Fourth Battle of Tiamat
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|Fourth Battle of Tiamat|
|(First Alliance-Imperial War)|
The Müsel Fleet deliberately exposing its flank
|Date:||September 795 UC (486 IC / 3595 CE)|
|Result:||Major Imperial victory|
The Free Planets Alliance congregated several fleets in the Tiamat Starzone in September 795 UC (486 IC / 3595 CE) with the intention of capturing the Galactic Empire's Iserlohn Fortress. Once there, a single fleet was dispatched directly towards Iserlohn to scout the area and test the fortress's defences. This fleet was intercepted by Reinhard von Lohengramm (then Müsel)'s expeditionary fleet and lured into the upper atmosphere of the gas giant Legnica. There, Reinhard managed to outwit the enemy admiral and obliterate the Alliance fleet.
Undaunted by their devastating defeat at Legnica, the Alliance chose to continue with their plans to assault Iserlohn. The Imperial forces stationed at the fortress, under the command of Gregor von Mückenberger, rallied forth to meet the Alliance fleet; Reinhard's fleet was positioned at the left wing of the formation. Determined to be rid of the 'Admiral of the Skirts' once and for all, Mückenberger ordered Reinhard to advance on the Alliance forces head-on as a diversionary measure; meanwhile, the rest of the Imperial fleet would maintain its position, leaving Reinhard's smaller fleet to be annihilated by the vastly more numerous Alliance fleets.
Complying with his orders, Reinhard advanced his forces towards the enemy formation alone. Rather than open fire on them once he was in range, however, Reinhard had his forces turn 90 degrees to the right. Reinhard's fleet then slowly sailed in front of the Alliance fleet, utterly exposed. Unable to comprehend an enemy intentionally making itself so vulnerable, the Alliance fleet commanders refused to attack Reinhard's forces, believing his manoeuvre to be some sort of elaborate trick. Their inaction allowed Reinhard to reposition his forces along the left flank of the Alliance fleet.
By the time they realised their error, the main Imperial fleet had entered combat range, forcing the Alliance invasion force to ignore Reinhard's forces. The main Imperial fleet was roughly equal in size to the Alliance forces, turning the battle into a violent brawl and stalemate. Realising he had been outsmarted by Reinhard, Mückenberger refused to ask Reinhard's fleet to attack; Mückenberger believed that Reinhard was similarly petty, and would not move to aid the besieged Imperial forces unless ordered to do so.
Reinhard, however, realised that the gratitude of the thousands of soldiers whose lives he could save by attacking the Alliance flank far outweighed the ire he would earn from embarrassing Mückenberger. He ordered his fleet to attack, and in moments the Alliance had been thoroughly routed.
At this point, the Alliance forces realised they had no choice but to retreat. They determined to launch a diversionary attack directly against Iserlohn Fortress, to draw off the bulk of the Imperial fleet and buy enough time for them to escape. Commodore Yang Wen-li volunteered to lead the diversionary attack; he took a single battleship, the Ulysses, with a skeleton crew, along with four unmanned cruisers, and headed straight for Iserlohn. Using sensor decoys, Yang was able to fool the main Imperial fleet into thinking he was leading a formation of several-thousand warships towards the undefended fortress. Mückenberger immediately ordered his forces to turn around and head back to defend Iserlohn. Alliance forces took advantage of this opportunity to inflict additional losses on the distracted Imperial forces. Reinhard realised the Alliance fleet was a decoy, however, and managed to reveal this fact to Mückenberger. This prompted Mückenberger to resume the attack on the Alliance forces, preventing them from retreating.
Determined to save the lives of his fellow soldiers, Yang's ship straight into the heart of the Imperial fleet. There, he assumed a position immediately beneath the Brünhild, effectively taking Reinhard hostage. Reinhard ordered his forces to disregard his own safety and open fire on Yang's ship, but cancelled the order after protest from Karl Robert Steinmetz, captain of the Brünhild. Mückenberger held fire due to the political cost of directly causing the death of the brother of one of Kaiser Friedrich IV's favoured concubines. Both the Imperial and Alliance fleets held fire on each other until they had passed each other. Once the Alliance were in a position to safely retreat, Yang followed. Reinhard, determining that the battle was over, ordered his forces to stand down, allowing Yang to escape the battlefield.
After the Fourth Battle of Tiamat, Reinhard was granted a special commendation, and firmly established a reputation for himself as a brilliant tactician. Furthermore, he went to lengths to learn the name of the man who had managed to open up a path to safety for the retreating Alliance forces; at the same time, Yang sought out the name of the commander of the white ship. The rivalry between Yang Wen-li and Reinhard von Lohengramm that began with this battle would shape and define the history of the galaxy in the years to come. (My Conquest Is the Sea of Stars)