1730-1732: The Siege of Holn and Goana Creek
The 10th was among the first units to take up positions along the major roadways running into Holn. Supporting them was the 111th Engineering Battalion, commanded by Syrnol Chot, former Commandant of the Fort Till engineering school. Chot met his protégé engineering student shortly after arrival, and transferred him directly into the 111th and promoted him to is-Caerten.
The siege of Holn began badly. The early spring storms only increased in intensity. Major General Losta’s armor was late, and Holn was held in greater force than the Tokish forces had estimated. No sooner had the 10th Guards invested the city than the Barroese forces counter-attacked with an additional army group through the Miran Gap. The Tokish light infantry, unsupported by armor and still fatigued from having been in combat for nearly three months, were routed. Entire squadrons of armor were abandoned in the muck. The Barroese Army rushed through the gap created by the collapse of the Tokish lines.
The 10th Guards and 111th Engineers, unfamiliar with either the terrain or the details of the plan, had begun to construct the elaborate siege earthworks even as the light infantry units were breaking in the Miran Gap. With their fortifications set up to counter an attack from Holn, they were virtually defenseless from the rear. The first warning of this latest Barroese advance came in the form of survivors of the light infantry trickling in small groups back into the Tokish lines, and shortly afterwards, reports from a few engineer outposts who were unable to muster an effective defense before being overrun.
Syrnol Chot was the only ranking officer who deduced that a new assault had begun, and he ordered the siege trenches converted into defensive works. The 111th Engineers managed to construct hasty defenses, and then they found themselves facing attacks from both Holn and overland. With bad maps and no sense of the size of the enemy facing him, Chot attempted to withdraw back over Goana Creek into Tok. What had been intended as an orderly withdraw quickly broke down, and the Tokish forces began abandoning their trenches. But the pioneer units on the banks of Goana Creek found the rains had raised the creek to nearly impassible levels. The Tokish army were cut off, surrounded, and confused on the river’s edge.
After a flurry of confused and contradictory orders, and after Syrnol Chot’s efforts to redirect the Goana through a hasty canal failed, the 10th Guards and 111th Engineers hunkered down for a last stand in the Goana Creek valley. The swollen and impassible Goana was to their rear, and they lacked the forces to protect their flanks. Outnumbered nearly 5:1 and with Losta himself dead leading a futile counterassault, Chot ordered the Tokish soldiers to surrender to prevent a further waste of life.
It was a significant blow to the Tokish military, and spelled the end of that campaign. Political negotiations between Tok and Barro resulted in a truce shortly afterwards.
Next: Part Three: POW