The Invasion of Gallia was a conflict that took place as a separate front during the events of the Second Europan War. While officially neutral in the conflict thus far, the Principality of Gallia was forced to defend itself when troops from the East Europan Imperial Alliance began a campaign to take over the small nation. While a similar event on a smaller scale had taken place previously during the First Europan War, the invasion of 1935 was significant in that is set the stage for great changes in Gallia's social structure, military, and technology.
Having declared itself neutral in the ongoing conflict between Empire and Federation, Gallia occupied a precarious position between the two superpowers. Despite having successfully defended its independence in the past, it remained a tempting proposition for those who would want to take over it. The rich deposits of ragnite found in its northern mountains would be of great use to fuel the war machines of both Federation and Empire. Also within Gallia's borders were a number of significant artifacts and sites pertaining to the Valkyrur. Controlling territory related to the then-mythic race of heroes would mean a great gain in political clout and religious fervor. Banking on its military superiority, the Empire believed that it could swiftly take control of Gallia.
Imperial forces led by Prince Maximilian began their incursion into Gallian territory in March 1935. The Gallian Regular Army, commanded by General Georg von Damon, was woefully unprepared for the attack, and began a fighting retreat towards central Gallia. Town watch garrisons in border towns such as Bruhl were also under-equipped to deal with the heavy weaponry and tanks fielded by the Empire. Making a command center out of Ghirlandaio Fortress, the Imperial troops quickly gained massive swaths of territory in the North and East of Gallia, with additional troops moving slowly-but-surely up through the thick forests along the Principality's southern border.
Both Gallian Army and Militia struggled against the Imperial advance through the beginning of April. Gallia's lone penal military unit, Army Squad 422, also saw action under the command of 2nd Lieutenant Kurt Irving. It soon became clear that the Great Vasel Bridge would be a key point of contention. Should the Imperials have secured it for their use, they would have been able to march straight on to the capital city of Randgriz. Militia forces first fended-off Imperial troops on the bridge's west bank. Thanks to a strategy conceived by Militia Squad 7's Welkin Gunther, they were then able to sneak across early on April 14th to the east bank and retract the bridge, sending a significant Imperial force plunging into the river below. Gallia's victory at Vasel gave them new confidence and momentum, with the battle lines falling firmly into place. Gallia still controlled its capital and the area around it in south-western Gallia, while the Imperials were spread across its remaining territory.
Throughout May and June, neither side of the conflict was able to make significant gains in territory. Imperial forces were not able to break the Gallians' defense, and the Gallian forces were not yet numerous enough to mount a counteroffensive. Yggdist Cardinal Gennaro Borgia made a brief tour of southern Gallia during this time in an effort to reassure its populace. During these months Gallian troops often fought to re-secure urban centers in the southern portion of the Principality. Squad 422, also known as "The Nameless," saw success in its liberation of Yuell. However, they were unable to pursue the Imperial troops further due to a distraction attack by Imperial special forces unit Calamity Raven when they used the Batomys-class super tank Echidna to attack nearby Mellvere. Later in the Kloden Wildwood, Squad 7 successfully took control of an Imperial supply base under the command of General Gregor
While not an act that would be approved under Gallia's official policies, the Nameless were sent on a mission across the eastern border into Imperial Territory in early June. There they destroyed a small Imperial supply base, successfully sowing confusion amongst their enemies. In the Barious Desert Squad 1, commanded by Welkin's friend Faldio Landzaat, and Squad 7 secured an ancient Valkyrur Ruin while encountering forces led by Maximilian himself. While outgunned and outnumbered, Squad 7 was able to defend against the mysterious powers wielded by the Valkyria Selvaria Bles and put the Batomys out of commission.
Gallia's Push North
With secure defensive positions to operate from, their numbers bolstered by recent drafts, and the assistance of cadets from Lanseal Royal Military Academy, Gallian forces began a counteroffensive toward the north in July 1935, their eventual goal the vital mining town of Fouzen. However, the mountainous terrain of northern Gallia provided the now-entrenched Imperial troops with good defensive positions, making the Gallians' advance slow. After re-taking a mountain stronghold through joint action with Leon Hardins and Militia Squad 4, the Nameless then moved to assist the Regular Army in the north-eastern city of Borger. The operation was aimed at stalling Imperial troops while the city's civilians were evacuated by means of opening a drawbridge, similar to the earlier operation at Vasel. The Army's plans, however, did not include the city's Darcsen populace, who were mercilessly slaughtered by Imperial troops on the opposite end of the bridge. Similar events would occur throughout Gallia during the Invasion, as Imperial commanders sent their soldiers to "hunt" the Principality's Darcsens.
Receiving particularly bold orders following the massacre at Borger, the 422nd was given a secret mission to infiltrate Ghirlandaio Fortress and end the war by assassinating Maximilian himself. While the effort ultimately failed due to the intervention of Selvaria, the Nameless's surprise attack disrupted the deployment of tank units led by Jaeger, meaning they were unable to reinforce the Empire's northern defenses. Pushing forward, Regular Army forces commanded by Baldren and Audrey Gassenarl attempted to drive Imperial troops out of the city of Swolle. Unbeknownst to them and the Nameless, who were assisting in the assault, the latter had received internationally-banned poison gas rounds for use as part of the operation. When his curiosity revealed this secret, Darcsen Nameless member Gusurg abandoned his position, and without the support of the Nameless Tank, the Gallians' offense quickly crumbled. Despite mounting resistance, Gallian forces continued to march toward Fouzen.
Following the unsuccessful operation at Swolle, word of the deployment of poison gas found its way to the upper echelons of the Gallian military. Doubly shamed by the fact that his countrymen would permit such an underhanded tactic as well as the fact that the operation failed due to a Darcsen, Baldren Gassenarl spearheads an investigation into who ordered the gas's deployment. Soon after, Squad 422 found itself under friendly fire from Regular Army troops during a mission in the Barious Desert. Facing decimation, the Nameless were saved by the intervention of Riela Marcellis, whose Valkyria powers had recently awakened. Escaping south, the 422nd found a brief respite and assistance from the citizens of Yuell, but also discovered that their commander Ramsey Crowe had been put under house arrest and that Gusurg had defected into the ranks of Calamity Raven.
Squad 7, which had been ordered back to Randgriz following their action at Barious, also encountered elements trying to undermine Gallia's position. Lately Prime Minister Maurits von Borg had been meeting with Federation Ambassador Jean Townshend, outwardly negotiating the support of the Federation in the war against the Empire. During a celebratory ball, however, Federation agents disguised as Gallian troops kidnap Princess Cordelia gi Randgriz in an effort to abscond her to Federation territory. With the Princess as their hostage, Gallia may have been forced into becoming a Federation protectorate, but Welkin and his squad-mates stopped the armored car Cordelia had been hidden in before it could slip away. Gallia retained its independence, but in light of their machinations rejected any terms of alliance with the Federation.
Northern Gallia's Liberation
Early in August Gallia's northern offensive had stalled just outside of Fouzen due to the well-trained Imperial troops guarding it and the raw destructive force of the artillery equipped to the Equus, General Berthold Gregor's armored train. Faced with mounting losses, the Militia commanders develop a plan to attack Fouzen from the inside by means of an inside contact among the Darcsens forced to work the mines for the Imperials. While Squad 7 headed north to participate in the operation, Squad 422 moved quietly through Mellvere to the port city of Anthold. Using contacts provided by Crowe, the Nameless boarded a vessel traveling to Harlson, a town on the coast of Gallia's northwestern peninsula. As the Nameless drove imperial troops out of a nearby mining complex, Squad 7 met with its inside man, Zaka, and successfully sabotaged the Equus, killing Gregor and freeing Fouzen from Imperial control. The effort put into retaking Fouzen had not gone unnoticed by Calamity Raven, who mounted a surprise attack against Randgriz's sparse guard. Luckily the Nameless intercepted and pushed them back before the unit could breach Castle Randgriz's defenses.
Hot on the heels of their success at Fouzen, Squad 7 continued with a beach landing operation at the Marberry Shore. The engineering talents of Isara Gunther proved vital to the success of the mission, but Imperial remnants fatally wounded her in the aftermath. On September 13th the squad went on to free Bruhl. Now driven out of both south and north, the Imperial forces were confined to Ghirlandaio and the central-Gallian front.
Naggiar Trench Warfare
Following Gallia's reclamation of its northern territory, both armies began to gather the bulk of their forces at the Naggiar Plains. First clashing on September 22, each army's forces failed to gain significant ground over the next few days, digging trenches to create defensive positions. Each side brought both infantry and tanks into the fray, but it was a special weapon that eventually turned the tide at Naggiar. To counter the Empire's Valkyria, Selvaria, Faldio forcefully caused Alicia Melchiott's own latent abilities to activate, with the two fighting hand-to-hand in front of their respective troops. Their battle was the first known conflict between two descendants of the Valkyrur in modern Europan history, and the power displayed by both would later motivate extensive research into reproducing that power artificially. Alicia's unexpected appearance gave the Gallian troops the morale they needed to push the Imperial forces back, ultimately leading to their victory on September 28th. With momentum on their side, the Gallian Army pressed on towards the Imperials' Ghirlandaio stronghold.
The Destruction of Ghirlandaio
In preparation for their allies' assault on the border fortress, the still-hunted 422nd arrived unannounced in a battle at Borger, helping to secure the city as a foothold from which the attack against Ghirlandaio can be staged. Following the battle, the Nameless broke Ramsey Crowe out of his home, escorting him back to Randgriz in order to testify at a court martial hearing. Despite heavy resistance, Crowe is delivered safely and presents damning evidence against Major General Carl Isler, who had been acting under orders from Cardinal Borgia. Following Isler's arrest, the Nameless are formally reinstated as an official part of the Gallian Army, and return to participate in the attack on Ghirlandaio. Nameless member Imca's impetus to defeat Selvaria caused her to move out on her own and confront the Imperial general one-on-one during the night. While she was unable to defeat Selvaria, her squad-mates secured her safety and retreated. The following day, October 7th, the Militia assault against Ghirlandaio begins in earnest, with Selvaria falling to the efforts of Squad 7.
Planning to make full use of the fortress, the main Gallian force immediately began to move in and refortify Ghirlandaio. However, early on the morning of October 8th Selvaria Bles uses a technique to violently expel the energy within her body, creating a massive explosion that obliterates the entire fortress. This event kills General Damon as well as the majority of the Gallian Regular Army. Both sides of the conflict were now in especially precarious positions, with the Gallian forces having faced extreme losses in manpower and the Empire having lost all of its major strategic positions within Gallian territory. The fact that Prince Maximilian had evacuated prior to the assault on Ghirlandaio gave the Empire one last chance at victory.
Maximilian's Final Blow
Later on the same day as Ghirlandaio's destruction, Maximilian made his return to Gallia utilizing a massive land dreadnaught known as the Marmota to literally smash his way through southern Gallia in a straight line toward Randgriz. While plans to stall the machine were quickly implemented by Militia forces, they could not halt its advance. In trying to keep up with the massive weapon, Squad 7 encountered Imperial remnants in the form of Jaeger's elite tank unit at Vasel, and managed to break through their line. Jaeger's remaining forces retreated from Gallia and the war at large.
Once it reached its destination the Valkyrur relic Valkof was incorporated into the land battleship, creating an even more fearsome weapon. Squad 7 caught up with the Marmota as it was leaving Randgriz, while at the same time Calamity Raven forces moved in. Having also been acting under Borgia's orders, their aim was to detonate the Echidna's drive systems in the middle of Randgriz, assuring the captive Isler's death to keep him from divulging any information as to Borgia's conspiracy. Close behind were the Nameless, fighting their way through Sub-Commander Lydia Agthe to eventually disable the Echidna, despite the battle taking Gusurg's life.
Meanwhile, Squad 7 made a desperate attack on the Marmota and the troops defending it, making their way on board the behemoth. There they confronted Maximilian while he donned experimental Artificial Valkyria equipment. Welkin and his squad-mates exploited a flaw in the system to defeat Maximilian and deal critical damage to the Valkof. Faldio sacrifices his life to keep Maximilian from escaping the chaotic Marmota, with Welkin and Alicia escaping via biplane just before the Marmota exploded. Maximilian's death prompted the Empire to form an official truce with Gallia on October 10, bringing the invasion of Gallia to its close and allowing the small nation to once again know peace.
Despite the conflict between Gallia and the Empire having officially ended, small elements of both powers continued to fight in the weeks following their truce. Specifically, Calamity Raven under Dahau assassinated Cardinal Borgia and gained control of a Valkyrur relic within the Empire known as the Hammer of the Valkyrur. A large complex concealing a powerful ballistic weapon, Dahau had planned to use the threat of its destructive force to ensure the establishment of a new, independent Darcsen nation. When information of this reached Crowe and Irving, they had the entirety of the Nameless declared killed-in-action in order to cross the Imperial border in force without creating an international incident. Confronting Calamity Raven, they break through a defensive position commanded by Zig before taking on Dahau's elite force and destroying the Hammer of the Valkyrur before it can fire on Randgriz. Having completed their mission, on October 25th the Nameless officially disband.
The Gallian Invasion proved very time-consuming and costly in terms of man-power, equipment, and money for its instigator, the Empire. These losses were not taken for granted by the Federation, which redoubled its offensive against the Empire shortly after the end of the invasion. Numerous territorial gains were made by the Federation along its border with the Empire, and while strained Gallia maintained peaceful relations with the Federation.
Within Gallia itself the war had created a significant upheaval in the Gallian government via the death of Prime Minister Borg late in the war. Without her regent Princess Cordelia stepped up to fully take on her role as the new Grand Duchess of Gallia. At the same time her revelation of her Darcsen heritage proved to be a divisive event. Some welcomed her in the spirit of a new solidarity between Darcsen and non-Darcsen Gallians, while others' lingering prejudice would create a backlash against her. This fact, combined with the massive fatigue in the Gallian armed forces, would lead to the outbreak of the Gallian Civil War late in 1936.
The development of new technologies during the invasion would also have a lasting effect in Gallia's armed forces. The standard light tanks used by the Gallian army were replaced with the Type 36 line of tanks, standardizing various systems and featuring interchangeable parts for easy modification, paving the legacy of Welkin Gunther's Edelweiss. Despite the destruction of Valkyrur super-weapons, the existence of their living descendants proved enticing to some. In secret, Project Valhalla's research into furthering Artificial Valkyria systems would also play a significant role later on in the Civil War.