Third Corsair War (Fifteen Years' War)
« Part of the Eldacari-Castamirioni conflict »
Date 1653 - 1666
Location Harondor and Ithilien, Anfalas, Enedwaith, Bellakar
Casus belli Financial demands from the Council of Captains refused; subsequent Umbarean advances into Gondorian sphere of influence
Result Treaty of Benish Armon, Treaty of Has Adri
Belligerents
 Gondor
 Bellakar
 Umbar
 Harnendor
 Ûrêzâyan
Commanders
 Aran Tarondor
 Ernil Vinyaran
 Belatar Minardilion
 Elenaerion
 Donnchadh II of Saralainn
 Târikbâr of Bellakar
 Sangahyandion
 Angamaitë
 Tarcundo Miruvor
 Kathuphazgan
Battles
Siege of Amon Eithel, Battle of Harnen (1653), Battle of Ithilduin (1655), Battle of Miraz (1663), Gauntlet at Has Adri (1663), Battle of Methir (1663), Ulmo's Day Battle (1665)

Third Corsair War


The Third Corsair War or Fifteen Years' War (1653-1666) was one of the numerous wars between the dynasty of Eldacar and the descendants of Castamir that took place after the Kin-strife. In Umbar they are called the "Civil Wars", in Gondor, "the Corsair Wars". Third Corsair War was the largest of them all, with battles raging from Cardolan to Bellakar, and saw considerable diplomatical maneuvering as well.

The war started officially on February 14, 1653 when the Council of Gondor turned down Umbarean demands and declared a state of war between kingdom of Gondor and principality of Umbar, but in fact there had been fighting along borders and piracy at sea for nearly a year. Both Umbarean and Gondorian privateers operated from Rast Vorn to Tulwang bay, raiding merchant shipping and intimidating enemy allies.

On July 29, 1653 the Gondorian army under prince Vinyaran launched a military campaign against rebel forces in Harondor. Sangahyandion evaded invading gondorians, harrassing them instead with his haradan light cavalry. Sangahyandion retreated back across river Harnen and waited till Vinyaran's army was exhausted from heat and lack of water. As a result, southern army of Gondor was utterly defeated at Battle of Harnen in 1653 and Sangahyandion could strike back with vengeance, capturing the whole of Harondor and even marching to the gates of Osgiliath. There, at the crossings of Ithilduin, he was in turn overcome by Eothraim heavy cavalry. With his supply lines threatened by the brand new Gondorian Coastal Navy, Sangahyandion slowly retreated southwards and the short campaign turned into a protracted war of attrition along river Poros.

Gondor was simultaneously rocked by widespread civil disorder, but Umbarean forces in Harondor could not send aid effectively to rebels in Anfalas and Calenardhon. Lord of Marös did capture Lond Angren and financed an expedition up the river Isen, but they had no success in co-ordinating their operations with local rebels. Revolts in Lebennin and southern Ithilien were crushed in 1654 and 1655. Until 1660, Captains of Umbar gave only limited support to prince Sangahyandion. Internal dissension led to negotiated ceasefire: Preliminary Articles of Truce were signed in Pelargir, March 1660, and greeted with illuminations and fireworks. Truce, it was thought, would lead to the withdrawal of the income tax imposed by Tarondor, the reduction of grain prices and a revival of markets.

Treaty of Barad Morvegil was signed on March 25, 1660, ratifying a truce between Gondor and Umbar. The treaty, beyond confirming "peace, friendship, and good understanding":

Objections to the treaty quickly grew in Minas Anor and Gobel Mírlond. Tarondor did not intend to acknowledge Sangahyandion as grand prince of South Gondor; privateers ignored the stipulations of the treaty altogether and continued their piracy. A "continuation of war" was laid before the hastily convened Council of Gondor on 18 May 1660. Resumption of hostilities began with seizing of all Umbarean merchant ships in Gondorian ports; in addition, six ships were seized on the high seas.

Last six years of the war were mostly waged at sea. After defeats on land, king Tarondor accepted a new strategy crafted by Elenaerion, Captain of the Ships, which called upon a new Coastal Navy, designed to excel in amphibious operations. This new naval strategy worked at first, giving Gondor some long-waited victories: Recapture of Tolfalas on 16 Urui 1662 and subsequent surrender of Eithel Thûrin and Nen Falastir. Greatest naval battles between Royal and Castamirioni navies were fought in 1663. Gondor crippled Castamirioni seapower at the Battle of Miraz, but was herself defeated in the subsequent Gauntlet at Has Adri by combined Umbarean navies.

But Sangahyandion was not yet defeated. With additional forces and full monetary support from Umbar, he launched a series of landward attacks and took back Nen Falastir, Eithel Thûrin and laid siege on the port of Methir, last Gondorian bastion in Harondor. Several Gondorian garrisons defected to his cause. Siege of Methir was finally broken in december 1663 when Sangahyandion was betrayed by Sigisfriths, a northman general who had defected to him only few weeks ago. Northman heavy cavalry once again overrun Dúnadan lines and most of Sangahyandion's army was destroyed or captured, including the pretender himself. In Umbar, it was speculated that a total Harondorian collapse was now imminent.

Capture of Sangahyandion led to a skillfully negotiated separate peace between Gondor and HarnenPrincipality Harnendor, which was signed at Benish Armon and virtually ended the land war. Both Gondor and Umbar turned their attentions to secondary fronts such as Angren, Cardolan, Tolfalas and Bellakar. Gondor had to cope with another open rebellion in the northern provinces, while Umbar was fighting its way through the Bellakarian quagmire.

Hostilities were ended in 1666 by the Treaty of Has Adri, which involved a complex series of land exchanges, the most important being Umbar's formal cession of Tolfalas, and acquisition of Mardruak and Hazaj Tollin in Bellakar. Although Sangahyandion was still a Gondorian prisoner, Gondor ceded almost whole of Harondor to the Grand Principality of Harnen, which gained enormously in influence, though it's navy was crippled by the war. Only after an ambitious rebuilding program initiated by Miranda Aranel was it again able to challenge Gondor's command of the sea.

Timeline


1653

Lords of Umbar, frustrated at Gondorian attempts to evade paying tribute after the Sack of Pelargir, started extracting reparations in kind by staging amphibious raids to Anfalas and Enedwaith. Lond Angren was captured by mercenaries employed by lord Borathor Marös. An ultimatum was placed before the Council of Gondor in April 1653, demanding that Gondor honour the concessions pledged by late king Telemnar. Council of Gondor defied, declaring a full state of war between the kingdom of Gondor and the Corsair princedoms.
The Corsairs opened the campaign against king Tarondor by an surprise attack on Amon Eithel in central Harondor. A Gondorian army was immediately dispatched to break to siege. Threatened by an overwhelming force, Sangahyandion withdrew to the hilly uplands of Emyn Imladrim. At the Battle of Harnen, Sangahyandion prevented the isolated Gondorian southern army under prince Vinyaran from being reinforced and then outmaneuvred and surrounded the much larger enemy army with his Haradan light cavalry. Vinyaran surrendered to Sangahyandion at Gobel Ancalimon in July 1653, resulting in the Corsair occupation of Harondor. Despite the huge disparity in numbers, the year was a succesful one for the Corsair-led forces on the continent, in contrast to disappointing Gondorian campaigns in Anfalas and Enedwaith.

1654

In early 1653, Sangahyandion again toon the initiative by marching into Ithilien hoping to inflict a decisive defeat on the Gondorian forces. After the bloody Battle of Ithilduin, the Umbareans laid siege to the former capital, but had to lift the siege after a major Gondorian counter-attack and Sangahyandion's first defeat at the Battle of Osgiliath. Further defeats followed. Sangahyandion was forced to break off his invasion, and withdraw into rebel-controlled territory in Harithilien.
The Gondorians had suffered further defeats in Andrast and Enedwaith, particularly at the mouths of Isen. At home however stability had been established. Rebellion in Lebennin was repressed, though popular uprisings continued through 1654 and 1655.

1655-1659

Into the late 1658 the general tide of the war continued to be in favour of the Corsairs. Gondorian armies were repeatedly beaten to a standstill by Sangahyandion. The back-and-forth nature of the war continued as on 14 October, general Callo Telagar's Loyalists surprised the main Corsair army at Bar Nepos. Sangahyandion lost much of his baggage train but retreated in good order, helped by the densely wooded landscape. Also in autumn of 1658, Gondorian privateers managed to obtain a major victory over Umbarean naval forces, capturing several key transport ships and valuable military resources.
The year 1659 saw some severe Umbarean defeats. Callo Telagar with 17 000 Gondorians defeated 9 000 rebel troops commanded by general Imrahîn of house Elemir and Sangahyandion was forced to evacuate his remaining forces south of Poros. Twenty rebel Ithilean noblemen were captured by king Tarondor and later executed in Osgiliath. The Corsairs planned to invade Gondor during 1659, but two sea defeats prevented this. In August, the Oligarhic Fleet under Teldûmeir of Erädas was scattered by a larger Royal fleet under rear admiral Uther Morvegil. In September, Gondorian privateers captured an entire Umbarean treasure fleet worth of 50 000 crowns. However, the long Corsair naval blockade of Gondorian ports had sapped the morale of the Gondorian populace. Feelers for peace were exhanged.

1660-1662

Treaty of Barad Morvegil was signed in Pelargir, March 25, 1660, and greeted with illuminations and fireworks. Sangahyandion retained Harondor while mouths of Isen were returned to Gondor. Prince Vinyaran returned to Osgiliath after having spent last six years in Umbarean custody. However, Gondorian privateers defied truce and continued preying on Umbarean shipping. Resumption of hostilities was agreed on 18 May 1660.

Gondorian Coastal Navy broke hastily organized Umbarean blockade, recaptured Tolfalas on 7 August 1662 and landed Gondorian troops in Harondor. Besieged from land and sea, both Eithel Thûrin and Nen Falastir capitulated to king Tarondor in October 1662.

1663

After the Battle of Miraz, Has Adri and Battle of Methir, prince Sangahyandion was captured and the princedom of Harnendor was forced to sign a separate peace.

1664-1666

Gondor had mounted a series of "descents" (amphibious demonstrations or raids) earlier with its new Coastal Fleet, in support of full-blown land operations. On 8 September 1664 a joint expedition was sent to overrun the haradan town of Kas Shafra. On 23 September, the Ithilgonnost was taken, but due to dithering by military staff such time was lost that Kas Shafra became unassailable, and the expedition abandoned Ithilgonnost and returned to Gondor on 1 October. Despite the operational failure and debated strategic success of the descent on Kas Shafra, Captain of the Ships and Steward Dior of Emyn Arnen – who saw purpose in this type of asymmetric enterprise – prepared to continue such operations.

An army was assembled under the command of Ulraed Curimardin, future lord of Tumladen; he was aided by hîr Gwindor Falathar. The contracted naval escorts for the expedition were commanded by aerhîr (temporary) Ormond Raudfêrn, Luco Nepos and Alassar abad-Eithel. They fought off Umbarean naval squadron in the waters of Anfalas and proceed to land on 5 July 1665 at Isenmouth to reinforce Lond Angren, which was held only by a single light regiment.

Loss of major fighting ships during the Battle of Lomost discouraged the Council of Captains to use further force to impose the treaty obligations of 1638 on Gondor. Negotiations were renewed obtain lasting peace with Gondor, which was achieved in 4 March 1666.



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