Third Battle of York

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The "Third Battle of York" (called the "Third Invasion" by Yorkpeople) was a bitter four-week-long military conflict (from mid-September to mid-October 2006), fought primarily in the city of York and on the York peninsula, principally between the Mercenary's Guild and lesser numbers of their pirate allies, and a broad coalition of York groups and individuals.

Contents

Background

Immediately after its foundation, the Mercenary's Guild established its base of operations in York. Soon the mercenaries began to come into inevitable conflict with various elements within York. The Order of Patriots, the most visible foe of the Guild, alleged that the Mercenaries Guild was pro-pirate and "anti-York". This was not long after the bloody Pirate invasion of York, and anti-pirate sentiment was high. Additionally, the Guild had been in involved in the Second Battle of York, which may have been another reason. Over the summer of 2006 though, CP-MG relations improved, and it is rumoured that then-CP-leader MickR secretly hired mercenaries on several occassions to kill criminals. However, MickR has since denied this.

It was not long after the mercenaries set up in York that the military wing of the Order of Patriots began to disrupt mercenary operations, assassinate mercenaries, and agitate against them. After weeks of low-level conflict and anti-MG agitation by the Order of Patriots, the Mercenary's Guild withdrew from York and abandoned their guildhouse in southeast York. Their reasons for withdrawing are a subject of some debate. Whatever the reason, there was in fact bitterness on the part of the Mercenary's Guild leadership towards the Order of Patriots. This was made very clear by the events that unfolded in mid-September which would come to be known as the "Third Invasion" by the people of York.

The First Shots of the Battle

On Septmber 18th, reports of seemingly unrelated and random attacks and murders of Yorkpeople by mercenaries began to trickle into the Colonial Police headquarters in southwest York. One attack even occurred against an officer. The Colonial Police were baffled at these random unprovoked murders, which seemingly happened without rhyme or reason. Little did anyone (save the Mercenary leadership) know at the time that the first shots of an impending major battle had been fired.

The Mercenary's Guild continued random assassinations of York civilians through Sepember, refusing to explain their actions or make any demands. Several days into the battle, the Colonial Police officially proscribed the Mercenary's Guild and declared that all persons suspected of being mercenaries were to be killed. It was at this time that things began to severely escalate and spiral out of control.

In the days after the "first shots", a shaky, vaguely-defined "pro-York" coalition began to slowly emerge. The most notable of these alliances-by-circumstance was that of the Order of Patriots and the Colonial Police. The Colonial Police and Order of Patriots had had a deteriorating relationship since CP-founder MickR retired in late August. With the beginning of the Third Invasion, the two groups put aside their differences, becoming close allies as a result of the apparent threat to York. This relationship continues today. This pro-York coalition, which became the 'spokesmen' and the 'face' of York, has had a significant effect upon York politics ever since, largely defining the socio-political and cultural nature of the city of York. See the Effects section of this article for more information.

Why did the Mercenaries Attack?

In the first two weeks of the battle, the Mercenary's Guild refused to explain their actions or make any demands, and simply continued random assassinations of any and every York civilian. The reason for Mercenary's Guild attacked was ostensibly to kill enough York citizens that they would draw out the Order of Patriots, then once they identified all members, they would concentrate solely on slaughtering Order members, the eventual goal being to extirpate the Order from York forever and force its members into permanent exile. Another major goal of the invasion, suspected by many, was that the Mercenary's Guild was still sore from being "chased out" of York in the summer, and wanted to come back to town and set up shop again in Shartak's bustling central city. The speculatation was that the mercenaries would cause as much disruption and trouble as possible, then force the powers in York to sue for peace. One of the terms for this peace would be to allow the Mercenary's Guild back into York permanently. After preliminary negotiations failed with the Colonial Police, and the two groups became hardened against one another, this goal was abandoned.

York's Response

As the number of York civilians killed continued to mount in late September, the Order of Patriots, an avowed and longtime enemy of the Guild, immediately put out a call to arms. In response, the Pirate Hunters, Shartak Rebel Forces and numerous independent Yorkmen leapt into the fray against the mercenaries. The Colonial Police, still reeling from the surprise attack, likewise begged their allies from other towns to send a relief force. The Derby Hospitallers' assistance was requested in particular, but no official response was ever made. A number of unaligned Yorkmen rushed to assist in the defense of their home, and the johnny-come-lately Royal Expedition declared a mere week before the carnage stopped that its hospital in York was to be safe haven for any non-combatants. At the very end of the conflict (two days before mercenary withdrawal), the Expedition joined the fight on the side of the Yorkmen.

This very broad coalition of "York's defenders" was itself fairly unprecedented in the history of York. Many people and groups, all with different goals, came together for one purpose. This foreshadowed the rapid rise in November of the Durham Defence Unit, formed in reaction to the much-feared Durham Headhunt Contest. Ironically (or not), the largest partner in this defensive coalition (DDU) was in fact the Mercenary's Guild, a complete reversal of roles from the Third Battle of York. More ironic still was that the Mercenaries were allies with many of their former enemies, including the Colonial Police. See Durham Headhunt Contest for more information.

The Northern Threat

At the request of mercenary leaders, the Jolly Roger Gang, known to be long-time public enemies of York in general and the Order of Patriots in particular, came down to join the apparent full scale invasion. The Scurvy Crew of the Hell-born Strumpet joined in at the same time. Both groups made it clear that their involvement was the result of persecution at the hands of the Order of Patriots and the Pirate Hunters. However, Tyler Whitney, captain of the Scurvy Crew, specified that his crew was to attack only members of the Order of Patriots and the Pirate Hunters. In contrast, the Jolly Roger Gang declared war against all of York. The impact that these two groups, and independent pirates who came down to take part in the battle, actually had is unclear. It was certainly not as high as the pirate violence against York citizens during the Second Battle of York.

The Battle

Once the battle began in earnest the fighting became very bitter. Both sides inflicted significant casualties upon the other. The battle was hard fought not just with bullets and blades, but in terms of propaganda as well. Both sides launched verbal broadsides at each other in an attempt to claim the moral high ground. Attempted peace negotiations between the various groups failed.

The military aspect of the conflict eventually plunged into a tactical stalemate, but it can be fairly said to be a strategic victory for the 'York coalition'. The first two weeks it was without doubt a tactical victory for the Mercenary's Guild, but once the 'York coalition' got its act together, things evened out. York was of course helped by the fact that the mercenary attack force consisted of many foreigners who Kahuni refuses to revive.

Most agree that the two weeks following the surprise attack were a major victory for the Mercenary's Guild. They achieved in spades exactly what they wanted during this period, throwing York into confusion and fear, and overwhelming the Colonial Police. The second stage of the mercenary plan, however, apparently failed. They wanted to draw out the Order of Patriots, break their power, force their members into permanent exile. This has not happened.

The Conclusion

In early October, the mercenary leadership explained in private to the Colonial Police that their goal was to "weed out" the Order of Patriots, and that they were hired to do this by ex-member and co-founder of the Guild Wojciech as he was leaving the island of Shartak. However, this crucial fact was not made known to the public until after the general killing had stopped. Colonial Police leader Kjendlie bitterly refused to negotiate with the mercenaries, although the Mercenary's Guild did speak and confer extensively with ex-high-ranking CP member Zydd Soral, ultimately futilely.

In the end, the fighting simply wound down, coming to a halt. The Mercenary's Guild proclaimed that it had fulfilled its contract and departed. The Order of Patriots and the broad 'York coalition' claimed that the mercenaries had been driven out, and declared victory. In the end, it is not clear who, if anyone, was "victorious" as such. But, since the Order of Patriots remain active in York, it can be said that the mercenaries failed to achieve their primary objective. If each side's reports are to be believed, the battle was costly for all involved.

Effects

The most evident effect of the "Third Invasion" of York was that it hardened already-existing anti-pirate and anti-mercenary sentiment in York, leading to a bitter hatred between quite a number of the larger groups of Shartak. Many now kill one another on sight, while the omnipresent authority figures of York have even begun to finally start to ally against the common cause of pirates and mercenaries seeking to hunt in York. On the other hand, mercenaries and pirates are now forced into extreme caution if they wish to stop in York - or even if they just wish to pass through it. It is unlikely anyone anti-York or perceived to be so will make it even close to York without scarring.

There were many other lesser effects of battle. The highly-respected and powerful Royal Expedition suffered a loss of prestige from their handling of the conflict. Their failure to act in time, only finally intervening less than 48 hours before the mercenaries withdrew, has undoubtedly hurt their image. The 'pro-York coalition' has mostly not lasted in any meaningful sense, as after the battle's end, the people and groups who formed it soon began to bickering and squabbling amongst themselves. The Order of Patriots more or less survived intact, before finally succumbing to inactivity. The Colonial Police gained prestige during the battle once they got their act together, before falling on hard times. The Order of Patriots and the Colonial Police alliance remained intact for some time after the battle. The Mercenary's Guild itself gained significant respect and military prestige; the Guild won the respect of many across the island for their well-executed military plan while at the same time radicalizing many against them for their perceived aggression.

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