Koric-Phong, on Pem Farheuill, is often called "The last Great Hold-out of the Earth-Sphere Confederation". A nation of some sixty million people, they retained sovereignty and were able to remain independent when the Confederacy fell. As they were well outside draconic territory, their war industries were not affected by the devastating battles with the Trans-Draconic Federation.
- 1 Early History
- 2 End of Confederate Rule
- 3 Life in Korsic-Phong
- 4 War of Aggression and Fall of the State
Like most ConFed states, Korsic has its roots in the Long Night. The island is comprised of fourteen Cantons covering an island of 80,000 square miles. During the Long Night, twelve of the cantons were controlled independently by loyalists and proved productive farming and mining communities. By the end of the Long Night, some 95% of the population were slaves. As the Confederacy solidified, the twelve cantons took control of the remaining two, and fought a brief civil war, which ended in all fourteen cantons under the rule of five families. The old borders were maintained for organizational purposes.
Korsic-Phong was quick to industrialize, rapidly building advanced technologies and beginning a war of conquest on every region it could reach. By the time the confederacy was officially founded, the five families controlled an empire of several hundred million square miles. While most of the new territories had abolished slavery at the end of the Long Night, under Confederate rule it was rapidly brought back. The seat of power on the isle of Korsic grew exceptionally wealthy and became an economic and technological power-house.
End of Confederate Rule
When open war began between the ConFeds, the Foundation, and the Trans-Draconic Federation, most of Korsic's territories were lost in a matter of months. The home island, however, was safely far away from the front; and when the Confederation collapsed, they were able to keep a working economy. Officially, slavery had to be abolished, but most of the elite of Korsic were able to keep their property under terms of indentured servitude.
As an independent nation, Korsic flourished with to a wealth of natural resources and a labor force to turn those into finished products at very competitive prices. Their exports were many, and their imports were mostly technological. Korsic had a very good track-record for bringing in technologies developed elsewhere, reverse-engineering them, then building more advanced and cheaper variants.
Life in Korsic-Phong
While the proportion of slaves did shift down under 70%, indentured labor was still the backbone of their economy. Poor families were forced, often at gun-point, to sell their children into slavery, and even the sizable military was mostly slaves. This included, interestingly, much of the officer corps. The five ruling families ruled as a brutal, militaristic regime. Hard work and ingenuity were rewarded, but unquestioning loyalty to the state was indoctrinated into every individual from a young age.
Central to Korsican ideology was the notion of "Koph", a pseudo-religious belief, by which the entire state was made stronger by the combined loyalty of every member. Anything from a simple declaration, to an act of charity, to the completion of some challenge, could be done as a dedication to Koph, and was strongly encouraged. The five families, then, did not openly rule as dictators, but simply gave orders in the name of Koph. They were further justified their wildly hedonistic lifestyles in the name of Koph.
Property rights in Korsic were patrilineal, and in practice passed always to the eldest male heir. All land in the country belonged to forty families, with the lion's share belonging to the Five. Land was never sold, and it is unclear if it was even possible to buy and sell. Landed families controlled nearly everything, and the only other way to accumulate significant wealth was through the acquisition of servitude contracts (which meant owning slaves).
Curiously, despite the state of things, day-to-day human rights among the slaves was not terrible. They had plenty of food and adequate shelters, and working conditions were not overly dangerous. Later historians attributed this mostly to the economic shifts. While previous iterations of the Confederacy openly treated slaves as property, in Korsic, with the advent of mechanization and factory work, "indentured servants" had to be trained to do difficult, skilled work. This meant, in order to get a good return on investment, they needed to be kept alive and in relative comfort. Further, indentured workers who were decently happy were much less likely to damage the expensive machines in factories. The land in Korsic was good, and with mechanized farming it was not difficult to feed the population at a very good standard. However, they were still property of the ruling class, and could be punished, mistreated, or starved at-will.
Korsic's army was a highly mobile, mechanized, advanced force touting the latest in domestically-produced copies of advanced weapons. Though most of the armed forces were slaves, they were the most fanatical devotees of Koph, willing to fight and die for the ideal. A key aspect to Korsic's military buildup was their ability to reproduce and improve upon existing technologies. By the time of their annihilation as a state, they had weapons far more advanced than any other force on Pem Farheuill.
War of Aggression and Fall of the State
In N.D. 62, the five families tripled the size of the navy and conscripted eight million soldiers. They had, for the past decade, been building an elite core of the finest pilots available, and put them in a locally-built aerofighter of unique design. The air-wing, which boasted some seven-thousand highly-trained pilots, operated a jet-aircraft faster and more maneuverable than the Doer-Daisy then operated by the TDFN.
The top commanders assured the five families, that given the skill of their pilots and the vast superiority of their aircraft, they could confidently win even if outnumbered fourteen-to-one (this was, as should be noted, a technical impossibility; but they were at least correct that their fighters were far superior). The elite core of highly specialized pilot, operating from advanced super-carriers, and backed by a powerful navy fitted with the latest in surface warfare capabilities, was far and away the best in the dimension.
In N.D. 66, they began to annex neighboring regions, using primarily the threat of their powerful military. Some territory was taken through bombing, or quick, decisive battles. In two years, they had once again built up a vast empire.
Korsic-Phong had been allowed to remain sovereign due primarily to its remote location. Its neighbors were independent states, and the nearest Alliance or Draconic territories were thousands of miles away. Add in that the Alliance was a fledgling group at the time; with no intergovernmental forces to deploy and reliant entirely on coalition armies from the member worlds, they had very little power to intercede until directly attacked.
However. All flights belonging to the Trans-Draconic Federation were also members of the Alliance; and the Federation had a very powerful inter-flight military force of its own. Draconic territories were not immediately under threat, but as Conri Jusenkyou was still Pendragon at this time, he had the opportunity to ask directly for assistance. While the dragons left the decision to go to their appointed human naval commanders, the general consensus was, yes, the TDFN would gladly fight on behalf of the Alliance and in the name of freedom and crushing the last vestige of the Confederacy.
The response force assembled was drawn mainly from local TDFN garrisons and backed by ships from local member-states with capable sea-power. Since this was a rapidly-assembled, they were roughly equal in numbers of ships and planes, but significantly lower in terms of infantry. The initial battle plan involved neutralizing the Korsic navy and attempting to force a surrender from occupying troops.
First Battle of Lumot Sea
The first actual battle ended in a draw. Korsican fighters proved every bit superior to the Doer-Daisy. It did however offer a demonstration of the TDFN's party-piece. The dragons, who were quite fond of their human pilots, had loaded their aircraft with the latest safety features, even paying the Foundation (who had developed the fighter) to equip extra "pilot-survivability" functions even at the cost of performance. In the first engagement, 256 Daisys faced off against 211 K-Type-94s. 177 Daisies were shot down, and no pilots lost. By contrast, of the 15 K-types lost, only two pilots are known to have survived.
Similar to their fighters, TDFN ships were fitted with the latest defensive capabilities, again even at the cost of offensive weapons. Draconic naval-doctrine at the time was to use the superior numbers of their fighters to overwhelm enemy defenses, and to fight long-range standoff wars. As such, their capitol ships stayed well out of range of enemy guns, while easily defeating anti-ship missiles.
Opinions are divided, but history would ultimately rule the first engagement as a draw. The TDFN lost 177 planes, no ships, and no pilots. Korsic lost 15 planes, no ships, and all 15 pilots (the two survivors were captures as prisoners of war). However, due to the extreme loss of aircraft, the TDFN task-force was forced to withdraw from the region as Korsic had gained air-superiority.
That being said, there were two major factors the Korsicans had not accounted for. Firstly, Korsican fighters were far superior, but also came with a hugely increased price-tag. The lost of 15 fighters was a serious financial blow; and while they could be replaced with reserves, the fifteen pilots would be more difficult. Comparatively, the TDFN had thousands more aircraft available and was able to fly them in along with fresh pilots, while those who had been shot down and recovered were evacuated to tend to their injuries (as well as any possible hurt feelings). Secondly, the TDFN, backed by the massive financial might of the dragons, could afford to hire the Crimson Blade.
Second Battle of Lumot Sea
The second battle came just two weeks after the first. The TDFN brought in three additional carrier groups, increasing the total strength to 1,024 fighters, as well as a carrier group from the Crimson Blade Elites. While most Crimson Blade units were armed with the same Doer-Daisy multi-role fighters as the TDFN, the elites had the far more advanced Snowflake dedicated air-superiority aircraft. As one Blader put it, "The Daisy is a good plane, an all-weather, multi-role vehicle as at home dropping bombs as shooting off missiles. It's an excellent piece of kit whose primary selling-point is the low cost per flight-hour. The Snowflake is designed, from the wheels up, to do one thing and one thing only: gain and keep air-superiority."
The attack on the Lumot Sea was a well-planned engagement against a prepared-defense. At one in the morning on the day of the battle, the first wave of Crimson Blade aircraft flew a wildly successful SEAD mission, destroying 112 SAM batteries that the Koriscan navy had set up on various islands. These had been the key to their defensive plan, which relied on the batteries in the event the TDFN gained a significant enough numbers advantage.
At dawn, the second wave arrived. Running point were 198 of the Crimson Blade's very best pilots flying the state-of-the-art Snowflake fighter, backed by all 1,024 Doer-Daisies. The Korsican Navy had replaced the fifteen downed fighters and brought in two more wings to be flown from hastily-built airstrips on the islands, but that still brought their total air power to just 259 aircraft. Without SAM batteries to provide additional firepower, their warships steamed towards the zone of engagement to use their own anti-aircraft weapons. This had, it proved, been part of a trap into which they had casually waltzed.
While the K-Type was far and away superior to the Daisy, it was utterly and completely ill-equipped to deal with the Snowflake. To further complicate matters, at the suggestion of the Crimson Blade, the TDFN had swapped fully a third of its fighter/attack Daisies for the electronic warfare variant, which provided a massive screen for sea and ground-based anti-air weapons. With the heavy duty ECM screen, TDFN fighters began attacking the advance radar picket ships of the Korsican navy at will, effectively blinding them to the zone of engagement. In the air, Snowflakes teamed up with jammer-equipped Daisies to shoot down K-Types at will, while roving wings employed wolf-pack-tactics to make kills of their own.
By mid day, Korsic had lost over 200 fighters to just 97 Daisies, and not a single Snowflake had fallen. Most of the daisies were taken out by anti-aircraft measures, and not as a result of direct air-to-air kills. In fact, Daisy pilots from the TDFN achieved 63 victories that day, while Korsicans managed only 60. A key factor was the rate of attrition: not only did the TDFN have more fighters, it had more pilots. With 3 qualified pilots to every 1 airplane, each sortie was flown by a new, fresh pilot. Conversely, the Korsicans had been trained to form a close bond with their arcraft, so for the 259 jets involved in the battle, they also had just 259 pilots.
The battle ended with the bulk of the Korsican navy making a tactical withdrawal, with seven small ships severely damaged and 214 planes shot down. This should not have been such a serious defeat, but in the whole of the Korsican air corpse, there were only about 450 pilots total, and just 500 of those advanced warplanes. The 214 loses were a staggering blow from which they could not easily recover.
Worse still, another threat now lurked beneath the seas. While submarine technology was well-understood, Korsic-Phong lacked nuclear technology. The five families had also invested nearly all their military resources into overcoming the threat posed by the Doer-Daisy, believing that, if they could have enough better airplanes with enough better pilots, they could rebuff any counter-offensive with great ease. While their navy did have a few diesel-electric submarines, these were well behind the technology-curve and fitted primarily for reconnaissance and commerce-raiding roles.
Once the TDFN had proven its mettle in the Lumot sea, the dragons gave the order "To sally fourth and liberate all the peoples of the land". The exact wording of the order gave the military commanders carte blanche to engage in unrestricted warfare against strictly military targets, so long as they adhered to the rules of engagement. They would further be backed by Crimson Blade Elite task forces as necessary, but "may be required to submit expense reports".
The TDFN first deployed its armada of nuclear-powered fast-attack submarines. Korsic had little to no anti-submarine weapons available, and their own subs were not designed for defensive usage. It wouldn't have mattered much, anyway, as like most equipment of the time TDFN submarines were designed for standoff warfare, and carried powerful, ultra long-range super-cavitating torpedoes. On the surface, carrier-launched Daisies used the same wolf-pack tactics from the Battle of the Lumot Sea to further cull the ranks of K-Type fighters. Korisic navy vessels still had formidable air-defenses, but upon learning of the unrivaled superiority they had beneach the waves, the TDFN set about employing a dual strategy. They would deploy mostly wings of ECM-equiped fighters, with a few carrying anti-ship missiles to put on a show. The primary goal, however, was to paint a target, while submarines miles away at periscope depth lined up a shooting solution. Most Korsic warships could be destroyed with a single well-aimed torpedo.
Within a couple of months, the combined air power of the TDFN and Crimson Blade had gained complete air-superiority. The Korsic had managed to preserve all of their super-carriers, but had lost nearly all of their highly-trained pilots. They had not accounted, either, for the massive attrition rate. They had started the war with 450 top pilots and 500 state of the art fighters, and within four months had just 50 operational aircraft and only about 100 pilots left. Back on the home island they began a crash program to produce as many fighters as possible from spare parts, and to re-train anyone with flight capability to fly them. All the while, their navy was being pushed back at an alarming rate.
The biggest loss was in sub-capitol ships, which were relatively easy to pick off either by submarines or with anti-ship missiles. Their heavy dreadnought warships, ironically, would have proven resilient against such measures, but were left alone. They were never allowed to get close enough to engage TDFN surface ships, and us such there was seen no reason to sink them.
Facing staggering defeat, Korsic desperately turned its weapons on the civilian populations, using their heavy warships to shell coastal cities as they went on the retreat. It was an attempt at scorched earth, but served only to provoke the extreme ire of the dragons. From the start, TDFN forces had been strictly forbidden from attacking civilian or even non-combatant targets, & this included orders not to attack the factories and training facilities churning out new weapons for Korsic. They were only allowed, it was said, to fight armed opponents clearly engaged in aggressive warfare. This even meant that, when a Korsic ship sounded the retreat, the TDFN was sometimes required to break off if the ship's weapons were thought to be crippled.
However, when the Korsic began to attack civilian targets wholesale, the dragons issued new orders. From now on, any military target was considered fair-game, and TDFN forces would adhere to "Strict rules of engagement". In practice, this gave the TDFN captains the ability to persist in sinking any ship. Under strict rules, only enemy soldier who surrendered in uniform and presenting identification would be spared, all others could be killed. The dragons further gave their highest ranking human admiral the option of issuing a single nuclear strike, "In retaliation for the attacks on unarmed civilians.".
There was much opposition to this decision. Despite the atomic weapons having been sold to the TDFN by the Gudersnipe Foundation, the Crimson Blade Supreme Commander for the region did not approve of the dragons' decision. While relations were amicable, he stated that if a nuclear strike were to be ordered, the Crimson Blade would be required to withdraw from the campaign. As the TDFN had things well in hand at this point, TDFN admiral Chaser M. Trabolt agreed to this, and asked them to step back. He made the decision to launch on Korsic High, the capital city of the Korsic home island.
In keeping with draconic customs, which held that destroying property was an acceptable punishment but taking lives frowned upon, the TDFN contacted the five families and provided both the exact time, date, and location of the strike. They also created a very well-written evacuation plan for the city. The families responded that, not only would they NOT be evacuating, but that a large festival was to he held on that date in the city-center, with as many people brought in from the surrounding areas as possible. Admiral Chaser asked the dragon elders what to do, and they replied that he was to use his judgement.
A day before the missile strike, Admiral Chaser visited one of the cities attacked by the Korsic. Crimson Blade relief teams were still in the area on what was described as an "unrelated humanitarian mission", but the numbers of wounded and dying still staggered Chaser. Knowing there was still a considerable distance to fight before they reached the Korsic home islands, he decided to proceed.
The nuclear strike was carried out by a multi-warhead submarine-launched ballistic missile. Korsic had no missile defense system of any kind, and despite ample warnings, had proceeded with the festival. The weapon carried five medium-yield N1 devices, which struck in a staggered cluster, utterly annihilating the city-center in a single fell-swoop. The attack as followed up immediately by an air-raid, with two thousand ground-attach Daisies sent in to destroy the rest of Korsic's air force and as many SAM batteries as they could find. The same afternoon, Korsic's two heavy warships, which had been used to shell coastal cities "sunk mysteriously with all hands" (it is a well-established fact that the fast-attack submarine C.B.S. Mysterious was in the area at the time, though the published logs only show that it was delivering humanitarian aid).
In a rather surprising turn of events, the heads of each of the five families had in fact been at the festival, so confident were they that the dragons would not allow a nuclear attack on unarmed civilians. As such, the head of the snake had been cut off, and while the Korsic navy did fight on, it was clear they could do little more than delay the inevitable. As supply lines were cut, Korsic soldiers began to surrender in droves, fearing actual dragons may soon be involved in the fighting. As soon as a suitable forward-operating base had been established, the TDFN brought in it's heavy bomber wings and began a brutal campaign against the Korsic home-island. The favored "Grid-sqaure Annihilators", using simple chemical explosives, wrecked havoc on Korsic bases, and began to attack their war industry. In a cruel twist of fate, it was the arrogance of the five families that doomed countless more civilians lucky enough to evade the nuclear attack. The will of Korsic was broken long before the second bomb fell on the home island, but without a functioning government, they had no way to sue for peace.
The only order came from the military, the highest ranking members of which were also the most fanatical devotees to the ideals of Koph. They swore openly to fight on until killed, but lacked the resources to mount any kind of successful defense. The decision was made at the highest etchlons to assemble one last carrier task force and sortie against the advancing TDFN. Despite all the critical losses, the Korsic Navy had managed to preserve its three super-carriers. Each one was capable of fielding 144 of their K-Type fighters, and could have possed a very serious threat. However, by this time, they had only 74 aircraft left and just 59 of the original corpse of highly-trained and skilled pilots.
They did, however, have many hastily-retrofit trainers made combat ready, plus dozens of obsolete fighters and even a few civilian aircraft. In a supreme twist, they even had 19 Doer-Daisies of their own; though these were badly outdated as compared to the fighters then being flown by the TDFN. In all, each carrier. In all, they were able to field 300 functional aircraft for the final assault, though only a fraction of these could put up any sort of fate. As the day of the battle neared, the Korsic admirals revealed their secret orders to the air crews: that they should make the ultimate show of their devotion to Koph, and pilot their aircraft directly into the enemy ships. This act of desperation had been planned from the start; if the Korsic were low on aircraft, they were now even lower on missiles. Of the 59 K-Type jet fighters still in operation, only 40 carried a full munitions payload. Most of the aircraft would be armed only with hastily-fit machine funs, or carry no weapons at all. Their pilots, mostly civilian aviators, some even flying their own planes, were being sent to certain death.
By this time, the Naval Intelligence Service had broken Korsic naval codes and had access to the complete battle plan. Admiral Chaser was reportedly horrified at what he read, and personally ordered all of his commanders to join him in a planning session. He is famously quoted as saying "We're not going to give these people any more rope, they've hung themselves enough!". The tactic was fairly straightforward. An expeditionary group comprised of fast battleships and escorts would meet the Korsic fleet while broadcasting unecrypted that they were running point for the bulk of the surface navy. They would then lead the task force on a stern chase, while a submarine group would take out the capitol ships. Meanwhile, several task forces would move on the home island and attempt to destroy their command and control. The hope was, once the admirals directing the campaign had been killed, the task force could be convinced to surrender peacefully.
This was not to be, however. While the TDFN fleet put up a valiant effort, they were forced to engage the task force anyway. Famously, TDFN naval aviators were given the option not to fly that day. Some did, but others professed that the defense of their ships and crewmates was more important than personal scruples. After the war had ended, the dragons issued a special decoration for the pilots who had refused to fly, stating that holding true to one's moral compass was a quality they wanted to reward.
The focus of the fighting was on defense against the suicide attacks and destroying the last of the functional fighters. The TDFN pilots now had a well-honed technique for taking down K-Types; and while it did require a 20-to-1 advantage with at least 6 electronic-warfare planes involved, when executed correctly it was foolproof. They did still loose 23 planes in the ensewing battle, but all 59 remaining K-types were destroyed and over 250 enemy aircraft shot down.
Beneath the sea, the submarines set about the grisly task of sinking the remaining Korsic warships, taking pains to line up shots that would hopefully cripple them and give the crews a chance to escape. Losses were still catastrophically-one-sided.
Home Island Invasion
The TDFN discovered that the remaining leadership had been aboard the naval task force, so when the invasion party arrived on the Korsic home island, they landed unopposed. The landscape they encounters was scatterd and chaotic. Fully one-fifth of the population had been killed in the missile attack, and with no form of government the entire society fell apart. There was no more Korsic, just millions of frightened, starving people.
Aftermath and Rebuilding
The aggressive, mobile attack force that landed in Korsic quickly switched to first an occupying force, then to an aid group. The massive supplies of fuel and food staged for a long and bloody conflict were instead shipped in to feed the population. The TDFN, neither experienced nor prepared for what they found, once again called on the Crimson Blade for assistance. Having the Foundation present was also important as, on the world stage, they provided evidence of a protecting power.
As soon as the core needs of the people were met and basic law and order restored, the TDFN began an exhaustive hunt for the parties responsible. Most of the landed families had been completely wiped out, and all but only a few of the military leadership died with the task force. In the end, there was no one to punish.
Korsic-Phong was divided first into two states but later unified, and slowly rebuilt into a peaceful, democratic Pro-Alliance government.