The Capitoline Knights, newly under the command of Reinhard Muller (following his return from retirement at the time of the outbreak of war) were among the first Laufpanzer units to head to the frontier in 1927. Inclement weather, the remnants of a fierce sandstorm that had immobilised the Novis Eger Rifles (preventing their return from scheduled maneuvers at the time of the invasion), had delayed Muller’s advance and as he approached the supposedly friendly town of Hargas to resupply and rendezvous with the Imperial Academy Supply Unit he was surprised to see it had already fallen into Meravian hands.
Hargas had fallen, but at significant cost to the Meravians’ momentum. The XII Corps, dispatched to capture the surrounding area, had been commanded by the late Tuggeneral Eda bin-Ekber, an unpopular and ruthless officer whose death from a sickness that swept through the XII Corps’ infantry and devastated its command structure was hardly unwelcome. Her successor, Binbasi Kadir Kaan, however, proved no less competent or popular. Kaan demanded his tanks advance through the sandstorm to capture Hargas ahead of Muller’s arrival, and while they succeeded morale was low, many of the men were still recovering from sickness and supplies were hard to come by; the Prenzeran supply repository Kaan had captured had been sabotaged by the retreating Supply Unit.
Thus when Muller fell upon Hargas, Kaan’s forces were in no position to put up good resistance. The battle was fierce and short, resulting in almost total destruction of the XII Corps’ armoured fighting capacity (its infantry having fallen back to the second-line resupply and medical bases), but at the same time the damage sustained by Prenzeran forces and the loss of the vital fuel and ammunition supplies at Hargas slowed Muller’s advance significantly.
Imperial-Royal Capitoline Knights, under the command of General Reinhard Muller (played by Raymond Webster)
Lowe-class Heavy Laufpanzer (R. Muller)
Jaguar-class Heavy Laufpanzer (Olivier Lansel)
Luchs Ausf. A.i Light Laufpanzer (Tamas Szonja)
Luchs Ausf. A Light Laufpanzer (Alfin Auslese)
Luchs Ausf. B Light Laufpanzer (Oscar Neumann)
Luchs Ausf. C Light Laufpanzer (Zita Andras)
Air support provided by the 2nd Capitoline Aerial Knights’ 213rd Fighter Wing
– Heim I-20 Interceptor (Marya Arisztid)
Meravian XII Army Corp Remnants, under the command of Binbasi Kadir Kaan
1st through 4th Berkant Heavy Tanks of the XII Corps 2nd Armoured Company
1st and 3rd Osman Bombards of the XII Corps 11th Heavy Artillery Regiment
Air support provided by the Meravian Air Army 218 Sqn. Iskander Strategic Bomber
Prenzeran forces have discovered the supply base of Hargas has fallen into enemy hands; while the retreating Supply Unit prevented the munitions and fuel from being used by the enemy, the nearby railway station still offers the Meravians a significant tactical advantage and must be recaptured.
Although both sides sustained significant momentum damage owing to a combination of poor Meravian morale and overstretched Prenzeran supply lines, the work of field repair teams brought the Luchs units back to full capacity (the Movement-assigned Momentum damage was felt to be a result of sand in the bearings of the walkers, while the Meravians assigned damage to their bomber to represent difficulties achieving clearance to deploy it).
The Prenzeran Laufpanzer tactics proved highly efficient as they forged forwards in close formation using their Squadron Commander to co-ordinate repair and movement actions. General Muller led from the front in heroic style, sustaining minor damage from Kaan’s Berkant but putting two points of damage on another enemy. The Heim fighter’s attack run on the Osmans was largely ineffectual, but nevertheless put a point of damage on one of them. However, the Prenzerans’ action efficiency proved a double-edged sword, with no Reactions left as Meravian tanks bombarded Muller.
Under heavy fire, Muller led a charge on the Osmans and their Berkant escort, almost tearing a Meravian tank apart in a vicious close-range battle but sustaining significant damage in return. This would ultimately prove a huge mistake for the General; the Osmans had a clear line of fire on his towering Lowe and crippled it with sustained barrages. Thankfully Muller was able to escape into a nearby building, and the wreckage of his Lowe would prove repairable…
Close formation tactics from Szonja’s Luchs squad brought down the crippled Berkant, one of the Osmans and also took out Kaan’s own tank, the arrogant Meravian officer unable to escape the burning wreck – free from his inept over-extended command, the morale of his men fell even further and come the end of the turn Meravian Momentum sat at 1 to the Prenzerans’ 4.
The Iskander finally made its presence known, too far from the Prenzeran Laufpanzer units to attack them but able to blindside the Heim I-20 and bring it down with concentrated fire from its eight machine-gun turrets while the Luchs squadron were unable to fully finish off the leading Osman.. With that, the battle was decided – a stalemate in Momentum terms, although significantly more Prenzeran forces survived.
Muller, clearly not expecting the Meravians’ army to have modernised so quickly, spent most of the battle taking shelter in a nearby monastery, where his wounds were treated by the monks. The delay his recuperation, and the repairs to his modified Lowe, caused would further delay his arrival at the front line – but it had proved that the improved small-unit tactics he had been teaching at the Imperial Academy were effective.
Kaan’s inglorious end was presented in the Meravian press as a heroic sacrifice, but his significant number of enemies within the army showed somewhat less sympathy. He and Ekber had effectively thrown away a whole Corps thanks to an ill-advised advance through a sandstorm and poor maintenance of supply lines leading to contamination of drinking water.