|Part of the Nazi war on Earth|
East and West combating Space Nazis
|Commanders and leaders|
|Casualties and losses|
The Innsbruck Offensive (7 March 2010), popularly known by both sides as "Ekkehard’s Folly", was a brief but consequential battle within the Brenner Pass between Austria and Italy, fought between the Space Nazis and their Clone Guild allies against the Eastern Union and Free Western Army. While a relatively small-scale operation in geographic terms, it involved heavy concentrations of forces on both sides. The offensive was a decisive Allied victory that destroyed the Space Nazis’ 8th Mechanized Brigade and led to the suspension of its commander, Major General Ernust Ekkehard.
The offensive was devised by Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery in an attempt to draw out Space Nazi field marshal Kurt Schäffer, who had proven frustratingly competent in fighting the Eastern Union. Montgomery approached General Anatoliy Koldanev, acting commander of the Union armed forces, with a plan to strategically eliminate enemy forces by trapping the Space Nazis in the Brenner Pass.
Course of the battle
Montgomery dispatched Erwin Rommel, now commander of the First Army Group, with an armoured unit to the city of Innsbruck. Using public media to attract the attention of Schäffer's command, Rommel launched a slew of provocations with the goal of drawing northern garrisons into open combat. Major General Ernust Ekkehard took the bait, and left immediately with the 8th Mechanized Brigade to rout the intruders. Upon its arrival Rommel and his subordinate officers withdrew deep into the Brenner Pass. As hoped, Ekkehard pursued them all the way to their fortifications north of Bressanone. Horrocks and Monash then positioned their units along the roads to Freienfeld and Vipiteno to close the gap.
Ekkehard was confident that he could exploit the Allies' backward momentum and drive all the way through the pass, endangering the Italian garrisons and forcing Rommel to retreat. Even as the combined Space Nazi–Clone Guild forces came under suppressive artillery fire, they attempted to breach the Bressanone line. However, by the time the units made contact with the Allied defenders, the psychological strain of the bombardment had dangerously compromised their efficiency.
As Montgomery arrived to reinforce Rommel, a battalion from the Eastern Union, exploiting the still unresolved situation in Slovakia, infiltrated Austria and followed Ekkehard into the pass, cutting off his escape. Outnumbered and out-gunned, the Space Nazis attempted a desperate breakout, but it quickly became clear they were hopelessly trapped. After sustaining heavy casualties and losing nearly all their armoured support, the commanding officers agreed to surrender; Ekkehard had already fled the battlefield on foot.
Schäffer apparently suspected Innsbruck was a trap, but he nonetheless permitted Ekkehard to retaliate, possibly as a means to discredit him. It was Ekkehard's first and only front-line command in the war; Schäffer failed to have him court-martialled for desertion, but Ekkehard was stripped of command authority over the debacle.
Although the main objective of neutralizing Schäffer remained unfulfilled, enemy manpower had been significantly compromised and the operation was deemed a major success. Innsbruck was the first major strike back against the Nazis on the European front, and in conjunction with Doolittle’s Raid was a morale boost to Allied forces. The damage inflicted by the offensive encouraged the Republic of Coruscant to attempt a proper invasion of Austria not long afterward.
The Innsbruck Offensive was also invaluable in that it provided the Allied forces insight into the Space Nazi military strategy. Spoils of war included still-functioning HAW206 assault mechs, which were returned to London for analysis. A Coruscanti scout party also appropriated arms from Ekkehard’s bivouac in Innsbruck, which suggested upon further analysis direct Combine contribution to the Axis war effort.
- Through telephone