THE CONCLUSION OF THE FIRST BATTLE OF THE CROLDEN HILLS, MAY 879
Zaippo now had to act quickly himself. He had
already chased the Rabarrans about 50 miles southwards from
Atlandravizzi, over halfway to Pustbuataya. He was well aware that if
the Ughans established themselves there, his own position would be dire.
He would have lost the best defensive position in the east of the
Empire, and would doubtless also soon lose the Dravidos Hills. His
armies south of Atlandravizzi would have either to retake the heights
from the south, a difficult task, or try to retreat west across the
Burastoura – and then, no doubt, he would be chased westwards right
back towards Cennatlantis. He immediately turned two of his armies
around and moved back to save his position on the Crolden Hills,
simultaneously ordering the Atlantean army at Dravizzi to attack the
Ughans at Atlandravizzi from the north. Finally the Atlantean armies
which had advanced over the Burastoura from the Giestisso area were
ordered to retreat back, sending a force north to assault Atlandravizzi
from the west. These measures worked, though it was a desperately close
affair. The Ughans clung desperately on to their gains in the eastern
Crolden Hills, and the Rabarrans followed up the Atlanteans as closely
as they could. But the combined Atlantean forces overwhelmed the Ughans
on the Hills before they could be interrupted by the pursuing Rabarrans,
and by the beginning of July, the positions had been stabilised again as
they were before the campaign began.
880: ATLANTEAN DISASTERS: THE OVERRUNNING OF THE EASTERN PROVINCES, AND THE FALL OF HELVRIS AND CENNATLANTIS
The Rabarrans planned a decisive attack in 880, in co-operation with the Ughans, which they hoped would finally lead to the capture of the Crolden Hills, and subsequently the overrunning of Chalcrieh at least as far as the Dodolla river. They then thought that the Atlanteans might settle for peace, allowing Rabarrieh to annex a large swathe of Meistayieh and the Crolden Hills. Alatheinuqo planned one of his typically complex diversionary offensives, whereby both the Rabarrans with three Armies and the Ughans also with three armies would strongly attack the Crolden Hills from the east, aiming at both Dravizzi and Atlandravizzi. The Ughan attack would be combined with an outflanking movement north of the Thyggis, in less hilly ground, which would be aimed at the highest peaks in the area north-west of Dravizzi, at the source of the rivers Thyggis and Burastoura. The aim was to attract Atlantean forces away from the Rabarran defensive salient west of Giestisso. It was from here that Alatheinuqo planned to make his main attack, with forces secretly withdrawn from the fighting for the Crolden Hills. These would strike the Atlanteans in their weakened positions west of Giestisso. Two Armies were to swing round north via Yellis against the rear of the Atlanteans defending the Crolden Hills, while two Armies would strike south-west towards Cennatlantis. These would be joined as soon as possible by at least one of the other Armies. Meanwhile the Ughans should help to surround the Atlanteans on the Hills, then move westwards towards the Lakes, protecting the Rabarrans’ northern flank. Meanwhile in Helvrieh, the siege of Helvris would continue.
The Atlanteans had different plans, which were to fail to come to fruition, because overtaken by the bolder enemy operations. Gaistuyex wanted to relieve Helvris and planned to attack southwards across the Cresslepp down to the Helvengio, cutting the Rabarran forces in half, and then move on Helvris from the east, along with a simultaneous attack from the mountain front north of the city. Two and a half Atlantean Armies would carry out this assault on a narrow front defended by about one Rabarran Army. Gaistuyex was particularly concerned to relieve Helvris, because of the precarious situation there and elsewhere in the Province as regards Helvran troops, many of whom were faltering in their allegiance to Atlantis.
THE SECOND BATTLE OF THE CROLDEN HILLS AND THE BATTLE OF YELLIS: THE OUTMANOEUVERING OF THE ATLANTEANS
The Atlantean attempt to relieve was the first offensive of the new year, starting on 23rd March. It made quite considerable progress, forcing the Rabarrans back, and threatening to cut off all those to the east of Helvris. It also enabled an Atlantean commander to slip into Helvris, through the besieging forces, to try to rally the defence (see below). But Alatheinuqo kept his nerve, and decided to ignore these events, however serious for Rabarrieh, knowing that success at the Crolden Hills and subsequently in Chalcrieh, would in turn threaten the rear of these Atlantean advances. So, just a couple of days earlier than originally planned, the diversionary attacks on the Crolden Hills by Rabarrans and Ughans began on 28th March, 880. This second battle of the Crolden Hills was extremely bloody, as the Atlanteans had by now got massively strong defences in place, and the assaults were all purely frontal. However, the Atlanteans began to get worried after a week of continual attacks, and gradually, as the Rabarrans had hoped, withdrew a whole Army from the front opposite Giestisso. This was what Alatheinuqo was waiting for. He quietly moved two Armies back across the Burastoura into the Rabarran salient. This salient had been very strongly defended when it was formed the previous year, as Alatheinuqo knew that it would serve as a good jumping-off point for a future offensive into Chalcrieh. At the same time, Rabarran movements into and out of it were difficult to hide, especially from the Atlantean position on the Crolden Hills. This was particularly important, as the Rabarrans wanted to build up a huge army of tanks to exploit the intended attack westwards. But part of the Rabarran attacks on the Crolden Hills at the end of March involved attacking the Atlandravizzi position from the south, and when the Rabarrans seized the highest part of the hills, though not the main Atlantean position, the Atlanteans were unable to see what was going on on the plains the south and south-west. The reinforcing troops were moved into position at night, in any case, while the tanks were kept far back east of the Burastoura.
The Battle of Yellis began on April 10th. Two armies broke their way through the salient northwards at the same time as the other two armies attacked south-westwards. The tanks now roared up to the front and began exploiting towards Rontisso and Snattarona. The Atlantean positions now fell apart in every direction. To the north, the Atlanteans forced their way, with some difficulty, into Yellis, while further north, the Ughans brilliantly attacked round Dravizzi to the west. With pressure still being maintained on them from the east, the Atlanteans on the Crolden Hills finally folded up and virtually fled to the east, trying to escape the jaws of the enemy attacks all round them. Many were captured and many were killed, but about two of the three armies managed to escape west towards the Babemme wood and the hills around Sirottis, where a new position was taken up. Meanwhile to the south, Rabarran tanks streamed round the southern flanks of the rear defensive positions of the Atlanteans at Rontisso and Snattarona. As flustered Atlantean forces tried to hold positions here, they were attacked in front and bypassed to the south. Already by the end of April, the Atlanteans had been chased back close to the Dodolla river. As Alatheinuqo had predicted, this catastrophe and the threat it posed to the capital, soon halted the Atlantean attempt to relieve Helvris, and the troops were pulled back to defend Cennatlantis, followed up closely by the Rabarrans.
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