Incident on the border: The initial positionsPosted: July 27, 2010
As was normal in that part of the World, relations between Laurania and her neighbour, Maldacia, had deteriorated again. The most recent squabble resulted from the arrest of a Maldacian who had bought a defunct mine just over the border in Laurania. He had decided to fly the Maldacian flag above the newly re-painted mine buildings, something that was not allowed under Lauranian law without a permit. The local police tried to persuade him to remove it, but he refused, and in the intervening scuffle one of the policemen was injured. The Maldacian was arrested for assaulting a police officer, and incarcerated in the local jail.
Although the Maldacian miner was released once tempers had cooled down, news had already reached Maldacia and several spontaneous demonstrations were held throughout the country. Some of these demonstrations degenerated into riots where the Lauranian flag was burnt and Lauranians visiting Maldacia were assaulted. When the Lauranians responded with a strong diplomatic note that protested about the attacks on Lauranian citizens and requested compensation for them, the Maldacian Minister of War sent an enciphered message to the commander of the troops stationed near the border with Laurania. This message told him in no uncertain terms to ‘cross the border and give those damn Lauranians a taste of something that they won’t forget in a hurry.’
He responded by rapidly mobilising an Infantry Brigade of three Infantry Battalions and two Artillery Batteries and moving them up to and then over the border. He intended to capture a small village near Castramonta, drive the local inhabitants out, and then burn it to the ground. The village, which was built near to a bridge over one of the fast-flowing mountain rivers, was well known in the region for the anti-Maldacian sentiments of its inhabitants, and the Maldacians hoped that its destruction would send a strong message to all Lauranians not to annoy their northern neighbour.
The Lauranian Secret Service actually managed to decipher the message from the Ministry of War to the commander of the troops stationed near the border with Laurania before it reached its intended recipient, and the Lauranian garrison at Turga – an Infantry Battalion, a Gatling Gun Battery, and an Artillery Battery – was hastily sent along the mountain road towards Castramonta to intercept the Maldacians. It reached the high ground just above the village as the Maldacians began the descent into the river valley. The stage was now set for a battle.
The situation at the start of the battle. The Maldacians – whose uniforms a very similar to those worn by the Austro-Hungarian Army – can be seen advancing from the right towards the river and the village in three columns, each made up of an Infantry Battalion. Between each column is an Artillery Battery. The Lauranians – who bear an uncanny resemblance to the Prussians – can be seen occupying the heights on the left of the picture, although the Gatling Gun Battery has been pushed forward to guard the Lauranian right flank. The village is occupied by a Company of Lauranian Border Guards.