The Battle of Brenna – Weekend Lore Ramblings

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Today we will be looking at probably the biggest battle in the history of the Witcher world. This is the decisive battle of the II Northern War that stopped Nilfgaards attempts at conquering the land north of the Jaruga River and brought few years of peace (before another invasion between The Witcher 2 and The Witcher 3 video games).

Nilfgaardians had intel that the Northern armies were going to help the fortress in Mayena that was being seiged. The commander of the Emperial forces, Menno Coehoorn wanted to use that knowledge to surprise them and gain advantage by splitting the Army Group "Centre" ("Środek") – leaving smaller part at Mayena, while the rest will block the enemy path forcing them into battle. Menno wanted to conduct recon beforehand to see whats behind the nearby hills. The recon was commanded by Lamarr Flaut, but they fail to spot additional Northern forces that would come with a succor to the main army – around 10,000 of mostly Redanian soldiers and Kaedweni Dun Banners under the command of Blenheim Blenckert. Meanwhile the forces lead by Joachim de Wett, which included a "Verden" division failed to win any of their fights being constantly bitten by Skelligian coastal attack, so they could not join the main army to help in the battle.

And so, the battle happened. The Northern Realms put up to a fight 43 thousand soldiers while Nilfgaard had 46 thousand. On the left flank of the NR there was the Redanian corps commanded by Kobus de Ruyter (more about him here) – 8,000 of infantry and cavalry, At the middle there were Redanian and Temerian infantries – 12,000 combined, 10 banners of cavalry (around 2,000) and 3 thousand of the volunteer infantry from Wyzima and Maribor (Biedna Pierdolona Piechota/Poor Fucking Infantry) commanded by the Temerian voivode Bronibor (I've talked about him here). The right flank consisted of light cavalry from Brugge – 8 banners, around 1,600 soldiers, Mahakam Volunteer Troops (Mahakamski Huf Ochotniczy) commanded by Barclay Els (between them there were Zoltan Chivay, Yazon Varda, Yarpen Zigrin, Dennis Ceranmer and Sheldon Skaggs), 4 thousand dwarves and Free Condottier Company (Wolna Kompania Kondotierska) commanded by Julia Abatemarco known as "Słodka Trzpiotka" (english wiki translates it as "pretty kitty", but I don't like it, so I'll stick with the og one) and Adam "Adieu" Pangratt – they were mercenaries that were released from prisons by King Esterad and sent as help to NR instead of money like Dijkstra asked (but idk if all of them came from Kovir as there were 10 thousand of them). The main commander of the Northern forces was Temerian conetable Jan Natalis.

On the Nilfgaard's side there were III and IV armies commanded by Retz de Mellis-Stoke and Markus Braibant respectively. The left flank was attacked by Magne and Venendal divisions, in the midddle there was Alba division and the right was attacked Deithwen and Ard Feainn (commanded by Ramon Tyrconnel) divisions.

Left flank of the Northern forces managed to fight off the Imperial offensive, but on the right side, Bruggenians were being crushed by Nilfgaard's heavy cavalry and they were saved by the condottiers in the very last moment. Natalis' messenger, Aubry came with the order to close the gap on the right flank which was done thanks to mercenaries' efforts to cover the dwarves marching to fill that gap. For the long time, no side could gain an edge ( Julia then recalls that neither side had the strength to be more heroic than the other, but they managed to be heroic for one more minute). At thet moment Coehoorn decided to attack the point between Temerians and Redanians with elves from the Vrihedd brigade (commanded by Isengrim Faolitiarna). They managed to penetrate the formation and get behind the Northern armies, but then Blenheim men came with the succor. Menno's commanders advised him to flee the battlefield, but he ordered to attack the same place as Vrihedd earlier with Nauzicaa and VII Daerlean brigade, this time, joining the offensive himself. The attack was supressed thanks to Poor Fucking Infantry. At this point Coehoorn realised that the battle is lost and decided to flee as his subordinates advised him (meanwhile, the man who commanded the pre-battle recon, Flaut died trampled by the same succor he failed to spot). Menno was killed by the river by Zoltan Chivay and his dwarves as a revenge for Caleb Stratton's death during his escape. Some of the commanders, like de Ruyter or Bronibor died during the battle or as a result of their injuries in the battle.

During the battle, there were several field hospitals (where some Melitele novices from Ellander worked, including Ciri's peers Eurenid and Iola the Second/Iola Druga). Halfling surgeon Milo "Rusty" Vanderbeck (Characters that deserve cards #12 – Weekend Lore Ramblings : gwent ( was in charge of one of them, where Shani, Marti Sodergren and Iola worked. The witcher Coën, who fought as a volunteer died on their table from his injuries. The hospital was raided by Yaevinn's elves, they intended to kill both the medics and the patients, but when they saw that it also helps the Nilfgaardians, they retreated. Also, Ciri's relative, Daniel Etcheverry was brought to that hospital, where Rusty and the girls amputated his leg.

After the battle there was a big parade in Novigrad to celebrate the victory. There were few smaller fights before the war ended (e.g. the one where Regan Dahlberg from Yarpen's crew died). The treaty of Cintra was signed soon after which meant the end of the war.

Years later, Jarre, who fought as a part of the Poor Fucking Infantry and lost a hand in the battle wrote down the history of it, which is probably the only reliable historical source about it as it wasn't written as a part of any national propaganda like probably most of Northern or Imperial sources.


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