Battle of Kemal
This article contains major Spoilers!
The Battle of Kemal or the Battle of Kemal Sord was waged during The War in ICY 959 as one thrust of Operation Twin Thorns. Admiral Rekef commanded the Laburec task force 24th and 25th Fleets in an assault of the system. While casualties were relatively high, Rekef did greater damage to the enemy and secured his objective as planned.
Prelude to Battle
Admiral Rekef had been assigned the 1st Task Force Twin Thorns, consisting of the 24th and 25th Fleets, with potentially the 14th, 15th, an 1st in reserve. Confident in victory, he laid out a plan to use only his two main assault fleets, and the 25th in reserve in the event of his flank being turned. It was a risky approach as he chose to divide his force in the presence of the enemy prior to his attack.
The People's Sovereign Union of Planets stood to lose a major shipbuilding and fuel producing facility and intended to defend with a concentrated reserve behind the Kemal sord. Two fleets would spearhead an assault to force back the Abh commander, expecting to bog him down until a secret flanking attack by the 3rd Assault Fleet arrived.
The engagements began as Rekef kept the 25th Fleet in reserve having already seized a bridge head on the way to Kemal. He had recieved reports that his force was estimated to be in equivalent size. He expected a difficult, but ultimately quick and successful campaign. He started sending his 24th into the fray as the 1st and 2nd Kemal Defense Fleet ventured out to meet him.
Planar Space Battle
As a major if not the main military production site of the People's Sovereign Union of Planets the Kemal star system was well defended. The long-range mines of the Union proved a major obstacle for the Imperial Forces to invade through the Sord.
They attempted to stop the approach of 24th Fleet Twin Thorns prior to securing a bridgehead sot just before the main Kemal Gate. Due to poor coordination; however, the 1st and 2nd Defense Fleets of the Union were smashed and destroyed decisively since they did not arrive to engage the Abh 24th Fleet as one force, but as two separate units. As Rekef anticipated he was maintaining his thrust, but expected stiffer resistance soon.
Rekef personally led the first assault against Kemal proper in an attempt to breath through. The 4th Defense Fleet Kemal ventured out to engage him directly. After an engagement with serious blows traded, both sides withdrew to separate sords. Rekef began receiving reports that the 4th Fleet was delaying them, since he expected the Union to counter attack. Suspecting trickery, he sent scouts to see if an enemy was on approach.
Intelligence officers manage to either discover or infer the approach of attack, that an enemy assault to his right flank. He order his 25th fleet to pivot around his bridgehead gate over to his right. He planned to try to lure at least one fleet into a deceive engagement if the enemy did in fact plan to pincer his position.
Second Assault, 25th Fleet Engages
Rekef renewed his attack after taking some time to reorganize his damaged units. He quickly began the assault against the 4th, which went out to attack him again as well. They engaged in a brawl before reports arrived of a major enemy fleet on approach, and the 25th had not yet made contact. Rekef felt determined to hold, trusting his subordinate to engage and trap the enemy.
The Union's 3rd Assault Fleet Kemal failed to make it to pincer the 24th Fleet. The 25th Fleet completed their pivot and slammed into their exposed rear and left. With no room to pull back and bogged down, unable to assault Rekef, the 3rd Fleet was destroyed in detail.
Rekef, upon hearing of his 25th Fleets victory withdrew from battle to reorganize once more, since the 24th could not make headway against this tough enemy fleet. There was only one approach to Kemal, and now he needed to seize and only had once choice, especially after his tactical victory: persist.
Re-organization, Third Assault
Having won a decisive victory and having good scouting and intelligence, he transferred some partial fleets from the 25th to his 24th fleet, planning to keep a tactical reserve in the event that the enemy attempted such a tactic again. He had not yet been informed by intelligence that the enemy's main battle fleets were caught in a brawl against Kotoponi's fleet at Mairal and Elkon, and they only had the last defense fleet in front of hi.
He launched his 3rd assault again with the 24th alone. The enemy commander having achieved great success in stalling intended to hold until victory at Mairal, or until their fleet was compelled to retreat. The Union rebuffed Rekef's assault, though this time were compelled to retreat and try to hurriedly organize a new defense as losses began to mount. Rekef in the meantime had to contemplate whether or not he could succeed in breaking through. The enemy large formation bubbles were getting smaller, but he had not yet broken through.
Rekef reorganized once more and pulled more forces from the 25th fleet. He expected the enemy to be completely spent by the time he launched this assault, yet the 4th Defense Fleet Kemal once more engaged him directly and battered Rekef's units. This approach ended up being costlier for the Union though than Rekef, since the Empire had in this case the benefit of numbers, and the Union did not. Both sides retired, and Rekef knowing for sure now no flanking units were going to approach, planed to use his entire task force in one final assault.
Fifth Assault and Space Battle
By virtue of huge losses to the last Union defense fleet, Rekef's forces broke through the plane space defenses in a fifth decisive assault. His units ferried through the lines and entered regular space where the Kemal system defense still stood and resisted him.
Upon arrival the large interstellar Abh ships faced light and well-armed intersystem ships of People's Sovereign Union of Planets that had been combined into the 4th Defense Fleet Kemal. After overcoming the defenses the Imperial Forces moved on to attack the well defended production sites around the gas giant gas Akaddo.
The loss of the Kemal star system was a major strategic victory for the Empire. However, Rekef's losses were great, just barely less than that suffered during the 2nd Battle of Aptic. That being said, given he only had one avenue of approach, he brilliantly secured the destruction of one enemy fleet. With that he maintained a favorable losses parity compared to the enemy, now down four entire fleets.
It was suspected that major fleet of the People's Sovereign Union of Planets hid at the fringes of the system in order to retake it; however during the operation, this threat never manifested. Rekef too up positions and entrenched the system as the Union had done so before him. Now freed of their reserve obligation, the 14th, 15th, and 1st Fleet Twin Thorns hurried north, where a similar and even bloodier engagement was being carried out.