Battle of Elba
The Battle of Elba of 1603 was the opening battle of the Great Northern War, in which the Courlandic forces, led by the Marshal Edmund Torryn and the Arch-Chancellor Sven Staunton engaged in combat with the Hansetian forces led by King Barbanov; the decisive victory for the Staunton forces set the precedent for the rest of the war.
As the opening act of the Northern Campaign, the conflict was sparked by hostilities by both parties; initially the murder of Meric Staunton in the streets of Karlsburg by presumed Carnatian forces followed by a single Courlandic raider assisting a third party in retaliation of the kidnapping of Annabel Staunton and Amelia de Savin. Several parties were sent to retrieve her, at first diplomatically before the beheading of Duke Philip Marna caused a change of mentality for the Staunton leadership. A large scale breakout of the kidnapped princess was attempted but repelled before a smaller one succeeded. The ultimatum issued by King Marius was swiftly declined by the King Tobias, which lead to conflict. Cogs and other ships were used to transport a large Courlander host to the island of Tahn, from where they marched north to the Elba forest where they began to skirmish with the Hansetian army that had marched south from the County of Metterden.
As the cavalry mounted their horses, and the infantry equipped themselves with their pikes and other weapons, Tobias had decided to split the Courlander army in two. The cavalry, under the command of the Arch-Chancellor Sven Staunton was to scout ahead of the main army, and engage any enemy cavalry they encountered, while the main bulk of the army was put in the capable hands of Edmund Torryn whose job was to guide the large Courlander host forward through the forest and to engage and envelop the smaller Haense force.
As the sun’s rays punctured the now scarce canopy, the Staunton cavalry was commanded forth to scout the Carnatia advance. The northmen in diligently crafted armour marched with their cavalry, however, the Haensetic cavalry broke away from their main force upon noticing the arrival of the Courlander cavalry and engaged in fierce fighting with them. All around the battlefield, Haense and Courlander men engaged atop their steeds, with lances and bows dealing great damage to their foe. However as the cavalry engaged, the main force of the Courlanders still marched forward, the land cleared from the previous day's skirmish. As the Courlander and Haense armies met, the Hansetian infantry was lacking in numbers, moral, and weaponry. Frederick Staunton-Baden’s left flank was ordered to press hard on their right, whilst the centre and right, commanded by Torren and de Savin were to hold their ground against the advancing Northern men. As the Hansetian right flank collapsed, Frederick’s men were able to encircle the remaining infantry that had attempted to break through the Courlander centre and right flank. As the fighting continued through the day, many of the encircled northern men lost hope and laid down their arms to the victorious Stauntons. As the main Haensetic army was routed, and many encircled, the Haensetic cavalry carried on, with both cavalry units suffering great losses. However as the fighting ensued, small numbers of Courlander infantry were able to join the fray, using their pikes to swiftly dismount those still atop their horses. As each Haensetian cavalryman was either lanced or piked from their horse, they were swiftly cut down by the infantry of Courland. As the last few Haensetian cavalrymen were forced to flee, Sven Staunton ordered his remaining cavalry to charge upon the fleeing Hansetians who were able to escape the infantry encirclement.
The Courlander victory in the Elba Forest proved to the world that Courland was able to protect their interests in Tahn, and such bolstered public opinion for the war in Aleksandria, with many conscripting afterwards. The battle also lead to a huge loss of morale for the Hansetian army, which was forced to flee northward towards their homeland. As the Courlander army licked their wounds, Sven Staunton would secure a deal with the Grand King of Urguan, Bastion Ireheart, securing Staunton passage through Dwed lands and securing very much needed transportation. As the army was moved northwards, the leadership began to draw upon plans on the eventual Battle of Curon.