualties. The city wasn't taken until the next day, as the division commander absolutely refused to initiate another attack until he was reinforced. Of course, rather than being replaced, the commander was commended as he was the cousin of one of President Junipero Lola's top civilian advisors. Removing him from command was a political death sentence to the brave man seeking only to provide his troops with functional leadership.

At the large town of Taxa, two days before the blustering attack on Rebongos, a battalion of Irati infantry with orders to continue the advance toward the city of Ribeixal instead remained at Taxa for three days. When a divisional staff member was sent to investigate the situation and report back, because the battalion had gone "dark," it was found that the battalion was too busy at the local brothels and bars to continue on with the war. That was too negligent, even for the Irati military, and so the battalion commander was promoted into a staff position.

But, the worst example of utter ineptitude was at Lugena, a small village of less than 1,200 souls. Almost all of the civilian population had evacuated by the time an Irati infantry company entered and besieged the gendarme garrison on the outskirts. The barracks building was occupied by little more than 20 enemy paramilitary forces, a fifth of the strength of the Irati company. Rather than risk their lives by storming the building, the company settled down and determined to end the siege by starving the defenders into submission. Rather than maintain a strict and tight cordon around the building, however, the Irati soldiers decided to occupy the nearby buildings and spread themselves out among the abandoned homes for the sake of their own comfort. That night, noting the laxity of the cordon, the Sorofi garrison sallied and attacked the Irati soldiers in their individual groups. Thrown into chaos, the infantry company routed. Lugena was not re-taken until two days later, and the 20-man garrison had left by then.

Unsurprising then that the offensive quickly died again, despite the large number of reinforcements precedent from the south.



LAVENÇA, LADERO

Ambassadors from Irat and Sorofi were meeting in Lavença, read the news. Ladero was leading talks for a ceasefire agreement, after which negotiations for an end to the war would commence. Reporters were upbeat and optimistic, estimating that the conflict would be done and over by the end of the week. Irat's invasion of Sorofi had failed, the border would be restored to its pre-war boundaries, and Irat would be responsible for paying Sorofi an indemnity for the damages and wrongs committed during the war.

Of course, the atmosphere in Lavença was already extremely tense. Very little of what had been damaged by Istoloan bombs had been fixed, and the threat of an Istoloan invasion still hung over the capital city like a dark cloud. Most had expected the invasion to come already, but events in Tupenga were enough to give pause to the tempo of Istoloan plans. Nevertheless, Istoloa's punishment for Ladero's withdrawal from PANTEU was evidently not yet complete and the bombing had continued to this very day. Now, it had become a game of Zvezdan Roulette and the question was which chamber, or — in this case — day, held the round. As a result, it was almost universally agreed that ending the Irat-Sorofi conflict was an immediate priority.

Unfortunately for Ladero, Istoloa understood that the time for an invasion was as ripe as ever...



EASTERN LADERO

The strait between Asadabad and Istoloa was closed the day ceasefire talks between Irat and Sorofi began. The next day, the Istoloan navy closed the straits between itself and Sorofi. For the time being, the Tarao countries would not be able to receive commercial merchant ships or military support, as Istoloa had closed all naval traffic in these waters. Merchant ships headed for Istoloa would have to exclusively use eastern ports.

On that same day, two mechanized divisions were airlifted from northwestern Istoloa to eastern Ladero, and so began the Istoloan invasion. Ladero was a peninsula that curved right, almost at a ninety-degree angle. Istoloan high command reasoned that by taking the land east of the capital, they would more effectively cut off foreign logistical support for Ladero and allow for a combined arms operation against the capital from the north. A second prong would come from the south, after Istoloan troops landed in Irat and moved north to join the offensive operation against Sorofi, but this hadn't happened just yet.

The Laderan military was not entirely modern, but it was not outdated either and was, for all intents and purposes, good. But, the loss of its air force to the surprise Istoloan bombing campaign was a major blow and without air cover the Laderan ground forces found themselves unable to resist the invasion by means of a pitched battle. As more Istoloan units were airlifted into the country over time, the invasion picked up steam. The situation, it was quite clear to everyone, was critical for the defenders and it was likely that the capital city, Lavença, would be under threat attack before the end of the war's second week. Thus, just as the Irat-Sorofi war seemed on the verge of resolution, and just as Ladero solidified its role as leader of the Tarao countries, Istoloa had changed the situation's balance and was now weeks away from restoring its political influence over its former colonies.
Last edited by The Macabees on Tue Sep 28, 2021 1:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Holy Marsh » Thu Oct 14, 2021 12:25 pm

Marshite forces in Federal Ralkovia were at an all-time low of 7.8 million, but that did not exclude them from intervention in Ladero. For some time the Theocracy had been watching the lands of the west, the former empire being one of interest to Marshites some time ago. Multiple former colonies held interest to the Theocracy due to the presence of members of the Faith, such as Tupenga. There, the Theocracy had been supplying and more recently training the locals with over 210 'advisors' from the Marshite Rangers in country. Fustera- Marshites lived there too among the oppressed, in numbers enough to give attention to. They had not yet rebelled but the seeds were there, the protests were there, and it was known that soon there would be violence.
It was not just the Marshite populations that interested the Theocracy, but the Taoro countries as well. Their resistance against foreign oppression and cries of freedom were sweet to Marshite ears. However, it was expected that Istoloa would not allow their empire to die peacefully.

As such, after the Ralkovian War ended, Marshite forces in the region started planning future operations. The Regime? Of course, yes, yes. That was a foregone conclusion. What they were planning for in addition, however, was to support the free nations of the WEDGAT against Istoloan aggression. It was expected that in the case of an open shooting war, Istoloa would block off the entrances to the sea nearby. This would prove an impendent, but not a fatal one. While the main war against Ralkovia was over, dozens of small battles and campaigns were launched along the whole length of the river. Coalition forces had created a series of strongpoints from the Bay of Chains to up the river to Ralkovia and along its massive tributaries. These forces interdicted slave trading when they could using their fleets and marines, and when the Ralkovian forces were too great, simply passed the information along to waiting fleets in the Bay of Chains. Ships were sunk and men killed on a daily basis along its length. Such was the price of freedom.

When the first air raids over the capital had ended and the first pleas made, the Theocracy responded.

Two Marine divisions were being earmarked for relief efforts in the area when they received the word that their operational objective had changed. Protected by multiple tactical fleets they steamed up the river per normal. The cat and mouse game played with Ralkovia here continued- their powerful fleets and allied fleets refused to engage in the river. It would bottle Ralkovia in and prevent future allied operations. Still, Ralkovia had their red line- the Marshites did not yet go past the break in the river for more than a few miles, lest a larger war break out. They would then turn west, then south, through the open waters and the last outposts in the wild lands. Their goal was to land in the north of Ladero and help stabilize that nation. They would not be the first Marshite to arrive, however.

Multiple Anti-Air and Armored Regiments, supported by two full brigades of elite airborne infantry (comprising most of the 170th and 45th Airborne), would be the first to arrive accompanied by the 501st Air Wing. They would land in western Ladero and liaison with the local military in order to defend this land. These forces were but one of many, as M-SAD started to put into motion many plans set aside for Istoloa.

"From the Desk of the Arch-Bishop:

Friends in Ladero, your prayers have been answered. Marshite forces will come to your aid, first as a trickle, then as a flood. Your victory will taste all the better for the friends you have made.
Foes in Istoloa, war comes to you for as long as you pursue aggression. The outcome is decided even now. You must only choose how many must die before you are thrown back in defeat.

In the Embrace of Communal Marshism Go We."


As the airborne forces closed in and the Marines did so as well, the invasion of Ladero by Istoloa had begun.
Holy Marsh is ranked 1st in Nova (Greysteel) and 571st (477th) in the world for Largest Defense Forces.
Holy Marsh is ranked 2,723rd in the world and 1st in Greater Dienstad for Most Inclusive.
The Shift: An Update on Holy Marsh
"...an exercise in sadomasochistic futility," - Engaging in warfare against the Union


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