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|Battle of Caspar|
|Conflict: Caspian Annexation Campaign|
|Date: 8 ABY|
|Place: Caspar and Mergansar, Caspian System|
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ISD-II Emperor Valak
For a long time, the Interim Ruling Council of the Empire, now under the control of Bacharan Valak (soon to be coronated Emperor), had been planning to invade and annex the Caspian Democratic Union, which spanned several systems.
Under the command of Jarl Rellik, an Imperial fleet attacked the Caspian System itself, without any declaration of war. The conflict in space did not last very long. The Imperial fleet had been loitering in Caspian space, ostensibly for diplomatic purposes. For reasons that remain a mystery to this date, the Imperial force in Caspia was able to mount a surprise attack on Caspia's Third Fleet, and badly mauled the Caspian force in a running battle. Third Fleet ultimately withdrew in the face of Imperial numerical superiority. The Empire was able to initiate a blockade of the inner planets of Caspar and Mergansar, though the Caspians' planetary shielding and surface defenses prevented significant use of orbital bombardment. Several Carrack-class light cruisers were either disabled, heavily damaged, or outright lost in probing attempts to use their turbolasers to support the Imperial landing.
Ground troops were deployed to the surface of the planet, where the Empire would be drawn into a lengthy and costly campaign. Whereas the initial naval victory was quick and sweeping, the landing quickly bogged down into quagmire. Imperial TIE's often found themselves at a disadvantage in the face of the capabilities of CDU Centurions and Hellions in atmosphere, and CDU ground forces proved to be well-stocked for a prolonged siege. Furthermore, considerable effort had been taken to mobilise and supply irregulars to mount resistance and harassment within the Imperial Zone of Control.
At the high-water point of the Imperial advance, Imperial forces had occupied the entire capital region, save for the CDU bastion of Trinumvira in the formidable terrain of the Vira Bluffs. The Imperial Army massed for an assault, hoping to knock out Trinumvira's formidable turbolaser and surface-to-orbit missile batteries. The assault strategy was very much akin to that which the Empire employed at the Battle of Hoth, with Imperial walkers, led by General Maximilian Veers, advancing across open ground to cover the Imperial infantry. Ultimately Trinumvira Base proved to have much more formidable defenses than the Rebel Echo Base did, particularly in terms of anti-armor weaponry. The fields and choke points approaching the base also proved to be generously sown with mines, the smallest of which could tear the foot off of an armored stormtrooper, and the largest of which could soft-kill an AT-AT by way of a focused ion blast through the belly. It is testament to the tenacity of the Imperial assault that the advance reached the very tunnel entrances to the core of Trinumvira before finally faltering. Ultimately Trinumvira's big guns remained active.
As time went on, and the costs of occupation mounted, and stories of Imperial atrocities began to seep from the Caspian System, the Empire found itself with problems on the home front as well, in the form of internal instability. The Imperial planet of Selene, which had been a jumping off point for the invasion of the Caspian System, experienced a state of uprising. The CDU took timely advantage of this disruption, and launched concerted counterattacks against Imperial occupation forces on the surface of Caspar and Mergansar. This coincided with the return of the Caspian Third Fleet under Admiral Salonika Batrad, joined by reinforcements from frontier units of the CDU Navy. The Griffon Alliance also sent reinforcements, and the allied fleet pushed the Imperial blockade out of system.
Eventually, the Imperials withdrew, leaving much of its surviving occupation force trapped on Caspar and Mergansar. These prisoners were returned in exchange for a considerably smaller number of CDU captives upon the signing a non-aggression pact, brokered with the assistance of the Corporate Sector Authority. There is strong suspicion in the CDU that not all prisoners taken by the Imperial New Order were returned.
The CDU experienced considerable civilian casualties at the hands of the Imperial invaders, and the incident remains a point of considerable distrust towards the Empire. While not sufficient to push the CDU into the New Republic sphere of influence, it served to forment a policy of armed neutrality.
Note that while Imperial and NR histories often refer to the whole incident as The Battle of Caspar, Caspian references tend to be more specific. What the Empire refers to as the Battle of Caspar, is referred to as 'The Imperial War', or among the more fervent as 'The War of Imperial Aggression'. CDU histories break this war down into several component battles for the major clashes (eg Battle of Trinumvira).