Battle of Arlesheim
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|Battle of Arlesheim|
|(First Alliance-Imperial War)|
Schematic of the Keyserling Fleet being decimated
Imperial forces had detected an Alliance fleet moving through the Arlesheim system. The Keyserling Fleet prepared an ambush in a dense asteroid field along the Alliance fleet's course. However Imperial ships prematurely fired without orders and inflicted negligible damage, while giving away their position. The Alliance fleet mounted an organised counterattack which inflicted over 60% losses on the Keyserling Fleet.
Vice Admiral Michael von Keyserling was blamed for not managing his subordinates and convicted of incompetence before a military court. A pardon from Friedrich IV led to Keyserling being demoted one rank to Rear Admiral and being discharged from the military though Keyserling's reputation had still been ruined. During the trial, he had maintained his silence. (DIS: 'Chapter I')
The truth of the matter behind the breach in fire discipline was not discovered until November 795 UC (486 IC / 3595 CE). There had been an illegal drug distribution operation within the Keyserling Fleet, run by Rear Admiral Christoph von Basel and dealing in the drug thyoxin. The use of thyoxin by crew members within the fleet had resulted in hallucinations and was the reason behind the premature firing during the battle. Keyserling had known of this but, for personal reasons, had assumed responsibility in order to protect Basel. When the truth became known, Keyserling's name was cleared. (DIS: 'Chapter IV')
The Battle of Arlesheim had little strategic significance in itself and was one of the minor battles of the late Alliance–Imperial War which had little purpose other than inflicting losses upon the enemy. Its only significance was the shame of the defeat being a factor in the Galactic Empire deciding to mount launch an expeditionary force in December 794 UC (485 IC / 3594 CE), which resulted in the Third Battle of Tiamat.