The Battle of Varmenland (Imperial Language: sin-Slagan Varmenmarkä) was the climactic set-piece battle in the Imperial civil war (known to the Pribältikan rebels as the "War of Independence" and generally called the "Great Rebellion" throughout the rest of the Empire). This was the largest and most important conventional military clash of the conflict; afterwards, the Pribältikan rebels' ability to field large armies capable of challenging the Empire in open pitched engagements was destroyed. The remainder of the war would thus degrade into small-scale fighting, guerilla warfare and one-sided assaults against heavily-fortified rebel positions.
Date: 5241.3.21 [Imperial Calendar]
- Imperial Army of the Trajan (Imperial Language: sin-Träjan Stratené)
- 5. Army, Pribältikan Royal Forces
- André Hohenzollern Eduard von Mâssener, Marshal of the Empire, 1. Duke Rivan, 1. Prince Ethering, MRC, SV, EG, KAS, LP, TGC, CG, TS
- Kärlis Konstantin no Päts, General of the Crown
- 275,000 Imperial Army combat troops (5 Legions, theoretically comprising 300,000 combat troops)
- Approximately 350,000 Pribältikan troops (120,000 regulars, 180,000 militia)
Losses (Battle Casualties*):
- 59,603 Imperial servicemen killed or wounded
- Approximately 77,000 secessionists [Imperial estimate] / 68,173 Pribältikan servicemen [official rebel statistic]
- Note: a Battle Casualty (Imperial Language: Slaggskîrdan) is an Imperial technical term for military service personnel - and any other persons supporting them or otherwise somehow involved in the conflict, but not friendly incindental bystanders - who is either killed outright or who succumbs to wounds before receiving medical attention, as a direct result of engagement with hostile forces
Pribältika was the youngest of the Empire's 12 Realms, having been conquered less than one millenium prior to the date of its rebellion. The Imperial term Realm (Imperial Language: Riç) refers to the Empire's largest 12 political subdivisions: those territories which had been large or powerful or rich enough that they had retained a large amount of sovereignty after being absorbed, being annexed into the Empire on a quasi-voluntary and federated basis. Out of these 12 States, only Pribältika, the most recently annexed, was permitted to retain its traditional system of government in the form of a monarch.
The factors that led to Pribältika's rebellion are complex and poorly understood by Imperial scholars. However, the fledgling Kingdom of Pribältika (Imperial Language: sin-Vasilan Pribältikë) received significant support from the Helvetan Commonwealth, the Empire's traditional enemy with which it shares its eastern border. The Imperial response was decentralized and confused. The recent 6th Helvetan War, which resulted in a stalemate, had severely sapped the Empire's resources. Pribältika drafted the Convention of Isamä, officially declaring its independence, on 5232 of the Imperial Calendar. Several surrounding smaller provinces, either voluntarily or under Pribältikan pressure, simultaneously entered a state of de jure separation.
The Empire's reaction to the spread of this rebellion was relatively swift, having been managed by local Magisters or Generals rather than the central government. Several regiments of militia - approximately 100,000 soldiers in all - were taken from the neighbouring Imperial Realm of Prüzen and dispatched against the rebels. These under-trained and under-equipped troops waged an unsuccessful offensive operation and were slaughtered in what came to be known as the Chersonisös Campaign (Imperial Language: sin-Ekstratae Chersonisösü). Over the next year, however, locally-garrisoned Imperial Legions would take the fight to the rebels and drive the smaller rebel states (through either forceful diplomacy or military conflict) to resubmit to Imperial hegemony. By 5234 of the Imperial Calendar, only the Realm of Pribältika remained in a state of rebellion against the Empire. Yet it would take another 4 years and a long string of small battles or border skirmishes for the Imperial government to formulate a powerful response capable of taking the fight to Pribältika itself...
By the beginning of year 5241, Imperial forces had occupied much of southern Pribältika. The rebel 5. Army, under the command of General Kärlis Konstantin no Päts, launched an attempt to halt the Empire's advance. Local informants and rebel sympathizers provided Kärlis with an extremely exact idea of the Empire's positions. During the 2nd month of the year, the 5th Army engaged the Imperial Army of the Müse led by Marshal Adolf Üsil van MacIntyre. A long, bloody battle insued.
The Imperial plan had been for MacIntyre to defeat no Pät's forces and drive them into a retreat, where von Massener's Army of the Trajan would cut them off and break them. Unfortunately, the engagement resulted in stalemate with massive losses for both sides. Van MacIntyre's badly-outnumbered Imperial forces were driven to retreat. However, Kärlis decided to withdraw his own heavily mauled Rebel troops in order to reinforce. Thanks to the superiority of Imperial communications infrastructure, Marshal von Massener became aware of this and moved to cut the Rebel army off according to the original plan. General no Pät's decision to fall back would ultimately prove fatal.