First Battle of Helsena

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The First Battle of Helsena was a pivotal battle fought between Burgoignesc and Derian forces in and around the Derian town of Helsena during the Matavista Campaign of the Great War. The battle, which saw the Derians routed from the strategically valuable crossroad-town, proved to be pivotal in the Matavista Campaign and was a major contributor to the eventual Burgoignesc victory in the campaign.

First Battle of Helsena
Part of the Great War
Bushranger passing by Helsena town hall after heavy fighting, c. 20th December 1929
Date 15-22 December, 1929
Location Helsena, Lutsana, Deric Republic
Result Burgoignesc victory
Belligerents
Burgundie Deric Republic
Commanders and leaders
Richard de Tassigny Cornelius Marenle
Units involved
Burgoignesc Foreign Legion
  • 3rd Joanusterrien Light Infantry Regiment
  • Raulie Bushrangers
2nd Infantry Division
Strength
8,000 7,500
Casualties and losses
1,500+ casualties
  • 412 killed
2,800+ casualties
  • 583 killed
  • 834 PoW

A combined force of Yonderian Chasseurs and Raulie Bushrangers from the Burgoignesc Foreign Legion began their assault on the town on the 15th of December, 1929, led by Brigadier General Richard de Tassigny. Facing the Burgoignesc Legionnaires were elements of the Derian 2nd Infantry Division under General Cornelius Marenle, who offered fierce recistance but ultimately were forced to retreat from the town. The battle, which lasted seven days, would claim more than four thousand casualties of which around a thousand were killed.

Contents

  • 1 Background
  • 2 Comparison of forces
    • 2.1 Burgoignesc force
    • 2.2 Derian force
  • 3 Battle
    • 3.1 Initial assault
    • 3.2 Battle in the town square
    • 3.3 Aftermath

Background

Comparison of forces

Burgoignesc force


Chasseurs of the 3rd JLI fighting from a ruined guardtower on the outskirts of Helsena The Burgoignesc forces present for the battle were the combined strength of the 3rd Joanusterrien Light Infantry Regiment and four battalions of the Raulie Bushrangers, fighting as the ad-hoc XXI Provisional Light Infantry Brigade. The overall force commander was Richard de Tassigny, regimental commandant of the 3rd JLI, in lieu of a provisional brigade commander.

XXI Provisional Light Infantry Brigade

  • 3rd Joanusterrien Light Infantry Regiment
    • 3 Light Infantry Regiment Command Staff
      • 3 Light Infantry Regiment Medical Staff
    • I/3 Light Infantry Battalion
    • II/3 Light Infantry Battalion
    • III/3 Light Infantry Battalion
    • IV/3 Light Infantry Battalion
    • V/3 Light Infantry Battalion
    • VI/3 Light Infantry Battalion
    • VII/3 Heavy Battalion
      • 1/VII Mortar Company
      • 2/VII Artillery Company
      • 3/VII Anti-Tank Gun Company
      • 4/VII Field Gun Company
      • 5/VII Anti-Air Gun Company
  • Raulie Bushrangers
    • Raulie Bushrangers Regiment Command Staff
      • Raulie Bushrangers Medical Staff
    • I Battalion Raulie Bushrangers
    • II Battalion Raulie Bushrangers
    • IV Battalion Raulie Bushrangers
    • V Battalion Raulie Bushrangers

Derian force


Soldiers from the Derian 2nd Infantry Division pose before the camera The defending Derian force at Helsena was the slightly-understrength 2nd Infantry Division, a mostly conscripted force of reservists raised only a month before the battle to reconstitute the division after it was largely destroyed in battles around Hefna earlier in September.

2nd Infantry Division

  • Divisional Staff
  • 4th Infantry Regiment
  • 5th Infantry Regiment
  • 6th Infantry Regiment

Each Infantry Regiment consisted of three Infantry Battalions and each should in theory have had a heavy company with heavy weapons. It is worth noting, however, that since the division was at the time still being stood up it lacked many of the heavy weapons and some personnel as these were still in transit, effectively leaving the division at 80% strength and with only 20% of their heavy weapons.

Battle

Initial assault


3rd JLI field gun in position outside Helsena, 15th of December 1929

Battle in the town square

Aftermath

Wyborg. Zniszczony teatr miejski. (2-1792).jpg
Gefechtsuebung in den Resten der zerstörten Theodulhütte - CH-BAR - 3238938.tif
Enneberger Standschützen bearbeitet.jpg
Finnish-artillery-76k02-1902-winterwar.png
Kanonen werden durch Schnee den Berg hinaufgezogen - CH-BAR - 3239241.tif