The Rebellion in Arabia was finally squashed as the Rebel forces were smashed in a battle outside of Sakakah. The Rebels had failed to gain any measure of popular support for their cause and they had barely managed to keep together an Army for the last six months of their existence. The ringleaders of the Rebellion had all been captured or had fled to the more remote parts of the Empire to escape the Government’s wrath.
With the Rebellion out of the way, Mahmud II turned his eyes to the west once more and looked at Greece. Over the last eighteen months, all of Southern Greece had fallen to the Revolutionaries with only several stubborn Ottoman garrisons holding out. The Greeks had international approval and backing along with almost limited supplies coming from European nations. Realising the true Herculean effort in actually recapturing Southern Greece, Mahmud II was tempted to cut his losses there and then before realising that doing so would be an almost suicidal as well as the fact he did have a battle hardened Army of 95,000 troops that could be thrown at the Greeks quite soon.
Mahmud II decided to unleash his Army upon the Revolutionaries as soon as possible and capture Southern Greece. The time it would take to actually transport such an Army was long however and an extra month was needed to actually reach Greece. By now however, the Revolutionaries were poised to march north into the Balkans or even onto Constantinople itself (Although a very large garrison awaited them if they had attempted such a move). Damocles however was in no rush to head to the Balkans for two reasons. For one, he was in no mood to open up the Balkans and get involved in the mess of sorting out the various ethnic problems there. Greek Independence was where his cause started and finished.
The second reason that Damocles refused to go north was that he had more than enough problems with the Greeks in the south. The various factions which had arisen from the Revolution were gradually starting to fight amongst themselves. Although there were many different factions, they were split into the Conservative and Liberal camps. The Conservatives wanted a strong Orthodox Church, the booting out of all Turkish influence and most of all, a King. The Liberals on the other hand, were after the accomplishments set by the French Revolution, Monarchy be damned. Amongst the Liberals, Lord Byron stood proudly and used his writings to gather support for the Greeks Liberals, much to the outrage of his rivals who saw Byron as nothing more than an interfering foreigner.
Damocles himself was sympathetic to the Liberals but the temptation of sitting upon the throne of a restored Greek Kingdom was too much and he lent the support of his Army to the Conservatives, heavily tipping the balance in their favour. Although it was somewhat covert at the start, by the end of the year, the Conservative factions of Greece had the support of the Army and the Liberals began to feel the pressure.
As the Ottoman forces began to march from the east, Greek forces began to prepare for the first hard fight they had in nearly a year. Over 80,000 Ottoman troops were expected to push south and attack Greek position while more were expected afterwards. Damocles instantly decided on a defensive strategy to avoid the risk of a major defeat. The Greek Army itself was only roughly the same number as the Ottomans with roughly 15,000 besieging Ottoman strongholds. A strategy of defensive engagements while using the local terrain in the Revolutionary’s favour was decided upon.
This turned out to be the best course of action. The geography of Greece was well suited to defensive warfare as was the Greek Army. They had been ordered to have exclusive training that dealt with using the terrain to their advantage based off Wellington’s experiences in Spain. The Greeks had by this time managed to extend their territories as far north as Lamia and had stopped there while waiting for the Ottomans to arrive. From this point on, a waiting game ensued as the Ottomans gathered their forces and the Greeks waiting for the massive assault. It would be a nerve wracking wait.
The much anticipated Ottoman assault began on the 12th as the Ottoman Army began marching onto Greek positions. The Greeks, despite being more thinly spread than their Ottoman counterpart, nevertheless managed to put up a spirited defence all along their make shift border. The equipment provided by other European nations along with support from the populace aided the Revolutionaries greatly in their fight. The Ottomans struck the Greek positions but with little gain.
The most famous battle of this period came near Lamia where 2000 Greek troops were stationed at a mountain pass expecting reinforcements when a regiment of 18,000 Ottoman infantry assaulted the pass. The Greeks were given the chance to surrender as long as they let the Ottoman forces pass into Lamia. The refusal of the Greek contingent fell into Greek history as it defined the spirit of the Revolutionaries:
“Teslim ve sen irade diri!” (Surrender and you will live!)
“Καμία παράδοση! Θα παλεψουμε!” (We will not surrender! We will fight!)
“Sen irade lmek! Sen meli bulumak deli!” (You will die! You must be insane!)
“Παράφρων; Είμαστε ελληνικά!” (Insane? We are Greek!)
The battle was joined as the Ottomans marched into the pass and were met by the Greeks firing directly into their lines. Despite the Ottoman numerical advantage, the pass only allowed for a limited group of people to go at a single time, thus setting the advantage firmly in the Greek’s favour. The Ottomans were repulsed time and time again for over four hours before the ammo of the Greeks eventually ran out. Still refusing to retreat or surrender, the order was given to fix bayonets and charge the Ottoman forces.
Legend has it that the remaining 800 Greeks charged and decimated the Ottoman forces even more than they already had. The fact was though that many didn’t even make it to the Ottoman lines, having been gunned down by the riflemen of the opposing Army. By the end of the day, the Greek contingent had been utterly wiped out apart from those who had fled and about ten prisoners of the Ottoman Army. The Ottomans hadn’t got off lightly however, having lost 3000 soldiers in the engagement and lost a lot of precious time in the battle. After spending the night resting from battle, the Army advanced only to discover a Greek regiment of 6000 had arrived along with 1000 cavalry.
To add to the misfortune, the Greek cavalry charged the Ottoman infantry who were unable to form a proper formation in time and were driven back. The pass had to be abandoned in lieu of the assault and the defeat was finalised by three of the Greek prisoners escaping in the chaos of the battle and returning to base as heroes.
This assault however had been only one of many up and down the front which the Greeks had managed largely to contain the assaults with large degrees of success. Several Southern Ottoman strongholds had also fallen in the interim allowing a further 8000 Greek troops to head north as reinforcements. The following months would continue on with the Ottomans assaulting the Greek defences only to meet with limited or no success.
In Britain, the anti-slavery cause had finally gained enough support to go up to Parliament. While slavery itself had been banned in Britain, the use of its was still making a good profit in some colonies, many Liberals saw now as a time to act as Liberal causes had been gaining large support throughout Britain the last few years and slavery was seen as something most people could actually agree on.
The vote was finally put to the Commons on the 20th with the anti-slavery Bill getting the majority needed to pass up to the Lords. The Lords, ever unpredictable, also allowed the Law to go through largely because of the clause which allowed all former slave-owners compensation for their losses. The Royal Navy was also given orders to squash the trade wherever they came across it and classified all slave ships as pirates. Those who did own slaves were allowed a five year phasing out period before releasing them. But from this point on, Britain was done with the slave trade completely.
This of course brought enough problems to deal with including the loss of many plantations, the disruption of various luxuries and the question of what to do with the slaves. Many stayed where they were (Leading to an actual black community in Liverpool) and were faced with the problems of poverty and lack of proper facilities. Many other nations followed quite soon in Britain’s footsteps with the Liberals in Spain banning the slave trade three months afterwards and putting pressure on the rest of the Federacion to do the same to various degrees of success.
It was election time once again in the US with James Monroe stepping down after eight years in office. He would be remembered as a President who had gave America back some of its shattered pride after the disastrous War of 1812 by being tough on foreign issues and increasing the size of the Military. Domestically he’d overseen a very slow recovery from a nation wide recession that was still dragging down the country in some parts.
After Monroe, there appeared to be only one candidate who could fill the role of President, Andrew Jackson. This in itself posed many tricky problems in terms of foreign policy as both the Shawnee Nation and New England Republic regarded Jackson with deep suspicion and distrust due to his actions with many Native American Tribes for the former and his own less than pleasant statements regarding the NER for the latter.
Nevertheless, as the only major party, the Democratic-Republicans were guaranteed the White House and when Andrew Jackson was selected as their candidate, he was guaranteed the White House. His only real opposition came from a new political movement that looked overseas and liked what they saw. A movement that believed that if Europe could become so powerful as to humble the United States, shouldn’t they at least see what can be achieved by looking outwards rather than inwards? The National Party had been born, but it would be a long time before it would reach its maturity.