|THE RABARRANS CROSS THE GESTES VIA
AUGUST – SEPTEMBER, 876
Iltozamma, the Rabarran commander, now decided to seize the opportunity of crossing the Gestes into Atlantean territory via her bridgehead of Borepande. Both armies glared at each other across the wide Gestes between the influx of the river Vulcan in the west and the Huainarayix, the hills on which the great fortress of Borepande was situated. But the Rabarrans secretly moved two Armies into Borepande itself, over the Gestes, ready to burst out from here against the thin line of Atlantean defenders in Meistayieh.
THE FIRST RABARRAN ADVANCE ON ATLANDRAVIZZI – THE BATTLES OF LOVRIUN AND PUSTABUATAYA, APRIL – JUNE 877.
The initiative in the new year was again to be with the Rabarrans. Their plan was to continue the offensive in Meistayieh, in the hope too, that the Ughans would join in on their side as the fighting moved along the Gestes. Earlier plans to invade Helvrieh, thus gaining complete control of the Helvengio were shelved for a year. Atlantis was unable to do other than defend, but she was able to line up seven armies to protect Meistayieh. The Rabarran commander, Iltoxamma, planned to attract the bulk of the Atlantean defenders to the west of the line, by attacking westwards towards Vailat and Lovriun, and then burst out northwards across the weakened Atlantean front before Borepande with his tanks and cavalry, followed by the infantry, towards Atlandravizzi. On April 2nd, fighting began in the west, as planned, and Atlantean armies moved to Lovriun to attack the flank of three Rabarran armies attacking to the south of that town. A fierce battle took place, (the First Battle of Lovriun), lasting two weeks, at the end of which the Rabarran advance seemed to have been halted. However, at this point, the four Rabarran armies on the Huainarayix now threw themselves north and north-westwards against just over two Atlantean armies remaining there, and soon forced them into a headlong retreat. Over the next three weeks, in the First Battle of Pustabuataya, the Rabarrans chased the Atlanteans north, as far as the foothills of the strongly defended hills of Atlandravizzi. To the east they crossed the river Thyggis and cleared the Atlanteans from the border with Ughrieh, as far north as the Chalcraita road from Bratatinnu to Pueggathis (now in Ughan territory), while to the west, they protected their flank, as they hoped, by the river Burastoura.
Whilst the Atlanteans were retreating here, Zaippo naturally tried to help them by calling on his excess forces at Lovriun. But as soon as some of these were transferred to the north, in a totally unsuccessful attempt to hit the Rabarrans at Pustabuatya in flank, the Rabarran armies in the west again attacked north of Vailat. This time, they were wholly successful, and during May forced the enemy back to the rivers Helvenslepp and Burtounna, and the hills between. They paused for a while here, and then, at the end of June, building up the strength of their left, attacked vigorously across the Helvenslepp towards the river Cresslepp. Some forces reached this river, but it was very strongly defended, and later, the Atlanteans pushed them back some way towards the south-east. Even in Iutieh, the Rabarrans were attacking successfully, and by the end of the year, they had completely conquered that peninsula.
THE ATLANTEAN COUNTER-ATTACK – THE BATTLES OF THE RIVERS BURASTOURA AND THYGGIS, SEPTEMBER – OCTOBER 877
The Rabarrans had now come up against strong Atlantean defences, as well as outrunning their supplies, and were forced to settle in. They hoped that the Ughans would join in the war at this seemingly propitious point, and attack the Atlanteans west of the upper Gestes. However, Ughrieh still wavered. Secretly, they did not want to have to play junior party to an over-strong Rabarrieh, and while they were increasingly eager to seize some territory at the expense of weakened Atlantis, they preferred to wait for the ideal moment. Their excuse to the Rabarrans was that the Atlanteans had not yet invaded Ughan territory or occupied Borepande, which was Ughrieh’s original condition with the Rabarrans for entering a war with her. It looked in September, however, as though the Ughans had missed their chance, as the Atlanteans now undertook a huge pincer counter-attack, which sent the Rabarrans reeling back more or less to where they had started.
Zaippo prepared this counter-attack during July and August, moving two armies west of the Burastoura, south of Giestisso, and one army east of the Thyggis, and south of Bratatinnu. Two armies remained on the hills between the two rivers, to defend Atlandravizzi. The Rabarrans had most of their four armies concentrated in the centre, opposite Atlandravizzi, heinously neglecting their flanks – exactly the same mistake as the Atlanteans had made between the rivers Vulcan and Gairase, the previous year. In October, the Atlanteans attacked, crushing the Rabarran flank-guards, in the Battle of the Rivers Burastoura and Thyggis.
They had rebuilt the many tanks they had lost in the routs of the previous year, and these pursued the enemy helter-skelter back south, sweeping into Borepande en route. They were finally halted on a more or less east-west line from the Gestes south of Borepande to the river Burtounna. Here too, in the west, the Atlanteans had attacked, collapsing the bulge of territory held by the Rabarrans west of the Helvenslepp, and forcing them back behind that river. The whole front was stabilised by November, with the help of additional Rabarran reserves rushed to the front line.
THE FIGHT FOR CONTROL OF THE HELVENGIO, 876-877
Throughout 876 and 877, control of the Helvengio itself depended largely on which side controlled the entrance to it from outside. Within it, the Rabarran fleet was based chiefly at Giezuat, with some ships also at Raihco. Correspondingly, the Atlantean navy was at Helvris, and since the battles at the end of 875, it had been rather loosely blockaded there by the larger Helvran fleet. Now the Atlanteans wanted to force the Rabarran ships back to port, in Giezuat or Raihco, in order to regain control of the seas, and the only way they could do that was to bring in more ships from outside the Helvengio. This was difficult for both navies. Outside the sea, the Rabarran navy was quartered in the Zueltix Mandengix, while the Atlanteans were based at the time in Pustler, some 100 miles to the north. Their home base was of course Atlantis itself, and they had the advantage of being able to concentrate almost all their fleets against Rabarrieh, as the only other potentially hostile neighbour, Skallandieh, was kept fully occupied after 876 by the large navy of the Quendeliens. The Rabarrans had to keep some of their ships in the south in case of hostile actions from Yciel Tuaince Mandagge, and were thus distinctly inferior in numbers to the Atlanteans outside the Helvengio.
As a result, the Atlanteans were able from time to time to slip a ship or two into the Helvengio, protecting it sometimes by moving forwards aggressively to the edge of the Rabarran base in the islands. This base was, however, strongly protected by mines and artillery emplacements, and the Atlanteans dared not attack it. On other occasions they escorted the ships moving into the Helvengio down the coast of Numidis to the mouth of the sea. The entrance to the Helvengio was of course also guarded by Rabarran gums on the southern shores, and Atlantean artillery on the northern, or Numidis, coast, some 10 miles apart. Usually ships from either side could pass through here without much damage, as long as they did not have to face hostile ships as well. On two occasions in 876 and 877, the Rabarran fleet in the Zueltix Mandengix tried to attack Atlantean ships moving into the Helvengio with their escorts. In August 876, they attacked outside Nosinge, which was used as a small naval base by the Atlanteans. In this First Battle of Nosinge the Rabarrans successfully sank a number of ships, before the arrival of the main Atlantean fleet sent them scuttling back to their base. In June the next year, they tried again, but this time mistimed it. There was already a blockading force outside the Rabarran base, and although the Rabarrans defeated this during the sortie, it gave the game away to the main Atlantean fleet. This descended on the Rabarrans, and in the Second Battle of Nosinge, the Rabarrans were badly defeated, losing a number of ships.
Thus it was that during 876 and 877, enough Atlantean ships inserted themselves into the Helvengio that they were able to base themselves at Cennetis, supplemented by a few ships which escaped from Helvris itself. By 877, the two navies within the Helvengio were almost equal in number, and the Rabarrans were no longer able to blockade Helvris at all, although they did attempt to blockade Cennetis from time to time.
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