Battle of the Talabec
|The Empire Civil War
|Victory for Talabecland
|Talabecland and allies
|Stirland and allies
|Elector Count of Sitrland
|4000 Spear and Pikemen, 1500 Swordsmen, 3000 cavalry. Some of these deserted before the battle.
|8000 Spearmen, 4000 Swordsmen, 2000 Missile troops (mostly bows), 300 heavy cavalry, 1000 other mounted troops, Several Catapults.
The Battle of the Talabec was a decisive battle between the forces of the self proclaimed Empress, Ottilia I and the Elector Count of Stirland who she had accused of bribing his way to the office of Emperor. [1a]
Muster and march
Stirland gathered his forces slowly but marched quickly, covering some twenty miles a day with his large force and entering Talabecland in the spring of 1360. By the middle of that period he had marched within 80 miles of Talabheim itself. Meanwhile Ottilia was still struggling to gather an army, having to rely much on mercenaries and those joing the cause of Ulric as she had persuaded Ar-Ulric to join her. [1a]
The invading forces halted at a narrow tributary of the Talabec river, the Talastemm, resting and preparing to face the smaller force in battle. Stirland rightly judged that she could not simply remain in the fortress city but must face him or loose credibility with her remaining allies. He sent a large force of spearmen and archers to hold the ford whilst the rest of his army rested and deployed around the village of Zweihäfen. [1a]
Ottilia, conscious of the disparity between the two armies and decided she needed to even the odds. At about four in the morning she dispatched half of her army to break camp, making as much noise as possible and head south to the ford. After an hour the bulk of the forces returned to camp, leaving a small force to continue and make as much noise as possible. Stirland was awoken and fearing a flanking attack that would overwhelm his small force at the ford, dispatched all of his reserves and half of his infantry to reinforce the defenders there. [1a]
When her scouts reported the movements of the forces of Stirland, it is said that the then Countess hugged Lord Wiesser and danced around her tent in glee. [1a]
Attacking the Ford
Leading his small force, Captain Deiter Lieber of the Dogsoldiers raced across the ford before the Stirland force was aware of their presence and engaged the disorganised spearmen before the archers were able to fire upon them. The spearmen were quickly routed and the archers quickly fled, the diversionary force reformed and moved off to engage and delay the Stirlander reinforcements moving towards them. This they accomplished with great skill using an area of swamp, tying up a large portion of the enemy for the rest of the battle. [1a]
The infantry of the Talabecland forces entered the river, despite the missile fire of the Stirland archers and catapults pushing the defenders back and into the village were bitter street fighting broke out. As this took place, scouts informed the Countess that the river had washed away part of the banks 2 miles upstream, granting a possible crossing place for her cavalry. Ottilia immediately dispatched her cavalry to ford the river there and flank the enemy army. [1a]
Assuming that her cavalry forces were actually stuck on the other side of the river, Stirland sent his own heavy cavalry into the melee, throwing the enemy back through the village and allowing his own shattered infantry to re-group. To his horror, Ottilia herself emerged at his rear leading several hundred heavy cavalry knights and supported by more light cavalry - with no reserves he could only watch as they smashed into his remaining forces with only the Knights of Sigmar's Blood able to put up any real fight. [1a]
The Elector Count of Stirland and those who could of his army broke and ran from the field. Large groups of his army, cut off and unable to outrun the cavalry grouped together and awaited their fate. Ottilia then rode out to each group and offered them all the chance to return home if they dropped their arms, which most did. [1a]
- Bögenhafen Dogsoldiers: Mounted mercenary lancers who led the attack at the ford. [1a]
- Knights of the White Wolf. [1a]
- Order of the Black Rose: 100 strong Bodyguard of Ottilia. [1a]
|The rain-swollen river was swift and tried to pull me under and all the time they fired hails of arrows at us. Men died all around me. I looked up and saw a row of spears pointing at me and smoke from battlefield fires drifting in the choking clouds. I don't know how we got over the river, but when we did we gave them hell and then some.