Battle of Dharmandi
|Battle of Dharmandi|
|Date:||1488 (Elw Calendar)|
|Place:||Dharmandi, Agnesia, Barony of Elwynn|
Paladins and Babkhan mercenaries disengage and continue their march to Eliria
|Barony of Elwynn||Duchy of Hyperborea|
|/ Baron Ardashir of Elwynn||Kadmi Mithothion|
|237 killed, |
The Battle of Dharmandi was a skirmish between the Babkhan mercenaries hired and led by Baron Ardashir I of Elwynn and a force of mounted Paladins sent to reconnoitre after rumours of an invasion force landing in the proximity of what would become the city of Vijayanagara. Although disorganised, surprised and lacking in heavy weapons, the battle confirmed the superiority of regular infantry riflemen over armoured cavalry and warlocks of the Raikothlin Paladins.
Lacking local scouts, as none had yet been hired or caught, the Babkhan army that landed at Vijayanagara under Baron Ardashir's command formed up into four columns of approximately 2,000 men each, a column that formed the vanguard, a column that formed the rearguard and the remaining two columns marching in parallel providing flanking escorts to the army's baggage column comprised 40 oxen-drawn wagons, a dozen motor vehicles of various types and the Baron and his retinue of forty men-at-arms, who were the only component of the force on horseback.
Each column was led by a Sarhang (colonel of the Imperial Babkhan Army) and each was charged with conducting his own reconnaissance. The main priority was to gain provisions and to find the road to Eliria.
The Babkhan force was attempting to forge its way into the tangled mass of the Agnesian forest at the onset of winter. Faced with unfamiliar terrain the Sarhangs organised foraging parties to go ahead of their main columns to find their way to the Elfinshi road to Eliria and to commandeer such provisions as could be found from any manorial settlements or villas they encountered.
It was one of these foraging parties that blundered into a force of Paladins arrayed in white cloaks, so as to blend with the snowy landscape (the origin for the pejorative Babkhi description of Boreals as Ghosts), and primed to mount an ambush. The foragers were approaching an abandoned Elw farmstead when one of their number caught a glimpse of the reflection from a dagger being drawn, the Paladins were creeping forward through the snow attempting to encircle the foragers so that they might be crept up on and dispatched quietly. In fright the Babkhan snatched up his rifle, causing his comrades to take pause and look for what had caught his attention. Cooler heads might have remained still and let the foragers think that it was their nerves playing a trick on them. These Paladins however harboured memories from the War of the Orchids and desired to sate their lust for revenge in the blood of the unclean southerners. A quite un-Hyperborean emotion it must be said, but then these were Wendol levies from Bjorngard so lacked something in the cold logical clarity of their Raikoth comrades. Sensing their surprise lost they cast off their ghostly shrouds and with a blood curdling yell snatched up their knives and war-clubs, leapt to their feet and charged towards the foe.
The Babkhans, there being no more than twenty-five of them bunched around a confiscated peasant cart, were startled out of their wits to see a hundred white-cloaked men leap up out of the snowdrifts not two hundred yards from where they stood. These foragers were conscripts from the Kumaranchi islands in the tropical north of Eura, a more ill-suited assortment of dregs to drag into near Arctic warfare could not be imagined; and yet - numbed by cold and frozen with terror, their training which they had learnt with each and every blow of the sergeants cudgel now manifested itself as they levelled their quality-assured Babkhan manufactured rifles at the onrushing assailants and fired a ragged volley. Each soldier, indifferent in his marksmanship to be sure was aiming towards the centre of mass of the shrieking murderer looming large before him. A dozen Wendol fell dead, giving their comrades sudden pause and breaking the impetus of their charge. But they were in too close now for the Babkhans to properly form a firing line and instead only a few more shots were let off before it fell to close quarter fighting at which the Babkhan infantry were at a terrible disadvantage compared to their opponents who were wrapped in furs and wore boiled-leather and chain mail armour. Instead, forced to wield their rifles as clubs, or to draw their bayonets to use as knives, the Babkhans were hacked down, one after another, in quick succession.
However, their dying gunshots, ringing out across the still and silent pine forests, had reverberated in the ears of the lead officers of the Vanguard column, who ordered their men promptly to fan out into skirmish lines whilst sending a messenger back to alert their Sarhang and the other columns following behind.
Not a moment had passed before, all around them, the forest echoed to harsh blaring of at least a dozen narwhal-horn trumpets. The main ambush had been sprung.
Charge of the Companions
At the end of the battle Ardashir was heard to remark "I see now that my army knows how to fight. I only wish that it knew how to aim."
As it was, the Paladins were able to regroup after this set back and continued their march on Eliria at a faster rate than the Babkhan columns could manage on foot.
The Babkhans and the Raikothlin would meet again at the Battle of the Four Armies but under circumstances that would see Ardashir victorious and Raikoth quietly satisfied.