|Battle of the Royal Moon|
|Date||July 17, 1481|
|Location||Orbit of the Royal Moon of Zhorra, Zhorra System, Six Principalities|
|Result|| --Six Principalities tactical and strategic victory |
--End of the Interitas Offensive
The Battle of the Royal Moon, also known as the Battle of One Thousand Ships and the Stand of the Three Princes was the climactic final battle of the Interitas Offensive, a major military campaign of the Kingdom of Urilia undertaken by Grand Admiral Interitas in the War of the Six Princes with the objective of striking Zhorra, the capital of the recently-independent Six Principalities and ending the rebellion. The largest battle of this offensive and one of the most important of the war, the battle resulted in the failure of the Offensive and is often regarded as the war's turning point.
Early failed offensives by the Royal Urilian Navy at crushing the upstart rebellion of King Absentia II's six sons resulted in a drop of public support for the government; many began to demand a peace be drawn between the two sides, while others began to undermine the war effort and support the Six Principalities altogether. Admiral Truvium's failure to dislodge the rebel fleets resulted in his resignation (and later imprisonment for "high crimes against the King" in 1479), with the defeat at the Battle of Tyrule playing a massive part. His replacement, appointed by Absentia (whose health was rapidly deteriorating), was Interitas, who favored a much more defensive strategy than his predecessor. Throughout 1480 and the first weeks of 1481 he gathered his resources while fending off rebel assaults and maintaining Urilian territory; then, in late February, he launched the offensive with the large bulk of the Royal Urilian Navy's warships participating. With nearly the full weight of the Royal Navy bearing down on the surprised rebels, early victories were numerous and quick; dozens of systems fell by the end of June, and a path had been swept clear to the Principalities' capital of Zhorra. Interitas hoped to strike at the Royal Moon, which had been home to a major shipbuilding center before the war, thereby punching a hole in the planetary defenses, and then landing a force of Royal Marines to secure the planet and capture the princes. However, when the Urilian fleet, constituting nearly 600 ships, arrived in the system on July 17, they encountered every major ship in the rebel fleet. Interitas and the son and heir of King Navitas, Crown Prince Najeri, were then involved in a close-quarters battle for six hours against the forces of three of the six princes and the Principalities' highest-ranking naval officer, Admiral Yuralta. Assisted by the planetary defense network of the Royal Moon and Zhorra, the rebels suffered heavy casualties but eventually forced the withdrawal of the Urilian fleet.
The battle was not well-received in Urilian territory; the Urilian people, who had finally been sent a series of swift victories during the beginning of the Interitas Offensive, were hugely shocked by the scale of the defeat at the Royal Moon and the sheer amount of ships and lives lost. In the systems held by the Six Principalities, it was hailed as a major victory; some even (erroneously) predicted the victory would bring about an end to the war.
The battle is widely regarded as the turning point of the war. It crushed Admiral Interitas' hopes of securing a decisive victory through a heavily concentrated offensive through rebel territory, and it strengthened the resolve of the six princes and their government and people.
Preparation on the side of the Urilian royalists was extensive. Following the defeat at the battle of Tyrule and the sacking of Admiral Truvium, Grand Admiral Interitas had large shoes to fill; many Urilians were becoming frustrated with the war, and the severely ill King Absentia (and his son, Prince Navitas) was demanding an immediate victory to crush the rebels.
To accomplish these goals, Interitas drew a rough draft of the plans for what would eventually become the Interitas Offensive in late 1479. Initially, he was to gather the entirety of the Royal Guard Fleet and the majority of the Kingdom's naval assets and jump straight for Zhorra, in order to maintain the element of surprise and to ensure a grand victory. However, many of his aides and members of Staff brought up several concerns; while some feared a possible defeat which would not only crush the majority of their naval strength but would also leave the invasion fleet without a line of supply, others worried that none, if any, of the rebelling princes would be present in the system; even with the fall of the capital, they proposed, the rebellion would still continue with most of its leadership intact and capable of striking back. Interitas drew up a revised lightning offensive in early 1480, involving a lightning offensive through the outer rebel sectors with the bulk of the Urilian Navy; once the frontline ships had been worn out, the veteran Royal Guard Fleet would be sent in to deal the killing blow at Zhorra. However, this time, to determine the true location of the six princes, he ordered a spy network established in the region and in several outlying systems; however, the princes would often travel discreetly, which only made detection and confirmation of their location all the more difficult. The timing of the invasion of Zhorra would be almost entirely luck-based.
By late 1480 Interitas had solidified the strategy that was to be undertaken during the Offensive; nearly the entirety of both the Naval Guard and the frontline fleets would be organized into what soon became known as the "Interitas Armada" of over 900 warships of all sizes, from carriers and battleships to corvettes, fleet colliers, and floating dockyards. The ships would rotate out of frontline duty for mid-field repairs and R&R for the crews. The fleet would remain in a system for no more than three days, mostly due to repairs done to ships that were in the previous fight.