As soon as the nuclear clouds settled on Cul-Huq, I knew that fool Redharn was finished, and that ultimate power would be mine. How I love this galaxy.
—Excerpt from Askar's private memoirs following the battle
The Battle of Cul-Huq was a major battle of the Cruentusian War, and was considered a major turning point. Its roots lay at the time when Carsal Redharn noticed that the Srav Federation was setting up a major base on the idyllic world of Cul-Huq, which was rich in natural resources, providing a base of great wealth to the Srav Federation. He planned a major assault on the world, deciding that it would better serve Necasian assets and would help forward their war efforts. However, his treacherous commander Askar Invado sold valuable information to the Srav Intelligence units about the planned assault, and made sure that pre-battle Necasian sabotage failed dismally. When the Necasians arrived at the planet, they met with a large Srav force, ready and armed and completely unharmed by their planned sabotage.
As a battle raged in space, a Necasian fleet managed to land on the world, where they engaged Srav forces, offloading their heavy weapons in an attempt to storm them. A group of Savi Alliance mercenaries were also present, however, and got caught in the crossfire, and began fighting both sides, pushing the Necasian storming attempt back. Eventually, however, with the loss of several Necasian ships and therefore a large part of their anti-missile laser countermeasures, Ivran Gresev, the Srav commander, lost patience and ordered a full nuclear bombardment of half the planet. Nearly all of the Necasian and Savi forces, as well as some Srav troops, were annihilated, causing severe damage to the Necasian war machine in that system, and offering all Redharn critics ammunition for their arguments. After the battle, Redharn received most of the blame for the defeat, with Askar Invado using it to call for a new leader, starting great political turmoil amongst the Necasians that would, eventually, lead to civil war.
Ah, Carsal! I imagine I'll be notified of your plans? I'd hate to have my mouth loosened by anger at being left out of something."
"Can it Invado. You'll be involved.
—Askar Invado to Carsal Redharn
A few weeks after the disastrous Skirmish on Simiyar, another failure led by Carsal Redharn, Redharn decided that the Necasians needed a major victory immediately to boost morale, and he needed to lead it, to silence his critics. Despite the advantage of the Zayre being on their side, with the fearsome Storm Ironwings being present, the Sravs were gradually encircling the Necasian territories, quickly occupying key neutral planets. Meanwhile, Askar Invado was blackmailing Redharn into boosting his power, by threatening to reveal the true cause of the disaster on Simiyar. Redharn made the mistake of trying to gain the trust of Askar Invado, by confiding in him about the plans for the Battle, which Invado then sold, or fed, to the Srav Federation, leading to the ultimate defeat of Redharn in the battle.
When Redharn got news that the Sravs were setting up a base on the neutral world of Cul-Huq, which was near the frontier of Necasian territory, and rich in resources, meaning that occupation would be advantageous for any side who held it. Deciding to stop the Sravs and gain a foothold on an important world, whilst silencing his critics, Redharn mustered a large scale assault force and began planning a large-scale assault on the world, using Askar Invado, a large mistake on his part. Soon, a large Necasian assault force was prepared, and Redharn sent transmissions to Necasian border commanders to prepare their fleets and troops for attack. However, Invado secretly saw to it that these transmissions were not encrypted as they usually were, and notified the Sravs that they could buy the basic encryption codes for these transmissions, meaning that they were bought by the Sravs. Alarmed, Jasef Yuiln bolstered the Srav garrison on Cul-Huq and sent his top commander, Ivran Gresev, to command the Srav forces there and to hold back the Necasian military.
With nearly everything prepared, Redharn sent forward an advance team of Necasian SpecOps troops to disable the Srav network of defenses on the planet. However, Invado had also seen to it that the intelligence made available to the SpecOps troops was untruthful, and everything was going according to plan for him, with the Sravs being fully aware of the SpecOps team to come, and its motives and aims.
There is an old saying I was taught: far better to make someone do something for you, than risk yourself doing it yourself. Here I shall watch it's wisdom in motion.
—Askar prior to the battle
The Necasian SpecOps team slipped by the Srav blockade in a stealth-equipped SkyBull-class transport. The troops aboard were slightly disturbed at the size of the Srav fleet, which was much larger than they had expected, due to Invado's treachery, but thought nothing of it. Landing on the planet, they immediately moved out, making their way quickly and discreetly over the planet. Their target was a Srav bunker that supposedly controlled the Srav defense network for the main continent of the planet, another lie fed to them by Invado. Covertly making their way through forests and rivers, they soon came across what their intelligence indicated was their target; a large bunker next to a waterfall. They took out the defenses surrounding it, which consisted of about five Srav soldiers, relatively quickly, which surprised them, but they thought nothing of it. Infiltrating the bunker, which was sparsely manned, they disabled it, and sent an encrypted transmission to the Necasian fleet indicating the all clear and mission success. Unbeknownst to them, their intelligence was falsified, thanks to Askar, and what they had taken out was merely a Srav irrigation bunker that had no strategic value whatsoever. Invado had refrained from making the bunker a death trap purely because, in his bid for power, he wanted some forces to be able to control.
The Necasian fleet appeared above the planet a few minutes later, with Redharn himself leading from his flagship, the War Legacy. He was shocked by the size and positioning of the Srav fleet, which immediately opened fire on the Necasian armada with missiles. However, laser countermeasures from the Necasian ships intercepted most of the missiles, and Necasian DarkBird fighters intercepted any Srav Yukels which got too near, with the Zayre also playing a large part in the aerial defense. As the space battle developed into a stalemate, Necasian transports descended to the planet, although they were surprised by heavy Srav flak and missiles, which destroyed several barges and seemed to know very Necasian planned attack before it happened.
The ground battle
Our chances of survival are slim, our escape route is compromised, and we're outnumbered and outgunned. You know what to do in a situation like this, men: shoot anything that isn't friendly.
—A Savi commander
Settling in a semi-forested mountain valley a short distance away from the Srav base, the Necasian task force immediately came under attack from Drapeznik hovercopter gunships, which had, thanks to Invado, become aware of their position, which dealt heavy damage with their nuclear-tipped missiles, inflicting heavy casualties upon the Necasians. However, Necasian DarkBirds were able to drive some of the gunships away, despite Invado's treachery, although Srav flak was filling the sky. This meant that Necasian air support was limited, with only a few Zayre daring to make the treacherous descent down to the planet. Desperate for cover, the Necasians advanced into a small town in the center of the valley, holing themselves up in there.
However, unbeknownst to both factions and Askar Invado, stationed in the town were a group of independent mercenaries from the Savi Alliance, who had arrived on the planet a few days before looking for any available jobs, and had been resting in the town. Caught in the crossfire between the Sravs and the Necasians, the mercenaries fought back against both sides, believing that they were the target of the battle. Savi Hopper craft fried many soldiers on both sides with their microwave emitters and their Stinger buggies ran rings around the tanks of the larger factions, pummeling them with missiles and inflicting casualties. In response, the Srav commander called in a Yukel air strike, which resulted in half the town being razed, damaging all three sides, the Savia Alliance the most.
Desperate to destroy the Srav anti-air system to make air support available, the Necasian field commander managed to guide SkyBull transports to landing sites on different part of the continent to take out Srav command bunkers, however Askar Invado was notified of this plan. To bolster their numbers, the Necasians forced the peaceful inhabitants of the planet to fight, using them as cannon fodder to use up Srav ammo in an act that would turn many in the galaxy against them. This had the side-effect of forcing the planet's militia to fight back, delaying the Necasians and turning their plan into a backfire. Meanwhile, some of the Savi mercenaries took the opportunity to flee, feeling that they stood no chance against the superior might of the two warring factions.
As Necasian forces spilled across the continent, committing acts upon the planet's inhabitants that would scar Cul-Huq for some time, Askar, who was observing the battle from his personal ship a distance away from the battle, noted that Redharn actually had a slim chance of winning the battle, due to the un-calculated presence of the mercenaries. This jeopardized his chances of Redharn failing and thus giving him a chance to usurp him as ruler, and he wouldn't risk this. Fabricating a transmission which instructed several Necasian frigates and DarkBird squadrons to enter the atmosphere and transmitted a jamming frequency to override any other orders, he tried to insure Redharn's failure again. His orders were carried out. Redharn was horrified, and disturbed by the fact that his troops were not listening to him. However, his attention was drawn to the fact that the Necasian system of laser countermeasures was now broken, to Invado's satisfaction.
Comrade Redharn! Your flimsy countermeasure system is ruined! Good for you! Now, to sum up what's about to happen to you, let me tell you a saying we have back home: in Srav Federation, nukes destroy YOU!
—Ivran Gresev to Redharn
Gresev, on the command bridge of his Vesetroika destroyer, immediately took the opportunity presented to him. He ordered all ships to launch some of their nuclear missiles down on designated targets on the planet below, whilst the Necasian fleet, in disarray, was powerless to stop them. The Srav fleet released a hail of missiles, and each missile in turn opened up to release several independent warheads. On the surface, the Necasian forces felt that they were winning when the Sravs suddenly made a desperate retreat to the nearest nuclear bunkers, or to caves in the mountainside. The Necasians pushed on, intent on taking advantage of the Srav withdrawal, after Invado fabricated an order from Redharn to do so.
Moments later, the Srav nuclear weapons impacted all at the same time on the continent, causing widespread destruction. Mountainsides were razed, forests were incinerated, deserts were turned to glass, lakes boiled, and any and all Srav, Necasian and Savi forces on the surface were destroyed utterly, as well as the locals, who had no chance of fleeing to nuclear bunkers, turning a large proportion of the galaxy against the Necasians and Sravs.
Horrified by his losses, Redharn called a full scale retreat. As the Srav fleet opened fire on his ships, taking down several Necasian frigates, they jumped to hyperspace. The battle was considered an utter disaster by the Necasians, with Askar Invado orchestrating the defeat from the beginning by manipulating Redharn, his tactical genius overlooking the fact that the Savi Alliance had become involved.
The immediate aftermath after the battle was that the nuclear missiles, which had impacted on the surface, destroyed colossal areas of land and civilization set up by the natives of the planet upon impact, meaning that the cities and civilized areas were either destroyed or severely damaged by the force of the missiles and explosions, and many of the population of Cul-Huq died, or were forced to flee into forested or natural areas, hiding in caves or cliffs to protect themselves from the explosions. However, the lack of warnings before the explosions meant that many had no idea of what would be happening, and many were caught in the very midst of the explosions, either dying or being maimed horribly, losing limbs or other body parts in violent explosions of the missiles, or of the ground upon which they landed.
As the nuclear explosions began to subside, many of the areas upon which they’d landed caught aflame and burnt, meaning that the inhabitants of Cul-Huq were still trapped inside wherever they had taken shelter or, those lucky enough to be in an urban area and survive the blasts, often were caught in the flames and were incinerated to death as they were trapped inside buildings, or as they fled the cities to try and hide. Just six standard hours after the bombings had happened, the urban areas began to collapse, and the flames took hold in the ruins of the cities and razed them to the ground in a way that meant that very little survived. Eventually, the flames too began to stop, which left behind the charred, burnt remains of whatever had stood in their place before, meaning that civilization on Cul-Huq looked as if it would be set back by at least three decades.
When the people of Cul-Huq realized that the flames had stopped and that the cities were no longer ablaze, they made their way out from the areas in which they had hidden to return to their cities, survey the damage and make repairs to whatever they could, in an attempt to resume life as normal once more. However, the inhabitants of Cul-Huq had no idea that the devastation and destruction was by no means over as, fourteen and a half standard hours after the bombing, the worst came in a downpour of nuclear fallout. The fallout from the missiles had only just reached the inhabitants of Cul-Huq, and much of it fell in thick downpours upon the inhabitants, stranded out in the open of their cities and villages. Many fled back to the caves and forest where they had hidden before, but many were caught full out in it, and the damage was done.
With the galaxy in complete turmoil, and with factions vying for power with each other, no real peacekeeping or aid factions were in existence, meaning that the inhabitants of Cul-Huq, now in complete disarray, were left to fend for, and look after, themselves, meaning many died. As the effects of the nuclear fallout took hold, many of the current inhabitants fell ill and felt the effects, whilst many babies born for the next twenty eight years would be born with deformities caused by the nuclear fallout. Cul-Huq lost nearly all of its technology and designs in that attack, setting it back by many years, and that meant that aid wasn’t able to reach Cul-Huq for another few centuries altogether.
Carsal Redharn is a procrastinator, a blunderer and a fool! We need a new leader! Someone who can lead us into a new age!
—Askar Invado addressing the Necasian Military
As soon as Redharn returned to the Necasian homeworld, he immediately came under attack from Invado and his supporters, who were releasing recordings of the battle, Askar Invado wasting no time in blaming him and gathering supporters, and they blamed him for the battles outcome, as well as the results of many other Necasian defeats. Askar called for a change in leadership, and announced that Redharn would not willingly give up his command, so violence would be needed. Redharn in turn branded Askar a traitor and a defeatist, and soon the Necasians were split between the two leaders. Tensions increased rapidly, and civil war was clearly imminent, with Invado claiming that Redharn wanted the Necasians to fail, and was planning to kill them all, and ordered that he be executed for war crimes. Civil war was only avoided by Invado manipulations of the few Redharn supporters, with blackmailing and bribery being the key uses of his plans to avoid civil war. This allowed him to take Redharn prisoner, and his execution was scheduled for a months time.
As for the Sravs, Gresev was chastised heavily by Yuiln for destroying the Srav base on Cul-Huq, and for rendering the resource filled planet uninhabitable, therefore losing the Sravs a potential asset. Gresev pointed out that the riches of Cul-Huq were denied to the Necasians too, which eased his position somewhat. Meanwhile, the Sravs eyed the Necasian political situation with great interest, ready to make a move. However, both sides, so caught up in the recent events, were ignoring the growing Death's Tongue Militia, which was gaining alarming support amongst neutral planets.
Only a very small portion of Cul-Huq's population survived the battle and the nuking, and more died from the radiation and subsequent radiation storms caused by the destabilizing of the atmosphere. Mutations and radiation sickness were very common amongst the survivors, and within a few generations the survivors had either fled the planet or had died. By the time of the Galactic Republic, tens of thousands of years later, the planet had become a radioactive wasteland incapable of supporting sentient life.
Behind the scenes
The battle of Cul-Huq was created in a collaboration between the users Darth tom and Unit 8311, in turn part of the large collaborative project known as Project Cruentus throughout Star Wars Fanon, as another of many collaborations by the two authors. The two users had originally got to know each other roughly when Project Cruentus was first announced, as Darth tom first contacted Unit 8311 to ask if Unit's article, Steel Legion, could be used in CUSWFN, in the very same issue when Project Cruentus was announced. After the release, Unit 8311 became the third currently-participating user to join the project, excluding the founder of the project, Darth tom, after Arav the Undersith and Joe Butler. Unit 8311, being the only member of the Project at that time with any featured articles except for Victor Dorantes, the only user to have dropped out of the Project, was welcomed with open arms. Unit 8311 still remains the only member of the Project to have any featured articles.
The battle was originally created as a way of fitting the newly created faction by Butler, the Savi Alliance, into the overall timeline of the Cruentusian War, to establish them as a faction in an actual battle. For other intentions, the Battle of Cul-Huq was also intended to be the first, real, detailed article, with previous ones not being much of a big success in terms of getting any sort of official status. The third, and final, intention regarding the creation of the article was to further the storyline of the project, by enabling the character of Askar Invado to gain control of the Necasian Military, a large faction in the Cruentusian War and one of the participants in the Battle of Cul-Huq in the long term, by establishing him as a leader who didn't beat around the bush, and had no real regard for human life or beauty. Although the presence of the Savi Alliance was intended as a way to fit that same faction into the Cruentusian War, it originally came as a request from Joe Butler.
For the naming of the article, numerous ideas and opinions of various users were taken into account. The first names were designed by Unit 8311, and a small selection was put up for discussion with Darth tom, although the other members were allowed to give input on the names as well. The original names suggested were 'Treq', 'Cul' and 'Tylek' by Unit 8311, and Darth tom then replied that the one of those he liked best was 'Cul' or one of his own, 'Huq'. After this suggestion, Unit 8311 professed to having liked that name also, and suggested a batch of new names, 'Huq-Cul', 'Culhuq', 'Cul IV' and 'Huq II' were the names suggested. Although, originally, Darth tom said he liked the name 'Culhuq', Unit 8311 mistakenly named the article 'The Battle of Cul-Huq' and, when Darth tom discovered this, he found that name to be a suitable one also, and refrained from mentioning it. This meant that the battle article went ahead, and was created.
As a collaboration, the authors needed some way of actually working out who would be writing what sections, and what would be written in the article, and the Project Cruentus Forum was the main means of discussing this, with talk pages and the IRC not being used to discuss this particular battle. As the article was started when Darth tom was busy with matters in real life and with CUSWFN, Unit 8311 first started the article and made the basic framework, before announcing, on the forum, that it could 'do some work from you, Tom', speaking to Darth tom. When time was eventually found, Darth tom added large sections to the article, added a few quotes, and expanded current sections already put there by Unit 8311, to raise it to GA standards. The idea to raise it to the standard of a good article was proposed by Darth tom, and Unit 8311 soon agreed. After proposal, it became a good article on its first nomination, and the first good article of Project Cruentus.