Eleventh Battle of Iserlohn
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|Eleventh Battle of Iserlohn
The Wahlen Fleet approaching Iserlohn Fortress
|February 801 UC (3 NIC / 492 IC / 3601 CE)
|Iserlohn Republic victory
The Eleventh Battle of Iserlohn (Japanese: 第11次イゼルローン攻防戦) was the eleventh battle fought around Iserlohn Fortress. This battle involved forces from the New Galactic Empire assaulting the forces of the Iserlohn Republic, which held Iserlohn Fortress.
On 7 February 801 UC (3 NIC / 492 IC / 3601 CE), the Wahlen Fleet stationed on the former Free Planets Alliance side of the Iserlohn Corridor detected the Iserlohn Republic fleet leaving the fortress and heading towards the Imperial end of the Corridor, which was guarded by the 8,500 ship strong Wagenseil Fleet. The Wahlen Fleet advanced on Iserlohn Fortress to take advantage of the seeming opportunity to seize Iserlohn Fortress.
The Iserlohn fleet, led by Julian Mintz, numbered 6,600.
The Iserlohn fleet and the Wagenseil Fleet traded fire at 04:20 12 February 801 UC (3 NIC / 492 IC / 3601 CE). There was a battle between the fighter forces of both sides, with Olivier Poplin and his Spartanian fighters defeating the Imperial fighters. Subsequently at 05:40 that same day, the Iserlohn fleet started withdrawing back to the fortress. The Wagenseil Fleet pursued, with Admiral Wagenseil hoping to perform a "parallel pursuit" in which the Imperial fleet would follow so closely behind the retreating Iserlohn forces that Iserlohn Fortress could not fire the Thor Hammer without hitting friendly forces. During the Sixth Battle of Iserlohn, Alliance forces had attempted this same strategy but had been defeated when Imperial forces fired the Thor Hammer anyway despite destroying some of their own forces.
Julian Mintz had anticipated this possibility and maintained a fighting withdrawal over 2 days, while keeping updated on the progress of the Wahlen Fleet towards the fortress. Shortly before reaching the effective range of the Thor Hammer, Julian launched a sudden attack throwing the Wagenseil Fleet into temporary confusion, before continuing to withdraw towards Iserlohn Fortress. Provoked by this attack, the Wagenseil Fleet resumed pursuit and entered the range of the Thor Hammer, but by this point enough of a gap had opened up between the Iserlohn fleet and the Wagenseil Fleet for the Thor Hammer to have a clear shot. Belatedly, the Wagenseil Fleet turned to withdraw but they were hit by a firing of the Thor Hammer before they could retreat out of effective range.
Meanwhile, Julian Mintz had turned his fleet to face the oncoming Wahlen Fleet, which was advancing with the hope of being able to enter and assault Iserlohn Fortress before the Thor Hammer could recharge for another shot. The Wahlen Fleet's left flank was hit by an ambush composed of a detached squadron of Iserlohn Republic ships led by Merkatz, and shortly afterwards was hit from the 2 o'clock direction by Julian's fleet. The Wahlen Fleet was over double the size of Julian's fleet and counterattacked. However the Iserlohn fleet held firm and the Wahlen Fleet could not break through before the Thor Hammer recharged.
Recognising it was no longer possible to reach the fortress, Wahlen turned his fleet around to retreat. After being hit once by the Thor Hammer, Wahlen ordered his fleet to spread out, to present a sparser target. The Thor Hammer quickly fired a second time, presumably at reduced power, blowing another hole in the Wahlen Fleet, before it finally retreated out of range. (LOGH: 'A Challenge to Arms')
Imperial casualties stood at 400,000. Compared to other previous battles of the era, it was a small battle, but it was the first victory by republican forces over Imperial forces since the death of Yang Wen-li. This victory achieved several political effects. It shored up Julian Mintz's standing and support within the Iserlohn Republic, as well as boosting the morale of the Iserlohn Republic. It also demonstrated to the inhabitants of the former Free Planets Alliance that the Iserlohn Republic was willing and able to fight the New Galactic Empire. (LOGH: 'A Challenge to Arms')