First Battle of Thomasville

From Atlas
First Battle of Thomasville
Part of the Blue Rebellion of the First Great War

Kilbourne's Last Stand by David Westrey depicts the closing moments of the battle on 3 June 1903.
Date14 May - 3 June 1903 (20 days)
Thomasville, Imperial Colony of Acronia
Result Strategic Vedrian victory

Acronia Acronian Union

  • South Acronian Liberation Front
  • Kingdom of Acronia
File:Kejsaredom2.png Leutish Empire
Commanders and leaders
Acronia Edgar Sheridan
Acronia Alexander III
Acronia Gaël Dupont
Acronia Léonard Faucon
Acronia Davis Kilbourne (POW), (WIA)
Acronia Troy Monfils
File:Kejsaredom2.png Kejser Roland II (commander-in-chief)
File:Kejsaredom2.png Niehl Ekman-Strohl
File:Kejsaredom2.png Danel Kennermann
Units involved
Acronia 4th Infantry Regiment
Acronia 45th Infantry Battalion
File:Kejsaredom2.png XIII Corps
South Acronian Liberation Front
2,000 personnel
Kingdom of Acronia
500 personnel
5 artillery pieces
Imperial and Royal Leutish Army
9,800 personnel
24 artillery pieces
560 cavalrymen
Casualties and losses
1,789 killed
221 wounded
3 artillery pieces destroyed
512 killed
967 wounded
2 field guns destroyed/damaged

Template:Campaignbox Great War I The First Battle of Thomasville was a military conflict fought between the Vedrian Empire and the newly-proclaimed Acronian Union. The opening event of what would be known as the Blue Rebellion, it is also widely considered to be the first battle of the First Great War. The battle ended in a strategic Vedrian victory after only 20 days of fighting, mostly due in part to an overwhelming Vedrian advantage in terms of numbers and technology. Following disastrous losses for the Acronians in the battle, the Acronian Union's ability to effectively wage war in the central and southern regions of the Imperial Colony was severely crippled.

Historical background[edit]

Following the Lionsgate Revolts throughout April 1903, the Vedrian Empire under the command of Emperor Bomrek II decided to send the X Corps to Lionsgate in order to quell the high possibility of a revolution in the colony. Delivered by the figurehead of the Lionsgate Revolts, Edgar Sheridan, the April 24th Proclamation declared the independence of the Imperial Colony of Acronius from the Vedrian Empire and its subsequent reunification with the Kingdom of Acronius, to form the Acronian Union.

In response to the involvement of the Kingdom of Acronius - deemed a much more formidable enemy on top of the Imperial Colony - Bomrek II followed up on the X Corps' deployment with the dispatchment of a second corps: the XIII Corps. Full-scale war preparations were made, with detailed battle plans being schemed until a final decision was made: a two-front incursion into the Imperial Colony. The X Corps, already on its way to Lionsgate, would seize the city of Lionsgate and subsequently take the entirety of Bomrek Island (which it succeeded in doing) - on the other hand, the XIII Corps would invade the Imperial Colony through the southern Vaaldhaven Mountains. The two corps were to then meet each other at Fort Crowe, which would ascertain full Vedrian control over the southern half of the Colony.


Meanwhile, Acronian preparations were also being made. The arrival of the X Corps was already anticipated by the Acronian Union, but Edgar Sheridan was only able to muster a single regiment of infantry personnel to Lionsgate before the attack, due in part to a logistical error which forecasted the X Corps to arrive four days later. In response, both Sheridan and King Hubert III of the Kingdom of Acronius hastily scrambled a variety of units to Hero's Pass in order to block a Vedrian assault on the easiest point of entry into the Acronian mainland. Due to Hero's Pass becoming the focal point for the Acronian Union's war plans, the XIII Corps' infiltration into the Vaaldhaven Mountains went unnoticed for days until it eventually traversed the width of the mountains to descend onto the Acronian Plains.

It was only by the time that the XIII Corps had reached the halfway mark of its journey through the mountains that the Acronian Union realized that a second Vedrian corps had entered the Imperial Colony. This left the Acronian Union's base of operations, Fort Crowe, at a significant disadvantage and with very little time to assemble a substantial fighting force and to send it to counter the Vedrians. In the end, one lone regiment, the 4th Infantry Regiment, was able to be rallied at Fort Crowe, and was promptly sent southeast in the direction of Hope Lake, where it would surely meet the XIII Corps on their way to the lake. Under the command of Col. Davis Kilbourne, the 4th Regiment would encounter the XIII Corps at the town of Thomasville, just off the Vaaldhaven Mountains and into the Great Acronian Plains.

Order of battle[edit]

Acronian Union[edit]

The Acronian forces at the First Battle of Thomasville consisted of a single regular infantry regiment of the Acronian Revolutionary Movement, the 4th Infantry Regiment. The 2,000 regulars in the regiment were mostly equipped with standard issue 1896 Lebel Bolt-Action Rifles and occasional irregular sidearms. Each battalion in the regiment possessed one artillery piece. Later on in the battle, the 4th Infantry Regiment would be reinforced by the 45th Infantry Battalion of the 12th Infantry Regiment, putting an additional 500 men on top of the 2000 originally in the city, as well as a 5th artillery piece.

Vedrian Empire[edit]

The Vedrian forces that fought at Thomasville were the regular troops of the XIII Corps. The XIII Corps consisted of three regiments of infantry; the 23rd Infantry Regiment, 55th Rifles and the 3rd Infantry Regiment. Each regiment consisted of four battalions of infantry and one battery of light artillery, plus a squadron of scout cavalry. Supporting the main force was the 23rd Royal Artillery Battalion, equipped with 105mm howitzers and a battery of 203mm heavy guns, and the 3rd Dragoons, a battalion of elite troops from the Vedrian mainland. The XIII Corps was led by General Asax Akrulnil, a longtime staff officer of the Vedrian officer corps

The regular infantryman of the XIII Corps was equipped with the Type-1900 straight-pull bolt-action rifle, chambered in 6.25mm and capable of carrying 8 rounds per stripper clip. The Type-1900 was effective up to a range of 1000m, and remarkably accurate, yet reliability was an issue in the dirty trenches of the Acronian battlefields. It could also be equipped with a 5-inch bayonet for close quarters combat. Each battalion was also equipped with four Type-92 machineguns, which were spread out to each battalion's four companies. The light artillery battery was equipped with 75mm field guns and 127mm mortars for use as fire support.

All in all, roughly 15,000 Vedrian soldiers participated in the battle, though less than 3/5ths of this force actually saw combat as the rest were used for flank and rear guard operations.

Progress of the battle[edit]

It is widely agreed upon that the First Battle of Thomasville started at roughly 11:00, on the 14th of May, 1903, when Acronian artillery began firing on elements of the XIII Corps descending onto the town from the plains. Originally believing Acronian presence in Thomasville to be much more significant than it actually was, the XIII Corps attempted a combination of pincer tactics and cavalry charges to outflank the 4th Regiment and achieve an advantageous position on Jackman Hill, a strategically important hill overlooking the town just north of Thomasville.

Acronian withdrawal from Thomasville[edit]

Thomasville's town center after the booby traps were detonated.

Realizing that holding position inside Thomasville would be disastrous, Col. Kilbourne ordered his men to rig the entire center and rear of the town with assorted booby traps, of majority makeshift tripwire-activated explosive devices, before pulling out of the town westwards. Col. Kilbourne plan consisted of luring Vedrian troops under the command of Major General Adasax into the city before detonating the booby traps or allowing them to be triggered by the advancing Vedrians. Knowing from the start that the battle was unwinnable for the Acronians due to the sheer difference in numbers between the two sides, Col. Kilbourne's main objectives now consisted of holding position for as long as possible, in order to buy as much time as possible for Fort Crowe to be able to either aid the effort in Thomasville with reinforcements or make another strategic move. On the third day of battle, Kilbourne moved his troops into a horseshoe formation around Thomasville, spanning from Jackman Hill to a plantation on the other side of the town.

Kilbourne's men were ordered to dig trenches along their horseshoe formation, while the 4th Regiment's five pieces of artillery were to be rolled up Jackman Hill in order to provide support. However, the Acronians were met with overwhelming resistance on the hill, where Vedrian forces had been continuously attempting to gain full control since the start of the battle. Believing Col. Kilbourne's withdrawal from the town center to be a retreat, General Adasax took the bait and moved his troops into the town center. For the first time during the battle, the Vedrians sustained serious casualties when the wave of booby-traps inside the town were activated, its explosions killing or crippling hundreds of the advancing infantry. Template:Quote box

Assault on Jackman Hill[edit]

Capitalizing on the temporary shock the explosions dealt on the Vedrians, Kilbourne followed up on the booby traps with a frontal assault on Jackman Hill against Vedrian troops that had gathered on the other side of the hill. A combination of fire and movement tactics and suppressive fire was used by Kilbourne to advance up the hill. With an infantry group resembling one that would be used in a human wave attack as a moving element, and the regiment's five artillery pieces as a supporting element, the Acronians were able to gain a certain amount of momentum and a decent foothold on the hill.

However, the victory was short-lived, as the Vedrians moved in more artillery of their own towards the other side of the hill, where substantial Acronian casualties numbering in the hundreds were reported. One of the Acronian artillery pieces, a mortar nicknamed Salade Somergeois, was destroyed. Shoot-and-scoot tactics were employed by the Acronian artillery for a short period of time, and was able to hold off and counter the Vedrian onslaught for a short period of time. With the shock effect wearing off as Vedrian infantry were rediverted to the hill, Kilbourne's men expanded their network of trenches spanning the near-entirety of their horseshoe formation on to Jackman Hill, opening a new phase in the battle which would pit both sides into fierce trench warfare for the next two weeks.

File:Thomasville 2.jpg
Acronian troops in rudimentary trenches during the latter stages of the battle.

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Trench warfare[edit]

Four days into the battle, the First Battle of Thomasville had metamorphosed into a trench-centered conflict. Jackman Hill as well as the town of Thomasville itself had been effectively transformed into a no man's land. The hill was flanked on its western and eastern sides by Acronian and Vedrian trenchworks respectively, while another series of trenches connected the Jackman Hill trenches with the other Acronian trenches covering the southern approach of the town. On the other hand, the XIII Corps had established a powerful foothold on the eastern and northern limits of the town, and had already established their own trench system, which ran along the northern border of the town, from the foot of Jackman Hill to the west to farmland in the east.

Several Acronian attempts to take control of Thomasville were decidedly fruitless, and fighting within the ruined town was fierce and desperate. Meanwhile, fighting on and around Jackman Hill was particularly merciless; entire companies would perish for a few centimeters of land. Along with the Battle of Hero's Pass later on in the Blue Rebellion, the catastrophic losses at Jackman Hill would go on to become a prime example of trench warfare during the Rebellion as well as the First Great War itself. Two weeks into the battle, morale in the 4th Regiment had plunged: instances of Acronian troops advancing into no man's land at 100 and returning at 10 were not uncommon. One particular raid on Jackman Hill cost the lives of 94 out of 97 men who charged up the western side of the hill - the raid itself was unsuccessful in gaining land. Upon return, the three surviving men took down banners bearing propaganda slogans such as Not one step back! and set them on fire.

Arrival of the 45th Infantry Battalion[edit]

On the 14th day of the battle, the first Acronian reinforcements arrived at Thomasville. Fort Crowe, which had been sending nearly all of the troops it could muster to counter the amphibious Vedrian assault on the Imperial Colony's western coast, spared a single Kingdom of Acronius battalion under the command of Lt. Col. Troy Monfils and sent it southeast to reinforce the 4th Regiment. However, the 45th Infantry Battalion's inclusion into the Acronians' ranks was much too late into the effort to alter the course of the battle, and ultimately proved to be practically futile. Lt. Col. Monfils' original orders were to assault Vedrian troops in Thomasville from the north, which would allow the 4th Regiment to simultaneously take Thomasville while attacking XIII Corps elements on the town's east flank at the same time.

However, the plan failed when Vedrian artillery positions on Jackman Hill were able to target advancing Acronian 4th Regiment troops, cutting any possibilities of the capture of Thomasville. Vedrian artillery projections were capable of reaching Thomasville due to the XIII Corps' position on the eastern side of Jackman Hill - conversely, Acronian artillery was not able to reach Thomasville due to its positioning on the western side of the hill, whose facade obscured a possible trajectory to the town. On top of this, moving the Acronian artillery to the southeast from its position in order to be able to shell Thomasville would have not only exposed itself to its Vedrian counterparts, but would have rendered it incapable of striking Vedrian artillery, meaning that Acronian troops on Jackman Hill would have been decimated. Attempts were made to simultaneously attack Jackman Hill and Thomasville with the 4th Regiment and assault Vedrian lines on the northern flank with the 45th Infantry Battalion to reduce the effectiveness of the Vedrian artillery, but this still amounted to nothing: Vedrian infantry on Jackman Hill and on Thomasville's northern flank greatly outnumbered the Acronians, allowing Vedrian artillery to target Thomasville with minimal disturbance.

Kilbourne's Last Stand[edit]

The last of these attempts came on the 19th day of battle. With victory now in his sights, Major General Adasax ordered his troops to hold their position in the trenches instead of using the pincer movement tactics they had utilized during previous similar attempts. The Acronian attack was repelled once again, but this time, the 45th Infantry Battalion north of the trenchworks and the 4th Regiment south of the trenchworks were effectively cut off from each other, with a sizable amount of Vedrian infantry separating the two units from inside their trenches. Realizing that the battle was lost, Col. Kilbourne ordered Lt. Col. Monfils to retreat and march back to Fort Crowe to inform the command of the situation. Monfils initially refused, but Kilbourne overruled Monfils due to rank superiority. Monfils was forced to grudgingly accept the order, and pulled back the 45th Infantry Battalion from Thomasville, leaving the 4th Regiment stranded and surrounded by enemy forces. In what is now known as Kilbourne's Last Stand, the scattered remnants of the 4th Regiment, under the orders of Kilbourne, regrouped in the ravaged town center of Thomasville and fended off an onslaught of approaching Vedrian forces until they were all either killed in action or taken prisoners. Kilbourne himself was shot in the arm and taken as a prisoner of war by the Vedrians, but he managed to escape his captors mere hours after his capture, and subsequently travel all the way back to Fort Crowe alone with no weapons and equipped with only a compass.


The First Battle of Thomasville was an important victory for the Vedrian Empire's campaign in the Blue Rebellion, as it not only allowed a further advancement of the XIII Corps into the Imperial Colony of Acronius and eventually lead to a second Vedrian victory at the First Battle of Fort Crowe a month-and-a-half after Kilbourne's Last Stand, but also dealt a huge blow to the morale of Acronian troops and heavily crippled Fort Crowe's ability to wage war in the southern regions of the Imperial Colony, with already another front north of them to worry about. The resounding Acronian defeat left Thomasville, once a bustling large town, in ruins: but the town was partially rebuilt over the next few months and used as a base for XIII Corps troops.

Despite losses largely inferior in comparison to other engagements in the Blue Rebellion such as the Battle of Ednamary or the Battle of Vauclair, the First Battle of Thomasville, along with the First Battle of Fort Crowe is considered to be the greatest loss of the Rebellion in terms of morale, and is still commemorated annually to this day. The fact that the 4th Infantry Regiment was able to hold their ground in Thomasville and stall the XIII Corps for 20 full days was nearly unbelievable due to the immense advantage the Vedrians fielded in terms of technology and numbers. The feat was so demanding that the command at Fort Crowe did not initially believe Lt. Col. Monfils when he reported back to the Fort along with the 45th Infantry Battalion. Col. Davis Kilbourne's actions in the battle were one of the main reasons he became one of the first recipients of the Medal of Acronius and the Legion of Elysium, the two highest military awards in the Free Union. Kilbourne would go on to succeed Leander Falkenrath as Supreme Commander of the Acronian Military Forces after the latter was killed in action at the Battle of Hero's Pass in 1904. His last stand has been recreated innumerable times in media and fiction.