Alternate History

Battle of Bielsko (A Federation of Equals)

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Battle of Bielsko
Part of Krakovian War (A Federation of Equals)
Charge of the Light Brigade
Date December 16th, 1850
Location Bielsko, Carpathia
Result Decisive Russian Victory
Russian Empire Danubian Federation
Commanders and leaders
Count Yegor Petrovich Tolstoy Stefan Göring
Units involved
3rd Imperial Army Republican National Guard
37,000 15,000
Casualties and losses
7,000 11,000
The Battle of Bielsko, December 16-17, 1850, during the Krakovian War, was part of the Russian effort to completely occupy Galicia, the most eastern province of the Danubian Federation. It took place during the movement of the Russian Imperial Armies to capture all of Carpathia, a tactic which would provide the smaller armies of the Federation with no geographic advantage, and liberate the large Ukrainian population within the Federation. The battle of Bielsko followed the earlier Russian victory at Battle of Przemysl, where General Pyotr Gorchakov made a successful assault on the defensive fortification of Przemysl, against the Second Southern Army. Now with a clear advantage, the Russian Forces pushed west, under direct orders from the Imperial Command, directed by Prince Aleksandr Menschikov. The Russians advanced towards Ostrava, the acting capital of Federal Galicia, forcing the hand of the nearby Danubian General, Stefan Göring. Göring desired a military tactic that would draw the Russian Army into the Ruthenian Mountains, and allow the Federal troops a geographical advantage. Unfortunately, inclement weather stalled the retreat of his Republican National Guard into the hills, eventually bringing them to a grinding halt between the towns of Bielsko-Biala, and Szczyrk, allowing the Imperial Army to catch up. This forced the Danubian general, Stefan Göring, to engage his enemies the next morning, when the storm began to abate.

The battle began...


The Russian army took the town of Wadowice, in Western Galicia, on December 13th with minimal Federal resistance. Russian scouts made contact with Federal scouts outside the town of Inwald, just to the west of Wadowice. Captured Federal scouts quickly revealed the location and numbers of their own army, which was vastly inferior to the large Russian force. The Russian divisions in the region proceeded to coalesce, creating a force of 30,000 soldiers. The Russian army had come northwest from the eastern half of Galicia, where they had occupied the city of Lviv, and beaten back the Federal army at the battle of Przemysl. Tolstoy, who had previously been aware of the Federal presence, but had not known the precise location of Federal troops that were stationed at Andrychow, was now able to march against the Federal positions.

Federal morale was low in the army of Galicia, under the command of General Stefan Göring, a Tyrolean German. The Federal army was composed of a hodgepodge of men from across the Federation. This army, which contained Germans, Italians, Hungarians, Poles, Ukrainians, and Romanians, embodied the articulated policy of the army to try to ignore ethnic barriers and promote equality of nations within the Danubian Federation.

In the early morning of the 15th of December, under a light snowfall, general Stefan Göring ordered a general retreat for his 17,400 soldiers encamped at the town of Andrychow, several miles east of the city of Bielsko. He commanded them to move south, across the range of Western Carpathian foothills, and await reinforcement in the city of Cieszyn, abandoning most of Western Galicia to the Russians, and hopefully buying time for the Federal forces in the region. Göring also felt the pressure of an enemy who was mere miles away, and could, therefore, engage him.

The snow of that afternoon, which quickly turned to rain, hampered the Federal army's progress immensely, reducing the march of Göring's Army to mere miles. They reached the town of Szczyrk at sundown, about 5:40, on the evening of December 15th.

Russian soldiers, marching along open roadways, and not through hill and forest, reached Andrychow hours after the Federal army left.  According to one Alexander Lobachevsky, a Russian cavalry officer, "One of the Federalists had left a certain quantity of rather tasty goulash of some description simmering upon his fire. The Germans had not bothered to douse their campfires before leaving- so rushed was their retreat. Needless to say, this goulash I consumed."

The Russian army, marching into the night, reached the shore of lake Zywiec, and spent the night in the town. Lake Zywiec was across a small plain of farmland from the Federal positions in the hills, which could be seen in the distance. After a brief parley offering the Federal army surrender, the Russians prepared themselves for a battle, keen to not let the Federalists escape after being so very close on their heels.

Meanwhile, in the Federalist camp in the hills above Szczyrk, a large and rowdy crowd of soldiers allegedly burned down a barn, stole several sheep, and danced naked down the town square brandishing gardening implements, probably stolen from the barn. The Danubian army was scared, and so was misbehaving. Closer to midnight, however, the officers of the Federal army restored order to their nervous rank-and-file, and were able to hunker down, while the cavalry undertook the duty of skirmishing.

The Equipment of the Armies-

The two armies were similar in equipment, though the Federal forces, who were on their home territory, never faced the logistical challenges that the Russian Armies faced. Both the Federal and Russian infantry used rifles with set bayonets, varying primarily in their ammunition type.

Federal Republican Guard-

17,560 Strong

12,500 Infantry: Romanian, German, and Hungarian

4,060 Cavalry: German, Italian

1,000 Artillery- 79 Guns: Ukrainian

Russian 5th Imperial Army-

30,000 Strong

22,000 Infantry: Russian, Ukrainian

7,000 Cavalry: Tartar, Russian

1,000 Artillery- 82 Guns: Russian

The Night of December 15th

The heated skirmishes, and capture of Major Andreykev.

The Morning of December 16th

The rainstorm that destroys the Hungarian regiment's guns, forcing them to later fight with bayonets during the battle for the Suburbs.

The Battle of the Suburbs of Bielsko

Bayonet charge, between Russians and Hungarians.

The Advance of Kallinov

Advance of artillery into superior positions.

The Career of Kallinov

The Night of December 16th

The Federals, slightly winning, advance in the night to take the hills to the east of Bielsko.

The Crossing of Lake Zywiec

The Retreat from Bielsko, December 17th

Russian cavalry emerging during the morning, having outflanked the Hungarians, and slaughter them.

The Charge of the Light Brigade

Federal heavy cavalry, dressed in white dress coats, charge the Russian guns during a morning bombardment that kills their commander.

The Poem: The Charge of the Light Brigade

The Impact of The Charge of the Light Brigade

The Authorship of The Charge of the Light Brigade

Göring's Death Walk

The Federals retreat in disarray and disaster. ((note: Göring is a in game character- he does not die.))

The Aftermath

The impact of the war on Prussian relations, and Federalist morale.

Casualty Counts

List of Dead Officers

Retreat Path of the Federal Army

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