Battle of Shiva
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|Battle of Shiva|
Brünhild after being rammed
|Date:||Late May to June 801 UC (3 NIC / 492 IC / 3601 CE)|
|Result:||Major Iserlohn Republic victory|
The Battle of Shiva Starzone (Japanese: シヴァ星域会戦) was the final battle between the Iserlohn Republic and the New Galactic Empire. The battle saw the first meeting of Julian Mintz and Reinhard von Lohengramm along with the revelation that the Kaiser may be terminally ill as well as the deaths of many key figures for the Iserlohn Republic including Lieutenant General Walter von Schönkopf of the Rosen Ritter and High Admiral Willibald Joachim von Merkatz. It resulted in a truce between the two nations in which Iserlohn Fortress itself was ceded back to the Empire in return for the Ba‘alat Starzone, including the planet Heinessen within it, being an autonomous democratic republic in a galaxy dominated by the Empire.
In late May 801 UC (3 NIC / 492 IC / 3601 CE), outside of the Iserlohn Corridor, a minor skirmish escalated into a final battle between the Iserlohn Republic and the New Galactic Empire. The civilian ship, New Century, was heading towards Iserlohn Fortress carrying 900 civilians seeking refuge with the Republic when it developed engine problems. Their distress call drew 2,000 ships from the Iserlohn Republic and a smaller number of Imperial ships in pursuit of the New Century. The Republic forces reached the adrift New Century first and provided cover while field repairs were carried out. Though outnumbered by the Iserlohn Republic forces, the Imperial fleet opened fire in order to prevent Republic forces from a quick retreat back to Iserlohn and in the knowledge that the Droysen Fleet was en route to reinforce. The battle escalated as both sides brought in reinforcements. Julian Mintz did so in the knowledge that a good performance in battle would be necessary to win Reinhard's respect and gain the right for the Republic to negotiate with the New Galactic Empire on equal footing. Similarly, Reinhard had wanted to personally test the Republic and Mintz's abilities ever since the Republic's victory at the Eleventh Battle of Iserlohn.
The battle started off in a straightforward fashion, with the Empire attempting to use its numerical superiority to win via attrition. However by this time, Reinhard was unwell and feverish, and did not see that a part of the Republic's fleet totalling about 10% of the Republic's forces was in fact a decoy force composed of automated unmanned ships. As a result, the Imperial fleet dedicated a portion of their own forces to guard against the occasional feinting movements of these ships, somewhat reducing the Imperial numerical advantage.
The Black Lancers managed a small breakthrough in the Alliance formation and sought Reinhard's permission to launch a general attack in order to exploit this gain. This opportunity was lost due to a lack of response from Reinhard's headquarters. This was a result of a deliberate communications blackout imposed after Reinhard suddenly collapsed on the bridge of the Brünhild. The unusual sluggishness of subsequent Imperial movements was noticed by the Republic and it was decided to seize the opportunity by a direct assault upon the Brünhild.
The Republic forces pretended to withdraw towards Iserlohn Fortress. The leading Imperial formations lost cohesion in their eagerness to pursue, and this confusion was worsened when the Republic's unmanned ships were sent to detonate in the midst of the Black Lancers. Reversing course, Republic forces managed to break through the Imperial formation and a small group of ships closed on the Brünhild.
In the mad dash to the Kaiser, one of the Republic's strike ships, the Istoria, was able to ram the side of the Brünhild and deploy Mintz, along with Commander Olivier Poplin and the Rosen Ritter inside the Kaiser's flagship. A bloody melee ensued as the boarders tried to buy time for Mintz to find the Kaiser, who was himself preparing to meet Yang Wen-li's successor.
Meanwhile, being both confused and enraged over not knowing his Kaiser's condition nor being able to intervene and aid in the Brünhild's defence, High Admiral Fritz Joseph Bittenfeld decided to direct his anger and that of the offensive styled Black Lancers towards the rest of the Republic's fleet under the command of Merkatz, who was killed in the process. The Iserlohn Republic forces were caught between the hammer of the Black Lancers on one side and the anvil of the Eisenach Fleet on the other and took heavy losses.
A bloodied and battered Mintz eventually made his way to Kaiser's room, where Fleet Admiral Wolfgang Mittermeyer had been doing his best to juggle both the ongoing fleet battle and explaining why the Kaiser was being kept out of view. Struggling to stand before Kaiser Reinhard, Mintz asked for negotiations on equal standing which was granted. This was immediately announced to all Imperial forces who ceased their offensive against the buckling remnants of the Republic's fleet thus ending the battle and the war. (LOGH: 'The Crimson Star Road', 'The Beautiful Maiden Wants Blood')
The battle marked the end of an era of warfare. The decision to escalate to a full scale battle had been a major risk for the Iserlohn Republic as anything less than a victory could have left its fleet too weak to engage in further battle. The decision to assault the Brünhild had been taken with the knowledge that the alternative of a retreat back to Iserlohn would have left the Republic no closer to its goal and with its fleet weakened further by losses. Though the Republic did take heavy losses in both ships and personnel, the Imperial agreement for peace talks meant the Republic achieved its strategic goal.
This battle was notable not only for being the last battle of the war but also for the revelation that the Kaiser suffered from an unknown terminal illness. It is also of note that this was the first time that either the Brünhild or the Hyperion, both considered to be lucky ships, were ever damaged in battle.