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Invasion of Southeastern Cambridgeshire (1983: Doomsday)

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Previous:

Invasion of West Suffolk

Concurrent:

Invasion of the Isle of Eels Invasion of Norfolk

Invasion of Southeastern Cambridgeshire
Beginning:

19th June 2010

End:

27th June 2010

Place:

The southern and eastern portions of Cambridgeshire, former United Kingdom

Outcome:

Crushing victory for Essex; assassination of TBA leadership

Major battles:

Counteroffensive into Essex First and Second Battles of Saffron Walden Battle of Takeley

Combatants
  • True British Army
  • Various local clans
Commanders

FlagOfEssexHigh Minister Lee Evans

Colonel Isaac Lewis

Strength

Approx 6000 men (initially) + 6000 reserves/draftees

Approx 9,000

Casualties and Losses

3,217 soldiers killed or wounded, 2,616 civilians

Approx 5,000 killed or wounded, 4,000 captured

The Invasion of Southeastern Cambridgeshire was a conflict in the former United Kingdom, between the nation of Essex and the military junta of the True British Army.

Introduction

After the successful invasion of West Suffolk it was felt that in order to secure the western borders and to create a safe land route from East Britain forces from Woodbridge and Essex would move into Norfolk and Cambridgeshire. Discussion at the highest levels of government meant that East Britain 's Guardsmen would also have a role in this further expansion

Fulfilling the job of securing a defensible land border for the territories would fall on Essex. With an army larger than those of the other two nations combined Essex could afford to wage war on a long front. Their ultimate objective is to route True British Army troops on the southern and eastern sides of the Rivers Cam and Great Ouse. With these secured it will become extremely difficult for True British Army raiders to cross the rivers and attack the newly-acquired territories of St Edmundsbury and Forest Heath. The invasion is concurrent to joint offensives by other members of the Organisation of British Nations to create a strong security zone around these areas.

Strategists estimate that, in a best-case scenario, the invasion could be completed in less than a fortnight, given the fact that Essex troops only have to cover on average five miles to get the nearest point of the rivers.

Events

Saturday, June 19th

The day began with massive pre-dawn assaults from all down the line. In the interests of secrecy Essex troops had only been informed of the new stage of the operation just the previous day, but were reassured that the invasion would be quick and easy, with a minimum of big towns to capture. At 04:00 Essex troops left their entrenchments and with support from armoured cars and a handful of horse-mounted scouts rushed up to two km into TBA territory before real resistance began, around 08:00. There were three major axes of assault: one, westwards, from the rebuilt Saffron Walden in Essex, to capture vital transportation routes over the River Cam; and two more from the hard-won town of Newmarket, with the smaller directed towards Soham and the larger towards Cambridge.

Initial combat was sparse. Though the TBA had greatly reinforced their positions after the invasion of West Suffolk they were still greatly unprepared for another assault and many of their forward positions were overrun with ease. Over three hundred enemy soldiers were captured in the first four hours of the invasion.

However, after sunrise enemy resistance began to grow more stubborn. The first example of this was the Battle of Burwell, a town a few km from Newmarket. Essex troops approaching the town encountered unexpectedly heavy resistance, with an estimated one hundred troops operating in a series of trenches on the town's eastern side managing to resist much of the Essex advance. Using the now-infamous nailbombs which were becoming synonymous with the TBA they managed to prevent Essex troops from advancing far until an armoured car strike from the south managed to bypass these defences. Inside the town enemy resistance was much lighter, and infantry easily managed to flush out any opposing troops. The local TBA commander attempted to redress this by ordering a retreat-cum-human wave attack from the trenches towards the town, but this was easily picked off by snipers stationed by Essex in the town's easternmost buildings and by machine guns from the advancing troops. Only sixty wounded were reported in the course of the battle.

Further north the day was marked by a huge artillery bombardment of Soham. HH-53s on loan from Woodbridge had reported the prior evening that hundreds of TBA troops were moving from Ely to Soham via the connecting road. Knowing that they could not afford to put off attacking the town and let it become heavily entrenched, as had been the case in Bury St Edmunds, huge amounts of artillery was directed at the town's known defences and the adjoining road. Three hundred men were tasked with seizing Broad Hill, north of the town, to provide the site for artillery to fire. Two hundred and fifty managed to arrive and begin the bombardment, but were quickly cut off by TBA troops pushing north from Fordham. Despite their position they continued their task, awaiting rescue by the main body of the army.

The majority of Essex's military had been transferred southwards, occupying positions along the A11. The areas up ahead were fairly densely built up, and it was known that the True British Army had a significant presence in the area, despite its proximity to the half-destroyed city of Cambridge. Two regiments, three thousand men, were committed to flushing the enemy presence south of Cambridge, which would involve combat in a string of ghost towns and lightly irradiated forests. In this environment the TBA had a strong advantage, able to place a variety of brutal measures to slow the assault, including nailbombs and gin traps scattered throughout the undergrowth. Improvised bunkers caused further casualties. One hundred and fifty men were killed proceeding through the ruins of Sawford alone, and in the area of Cambridge for that one day four hundred more were wounded.

As night fell commanders immediately began to shuffle troops where appropriate. Additional medical units were stationed in Ablington, the HQ for the Cambridge advance. Reserve troops in Essex which thought that they would not be needed upon hearing the close of the invasion of West Suffolk suddenly found they had been called up, congregating in numerous resupply centres scattered throughout the northwest of the country. High Minister Lee Evans made a broadcast to the nation, announcing that they were launching an invasion to "free Essex from the threat of the True British Army for the next decade" and pledging to complete the war as quickly and cleanly as possible. Along with King William and PM Robson High Minister Lee Evans contacted the Prime Minister of Southern England, Terence Higgins, to see if they could encourage cooperation from that nation's air force in order to bring an even quicker victory to the three invasions.

Sunday, June 20th

First light on June 20th brought stunning news which took over an hour to verify - a very costly hour. Overnight at least a thousand True British troops had marched from beyond Cambridge and launched a huge counterattack over the A603. Slipping between Cambridge and Royston they had launched a crippling offensive on the two fortresses that lined the A10 frontier in the area and were now operating within Essex itself. Shocked, Essex commanders tried to push all the spare troops they could into stifling the offensive, but found themselves strongly resisted. With a dozens of TBA troops pushing into the salient every hour Essex knew that it would have to act fast or face calamity.

They could not withdraw troops the invasion. Nor could they move garrisons of other A10 fortresses to attack lest the TBA launch another offensive. Only one source of troops was readily available: the reservists. Poorly armed and poorly trained, they nonetheless represented Essex's only chance at stemming the tide of the counteroffensive. With every scrap of spare equipment they could gather - which, generally, was of little greater quality than what the TBA itself fielded - two and a half thousand reservists were pressed into service at Bishop's Stortford and Saffron Walden.

Initial conflicts were dire. The reservists had heard of the brutal tactics used by the TBA and lived in constant fear of their deadly tactics. Initial skirmishes at Arkesden at 10:30 led to easy victories for the True British Army as panicky reservists fled at the suspicion of nailbombs. For the locals the situation was horrifically familiar, as the area had been ravaged once before in 2008 by a TBA raid. Fleeing citizens were ambushed by True British troops and slaughtered or kidnapped. News of the rapidly unfolding disaster spread like wildfire throughout the country and soon chaos was engulfing the country.

By 13:45 High Minister Evans had been forced to call down martial law and was moving every available reservist to stem the tide. The TBA were now outnumbered 2-1 but the force multiplier of their reputation alone was enough to massively increase their strength. With this in mind senior Essaxon commanders recommended that one of the regiments positioned for the assault on Cambridge be repositioned along the M11. They would provide both a strong defensive force and would give the reservists the confidence they needed. Making an emergency broadcast HM Evans reassured the nation that the assault would be repulsed and urged people to remain calm and orderly. at the same time he entered into negotiations with PM Robson urging him to allow use of Woodbridge's HC-130s for launch bombing runs and the transferral of a number of tanks to help repulse the invasion.

Fortunately the chaos at home did not repeat itself all the way along the line. Already in some places Essex troops had reached the banks of the River Cam, though the territory acquired in doing so was densely forested and practically useless. TBA traps still managed to inflict casualties. The stretch of the A14 between Newmarket and Cambridge was growing into a huge melee as incessant combat between Essex troops and TBA garrisons flared up. Nonetheless large areas of land were gained with only four hundred casualties on most of the line and a mere seventy deaths. Even so word of the counteroffensive still caused some concern. Knowing that the next twenty-four hours would be pivotal over the success of the TBA's assault Essex troops were given executive orders to harass advancing TBA troops in any way possible. The night was filled with the sound of artillery and the EAS Cavalier was positioned with her searchlights in order to limit enemy movement. Every scrap of resistance was pivotal.

Monday, June 21st

Throughout the night huge numbers of recruits were being summoned from across Essex. Of a pool of 6,000 eligible men and women 3,500 were put into service by 06:00 on Monday, all of whom were being marched out with only minimal training towards the battlefront. Former military soldiers of every rank were pulled out of retirement and used to coordinate the untrained hordes, amongst whom mutiny and desertion were a constant risk. The first action these recruits saw was also the first major battle within Essex in its history as a nation - and its first defeat.

British-army-training

Essex recruits move out at dawn. None of the troops here would survive the battle of Saffron Walden.

The First Battle of Saffron Walden began at 08:20, when TBA troops rushed across the poorly-defended M11 and initiated a huge pincer maneouvre on the town. Immediately lookouts could tell a change in enemy strategy - unlike former encounters the TBA here were equipped with horses and numbering not just in the hundreds but the thousands - an estimated two thousand troops in total, according to initial reports. Immediately the local defenders were pressed into their positions along the town's perimeter and the hasty defences constructed overnight abandoned in a variety of states of completion. Though the defenders and the IEDs scattered around the town inflicted some casualties the enemy was simply too numerous. Employing a new tactic - suppressing fire with arrows and guns, allowing melee troops to approach occupied houses and take them out with nailbombs - the defenders were soon overwhelmed, and by 08:27 in the north and 08:31 in the south TBA troops were within Saffron Walden.

Immediately it became clear they held no regard for even the pretence of civility. With equal disregard they slaughtered civilians and troops. Unsurprisingly, nailbombs were used en masse - both due to their proven effectiveness in close-quarters combat and their horrific image in popular mentality. Any further attempts to defend were rendered useless by the huge stampede of fleeing civilians - civilians who often ran headlong into other panicking crowds, leading to confusion and danger.

By sheer chance one of the recruit battalions was in the area, a mile east of Saffron Walden. Upon hearing the sound of gunfire and listening to some of the distraught civilians fleeing the battle the commander of the battalion, acting-Colonel Kenneth Bowdage, immediately redirected his troops towards the town. They arrived at 08:44 and immediately spread out across the town centre. Colonel Bowdage ordered his troop to resist engaging the enemy and instead install themselves along a northern perimeter of Abbey Lane and East Street and a southern border of Borough Lane and Peaslands Road. Any civilians they came across were to be ordered to help construct defences against the TBA. Three hundred troops were stationed on each defence line, with two hundred of the original eight hundred remaining in the town centre as reinforcements and to move the locals around. Though the recruits were jittery Bowdage utilised his post-military experience as a motivator for failing collective farms to keep the troop's morale high enough to fight.

Around 08:48 enemy troops entered the range of the recruit's guns. Colonel Bowdage issued a simple order: fire at will. Making as best use as possible of their machine guns the Essaxon defenders annihilated the first waves of TBA troops. Though the enemy soon adapted and began to use nail bombs to clear out the defenders, plentiful reinforcements allowed the troops to continue to man their firing positions. The situation soon devolved into one not unlike the battle for Newmarket, though with situations reversed - now Essex troops were defending, and slowly failing.

Though the troops fought elegantly and managed to keep the enemy at bay for twenty minutes the TBA soon adapted. At 09:06 Essex troops briefly ceased fire to allow a group of civilians to rush to safety. The moment they were across the 'civilians' pulled out swords and nail bombs and devastated the local defenders. TBA troops exploited the hole and rushed into it, sweeping away the southern defensive line and pressing into the town centre. At the same time a cavalry charge from the west swept along the northern flank. By the time Colonel Bowdage received the news at 09:09 more than half his battalion was already dead. Acting fast he ordered that runners be sent into the countryside and that his remaining troops rally around Radwinter Road, the designated axis of retreat. He was shocked to find less than eighty men reply to the order, the rest being dead or deserters. His final stand beginning at 09:16 his remaining troops, armed with machine guns, held back wave after wave of TBA troops until the civilians had retreated. The surviving thirty-three then pulled back into the nearby woods, but took several casualties from TBA snipers, including Colonel Bowdage. Determined to be left alone with the sole remaining fully-loaded assault rifle he hid in a bush along the road whilst the remainder of his recruits established firing positions in the forest. As expected the TBA launched a cavalry charge after the civilians but found themselves under heavy fire and taking significant casualties. Ground troops, however, rushed out and swept the troops from the forest.

The battle was a horrendous defeat for Essex. Eight hundred and seventeen men and women were dead, and over two thousand civilians were amongst them. On the plus side they had inflicted an estimated six hundred casualties on the invaders, enough to heavily stall the TBA assault. Regardless, the enemy now had access to far better weaponry and had demonstrated tactics that suggested a dangerous paradigm shift that would make them even more effective, as well as a solid HQ within Essex. But, thankfully, nine thousand civilians had been saved through the actions of Colonel Bowdage, who in death was promoted to the rank and posthumously awarded Essex's highest medal of service, the Iron Seax. His body remains undiscovered.

Across the rest of the line combat was less intense. The TBA seemed incapable of continuing its assault, perhaps wishing to leave the battle as a warning to Essex and regrouping. Meanwhile in Cambridgeshire conditions were improving; headway was being made south of Cambridge and it was estimated that in less than a day Essex troops would be able to reach the bridge at Ely and in doing so establish the first direct overland route between the nations of eastern England. Throughout the night huge numbers of troops were positioned around Saffron Walden and artillery fired continuously. A trio of Woodbridge's HC-130s were, after negotiation, flown out to Essex and placed under their command. Over the night of 21st-22nd four sorties were made, all of which involved the bombing of Saffron Walden in an attempt to weaken the True British Army troops there. Essex was not content to let its defeat go unavenged..

Tuesday, June 22nd

Overnight Essex had managed to shift into war footing. Troops were being armed and armoured and rushed into forward defensive lines. Nearly its entire reserve force had been pushed forward, and recruits and draftees were being called up by the hundreds to assist the forces. The seemingly monumental effort of putting troops into combat positions was greatly eased by Essex's substantial rail system, for which emergency fuel stocks had been allocated. The True British Army was quick to notice this and at 08:15 a group of their soldiers who were being transferred from concentration camps in Forest Heath managed to escape and cause a lethal fire at a depot in Thaxted, killing seven; luckily, troop movement had returned to normal levels within hours.

Had it not been for these mass troop movements it would have been likely that the day would have been rocked with further tragedy. Scouts had spotted a huge army moving southward from behind the M11, suggesting that the enemy was hoping to assault either Bishop's Stortford or Harlow. The loss of either would be devastating for Essex, both strategically, as it would cut the nation of from its A10 fortresses, and in terms of morale. Furthermore, it would be nearly impossible to move a sizeable defence force there in time on foot. Luckily, the operation of the 'Frontier Express' allowed an hundreds of extra troops to arrive in the areas before the enemy would attack.

Both battles were tough but victorious. The army at Bishop's Stortford was the first to encounter the enemy at two in the afternoon, but managed to resist despite a three-hour bombardment. The enemy rush at 16:45 was beaten back by the presence of the eighteen hundred troops who had been rushed to defensive positions, and within minutes the enemy was forced to retreat, having suffered huge casualties amongst both its infantry and cavalry hordes. It regrouped and managed to evade detection, but was spotted again near Widford, north of Harlow. Additional reinforcements were delivered whilst aerial units swept out to bomb the enemy's positions. In contrast to the wooded landscape of West Suffolk, the landscape between the M11 and A10 was wide-open intensive farmland. The enemy had nowhere to hide and was massacred by the first bombing runs and later strafing attacks by loaned HC-130s. The enemy force that arrived at Harlow numbered only 1,500, less than half the size it had been at Bishops', and was beaten back by a well-readied defensive line near Harlow in a battle lasting less than an hour. As the guns fell silent that evening, Essexon citizens took a calming breath, knowing that the enemy had been stalled - and were thankful to know that, with TBA support elsewhere, all of the areas designated for invasion had been conquered.

Wednesday, June 23rd

The victories of the previous day were tragically short-lived. Throughout the night Essaxon troops celebrated their victory, thinking that it was already the beginning of the end for the enemy incursion. But they were disastrously wrong.

The battles of the previous day were little more than skirmishes for a far larger TBA assault. At 02:17 garbled radio reports were picked up from Bishop's Stortford suggesting a huge enemy attack, and all transmissions stopped at 02:41. The town had been subject to a huge attack from three vectors: north, south, and east, the latter attack by a regiment operating from the captured Saffron Walden. Launching a surprise attack over the ruins of Stansted Airport, the eastward assault had driven up Dunmow Road, splitting the town's defences in half and allowing them to be overrun in minutes by rapid assaults from the north and south. In its course another six hundred Essex troops had been killed.

Similar news struck just two hours later, as Harlow fell to a similar strategy. A massive bombardment and wide-fronted assault had been made from the north, whilst another army rushed down the M11 and swooped in from the south and east to crush the remaining resistance in a vicious pincer movement. A further eight hundred were slaughtered in the attack.

The news was across the country by morning and made the panic caused by the initial invasion seem trivial. Maldon ships were chartered to carry refugees out of the country. Railway stations were packed with those anxious to flee to the safer coast. Two of the larger towns in the country had fallen, and completely cut Essex off from its A10 defensive line. It was a disaster of unimaginable proportions.

High Minister Lee Evans, amidst a storm of low popularity, desperately conferred with the War Council to decide what to do. It was eventually agreed that the nation had only one choice: the immediate application of every available soldier into repulsing the attack. Troops supporting Woodbridge's assaults were immediately turned around and rushed back to the county. Of the three regiments operating in Southeastern Cambridgeshire only one was left behind on guard; the other two were rushed along the M11 to prepare for a counterassault. Time was of the essence; every hour that the TBA remained unchallenged could mean dozens of murders, hundreds of enemy reinforcements, and critically, the state the enemy's defences.

With this in mind the counterassault began at midday. Two entire regiments of the army were positioned north of Saffron Walden, ready to retake the town at any cost. Artillery bombardments erupted, smashing into the town. Though it was regrettable that there would be civilian losses, it was clear that the enemy would fight just as strongly, if not stronger, for Saffron Walden than Essex troops had two days earlier, and their numbers needed to be thinned out as much as possible.

At 12:26 the regiments advanced. They broke into three groups, intending to assault from the north, east and west. The northern and eastern troops entered the town at 12:31 but found themselves under unusually heavy fire: not only were the TBA using their usual weapons of nailbombs and contaminated arrowheads, they were also equipped with weaponry captured from the troops that had defended the city in the first battle. Massive casualties were sustained in minutes as the battle rapidly deteriorated into a house-to-house slog. To the west, around Audley End (a manor house-turned-administrative building), troops encountered a different problem: at least three hundred TBA soldiers had dug themselves in and had roving cavalry support. Though this proved an issue for the initial waves of infantry Essex's armoured cars were able to survive the majority of the fire from enemy troops and hunted down the cavalry units before proceeding to mop up retreating TBA soldiers. The battle of Audley End lasted less than fifteen minutes and soon troops were pouring in to assault the town, this time encountering far less resistance.

The brutal melee conflict in the north and east sides of the town contrasted with the relatively easy assault up London Road and onto High Street made by the western division. Exploiting the damage created by the artillery, Essex troops pushed their TBA rivals into kill-zones where they were easy prey for the machine guns mounted on their armoured cars. By 13:07 troops had managed to link up from the northern assault to the centre, and at 13:14 Radwinter Road was secured. Enemy presence was rinsed from the north and soon troops could turn their full attention the south.

Town Fighting

Essex troops battle in the outskirts of the town

Here, though, the comparative luck of earlier drained away to a grueling battle for every room. Even flanking maneouvres did little to dampen the force of the TBA, and commanders came very close to ordering artillery strikes on the town simply to lower resistance. It also began to show how very committed the TBA were to their cause: not only were they using human shields from local civilians, when the battle turned decidedly against them they set fire to bales of hay from the local granary, spreading them around the town. Within minutes fires were starting to spread in the hot, dry weather and weakened building structures. As an inferno began to envelop the town the surviving troops made their retreat across the Debden Dead Zone and disappeared.

Immediately Essex troops put all their abilities into rescuing what civilians they could. At 14:22 commanders did call in precision artillery strikes to try and create firebreaks. Their efforts, however, were in mostly in vain, and once as many civilians as possible had been saved troops were forced into watching the southern side of the town burn to the ground, protected only by a new firebreak across the breadth of the town. The Second Batle of Saffron Walden was, at best, a pyrrhic victory, but it marked the beginning of Essex's counterassault.

With the area secure all available troops were transferred down to Great Dunmow, which had been designated the provisional headquarters for troops in the counterassault. Over ten thousand men and women were posted there, all given last-minute checks before being committed to the assaults planned for Bishop's Stortford and Harlow. But with light fading commanders were reluctant to commit just yet, and instead spent the evening moving troops up to the M11, just hundreds of metres from their opponents, to safeguard against any further assaults that day. Once more Essex would play it safe.

The day would be infamous for another reason, aside from the costly battle at Saffron Walden. With the population vengeful and worried, much of the rage was directed towards High Minister Lee Evans. Whom else was to blame, many reasoned, for the invasion of Southeastern Cambridgeshire and subsequent disasters had been his brainchild? Evans, however, was unphased and instead delivered a mostly-impromptu speech to reassure the population. Under normal circumstances such a speech would barely have worked - but High Minister Evans was a master at relating to the grassroots worker and guaranteeing his support. As a consequence, in what was polled as by far and away his most popular speech of his entire career, he used the word 'bastards' in reference to the True British Army no less than sixteen times.

Thursday, June 24th

Essex set out with two objectives on Thursday: the first would be the recapture of either Bishop's Stortford or Harlow (though preferably both); the second would be to find out the exact nature of their opposition within the TBA's salient. It was clear that they were dealing with completely new tactics and strategies, which would imply that the TBA possessed a mind capable of devising them. Essex dispatched fifty of its special forces commandos into the area to try and locate the leader of the TBA and, if possible, terminate him.

Whilst they sneaked across the M11 Essex troops prepared for their assaults and began to move out. They planned to use the unorthodox tactic of passing 4,000 men through the Stansted Dead Zone, cross the M11 at the occupied Stansted Mountfitchet, then swing southwards to attack from the north. This would draw out parts of the Bishop's garrison, allowing them to be caught in the open and defeated between the towns. This would ultimately be a diversionary attack, allowing another 4,500 soldiers to attack from Great Hallingbury and into the south side of Stansted, whilst the troops to the north would attack and catch the town in a pincer.

But as troops moved out under the cover of darkness they encountered a completely unexpected danger. Marching along Dunmow Road, in the opposite direction, were eight thousand TBA soldiers, who themselves had been planning a surprise raid. The two forces met on the outskirts of Takeley at around 04:00, and immediately the situation deteriorated. With the odds nearly equal the battle was as tense as it was surprising.

Within minutes a clear battlefield began to emerge. Essaxon troops held positions from the A120 and down the B183. They held a small salient around Takeley, where their forward HQ was established. Artillery units positioned themselves in the unfortunately-named Hope End Green. True British Army troops were approaching head-on, with improvised artillery operating from the remnants of Hatfield Forest. Within the first few minutes of combat the TBA held a strong advantage, able to creep up and attack at short range on unsuspecting Essex troops. However, at 04:13 three flares were fired, the first of hundreds to be fired that night, and allowing Essex troops to aim and fire with impunity. The timing was lucky; it revealed a human wave attack by TBA troops that was only stopped thanks to the ability of troops to aim and fire in time.

The battle drew on well past sunrise, with neither side making major movements until 05:55. Around that time the TBA's resistance on its southern flank collapsed, and troops fell back. Essex soldiers quickly pursued, only to find themselves suffer heavy attrition from nailbomb attacks. At 06:06 the TBA launched a cavalry charge directly into the southern Essaxon lines, tearing holes through which TBA units slipped and began to attack from behind. The battle began to degenerate into a free-for-all in the southern sector as, without coherent lines, Essaxon and TBA units met and fought in total confusion.

But it was clear that the TBA was losing grip. As 06:17 True British Army troops at a reservoir northwest of Takeley suddenly began to lose ground, allowing Essex soldiers to rush across. Troops at the rear were moved along the A120 and soon the enemy was completely outflanked. A powerful assault from the north combined with the reforming of Essex lines along the south put intense pressure on the remaining TBA soldiers on the middle, and an armoured car assault managed to completely surround the force. Battered by intense artillery fire and swiftly losing ground the soldiers had no choice but to surrender. At 06:53 a ceasefire was arranged and the TBA troops laid down their arms. Of the eight thousand who had started the battle less than four thousand survived. Essex had lost the equivalent of an entire battalion - but still had 8,000 troops in fighting condition, ready to attack Bishop's Stortford.

Leaving one thousand troops behind to guard the prisoners as they were dispatched to work camps, the remainder of the Essaxon army left no holds barred on their approach to Bishop's Stortford. Arriving at 08:15 the token TBA resistance was swept away by the initial armoured car assault and soon the rush of soldiers into the town completely overwhelmed the sparse defensive force. With minimal collateral damage the town was seized and occupying forces rounded up as soon as 09:00. The news, along with that of the crushing victory of the Battle of Takeley, was immediately broadcast across the nation.

There was no time to waste. Scouts reported that Harlow was similarly defenseless and according to internal sources there were less than a thousand men stationed in the town to defend. At 09:44 Essex troops moved back out, on the way routing a TBA garrison at Sawbridgeworth, and taking up positions to the north and east of the town. At exactly 10:00 troops launched their attack. Soon they were joined by a frenzied civilian horde who, despite protestations by the military, were keen to put their lives at risk to destroy the TBA. With their assistance the battle was soon won, with remaining TBA troops fleeing desperately for the nearly-abandoned town of Hoddesdon three km to the west. But with armoured cars in hot pursuit they were quickly rounded up.

Essex was keen not to lose its momentum, and spent the rest of the day attacking northwards, regaining lost soil. It appeared that they had destroyed the bulk of the TBA force and were well on their way to victory. In spite of fatigue and, in the afternoon, increasingly determined and deadly resistance, as night fell Essex had completely regained control of its Hertfordshire lands, breaking the siege of Royston at 19:15. Jubilant scenes spread across the country as the news was spread, with the story being repeated as far afield as the Scottish state and the Celtic Alliance.

Friday, June 25th

Friday was, thankfully, a relatively peaceful day. The TBA attempted only a handful of disorganised counterassaults on the area around Royston, but were easily beaten back with the combined firepower of the A10 forts and the occupying troops. The day mostly saw troops being moved back into their pre-attack positions, returned to west Suffolk and southeast Cambridgeshire.

Saturday, June 26th

As the first of the reserves were deactivated and returned to civilian life Saturday was again viewed as a day to rest after nearly a month of war. Scouts into the TBA's territory west of Cambridge revealed that troops there had mostly retreated and those that remained were battling with each other and a number of encroaching clans. News teams from across Britain arrived to interview the troops who, despite the lack of combat, were still shifty, very much aware that the enemy might simply be trying to instill a false sense of security. At 17:05 border guards were surprised to find over a hundred former TBA troops and at least three hundred refugees surrender themselves at Bridgefoot Fort; nonetheless, they took them in and dispatched them under guard to a concentration camp.

Sunday, June 27th

Sunday brought news that was unexpected as it was fantastic. The commandos dispatched on the 24th had, against all odds, succeeded in their mission to destroy the TBA's leadership. They had learned that the TBA's leader was Colonel Isaac Lewis, a commander who inspired fanatical devotion amongst his troops. Lewis had been exiled from the TBA in the late 90s for opposing their leadership and had been waging war ever since; after the events of 2008 and the anarchy that followed he had quickly invaded and seized control, establishing a new capital at St Ives. Lewis had, following the invasion of West Suffolk, been determined to take revenge on Essex, and led nine thousand of his men into the country, only to find much fiercer resistance than expected. They had intercepted Lewis' convoy retreating to Huntingdon and made their strike. However, the commandos realised that killing Lewis would only make him a martyr for the TBA, and instead decided that to make him a cripple would have a much stronger effect. They waited until midday on the 26th when they delayed the convoy outside Papworth. While Lewis went out to stretch his legs, the commandos used a stolen mirror to focus the sun's glare in Lewis' eye, blinding him and causing him to stumble and break his ankle. The commandos retreated as troops came to his aid.

The commandos arrived back in Essex at 08:42, and were immediately recommended for decoration. Hours later, two clan leaders who announced they were not affiliated with the TBA approached the Royston garrison and announced that they requested confirmations of sovereignty from Essex. The TBA had, finally, been cleared from the borders of Essex.

Aftermath

The war would have a lasting impression on the area. For Essex it would mark the second time that there had been a major incursion upon their territory - the same area that had been attacked last time. This time round, however, it had resulted in large amounts of collateral damage; nearly two thousand civilians had been murdered or maimed, and the entire town of Saffron Walden had been essentially destroyed. Local infrastructure had been damaged, and crops destroyed. It had also shown major weaknesses in the A10 fortresses which would require immediate but costly addressing.

However, the benefits were huge. The leadership of the True British Army had been utterly crushed, and the bulk of its manpower captured. For the first time in years Essex, Woodbridge and East Britain could be confident that there was no major threat on their borders, even though tiny raiding parties of the former TBA still attempted to make incursions from time to time. The former territory of the TBA had within months dissolved into a sea of warring clans and independent town-states determined to be free from any future oppression. Only a tiny piece of land around St Ives and Huntingdon claimed the title of being territory of the 'True British Army', and exercised almost no power.

Moreover, for the first time in their history the three founding nations of the OBN now had contiguous land borders and reliable methods of travelling to and from each other, on foot, in safety. The resettlement of the areas captured by the three nations would be accompanied with massive investment in infrastructure, chiefly building roads and rails which could rapidly transfer goods landed in East Britain to destinations in Essex and Woodbridge in rapid times. With peace and security in the area the three nations were now guaranteed a bright and prosperous future.

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