The Battle of West Adriatia (27th February - 28th February 1933) was a large scale naval operation by joint Valkenburg and Tanzimat forces in which Valkenburg marines landed on and eventually captured the island of West Adriatia from the garrison of the Pivan colonist army. To date, this was the largest naval invasion in history, with over 100,000 soldiers eventually landing on the island.
Pivan forces on the island were lightly defended, aside from the defence held up in the town of Junis and bunker hill. Tanzimat and Valkenburg marines were aided by large scale naval bombardment from the coastal ships and achieved complete victory by the morning of the second day, when the remaining Pivans withdrew
- 1 Background
- 2 Planning and Preparation
- 3 First day - 27th February 1933
- 4 Conclusion
- 5 Military analysis
With negotiations settled, Valkenburg officially aligned with the Tanzimat forces to take the islands of Adriatia, under the condition Valkenburg would have full rights on the island of West Adriatia. With the advantage of surprise, Valkenburg and Tanzimatian forces quickly formed a task force and launched the invasion of West Adriatia with a large contingency of ships and men. Pivan forces on the other hand, were ill prepared and heavily outnumbered, due to this, during the battle, their aircraft were not able to take off and assist their ground forces until late on the first day.
Coincidentally, a sortie patrol from the main island of Adriatia, consisting of two light carriers and four destroyers, were located not far to the south of the island as the battle concluded, the carriers evacuated several hundred men, including General Garcia.
Planning and Preparation
The Pivan garrison on the island, commanded by General Garcia, were mostly hardened colonial soldiers and General Garcia himself was an experienced fighter who was known for his resolution in the face of overwhelming odds. Aside from that, the Pivan preparations were non existent as they had no knowledge of the Valkenburg invasion and so could not ready themselves. However Garcia put up a competent effort, leading Valkenburg soldiers into slaughters and costing the two allies precious veteran men.
Tanzimat, with a new surge of nationalism and pride surging through the country, found it time to reclaim their ancestral lands of the Adriatic islands, which they had sold off to Piva as they were bankrupt in the 1900s. Knowing by themselves they could not hope to take the islands, they sought aid in the elite Valkenburg navy, hoping to utilise its prowess in naval combat to its advantage during the war
Due to the necessities of launching the invasion of West Adriatia before their colossal fleet was spotted by Pivan patrol fleets, preparation was flimsy at best. Reconnaissance was at an utter minimal, although by coincidence the submarine Trident managed to intercept radio signals from the patrol group PivaNP-12. With only a few blurry images to go by, the Valkenburg command was only able to identify 4 of the 5 coastal forts, resulting in the loss of a destroyer during the first day's initial landings.
The final plan was for all troops to be launched onto the west side, in two waves of 40,000 then 30,000. The troops were to advance upon Batteries A and B, knocking them out, before half of the forces headed east to cut the island in half before swinging down to engulf the airfield. Meanwhile, the bomber planes of the Valkenburg carrier were to strike at Batteries C and D to assist in the Tanzimat half.
First day - 27th February 1933
On the morning of 27th February, Valkenburg forces landed on the island, with the element of surprise behind them. Although there was little cover for the marines and the Pivan defenders hid in the trees, naval bombardment smoked them out of cover, which resulted in a massive initial victory for the Valkenburg forces, wiping out 2nd company and taking many prisoners. However, a fifth coastal battery, Battery E, went unnoticed during the planning stage and fired 3 salvos at a Valkenburg destroyer, instantly destroying it after a fatal ammunition detonation. After its position was revealed, Valkenburg forces advanced upon it, threatening to capture the guns. Meanwhile, a strike force of 35 fighters and 35 bombers were sent out to demolish Batteries C and D to create a safe landing for Tanzimat forces.
Moving off the beaches
After the surprise attack by Valkenburg marines, Battery E and its garrison retreated to take up positions just south on an elevated position. To avoid capture of the heavy guns by Valkenburg forces, the guns were tagged with time charges but they failed to go off, so they fell into Valkenburg hands. With the beachhead established, larger ships carrying the second wave of marines unloaded them and additional supplies.
Pivan forces meanwhile, under the orders of General Garcia, spread out to create a large gap in his centre, which, unknown to Valkenburg, was positioned a huge bunker complex, carved into the side of the hill. He hoped Valkenburg tactical movement would accidentally lead them to his kill zones.
Fall of Battery A and Battery B
Now with an overwhelming force of 70,000 soldiers now on the island and after a short resupply session and replanning, it was decided to strike in the centre of the exposed Pivan lines with a major force and eventually circle the hastily dug trenches. However, as they advanced, they were suddenly gunned down by a hidden bunker complex dug into the side of the mountain. Unable to storm the bunker with force, Valkenburg engineers hastily took control of Battery E and shelled the mountainside, collapsing the bunker with everyone inside. With enough time bought, two squadrons of torpedo armed bombers headed towards the Valkenburg fleet, still anchored to deliver supplies.
With the centre now truly exposed, the Valkenburg forces swung west to encircle the small force from behind and then to capture Battery A and B. Severely outmatched, the entrenched infantry of the Pivan garrison held on for a few minutes before being wiped out. Unexpectedly, artillery fire shelled the trenches, killing many Pivans and Valkenburg alike. With the fall of the trenches, the artillery garrisons surrendered. Forces camped on the eastern hill retreated swiftly before they met the same fate.
It is rumoured that some garrisons were executed on the spot post-surrender as revenge for the unneeded shelling but this is unproven.
As torpedo bombers approached, the Valkenburg fleet was taken by surprise but still managed to get a wall of anti aircraft fire between them and the planes. However, with an almost suicidal drive, the torpedo bombers braved the fire and as many were shot down, five ships were hit, with another destroyer going down. In a flurry of confused orders, the entire airwing of the carrier sent in the morning was called back, which assisted in annihilating the rest of the planes still flying. All 35 torpedo bombers were shot down.
Attack on Junis Town
Although originally planned to land his troops simultaneously with Valkenburg marines to cause further chaos, General Sumpa refused to land his soldiers unitl the Batteries of C and D were destroyed. Confusing orders during the Valkenburg response to the oncoming torpedo bombers meant the Valkenburg airwing meant to deal with the forts would not complete their mission until the late afternoon. With the forts finally levelled, Sumpa landed his force of 50,000 marines. Unknowing to the Tanzimat forces, their long delay was in fact incredibly beneficial. As a response to the Valkenburg landings hours prior, many of the garrison of Junis Town were transferred over to the west side of the island. Tanzimat forces landed and commenced assaults on the town but were repelled again and again as the Pivans skilfully used the town as a large bunker.
Growing frustrated with the slow situation at Junis, Sumpa sent out a transmission to Admiral Umbap, requesting naval fire support and immediate bombardment of the town, requesting that he should "bring the whole shitshow down". Consequently, in the next few minutes, a total of 3,000 shells were fired into the heavily populated town, killing many citizens. As the Pivans who survived emerged to reposition into defensive positions, Tanzimat forces equipped with bayonets rushed into the town, fighting a vicious melee with the demoralised Pivans. The remaining Pivans were entirely wiped out and the relief force sent to defend from a Tanzimat advance surrendered to them instead, defying direct orders from Garcia to fight to the death.
As Pivan forces rush to the airfield to mount a last defence, General Garcia is informed of the presence of a Pivan patrol in the area, PivaNP-12, which have been redirected to evacuate the surviving forces of Piva to the main island of Adriatia. In the middle of night as Valkenburg and Tanzimat forces rested after nine hours of constant fighting in jungle terrain, they made their escape. Around 2,000 men escaped including Garcia on the morning of 28th February 1933, concluding the battle.
"My fellow soldiers, although we have been brought about a defeat by treacherous foe, I shall return!"
- General Garcia to his remaining troops as he boarded the evacuation fleet's flagship
Although Valkenburg forces eventually won the battle, there were some mistakes that cost many lives that could have otherwise been avoided. Overall I would give 5/10 - Average effort
One of the biggest flaws in Valkenburg planning of the invasion was unreliable and limited information. This lead to many lives lost during the approach to Bunker Hill and the loss of a destroyer during the first landing. A few planes equipped with reconnaissance in the days following the landings would have revealed both Battery E and Bunker Hill as well as revealing that the Pivans had no other aircraft than torpedo bombers as they were stored in the open. Also, the plan did not account for Tanzimat movements, who made up over 1/3 of the army, leading to there being two separate battles being fought on the island. The response to the bombers was lax and almost lazy, resulting in several ships struck. Luck was also on your side, which should not have been relied on at all. The capture of Battery E which was used to destroy Bunker Hill was not guranteed nor was the withdrawal of Pivan forces on the Tanzimat front. One final thing: the escape of General Garcia could have easily been prevented if more time had been spent warding off PivaNP-12, resulting in the capture of one of the more competent enemy generals and severely damaging their war making capabilities.
The plan utilised well the usage of brute force which was necessary to employ as the only advantage you are sure about were the numbers advantage. The original plan was also well designed, with clear instructions and obviously avoiding the town which would have been a nightmare to fight against (leaving that to the Pivans, eh?). The plan to knock out enemy batteries with overwhelming firepower was also effective as those were the only real dangers to your ships. Exploiting a gap in the enemy's weak point was also quite clever but unfortunately, well, the bunker.