Battle of New Charleroi 2692
|Warships of the Terran 54th Fleet operating west of New Charleroi starsystem in June, 2692|
Terran Northwestern Frontier 2692
The Battle of New Charleroi was one of the critical battles on the Terran Northwestern Frontier in 2692, and one of the early Naplian victories. The action was fought between the Terran 54th Fleet, advancing northwest to the Bresam Drift, and the Naplian 22nd and 43rd Naval Corps, moving southeast through the Geliam Nebula. New Charleroi itself was a twelve planet starsystem situated along the eastern face of the Geliam Nebula.
Terra's newly devised strategic plan for the region, designated “Case Fifteen,” determined that the Terran 54th Fleet should join the Terran Third and Fourth Fleets in reinforcing Audria via the Great Desert Rift. This however assumed that Naplia would not attempt an invasion of Terra further north, i.e., through the Union of Planets. While vice admiral Bejide Agbaje, 54th Fleet commander, believed this a distinct possibility, particularly as he observed a massive build-up of Naplian forces along the Terran northwest border facing the Great Desert Rift, Admiral Balvinder Singh, the Terran Frontier Fleets Commander-in-Chief, refused to consider the possibility. Singh did, however, allow Agbaje to extend his lines north to the Bresam Drift in April; but at the same time, Agbaje lost some of his 54th Fleet warships, transferred to admiral Ubomo's command. They were later replaced by a task force from the 2nd Fleet in the Nialera starfield.
Following repeated warnings by Agbaje, Admiral Singh agreed that he could concentrate his forces further north in June. By this time however units of admiral Bo-Vadu's Naplian 22nd Naval Corps were nearing the Ruman starsystem. That same week the Naplians sailed into the Terran Bushalla starsystem.
In authorizing an attack across the drift, Balvinder Singh expected the Naplian forces to be no more than eighteen starship divisions, against which would be ranged Agbaje's fifteen divisions with reinforcements arriving from the Briddarri Expeditionary Force, adding another three cruiser divisions. Agbaje, however, believed the Naplian strength to be much higher, nearer in fact to the real figure of thirty-eight starship divisions. Consequently, he asked for a postponement of the attack in July, preferring to wait for the arrival of the Briddarri.
However, detachments from the Naplian 22nd Naval Corps attacked across the Bresam Drift that same month, establishing and then successfully defending two bridgeheads against repeated Terran counter-attacks. During the fighting, thousands of civilian refugee spacecraft fled the New Charleroi starsystem.
Bo-Vadu renewed his attacks in August, pitching his two naval corps across the entire Terran front. Fighting was heavy but confused, continuing throughout August and well into September. The center of the Terran lines, at New Charleroi starsystem, suffered heavy losses and retreated, whereas the Terran forces west of New Charleroi held their position, as did Admiral Timothy Boye's cruiser divisions in the east. Unfortunately, the retreat of admiral Dorset's battlecruiser divisions in the far west exposed the right wing of the late-arriving Briddarri expeditionary force, at Sonma starsystem.
Bo-Vadu's forces managed to cross the Madia Cloud and, although his lead dragge squadrons managed to get in behind the Terrans, he chose not to position his main force across the Terran 54th Fleet's rear in the south, instead of ordering a full-frontal attack against the Terran right. Realizing the danger, Boye ordered his cruisers to clear away Bo Vadu's dragge squadrons blocking the 54th Fleet's line of retreat. The Terrans drove off the dragge formations in early October.
Agbaje, having difficulty communicating with Boye, expected the lines of retreat to be closed at any moment. While aware that the Naplian 43rd Naval Corps had established a bridgehead across the Madia Cloud to his south, he did not know that admiral Marser's battlecruisers had successfully held them back and were on the verge of a successful counter-attack. Once news of the defeat of the Audrian relief column at Ackmara reached him, along with the retreat of the second Audrian relief force from Shulla, Agbaje ordered a general withdrawal of his units.
Agbaje's decision to withdraw probably saved the Terran frontier squadrons from annihilation. By retreating, the Terrans were able to hold northern Terra, but the Terran public at large - and admiral Singh in particular - saw Agbaje's action as cowardly. Given that Admiral Singh had permitted the withdrawal, his subsequent condemnation of Agbaje for the failure of the Case 15 plan was without merit.
Artwork by David Snodgrass and Dmitry Borodin
Copyright 2018 Kgruppe LLC
Copyright 2018 Kgruppe LLC