Battle of Stillwater Bay
Battle of Stillwater Bay:
Marked as the final battle of the Kharj-Jervian War, a decisive naval battle in which Jervian forces greatly outnumbered overcame the Kharj Armada and ultimately broke the Kharj military’s capacity to wage war. It is a prime example of superior battle space intelligence, subterfuge, and geography as force multipliers. It is currently core curriculum at the Jervian War College and the Kharjik Rondel.
Understanding the necessity to control Bel Henna would be critical to threatening the Jervian fleet and pivotal in taking their home island, the Kharj military undertook a massive naval gambit to achieve those objectives. Kharj impetus began with Jervian control of all mountain passes from the widest valley to the narrowest goat tracks along its boarder with Halona. Bloody mountain warfare was rapidly becoming a fruitless endeavor for the Kharj military, and ostensibly for the Jervian military as well. Kharj intelligence reported that the Jervian fleet within the Sapphire Sea was beginning to show signs of shrinkage and gaps. This fact would be the deciding factor for Kharj to take to the sea. It was learned after the fact, the Jervian navy purposely reduced its presence in the Sapphire Sea incrementally so its force would be at its smallest (and appear weakest) when the two moons La’k and An’rah were in Full Embrace. Some scholars ultimately blame the Kharjik Empire’s cultural obsession with hierarchy, circles, and anything fire for its abrupt defeat. These icons and symbols were, ironically, key to the success of the Great Convergence, but ultimately failed them when celestial omens and ritual all boded well, despite occupied Natanese citizens warning to the contrary.
Preparation & Conflict:
The waters surrounding littoral regions of the Sapphire Sea are normally quite shallow with respect to the Endless Sea. Stillwater Bay is itself a natural harbor encompassing a deep trench. The city of Natane steeped in seafaring tradition, provided an excellent populace to produce the ships needed for an overwhelming assault on Bel Henna. After the occupied population was subjugated all merchant ships that didn’t flee were confiscated. At its completion, the Kharj fleet consisted of 60 flagships (Aspirant class), 20 support craft and 108 merchant vessels loaded to capacity with soldiers, sailors, and fodder, and supplies. It was learned that much of this impedimenta was siphoned from western front logistics.
During the Kharj naval buildup at Natane, the Jervian military was preparing schemes of its own. The enticement of Kharj forces to the sea was a success, but independently, constituted a tactical fraction of a plan so convoluted many have speculated that the Jervian military must have had turned members of Kharjik theocracy at the outset of the conflict. Others dare suggest that such corruption was done long before the conflict took place. These allegations are barely entertained, as such a finding would surely call into question the integrity of the Court of Prevention. Opinion aside, the facts on the ground were that the Jervian navy floated 28 frigates (Shore Hawk Class), 17 fire ships, and 54 armed merchant craft disguised as Bel Henna refugee craft. Within Natane, saboteurs were sent into every ship yard and dry dock for the purpose of crippling the the Kharj fleet in a manner that would not be exposed well until it was out to sea. These faints positioned the Kharj fleet to be delayed in order for the Jervian navy to take full advantage of the radical changes that would occur during and promptly after the Great Embrace.
Unfamiliar with sea warfare, but confident in their overwhelming numbers the Kharj navy made a strident dash for Bel Henna with the objective to surround the capital city Kiarnon, capture it, and turn it to a platform to conquer Jervia. The Kharj armada slithered like an armored wyrm out of Stillwater Bay leaving a scaled back of sails from shore almost to the horizon. In concentric circles with supplies and ground troops in the center, flagships in the middle ring and armed merchant vessels girdling the perimeter the armada lumbered to Bel Hanna.
Halfway though their journey the Jervian navy struck. It sent first, its armed merchant ships in refugee disguise. The majority of these were supposed refugees were women and old men. Time was taken to integrate the ships, cargo, and persons into the fleet, holds, and chambers of many young officers respectively. Kharj traditional formation dictated these vessels to be forced into the center. The formation naturally expanded and gaps began to emerge among perimeter boats. After a time, fire ships were sent in under the same guise. These ships too were be absorbed and as they were being boarded 2 firemen in each ship lit their ballast and the explosions sent the majority of the Kharj van up in flames, sowing destruction and general discord. Alerted by the fires Jervian frigates harried the armada with pitch tipped arrows and ramming parties. As the combatants linked. The ostensible female refugees emerged as a fifth column within the Kharj ranks and killed every man they came in contact with, mostly young Kharj officers. These maneuvers in concert gave time for the moons to be aligned. The rapid rise and falling of water combined with rapid changes in the wind. The sea thrashed violently, and the saboteurs’ sawing of the keels of many of the Kharj flagships saw sunk or scuttled.
With their fleet in ruins and many members of the officer core slain or lost at sea, the Kharj military was dealt a mortal blow. This one pitched battle costed the Kharj its control of the sea, and since the Inner Circle must stay pure, upon the Jervian navy landing on Kharjik shores, the Empress had no choice but to sue for peace. The result was that Jervia maintained its suzerainty over the northern free states and the Kharjik Empire would return all territory demanded many jilted irredentists. It also left Jervia the undisputed master of the seas, albeit they respected the tradition forbidding them into Kharjik territorial waters. —