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Izbush Charge

(part of Operation Laatsten Botsen, Tarajani Civil War)

Izbush Charge
A contemporary photograph showing the peak of the charge.

Date

24th August 1942

Location

Izbush, Principality of Drenthe, NT

Result

Royalist victory

The Izbush Charge (also known as Charge of the Nuyern Lancers at Izbush) was a clash between the Tarajani royalist Nuyern Cavalry Lancers regiment and the 812th Infantry Regiment, part of the 304th Infantry Division of the Tarajani People's Commonwealth Army (PCA).

The heroic actions of the Lancers helped the royalists stop the communist offensive into East Tarajan, saving the coastal duchies from falling into the hands of the regime.

The charge is usually deemed to be the last one ever undertaken by the Tarajani Army, and one of the latest in world history.

Background

In Spring 1942, the Communist government in Astana was increasingly concerned about the movements of royalist forces in East Tarajan, particularly near the borders of the Principality of Landgraaf, and the coastal duchies of Kerkrade, Anneland, and Bergen. Mounting dissent in many regions of West Tarajan suggested the regime to break the long-lasting peace existing on the eastern front and to launch a massive offensive into the East. Operation Laatsten Botsen, as it was codenamed, had the main purpose of driving the royalists out of the coastal duchies, possibly isolating their forces in Bergen and Landgraaf, thus forcing them to abandon their positions and withdrawing (possibly breaking their direct links with Antanaresian territories). One of the major routes choosen for the offensive passed through the Allai Mountains directly into the County of Edeland, and then into the Principality of Drenthe. For such a reason, the route was already patrolled by royalist units, although they were few in numbers, since Conrad III was preparing to launch his own offensive from the Shraman Isles against West Tarajan. The Nuyern Cavalry Lancers were one of the regiments with the duty of patrolling the front, as part of the 6th Division, 2nd Corps, of the Royal Tarajani Army.

The battle

In July 1942, the 304th Infantry Division of the PCA was tasked to be the spearhead of Laatsten Botsen. As such, the Division had to move rapidly through the County of Edeland, conquering its capital, Edestadt, and thus destroying the supply and communication lines of royalist forces in the northern section of the front.

Bad weather made traversing the Allai Mountains more difficult than expected (the main railway being still under repairs after the sabotage operated by royalist commandos the year before), but the men of the 304th managed to reach Edeland ahead of schedule nonetheless. The royalist high command was already aware that something was going on on the east, but informations were scarse and fragmented: as a result, the 304th Division broke the front without problems, and at the beginning of August Edestadt was captured after a devastating artillery bombardment. Other PAC divisions followed, and the breach soon risked to become a big hole inside the royalist defense system, compromising it in its entirety.

As planned, the 304th Division moved toward the Principality of Drenthe, expecting scarse resistance from the sparse royalist units in the area. The Nuyern Cavalry Lancers, however, were not aware of the enemy presence in the area, since they were effectively cut off from divisional command. At the dawn of the 22nd August, vanguards of the regiment noticed the presence of a large communist unit, but did not engage it. Col. Van Draya, commanding officer of the regiment, chose, for the moment, to keep observing the enemy at safe distance, trying to figure out what the situation on the field was exactly. After few skirmishes, then, the regiment withdraw. However, while evening was approaching, it appeared clearer that at least three enemy regiments (the 812th, 345th, and 134th) were advancing without adequate protection at their rears. Gen. Van Burg, commander of the 6th Division, was also aware of this vulnerability: as a result, he ordered three units of its division (the 12nd and 13rd Infantry regiments, and the 11th artillery brigade) to attack the enemy the following day near the village of Izbush.

The battle that ensued was bloody: although outnumbered, the royalist forces fought with determination against their enemies, helped by the terrain and by the enemy being unprepared for such a massive attack. The communists, however, were quick to reorganize, and already at mid-day they launched a retaliatory strike which almost broke the royalist formation, forcing the 11th artillery brigade to withdraw to a safer position, leaving the other two regiments dangerously vulnerable to enemy counterattacks. The Nuyeran Cavalry, in the meanwhile, was trying to find a passage through the enemy lines to get in contact with Van Burg. However, when the battle began, Col. Van Draya decided to deploy its regiment to get some pressure on the enemy's flanks. The ploy was successful for few hours, but when the 11th brigade withdraw, the situation was getting desperate.

At around 3 pm, then, Col. Van Draya, having identified a weakness in the formation of the 812th regiment, ordered the general charge. The order, which at first caught his own officers by surprise, was carried out immediately nonetheless, and the whole regiment fell on the men of the 812th, taking them by surprise. As for the words of an eyewitness "the lancers broke through the communists as a knife through butter".

The 812th was not able to counter the charge, although few platoons fought valiantly, even inflicting heavy losses on the lancers. However, by the end of the day, the 812th was defeated, and the lancers had reached their fellow comrades on the other side. The other two communist regiments, now outnumbered, were forced to withdraw the following day, when the 11th brigade was able to come again in open field: the 134th regiment was completely destroyed during the withdraw.

Consequences

The victory at Izbush temporarily halted the communist advance toward the coastal duchies. As a result, the royalists were able to prepare a new line of defense, which ultimately held out against the offensive, effectively making impossible for the PCA to achieve the strategic goals of Operation Laatsten Botsen (although it lasted until the beginning of 1943). Unable to eradicate the royalist presence east of the Allai mountains, the Commonwealth government found itself facing increasing discontent among the population, which forced it to turn on more repressive measures, which will culminate in a series of massacres all over West Tarajan during the 1943, and the Astana Bombing of the 1943-1944.

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