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The campaign of 590-591, involving the siege of Cennatlantis, and its attempted reliefs by the Imperialists.

THE MILITARY WRITINGS OF FULGO MEISTAOS

Below we include a sizeable extract from the military narrative by Fulgo Meistaos concerning the siege of Cennatlantis and its defence by the brilliant Republican general, Russalonni Bourbronna, against repeated attempts at relief by the Imperialists. Meistaos lived under the Third Empire, specifically writing around 720 to 735. He provides a narrative of this part of the Republican-Imperialist wars largely as a basis for commentating on tactics and strategy, and demonstrating the bases of Atlantean military strategy throughout the ages. His aim was to provide the military leaders of the Third Empire with a useful strategic guide, culled from the experience of centuries of Atlantean theory and practice. He saw Bourbronna as a brilliant exemplar of good Atlantean strategy, and his Imperialist enemies, defeated repeatedly, as traditional Atlantean military strategists, who failed to keep up-to-date with the innovations of the Republican armies. Ironically, precisely the same thing was to happen to the Third Empire Army in the face of the attacks by Gosscalt after 743. Meistaos himself was a civilian at this stage, and more interested in the past them the present and future. Nevertheless, he wrote a number of minatory pamphlets and books in the 730s regarding the threat posed to Atlantis by Basquecieh, which were largely ignored. He died in 744, in despair at the seemingly invincible march of enemy armies into Atlantean territory.

THE BACKGROUND TO THE CAMPAIGN FOR CENNATLANTIS

Following their defeat of the Imperialists at the Battle of Fourtis in July 588, the Republicans (as they later became) prepared to reconquer Atlantidieh, and march again on the capital, Cennatlantis. It was necessary first to enlarge and reorganise their armies, and this meant that there was little movement until the beginning of 589. Republican forces on this central front totalled about 100000 by mid 589, with up to 100000 more troops elsewhere in the Empire. The Imperialists, now led by "Imperial Governor" Lingon, in theory possessed about 300000 troops, but many of these had to man the frontiers, and many were lost at Fourtis, and during the subsequent Republican advance. As a result, there were barely 80000 left in the east of Atlantidieh at this stage. Most of the Imperialists were forced back behind the Dodolla river by August, leaving a strong garrison of 20000 men in Cennatlantis itself. They planned that the city, which was well protected by defences put up over the previous decades, should hold out while the main Imperialist forces sorted themselves out, and later recrossed the river to defeat and force back the Republicans. But over the next few months, the Republicans gradually blockaded Cennatlantis, and sought for a means to cross the river, and completely surround the city, which they recognised was too strong to attack directly. Republican forces reached the river north and south of the city. The whole river between Lakes Oncia and Trannolla is about 75 miles long, but at first the Republicans could not see how to cross it, without being faced and attacked by superior enemy forces. However, some 30000 men encamped themselves south of Rundes, while other groups were further south, and somehow succeeded in undermining many of the Imperialist forces on the other side of the river. Most of these were Chalcrans, and the Republicans persuaded them to defect to their side. As a result they were able to cross, after a diversionary manoeuvre, and by the end of the year, had reached the hills east of Cennatlantis, while the Imperialists regrouped about Gilliso and Rontisso, and held the Snattarona hills with outposts. About 17-19000 Republicans were besieging the Imperialist force inside Cennatlantis.

But the Imperialists committed the cardinal error of despising not just the Republicans’ beliefs, but also their army and leadership. During the Republican advances of the previous year, their armies had been led by three separate generals in Atlantidieh, Pouton, Ventel and Bourbronna himself. However the Republican leadership realised that their armies could advance no further until Cennatlantis was taken, and the defending army needed to be under the control of one general, to whom the others were subordinate. They made the correct decision by picking Bourbronna as overall leader, because of his enthusiastic attacking policy hitherto, and because it was he that had masterminded the defection of the Imperialists near Rundes.

  1. THE ATTEMPT TO RELIEVE CENNATLANTIS FROM THE EAST, MAY 590.

By May, the Imperialists were ready to make their first attempt at relieving the capital. They had 90000 men in all now, while the Republicans had only 65000, excluding the forces besieging Cennatlantis. But the Imperialists made the mistake of dividing their relieving force up into three separate columns, each too far apart to support the others. The largest force behind Snattarona was to march firstly south-west on the capital, assaulting the enemy on the hills before the capital. This force, of four armies, was led by Huasel, and was about 42000 strong. To his north, 33000 men (three armies) under Zuaippo were to march down the road to Lake Oncia and then turn south past Rundes to get behind the main assumed Republican position near Snattarona, or prevent it being reinforced from across the Dodolla. Finally a third force, intended as a feint, was to move across to the end of Lake Trannolla, and attract the Republicans’ attention to this area. This force was only two small armies, 15000 strong, under General Gaivlin. The overall commander was General Huasel, in the centre.

Bourbronna had 30000 men led by himself, in the hills near Cennatlantis, 20000 men under Ventel near the Cresslepp, west of the Dodolla, and smaller garrisons in Rundes and further south behind the Dodolla. General Gaivlin’s force was the first to be spotted (deliberately), but Bourbronna suspected it might well be a feint, and kept the rest of his forces concentrated in the centre. Although Huasel had planned that Zuaippo should next attract the Republicans’ attention, in fact he advanced too cautiously, and Bourbronna soon recognised Huasel’s armies lumbering down the Snattarona road. He waited patiently in his position, allowing a small force from Rundes to hold up Zuaippo as he finally reached the river.

Relief of Cennatlantis, E. attack

Then on 18th May, the Imperialists prepared hesitantly to attack Bourbronna on his hills. They had hoped he would have slimmed out his defences by now, but 30000 against 40000 were quite sufficient for Bourbronna to win the Battle of Cennatlantis Hills. He allowed the enemy to make their attack, then sent a force round behind Huasel. Though unused to defending, the Republicans on the hills, held off the attacking Imperialists from prepared positions brilliantly, and then counter-attacked them as they retreated. In all they lost 5500 men, to Bourbronna’s 2400. Bourbronna now harried them back towards Snattarona.

He now showed up the disastrous fault in the Imperialists’ plans. Their armies under Zuaippo should by now have been marching down the Dodolla, ready to attack Bourbronna in rear, or in flank, if he was still in the hills, combining with a fresh attack from in front by Huasel himself. But the Imperialist columns were far too far apart, and Zuaippo was still tarrying east of Rundes, being tantalised by Ventel. Bourbronna now marched nearly all his armies northwards, and smashed into Zuaippo’s flank on 22nd May, at the Battle of Rundes. The Imperialist lost 5000 casualties, plus another 6000 prisoners in Bourbronna’s pursuit. He himself suffered only 3200 losses. After this, Huasel called off the whole advance, and retreated back to his starting-point.

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