|The Battle of Briar Pass|
|Previous: Ignaeun Crisis|
|Conflict: Blood War|
|Date: August, 38 L.C.|
|Place: Talongrab, Alterac Mountains|
| Outcome: Stormtalon Victory
|Commanders and Leaders:|
|Casualties and Losses:|
| This Article is Part of a Series on|
The Citrine Eagle
Ousting of Kormed Wolfheart · Tribunal: Kormed Wolfheart · Grand Jury of Alterac · Invasion of Tanaan · Assembly Dissolution · Voodoo Debacle · Knights of Perenolde Conflict · Broken Isles Expedition (Stormheim, Highmountain, Val'sharah) · The Granite Campaign · Battle of Briar Pass
|See also, Knight of the Citrine Eagle, Assembly of Alterac, Citrine Eagle Website|
The Battle of Briar Pass was a conflict between forces of the Alliance and Horde during the Fourth War. After the fall of the Undercity after the Battle for Lordaeron, many remaining forces of the Horde fled south into the forgotten reaches of Lordaeron. Doing so, many came across the ruined town of Strahnbrad and began to fortify it as a defensible position.
With the proximity of the new Horde base to Talongrab just south of Strahnbrad, and the Stormpike Clan defenses being encroached by forces at Tarren Mill, Alliance forces in the region began to mobilize preemptively against the perceived threat in Strahnbrad. The town of Strahnbrad's mountain pass was intersected by Briar Pass, the Citrine Eagle's gateway into the rest of Northern Alterac. Therefore the Citrine Eagle mobilized guards towards Briar Pass in Talongrab to defend their norther border, and the Stormpike Clan setting cannons and defenses between Tarren Mill and Gallows' Corner. The Horde forces took these emplacements as threats, and proactively worked to undo the defenses put in place at the Alliance territories.
The Strahnbrad Horde began their approach upon Briar Pass in the evening of a Thursday in August as the guard at the entrance to the pass were rotating. The battle began that night.
The start of aggression from the Horde forces was to great effect against the Talongrab Guardians who held the post at the entrance to Briar Pass. The front was decimated, and the Horde forces were able to spearhead through the long tunnel near unopposed as the Talongrab Guardians fled to the other end to use the exit into Talongrab as a choke point against the Horde lines. Their defense resulted in the death of much of the first wave of combatants, but they were met by a vicious charge down the tunnel from a group of Highmountain Tauren who barreled through their lines to make way for a heavy push through the tunnel.
The lines broke down, and the Deathguards and Talongrab Guardians engaged in a vicious battle that ended with the Horde forces having barely holding the exit to the tunnel. A Guardian had escaped the battle to send word to the Citrine Eagle in Talongrab Keep. Bleeding heavily when he arrived, the man was healed by Sir Darrel, Dame Arianiie, and Heithaeowyn Stoneshatter. But the new of the Horde's push had reached the Eagles in time for them to move out just after the initial assault had commenced.
The Horde's initial victory left their numbers at the front dwindled. Awaiting reinforcement, the last five standing Deathguards held their ground at the passes exit in a phalanx formation. They would try and hold the line until reinforcements arrived. And as the Citrine Eagle arrived, the Deathguards defense proved to be greatly effective against the line of Citrine soldiers. Their defensive position kept them from having their line broken immediately, but offered little retort to the Eagles in terms of damage inflicted.
The Citrine Eagle pushed through the center of the Forsaken line to break through and collapse their defenses, but they had not broken their line and brought the Deathguards low in time. Reinforcements arrived in a timely manner as the lines broke in the form of three massive Highmountain Tauren -- replicating the devastatingly effective charge from their initial attacks. While the Eagle lines were nearly broken, they managed to hold their own against the Highmountain Tauren and held the line at the passes exit. A Tauren shaman attempted to flee from the scene when the circumstances looked dire, but was pulled back into the fray, and killed.
Seeing that another push against the newly bolstered Alliance line would be fruitless for the time being, the Horde forces were called back and started to barricade and fortify their end of the pass to ensure the Alliance forces could not push through without horrid casualties. The Alliance forces began to do the same.
However, one of the Horde commanders, Elder Redhorn, demanded that he and his Tauren be able to attempt to recover the bodies of their fallen from the Alliance side. The other Horde commanders refused his request, and therefore he and his men broke the Horde barricade to march upon the Alliance forces on the other side.
The meeting of Elder Redhorn and the Alliance forces was met with tension, and threats from both sides. But at the risk of the Elder Shaman caving in the pass, and in a show of honor, the Alliance forces brought forward the fallen Highmountain. The massive frames of the Tauren blocked the pass so the Horde on the other side could not fire upon them; and in doing so the Elder and the men he brought with him collected their dead in the cave, and departed.
The first night ended in a stalemate with either side holding and fortifying an end of the pass. And the forces began to bolster their defenses.
Shortly after the Eagles began to fortify their end of Briar Pass, forces from Tarren Mill began movements towards Gallows' Corner to reinforce the forces in Strahnbrad. They were quickly intercepted by the defensive emplacement set by the Stormpike Guard which hindered their progress into mainland Alterac. However, the Stormpike line was struck hard by the soldiers they faced in the skirmish.
In need of relief, the Stormpikes called for the aid of Alterac's own Covert Alliance Warhawks to assist in pushing the Horde forces back for a short time. While many of the forces were in Talongrab, a small group was deployed by Zaria Blackmoore to aid in the relief effort. The group made their way through Alterac Valley to bolster the Stormpike line. Their efforts were met with relative success, and while the forces of Tarren Mill did pull back to the town, they were still a force great in number. This would prove to be a continued threat to the Eagle's efforts in Talongrab at the pass; since if they could break passed the Stormpike lines, they would be able to reinforce the Horde forces in Strahnbrad, and therefore Briar Pass.
For the time being however, the Stormpike forces under Captain Bellowford began to bolster defenses at their positions while the Eagles returned to Talongrab to prepare their front.
But, the clear need for improved defenses at the western front were made apparent, and in doing so the Citrine Eagle prepared to launch a small task force to clear away yetis at Gallows' Corner for the Stormpike Clan to use the areas remaining fortifications as a second line of defense against Horde forces, and the many perils of Alterac.
A team of ten moved towards Gallows' Corner behind Stormpike lines, and handily defeated the powerful yetis in the area. However, a large den-father pulled itself from the tower, and gave the Eagles a difficult time subduing him until he was effectively blinded by Cillian Briar's birds, and then was burned to death.
The Stormpikes then later began to fortify, raising Stormtalon banners at the site. With the new fortifications, Horde forces between Alterac City and Strahnbrad were effectively cut off for the time being - and with the forces in Strahnbrad unable to acquire supplies with ease, the decision was made to begin mobilizing to make way into Talongrab through the pass and break the stalemate.
The night after Gallows' Corner was secured, Horde forces mobilized towards Briar Pass under the command of Apothecary Val. The assault began in the evening as Eagle forces prepared their own offensive to move up the tunnel - as each side was growing desperate to open up a critical route for supply to keep their troops fortified. As the Eagles convened in prayer before moving into the tunnel, a Goblin sapper charged down the pass, and detonated himself as he fell into the small trench dug out for defense of the Eagle's side.
After the explosion, some chaos ensured, and Forsaken Deathstalkers moved in quickly to escort another sapper to the mouth of the cave. They were revealed by Meren T. Young, and a battle began as the Eagles pushed forward through the tunnel with shield-bearers at their front in a phalanx formation. The Eagle line moved in unison as it was fired upon and assaulted by the mismatched forces in the cave -- and trampled over the Horde forces that moved in against them.
A small force of Forsaken Deathguards then mimicked their formation, and the Eagle force and the host of Deathguard met at the incline of the tunnel in a push to try and force one-another out of the small pass. As this transpired, a small collective of Bilgewater Goblins started to prepare explosives at their end of the pass to cut off the Eagles, and the defending Deathguards.
Unwilling to die by the hands of the goblins attempting to trap them in the pass, the Deathguards promptly fled, only giving the Goblins just enough time to ignite the fuses. However, in quick act, the Eagle line broke as several men moved to cover the explosives, and disconnect key fuses on the explosives to undo them as the Hollowbane forces scrambled outside. Their limited forces attempted to flank the Eagles at either side as they exited the cave, but their meager numbers forced them to flee.
The remaining Horde forces fled the scene back towards the Strahnbrad Mountain Pass, and regrouped in the town of Strahnbrad to prepare for another assault on the now newly claimed exit to Briar Pass. The Eagles, now able to leave Talongrab, took this opportunity to fortify, and deliver missives to the Chillwind Camp and key allies in the Hillsbrad Foothills.
The Eagles, with the help of their Stormtalon allies prepared trenches at either side of the pass to prepare for a seasoned defense.
A few hours after the skirmish concluded, the Horde in Strahnbrad began to launch mortar shells into the new defenses erected by the Citrine Eagle. Shortly after, Apothecary Val sent in a strong force at one end of the passes entrance to confront the Eagle defenses on one end to take advantage of the split forces. The unassailed trench on the eastern side was sabotaged by a Deathstalker, attempting to discretely open a gap in the defenses so the Horde host could round the mountain and break into the defended territory.
Both sides fought savagely, leading to numerous casualties in the long defense of Briar Pass and its northern entrance. However as the Deathstalker was undone, and the Horde line pushed back, the Horde commanders convened to discuss tactic as Apothecary Val called for another shelling of the defended location.
Elder Redhorn hotly contested throwing more forces into a heavily-defended position in an uphill battle against the Alliance forces, and proposed seeking out a ceasefire to allow wounded troops to exit the Alterac Mountains, and so both sides could bury and cremated their dead. Apothcary Val rebuked the proposal to the distaste of the Tauren Elder, who soon had his Tauren forces bull rush the mortar emplacements - causing them to misfire and not hit the Eagle defenses a second time.
The Elder send a Tauren envoy to the Eagle line to broker a temporary ceasefire, which was approved for the time being to negotiate the exchange of fallen soldiers on either side. The Envoy, and Eagles arranged a meeting between the Elder as representative of his Tauren, and the Citrine Eagles to discuss terms. However, it was prearranged that the Hollowguard would not attempt to claim Briar Pass again, which permitted a four day ceasefire.