Battle of Skersland (2020)

From Atlas
Battle of Skersland
Skersland.png
Map of the battle
Date4-14 December 2020
Location
Skersland, Ausferiland
Result Ziridavan and South Kardzhali victory
Belligerents
 Ziridava
 South Kardzhali
 Ausferiland
 Granzery
Commanders and leaders
Ziridava Kiril Deliivanov
Ziridava Viktor Vasilev
South Kardzhali Zahari Radko
Ausferiland Patrick Klemens
Ausferiland Engel Manu
Granzery Etele Kemény
Units involved
Republic of Ziridava Ground Forces
Republic of Ziridava Air Force
South Kardzhali South Kardzhali Defense Army
Ausferiland Ausferiland National Defense Force
 Granzerian Royal Air Force
Strength
Ziridava ~12,000 servicemen
South Kardzhali ~1,500 rebels
Ausferiland ~7,500 servicemen
Granzery 18 aircraft
Casualties and losses
Ziridava 31 killed, 98 wounded, 4 AFVs damaged, 2 AFVs destroyed, 1 aircraft damaged
South Kardzhali 70+ total
Ausferiland 142 killed, 600+ wounded, 262 captured
Granzery 1 aircraft shot down, 1 pilot captured

The Battle of Skersland was a battle that took place during the 2020 Ausfer-Ziridavan War, fought between December 4-14 2020 between Ziridava and South Kardzhali against Ausferiland. The city of Skersland is the biggest city along the main highway in Ausferiland, and is surrounded by a mix of forests and hills to the north and forests in the south. Although a majority of fighting took place outside the city, some did take place within, which resulted in heavy urban fighting until the Ausferilandian forces in the city retreated west due to heavy casualties. Although fighting persisted as it moved westwards, it slowed down significantly after the city was taken by Ziridavan and anti-government forces as ANDF forces retreated. The Granzerian Royal Air Force was also involved in the battle, however sorties were limited after losing a Vertega V-10 fighter, with it's pilot being captured afterwards.

Background[edit]

Prelude[edit]

Battle[edit]

Ziridavan SGOM-77 shelling ANDF positions during the battle

The battle began early on December 4th when Ziridavan artillery began shelling ANDF defensive positions with 125mm and 152mm SPGs, from ranges of about 25 kilometers. As the opening barrages started, mechanized units of the RZAF began to move from the east, using Highway 1 to advance faster. Meanwhile, South Kardzhali seperatist forces moved in from nearby forests to launch guerilla attacks. Ausferilandian resistance was focused mostly in urban areas and villages surrounding Skersland, however most civilians had fled the city earlier in the war, thus reducing the risk of civilian casualties. Despite this, Ziridavan artillery had difficulties in bombarding Ausferilandian positions, due to the risk that was still present.

On December 5th, Ziridavan forces had advanced to the northern and southern flanks of the Skersland International Airport, where a batallion of ANDF forces had garrisoned. Meanwhile, advances were also made on the highways leading into and to the north of Skersland with some resistance from Ausferilandian soldiers in the surrounding bush and villages. On the same day, some civilians still in the city attempted to escape, but many of the men attempting to flee were turned back by ANDF forces, and nobody being permitted to escape towards separatist-controlled territory. Although the ANDF has been accused of using civilians as human shields for this, they have continued to deny such claims. From the 6th-7th of December, the airport was surrounded by Ziridavan forces, who overwhelmed the garrison in the airport by the evening of the 7th. Earlier that day, RZAF forces east of the city had entered the industrial parks in the outskirts, where the urban combat began. ANDF forces in the northeast of Ausferiland had not seen as much combat as forces in the south, and were not as seasoned in urban combat since most fighting occured outside of major cities. Despite this, Ziridavan forces had to face several units who put up strong resistance in the city, which caused some delay.

RZAF forces coming from the east were especially slowed down by barricades set up by Ausferilandian forces, who assumed that the brunt of the attack would come from that direction. However, on the 8th, Ziridavan forces began moving in to encircle the city from the south and the north. The outskirts of the city on both sides had been occupied in the early morning of the 9th, after the Ausferilandians had abandoned their positions in the face of being overwhelmed. The air force had also begun focusing on striking ANDF targets in the city with precision bombs, which were also used to clear barricades that had been set up. Ziridavan ground forces in the southern and northern flanks continued to push into the city from the 10th-13th, while forces in the east had halted and began to fix ANDF forces in their hastily made fortifications.

Also on the 13th, a Granzerian Vertega V-10 was shot down, the wreckage landing just 19 kilometers north of Skersland. The pilot ejected safely, but was spotted by a group of South Kardzhali separatists soon after. Almost immediately after landing, the pilot, Péter Tóth, was captured. Video footage of his capture was uploaded online before he was transferred Ziridavan ground forces at the request of the operation's commander, Viktor Vasilev.

Finally, on the 14th, the order was given to ANDF forces in Skersland to evacuate via Highway 1 westwards before they could be encircled, cut off from supplies, and forced to surrender. In the cover of the night, most forces concentrated in the center of the city began their escape, mostly through transport trucks. Dozens of other equipment was left behind in the hasty retreat such as anti-tank weapons, small arms, and armoured vehicles. Most NDF forces in the eastearn blocks of the city were unable to escape, and after being surrounded, surrendered to the RZAF. The Ziridavan Ministry of Defence declared later that day that the city had been captured, which was denied at first by the Ausferilandian defense forces.

Aftermath[edit]

Casualties[edit]

Ziridava[edit]

South Kardzhali[edit]

Ausferiland[edit]

Granzery[edit]

Wreckage of GRAF V-10

The only Granzerian casualties in the battle consisted of 1 V-10 fighter jet and it's pilot, Péter Tóth, who was taken as POW by rebel forces. He was later transferred to Zolevskoyan ground forces. Rebels posted pictures of the wrecked fighter and of Peter himself, which quickly spread and fueled further unrest in Granzery. Although the Ziridavan air force has taken credit for the kill, claiming that an AIM-120C-7 AMRAAM launched from a KFZ-7ZK was used in the shootdown, Granzerian sources claim that a surface to air missile, likely a PPSD-20, was used in the incident.