The Ascolion War for Independence (15 DBF to 16 DBF) was a brief conflict which occurred when the Federal Republic of Corrick territory Ascolia declared independence from the Republic, sparking a military engagement which ended with a seven-year military occupation of Ascolia and led directly into the later Corrickti-Zal'Rhodathi War.
The war was characterised predominantly by the Battle of the Ascolion Approaches, a naval battle between the Republic's 1st Light Fleet and the newly established Ascolion Freedom Battle Group 1; three-quarters of the military casualties of the war occurred as a result of this engagement.
Battle of the Ascolion ApproachesEdit
Order of BattleEdit
The Ascolions quickly prepared their combat-ready ships into a battle group under the command of Republican defector Captain Druis Oglyeek, who deployed the fleet into a defensive position between Ascolia and the Republic's capital planet, Corrick Prime. Knowing that the Ascolion forces would eventually be outnumbered in a prolonged conflict, Oglyeek's aim was to cause such significant losses to the Republican naval forces in a swift engagement to push the Republican government to enter negotiations for an independent Ascolia.
Oglyeek had a total of 13 combat ships under his command: his flagship, the Captic-class heavy cruiser Husk; 3 Lamarance-class light cruisers, 6 Telicance-class frigates and the 3 captured Havock-class frigates which had been under construction on Ascolia before they were seized by Ascolion rebels.
While the new Ascolion ships were undoubtedly superior to their Republican counterparts, Ascolia had seriously underestimated the necessity of strike craft to support their ships. Already complementing their fleet were 225 Inshier INS mkI fighter craft; 100 of these were hastily converted to bomber craft, despite a serious lack of knowledge of bomber tactics and training amongst the Ascolion pilots.
The Republic deployed the smaller of it's two fleets, the 1st Light Fleet, under the command of Admiral Tymian Wander, to force the Ascolions to surrender their ships. Republican military planners did not expect a prolonged naval engagement and expected the threat of military action to force the Ascolions into surrender; as such, they paid little attention to the makeup of the Ascolion fleet and their ship's armaments, which in several cases outgunned their Republican counterparts.
The 1st Light Fleet at the time consisted of the flagship FRNS New Frontiers, a Tenacious-class Heavy cruiser; 1 Charlatan-class light cruiser, 4 Havock-class frigates, 5 Enclave-class corvettes and 10 Hare-class sloops. Supporting their heavy ships was a well-trained, developed complement of fighters and strike craft: 125 Theta-1 fighters, 77 Omega-2 Spear light bombers, 20 Lamprey heavy bombers and 8 Manta scout fighters.
The battle commenced early in the morning of the 25th day of the sixth month of the year 15 DBF. Scouts of the approaching 1st Light Fleet had detected the Ascolion battle group in defensive formation between Ascolia and Corrick; however, Admiral Tymian Wander did not expect to have to use force against the Ascolions and approached the ships in a loose formation of two battle groups, one fronted by his flagship FRNS New Frontiers and the other by the light cruiser FRNS Horizon.
Oglyeek, seeing that the Republican ships were not approaching in battle formation, ordered his ship commanders to hold fire until the ships reached close range; as the Republican fleet approached, however, the over-eager commander of the cruiser Shulker launched a volley of atomic warheads at the closest Republican ship - the frigate FRNS Treblor - destroying it immediately and killing all 1,750 crew-members.
The shock at the sudden attack, combined with the brutality with which the frigate was destroyed, initially paralysed both sides of the conflict; Oglyeek was the first to seize the initiative and, sensing an opportunity for a quick victory while the Republican fleet leadership were processing the situation, pressed his ships in to attack. The Ascolions quickly scored another victory, with 3 frigates catching the corvette Fortuna unawares, surrounding and crippling it, again with a total loss of life.
So began a bitter melee as the New Frontiers was rapidly surrounded by the advancing Ascolion ships and cut off from the other Republican ships to it's rear. New Frontiers was then confronted by the Ascolion frigates Wisp and Traktor, and the flagship of the Ascolion fleet, Husk, managing to destroy the frigates before finally being overwhelmed by the more agile, powerful Ascolion heavy cruiser. Admiral Wander, in command of the New Frontiers, elected to go down with the ship rather than evacuate as penance for his failures in command of the fleet.
Despite the heavy losses, the remaining Republican ships rallied around the light cruiser FRNS Horizon, whose captain Argyle Yntermann had assumed command of the fleet, and began to push back against the Ascolions, destroying a further 3 frigates for the loss of 2 sloops. Republican strike craft were now showing their superiority to their Ascolion counterparts, playing a major part in the destruction of the Ascolion cruiser Shulker.
The inexperience and lack of formal training was now showing painfully for the Ascolions, who were now down to only 7 ships and facing 16 Republican ships which now had the momentum of the battle behind them. A final, concerted push by the Republican ships cut off the light cruiser Shaman from it's frigate support, with torpedoes from the corvette Rescinda providing the killing blow. This was the final blow for the Ascolions and Oglyeek immediately ordered a full retreat using the stolen Republican warp drive technology; the fleet disappeared from the stellar system, leaving the path clear for the Republic to retake control of Ascolia.
The total loss of life in the Battle of the Ascolion Approaches was 24,357, of which Ascolion losses were 15,988 and Republican losses were 8,369. The ships lost were as follows:
- Heavy Cruiser New Frontiers
- Frigate Treblor
- Corvette Fortuna
- Sloops Salient, Wince, Sensor, Agitator
- Light Cruisers Shulker, Shaman
- Frigates Traktor, Wisp, Avenger, Broadside, Homeland
Among the Republican dead was Admiral Tymian Wander, who had died along with the majority of the 6,000 crew members of the FRNS New Frontiers. The battle would lead to a major overhaul of small-fleet tactics within the Republic, as well as the positioning of important fleet commanders within frontline ships. The capabilities of the Tenacious-class heavy cruiser, which had been outclassed, outmatched and outgunned by the newer Ascolion design, were also called into question.
The remaining 6 ships of the Ascolion Freedom Battle Group hastily jumped to a nearby star system; the 1st Light Fleet of the FRN was quickly brought back up to full strength with additional ships from the Home Reserve Fleet and began a blockade of Ascolia.