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Ionian militia pose for a photo, 1898
Holy Levantine Empire
|Commanders and leaders|
|Gréagóir FitzRex (to 1902)||Crown Prince Patrick|
The Red Interregnum, also sometimes called the '97 Rising or King Patrick's War, was a civil war in Urcea that took place during the Crown Regency of Gréagóir FitzRex, who established himself in a position of power that many contemporary and modern commentators classify as a technocratic-oriented military dictator. While assuming the office of Procurator legally, the FitzRex regency, which began in 1889, began to reduce civil liberties and there were widespread accusations of election fraud, leading to the suppression of the National Pact, Urcea's largest political party. This action directly began the conflict, as the National Pact rallied to House de Weluta loyalist partisans in the Ionian Highlands to form a so-called "Legitimist Front". The Legitimist-Imperial alliance scored enough victories by 1902 that resulted in Gréagóir FitzRex's overthrow in 1902 and the creation of the short-lived, socialist, Urcean Republic, which immediately preceded the restoration.
The conflict, which began as a guerrilla war, escalated quickly into a full national civil war engaging most of the important actors and resources of the time. The destructive nature of the conflict lead to large casualties and a major disruption of the Urcean Economy, which caused a recession across the Holy Levantine Empire which spread unrest throughout the Empire. Since the most recent war had been the Third Caroline War in the 1840s, the conflict is considered to be among the first truly "modern wars" Urcea fought in, and it left a lasting impact on the nation. Besides the changes to the Constitution of Urcea, the victorious House de Weluta bore a renewed enmity for Caphiria, which supported the Regency, an enmity that laid the groundwork for the Occidental Cold War. Additionally, the Depression of 1900 began a sequence of events that lead to the beginning of the Great War. It would take Urcea until 1915 to fully recover from the war. The conflict also brought the nearly century long Recess of the Julii to an end, and it brought about a geopolitical realignment of Urcea and House de Weluta by bringing it into cordial terms with the other members of the Holy Levantine Empire.
The term "Red Interregnum", which refers to the fact there was a period of bloodshed between the rule of King Aedanicus and King Patrick, is often used in historiography to refer to the entire Regency period. Historians from Levantia tend to use the term in this context. Historians from abroad use the term only to refer to the so-called "'97 Rising" itself and the conflict only, whereas "the Regency" is used to refer to the early years of the interregnum. Consequently, the popularity of the global use of the term has come into more common parlance.
Beginning in late 1897 the Imperial Naval Fleet and Regal Navy formed a blockade of the ports of the state of Gassavelia, denying the Legitimists a sea route to the heart of Urcea. Repeated attempts by the nascent Navy of Burgundie failed as their command structure squabbled and frittered away any advantage with petty jealousies. The spring of 1898 did not prove to be much more successful. Three landings were started in March and April but were all repulsed as Caphirian squadrons were rushed to the scene. While the Imperial Naval Fleet and Regal Navy were small and outdated individually, their command staff were more amicable internally than their Burgoignesc counterparts, making them a formidable force in those circumstances. Furthermore, Burgundie's reliance on massive militarized Extreme clipper ships were perfectly suited to the open seas but were awful in the littoral environments of the blockade. While fast, their size made them impossible blockade runners. In short, the smaller, shallow-draft Caphirian ships were perfectly suited to hiding in coves and inlets and popping out that the last second to surprise Burgoignesc landing parties.
Imperial commerce raiding
As the war dragged to a standstill Caphiria looked to further frustrate the efforts of the Legitimists. Taking a page from Burgundie's experience in the Kiro-Burgundian Wars the Imperial Naval Fleet converted or purpose-built a flotilla of commerce raiders which was tasked with interdicting and sometimes taking Burgoignesc colonial avisos as prizes. Flotilla 557 was initially authorized to operate in the Sea of Canete and the Sea of Istroya, on June 13, 1899. These raiders were steam-powered, propeller-driven torpedo boats which traveled with a pair of tenders and a 3-pack of submarines. Flotilla 557 carried away over one million tons of goods heading to Levantia in the second half of 1899. In 1900 a second and third grouping called Flotilla 594 and Expeditionary Squadron-Far West were assembled, the former to supplement 557 and expand its range into the Founders Sea and the latter to engage the Merchant Marine of Burgundie in the Southern Odoneru Ocean. Expeditionary Squadron-Far West was unique in that it maintained a much larger logistics component to fit its mission parameters extending as far away as Crona. The armada consisted of 48 commerce raiders, 18 torpedo gunboats, 12 submarines, and a variety of support ships. Instead of working as a singlar unit, in order to cover more of the vast Odonero Ocean, the Squadron would subdivide into smaller scouting parties searching for sails. The men of the Far West Squadron were chosen from retiring sailing ships who could anticipate the Burgoignesc captain's decisions based on the wind and outmaneuver them with their steamships.
Battle of Abylf Steppe
In January 1901 the only true naval engagement of the war occurred. The Imperial Naval Fleet was retiring for the winter but was caught by a large contingent of Burgoignesc counter-commerce raiders. The two forces hammered each other for thirty-seven hours until the Navy of Burgundie ships ran out of ammunition and the remaining Imperial Naval Fleet ships limped home. A fifth of the Imperial Naval Fleet's combat ships had been sunk, crippled, or disabled. Necessitating a total reenvisioning of the Imperial Naval Fleet. While naval strategy would not rise to the level of a priority again until after the Great War, the lessons of the Red Interregnum are the foundation of the Imperial Naval Fleet's blue water navy today. Alternatively, the single and decisive victory for the Navy of Burgundie stalled further development of the pre-Dreadnought battleship as the military extreme clipper proved king among lesser foe until the War of Faskano Strait in the 1910s.