First Leonsteiner War

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First Leonsteiner War
Date14th of March 1953 - 11th of November 1955
Major Combatants
Communist Militias
Ordoliberal Militias
Casualties (dead, wounded, missing)
Approximately 56,000 Ordoliberal casualties total. Approximately 88,000 Communist casualties total.
Civilian Casualties
More than 550,000 died in combat and famines.

The First Leonsteiner War was the continuation of ideological differences between different parties of the revolutionaries who overthrew the First Republic in 1952. First fighting occured around the same time, but the war is generally considered to have begun on the 14th of March 1953, when Max Bechtel led his troops to capture Ahlen.


[edit] Background

The revolution against the autocratic government of the First Republic was mainly carried by the PFDL, a group that began as a discussion circle for disaffected intellectuals, but soon morphed into a widespread, well-armed dissident movement. However, the different wings of the PFDL found themselves in grave disagreement over the future course of the country. After first clashes during the latter half of 1952 between armed gangs pledging allegiance to different factions, the Ahlen Conference was held in Februrary 1953 to find a compromise. Attempts failed, and thus Max Bechtel, the leader of the Communist wing, led his militia into the capital and captured it.

[edit] The Parties

Numerous factions fought for control of the nation. Initially many variations of communist and socialist thought existed, but these were destroyed one by one and integrated into Bechtel's red army. On the other side, capitalists, royalists, liberals and democrats soon saw the need to come together. The most powerful royalist faction refused, but faded into obscurity after its leadership was killed on Christmas Eve 1953. The remaining anti-communist forces rallied under the banner of Ordoliberalism, aspiring a system in which the market may roam free, but in which the government provides the framework. Other factions had split off these major directions early on, but never managed to win great successes militarily, and eiher disintegrated over time or were destroyed by one of the two major parties.

[edit] Major Battles

For most of the war, the country was in general chaos. Already devastated by the strikes that occured during the revolution, the economy collapsed and most lived in a state of anarchy. In this situation the different militia groups attempted to secure victory by eliminating opposition leaders and supporters, often using horrible methods. Bechtel's initial capture of Ahlen was aimed at driving the Ordoliberals into the countryside in order to win control over both the official political process and major industries. However, the victory was shortlived. The ordoliberal militias began to organise into a fighting force, and began taking over other cities.

[edit] Worms, 1953

The first of the major battles occured in Worms, south of the capital. Controlled by an Anarcho-Syndicalist warlord, the city was almost a state on its own when Bechtel ordered the siege. Supplied with old artillery from WWII by the Soviets, he threatened to destroy the town if it wasn't turned over to him. His ultimatum was refused, and streetfighting went on for some five weeks, with artillery destroying whole blocks, the civilians often caught in the crossfire. After the success at Worms, Bechtel managed to secure support from the Soviet Union in the form of some 100 T-55 tanks and another 200 armoured infantry carriers. Several convois carrying these, and additional weapons and ammunition, were to land in W├Ârmerhaven. This important port city therefore became a vital strategic target for both parties. Clashes around the highway between Worms and W├Ârmerhaven continued for several weeks, until the first tanks arrived. Using these, Bechtel immediately took control of the highway, forcing the Ordoliberals to retreat.

[edit] Ahlen, 1953/54

Having had to retreat, the Ordoliberal leadership soon saw the opportunity to take Ahlen from Bechtel's forces. While trying to secure the Soviet supplies at all costs, Bechtel had moved most of his militias south towards Worms, leaving few credible forces behind. In late November Ordoliberal forces supported by the Royalists marched into Ahlen, easily routing the communist militia in the city. However, Bechtel was not about to let this go unpunished. By mid-December, as the snow began to cover the city, he sent his best forces, spearheaded by the newly formed 1st People's Armour Division against Ahlen. However, the bad weather and urban environment didn't suit the tanks, leaving the communists with little choice but to attack the city with infantry. Urban combat lasted for almost two months, at the end of which casualties were so great that Bechtel had to worry that he wouldn't find enough capable men to restock his division. He ultimately decided to retreat. This victory for the anti-communist forces restored parity to the two sides and ended all hopes of a quick communist victory.

to be continued...

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