Men, this is when we repay those Death's Tongue cowards for daring to raise their arms against us. We'll drive them out of whatever hole they're hiding in and crush them. Now, let's get this battle going.
The Battle of Tahu was a relatively large-scale battle of the Cruentusian War. It occurred when the Death's Tongue Militia, having recently attacked the Necasian Military and Srav Federation, spreading terror amongst their civilian populations as a result, decided to try to relieve some of the pressure on it. They decided to do this by tricking both other factions with false intelligence into attacking a decoy base on Tahu which they disguised a major base. The Death's Tongue Militia placed minimal forces on the planet, goaded the local population into fighting for them, and laid many traps for the Necasians and Sravs. Arriving at the planet, the Sravs and Necasians came under heavy fire from Death's Tongue militants, rioting natives, and biological weapons laid by the militants. For the duration of the battle, the Necasians and Sravs went into an unofficial ceasefire, staying out of the other's way. Eventually, both sides tracked the Death's Tongue decoy base in the desert not far from the planet's main city and destroyed it. Both sides felt that they had dealt a heavy blow to the Death's Tongue Militia, whereas in reality they had only caused it moderate damage, and unwittingly caused its support to grow due to their treatment of the native populace.
My brothers! Behold how easily we deceive these imbecilic imperialists! Thanks to the genius of our most wise leaders, this battle will benefit us no matter what the outcome!
After the Death's Tongue Militia launched attacks on both the Necasian Military and Srav Federation, a move considered very audacious and risky by many in the galaxy due to the power difference between the militia and the other factions. The Necasian Military began to take notice of what they had previously thought of as an insignificant faction, despite such raids that said faction had performed on Carrivar and Gresevokrad. Meanwhile, the Death's Tongue Militia had established a presence on the arid world of Tahu, a planet that had fallen on hard times lately due to an influx of refugees. Using the local communal leaders as scapegoats for the planet's problems, the Death's Tongue Militia roused support for itself by distributing food and aid, which it had stolen from other neighboring worlds and proceeded to begin work on an apparent major base in the planet's desert.
Concurrently, Askar Invado, leader of the Necasians, mustered his troops for an assault on the base after gaining intelligence on it, meaning to swoop in and attack the Death's Tongue forces before they could react, thereby ending any potential immediate threat that could arise and removing a base on Tahu. Although Askar had no interest in the planet of Tahu itself, he did not want the Death's Tongue Militia occupying a planet so near to Necasian territory. Unbeknown to Askar, however, the Death's Tongue Militia did not regard the base as particularly significant, and fed false intelligence to make the Necasians believe that destroying the base would be a great blow to them, in order to ease the pressure on them. Most of the Death's Tongue militants stationed on the planet were also ones deemed incompetent or untrustworthy by their superiors.
However, the Srav Federation was also taking an interest in the planet of Tahu, wanting to occupy a planet in the vicinity of Necasian territory and gain a foothold into it, and Srav supreme leader Jasef Yuiln had commissioned various Srav troops to travel to Tahu and take the Death's Tongue base there, also mistakenly believing that it was a major installation. The Sravs, however, had no idea that the Necasians were also launching assaults, and pushed not as many troops into the battle as they could have, thinking they would only be faced with a single base of the Death's Tongue Militia. Using stealth ships as scouts to pass Necasian lines, they made their way into the Tahu sector, spending time surveying the defenses arrayed on the planet, whilst keeping their distance from the actual planet itself, before returning to Srav territory to make their report to Jasef Yuiln and the various commanders of the Sravs. Meanwhile, the Sravs also viewed the battle as an opportunity to test out their newly-formed elite infantry group called Hammer Division, created as an answer to Necasian SpecOps commandos and as a counter to concerns over inadequate Srav infantry.
Deeming the risks to be too low to be of major consequence, Yuiln then finalized the commission for the assault, whilst Askar Invado set up his fleet with various weaponry. Apart from a few members of the sharpshooters, Toronian-class storm tanks and Krako Warrior Traversers, the Necasians had thought the same as the Sravs, that the assault would be easy. With both factions preparing to depart for Tahu with a relatively small amount of troops, the Militia had no idea, at that time, that the Necasians and Sravs were moving in on the planet; as a result, the Death's Tongue force was believed to not have known about what was considered an 'impending doom' moving down upon them.
Sluggin' across a desert on some shaithole of a planet, looking for a bunch of crazy-ass fanatics, and nothing to see but sand...not sure if I signed up for this.
—Excerpt from a Necasian soldier's diary
With the Srav Federation arriving a few days before the Necasian Military, and in a completely different area from where the Necasians were due to land, the set of circumstances that presented themselves meant that the two factions were still not aware of one another. This was coupled with the Srav's trekking northwards, searching for the reported Death's Tongue base, and the Necasians southwards. However, the Death's Tongue Militia had fabricated evidence regarding the whereabouts of their base, and instead employed elaborate camouflage methods so as to shield the whereabouts from the Necasian Military and Srav Federation, hoping to lure them into a trap from which they could, in the opinion's of their leaders, prosper at the expense of the two other factions. As the factions slowly began to search the planet, the results turned up by their search teams and orbital scans were unsuccessful.
After original searches by both the Sravs and the Necasians ended up with no results at all, the Necasians, out of desperation, headed for the largest settlement on the planet, the main city of Tahu, imagining that the Death's Tongue forces would have set up their base there. Some days from the city, they started travelling towards it, before a Srav scout team discovered the Necasians and their plans, and subsequently returned to report the Necasians to the Sravs. The Sravs, thinking that the Necasians must have pinpointed the whereabouts of the Death's Tongue presence to be in the city, and so moved their forces towards the general direction of the city also, the troops moving forwards to pave the way ahead whilst the weapons and vehicles were due to follow in a convoy behind.
The Necasians, originally being a two days march ahead of the Sravs due to setting off first, soon became bogged down in dry quicksand areas, the heavy Krako Warrior Traversers vehicles being caught in the sand after blundering into it, forcing the Necasians to waste time extricating the Traversers, amongst other weapons, from the silt. The Sravs, by contrast, were trekking through various canyons with relatively clear roads, allowing them to travel faster than the Necasians were and so make up time so that, by the time the Necasians were on the move again, there was little more than half a day between the two factions arriving at the city, with avoiding a confrontation being the key idea of the leader's of each faction. The Death's Tongue Militia, by this time, was fully prepared for any conflict, establishing a camouflaged defense network in the desert around its base.
Hah! So these Necasians want in on the fun too? They will be little more than more food for our guns! Tear into them, comrades!
—A Srav officer
The Necasians were the first ones to reach the city, despite the setbacks they had received earlier with their machinery and weapons. However, the fact that they did not realize that the Sravs were also on the planet meant that they did not spend their time preparing for the Srav arrival and fortifying defenses in the city. Instead, Necasian time was spent searching for the Death's Tongue Militia in the city, in areas where they were suspected to have been, going upon the false information.
A few hours after the Necasian arrival Srav forward units showed up outside the city, but, having prior warning of the Necasians, set up weapons outside the city, using missile launchers to trap the Necasians inside. The Necasians, still unaware of the Sravs outside the city due to a failure in security and poor visibility, continued their searches, until Srav missiles hit the outskirts of the city and various structures within. This killed many people before the Necasians could react, and return fire with the tanks they had brought into the city with them. This managed to hold the Sravs predominantly away from the city until only the few stray missiles fired sporadically managed to pierce Necasian ranks and destroy a structure within the city.
After some time, the Necasians attempted to leave the city, before Srav weaponry and gun emplacements pinned them back, allowing them only to escape back to the city with a loss of men after the failed excursion. The Sravs, holding them inside the city for a few more hours, originally planned to merely lay siege to the city, but offensive Necasian tactics soon meant that this was not possible, and the Srav's soon began to fire missiles once more. Eventually, when a Necasian traitor with sympathies to the Srav cause transmitted intelligence that highlighted a breach in the Necaisan defense in three points, the Sravs were able to access the city. As a result, the battle now was fought in close combat on the streets, artillery being impractical due to the close proximity of each of the factions' forces.
Brothers and sisters of Tahu! None of you can doubt our warnings about the evil imperialists now, as they violate your most sacred soil and burn your homes for their selfish desires! Fight, and guarantee freedom for yourselves and your fellows!
—Excerpt from a DTM propaganda feed
However, as the Necasians and Sravs exchanged blows, they failed to notice the activity of the civilian populace. As they fought, the Death's Tongue Militia spread hate preaching against both of them and distributed arms and hate-inducing drugs amongst the population. Watching the Sravs and Necasians cause damage in their fighting, the vast majority of the civilians heeded the Death's Tongue propaganda, and those that did not were either executed or ostracized.
As the Sravs and Necasians moved to engage each other in the streets, throngs of angry civilians emerged from buildings and homes. Overwhelmed and taken by surprise, Necasian and Srav alike panicked as the Death's Tongue-roused civilians used homemade grenades to disable vehicles and overwhelming numbers to subdue troop pockets. Car bombs and suicide bombers, some of them children, also caused damage to both factions. Quickly, the Necasians and Sravs holed up in buildings, and some of their aerial vehicles, such as the Necasian Airhammer hovercopter and the Srav Drapeznik provided cover, although some Death's Tongue militants in the city armed with DR12 rocket launchers soon limited their use. Necasian SpecOps troops and Srav elite Hammer Division troops took out many of the rioting civilians in open combat, boosting morale.
As both the Srav and Necasian commanders worked to combat this new element, their troops did what they could in the situation. The Necasians performed quick insertions with the help of their Airhammers into the wartorn streets to rescue their wounded, and Srav Hammer troops planted explosives in strategic locations to take out large groups of rioters. Both sides soon realized that the Death's Tongue militants amongst the civilians were the ones providing morale and advanced weaponry, and worked on eliminating them.
Scorching the earthEdit
Crap! Them Sravvies are throwin' down some heavy stuff!"
"Well, in this case we gotta follow their example for once. Let's give these little kriffers napalm!
By now most Srav and Necasian troops were safely holed up in buildings around the city, mowing down any rioters who came near them. Nonetheless, the sheer numbers they were facing were starting to prove overwhelming, and DTM militants in the city were beginning to distribute rocket-propelled grenades laden with strains of the eborax virus, which they considered an effective counter against troops garrisoned in buildings. However, both the Sravs and the Necasians had decided that heavy-duty weaponry was the key to ending the riots. At Jorm's command, a Necasian officer used wings of SkyBull-class transports fitted with bomb bays to perform high-altitude precision carpet bombing strikes over the city, dropping napalm bombs into the midst of crowds in strategic streets, incinerating them and starting firestorms that ravaged many locales in the city. Meanwhile, Srav commander Vlad Mutin gave authorization for use of his signature radiation bombs, which spread radioactive material and gamma rays that caused death in seconds.
Nonetheless, the heavy-handedness of both factions merely caused the citizens to fight harder, fueling their determination to rid the planet of the Necasians and the Sravs. Ivran Gresev realised this, and gave orders for a nuclear strike in the northern part of the city, where the fewest Sravs were. On his mark, an Okol missile launcher launched a five-kiloton warhead that impacted in the northern district of the city. The explosion incinerated several square miles of buildings, the blast shattered windows and threw people to the ground all over the city, and the heat flash caused painful burns to the civilians, who unlike the soldiers they were fighting lacked protection against such a thing. Even as the mushroom cloud rose over the city, the non-incapacitated citizens were still determined to fight, even as the Necasians took the advantage to deliver more napalm strikes.
Gresev was now losing patience. Vlad and the other Srav commander, the elite sniper Dremsk, both pressured him not to simply bombard the planet with nuclear weapons, and instead take a more surgical approach. Gresev was convinced, and ordered a ten-kiloton warhead to be fired into the sea several miles off the city. His orders were carried out, and the resulting nuclear detonation triggered a tidal wave that swept towards the city. The coastal districts of the city were obliterated, and most of the city center was flooded. Seeing the destruction, the remaining citizens decided that further resistance was useless and laid down their arms.
So, the imperialistical bastards think they so clever, eh? Give 'em missiles!
With the city in ruins and its people having mostly surrendered, both the Sravs and the Necasians were satisfied that the Death's Tongue base was not located in the city. The Sravs proceeded to interrogate a surviving Death's Tongue militant and learned the approximate location of the Death's Tongue base in the desert. Intercepting their radio transmissions, the Necasians also gained the same information. As both sides set up camps on opposite sides of the city to rest and repair, their commanders studied the idea of attacking one another. However, the Necasians decided that they had neither the numbers nor the firepower to take on the Sravs, and likewise Ivran and Vlad decided to prioritize the Death's Tongue Militia as a bigger threat than the Necasians. Both sides spent the rest of the day and the night resting their troops and repairing the vehicles. Meanwhile, some Necasian soldiers amused themselves by using citizens trying to flee the ruined city as target practice, and likewise the Sravs kidnapped what they considered the most attractive females amongst the populace and used them as camp whores.
By morning, both sides had fully rested and were ready to move out. In order to minimize unnecessary casualties, they kept a distance of at least a dozen miles between each other as both taskforces made their way through the desert. Nonetheless, the Death's Tongue force had had plenty of time to prepare during the battle in the city, and was confident of heavily weakening both forces, if not destroying them. The two Death's Tongue commanders, bacteriologist Krennel Kaan and the explosives specialist Req Makad were in charge of the Death's Tongue forces, and both were in command of two networks of KRUD missiles spread throughout the desert. Kaan had opted to load the missiles at his disposal with strains of eborax and toxic substances, and Makad likewise made sure that his rockets were packed with high explosives.
As both the Sravs and Necasians moved through open desert, the Death's Tongue Militia launched vollies of missiles from both networks. Some of the missiles were intercepted by anti-air missiles launched by both sides, and others simply missed their targets completely. Nonetheless, both sides were temporarily scattered as the high explosive rockets destroyed and overturned vehicles and the biological ones caused a number of troops to die agonizing deaths. As the Death's Tongue Militia prepared its next missile volley, however, commanders on both sides were already reacting. Biohazard gear and countermeasures were distributed to non-infected troops, and missile pods on both sides were primed for rocket intercept. The Death's Tongue missile array left off another volley, but this one caused considerably less damage. Rez Jorm, the stealth expert on the Necasian side, had ordered as many troops as possible to hide in the sands, confusing the comparatively makeshift targeting computers on the KRUDs and causing them to miss.
With both sides having largely absorbed the volley, the Sravs decided to take more offensive measures. Snipers led by Dremsk pinpointed the camouflaged missile sites in the desert, and Gresev called in a strike by Yukel-class assault fighters from orbit. Minimally defended, a large number of Death's Tongue missile sites were simultaneously taken out by the air strike. Srav tanks then moved in and eradicated the rest.
However, Kaan and Makad were not massively concerned about the loss of their missiles, which in their view had served their purpose. Already, they were prepping strike forces to head into the desert, and both were eager to test out the Rapier combat bike, a new addition to the Death's Tongue arsenal.
Death to you, imperialist demons!
—A DTM war cry
Buoyed by their progress, both Necasians and Sravs mopped up remaining pockets of Death's Tongue presence in the missile fields and continued advancing. However, waves of Death's Tongue Stinger-class assault buggys and Hopper attack craft were streaking through the desert, backed up by Rapier bikes. Most of the non-bike vehicles were loaded with explosives and had suicidal Death's Tongue fanatics at the wheels. Moving at such speeds that the Necasian and Sravs were barely able to register them until they were upon them, the suicide vehicles rammed into the forward vehicles on both columns, causing heavy damage to the armor on both sides. Srav Drapezniks and Necasian Airhammers were sent to dispatch upcoming waves, only to be nearly overwhelmed by volleys of missiles launched by the Rapier bikes, their anti-missile countermeasures barely deflecting them. Moving at such speeds that the aerial vehicles were barely able to get a lock, the Rapiers also pummeled both sides with mortar and anti-tank rockets, before zooming away to reload.
However, Jorm on the Necasian side was already putting in a plan he hoped would nullify the bike threat. He ordered a mortar volley onto a point near the Necasian column. The resultant volley and blast whipped up a large sand cloud that, coupled with the winds of the desert, spread to cover most of the Necasian force. Deprived of targets to fire at, the Rapier bikes pulled back, and the Necasians used infra-red imaging and uplink with their orbital presence to compensate for the lack of visibility. Meanwhile, the Sravs also took measures by placing Dremsk's snipers towards the front of their column. With their long-range sites, the snipers were able to pinpoint further waves of suicide vehicles and bikes as they approached, allowing their gunships to eliminate them.
Seeing the two sides now repel their vehicle strikes, Kaan and Makad pulled their remaining forces in the desert back to the base, which was located in an area of rocky canyons not particularly far away. Srav fighter followed them from high altitude, and soon pinpointed the location of the base. Gresev ordered three tactical nuclear missiles to be launched at it, but was surprised to see them deflected by anti-missile laser emplacements around the base. Unbeknownst to either the Necasians or Sravs, the Death's Tongue Militia had acquired them months before in their raid on the planet of Alstuna. Undeterred, both sides continued pushing forwards, intending to strike at the base from opposite directions to avoid each other.
The final blowEdit
Look at those fools, fighting like ants. I would like to see the looks on their faces once they see what they have lost to achieve so little.
As the two columns advanced into the base, Makad and Kaan both took the opportunity to flee in a stealth transport. Meanwhile, hidden Death's Tongue mortars and missile nests camouflaged in the canyon proved a nuisance for the advancing forces, although their operators found them flimsy against the firepower they were facing. The Sravs worked on eliminating the anti-missile laser emplacement, with Dremsk's snipers eliminating their users. Meanwhile, the first waves of Srav tanks penetrated the base's boundaries in the middle of the canyon and began demolishing it. To their surprise, they found the buildings to be very poorly constructed, even by Death's Tongue standards, and collapsed easily. With the meager Death's Tongue forces remaining in the base focusing on trying to stop the Sravs, Necasian SpecOps pushed forward, laying explosive charges on buildings as Toronian tanks and Airhammers provided cover.
As the Sravs demolished the Death's Tongue forces they were facing, both some of their Hammer Division troops and Necasian SpecOps entered the main command center. Some of them met each other inside and exchanged sporadic fire, but soon their attention swayed to a nuclear charge in the main tactical room, stolen during the recent raid in the city of Gresevokrad, along with a number of eborax phials. The Hammer troops took the opportunity to flee and the Srav forces began to evacuate the area, whilst the SpecOps troops worked on defusing the bomb. Within a few minutes, the bomb was defused, but this triggered the eborax canisters to explode, killing the SpecOps troops within the command center. Nonetheless, the Necasians finished it off with a concentrated napalm strike, destroying it and decontaminating the area. With the base in ruins, both sides felt they had dealt a heavy blow to the Death's Tongue Militia, which they had not.
However, both felt that they were very weakened and decided that their surviving troops were in no condition to fight. For this reason, they decided not to try to finish one another off. The Necasians evacuated first, and the Sravs waited until they had left the system to leave. Unbeknown to either of them, they had played right into the Death's Tongue Miltia's hands.
We have dealt a blow to those who opposed our greatness, and we are a step closer to equality and justice for all!"
"Those who stood in our way have been crushed! Onward, to victory!"
"Behold, as these foul monsters burn innocents and destroy planets for their own evil purposes! Fight for liberation!
—Excerpts from Srav, Necasian, and DTM propaganda respectively
In the immediate aftermath, both the Sravs and Necasians claimed absolute credit for the victory. Propaganda on both sides boasted that the Death's Tongue Militia had been dealt a heavy blow, and that they were close to being destroyed. However, it was never recorded what the leaders actually thought of this, and whether their opinions were pure propaganda, or something they actually believed in. The Death's Tongue Militia claimed that they had successfully driven the enemy forces away, proving themselves to be one of the three 'superpowers' contending in the war, was already distributing images of the heavy-handed tactics perpetrated by both sides on Tahu, using them to recruit more prospective warriors with faith in its cause. Within twenty-four hours, the propaganda feeds from all three factions were almost battling with one another, with all three differing in opinion and facts, the outcome of the battle depending upon what propaganda feed one listened to.
Within eight hours after the battle officially ended, however, the eborax virus had spread over much of the planet, causing disease in many of the communities and villages of the natives situated around Tahu, with the Death's Tongue Militia caring only for their own men affected by the virus and leaving the natives to die. This caused a large amount of resentment by the natives of Tahu to the Death's Tongue Militia and the war itself, as it had caused death in their lives. Some twenty four hours later, and at least five percent of the population had died, and another twenty eight percent had been infected with no real hope of healing, causing a disease epidemic on a scale unseen before on Tahu; before, droughts had been the only real epidemic relating to the people of Tahu, and such disease had not been seen or combated before, and such an epidemic would not be seen on Tahu again until the Clone Wars, when the Zeltron Osteoporosical Monoamine Gangliate disease struck.
Fires, unlike in other battles of the Cruentusian War, were controlled quickly and effectively, in the opinion of the people, by the natives of Tahu and the Death's Tongue Militia. The fires lasted for only about three hours after the battle ended, meaning that a number of deaths were saved by the quick handling of the issue, and so deaths from burning were relatively low for the natives, one of the 'few things' they were thankful for, according to later historians. The city, however, suffered destruction in many areas, falling buildings and rubble trapping, and subsequently killing or maiming, a portion of the native population who lived in such cities, and so were near to the buildings on the time of their collapse. Many of the natives had sought refuge in the buildings at the time, and so had been in them as they collapsed.
The portion of the city that had been hit by Srav nuclear weapons was obliterated on a scale far worse than any of the other damages to the city, with the buildings and those in them being killed upon impact, rather than by buildings collapsing. However, strong winds after the battle meant that the radioactive fallout struck Tahu just five hours after the battle had ended, with the natives still being actively engaged in rescuing many of their injured population. The Death's Tongue Militia, however, had suspected such an event to occur, and had sought refuge in the bunkers they had set aside specifically for such an event, but had not warned the natives. Coupled with the damage caused by the eborax virus, the nuclear fallout caused further death of a more subtle kind and less physical within twenty four hours after the battle had ended. The search parties sent out by the natives were hindered by the fallout, meaning the fallout indirectly killed many of the trapped civilians in addition to its direct kills.
We have been burnt, poisoned, and scorched, but we still stand! We have learnt an important lesson: never trust those who seem too friendly!
—A Tahu native following the battle
In terms of galactic scale, historians decided that the Battle of Tahu, when compared to the other battle's of the Cruentusian War, did not have an overly large effect on a galactic scale or on the entirety of the war, with the only real benefit being gained by the amount of propaganda the various factions involved were able to use. However, a side effect of the contradiction between the propaganda feeds of the various factions was on a Galactic scale, with the propaganda feeds losing a lot of support and a lot of people who believed in them, due to their unreliability being proved by the contradictions between one another, as shown in the war. Askar Invado put considerable effort into restoring the faith in the propaganda feeds after the battle, but found his efforts to be relatively fruitless for the remaining duration of the war. Following the war, historians and observers would in retrospect consider the battle outcome to be indecesive, deciding that no faction really achieved anything.
In terms of morale, the legacy in terms of the Sravs and Necasians led to them downplaying the threat of the Death's Tongue Militia, in their eyes, for a while. However, the main legacy of the battle was felt upon Tahu, with the eborax disease and the nuclear fallout, coupled with the general effects of the battle, causing widespread death and destruction. Over thirty five percent of the population soon died from the effects of the eborax virus, whilst another portion in the area of the city that had been hit by nuclear weapons, and a small area around, died of the effects of the nuclear fallout, with generations of children to come being born on Tahu with deformities, as seen from the nuclear fallout from other battles, such as the Battle of Cul-Huq. The area in which the nuclear weapons had struck was devastated beyond repair, and remained barren for the next seven decades.
The economy of the planet, because of the battle, was in total disarray, the people focusing on rebuilding their lives and not on restoring their economy, and so the economic structure descended into a state in which food and resources were either stolen or bartered for, in a disorganized and inefficient manner that meant fights over food and the likes were events that often occurred. However, the battle would also be the redeeming feature that saved the natives from the trouble it had bought them as, some few centuries later, when the Republic sought out worlds ravaged by the Cruentusian War and sought to help them. Many of the aid workers of the Republic traveled to Tahu in an attempt to aid the natives damaged by the war, and discovered about how the Death's Tongue Militia, by that time having ceased to exist, had ignored them when they needed them most.
In terms of the city, however, the surviving citizens there tried to rebuild their city, although they lost heart in this when they found the ruins to be contaminated with radiation and the ground rendered barren by the napalm bombing, although survivors would continue to live in the ruins and surviving buildings for some time after the battle. A new city was founded fifty miles down along the coast, but surviving biological agents from the desert battle were blown down, causing minor plague. However, within a few generations, fertile soil uncovered by the explosives used by both sides was discovered, and within a couple of centuries Tahu society was stabilizing. By the time of the Galactic Republic, Tahu had becoming a fairly important trade outpost with a stable economy, and the ruins of the old city had become a popular destination for archeologists.